Burning Man: Our Review

Please note: This is a cross post.  The original is HERE.
if you are not on VOX but still want to comment, please go here

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On the long drive back from Burning Man, my friend Patrick and I discussed our week on the playa and about our many experiences. We had a lot of laughs and a lot of Irritating Moments. We decided to write up a review and post it on my blog to share with the world. Patrick, an English professor, did the lion's share of the writing but the humor was a joint process.  Keep in mind, this review was written in a tongue-in-cheek sort of way. It's heavy on the satire and shouldn't be taken too seriously. If you love Burning Man and are totally pissed about this review, please read the review follow up piece.  — Tim

Achtung Hippie! : Reflections on the Burning Man Scam

The idea of holding a massive event in one of the hottest nastiest driest places on the planet seems stupid on the face of it.  Why would almost 40,000 people pay over $200 for a ticket and probably $1000-1500 total to suffer in this godforsaken place for a week or more?  For years my common sense kept me away, just as it has safely helped me avoid backpacking in Afghanistan, running an ultra-marathon in Death Valley or eating bacon wrapped hot dogs from the vendor carts in Tijuana. Though my common sense seldom fails me, my friends often do and they conned me into wasting a week of my life and about $1500 to attend Burning Man 2006.

To be fair, my friends had been conned themselves by glowing reports of the “magic” of this overrated hippie love fest at the gates of Hell. “Burning Man changed my life, man” was the word. Hey, we all want to change our lives: stop smoking, lose weight, quit drinking, fall in love. The promoters of Burning Man promised all of this and more in their feel-good web accounts of dull people who now lead exciting lives, thanks to taking the Burning Man cure. These absurd claims had the hollow ring of cult indoctrination, but I was hooked. I wanted to drink the spiked kool-aid and search for magic in the nothingness of the Black Rock Desert.

Nothing could have prepared me for the stupidity of this event, except perhaps an honest account of how truly awful it was. I’ve been unable to find such an account, online or elsewhere.  I offer my dissent to the pretense that is Burning Man. I hope that my eyewitness report will save potential burn victims a week of vacation and at least a grand in misspent cash.

Few communities want 40,000 yahoos drinking, drugging and fornicating in their backyard for a week. I know I don’t. As such, Burning Man is held in a dry ancient lakebed known as a “playa” in a state where gambling and prostitution are legal, respectable businesses and 24 hour boozing is a protected right: God Bless godless Nevada. When the gold ran out and most of the Indians had been murdered, they turned to exploiting human weakness to earn their daily bread. Promotion of vice is the state’s stock and trade.

Whatever Burning Man supporters claim, know this, the event is a 24/7 bacchanal of booze, drugs, nudity, S&M, public sex, and bad art, all done in a scorching flat dry oasis of misery that reminded me of the surface of Mars. This drug orgy is translated by event promoters on the BM website as a “radical experiment in self-expression.”  Wasn’t that Jeffery Dahmer’s excuse when asked about the body parts in his fridge?  

From San Diego, the Black Rock Desert is exactly 900 miles on my trip odometer. The three of us arrived just past sunset on the first official day, Monday the 28th of August. As we descended onto the site, we could see the flat and vast playa, ringed by the Jackson Mountains and Black Rock Range. Stark and beautiful, yes, but thousands of cars and RVs, combined with the constant wind, had kicked up a massive storm of alkali dust. Dust masks are required gear at all times though many do not wear them. Even with a mask on, it is impossible not to inhale alkali dust at Burning Man.
 

We waited in the Will Call ticket line for 30 minutes in this storm. Most of the Burning Man staff are volunteers and seemed stoned and disorganized, though cheerful. Most Burning Man tickets go for $225 if you buy them a well in advance. As “the burn” approaches, the prices steadily ratchet upwards.

While we waited in Will Call, a staff member announced that all the $325 door-tickets were sold out and that the price was now $350, snickering as he made the announcement. There was now little pretense that this was not a massive grift.  The only service included in your $225-$350 admission is overflowing portapotties, often devoid of toilet paper.  That’s it. In what universe is that not a grift?  

