Bringing Your Parents to the Burn

Questions, answers, tips & tricks for newbies and veterans alike
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Ape-Real
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Bringing Your Parents to the Burn

Post by Ape-Real » Wed Nov 07, 2007 9:09 pm

Hi!
My parents are VERY interested in attending this year...anyone ever bring their parents to the burn who can share their experiences? Any tips or advice? I absolutely want to make their first experience the best I can for them, but at the same time, they are "parental figures," meaning I'll have to be doing a bit of self censorship that I would not normally be doing on playa.

As they're a bit older (mid 60s), they likely will only come for the latter part of the week, which seems to me like a good idea for them. I'm not sure they would enjoy being there the full week. They will be in an RV, so they'll have a leg up as far as comfort goes...

Any words of wisdom from those who've burned with their mom and dad would be appreciated!

Thanks.

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Re: Bringing Your Parents to the Burn

Post by Zhust » Thu Nov 08, 2007 6:00 am

Ape-Real wrote:"parental figures," meaning I'll have to be doing a bit of self censorship that I would not normally be doing on playa.
I don't know if that's a good idea. I've found that Burning Man has a very delicate balance with these sorts of things. The thing that makes it Burning Man and not just a walk in the park is the immediacy of self-expression -- in other words, not censorship at all.

I took my girlfriend for her first time in 2007 and my 4th year. I think I did an okay job of balancing between letting her go off on her own and being with her. I tried to stick to purely selfish reasons to be with her -- that is, not selfless ones that start, "I should ..."

Another thing is the investment of risk. The more you risk, the more you gain and grow. The mistake I made with my girlfriend is to put her in a position of dependence -- I basically did everything to set up the trip so all she had to do was to show up with her clothes. Some of this was out of necessity, but I wish I had pushed her more -- as it was, a 2,800 mile car trip and helping to set up camp and such was a challenge, but not enough to make it a risk.

So my advice would be to go concurrently with your parents but let them be self-sufficient. Wait for them to ask you to help (the hardest thing int he world) -- maybe they'll ask somebody else. Try to avoid the obligation of being around them, and only check in when you want to ... I'm not sure if curiosity is a good thing either (i.e. to be a spectator on them, living their first year vicariously) but it may be unavoidable as it was for me. And finally, do your best to not censor yourself -- it makes for a difference between self-expression and of performance; between participation and presentation.

And spend a lot of time talking about this with them beforehand so they understand what's important.

Of course, all this hinges on my personal understanding of the 10 Principles and how my own Burning Man experiences have been reflected back at me.
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Post by mdmf007 » Thu Nov 08, 2007 7:51 am

There was a lengthy thread on this topic pre burn 07' a burner was bringing her dad who was running solo I believe and was looking for an age appropriate camp for him that he would enjoy.

For me - I can see my dad there in bermuda shorts, a tan button up dress shirt, black socks, and walmart tennis shoes. He would walk around or ride a bike. take pics and be amazed at what he sees. My mom, would have an aneurism blow before she got to their campsite. She also hates road trip and there is no other way to get to BM. So for her no way - pop sure thing.

good luck

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Post by Ape-Real » Thu Nov 08, 2007 8:58 am

jaycerochester- good input, thank you!

mdmf007 - thanks for the heads up about the other thread - I'll go do some digging.

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Post by adiaphora » Thu Nov 08, 2007 9:43 am

the moment i read this it reminded me of something i read on wikipedia when i first started researching burningman... a malcolm in the middle episode. :)


In the 2005 Malcolm in the Middle episode "Burning Man," Hal and Lois discover Malcolm and Reese's plan to sneak off to Burning Man, and decide to make it a family outing, with predictably disastrous results. Hal sets up a barbecue grill and curious observers assume that he's actually engaged in some kind of "suburban dad" performance art. Reese and Lois embrace the true spirit of the event and Malcolm loses his virginity to an older woman. In the end, as opposed to the man burning, the RV the family came in is burned and is thus dubbed "Burning Van."

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Post by mojo » Thu Nov 08, 2007 10:34 am

You will love having them there - plan for it and talk it over with them ahead of time. I am assuming they aren't morons - they will know you need space to "misbehave" away from their watchful eye.

In my humble experience, bringing parents has been a truly wonderful thing - just be sure you can take it if they act out and embarass you!

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Post by BitterDan » Thu Nov 08, 2007 2:20 pm

I am assuming that Ape-Real has been to BM before and has some idea of what it's like out there. That being said, I think only Ape-Real can make the determination if his/her parent's are open-minded enough to enjoy themselves at BM.

I have never brought my parent's to BM and I have no intention to simply because I KNOW that they would not have a good time there and that would bring me down (and everyone else who encountered them). If Ape-Real's parent's are open-minded and not afraid to see thousands of penis' (or is it peni) then why the heck not. They have an RV so the discomfort thing won't be as bad for them as it is for the rest of us.

