Tag Archives: Burning Man 2019

The End of Burning Man 2019 – Aug 31 & Sept 1

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AUGUST 31
Making it battered and bruised…literally… it was time to once again to burn the man.
Determined to make it to one of Kelsey’s performances in the Black Rock Philharmonic at 11 AM that morning (early by playa time), I first prepped for the goal of making it to the Naked Tiki Bar that afternoon when dressing in a Parrot Head getup. Grabbing my bike when ready to head out to watch her performance, I thought about how bummed I was to have missed the one they put on at The Folly. An amazing cousin to an old-Western style art center (for lack of a better description) that was one of the pieces to be sacrificed to the fire gods for the year. I had never made it there but at least I got to see the orchestra in their home camp, which just so happened to be my favorite day camp to chill at, Frozen Oasis. Regardless of being lucky to have averaged even a couple hours sleep a night, I was still able to enjoy the slushies gifted out, albeit perturbed by the terrible pour that could have fit into a rocks glass. Also lovely to literally help chill were the misters, soft color scheme of a light turquoise and grey, a metal dragon that breathed fire and us playing along with the kazoos that were handed out at the end of their performance.

Never good at wearing my mask, I rode around from there checking out art and hitting a few bars on the way to Dr. Bronner’s for a group shower. Backfiring from the original plan of counting on it to be relaxing and rejuvenating, the long line under the hot sun was making me feeling even more worn out, dizzy and worried about the ITP within twenty minutes of getting there. Adding even more to the bummer of it all, the guy from Mexico standing in line next to me seemed like an intelligent and interesting person whom I’d have enjoyed connecting with under better circumstances. I wasn’t able to enjoy the shower much when it was finally my turn to get in but at least I got to run into Annie, an old ridshare buddy from a previous burn.
The three hour excursion starting at 11:45 AM sucked up prime time during the day but I had learned through the principle of Immediacy and to quote Forrest Gump, that you never know what you’re gonna get, so I was able to do an OK job of shrugging it off. On my way to half-heartedly find the Naked Tiki Bar from there, I took a sharp left when seeing the popular drinking and hang camp, the Petting Zoo. Trying to dull the edge of how shitty I felt with a little buzz, I somehow turned back into a Dr. Phil meets Dr. Ruth sex therapist for a straight and gay man almost as soon as my buns were seated. No matter how burnt I was and how much I was depleted socially, I still got a rush when I felt like I was helping others. So there I was until the sun started going down, giving up on the idea of making it to the Naked Tiki Bar all together.
I had been dreading the long ride back to The Swan to head out with the crew for the man burn but it turned out that wasn’t going to happen anyway. Making my way to Spanky’s once saying my farewells at the Petting Zoo, I stayed longer than expected because, well, that’s what always happens, and also because one of our campers had a heart-stopping seizure and needed CPR. I would have felt like an asshole if I bolted so instead I used it as an excuse to stay.
Hanging with the couple who had shown interest multiple times in hooking up that year, it was a mix of both feeling discomfort and delighted at the situation while also a little resentment that I felt like we were all of the sudden playa-dating without my having even been consulted to see if I was into it. Relationships are already challenging but add in the aspect of such an unconventional community and it’s even more mind-bending. I did indeed dig them a lot as friends and wasn’t opposed to hooking up if the situation popped up organically but I was into the friendship aspect a lot more than sexually or romantically. I still wish that I could just feel more strongly one way or another, dammit.
The sun went down and it was finally time to head out to the man. Biking alongside an art car that some of my campmates were on, we eventually stopped to climb up on a taller one to watched the spectacle as the fire conclave danced. Spoon after, the arms of the large wooden stick figure with an upside-down triangle for a head raised as fireworks started to shoot out of his body and then a grand explosion lit him fire. It was still the biggest communal party I had ever been to in the world, even if I was too donezo on that particular night to be feeling the spirit. Still knowing when we were done with the merriment there that my body was too out of whack for sleep anyway, I gave up on the idea of even trying. I was sick of adding more misery to the exhaustion and definitely didn’t want to miss out on yet another night while I just laid there in frustrated despair. Choosing instead to stay up all night partying back at Spanky’s, it was more of the same but a “same” that I loved. Even through the haze of my zombie state.

