9/3/02

We got back from the desert yesterday afternoon, I started grad school this morning, and you're just going to have to forgive me if I seem a little bit out of it. But I think I should list at least a handful of this year's Burning Man highlights...

*Fish & Compliments was a huge success--we fish-and-complimented something on the order of 200 people, one of whom was Wavy Gravy (!). A lot of people told us that we'd made their day, or that they'd never done anything like it before and were happy it'd been such a good experience. Hooray.

*We put up a bunch of fake signs directing people to the new (and nonexistent) locations of nonexistent (and obnoxious) camps: "Hey! Casa de Men-With-Shirts-And-No-Pants has MOVED! to 130 degrees and Brig," etc. Others included Sleazy Massage Camp, Vivid Voyeur Video Villa, Compulsory Polyamory Camp, and Camp 4 a.m. Maximum Goa Boom Boom Purgatory Trance Camp...

*Also, one morning, I headed to the cafe with some Polaroid film and Sharpies and started asking people if they wanted an imaginary tattoo--I'd take a Polaroid of whatever part of their body they wanted it on, then draw the tattoo onto the Polaroids. This went really well, actually.

*Patti, bless her, brought a set of six children's frog costume/towels and pairs of iridescent green goggles. We wore them at Supersnail's studio while growling and holding an American flag in our teeth. Afterwards, Lisa claimed that that was the single weirdest thing she'd ever done. I didn't agree, but couldn't come up with a counterexample, either.

*We were Camp Nip Nip Nip, located within eVille, a village of mostly Pacific Northwest types with a fabulous eighty-foot-high light beacon located at its center--if you could get a bunch of people around its base to scream for ten seconds straight, the light would go all the way up to the top of the beacon and it'd burst into flame. There was also a camp that gave away 1200 pieces of lingerie, a booth that made fresh icy juice drinks for everyone who happened by, a comfort area where people were usually napping or snuggling or playing a fiendishly easy-yet-difficult card game called Set, a stripper pole on which there were pole-dancing competitions three nights, a lot of friendly people... and a handful of just-don't-get-its who happened by on Friday night, attracted by the name, and were gently informed that "you know, it's like e-mail, e-commerce, eVille." A wonderful couple got married in the Comfort area one night--it was pretty much an ideal setting.

*As usual, there was some extraordinary art. The Temple was everyone's hands-down favorite, but I also loved the live Ms. Pac-Man game (with balloons as the "dots" and masks for the five "characters" who played it by running through the maze), the "lilypads" that were actually a distributed computer network to control the soft blue lights they emitted, the huge double-Bucky-Ball kaleidoscope thingie, the amazing submarine you could descend to by lifting a panel way out on the playa, the Swimming Man that was illuminated by a strobe light (okay, it was actually called "Sisyphish," but that's not nearly as good a name), the delirious "Aural Reef" sound-art area, Dan Das Mann's grass-covered lawn with metal silhouettes of animals all over it, the el-wire fingers that seemed to "walk" across the playa at night, the naked red-painted legion who stormed across the city one afternoon wreaking fake havoc and running away...

And some memorable out-of-context quotes from various people, some of whom we know, some of whom we don't:

"See this flashlight? This flashlight is on... but I did not turn it on."

"So he asked me if it was okay if we didn't have sex with anybody else until after we were married. I thought that was so sweet!"

"Does pot make you want more food, or does it make you want food more?"

"I think my finger's about to fall off."

"I just made out with a polyamorous blue-haired software engineer from Seattle. I think I get a lot of points for this."

(en masse) "...At all..."

"Excuse me! I am not a yo-yo groupie! I am a yo-yo aficionado!"

"This entire city is one big drug toy."

Douglas

 

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