Prior to entering the BM compound, all vehicles are searched: not for drugs, guns or explosives (bring as many of those as you want), but for stowaways trying to avoid the $250 ticket price.  “Don’t try to grift a grifter” is the point here.

Finally reaching the front of the line, we were met by a greeter: “Welcome home!” she gushed. Good acid, I thought. She must have mistook us for black rock beetles, the only living thing that calls the playa home, surviving mostly on hippie skin and other organic matter blown by chance onto the playa.  

After a two-hour traffic snarl at the gate, we arrived at our camp: exhausted, surly and coated with a fine layer of alkali dust. If the founder and King Rat of Burning Man, Larry Harvey, had been present we would have gladly taken turns shocking his balls with a car battery, Abu Ghraib-style. We were that pissed. Larry was likely in St. Bart’s spending our money, or perhaps in a fabulous underground lair built by enslaved hippies from previous burns, or maybe just laughing from his Lear jet above in his trademark white Stetson.  The man seems a curious cross between P.T. Barnum and Jim Jones, conning the same moon-eyed Bay Area seekers whom Rev. Jim hypnotized so tragically.

The first full day at BM felt like the worst jet lag of my life. I was tired from the 900-mile trip, exhausted from the heat, the dust and the 4,000 ft altitude and thin air.  The word “nausea” barely covers the full body ache you feel when “acclimating” to the Martian landscape and punishing heat of Burning Man.  You can’t move, you can’t escape the dust or heat and you are surrounded by some of the most perverse and deviant people you will ever meet. Everywhere you look a “porno-copia” of sagging balls, flopping peckers, hairy asses, flabby breasts and other uninvited unattractive nakedness will strip away any remnant of goodwill you may feel towards your fellow burners as the caustic alkali dust strips away your exposed skin. What gives these naked perverts the right to expose their ugly fucked-out carcasses? If being forced to view hundreds of hairy ass cracks as you gag down breakfast sounds fun, Burning Man is for you.

In the mad heat of Burning Man at 2pm on Tuesday, parachutes opened 6,000 feet above and I imagined that Pope Benedict, former child Nazi, had jumped in, leading a brigade of storm trooping Cardinals and castrated choir boys, his Vatican banners streaming yellow smoke from his Luft-Commando parachute, to lecture these folks on the spiritual benefits of wearing clothes.

The Black Rock Playa is about as far as you can get from the Garden of Eden and still be on the planet.  Adam and Eve were said to be naked and perfect as God made them.  Most of the Black Rock nudies were much less so, and could have hung signs around their necks reading “Behold the Ravages of Time.” At least viewing their tanned and leathery hides reminded me to apply sunscreen.

Then I saw a naked fat man walking alone across the playa into the dead oblivion of the Jackson Mountains, a Barbie doll sticking out of his ass. Ok, I got dehydrated and imagined that one.  Still, the official Burning Man web site would welcome Barbie-Ass Man since “There are no rules about how one must behave or express oneself at this event.” When in human history has “no rules” ever been a recipe for harmony or peace?

The overheated Burning Man playa is subject to dust storms that may appear as slow whirling tornadoes or a massive wall. Though you can often see them coming, escape is impossible and winds can top off at over 70 mph: hurricane force.  Shade structures and scaffolding with steel frames can be pulled from the ground and may hurt or kill you.

There are thousands of temporary steel framed structures, secured loosely to the playa, that may go airborne without warning as dust devils assault Black Rock City.  Note to future burners: You may be injured or killed at Burning Man.  The climate and weather of the Black Rock Desert is wholly unsuited for an event of this size with thousands of steel framed shade structures.

Burning Man Wednesday to Friday was a cauldron of dust, heat and shabby monster trucks (some absurdly labeled as “art cars”) crammed dangerously with partiers blasting bad music from blown speakers. Every day the noise and number of yahoos increased as the weekend approached.  The post-apocalyptic spirit of Mad Max and Beyond Thunderdome were all around: monster cars, noise, chaos and intimidation.