I've met many a 60+ person at BM and every one of them have been great people. I don't see any reason why Ape-Real's parent's couldn't be the same way.
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Post by Barbie » Thu Nov 08, 2007 5:55 pm

I want my Mommie unit to experence burning man sooooooooo BAD!!!
I was talking to the guy who runs Petty Zoo...he thinks we should all bring our moms one year....Put them in a camp together and have an art car for them....MOM CAMP!!!!
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Post by Ape-Real » Thu Nov 08, 2007 9:40 pm

YES!!! A "parents camp" would be perfect! Put them to bed around 10 or so, meet up with them the next morning. :)

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Post by AntiM » Fri Nov 09, 2007 7:09 am

There are days I am so glad I forgot to have children.

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Post by unjonharley » Fri Nov 09, 2007 7:55 am

damn kids,, to get them to the playa.. I would have drag (the whole lot, kids, grand kids and great grand kisds) kicking and screaming all the way.. my yongest girl said she would go.. in the same breath,, where is the closest hotel i don t do camping.. the oldest boy went one year.. now he just shines me on each year with: i want to go but...

so i and 87 year old father in law show up at BM.. and have a hell-of-a-good time..

..

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Post by Ugly Dougly » Fri Nov 09, 2007 11:00 am

Not very tribal if you can't involve your extended family?

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Re: Bringing Your Parents to the Burn

Post by barnz » Fri Nov 09, 2007 3:31 pm

jaycerochester wrote: So my advice would be to go concurrently with your parents but let them be self-sufficient. Wait for them to ask you to help (the hardest thing int he world) -- maybe they'll ask somebody else.
I would echo Jay's comments -
I haven't brought my parents, (dad 70, mom 65), but I've thought about it, because I think they would have a blast. I haven't pushed them to come, tho, out of concerns for my own sense of inhibition. (Do I want my parents seeing my wife walk around wearing just a thong?) I recognize, of course, that this is "about me" and not them, and you don't need to limit your own experience based on my fears (neither do I really :wink: ) but I think it is important to take an honest survey of your feelings and deal accordingly.

I do have a friend who has been with her father and step-mom. I showed her a picture of her dad, and she said "yeah, it's a bummer when your dad is a bigger hit at Burning Man than you are..."
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Post by Valkyrie » Fri Nov 09, 2007 4:05 pm

My mother would never go to bed at 10:00, unless she was with someone. I'd just bring 'em and stick 'em in an RV and not worry about them. Your folks probably have different interests than you, and chances are, they can figure out how to make their own friends, so I wouldn't worry too much.

Although I did meet someone on the playa this year who had brought his dad for the first time and they pretty much stuck together. His dad was a hoot, though, and really enjoyed (ahem) the company of younger people, so it was all good.
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Re: Bringing Your Parents to the Burn

Post by Lassen Forge » Sat Nov 10, 2007 7:11 am

barnz wrote:
Do I want my parents seeing my wife walk around wearing just a thong?

I recognize, of course, that this is "about me" and not them, and you don't need to limit your own experience based on my fears (neither do I really :wink: ) but I think it is important to take an honest survey of your feelings and deal accordingly.

The real question is, how does the idea of your folks walking around naked affect you?

Shock #1 - They are just as human as you. They were once young. They were once doing stuff like you do all the time. Whats cool is when you break the barrier and realize them, not as these 2 old codgers who live like, well, a celebate lifestyle, but as normal, adult, sexual beings who have (NOT had) feelings and thoughts and desires just like you do.

Shock #2 - You may not realize it yet, but even if they're 50 or 60, they may still think of themselves as they did were in their 20's, and may be looking for the chance to cut loose and have fun.

Example. My 28 year old stepson. Guy does electronic music, and he does it really, really well. I happened to catch some of his composition work a while back, and asked him for a CD of his stuff. He looked at me like, "You LISTEN to this kind of music? Naw, you don;t like this..." as if, well, as if I was too old to dig his stuff.

So yeah, see if they wanna go, drag them out there, and let them have fun. I bet they do...

Sus

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Post by Clar-i-ty » Sun Nov 11, 2007 1:35 am

Actually, I spent a lot of time with the over 50 crowd on the playa this year, and I must say after seeing it through their eyes, I almost immediately called my mother-in-law to invite her.

My-mother-in-law...

Point is, after seeing the playa through eyes who have seen much more than I, I realized it should be shared, like the time I took my mom to a Grateful Dead concert. After the first set she asked if people were smoking pot there. It was a deliciously priceless moment, when I realized that there were things I could introduce to my parents that they would not otherwise encounter.

