How to Survive Burning Man

Image: Scott London

Image: Scott London

Elyse Romano at D’Marge has published some tips on what to expect at Black Rock City. This could be some useful background information for Virgins. Here are some highlights:

For years you’ve heard tales of a wild utopian wonderland in the Nevada desert. For one week, the blank canvas of that barren wasteland turns into something magical.

You’ve envisioned a world of hot hippie women searching for their spirit animals, of chemically-enhanced sex fests, of all-night raves and socially-acceptable nudity. You’re ready to take that dusty plunge and rage until you can’t even remember what planet you’re on.

Slow down, tiger. I’m not saying Burning Man isn’t those things, but I am saying it isn’tonly those things. I’m also saying that the back of every Burning Man ticket warns that you might die at the event, so maybe you want to show up with your shit together. One of the Burner mottos is “Keep Burning Man potentially fatal” for a reason.

So how do you drop into one of the least hospitiable places on Earth and have the most wild, weird and wonderful week of your life? Allow me to be your tour guide…

The Burning Man Living Quarters

Expecting cabins? Prepare to be deeply disappointed (and relentlessly mocked). This is roughing it in the most Bear Grylls sense. You have three best bets: a tent, an RV or a yurt. The tent is classic, but make sure it’s tough enough to withstand a windstorm and know it will be hotter than the inside of a mouth by 9am. Sleeping in is not an option…

The Naked Truth

When it comes to Burning Man style, pretty much anything goes. The more outrageous the better, but skip feathers, sequins and anything else that’s likely to detach and cause litter in the desert. Those things are strictly forbidden.

Have a tutu on hand for Tutu Tuesday – the playa collectively celebrates (yes, even the men) and it’ll let you skip the line for free pancakes at the Pancake Playhouse camp. On the practical side, goggles and face protection (think masks and bandanas) are a must for dust-storms, have warm things on hand for the cool evenings, and don’t forget your sunglasses.

Make sure footwear is comfortable. The event spans many miles and you’ll do a lot of walking. Plenty of Burners ditch the shoes entirely, but take care of your toes because the alkali dust can cause playa foot. And yes, if you’re feeling extra free-spirited, you can leave the clothes in your camp and go totally nude.

Burners are some of the nicest, nakedest people you’ll ever meet, unless you’re shirt cocking – wearing nothing but a shirt with your pants canon out. In that case, we will silently (or loudly) judge you…

Hello, Hedonism

It’s time to talk about the sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll. It’s all out there for you to enjoy (not as much the rock ‘n’ roll – Burners tend to prefer electronic music), but it has to be done responsibly.

Dying to dance? There’s a party to be found 24/7. Dying for a drink? You’re constantly surrounded by bars serving free booze. Dying to get down with the cutie you just met? There are camps designed solely to facilitate such salacious shenanigans.

Dying for something more dubiously legal? It’s out there too, but remember that, as much as it seems like an autonomous entity, Burning Man is still governed by state and federal laws. Undercover cops are out there and they’re ready to seriously eff-up your day.

What it all comes down to is this: have fun, challenge your boundaries, but don’t be a dick about it. There’s a right way and a wrong way to do everything, and you don’t want your poor decisions to land you in the hospital or a Nevada jail cell.

Read the rest of the tips at DMarge.com

 

 

6 comments on “How to Survive Burning Man

  1. The first sentence: “For years you’ve heard tales of a wild utopian wonderland in the Nevada desert. For one week, the blank canvas of that barren wasteland turns into something magical.” was enough to make me stop reading the piece. OOHHH AHHH

    What a bunch of wistful folderol.

    Anybody with half a brain and a little initiative can figure it out on their own. It’s not like you’re camping on the dark side of the moon. Maybe this is a guide for the ever expanding presence of the well-to-do who may be too lazy to figure it out on their own. ‘Radical self reliance’, well chuck it out the door also.

    The piece also ignores the expanding dominance of the ‘default world’ on the event and paints the event as it may have been 10+ years ago but which no longer is.

    Like

    • I’m with you, I never understood all the hyperbole about “harshest conditions on earth” and all that. It’s kinda hot, very dusty, and sometimes there’s a wind storm. The wind storms are really the only thing that most people might not have experienced before, so beyond “secure your camp,” there really isn’t that much to say to people who have camped before.

      Liked by 1 person

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