Imagine a shabby, somewhat dangerous crew of NASCAR fans, bikers and other bullies looking to inflict their lifestyle on your camp site, then circling for hours and hours all night for another round of megaphone ranting and stupidity. These are the people who tailgated us at 80mph in overloaded RVs hurtling recklessly down the infamous Donner Pass toward Reno. These are the people who complained when firearms were banned from Burning Man a few years ago. If you want to live in a trailer park with 40,000 people where insane drinking, drugging, public nudity and lawlessness are the norm, Burning Man is for you.

The Department of Public Works (DPW) is the rowdy but hard-working crew of roughnecks that sets up and breaks down Black Rock City. They spend months on the playa in rough conditions with low pay to build the city’s infrastructure and return it to a pristine state, post-burn. During one rare moment of comic relief during BM 2006, the DPW paraded through the streets in their beat-down trucks, raiding each camp and demanding cold beer. We gladly surrendered our beer to this heat-crazed and desperate bunch. I have nothing but praise for them, as would anyone who prefers not to be tracked down and killed. “Fuck your day” was their motto: now it’s mine too.

Despite its pretensions as a wacky art project, Burning Man is not about art.  Most of the art was terrible with garish acid-inspired images and other peeks into Hell. Any random collection of Toto and Yes album covers would contain better trippy art than all of Burning Man.  A few of the “art cars” were inspired and brilliant, though most were just chicken-wire enclosed golf carts kicking up dust on the esplanade and trailing a few Christmas lights and dusty faux fur.

Furry
Twizzler

Burning Man is not for non-conformists.  You must wear a Burning Man outfit or risk constant abuse.  I did not wear any silly costumes at Burning Man, or dress in drag, or hang my ass in the breeze, nor did my friends.  Surviving the heat was plenty: we had no spare energy for playing dress up. For this breech in burner protocol, weirdoes in furry suits chided us that “jeans are not a costume.” These “furries” dress in full fur suits, like comic characters in the Ice Capades or that big rat at Chucky Cheese, and like to do drugs and have sex in their suits while in character.  If there is anything worse than a pervert, it’s a self-righteous druggie pervert, dressed as a chipmunk, offering unsolicited fashion tips.  If you want catty advice on how to dress from a crowd of Rocky Horror Picture Show rejects, Burning Man is for you.

Despite pretensions of forming an “experimental community” the Burning Man demographic is whiter than the crowds at the Republican National Convention: Dick Cheney white and twice as mean. I saw less than a half-dozen black people all week and only a few Asians.  This proves my theory that blacks and Asians have way more sense than whites. The lack of diversity and total indifference to this lack seem odd considering the pretensions of many Bay Area residents and other burners to racial and ethnic inclusion. There is nothing new or experimental about an all-white community.

I doubt that the white bullies who dominate Burning Man and define its aggressive personality make non-whites feel welcome or safe. If you are white and prefer to party with whites only, Burning Man is for you.

The climax of this neo-hippie hootenanny is the burning of a 40-foot wooden effigy, known as the Burning Man. Before his destruction, this blue neon lit figure is the center of attention in the middle of the Esplanade, the central plaza. I love fireworks and enjoy burning things so I had hoped that this final orgasm of flames and destruction would somehow mitigate the misery of my worthless trip.

The burning of the man is 90 minutes of fire dancers and neo-pagan ritual, all centered on a god-like central figure, with his arms raised in triumph towards a frenzied, expectant crowd, clearly united in some dark purpose. This finale of Burning Man is a kind of hippie Nuremberg Rally.

As the Burning Man burns, both his arms eventually fall to his side. Curiously, his left arm dropped first, leaving his right arm raised in a straight-armed Nazi salute. At that moment, a spontaneous cheer went up a thousand right arms were raised as one over the smoky playa. Heil hippie! No shit, I have it on film.

Despite my disdain for Burning Man, many claim that the event is “magic” and “life altering.”  For some, this “magic” comes from their first Ecstasy, acid or mushroom trip.  Powerful mind-altering drugs are consumed in mass at Burning Man. People are very nostalgic about the first place they got really, really high. This is part of the affection many have for the event: nostalgia for a first high.

