Oktoberfest

Last year, my friend Nadine and I hosted Oktoberfest at the local bar on Thursday afternoon Happy Hour at Burning Man.

It was a total riot!

We played German music and served ice cold (well, compared to PLAYA temperatures) German beer to thirsty guests.

We had such a good time, we decided to do it AGAIN!

Nadine took care of the beer and bought several pony kegs of light and dark German beer for us to serve.

I took care of the music.

I was careful to download SEVERAL Oktoberfest playlists from Spotify, since last year’s fiasco of a super short playlist of German oompa music played on repeat until my head was pounding  from horns and drums.

This year I used “Oktoberfest Hits 2019” by Megaparty, and BOY! was it a hit!!!

It included very basic Oktoberfest music along with a bunch of German pop music (like Johnny Däpp).

Honestly, you should listen to Johnny Däpp.

The whole song sounds like an homage to Johnny Depp.

Which, if you think about it, is a very good thing.

Of course we went through beer like water and before we knew it, we were back to serving COCKTAILS to guests who stayed to enjoy the music.

In particular, there was a couple who dressed up in traditional German costumes and who danced the whole afternoon away listening to the music.

I was pleased to bring a little German beer and music to them, they seemed to genuinely miss their home country.

And in the end, I got a lovely postcard from one half of the couple, thanking Nadine and I for “serving real German beer” and playing an amazing playlist of songs for them to enjoy.

My magic moment on the playa?

Watching them dance their asses off to “Sweet Caroline” by Weisenrocker.

Check it out on Spotify!

Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras on the playa takes place at 8:30 and Esplanade at the French Quarter.

It’s right across the street from Pink Heart, which is so brightly colored in pink lights and hot pink faux fur that you can spot it miles away from deep playa.

For Mardi Gras, musicians just show up and start playing – saxophones, trumpets, drums, and even tubas.

One tuba player showed up with a FLAMING tuba.

That’s right.

Flames were shooting out of the top of his tuba while he played.

I danced.

I sang.

I snuck to the second floor of the French Quarter (up a rickety flight of stairs, I might add) and had a glass of bubbly served to me by a Furry.

There’s just no place like Burning Man.

Stargazer

I’m not gonna lie, I made a few phone calls while I was at Burning Man.

Mostly to Stargazer, but also to my family.

Stargazer and I have been dating since August 21st when he took me out to pizza at a nearby pizza place and ordered my favorite Golden Greek pizza.

It takes a brave soul to eat a pizza covered in feta cheese, sausage, onions AND BANANA PEPPERS.

He saved me when my son backed out of taking me to my rideshare in Concord.

He took me out for waffles and fried chicken and even helped me get tampons and dry ice when I was running errands (without a car) before we left for Burning Man.

Stargazer is AH-MAZING!

He also made me bacon jerky, which we gobbled up on the way to Burning Man, and a chess pie, which is like a pecan pie without the pecans.

I like Stargazer a lot.

He met me after the burn and helped me load my stuff in my truck.

He took me to the hot tubs to soak afterwards and was a perfect gentleman (perfect for me is handsy but not ballsy, don’t forget).

And because I mentioned that I was sad I couldn’t stop for Indian tacos at the reservation during the drive home (I was taking the Burner Express bus), he MADE ME FRY BREAD.

It was yummy with a spoon delicious!

He learned to make it when he was in the Boy Scouts camping with Native American kids, FYI.

I also missed out on the big pickles that the food stands sell along the freeway so STARGAZER MADE ME HOMEMADE DILL PICKLES.

Just because he’s such a wonderful man.

Truly, unbelievably kind and thoughtful.

At first, I was going to call Stargazer “The Baker” on account of his love of baking.

But then in a matter of days, his true playa name revealed itself to me and I realized that this tall man who has his head in the clouds, his hands in pastries, and his mind on the cosmos, was destined to be called Stargazer.

I believe wholeheartedly that he will be at Burning Man next year to enjoy the art, community, and ME!

