Costume: contribution or self-expression?

All things outside of Burning Man.

Should wearing a costume be considered:

self-expression
12
21%
self-expression
12
21%
contributing to the community
5
9%
contributing to the community
5
9%
other
12
21%
other
12
21%
 
Total votes: 58

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Alpha
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Costume: contribution or self-expression?

Post by Alpha » Tue Sep 30, 2003 2:51 pm

This was touched on in another thread but not fully explored to my satisfaction so I'll revive it here until y'all get so bored with it that you drift the thread off to sex, drugs or rock 'n roll.

Is wearing a costume to BM considered self-expression or is it part of participating in / contributing to the community?

The reason I ask is this: many of us express ourselves in ways other than dressing up. Show up at BM in shorts and a T-shirt, though, and you'll be accused of being a looky-loo or not "getting into the spirit." So for the worst possible reason (peer pressure) I feel compelled to come up with a costume to wear. Is that the way this is supposed to work?

One more thing: both. There, I said it. So I don't wanna hear any whiny fence-sitting -- make a stand!

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Hana Hou
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Post by Hana Hou » Tue Sep 30, 2003 2:53 pm

On the fence is a stand...
Darwin was right.

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Badger
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Post by Badger » Tue Sep 30, 2003 3:01 pm

Is wearing a costume to BM considered self-expression or is it part of participating in / contributing to the community?
I think it can be both and then some. Or neither.

Sometimes wearing your favorite brown fur and leather mastadon jacket with your favorite open-toe sling back pumps, aviator goggles and leopard print pillbox hat with matching gloves is something you do just because it pleases you to do so.
Desert dogs drink deep.

precipitate
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Post by precipitate » Tue Sep 30, 2003 3:26 pm

I think the question you really seem to want people to answer is,
"Must I wear a costume to be considered a participant?"

My answer is no. But you may have to be willing to take the flak that
comes with not being immediately identifiable as someone who is
"alternative" enough to be at Burning Man.

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PJ
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Re: Costume: contribution or self-expression?

Post by PJ » Tue Sep 30, 2003 3:46 pm

Alpha wrote:...Show up at BM in shorts and a T-shirt, though, and you'll be accused of being a looky-loo or not "getting into the spirit
Except for a few hours last year, my B.Man attire has always been utterly boring. Typical outfit: Carhartt canvas shorts, big khaki hat, uninteresting long-sleeved cotton shirt of some sort, hiking boots. NOT ONE PERSON has ever told me I looked like I wasn't participating, or even hinted at it. I've just not seen that behavior.

Coincidentally, since I'm not anybody's hired hand anymore, I wear those exact same clothes back in the real world. (Maybe with pants if it's cold outside.) So it's fair to say that style (or lack of style) represents who I really am. (A slob, really. But a comfortable slob.) Or maybe it's just that I really don't care what I look like--or what others think about what I look like, which isn't quite the same thing.

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Tiara
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Post by Tiara » Tue Sep 30, 2003 3:48 pm

If a costume brings a smile to someone's face, makes them do a double-take, or makes them see something in a new light, I'd call it a contribution.

But there are other ways to contibute.

And sometimes people wearing costumes are just doing it because it makes them happy, with no thought about making a "gift" to others.

precipitate
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Post by precipitate » Tue Sep 30, 2003 3:57 pm

> NOT ONE PERSON has ever told me I looked like I wasn't participating,
> or even hinted at it.

Early in the week, I think Monday, I was out wandering the playa with
some friends. It was a bit cool, so I was wearing my thanks for not
hugging (unmodified) t-shirt and some sort of pants. We hopped on a
bus for a little while and the riders were *not* amused by my shirt.
One guy looked at me and said, extremely snarkily, "Well, <i>you're</i> in the
wrong place, now aren't you?" (meaning Burning Man in general, not just
the bus; no one was doing any hugging on the bus anyway).

Only one person that night took it as a joke. One guy asked me
some serious questions, which I answered equally seriously, and I think
he kind of got it. Everyone else was just kind of prepared to be offended
because I was wearing street clothes.

That night we ended up hanging out with Zane in Center Camp, where all
the high folks couldn't be bothered to read the shirt. Some really high
chick decided my playa name was Creation, then sent her friends over
to bum water, smokes, beer, etc. It was kinda funny, especially because
even when I told them to buzz off (nicely), they hugged me.

But that's really the only time I've felt that sort of attitude. I generally
have one or two costumes I break out during the week. The rest of the
time I mostly want to be comfortable.

blyslv
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Post by blyslv » Tue Sep 30, 2003 3:59 pm

If I'm wearing that glamorous black sheath with contrasting tribal penis gourd I'm expressing myself (just not quite sure what I'm saying though...). If it makes others happy, that's even better. If it makes you run screaming, please accept my apologies for fucking yer day.