Though not officially a sex party, Venus rules Uranus at Burning Man. The young get laid because they are young and older horny guys can get laid using drugs and booze as a lure. Sometimes their prey will stumble into camp pre-drugged, always a bonus. For many creepy middle-aged guys, Burning Man is a week long frat party where they get their last real shot at nailing women half their age. Lone women are easy prey. The darkness, disguises, anonymous playa nicknames and extreme intoxication that occurs at Burning Man makes it a date rapist’s Disneyland.  Of course, if sober and fully consensual sex is your thing, there are several approved swinger and sex-themed camps at Burning Man too.

If you did not get laid, high or loaded at Burning Man but still claim you liked it, then you may have been infected by their magic pods and are now a self-deluded supporter of the Burning Man cult.  The cult mantra is that Burning Man is “magic.” I guess, but so is cocaine if you do enough of it. I imagine that the supernatural success of this event could not happened without some special help from the Devil himself, who I’m told holds the deed to Larry Harvey’s soul. If Hell is half as nasty as Black Rock City at noon, I’m going to start being good soon. If you love the Devil and the events he supports, Burning Man is for you.  

If you read my review of Burning Man and assume I’m some hung-up religious prude, I can assure you this is not the case. My factual description of the event is accurate. I wrote this review because I could find nothing truly critical of Burning Man online. This is incredibly suspicious. Mother Teresa was considered a living saint yet there are many critical essays about her, but none on Burning Man?  Many supporters of Burning Man defend the event as fervently as Tom Cruise defends Scientology.  Anyone that is critical simply does not “get it.” Tim responded in kind to a BM supporter when he replied “Is it possible I got it, but ‘it’ actually sucks ass?”

Though a Burning Man “virgin”, I’ve been to a dozen weekend campouts with music and partying and have enjoyed each one immensely. None of these events cost more than $75 and often included meals. All were held in beautiful locations with plentiful water, usually in the mountains. No profits were collected and none of us were burned. Most of the participants were beyond friendly: downright open, affectionate and loving. This was not the case at Burning Man.

Note to hippies: Burning Man is not run for hippies and not run by hippies. It is run by thugs and bullies for the benefit of thugs and bullies. It is a festival for the Freudian Id, the sub-basement of the human psyche. Hermann Goring would have been in heaven here with the drugs, freaky sex, cool costumes and torch-lit rallies.  If we all spent one more week in this dark utopia, I’m certain cannibalism and goose stepeping would have been de rigueur, then mandatory.

Too many at Burning Man were not even civil or respectful of their fellow burners or themselves. In a sad way, the event reflects our current national temper, a country controlled by red-state yahoos, led by a reckless bully who refuses to change course despite the pile of bodies in his wake. Burn on W. Burn on.

We packed in darkness at 3am Sunday morning, the day of resurrection. The road was empty and I was exhausted and wanted to escape before anyone sobered up.  Perhaps this was the magic of Burning Man: surviving an annual death cult rally and returning to the joys of hot showers, air conditioning and dust-free living: civilization never seemed more splendid or necessary.

I reminded my passengers that we had spent one week in a desert hell but no one had shot at us or tried to blow us apart with an IED. Servicemen in Iraq are deploying for a year or more and are in constant peril. Severely injured and maimed Marines have become a common sight in my favorite Oceanside, California poker room. Black Rock City is better than Baghdad, that’s for sure.  

The wind was rising, carrying the scent of the last bonfires into the Calico Mountains. I murmured a prayer for everyone.  What else could I do? The whole world is bleeding but you can only burn off so much bad karma in a week. The Buddha urges patience in these matters.  All is passing, everyone we love, the rights we enjoyed before 9/11, basic civility and human decency, all gone now.  

The America I was raised in is dead, replaced by a monstrous pretense of democracy. I drank a Red Bull and kept my eyes on the road. I could not stop crying.

As we headed for Reno across the Pyramid Lake Indian Reservation, my friends drifted to sleep as the muffled voices of Native American spirits reminded me to stay awake and the horizon glowed with the heartbreaking blue light of the desert before dawn.

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52 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. leave luck to heaven
    Sep 09, 2006 @ 17:40:00

    i am really happy right now. it has nothing to do with this post.

