Burning Man: My 2011 Afterburn

Posted: September 11, 2011 in Burning man
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Burning Man: My 2011 Afterburn

I rolled into the 25th burn on Monday morning, left the pavement at 9:15AM and hit the gate at about 12:45.  Drove into the spot I was aiming for at 4:00 and J and set up.  Almost immediately adopted a couple of virgins who were seat less and shade less and my neighbor on the other side was a fabulous burner named Juicy, his camp quickly became the neighborhood hangout.  As usual at Burning Man, the neighborhood including a wide swath of geographic origins including British Columbia, California, Utah, Belgium and Holland.

The first surprise of the year was the weather, this was by far the best weather I’ve ever seen on the playa.  The first few days were breezy (15mph) winds and Monday in particular was a warm day, but nothing like some of the sweltering days I’ve spent on the Playa in the past.  On Wednesday we saw some 35 mph gusts but again that’s nothing.  So bright sunny days, comfortable nights, low winds and once they swung around from the East after Wednesday, the most dust free days I’ve ever seen out there.  Now I split on Saturday so I can’t comment on winds for the big burns but from what I’ve heard the good weather continued.

The first thing I have to talk about is the Temple, it was magnificent, and I know people all have their favorites, but this was my favorite Temple construction.  Between the size (120 feet tall), the five spires, the gargoyles, and the chime system it was truly spectacular.  The temple was visible across the playa at night when lit up, my hat off to the designers and the Temple crew, as always you all did a magnificent job.  And of course as the spiritual heart of the community the Temple is always a deeply special and moving place.

 

 

 

 

The people are always the best part of Burning Man and to be sure I met some great people this year and many thanks to those who allowed me to interview them for a piece I’m doing on children at Burning Man.  Special thanks to the Mayor of Kidsville and the munchkins within who I interviewed while they were deeply involved in sock puppet construction.  Also thanks to the Mayor of 4:00 and J and her faithful companion.

For me the fire highlight of the week was the Flaming Lotus Girl’s extravaganza which included the single best fireworks display I’ve ever witnessed.  Another big fun burn was the Trojan Horse burn, a towering art piece that burned spectacularly on my last night on the Playa.

 

My favorite art car was easily the Steam Punk Octopus you can check it out at the following link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GMfzFIERJIg

My favorite static art piece was the one pictured below, Aurora named for the artist’s 3-year old daughter’s favorite princess.

 

 

It was a very typical burn for me this year, a few nice little parties, some unexpected camp surprises, ran into some people unexpectedly, some things went right, others went wrong.  Missed some people who couldn’t make it.  I was a bit disappointed to hear how many people had at least enough cell connection for text messages and personally I think connectivity will really change the event, but that discussion is for another piece.  I was happy to track down some old friends and misconnected with some others.

For me Burning Man is refuge and escape from my life, a period of time to truly relax and as always I got that this year.  I also hurt my back late in the week, not seriously and given that I had gotten what I needed from the week, I decided to slip out early and miss the exodus traffic.  Another good year on the Playa, although it may be my last for a while, new adventures to be had and all.  Finally, a few pictures for your viewing pleasure and my fellow burners I hope your burn was magnificent.

 

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