(Youth is wasted on the young, but is the playa wasted on the seasoned? Not according to Jungle. One of the most visible, Falstaffian leaders of Kostume Kult, I was honored to speak to him about Kamp Konstruction, Leadership at Kostume Kult, and how the playa has changed since his first Burn in 2007. Interview by Terry Gotham and music by David Kiss)
1. Favorite Burning Man Memory?
There are lots of them. I’ve spent the better part of my time at Burning Man MC’ing where Kostume Kult gifts the gazillions of costumes to the fine citizenry of Black Rock City. That gifting (and helping build the KK community) is the primary driving force for me attending. I get to live out all of the 10 principles, I get to see people transform into themselves v2.0, I get to see smiles a lot and get to interact with lots of folks. I see lots of folks who are friends from NY, from elsewhere & folks I’ve met while MC’ing in prior years. Out of all of the experiences there, the one that is burned into my conscience is as follows:
I pester folks (tourists) to get them to participate, not just watch. One year, there was this guy on a bike. I guess he forgot what he was doing, because he wasn’t wearing any clothing. so I started ‘pestering’. I suggested that he get a costume, perhaps even merely get something to ‘accessorize’ his dick. After a little bit of time with no movement on his part, I began to deal with others. A short time later, however, I noticed him walking down the runway with a smile, wearing a necklace and a top hat. When he got off the runway, I thanked him for participating; he said that he wanted to thank me for ‘encouraging’ him to participate, as he had Parkinson’s and was very self conscious about his shaking; hence, he never gets off his bike. He said that my pestering motivated him to do it, and that he didn’t shake at all walking down the runway. I really don’t recall anything else about Burning Man that year. There are lots of snapshots like that at our runway.
(This interview is years in the making. This camp is responsible for some of the wildest nights I’ve had in NYC, and always took care of me on playa. Kostume Kult is a massive undertaking. One of the major facilitators of this tremendously popular barrel of kostumed monkeys is Isabeau Vidal, who refused a title more impressive than “Camp Lead” as a tip of the hat to the amazing krew that helps make it happen every year. If you’re in NYC over Valentine’s Day weekend, head over to Santos Party House for their Monkey House fundraiser. It’ll be bananas. ~Interview by Terry Gotham)1. How was Burning Man 2015? People who camped with you thought it was spectacular, but as the producer, how was the build, the burn and the breakdown?
It was definitely a great year for the camp. We grew bigger than ever before, and I think that everyone involved had a great time. Of course, growing so much bigger also put quite a bit of strain on all of our camp leads, but I think everyone handled that amazingly. Of course there were the usual curveballs that Burning Man will throw at you… This year it was big winds, but even more so our shipping container from the east coast – containing some of our camp infrastructure and pretty much all of our campers’ personal stuff – which was supposed to get there on Tuesday of build week but didn’t arrive until 4 days later. Our Monday build team had all of their essential camping gear with them, but several of our Wednesday team members ended up sleeping in our central shade, kostume tent, or borrowed tents for several days. But, that is Burning man… 😉
(Continuing our series interviewing pre-eminent Burners on the East Coast, I was privileged to talk to Rocket, one of the central members to the NYC Polyamory scene. He gave me a moment of his time in between organizing Poly cocktails, a great monthly meet-up event for people of that persuasion, and everything else he’s working on. Enjoy the read!)
By Terry Gotham
1. Where did you first hear of Burning Man & how did you become involved with the community?
Origin story! I first heard of Burning Man through architecture magazines. It essentially exists as this place where you can build as high or as crazy as you like b/c there are no building codes! Months later, I was reintroduced to it via NYC’s polyamorous community. At one of my first poly meets, I showed someone a very elaborate and well done jester Halloween costume I had made for myself and was then told, if you like costumes you should check out this group named Kostume Kult. I, days later attended a Kostume Kult meet and greet. At the time, I had just graduated from architecture school and was excited to be free. The members of KK and I immediately connected and they essentially told me… you’re fun, you can build, you like running around in costumes…you’re coming to Burning Man with US! Right away I started helping to build KK events, and they took me to my first burn in 2010. Continue reading