    Reply

  2. cobalt_blue
    Sep 09, 2006 @ 21:20:00

    Absolutely loved your review of BM. Luckily, the week of burning man is the best time to live in San Francisco. As much as we both despise Burning Man you must admit that Larry Harvey is a brilliant capitialist. I wonder what the overhead is for the entire operation? Year round operating expense + BLM permit for the playa + facilities for the week of burning man + Law enforcement (they may not even pay for this) – ( 35,000 x $275.00 That's $9,625,000(est.)) He has to be making a killing. Absolutely brilliant. Rent some land with no commerical value from the govt. for a week, provide only very basic necessities and then charge up to $350.00 and then brand the experience as an art happening, stopping along the way to utilize such words as "radical", "inclusionary", "civic" and finally "decommidification". You should visit during the winter months. It's beautiful up there, you can see hot springs emitting steam for miles and miles, the mornings are so so crystal clear. Hopefully I can make it up there this fall for some antelope/pheasant hunting, perhaps some backcountry skiing later in the winter. The only sound I will hear is the wind rustling through the sagebrush, not a trace of techno. Well done my friends. Take care.

    Reply

  3. karen
    Sep 09, 2006 @ 22:10:00

    I suspected as much. Thanks for the eyewitness account.

    Reply

  4. meanie
    Sep 10, 2006 @ 19:52:00

    long time ago (1998) when posting on a mailing list about the ridiculousness of a bunch of rich white guys going to the desert to spend $$$$k's on diversity I was flamed down by hordes of I shit you not "residents of black rock city" who sounding like christians claimed I could never judge the event, unless I experienced it.

    Reply

  5. Kimmers
    Sep 11, 2006 @ 17:57:00

    Excellent review. If I had any inclination to go to BM some year, now I know I'm not missing anything. Our friend Gregg says BM used to be pretty cool in the first year or two they did it, before they moved to Black Rock and it became hugely out of control.

    Reply

  6. Timmy!
    Sep 12, 2006 @ 08:25:00

    I posted this on my old test blog, http://blog.hisnameistimmy.com and turned on the comments. You would not believe the heat it is generating. It's so bad that I am considering taking the thing down. I don't want to get my house burned down.

    Reply

  7. Fool's Name & Fool's Faces
    Sep 12, 2006 @ 22:27:00

    Oh man, I live in Reno and every year dread the annual invasion by Burners at places like Trader Joes or my neighborhood grocery store. People in Fairy Wings and neon extensions doing the "Am I freaking you out!" dance are annoying enough when you're trying to do your weekly shopping, I can't even imagine being stuck for a week in the Black Rock Desert with 40,000 of them. I used to have to work at a restaurant that was hit every year by Deadheads in town for their annual big summer concert and there's always been the same smug, self absorbed priviledged Bay Area vibe from this crowd that I used to get from the Deadheads.

    Reply

  8. xaotica
    Sep 13, 2006 @ 00:55:00

    sorry to hear of your trauma. had i come across you, i would've given you some cheap beer to dull the pain. like any city of 40,000+, burningman has some shallow assholes who make the experience significantly more wack, doing things like revving around in their RVs kicking up dust in your face, making snarky remarks about your outfit (or lack thereof), etc.that said, i'm a little confused. it seems as though most of your sorrow came from surprise. yet it's not exactly a well-kept secret that burningman features people in silly costumes, naked people who may not all be attractive, is really expensive, is extraordinarily physically uncomfortable, has mostly white people (because sadly, it's statistically mostly white people who are middle/upper class and can afford to pay that much for a week-long party), etc. etc. the website doesn't make any attempt to hide any of the aspects that you disliked… indeed, it even emphasizes them to the point of nauseum. they post survey results with statistics that show the demographic of the race, age, etc. of attendees, etc."the event is a 24/7 bacchanal of booze, drugs, nudity, S&M, public
    sex, and bad art, all done in a scorching flat dry oasis of misery that
    reminded me of the surface of Mars." … but when is someone going to present a balanced picture that includes the downsides of the event? 😉