There were days when I was dressed desert rat style 'cuz I was working. I enjoyed walking around like that, hiding behind my glacier goggles and mask and being coated in dust.

But damm dressing up is fun and I wish halloween happened once a month!

I didn't vote 'cuz today I'm a whiny little bitch boy. I would vote BOTH.
Fight for the fifth freedom!

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clandyone
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Post by clandyone » Tue Sep 30, 2003 4:07 pm

Can a distinction be drawn between "dressing up all crazy" and "wearing a costume"? To me, a costume expresses a concept, whereas dressing up all crazy is just sorta fun and contributes to the landscape. I like looking at the folks who dress all crazy, and I like doing it myself sometimes, but I consider a proper costume to be more akin to art. But that's just me. Both have value.

On the Halloween tip -- I don't really go all-out for Halloween the way I used to, because it's so close to Burning Man and I need some time to recoup after blowing my costume load. Might go as Jane Lane from "Daria" this year, though.
Won't somebody please think of the children?!

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PJ
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Post by PJ » Tue Sep 30, 2003 4:19 pm

precipitate wrote:...Everyone else was just kind of prepared to be offended because I was wearing street clothes...
It would be normal human nature for people to be more distressed by seeing a cute girl in ordinary attire than for them to even notice that some middle-aged average-looking guy failed to get all dressed up.

Kinetic

Post by Kinetic » Tue Sep 30, 2003 4:52 pm

Precipitate's cute appearance is one thing no one will question. Who cares if she's in street clothes or whatever, just having her there with you would be welcome.

As long as she leaves the firearms back at camp...like she was carrying in the Gigsville trading card that got posted on the old e-playa.
Last edited by Kinetic on Tue Sep 30, 2003 6:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

precipitate
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Post by precipitate » Tue Sep 30, 2003 5:04 pm

> just having her there is sufficient.

<bzzzzt>

Wrong answer.

But thanks anyway.

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Angry Butterfly
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Post by Angry Butterfly » Tue Sep 30, 2003 11:40 pm

precipitate wrote:I think the question you really seem to want people to answer is,
"Must I wear a costume to be considered a participant?"

My answer is no. But you may have to be willing to take the flak that
comes with not being immediately identifiable as someone who is
"alternative" enough to be at Burning Man.
I felt bad because I didnt have room to bring a costume, but A hard core burner told me he could tell I wasnt a tourist because of various other clues, like my laminate ( it was the afternoon before the burn and I had just picked it up) , and that I was wearing all black and mentioned doing fire safety, I also had a well worn camelback, (stolen from the laundry room after my return) dust mask, hat, goggles, and braided hair. I suppose my willingness to give backrubs to total strangers was a pretty big clue too, but that's more of a raver thing.

Another time I was in my regular clothes, and someone thought it was a costume, actually a couple people did. One thought the glow in the dark trim on my pants was EL.
I took the road less traveled, and now I would like to go back and find the paved one.

blyslv
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Post by blyslv » Wed Oct 01, 2003 8:14 am

Next year I'm dressing like a total touron so I get mad props for "getting it."
Fight for the fifth freedom!

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Alpha
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Post by Alpha » Wed Oct 01, 2003 4:14 pm

Thanks for all your insights, gang! I did actually make a costume for this year (had more fun making it than wearing it I think) and am thinking ahead to next year as well. I think of it as more of a contribution to the group dynamic than an expression of myself. BM would be much less interesting if we were all walking around in street clothes.

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Badger
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Post by Badger » Wed Oct 01, 2003 5:53 pm

Except for a few hours last year, my B.Man attire has always been utterly boring. Typical outfit: Carhartt canvas shorts, big khaki hat, uninteresting long-sleeved cotton shirt of some sort, hiking boots.
Yeah, PJ, RIGHT!

Notice how he convieniently fails to mention the glove he wears with his oh-so-boring playa drag. The up-to-the-shoulder cow insemination glove.
Desert dogs drink deep.

Kinetic

Post by Kinetic » Wed Oct 01, 2003 6:15 pm

What is PJ's fascination with cows anyway? He's gotta be the source of that pic on the old e-playa of the guy smiling with his hand inside the cow.

Instead of porn I'm wondering if PJ doesn't have a collection of cow pix instead...Jerseys, Angus, Polled Hereford, Brown Swiss, Holsteins....and some good veterinarian pics of various procedures being done? I mean he's got that pic of the cow sniffing....instead of visiting the Bunny Ranch when he comes to Nevada, does he fly into remote landing strips and take pix of the cows out on the open range? The secret life of PJ.....hey in this day and age anything's possible.

