Misconceptions about Burningman

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SilkenTofu
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Misconceptions about Burningman

Post by SilkenTofu » Thu Apr 29, 2004 8:25 am

What was one misconception that you had about the event before attending that you found to be totally untrue?

Or for the virgin burners, what are some of the ideas you have formulated about what goes on at this event?

My first year (2001) I found out that I was going the Friday before we left on the following Monday and had never heard about Burningman before that. I have a very good friend from San Diego who's brother backed out and he gifted me the ticket and said "you need to come to this". I had 3 days to get ready. I searched the website and devoured as much information as I could about the survival aspect (food, water, shelter and more water). The way I was interpreting the information from the website in that time was that this was more of a (dare I say) cultish/survivalist marathon with people pushing themselves beyond their limits. The ticket scared the shit out of me, basically stating that you may die out there. I thought I was going to be hot beyond all belief, like 130 plus and that the "cult of the Burningman" would make sure that I "participate" in their rituals, pushing my chubby body further than it could go. I was sure I was going to be leaving early. I didn't. I actually did want to go home Thursday morning, but that's because I was sad I couldn't sleep and hadn't slept more than 6 hours in 72. I came better prepared for this in 2002. Sleep is overrated anyways.
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Post by DVD Burner » Thu Apr 29, 2004 9:19 am

This should be a great thread.

When I first found out about Burningman in 1989-90, it was at a few cacophony parties in San Francisco. We always had a bunch of fun at those parties.

Anyhoo, people would always say, "you need to go sometime. We have so much fun out in the desert." key word for me, "Desert". No fucking way you were going to get me out into any fucking desert. I'm a city boy from N.Y., so I really had no idea.

One day in 92' some friends of mine wanted to get this band together for BM and wanted me to play bass. I had a feeling the band would suck knowing the lineup so I declined. They found someone else to play bass.

Cool, I'm off the hook, so I though.
They now needed a soundman. I still said no because there's no way you're gonna get me to go to some desert thing. I'm really not into the heat.
So they make arrangements for me with nice pay, Limo (in a sense) me up in a 62 white Lincoln with suicide doors and red interior, you know the kind, and made sure I had a hotel room there for after their show.

How could I refuse right? So I went.

There is something to be said once one gets to the playa and puts their first foot on that cracked ground. It is rather spiritual.
What made it even more fun for me was being one of the most luckiest people in the world by meeting my first Burningman person ever, Krimson Rose.
:lol:

From that point on my life changed forever. So many diverse people of kind like. It was enough to make you cry. You know how you would see girls at a Beatles rock concert and scream and cry at the so called "rock stars"? Burningman was the rock star.

No more Misconceptions about Burningman. Best not to have any expectations either is what I learned.
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Post by dragonfly Jafe » Thu Apr 29, 2004 9:22 am

I thought the "playa" was a lake! I had this impression that there was a shallow lake (a toxic one that you were not supposed to swim in) and the city was set-up on it's shore. Why I thought this, I have no clue, but I was a bit surprised when I showed up.... Jafe

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Post by theCryptofishist » Thu Apr 29, 2004 11:33 am

dragonfly Jafe wrote:I thought the "playa" was a lake! I had this impression that there was a shallow lake (a toxic one that you were not supposed to swim in) and the city was set-up on it's shore. Why I thought this, I have no clue, but I was a bit surprised when I showed up.... Jafe
The Playa IS a lake. It just dries up during the summer. There's got to be some sort of technical term--vernal lake, seasonal wetland, it'll all come out in the wash--but yes you were right! Which means your misconception was a misconception!

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Post by stuart » Thu Apr 29, 2004 11:56 am

I resisted coming for many years. I thought it was gonna be full of folks on stages reading from their dream journals and the like. I went to school surrounded by piles of bad performance art. I fucking hate performance art. Funny thing was, on my second day there, there was a guy on a stage about 50 yards away from my shade reading from his dream journal into a P.A. (I would love to have an amplified dream journal designated section of the playa, adja, so that I know not to camp near it). Anyway, it was an isolated incident. I thought BM would be full of hippies too. Go figure.
I guess what I am trying to say is, while the things I thought would be there were indeed there, there was so much else that it never bothered me (except for the dream journal reading).

Oh, I was told it would be really hot up there. What a relief!

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grand scale of things

Post by Tiahaar » Thu Apr 29, 2004 11:58 am

dragonfly Jafe wrote:Why I thought this, I have no clue.... Jafe
Say, had you been reading Storm Constantine's "Wraeththu" series by chance? Coincidentally there is a desert town named Saltrock built on the edge of a playa soda lake that figures prominently in the first book...

My little group came up from S Cal via Bishop, and none of us had been before. We were planning a final grocery stop at Wadsworth, looked like a big town on our map, got there and it wasn't! Ended up backtracking to I-5 and east a couple miles to a Scolari's.