    Reply

  9. Timmy!
    Sep 13, 2006 @ 10:34:00

    It wasn't all bad. I got a tan and I lost ten pounds. You said, "the event is a 24/7 bacchanal of booze, drugs, nudity, S&M, public
    sex, and bad art, all done in a scorching flat dry oasis of misery that
    reminded me of the surface of Mars." … but when is someone going to
    present a balanced picture that includes the downsides of the event? 😉 I don't consider the drugs or booze or (most of) the nudity or the public sex a downside. The S&M and bad art I am indifferent to. However, it is a review that we wrote and in a review one covers everything for those who have never been. I think it would be impossible to review the event without mentioning some of the main reasons people go, like the sex and drugs and music and art.

    Reply

  10. CountessCupcake
    Sep 13, 2006 @ 17:08:00

    Nice to hear the otherside .

    Reply

  11. Mickipedia
    Sep 13, 2006 @ 19:06:00

    Truer words were never spoken. I'm still going next year.

    Reply

  12. Timmy!
    Sep 13, 2006 @ 19:10:00

    I'm certainly not ruling it out. Though for the same money I could go to the French Riviera or spend a week in Ireland, two things I haven't done.

    Reply

  13. Hankins
    Sep 13, 2006 @ 19:58:00

    Reply

  14. dotsara
    Sep 13, 2006 @ 21:35:00

    Reply

  15. xaotica
    Sep 13, 2006 @ 23:02:00

    well, if you do end up returning, you should keep the contact info for the people who responded and send them a message insisting that they show you a good time on the playa. like most things in life, having as many good people surrounding you as possible can often help distract from the lameness of the general environment (not saying that i felt it was lame, but my experience definitely wouldn't have been as enjoyable w/o the people i was with.)

    Reply

  16. Mickipedia
    Sep 14, 2006 @ 16:48:00

    One our ideas for next year is for our camp to go to Hawaii and put a monitor on the playa displaying a live feed of us relaxing at a tropical resort.

    Reply

  17. seanbonner
    Sep 17, 2006 @ 19:46:00

    Finally.

    Reply

  18. Ray
    Sep 21, 2006 @ 21:38:00

    I have never been to BM, nor have I ever had never had a desire to. Your account is EXACTLY how I pictured it to be. Finally someone is isn't afraid to tell the truth. And I couldn't agree more with colbot_blue, that BM week is without a doubt the best week to live in San Francisco. Bravo!

    Reply

  19. Nox
    Sep 22, 2006 @ 11:39:00

    This is the highest quality piece of writing I've yet seen about Burning Man, which leads me to put more faith in your opinions than those mumbling its praises in run-on sentences.I was actually planning to go this year and didn't. Since then I've completely lost all respect for the person encouraging me to go, and this just proves I finally saw the light.

    Reply

  20. imkwazy
    Sep 22, 2006 @ 12:31:00

    i didn't even know what it was until this year. It sounded terrifying and insane and awful but now i'm amazed it's even allowed to go on year after year. Wow. Why don't we hear about the Christian Coalition or some group trying to shut it down for the "sake of the children"? 🙂 Anyway, very well written!

    Reply

  21. Moira
    Sep 22, 2006 @ 15:22:00

    This is the second time this week I've stumbled across your vox via the favorites on the main page. Both times I have died laughing. You, mister, are now being stalked.

    Reply

  22. Terie
    Sep 22, 2006 @ 16:28:00

    Wow. I'm just stunned. Beautifully written. I could not agree more about your description of Nevada. LOL. I could never see myself doing something like this but on the off chance that I might have at some point, you have shown me what an error in judgement I would have made. Thank you.

    Reply

  23. Andre Torrez
    Sep 23, 2006 @ 10:09:00

    Reply

  24. Grace-Monday
    Sep 23, 2006 @ 13:56:00

    As far as I can discern, Burning Man is just the faux-hippy white person's version of an anime convention. The only advantage of an anime convention is at least you can run away to your hotel room at the end of the day.

    Reply

  25. eo
    Sep 23, 2006 @ 22:37:00

    Reply

  26. ErnieAtLYD
    Sep 23, 2006 @ 23:26:00

    Thank you for articulating the very reasons why I've never gone to the event.

