My first trip to BRC

Share your pictures and video. Tell us about the sights, sounds, and scents, as well as the rumors and truths found at Burning Man.
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My first trip to BRC

Postby kwspot » Wed Nov 12, 2003 5:47 pm

What just happened to me?

I went to Burning Man 2003 for my first time. I am unsure of what happened. However, I find myself wishing I was still there. After the burning of the man, I felt this uneasy feeling and I just couldn’t wait to come home. I felt completely emotionally drained to the point I never made it to see the Temple of Honor burn. I need to sit down and just talk about it, but there are no words to describe it. And few people would understand where I’m coming from. Inside, I am missing something. Missing a part of me. I think I need to start from the beginning to find my answers.

I have heard of Burning Man for the last couple of years. My coworkers were diligent in telling me, “Kyle, you have to go.” I would always respond by saying “I don’t camp.” And I didn’t camp. I had extremely painful memories of camping as a young teenager. I was forced to camp for three months or so. It was my father’s way of explaining that we were not homeless. But we were. From that point on, I swore off camping. Anyway, the encouragement continued for years from my friends. They started by taking me to clubs and events that were as they described it similar to the club experience of the festival. I had a great time with it. Then I met a DJ and his fabulous girlfriend. They also welcomed me with open arms. This experience was foreign to me. I continually said to myself that I am not worthy of these types of friends. How did I become so lucky? Yes it was like winning the lottery. Slowly I was introduced to a whole new type of music that I can feel inside. The music connected with me. My brain changed form a 40 watt bulb to 100 watts overnight.

I’m doing it. One day, and I can’t even recall the point in witch I changed my mind, I said I’m going. Oh boy, I was so scared to go. I didn’t think I could do it. What did I get myself into? I spent many sleepless nights thinking about all the bad things that could happen to me. Yes, I’m dramatic.

Now the planning begun. What should I bring, and what would I need. I mean, how do you plan for something so bazaar. As I talked with people that have gone before, some said one thing and others something vastly different. I was in a quandary. But I’m going. And besides I love to shop so I was in business.

Honestly, if it wasn’t for key people in my life I would not go. They know who they are. The good part is that a couple of them were ultimate organized people I couldn’t even compare. They are 110% and nothing less. I could tell they had some reservations about me going so they planned a special little trip camping to test the water and to show me just how prepared they are. I actually had a great time spending time with everyone and enjoying the outdoors. I need to be honest though. I was probably five miles or less from home and a hot shower. I survived despite the killer raccoons they told me about to freak me out.

So now I have no excuses and time was closing in. I bought my ticket, supplies, and a tricycle. I was set to go to the desert. It was probably the hardest countdown to vacation at work I have ever had. It went painfully slow. All along the way people would hear that I was going to Burning Man and roll there eyes and say that is an event for drug addicts and nudists. I am neither and I just couldn’t explain it to anyone. I would do a blanket response. “It is for the art.” All along knowing it had to be much more than just art. I had no idea.

The dynamic of the camp was starting to build as we had planning nights at various people’s homes. There I met more people I was about to live with for a week. Everyone was so vastly different. I couldn’t wait to get to know them better, but inside I was shy and reserved. In a way it forced me to come out of my comfort zone of friends to meet new people. But would I allow myself to truly be open and free at Burning man. The control freak prevailed and I knew I wouldn’t allow myself to.

Here we go. We were off and going to Reno to stay the night before leaving the next morning for the event. Of course, we had to load the truck witch was an adventure in itself but I had a good time doing it. They trusted me to pack in the truck. It was fun and I felt strong, and kind of manly. I did notice as we were driving that the truck tilted to the right a lot. But we made it with only one big stop when the truck overheated. I can’t forget to thank the wonderful CHP officers that stopped to help us. Two of them in a row about twenty seconds apart. My copilot leaned out the window and in true innocence (ya right) said to the officers that something was wrong with the engine light thing. All along my heart was racing knowing I had lost my car registration. Plus, most people don’t want the CHP snooping around. Nobody can say that California has a comprehensive CHP program.