I don't know if the mother-in-law will come to the playa. Chances are no, because I'm sure that she fears being excommunicated from her church, or maybe they won't allow her to bite the heads off of chickens anymore. But I had to offer it. There's nothing like talking to someone who remembers WWII and hearing them say that Burningman is the most amazing thing they've ever seen.
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Post by Ugly Dougly » Sun Nov 11, 2007 12:13 pm

Tell them it's a cult and they'll be right over.

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Post by draconispax » Sun Nov 11, 2007 12:56 pm

tell them we're all satan worshippers(at least a few of us are bound to be) and they'll come en masse

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Post by ZaphodBurner » Mon Nov 12, 2007 5:48 pm

My mom was really jazzed about going all last year. ...then she watched the videos and read one of the books. I think the Death Guild stuff and a passage about some kid running through the fire and burning alive changed her mind.

She just moved back to town about a month ago and indicated to my wife that when she was a teenager off hitchhiking back in 1968, she ran into an angry, racist, sexist little hippie named Charlie in a truck store diner somewhere in southern California. He tried to get her to ride off with him on the back of his motorcycle but the manager kicked him out because he was being such an asshole to the staff. When we were in Mississippi she rescued some some traveling Christians who were getting beat up by the cops. Brought them home with us and then kicked them out when they tried to get us to go to South America...

Welcome Home, Ma. She's got stories that would terrify the average burner, but y'all make her nervous. One freakshow too many, I guess.

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Re: Bringing Your Parents to the Burn

Post by barnz » Tue Nov 13, 2007 11:30 am

Bay Bridge Sue wrote:
barnz wrote:Do I want my parents seeing my wife walk around wearing just a thong?

The real question is, how does the idea of your folks walking around naked affect you?
Perhaps surprisingly, not at all. (Or certainly very little).

I have no problem with my parents being sexual beings. That idea came crashing into my consciousness as a preteen when waltzed into their bedroom unannounced. It shook my world a bit at the time, but that was decades ago and I think I've largely come to terms with it! :P

Perhaps I should have said "how do I feel about me seeing my parents seeing my wife in a thong." (Or seeing me in one, or seeing me not in one, etc etc etc...) :) I've really got more residual body issues relating to myself than to my parents.

I think the fact that lots of us have Playa Names (including me, even though at first I was against it, probably a different topic thread) indicates a certain separation from 'default world' and for many people, 'default' includes, and is often strongly represented by family. Whether it be nudity, drug use, using profanity, eating junk food or creating art, we often develop some limitations on the idea of who we are and what we can do - ideas that get, if not shelved altogether, certainly readjusted on the Playa. For some people bringing family can be essentially bringing the whole default world along with them. Again, I'm not suggesting that other people adopt my current psychological/spiritual limitations as their own, but I think it's something to seriously consider.

Many people I've met experience Burning Man as a major spiritual catharthis, and some of those would feel inhibited from that experience if their mom was hanging around watching...
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Re: Bringing Your Parents to the Burn

Post by mdmf007 » Tue Nov 13, 2007 6:23 pm

barnz wrote:
Bay Bridge Sue wrote:
barnz wrote:Do I want my parents seeing my wife walk around wearing just a thong?
Maybe your dad wouldnt mind so much???

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Re: Bringing Your Parents to the Burn

Post by barnz » Fri Nov 16, 2007 11:43 am

mdmf007 wrote:
barnz wrote:Do I want my parents seeing my wife walk around wearing just a thong?
Maybe your dad wouldnt mind so much???
Sounds like you've met my dad...
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Post by Ugly Dougly » Fri Nov 16, 2007 4:14 pm

Sometimes people burn effigies. You don't always know who that represents...

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Post by Contessa » Mon Dec 24, 2007 8:01 pm

Apey- I'm underage and so my mom is going. I live on my own, though, so she's aware that I'm completely responsible for myself (after three years of living out of the house, she's finally learned). I *could* just do everything without her, but I deiceded to include her. I stage conversations, about one a day, slowly introducing her to what is our camp, what I'm bringing, tips and tricks, what goes on... She feels included in decision making which is a good thing. Parents kinda like that, I find. But in reality, she knows that her crazy artist daughter will DIE if she were not allowed to make art out of the camp and what not. IT's a balance, I guess.
At the Burn, I've made it clear to her that for one week, we are on survivor. (She loves that show....). She knows she probably won't see me too much, but she knows that I love her and will try and spend some time with her.

Balance, Balance. I really hope it works.
I really hope she doesn't go crazy.