    Reply

  27. lisey
    Sep 24, 2006 @ 09:46:00

    Reply

  28. mrneutron
    Sep 24, 2006 @ 19:41:00

    [this is good] I attended Burning Man for over 10 years and don't regret any of them, but I cannot take issue with anything you've written here.

    Reply

  29. ikes
    Sep 25, 2006 @ 09:00:00

    Reply

  30. Mark
    Sep 25, 2006 @ 09:41:00

    Reply

  31. mantid
    Sep 29, 2006 @ 17:26:00

    I love this. It keeps the weak away. In other news, it rains every single day of the year in Seattle, so don't move there, and also Humboldt County is way too far away from good shopping so don't think of moving there either.

    Reply

  32. leave luck to heaven
    Sep 29, 2006 @ 17:43:00

    funny, i moved out of seattle because it's way too grey and depressing there, not the mention all the passive-agressiveness.

    Reply

  33. clashcityrockerkat
    Sep 30, 2006 @ 04:28:00

    Very well written, however you wrote '…Then Burning Man is for you' five times. FIVE times?! Was that necessary!?However, it sounds like BM was pure torture, so you're forgiven for the repitition – I bet you're scarred for life now, eh?

    Reply

  34. Shawn Smith
    Sep 30, 2006 @ 07:09:00

    I laughed out loud when I read this:Curiously, his left arm dropped first, leaving his right arm raised in a straight-armed Nazi salute.Excellent review.

    Reply

  35. Shawn Smith
    Sep 30, 2006 @ 07:11:00

    Excellent, I like the idea of a monitor with a live satellite feed of sandy beaches and blue water. You need to mount it in an old coke machine from which you can dispense beer remotely… to the poor overheated burners!

    Reply

  36. Tanglingly Mooed
    Sep 30, 2006 @ 11:17:00

    That's a good post. To me it sounds exactly like most large events in San Francisco only in a really unpleasant location and climate. Events like Bay to Breakers or The Love Parade. First come the people authentically in the parade/race, then come the drunk/drugged hoards with costumes, or merely a backpack on. And they'd better be drunk and drugged otherwise they'd realize that their transvestite mother Teresa costume really looks pretty crappy, one of their breasts is falling off and that Mother Teresa didn't proposition everyone she ever met for sex.In the wake of the drunk and blown crowd is a swath of trampled grass, plants and bushes. In place of anything green or clean that got in the hoard's way are tons of liter, beer bottles, broken glass, trampled fairy wings (and other costume parts) and used condoms. It looks like a massive group of army ants destroyed things, with the difference that army ants carry everything away leaving barren ground behind. These people leave tons of litter and STD tainted accessories behind instead.To put the icing on the cake these "sensitive" individuals are happy to smugly tell you that you're going to vegitarian hell for eating that hot dog, or mock you for being sexually repressed since you don't want to shag their saggy 50-year-old naked body that has stench and patchouli permanantly ingrained in every pore.That is why so many San Franciscans are happy to see Burning Man happen somewhere else. The self-righteousness of the city goes down considerably during the week that those trying their hardest to catch an STD are gone. Plus the city doesn't have to spend money and time cleaning up after those "close to nature" people.The desert seems a better location since there aren't as many plants and animals to destroy or people trying to live their own lives to disrupt. Go to Burning Man. Go to stoned smugness camp. Get sand blown up your ass in the desert for a while. Pay $250 for this fun time.Can we figure out a way to get all these people to move to La Playa permanantly?

    Reply

  37. yeartwentynine
    Sep 30, 2006 @ 12:23:00

    i have some friends who go every year, i'll have to show them this and get their reaction. thanks for the insight into burning man, sounds ridiculous!

    Reply

  38. Lurkertype
    Sep 30, 2006 @ 17:14:00

    Reply

  39. thommo
    Oct 02, 2006 @ 03:03:00

    So I won't be seeing any of you lot at Glastonbury Festival in the UK next year then?!ps My friend Adam Goldstone had a heart attack and died at BM this year, my English friends who were with him were overwhelmed by support and friendship of total strangers who stepped in to help out so I reckon therer are a lot of good folks at this 'trailer park' described above – big thanks to all of them.