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PJ
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Post by PJ » Wed Oct 01, 2003 6:59 pm

Kinetic wrote:...Jerseys, Angus, Polled Hereford, Brown Swiss, Holsteins.....
Heh. Heh-heh. He said "polled" hereford.

Kinetic

Post by Kinetic » Wed Oct 01, 2003 7:04 pm

Every time I try to catch PJ on something he comes back with a comment that blows me away. I can't win! I'm raising the double white flags of total surrender. :P

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Bob
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Post by Bob » Thu Oct 02, 2003 1:52 pm

PJ... always in the whiteface at the wrong time...
Amazing desert structures & stuff: http://sites.google.com/site/potatotrap/

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diane o'thirst
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Post by diane o'thirst » Sat Nov 01, 2003 12:20 am

Question: Costumes: Community Participation or Self-Expression?

Answer: Yes.
[url=http://tinyurl.com/245sagf][img]http://tinyurl.com/2bbr28j/.gif[/img][/url][url=http://tinyurl.com/23753ws][img]http://tinyurl.com/2auqebj/.gif[/img][/url][url=http://tinyurl.com/m4y82q][img]http://tinyurl.com/l56rdn/.gif[/img][/url]

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unjonharley
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Post by unjonharley » Sat Nov 01, 2003 7:39 am

my costume was part of my art cart. I wore very little. It was damn hot if dressed. I enjoy peoples costumes and often ask if I can photo then. At home I put the on a electroic slide show. So I can watch it on the TV. About 300 photo's made a nice show for friends and self.
I'm the contraptioneer your mother warned you about.

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Wind_Borne
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Post by Wind_Borne » Sun Nov 02, 2003 4:16 pm

I imagine there is a touch of peer pressure in all attire choices.

I say wear what you can't wear the rest of the year, but would like to. Or not.

But please, guys, try to be more inventive than the male BM uniform: sarong and a shirt.
Wear a sock on your cock. Dip yourself in latex paint. Prance about in scuba gear. Wear a tux (or just the cumberbund). Just be inventive.
"Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master."
-- George Washington

Kinetic II

Post by Kinetic II » Sun Nov 02, 2003 6:56 pm

So would wearing my shirt, sarong, and a 5 foot wide 4 wing set of Fairie wings be alternative enough? Oh and the wings have working el-wire glowing on 'em. I don't think anyone's going to mouth off to a 6'5 265 lb fairie who could kick...well you get the point.

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Wind_Borne
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Post by Wind_Borne » Sun Nov 02, 2003 7:21 pm

Oh yeah!

Did you see the petite woman with animated cool-neon butterfly wings this year. Intricate, delicate, so cool.
"Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master."
-- George Washington

madmatt
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Post by madmatt » Mon Nov 03, 2003 7:47 am

Either one or the other. Or both. Or neither.

To me it just solidifies a change in my state of mind from the humdrum to an exceptional, LETS PARTY, forget about work and domestic crap, let your inner child run rampant state of mind. For the same reason, I actually enjoy dressing up for work (well, let's say I see the utility of it). When I put on my work clothes, I don my professional persona and leave my personal baggage behind. As soon as I get home, I must change clothes immediately into my civvies to leave my work persona behind.

I find it sobering (ha!) at BM and to a lesser degree at BM parties to see people wearing jeans and tees. I would never deny someone's right to wear what they want, but at those moments, I want it to be a complete change of context from my regular life.

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Rob the Wop
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Post by Rob the Wop » Mon Nov 03, 2003 8:14 am

I bring costumes. Sometimes wear them. But I honestly could care less if a "Burner-than-thou" hippy type doesn't like what I'm wearing. Usually those are the ones that :

a) It's their first or second year
b) They spend little to no time assisting a theme camp or art project
c) Their costumes are all they brought to "contribute" (well, besides drugs)

If you're a judgemental fuck that makes assumptions without finding out about another person, then you're the "problem" that most people come out to the desert to get away from. I can picture these same folks in a Reno cafe on the way home, getting stares from some of the locals and hearing snide whispers, and then saying to themselves in a pissed off mutter "You yokels don't know me. Why the hell are you judging me?"

Course, irony doesn't really occur to these types anyway.
[b]The other, other white meat.[/b]

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Wind_Borne
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Post by Wind_Borne » Mon Nov 03, 2003 10:24 am

Well stated, madmatt.
"Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master."
-- George Washington

madmatt
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Post by madmatt » Mon Nov 03, 2003 3:01 pm

Thanks windborne. Is that a photo of you standing on the north pole?

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Isotopia
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Post by Isotopia » Mon Nov 03, 2003 4:17 pm

There are no mountains up the there at that northern pole.

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