In Reno, we picked up a friend from the airport and fattened up for the week to come. Yes, Reno had good Buffets yum. I was excited; I had a terrible time sleeping. But who cares I don’t have to work I’m on Vacation. I know I did sleep because of the lack of sleep my roommates experienced from my snoring. The next morning we were off to BRC with a short stop at Wal Mart and Lowes. I didn’t take long to get to Gerlach. Only a couple of hours. In Gerlach we gassed up and my friends said it is only a couple of mile from here. I thought to myself, if it is anything like Gerlach well no thank you.

The short drive to BRC I experienced a vast change of scenery. In the distance I saw a glimpse of the vast playa and city developing in front of my eyes. It was HUGE! I could feel my heart pounding as we went though the gate. And no people, I didn’t get spanked. Darn, I was kind of looking forward to it. I just said to myself I have too much ass for them to spank. I then took my watch off and checked out of the world. I am HOME.

The week of Burning Man I experienced many things. Nothing could have prepared me for what I was going to see and do. I tell you there are no words to describe it. I simply can say it was wonderful and you should go. People need to look beyond the stereotypes placed on the festival and learn to allow them to open up and love each other. I have never been in an environment in witch you are friends with your neighbor. You can and should say hello to everyone. You are home in a family. A family the way a family should be. By the way, the art was incredible.

I will make a brief attempt at explaining the magnitude of the art I experienced at Burning Man. Again, words can’t give one tenth of the justice it deserves but here we go. I want to tell you about two things that moved me. More than moved me but now has become a part of me forever.

First, I was out at a club with one of my new friends. I was sitting on my tricycle just as happy as can be. Around me were several hundred people coming and going. Art cars jumping in and out with full on bars and dance floors large enough for 50 plus people. The music was pounding. It is completely dark except the light of the stars, people and there lighting, glow sticks, L-wire, and the lighting of the club itself. The music loud enough that you feel it through your body like a massage chair. It was good. Then walks up this beautiful woman. She has large braded hair and is wearing only a swim suit like top, bottom. She had some sort of flashing device around her neck, and two glow sticks one on each ankle. She was absolutely one of the most beautiful women I have ever seen. She carried a hula hoop with four glow sticks attached to the hoop. One at every corner four points equally far apart. She began to move to the music and hula hoop at the same time. She moved with such grace and skill it was totally unequalled to anything I have ever seen before. I will barrow a term from my friend who also was trying to explain it to others. He said with the low lighting and the movement of her body it was like a silhouette dancing. This desert goddess had that hula hoop moving so fast it was like a continual light going up and down her silhouette. She then would spin it off her body twenty plus feet into the air and catch it with every part of her body. Even video would not do this justice. I’m unsure just how to tell everyone how beautiful it was.

Second, I was alone riding my tricycle looking for the Ho Down dance. I knew it was out in the playa at the Temple of Gravity. But that is all I knew. I looked out at the vast playa at night and I took off to the brightest light I could see furthest out. I was cruising peddling just as fast as I could. Nothing in my way. All around me glowing lights from other wandering travelers. I continued like this for a good 3 miles until I came upon this art that was not the Ho Down but a chandelier the size of a two story house. It was gold and blood red. It was glorious. It was on its side with a large chain attached. Each link was the size of my body. At the end of the chain was a piece of a very large ceiling material like it was pulled or had fallen out of the ceiling. It was all lit up and sparkling in the night. I stood there in shock staring at this masterpiece. A few minutes later a rather stunning cute guy comes to me and says “Isn’t this beautiful?” I responded “yes, it is incredible” He then went on to explain this story how this other guy came to him and asked “is this how all stars die?” After he said that I couldn’t speak. It was completely overwhelming. Again in words no way can I do this experience any justice.

