by Whatsblem the Pro
So, Burning Man is on your bucket list, or you’ve already been at least once, but you’re having a hard time getting it together to get that sweet ass of yours to the Black Rock desert?
There are options. The most obvious must be Regional Burning Man events and other, similar festivals (although you won’t find much that’s all that similar without getting on an airplane, if you live in the States). The Burning Man Regional Network is your friend, friend, and making contact with the burners in your area will inevitably hip you up to all kinds of things happening near you that appeal to a roughly burner demographic. Or, if you’re in the middle of nowhere, it’ll at least hook you up with people you can join together with to make something happen.
If you’ve got a brain full of bees and you don’t mind leaving your house and your comfort zone occasionally for shenanigans, then you may already be a member of the Cacophony Society, with chapters in Michigan, Arizona, Texas, Maryland, Louisiana, Alabama, Massachusetts, New York, Illinois, Ohio, Connecticut, Colorado, Nevada, California, Kansas, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Tennessee, Minnesota, Florida, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Utah, Virginia, Washington (State), Washington (D.C.), and Missouri, with international lodges in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, the Netherlands, the North Pole, South Africa, the South Pole, the United Kingdom, and Venezuela. If there’s no lodge near you, do some reading at the Society’s website and start one yourself. . . you’re all the authority you need.
If you’re some kind of cyborg and can’t be detached from your computer without specialized tools and the risk of death, there’s BURN2, a virtualized burn that takes place annually in the strange online mindfuck known as Second Life, a Matrixy, immersive, build-it-yourself world with its own economy and mores. Second Life provides a whole universe of time-wasting opportunities beyond the virtualized burn.
Finally, there’s home DIY Burning Man, for the rugged individualist who can’t be bothered to go anywhere OR sit glued to a computer for days on end.
Back in August of 2002, some unsung genius on the now-defunct Midwest Burn List fired off a humorous enumeration of things you can do “to enjoy the Burning Man experience from the comfort of your own home.” The list has since circulated among burners on the Internet like crabs at a Rainbow Gathering. Our efforts to identify the author have come to an impasse; if you know who did write it originally, please let us know in the comments.
22 THINGS YOU CAN DO TO ENJOY THE BURNING MAN
EXPERIENCE FROM THE COMFORT OF YOUR OWN HOME
by Anonymous Enigma-McUnknown, Jr.
1. Read Dhalgren by Samuel R. Delany. Read The City, Not Long After by Pat Murphy. Cut off the bindings, throw all the pages up in the air, and shuffle them back together. Reread The City After Dhalgren by Samuel Murphy. Burn it. Read the ashes.
2. Pay an escort of your affectional preference subset to not bathe for five days, cover themselves in glitter, dust, and sunscreen, wear a skanky neon wig, dance close naked, then say they have a lover back home at the end of the night.
3. Tear down your house. Put it in a truck. Drive ten hours in any direction. Put the house back together. Invite everyone you meet to come over and party. When everyone leaves, follow them back to their homes, drink all their booze, and break things.
4. Buy a new set of expensive camping gear. Break it.
5. Stack all your fans in one corner of your living room. Put on your most fabulous outfit. Turn the fans on full-blast. Dump a vacuum cleaner bag in front of them.
6. Pitch your tent next to the wall of speakers in a crowded, noisy club. Go to sleep.
7. Lean back in a chair until that point where you’re just about to fall over, but you catch yourself at the last moment. Hold that position for nine hours.
8. Only use the toilet in a house that is at least three blocks away. Drain all the water from the toilet. Only flush it every four days. Hide all the toilet paper.
9. Visit a restaurant and pay them to let you alternate lying in the walk-in freezer and sitting in the oven.
10. Don’t sleep for five days. Take a wide variety of hallucinogenic/emotion-altering drugs. Pick a fight with your boyfriend/girlfriend.
11. Cut, burn, electrocute, bruise, and sunburn various parts of your body. Forget how you did it. Don’t go to a doctor.
12. Buy a new pair of favorite shoes. Throw one shoe away.
13. Spend a whole year rummaging through thrift stores for the perfect, most outrageous costume. Forget to pack it.
14. Listen to music you hate for 168 hours straight, or until you think you are going to scream. Scream. Realize you’ll love the music for the rest of your life.
15. Bust your ass for a ‘community.’ See all the attention get focused on the drama queen crybaby.
16. Get so drunk you can’t recognize your own house. Walk slowly around the block for five hours.
17. Sprinkle dirty sand in all your food.
18. Mail $200 to the Reno casino of your choice.
19. Go to a museum. Find one of Salvador Dali’s more disturbing but beautiful paintings. Climb inside it.
20. Spend thousands of dollars on a deeply personal art work. Hide it in a funhouse on the edge of the city. Blow it up.
21. Set up a DJ system downwind of a three-alarm fire. Play a short loop of drum ‘n’ bass until the embers are cold.
22. Have a 3:00 AM soul-baring conversation with a drag nun in platforms, a crocodile, and Bugs Bunny. Be unable to tell if you’re hallucinating. Lust after Bugs Bunny.