81 Days and Counting

June 14, 2011

Disclaimer:  Last year was many things, but the most memorable was by far my trip to the desert of Nevada for the annual Burning Man festival.  It truly changed me in ways i’m still discovering.  And the more my friends and i discuss our plans for this year’s Burn, the more excited i get.  

While taking a writing class last Fall, i wrote a piece about my experience at the festival.  Actually, all my pieces were in some way tied to Burning Man as it was all i could talk about.  I’ve decided to publish some pieces and parts of that essay here in various installments.

No one can really describe Burning Man.  Trust me, i had a whole peer group of writers constantly telling me to describe it more.  You really have to see it for yourself.  It’s like nothing else in the universe.

So for all you Virgin Burners out there, I can’t wait to welcome you home along with the rest of my burning man fam.

*     *     *     *     *

“Ready?!”

“Fight!”

I clung to the small steel triangle through which my face was pressed.  Two girls with swollen foamy bats were bobbing in baby-swing harnesses strung by bungee cord rope that was tied to the top of what looked like a massive dome-shaped spider web.  I felt like I was in the middle of Tekken, a video game where you battle an opponent, equipped with special moves and powers.  Only this was real life, not a game.

Two girls were in the center of the replicated Mad Max Thunderdome, one with neon blue hair while the other sported pink, both with knee-high striped socks matching their hair and chunky black boots.  A bald man dress all in black motioned them to their corners before shouting the battle cry again.  They flew towards each other with Matrix-like poses, batons raised.  Pink Girl struck Blue Girl in the left breast sending her spinning to the right.

The dome, which was crawling with people, filled with cheers and shouts.  People in funky hats, superhero garb, bikinis and nothing at all lined its walls from the ground up, some leaning against its curves while others chose to dangle their furry boot-covered legs over the steel structure.

I looked back for Justin, who’d given me an encouraging nudge to check out the structure, making sure he was nearby, panicking for a brief moment as without him I would not be able to find my way back to camp.  I snaked through the crowd to where he was standing.

“I totally want to do that!”

*     *     *     *     *

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Musicality

November 15, 2010

I have always been drawn to electronic music.  The Germans were the ones that hooked me with their eurodance groups like Culture Beat and Real McCoy.  The first time i heard Run Away, i knew this was the type of music i wanted to hear all the time.  The type of music that can transport you into a futuristic world where all that matters is the sync with your body as it ingests beats.

There is something so immediate and primal about electronic music, especially dubstep.  And last night, while jerking to the warbling sounds of DJ Phaded i realized it was also the staccato-esque beats i really like.  It punctures me with movement.  I can’t be still while listening to any music that has a beat.

Somewhere in between the beat-poking and evocation of an alien landscape, i am carried back to the desert.  It will always be the desert.  The desert of Burning Man.  And with my eyes closed i imagine i am in the middle of a crowd, united in movement, in an intangible freedom, in peace and love, and i find myself licking my lips for the sweetness of the playa.