Getting wet

Burning Man is a Leave No Trace event.

That means whatever you bring in with you, you take out with you.

If it doesn’t go in the portos, then you collect it and haul it out when you leave.

This means all the water you use for dishes must be collected.

What you spit out when you brush your teeth must go in a container.

And when you shower, all your water must be collected in a graywater container, removed and disposed of properly.

My camp had three showers for 41 campers (although RV campers used their RV showers).

Two of those showers had privacy shelters.

The third on was scenic.

And by ‘scenic’ I mean that it had no privacy shelter, it was JUST OUT IN THE OPEN FOR EVERYONE TO SEE.

So pretty much everyone made do with the two privacy shelter showers.

I never even considered using the scenic shower.

Who wants to be watched while they shower by 40 pairs of prying eyes?

Not me, thank you.

I’ve heard of camps however, where there’s nothing but scenic showers.

But lo and behold, nearing the end of the burn, I saw a couple go in and use the shower.

Together.

It was no big deal.

So that shower eventually got a little use.

But be prepared if you go to Burning Man in a tent and you need to shower, you might want to inquire after the facilities.

Ours was decent, even with my lukewarm solar shower.

I took a shower on Thursday.

And then again on Sunday in my sister’s waterfall shower after I left Burning Man to visit her in Reno.

But the experience of showering at Burning Man had me so conscientious of water usage, I merely jumped into her shower, lathered up, and jumped out.

Burning Man does funny things to your perception of waste and excess.

And I’m pretty sure that’s a good thing.

Running on Empty

I left for Burning Man Saturday afternoon with Nadine and her kid, riding in Nadine’s RV.

We left around 6 pm.

We finally pulled off onto the playa at 4:12 am, nearly 12 hours later.

As luck would have it, we pulled into our parking space at our camp at 6:15 am, meaning it took us a mere 2 hours to get through Gate.

OMG!

The universe was working with us.

But I’m not surprised.

Nadine and I seem graced with good luck and serendipity.

I managed to catch a brief one and a half hour nap in the RV but overall, that was all the sleep I got in a 36 hour period.

I was ready to sleep Sunday night.

The first day at Burning Man is always a blur of setting up camp, day drinking, and reuniting with the camp community.

I cracked open a cold one once my tent was set up and enjoyed my Corona Premier (so named because apparently it’s lite beer, not REAL beer) while watching the city spring up around me.

I ate a can of little weenies fully expecting that would be the extent of my sausage experiences at Burning Man [HINT: it was].

burning man 2019My food bin, filled to the brim with snacks and booze, managed to make it to the playa with zero casualties.

As hot as it was (it was in the 90s the entire time we were there), I managed to stay cool in the shade and before I knew it, I was going for a ride with Nadine and scoping out some of the awesome art and cars out on playa:

Not shabby at all for my first day at Burning Man, running off of 90 minutes of sleep!

Altered

I spent the better part of the burn slowly drinking a million gin and tonics, with a few margaritas, picklebacks, and rum and cokes thrown in for good measure.

On Thursday I loaded up my backpack with water, goggles, lights, dust mask, and a few gin and tonics and I went to the Grateful Floyd camp to watch rare footage of Pink Floyd Presents Delicate Sounds of Thunder.

I went with two friends – Yummy and Nadine.

We dragged chairs with us and the Grateful Floyd camp passed around snacks for one and all to enjoy.

It’s mind-altering enough to watch Pink Floyd sober, let alone is an altered state.

I found myself mesmerized by the images on the screen – a combination of concert footage cut with odd bits of minutiae.

The film was captivating and I found myself lost in the most haunting version of “Comfortably Numb” that I’ve ever heard.

Also, and I’m just going to go ahead and put this out there, I think “Wish You Were Here” is one of the most beautiful songs ever written and I could listen to it on repeat for days.

All in all, we had a TON of fun at the Pink Floyd movie and I was really happy that Nadine and Yummy made me step out of camp and watch the video.