I was most suprised (and yeehaw!) very excited about the size of Black Rock City!!!! I really really really dislike those fenced-off "beer gardens" you see at some festivals and was apprehensive about feeling fenced-in on the playa. Best of all everything is reachable walking and biking.
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Post by SilkenTofu » Thu Apr 29, 2004 12:00 pm

a toxic one that you were not supposed to swim in

it could be toxic, I try not to think about all the people who pee on the playa. Just like in a real lake.
I am a bit tied up at the moment...but if you leave your name and number.....

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Post by Tiahaar » Thu Apr 29, 2004 12:10 pm

oops...meant I-80...and yes the lake (and dry dust) is very alkali
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Post by blyslv » Thu Apr 29, 2004 12:16 pm

That I would not be "cool" enough.
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New agey

Post by Otisserie » Thu Apr 29, 2004 12:39 pm

Last year was my first year, and I only went Thursday through Sunday because I was worried it might be a bunch of Sedona-style New Age hippies talking about energy vortexes and finding their chakras.

The only thing that really convinced me to go was that a lot of my friends went and I knew they weren't new age hippies.

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Post by Bob » Thu Apr 29, 2004 1:00 pm

There's nothing wrong with going home.
Amazing desert structures & stuff: http://sites.google.com/site/potatotrap/

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Virgin Thoughts

Post by gilmore » Thu Apr 29, 2004 4:25 pm

Compliments once again go to SilkenTofu for the interesting topic.

A couple of years ago I had read about BM and had book marked the site on my browser. While cleaning out my “Favorites” this Winter, I came across it again and decided to pull the trigger and get a ticket for this years event. I previously lived in Chicago and now live much closer in AZ. The drive will be much shorter and my fear of the desert heat has faded after a surviving a Phoenix Summer.

I have no idea what to expect and from what I’ve read on the e-playa, that’s a good mindset to create. If anything, I imagine it will be like attending a party and not knowing anybody there (which isn’t a bad thing, just a different thing).
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Post by Dork » Thu Apr 29, 2004 4:31 pm

I thought there would be sex going on everywhere and that I wouldn't fit in.

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Post by SilkenTofu » Thu Apr 29, 2004 4:55 pm

thanks for the compliment Gilmore

I was just curious about how people were finding out about Burningman before attending either by friends or the website and how we start formulating ideas about what to expect, and then about how off we were.

I was also a bit nervous that I wouldn't be considered "cool" enough, actually I still worry about that. Damn Xanax hasn't done me a lick of good.
I am a bit tied up at the moment...but if you leave your name and number.....

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Post by Silver » Thu Apr 29, 2004 5:21 pm

Size, I knew that BRC covered a lot of ground but being there and experiencing it is another matter.

Things going on, I would be headed to something on the schedule and be sidetracked by a seemingly impromptu something and suddenly it would be two hours later. I gave up on plans by Tuesday.

People, I expected more of the regular 'cross section of humanity' in terms of general intelligence and looks; the crowd tends to be much brighter and better looking than average; granted there are exceptions.

Heat, hot to me means over 115 in the desert, it never got near that.

Cold, the Playa loses heat faster than regular deserts so I expected temps in the low 50's not the low 40's.
My grandfather tried to raise me as a Southern gentleman, that means that I can be a real SOB some of the time.

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Post by _tears_ » Thu Apr 29, 2004 5:27 pm

I had spoken to a few people before i went, who wouldnt stop talking about me staying away from the hells angels camp because they "rule the roost" and are very bad people. I had all these riot pictures drilled into my head.

NOTHING of the sorts
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Post by notthat1 » Thu Apr 29, 2004 6:07 pm

I've heard, and have read a lot about it up to this point. But really, i don't know what to expect. If you ask 10 burners what BM is about, you'll get 10 diffirent remarks :roll: . I'm just going to get there and roll with it. I'm open to just about anything ( don't read to much into that).

We'll just see what happens...
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Alpha
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Post by Alpha » Thu Apr 29, 2004 6:09 pm

Dork wrote:I thought there would be sex going on everywhere and that I wouldn't fit in.
but you fit in fine? :-)

I expected Burning Man to be just another outdoor festival. For me the most profound debunking of that preconception comes after the man burns, where you've got mayhem in every direction as far as the eye can see, and you have no idea which direction your camp is. Gets me every time.

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Post by shitmouse » Thu Apr 29, 2004 6:58 pm

Alpha wrote:
Dork wrote: For me the most profound debunking of that preconception comes after the man burns, where you've got mayhem in every direction as far as the eye can see, and you have no idea which direction your camp is. Gets me every time.
yeah, that is a fun one!
and the street signs are taped over in black! That's always been one of my favs. hahaha!!
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Post by Dork » Thu Apr 29, 2004 8:43 pm

but you fit in fine? :-)
Perhaps fit in isn't the right word.. but I definitely felt accepted. It was much easier than expected to start up conversations with strangers.