    Reply

  40. dp
    Oct 02, 2006 @ 17:40:00

    *explodes in fits of laughter*thank you for writing this.

    Reply

  41. Robin Andersen
    Oct 03, 2006 @ 14:54:00

    I just love all the negative supporting comments from people who've never even been, and Timmy, I am sorry you had a horrible time. It sounds like you were negative from the get-go and there wasn't much hope for you. To all of those who have not attended, this IS NOT what Burning Man is. see for yourself. I've attended for six years, love it, and am not a hippie.

    Reply

  42. Java Jane
    Feb 26, 2007 @ 16:56:00

    Bravo! Finally, the truth is out there…

    Reply

  43. Timmy!
    Feb 26, 2007 @ 18:22:00

    I didn't have a totally bad time. I got a tan and I lost ten pounds.

    Reply

  44. chakk
    Sep 05, 2007 @ 13:59:00

    I am glad you exposed these crooks! Break it down it comes down to like 40 to 50 dollars a night to camp out in the desert with a fireworks show at the end. lol! You are a great man Timmy!

    Reply

  45. chakk
    Sep 05, 2007 @ 14:02:00

    The military needs to set up a recruiting station there. Alot of wingnut misfits and liberals with nothing better to do than squat in the desert and humm mantras.

    Reply

  46. changeagent
    Apr 25, 2008 @ 11:15:00

    Although you claimed to have had a bad time and got nothing good from the trip and your wasted money, I think you got a lot out of it. Hopefully the passage of time has given you the perspective to see how valuable the experience was.
    You, sir, have the gift of the Observer. Seeing humanity in all its unbridled selfishness gave you the opportunity to see people for what they really can be at their core, and the experience was apparently powerful enough to bring you to tears. The microcosm of Black Rock has raised your consciousness of all life, of all civilizations and the base motives of people to get power, sex, and pleasure.
    Now that the great spirits have raised your level of awareness, how will you use this insight to improve life here on Earth? To walk away from such an insightful experience and do nothing to help change our planet's unsustainable course is just as selfish and self-indulgent a choice as the people you describe on the playa. Awareness, as any psychologist will tell you, is the first step to change.
    The sin is not taking the drug, the sin is not listening to the message the drugs tell you about yourself. If you do not heed the warnings in your trip, then you are indeed bound for hell.

    Reply

  47. Free Radical
    Jul 13, 2009 @ 12:29:00

    There's no way you actually went to Burning Man, dude.

    Reply

  48. Timmy!
    Jul 13, 2009 @ 23:53:00

    There are photos in this very post of us at Burning Man. That's two of the three of us with the penguin furries, up above.

    Reply

  49. Free Radical
    Jul 14, 2009 @ 12:58:00

    Thanks, I believe I will try again, broham.

    Reply

  50. Free Radical
    Jul 14, 2009 @ 13:05:00

    But Patrick said "Note: The alleged “bitter” and angry narrator of my piece was a
    character in a meta-fiction, not a real person, certainly not me," so I was right in saying the author was never there.

    Reply

  51. Timmy!
    Jul 14, 2009 @ 13:51:00

    The lead-in to the review discusses its genesis – the car ride home from Burning Man, when Patrick and Alex and I discussed our experiences and argued about different ideas, some of which found their way into the review you see above. I'm not sure what your game is, Mr/Ms Radical, at claiming we were not at the event. Does this claim, in your mind, invalidate our statement about our experience at the event? Or something else? Speak plainly.

    Reply

  52. Free Radical
    Jul 14, 2009 @ 15:21:00

    Not trying to invalidate your statement about your experience, wherever that statement might be posted. The one here is the statement of a bitter, paranoid and whiny born-again christian, who is in fact fictional. It's disinformation. That ignorant people will make their decision to go or not based on this review is no real tragedy.If you were at the event, why not report your experience of it, good and bad?And what about all those bullies and thugs you mentioned? What exactly happened to you? (The squirrel thing doesn't count as bullying.)

    Reply

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