Susan Sarandon Talks Burning Man, Bowie and Brownies

balancevilleLast year my Burgin sister and I watched the Cargo Cult burn from on top of BalanceVille, an art car sleigh that raises 52 feet in the air with a scissor lift. Next to us, with a small blinky light in her hair, was Academy Award winning actress Susan Sarandon. She was super chilled, not an uppity celebrity in any way – and loving it.

“People made art for no benefit — it was made just for the interaction of it all,” Sarandon said. “People came and built huge statues and temples and all kinds of things. After a week, they take it down and it’s just gone . . . it was interesting because it was nice to see art that was created without any commerce.”

She’s just done a great interview with the Daily Beast, talking about Burning Man, psychedelics and her past love affair with The Thin White Duke.

From the Daily Beast:

Susan Sarandon is a total freak of nature—and I mean that in the best way possible. One of the biggest issues plaguing Melissa McCarthy and co. on the set of the recent film, Tammy, was how the hell to make the stunning 67-year-old actress look, well, not so stunning. “Susan looks too good!” the cinematographer complained ad nauseam, according to McCarthy. “Susan seems to be glowing from within.”

In person, you can see why it proved such a gargantuan task. Few actresses—nay, people—have bitch-slapped Father Time quite like Sarandon. Combine those age-defying looks with stellar acting chops and a no-bullshit attitude and you’ve got a woman who marches to the beat of her own drummer—dating thirtysomethings and remaining prolific in ageist Hollywood.I heard you went to Burning Man last year, but sadly couldn’t make it this year.

Parasols and Celebrities at Cargo Cult

Parasols and Celebrities at Cargo Cult

It’s fabulous. I can’t go this year because my daughter’s having a baby around that time, so I don’t think I’d feel very free to indulge if I was waiting for a message to see if she’s gone into labor. I went all around on a Segway and a bicycle, which was great, and even though people sometimes recognized me and said, “Oh, it’s so cool you’re here!” it wasn’t like walking the streets of New York. The art was amazing. You’ll find fantastical stuff like four-story women, and when the light comes up, a half-naked woman with a parasol. Despite the fact that there was more of a police presence there, it was a lot of fun and I’d definitely go back. 

Did you take any psychedelics? You kind of have to, right?

Well, it’s pretty psychedelic to begin with. But, yeah, I’m not new to the idea of mushrooms. I don’t really like chemical things, really. Timothy Leary was a friend of mine, so that acid was nice and pure, but I’m not really looking for chemicals, and I don’t like to feel speedy. But I’ve done Ayahuasca and I’ve done mushrooms and things like that. But I like those drugs in the outdoors—I’m not a city-tripper. My attitude about marijuana or anything is, “Don’t be stoned if you have to pretend you’re not,” so I’d never do drugs if I was taking care of my kids. I like doing it in the Grand Canyon, or in the woods. You want to be prepared and not have responsibilities. It does remind you of your space in the universe—your place in the universe—and reframe things for you. I think you can have some very profound experiences.

The late Steve Jobs said taking LSD was a very profound experience, and one of the most important experiences of his life.

But it didn’t make him a kinder person. It’s not going to solve all your problems. But, yes, I’m totally supportive of that means to reframe your universe.

And marijuana was recently decriminalized in New York.

It got decriminalized in small amounts. It will be legal everywhere, and that will cause a very interesting tipping point. Certainly, if more people were smoking instead of drinking, people don’t get mean on weed, don’t beat up their wives on weed, and don’t drive crazy on weed. They just get hungry, don’t go out of the house, or laugh a lot. I think it would make for a much more gentle world.

Although edibles are sort of a different ballgame. If I was driving and munching on a brownie I’d stand a really good chance of putting my car into a ravine.

Well, it needs to be treated as a controlled substance in that you don’t give it to kids, and you don’t drive. Certainly, liquor has caused many more deaths. There’s never been a death by marijuana. And the money spent to incarcerate people, the money spent on the drug war, and the fact that cartels are running wild, it’s crazy.

…I got married really young, which knocked out most of my 20s to be fucking around. There have been a couple of famous, pretty interesting ones. One rock star, and another actor. But I’m pretty much a nester and tend to be monogamous.

susan sarandond david bowieWho was the rock star?


Get out. That man is a legend. Did that happen around the time of The Hunger?

Yeah. He’s worth idolizing. He’s extraordinary. That was a really interesting period. I wasn’t supposed to have kids, and I’m the oldest of nine and had mothered all of them, so I wasn’t ever in a mode to where I was looking to settle down and raise a family, so that definitely changes the gene pool you’re dipping into. But Bowie’s just a really interesting person, and so bright. He’s a talent, and a painter, and… he’s great.

susan sarandon geena davis selfie

Follow @susansarandon

Agreed. That Thelma & Louise reunion selfie you took with Geena Davis really broke the Internet.

There was a whole photo session and then they do this interview, and then I just thought, “Let’s take one of us.” It was very spur of the moment. And you know what? My dog tweeted it.

Your dog tweeted it?

Yeah. My dog, Ms. Penny Puppy has a site, and she tweeted it. And we had no idea that it would do that. We had none. It was just a joke!

[read the full interview here]


7 comments on “Susan Sarandon Talks Burning Man, Bowie and Brownies

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  5. I met her last year it was very cool meeting . It was late Thursday night and our Ship the U.S.S.Nevada had stop to look at some art mid playa .El Pulpo Mecánico was stop there also ,so as I went to check out this fine piece on Playa mobility ,there perched in the rear seat was Susan ,not sure how many peeps had recognized her but I did, so I went up introduced myself ,gifted her some BM earrings we had made which she put on Immediately .Had a nice chat, gave each other a hug and said goodnight .

    • She has a new movie coming out, which she talks about more in the full interview with the Daily Beast. Click the links to learn. I took those bits out, the story is more about what she said about the words I put in the title – one of which is “Burning Man”. But yes, all this media is PR for Burning Man, you are correct. It has become “en vogue” for celebs to mention Burning Man to the media.

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