One big misconception a couple of friends of mine had before their first trip was the scale of the event. They were each working on (from their perspective) huge projects and they couldn't tell me what address they would be at. They assumed I would just be able to find it. One was working on a 10 foot flaming vagina, the other on a big platform with a palm tree on top. It's just a flat empty lakebed, right? You should be able to see it. I never did find either of them that year.

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Post by DangerMouse » Fri Apr 30, 2004 1:27 pm

I've yet to arrive home yet.

My ticket is awaiting my appearance at the post office.

Since I have no misconceptions at this point. I try not to expect anything however here is how it all works in my mind.

I expect to see naked hippies whom I wish were clothed and smelled like patchouli. Random acts of hedonism and irreverace. Loud drum circles trying to out-boom the rave camps while thousands of candy ravers battle in the thunder dome. Larry will be repeatedly shot in the head with the pants canon for driving around in a golf-cart that isn't altered to meet DMV requirements. I will be mowed down by a very slow moving bar car, only to figure out that the only way to get inside the bar car is to be run over by it.

The night of the burn several hundred ninjas will silently infiltrate everyone's camps and randomly exchange beer with neighboring camps while leaving behind little presents of goodies thanking us for being a part of their experiment.

Of course, as with all things, it will all be much cooler in my head.

When I leave BRC and am asked what it was like, my only words to describe it would be that its much cooler in my head and that I really wish that they could flip open my skull and experience it.

Or, I could just absolutely hate it and go home more damaged than when I arrived.

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Post by blyslv » Fri Apr 30, 2004 1:49 pm

I expected my smooth, taut, barely legal body would be swarmed by frat boys.
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frat boys

Post by Icepack » Fri Apr 30, 2004 1:50 pm

blyslv wrote:I expected my smooth, taut, barely legal body would be swarmed by frat boys.
and you were disappointed that it wasn't? or pleased?
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Re: frat boys

Post by notthat1 » Fri Apr 30, 2004 6:05 pm

Icepack wrote:
blyslv wrote:I expected my smooth, taut, barely legal body would be swarmed by frat boys.
and you were disappointed that it wasn't? or pleased?

lol :lol: :lol: :lol: .
Everyone has the opportunity for greatness, not fame, but greatness, for greatness only requires service--Martin Luther King Jr

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Post by Dork » Fri Apr 30, 2004 6:11 pm

I expect to see naked hippies whom I wish were clothed and smelled like patchouli. Random acts of hedonism and irreverace. Loud drum circles trying to out-boom the rave camps while thousands of candy ravers battle in the thunder dome. Larry will be repeatedly shot in the head with the pants canon for driving around in a golf-cart that isn't altered to meet DMV requirements. I will be mowed down by a very slow moving bar car, only to figure out that the only way to get inside the bar car is to be run over by it.

The night of the burn several hundred ninjas will silently infiltrate everyone's camps and randomly exchange beer with neighboring camps while leaving behind little presents of goodies thanking us for being a part of their experiment.
Ain't gonna happen. The Thunderdome only operates at night now and with all the time it takes to strap in two people at a time there's no way they can get through all several thousand candy ravers waiting in line.

Oh yeah, and "Larry" doesn't actually exist. They pay actors to dress like him in drive around in golf carts, so I suppose that's close enough.

The rest is pretty accurate, though.

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Post by Steven bradford » Fri Apr 30, 2004 6:26 pm

Damn, I neeed to get busy making my body smooth and taut. Don't know how I'm going to handle the barely legal part though...
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Post by BAS » Fri Apr 30, 2004 8:50 pm

I expect to find true love and inner peace..., or maybe just experience a good drunk...! :wink:
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Post by Captain Goddammit » Sat May 01, 2004 1:00 pm

DangerMouse wrote: I will be mowed down by a very slow moving bar car, only to figure out that the only way to get inside the bar car is to be run over by it.
I'm plugging in the Sawzall to cut a hole in the bottom of the boat!
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nagging fears....reassure or give the hard truth

Post by fredjones777 » Sat May 01, 2004 9:17 pm

some nagging fears.........fears that if you aren't a pro or semi-pro artist you aren't really wanted.....fears that if I don't build a major exhibit I'm a "spectator"....fears that there are tight knit cliques that stick with each other and if your not inside , your outside.....is this all bs or what ?

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Post by Bob » Sat May 01, 2004 9:53 pm

Do you wish that to be so?
Amazing desert structures & stuff: http://sites.google.com/site/potatotrap/

"Let us say I suggest you may be human." -- Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam

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