The Anal Retentive's Guide To Burning Man

There are hundreds of web pages of photographs from and essays about Burning Man. My first Burning Man was 1998, from which I wrote my initial report to my friends , a message I posted to the Burning Man BBS , and my conditional apology to those offended by that message .

I wrote my report about Burning Man '99 and about some of the dissatisfaction with the vibe of my second year, and how we can change it and in response to that my friend Eric made some observations based on his experience with the counterculture .

But all those pages of photos and essays don't capture the experience for someone who hasn't gone. So I'm going to try a different tack.

Why "anal retentive"? If you showed up at Burning Man with only a pair of sandals and a smile, you could probably still have a great time. But I don't like being uncomfortable, and I believe that to make temporary community work we all have to show up with enough that if no one else came to the playa we'd still have a relaxing vacation.

Unfortunately, I took this a little too seriously, and was all stressed about making sure we had the survival aspects covered, when truthfully we should have been more worried about what we were going to do for art and self-expression.

This is not necessarily the optimal of everything, this is a list of things that worked. If you use these hints, you can get on with doing the frivolous stuff that makes Burning Man what it is; and make room for toys, costumes, and installations rather than packing the car to the gills with stuff you won't need or worrying about what will or won't work. Everything we took fit on and in a mid-sized sedan; we may end up with more cargo space next year, but that'll be for art, not survival.

  1. Clothing
  2. Toiletries
  3. Food & Water
  4. Shelter
  5. Drugs
  6. Art

Wednesday, December 30th, 1998