Now that I am home, I know I have to go back. At first, I thought I couldn’t. I was so emotionally loaded I felt DONE and I just couldn’t wait to go home. I know next year I will allow myself to experience more. I will be myself and not be concerned if I am making a good impression to others. I know I am a loved person and have friends I wouldn’t trade in for anything.

I know I am human now.

I have a dynamic genuine group of friends and I love you all.

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Rabbi Dali Rick
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To Qoute Myself...

Postby Rabbi Dali Rick » Wed Nov 12, 2003 7:10 pm

Yes Kwspot, we know how you feel.

little starr, flower of light...

Come to a world of color and jello, you will become me and I will become you, our hearts will see one another as new, you will be set free from your box. Your mind will paint a new world, where all the people are angels, you will touch them without thinking and without fear.  The life you led now has changed by listening to the songs from the desert winds that we have blown your way.  Close your eyes now and replace the Grey emptiness, the black and white pictures you use to dream have evolved, glowing rich with the colors and luminance of a rain cloud with the sun behind it. To late you are smitten. The desert has placed your name among it's stars in the velvety blanket we use as the night sky.  Your vibration has tuned to us like two strings in harmony, vibrating in time, at the deft hands of a deeply concentrating and halloed tuner.   We will  stand together and chant your name and your face will appear there in the desert in the burning embers of the man.  Your spirit will bellow in the flames of the propane monsters breath, and in the night when we are all asleep, there on the playa, it is quiet except for the rhythmic beating of the lone drum circle somewhere in the faint darkness.  The cosmic soup of life will whirl around you, and we will be in love with you as if there is no time or space.   Come with us to play and dream.  Our love is the water in the ocean, the invisibility of the air, and the warmth of the sun.... 

{excerpt from the book "The Stupendous Technicolor See-Through Art and Convenience Store Book..."}

"The view is always better on the edge."
Rabbi Dali Rick

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Chai Guy
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Postby Chai Guy » Wed Nov 12, 2003 8:27 pm

As I was reading this thread, a wonderful story appeared in my inbox from my very good friend Tanja B. With her permission, I'm posting it here because it seemed somewhow appropriate. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I have.

A fairy godmother I once knew said "A dream is a wish your heart makes." My dream was to have the Faerie Queene appear on the playa at magic hour on Friday before the sacred Burning of the Man. To hold her court 15 minutes of fame and enchantment, to grant wishes to all that honored her, and be photographed by all who beheld her. This was my simple wish.

It took an entire afternoon attending to Her Majesty's toilette. All the
glitter, the makeup, the hair, finding a lady-in-waiting to lace her into a
17th century corset ("I dunno nothin' bout birthin' no babies, Miss
Scarlett!"). To manifest my dream, I cast spells, smeared sparkling potions on my face, and worked my faerie glamour. Soon, it all came together as imagined.

A little before sunset, I made my procession to the Temple of Joy. Not five minutes out there, a great dust storm developed. It was a complete white out. My wings became like great clipper ship masts flapping around in the wind. A guardian angel and damn good wing wrangler came up and took me under my wings shouting: "Let's get you to Center Camp!" as he scurried Her Majesty away.

This blustery moment was the agony of defeat for the Faerie Queene. The zenith of her reign was winning Grand Prize the Venice Beach Carnivale in March of last year
(visit and click on the "Venice Carnivale and Art Show" and then forward your way through the images). To be sure, the night of Carnivale was a bitterly cold night and yet, it was sheer joy to be honored for her majestic efforts. Winning the coveted prize harkened back to when the Queene was a mere fairy princess in 6th grade, winning even then Grand Prize for her flower fairy costume and having her picture shown in the Daily News. But that squally sunset at Center Camp was the absolute nadir for the Queene.

The valiant Musketeer Wing Wrangler fought his way against the fierce gale force winds to bring Her Majesty to Center Camp, and as it happened, Center Camp was going off and in full effect when they arrived. Every Black Rock City citizen that was out on the playa was taking refuge there. The air was thick with playa dust. Shafts of setting sunlight were streaming in from behind the coffee bar like some smokey scene from a Ridley Scott movie (think "Legends" with Tim Curry). A drum circle was building to a crescendo as the dust storm kept whipping around, belly dancers were writhing about, clowns were wreaking mayhem, poets were slamming, musicians were jamming, and most other folks were sitting around, faces covered with masks and scarves, waiting for the dust storm to subside.