Or we could dump all of our parents in a covered wagon and tell them to have fun.
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Post by nocturnal_steve » Tue Dec 25, 2007 12:58 pm

My friend took his conservative wife and had a similar quandary; I would have them come early in the week with plans to leave early. If they don't jive you can cut them loose and finish off with an unhampered experience, if they love it you can cut them loose to enjoy the rest of the time by them selves and show us your cock or nipple rings.
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Post by bonzaikitty » Thu Jan 10, 2008 11:45 pm

This year I'll be going with my father, and have no intention of censoring myself. If I want to be naked at Burning Man, by God, I'll do it, and trust that a) I probably won't run into him, and b) even if I did, in comparison to everything else around him, seeing his daughter naked wouldn't really matter, and c) he'd have the decency to turn around.

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Post by TheFunkHole » Thu Feb 07, 2008 9:26 am

Burning Man: Fun for the Whole Family!

Isn't the idea to be part of a community more than anything? I wouldn't go back to the burn if it were all 20 and 30 somethings. That would get boring very fast.

Being in an intergenerational relationship myself, I got to experience Burning Man through the eyes of a 30-something a 60-something and a 70-something. To me, this was one of my favorite aspects of the whole thing.

Bringing your parents is fine, just don't camp with them, unless you are truly comfortable being you and seeing them be them at Burning Man. It's so ridiculous because we should all be totally comfortable with our family, no?! I mean, you came from your Dad's penis and your Mom's vagina, it can't get any more personal than that!

Censoring yourself is just that... it's yourself that's doing it. It can be difficult to break down the mind's trappings and truly live in the moment, especially when those around you, only know the default world sides of your personality. But doing so makes it an amazing experience, not an easy one.

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Post by mdmf007 » Thu Feb 07, 2008 3:00 pm

bonzaikitty wrote:This year I'll be going with my father, and have no intention of censoring myself. If I want to be naked at Burning Man, by God, I'll do it, and trust that a) I probably won't run into him, and b) even if I did, in comparison to everything else around him, seeing his daughter naked wouldn't really matter, and c) he'd have the decency to turn around.
You ever notice that as a teen ager you think your arents are clueless and stupid? Then magically as you get older they get smarter? i can imagine the horror of seeing my grown daughter nekkid at BM, what about YOUR surprise to go to a playa bar and find your dad naked and chatting it up? it goes two ways!! lol

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Post by CapSmashy » Thu Feb 07, 2008 3:19 pm

I'm not sure how my folks would do out there.

I am pretty sure once she got there, my mom would have a good time, especially if she found an unattended piano (she is concert pianist). I saw a few of those last year, so she'd be set. :) She'd also probably catch a groove on the metaphysical side and track down a yoga group.

I communicated with her a few times via email from center camp and tried to convey some of what I knew she would find interesting and sent her a few pictures during the week.

My dad, I'm not sure about. He'd have to have a golf cart or similar for mobility as he is hitting that point of not wanting to admit he can not do the stuff he used to but he is still trying...

damn... that's the first time I've "said" that outloud... its hard watching his body get old... :(

He was pretty indifferent to me going last year and even made the casual remarks of "So you're gonna live in the desert. Why not get a motel room and drive back and forth." :lol: But when I burned off the cd of a lot of the pictures I took, he was really interested and asked a lot of questions about different things. I think he would enjoy ultimately enjoy it but he would need a nice RV to do it in.

He has even offered the company golf cart for an art car project... :)



My inlaws?

They'd be all over it.

I can see Larry out there dressed similar to the description above of Bermuda shorts and black sock and tennis shoes grilling steaks up. He is pure North Carolina friendly and after a few beers, he lapses right back into that slow drawl.

If they were to come out there, there'd be a dog on the Playa too. The mom in law doesn't go anywhere without her tiny little fuzzball. She'd smuggle him in through the gate under a sweat shirt or something.

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Post by dr.placebo » Thu Feb 07, 2008 5:10 pm

I think that you can predict how your family members will react to the playa based on your years together. If you can't handle nudity (or drinking or dancing or being a little crazy) off the playa then you will probably have even more trouble on the playa. Burning Man is an intensifier, for good and for ill.

I'm 57, and I'm the longtime burner in my family. Last year my stepdaughter camped with me (and my friends). No problems, she's a great camper, and she's coming back this year. I think that the two of us have convinced my wife to show up this year. We're not concerned about the nudity, and I'm sure that my wife will enjoy the art and the camping, but I do wonder about the noise level, and I do worry a bit about some of the party aspects of the place.

The amount of self-censorship is up to you. I'd advise talking to your folks and discussing the issue and describing what they might see. Buy or borrow some of the videos or books available so you can give them some visuals. Discuss the relentless audio environment.

Don't make too many assumptions. If they are in good physical shape they might actually like the whole week, since the early part of the week they get to see the place grow up and they can get acclimated. The last few days are fun, but might be a bit much to dive into.

Good luck!

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