The music was incredible, played over an obviously well-thought-out sound system.

I found myself transported to another time and place by the music and the imagery and in my altered state, I had a blast relaxing and pretending like I was in 1987 in the Omni Coliseum in Georgia listening to Pink Floyd live on stage.

Thank you Camp Grateful Floyd!

Dry Burn

The first thing you need to know about Burning Man 2019 is that I GOT MY PERIOD the day I was leaving for the playa.

And all my toiletry supplies were packed into the back of a locked trailer, blocked in by bikes, air mattresses, and supplies.

Fortunately, Stargazer came to my rescue.

He took me out to run a few last-minute errands and picking up tampons was one of those errands.

My mortification was only surpassed by my gratefulness to him for helping me out in a pinch.

So, in case you’re wondering if I went hog wild on the playa and found myself lovers to play with, the answer is no.

I was kinda thinking about the stargazer that I left behind.

AND my body was having NONE OF IT!

No play for Burning Man 2019.

So sorry if you were looking forward to tales of cocks – be they hard or half-hard.

I took off for the playa with 12 condoms and I returned with 12 condoms.

Cry your tears now because I’m actually quite happy with how my burn turned out, even without lovers.

Not that I didn’t have the opportunity.

I just found myself more interested in seeing art and enjoying my little camp community than going out and getting my freak on with other people.

I know it’s too new for me to be able to say one way or another whether Stargazer and I will continue to date.

But I prefer to err on the side of caution.

So it was a dry burn for me, in more than one way.

#BurningMan

Recently, I received an email from representative of Burningman.org discussing the commodification of Burning Man.

One of the reasons why I love Burning Man so much is because it encourages participants to live their lives free of the mass marketing media blitz we live with on a regular basis.

Everything has a label.

A price tag.

Not so at Burning Man.

At Burning Man, you only pay for ice and coffee.

It’s refreshing to not hemorrhage money at this community event in the desert.

One of the things they mentioned in their email is the importance of posting REAL photos of Burning Man, not just models marketing special specialized beverages, makeup, accessories, clothing labels, etc.

So here are my Burning Man photos, for your enjoyment.

Totally unscripted and real:

If you want to read more about decommodification and the challenges facing the org, please check out this link.

Burning Man 2018: Venturing Out

It’s a well known fact that I have a hard time seeing at night.

As I’ve gotten older, it’s gotten worse.

So night time on the playa is particularly challenging for me.

You’d think with all the bright lights, navigation would be a snap.

But in reality, all the lights make it challenging for me to navigate.

And THE ONE PLACE WHERE LIGHTS ARE NEEDED – the street signs – there are NO LIGHTS!

WTF!?

So I literally have to bike up to the sign and squint at it in the dark in order to read it.

This is why I travel with friends.

It’s much easier to just follow a friend with good spatial awareness than it is to get lost for hours trying to find your way home on the playa.

Then again, not all who wander are lost.

There is something to be said for charting new territory.

Here are some night shots from my Burning Man adventure:

Burning Man 2018: Teamwork

I’d like to dedicate my 2018 burning to the principle of TEAMWORK.

We all arrive on the playa, as prepared as we can be, only to discover we need things we don’t have.

That’s where our camp mates come in.

Whether it’s providing lotion for dry hands, clamps for a shade canopy too big for its frame, or a spatula to flip eggs with, your team mates come through for you.

Personally, I love it!

It’s great to fill a need that exists.

Whether it’s a camp mate, a neighbor, or just a random burner on the playa.

And truthfully, it’s remarkable how quickly needs get fulfilled on the playa.

They say “the playa provides” and this year it feels so true.

Only it’s not the playa.

It’s the magical people who inhabit the playa.

So if you were to ask me, two day in, what I feel is a developing theme at this burn, without hesitation I’d tell you TEAMWORK!

Here’s my “TEAM” on the playa <3:

Copyright Tripod (Kevin Price)