The Queene began to cry. The Wing Wrangler just held her, not saying a
word. Her fabulous magic gown was ruined! Her wing was bent, and tears streamed down her dusty face. She had stepped out to what she thought would be her shining moment, replete with all the paparazzi and here she was. Fucking faerie dusted! It wasn't pretty. The Faerie Queene cursed: this is dark, wicked magic and horrible trolly luck! Nassty hobbittssss!

Then... all of sudden... the photographers came to hold an audience with the Queene. They snapped away taking pictures. She slumped down on a bench, the Wing Wrangler's arm around her protecting her. "No pictures" he said. "Can't you see? This isn't cool." The Queene, eyes closed, waved her wand around aimlessly: "Let them, I don't care anymore." The photographers snapped away, when out of the dusty haze Anthony (aka Lt. Mutti, the Trash Nazi, and also the biggest fairy the Queene knew) materialized. "Achtung!!! Tanja? Is that... you?" he asked incredulously.

Anthony was a good friend to the Queene. One of her favorite people in her circle of friends. How glad she was that she told him this many times, for you never know when the last time you will see somebody. For the Queene, this would be one of the last times she would see her favorite fairy, for the morning after Anthony returned from Burning Man, he shot himself in the head with his father's gun.

Anthony bowed before he embraced the Queene. "Your Majesty, let me buy you something warm and sweet to drink. You'll feel much better." And with that the escorted her to up the coffee bar. Anthony had a way of cheering up the Queene, which is why he was well favored in her court. "Honey, it's just a little dust storm," he said. "Just be glad it's not a freaking shit storm!"

The Queene laughed, and with that laugh, became resigned to her hopeless, dusty fate. A stranger, a photographer by the name of Elaine asked to take her picture. The Queene consented but, before Elaine left, the Queene gave her her card. "Send me an e-mail with a copy of the photo," she commanded Elaine. "And I will grant you one wish."

It took many, many months for Elaine to develop the photo. Then one day, finally an e-mail arrived in Her Majesty's in-box. The Queene had all but given up on Elaine and had completely forgotten about it when it arrived.

Curious about the attachment to Elaine's missive, the Queen tapped her
tracking pad three times and said "There's no place like Burning Man,
there's no place like Burning Man, there's no place like Burning Man," when suddenly, the most amazing thing happened. For what she saw when she clicked her pad was a mortal woman at the Happiest Place on Earth living out her dreams and doing what she truly loved to do. Magic works in mysterious ways, and for the Faerie Queene her disappointment was transformed to utter delight. It is so very true that one must always, always "Follow your bliss!"

So my dear friends, by Royal Proclamation, the Queene's message to you today is: Dream. Imagine. And believe in magic!!


Kinetic II

Rekindling of the flame

Postby Kinetic II » Wed Nov 12, 2003 8:53 pm

Oh my god, Chai.....that was an awesome story to share. I'm sitting here disenchanted with the world and seeing that swept it all away. It immediately transported me back to BRC and the playa, the dust storms and how my own wings were bent and broken yet I still retained my magic. I seriously needed to see that post, and I offer you a heartfelt thank you for posting it. I needed to reconnect to what it is that keeps me hooked on BM, no make that consumed me and now the fire is rekindled.

Heaven forbid once my flame burns again...oh man the things I can do.

And this whole thread has been awesome. In fact I even printed out the post to put on my wall at will keep my spirits up during some dark days ahead.

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Thanks for the "toot", Chai Guy

Postby DaBomb » Wed Nov 12, 2003 9:09 pm

More photos of Her Majesty and the Blustery Day can be seen at: ... sktop.html

Incidentally, the above referenced event happened on Friday of '02.

