Burning Man Rant

Eric has a reasonable amount of counterculture experience, and weighed in with some notes that brought up some interesting issues to consider.

Date: 8 Sep 1999 08:13:17
From: Eric Bradway
Subject: Burning Man Rant

Your rant about the vibe change sounds alot like:

  1. The end of the Grateful Dead parking lot scene in the late 80s
  2. The on-going war among the A-campers (alcohol), rangers, and regular Rainbow folks.

But has this prevented me from wanting to go to Dead shows or Rainbow Gatherings? Not at all. Unfortunately the Dead are dead and I've lost touch with the Rainbow folk (not that it would be hard to find again). I do have a better understanding of the dynamics there-in and can ensure at least an enjoyable time by setting my own boundaries.

Sounds like BM will become a sort of four-phase operation:

  1. Pre-burn collusion on art
  2. Pre-weekend setup and more traditional scene
  3. Friday night and Saturday - Make it a scene for the media and public, after all, isn't the purpose of this art to expand the minds of those who need it the most? More participatory art may be good (especially 7- foot amazonian doms). Get people doing things they never would have dreamed.
  4. Sunday clean-up - in spirit, this is the real burn. Like camp-cleanup at the end of a Rainbow (or the next morning in the traditional parking lot scene). The people who are left at this point are the heart-and-soul of the scene. Use it as a time to explore what went right and wrong, what to do next time, and to learn more about who your audience is.

But for a BM virgin, I may be going too far... Leave room for me in your transport next year. I think my contribution may be a large closet full of dress-up clothes (ironic for an environment that encourages nudity - but just because you're wearing clothes doesn't mean you can't be exposed...).


Wednesday, September 8th, 1999 danlyke@flutterby.com