(As the last interview before most of us start heading out to that thing in the desert, I couldn’t be more proud to present this conversation. illexxandra is a Burning Man legend, with performances everywhere on playa over the years, including the coliseum at Root Society, Funky Town, Dustfish, Basshenge, PEX, Kostume Kult, Disorient, Nexus, Burners Without Borders, BMIR, Dirty Beetles/Black 22s, Black Rock Boutique, Tsunami Bass Experience, Pedal Bump, and Brulee, as well as the arts cars the Janky Barge, Icarus, the Bump Bed, A Cavallo, the Dodo, and the Nautilus. She & I were able to talk about her journey as an artist and a woman on and off playa. Make sure to read all the way to the end and don’t forget to check out her new mix for Meso Creso! Interview by Terry Gotham)
1. Favorite Burning Man Memory?
Gosh, that feels impossible. I remember so many moments, and the years all bleed together. As a DJ, I’ll never forget playing the coliseum at Root Society in 2012. They had opened up slots to the broader community, based on how many friends and fans commented on Facebook in support of a given DJ. Diva Danielle and I ended up getting the most comments, so I got a juicy slot on their big stage. Root Society was where everyone wanted to be. My set went great, but the DJ booth was a mad house. We had my DJ partner DJ Shakey, and my pals Alex and Joanna, and Ganesh the camp’s wonderful sound guy. But then to my right we had a young bearded guy in a shiny gold crown and purple robe who was high on uppers and super psyched about every move I made. On my left was a girl who had followed us up to the booth, naked except for full-body fishnets. Behind me was a super done-up, heavily surgically altered woman and her handler. They assumed I was a big deal because I was playing the hot camp. Halfway through my set, she hoisted her feet up on my shoulders, the rest of her held up by her handler, so that she was totally horizontal five feet in the air. All the while, I’m trying to rock as hard as I can, on one of the biggest stages I’ve ever played on, with high heels on each side of my head, naked people, enthusiastic cocaine kid, and my friends who wanted to socialize and support. It worked out, but gosh was it distracting. As the sun eventually came up, the moon was still clear and large on the horizon. I played a Big Bad Wolf remix, everyone howled at the moon, and all was right with the world. Afterwards, Shakey and I went straight to the BRC airport and went up in a plane over the city for the first time.
These two moments also stand out:
Me Djing on the Dodo to people dancing on the pier from its first year before the galleon
Shakey with gingerbread people at Plug 4 in 2008
So many more stories to tell though!
2. Do you have a day job, or are you able to write “DJ” on your taxes under occupation?
Indeed, I make all my income programming music, most of it in a live setting, most of it at night in bars and clubs and warehouses, and a decent amount of my time on the road. Including hosting karaoke for many years, which I’m very proud of. I have no other sources of support. Although, after reading tarot for many years, I’m moving in the direction of doing it regularly for money. But that’s by choice rather than necessity.