On Friday of '03, the magic hour was calm and still. I was able to go about my faerie way and grant wishes, dreams and hopes. I left the answered prayers to God. (BTW, who spoke to God on the phone?) Many photographers came out to capture the moment, and I patiently await the results. If you know of any photos of faeries that fit my description, kick'em on down!


Love and Rockets,

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Chai Guy
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Postby Chai Guy » Thu Nov 13, 2003 10:50 am

Just ran across this as well, again, seems to fit....


if by any chance you meet a friend in the desert
hold that friendship sacred
for it is a rare and wonderful thing to spy a creature such as yourself
in that space
a rare and wonderful thing indeed
and as you grow in that friendship and love you will become like a
magnet for others ready to connect with you in their own unique way
and if you respect each new connection as the first, there will continue to be
joy in the sight of each other
as if you were seeing for the first time
comfort in each otherís company
like family
and within that bond there will be
growth and strength
support and forgiveness
laughter and affection
kindness and generosity
and it will all seem so familiar
and new at the same time.

-alx goldfarb

Crazy White
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Postby Crazy White » Thu Nov 13, 2003 11:43 pm

This was my first burn as well. My story is very similar to yours, however, I am a fan of camping, while not really getting to camp all that often. I had some friends go last year (I was originally supposed to join them, but found a way to chicken out) and come back to tell me how badly I really needed to go. Lucky thing my wife and I bought tickets, there was no way to chicken out this year.
I got the "welcome home"s on the ride in and found it all very nice. Found the camp, started to set up, when Drew realized that Camp Arctica was about to close. I was recruited to join him on the ice run that would set the tone for the rest of my week.
The sun was behind the mountains by this point, so my first contact with the Esplanade was staggering. The only explanation I'll give of what that felt like is this: rememeber the first time you saw it in full swing at night? We reach Camp Arctica and order our ice. As I'm waiting for my change I'm suddenly accosted by a topless woman. She throws me over the counter and starts duct taping my hands behind my back. Meanwhile, the man and woman behind the counter start molesting the top half of my body. Drew is enjoying all of this only slightly less than I was. The kicker of it all, though, was the moment when the Duct Tape Fairy leans over in the midst of the mayhem and whispers in my ear. "If this gets too much, let me know." It wasn't a dig at the newbie's expense. It wasn't a joke. It was one of the most sincere things I'd heard a human being say in months. Suddenly, "welcome home" meant something. Suddenly, I knew without a doubt, that I was safe here. I marched right back to camp to tell everybody, and to show off my duct tape.
The rest of the week had it's ups and downs. My wife had a more difficult time adjusting (she apparently ran into the 2% of people there who weren't nice), but started to come around on Friday, thanks to some perfectly timed otter pops. I flew a homemade kite during the fly on Thursday. I spun poi in a place where it's the norm. Just walked right out to the end of our street (Reality) and lit up. Met amazing neighbors from Tahoe. If anybody saw Abby Road at Pinky's...I don't even know how to finish that sentence. I cried for stippers. When I said it on the Playa is made perfect sense. The first time I said it out loud after returning home, it sounded strange.
The thing I find most difficult about being back is that I can't explain it. I have no one to talk to about it. (Drew and his wife live across the country now, and we don't see the Freds often) Everyone that's heard of it picks their opinion of the event, and words can't do enough justice to move thier minds.
Like you, I can't wait to get back. To see if this was real. But this year I want to contribute something. I'm still trying to sort my experiences out enough to decide what I want to share of myself next year. I just know I can't wait to get home.
The harder you look, the more you miss

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Last Real Burner
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Re: My first trip to BRC

Postby Last Real Burner » Thu Dec 04, 2003 8:13 pm

kwspot wrote:What just happened to me?

I went to Burning Man 2003 for my first time.

What happened you don't love us anymore Kwspot?

mr smith
"Do you know what happened to the boy who got everything he wished for? - He lived happily ever after".

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