Posts Tagged ‘playa magic’

Burning Man: The Dissolution of Normal

fix my grn penis 2

I love Burning Man and I’m able to say that almost all of the time.  I don’t love it as much watching some of the comments I see by Burner’s online, or watching them transition from peaceful, loving desert dwellers to maniacal default world drivers 10 feet outside the gate.  I really can’t say it during Exodus.  However I love Burning Man in the middle of 70 mile an hour winds, I loved it in the rain after a brief meltdown over my obliterated tent was washed away with a double rainbow and a tub of homemade chocolate chip cookies I remembered I had.  I’ve love Burning Man in the well over 100 degree heat and at 34 degrees shivering in my tent all in the same 24 hour period.

Dr. Megavolt

Dr. Megavolt

I love Burners on the playa, amazing creatures who exude love and light and snark all at the same time.  A glorious cacophony of colorful freaks who will give until it hurts, take care of those who sometimes don’t deserve it and teach virgins the ways of the dust.  Burners contain a higher than imaginable number of insane geniuses, spectacular artists, and folks who create and burn in ways I never thought possible nor practicable.  A place and a people who can eat the focus of your life so intently for a week that you blissfully forget the other life you had mere days before.

I’ll seek the dust again this year for perhaps my last time, I’ve spent a number of years on the playa and I’m seeking new adventures, new stimuli, a new collection of freaks to expand my mind.  Seems appropriate as I will turn 50 on the playa this year, my own unofficial theme this year, my playa name is The Dean, will be Deanapocalypse 2014.  You are all invited to the party!

fix a1 double bow

The thing that I find most amazing about Burning Man however is not the art, the insanity, the relaxation or even the Playa Magic.  No what I love the most is something I call the dissolution of normal.  You see I think one of the problems we all face in the default world is that we have been fed the idea that there is something called normal.  Given that the actual reality of normal is nothing but an artifice of statistics, we all, in so many ways are not normal.  We constantly find ourselves falling above or below the line, not normal and conventional wisdom tells us normal good, not normal freak.  This paints freak in a negative connotation which I refuse to accept, some of us have found ways to embrace our inner and outer freaks even in the default world.  What did this for me was the dissolution of normal.

freak flag

At Burning Man, stop wherever you are, slowly rotate 360 degrees, carefully take in the crowd around you and I promise you, within that view, you are not the biggest freak, never.  Do it every day, five times a day, you will never be the biggest freak and if you are, find me because I want to know you and I’m sure as hell buying.  This realization is incredibly freeing and truly allows you to let your freak flag fly.  This is why I love Burning Man because if you embrace it, merge with it, normal dissolves and the real you can emerge, is accepted by the community and if you’re lucky you can carry the real you back into the default world.

fix a1 bliss

See you in the dust ~ ZDBlue aka The Dean


In an earlier post concerning Burning Man I made a quick reference to Playa Magic and I promised to come back to the concept.  So what is Playa Magic?  I think that question is most easily answered by what it produces this year on the Playa a friend, who didn’t tell us he was coming, who has never been to the event before, simply drives up from LA, into a several mile diameter city full of over 50,000 people and drives right up to our camp.  Just a coincidence most of you will say and I won’t disagree, but the frequency of the coincidences at Burning Man can sometime be mind boggling.  I know of a huge number of instances where people have needed a particular auto part, or special screw, or type of medication and bam, the person in the next camp has it.  I was explaining this concept to a virgin (first year burner) at Center Camp one year and he didn’t believe me.  I had been so bold as to say that I bet you could stand up in Center Camp and loudly ask for anything and you would have it.  He laughed at me and we chatted for awhile and we came back around to the concept of playa magic again and he took the challenge.  He’d been craving fresh baked chocolate chip cookies, a few days on the playa usually leaves you craving something, so he stood up and loudly declared, “I want a freshly baked chocolate chip cookie.”  He repeated this twice and sat down with a very satisfied look on his face and said, “well?”  I told him to be patient and truly thought I’d been proven wrong when a woman leaned around the wooden bench we were on and said, “here you go, sorry, we ran out of milk,” and then scurried off.  My new found friend just sat there staring at the cookie, “playa magic,” was all I said.

This little story really feeds in to my favorite category of playa magic, magic food.  People who know me know that I’m a dedicated and passionate lover of pizza.  Not any pizza, but real NY pizza and I have often proclaimed that I actually like pizza more than sex.  That was almost tested in college but that’s a story for another post.  So after my virgin year on the playa I had one complaint, that the Random Pizza Camp had somehow not delivered me a pizza.  This camp has always been my favorite concept on the playa, they brought pizza ovens to Black Rock City and made pizzas and then walked out and randomly delivered them to people, talk about karma points.  So my second year on the playa I’m walking along, I was tired and hadn’t eaten enough and was just a tad bit grouchy, when someone taps me on the shoulder and says, “have you been calling for this?”  And there, like an angel, stood a man with a hot, pepperoni pizza and I just smiled, said, “yes” and took the pizza.  It was wonderful to be standing there sharing a pizza with the people with me.

However the greatest magic food experience I ever had on the Playa, and the way I learned of the concept was during my virgin year while camping with the People United for Nothing (PUN).  I was sitting at camp under the shade structure when one of my camp mates came in and told me he’d just run into a New York City hot dog cart and had a hot dog.  I asked him where it was and immediately leaped on my bike and tore off after the cart.  I didn’t find it.  I engaged in a grid shaped search pattern for another twenty minutes and nothing.  I returned to camp totally dejected.  A few minutes later another camp mate came back and you guessed it, I was off again flying across the dust to get to the hot dog cart, again nothing, another search pattern, nothing.  I returned to camp in a seriously foul mood, threw my bike down and isolated myself in the back of the camp to brood.  As I was sitting there a person in our camp who I’d just met that morning tapped me on the shoulder and said, “ketchup, mustard or relish?”  I did not find this amusing and proceeded to tell him so, the complete look of confusion on his face told me I was mistaken and so I said, “sorry, what?”  He smiled, I’ve made hot dogs thought you might like a couple.  I know, the non-believers will say, oh he overheard you, whatever.  Playa Magic my friends, playa magic.   My proof to you, like to my chocolate chip craving friend, will be to let the burners who read this relay their own stories of playa magic and show you how it works.  So, residents of Black Rock, lay out a little Playa Magic in the comments for the non-believers.