SEPT 1 – SUN
Aha the day of the temple burn. Thank God. I was doing my best to stay present through meditative reminders that I was in the most important place in the world to me. Like every year, many of us were just fighting to just get through it at that point. A notable about of seasoned burners even left every year once the weekend (Labor Day weekend) hit. Being a year of extra miserable exhaustion for me, it was the first time the thought didn’t appall me. It was also the first time I realized that maybe the reason I never noticed the “weekend warriors” who were notorious for only coming with the goal of more superficial partying was because I was always too worn out.
I’m sure I started the day the temple was to burn at the Swan like usual but honestly, the whole day is pretty blank. Maybe nights were easier to recall because they were such a reprieve from the relentless sun and it’s inescapable hellfire heat. An unfortunate byproduct to such a level of exhaustion, the temple burn didn’t do much for me. The after-party at Spanky‚Äôs called Swine Bar where I bartended for awhile was my favorite event of the camp, though, so that was still a little fun. Especially having the little bit of space in the middle of the crowd that tending bar provided.

Barely knowing where I was, we kept going until dawn. That included ending up in one of our camper’s trailer for what I was to find out was one of his notorious after-parties. Two words: body bumps. I was probably just off my nut and there wasn’t any good reason for it but at one point I took the man of the couple I felt like I was “playa dating” outside of the cramped trailer so his wife could have a little space to wile out. That’s when the two of us started bickering in an almost comical drama-agro way about pretty much nothing. It’s definitely not uncommon for folks to be falling apart by that time in the week. Putting two colorful and passionate people together on top of that and, well, there’s some extra fireworks. Add to all of it how if an attempt of any sort is made to control or take ownership of me, it just adds dynamite to those fireworks. Flash to the future for a second: yes, we’re still pals and talked it out after letting the playa-dust settle.
Back to what had become the next morning, our continuing to argue without his hearing my comments about needing to get back to The Swan to pack up, I finally had to jam at dawn with him and another male camper in tow as I petaled across the playa like the crazy pissed off woman I was to pack up before Glenn came to get my stuff. Only being half-way to having my physical shit together (definitely not mental) when he showed, he was understandably agro about it. To be fair, he had actually already showed up that way thanks to committing to too many people and his wife ending up hating the burn. My not being ready just made it worse. That didn’t justify his leaving some of my stuff at the end, though. Stuff that included the incredibly sentimental cape my mother had made me. I wouldn’t have even known until days after getting home if another camper, first pissed off thinking I had left junk for others to take care of, hadn’t told me. Being too tired and feeling too shitty later in the day to think about asking Mia to take that stuff home, I ended up throwing most of it out on the drive back to Reno anyway.

Burning Man 2019 – Friday August 30th – Pushing boundaries

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AUG 30 – FRIDAY
Leaving Spanky’s somewhere around 4:30 AM to make a gallant attempt to catch sunrise in Deep Playa, I knew I’d regret it if I didn’t stop at Hardley’s Saloon for a shot of whiskey when passing it on the Esplanade at 5 AM. I had given up on the idea of Mia and I doing it together to celebrate the beginning of our friendship but that didn’t mean I couldn’t do it on my own. Instead, I met a handsome (and borderline too cocky) man from Australia who I connected with on a chair swing outside the saloon until it was too late to make it anywhere else before sunrise. His departure being just before yellows and oranges started to rise in the sky through the bars of the sleeping Thunderdome in front of me, I fought to keep my eyes open as the sun made it’s way over the horizon. Having only been asleep for a few minutes, a cutie-patootie of a Chinese American gal jumped off the back of someone’s bike (hers had been stolen) and plopped down, chatting before her buns even hit the seat. Seeming oblivious to my head bobbing as I fought to stay awake, I was bewildered by the tidal wave of intensity coming at me. If she had been ready to snuggle to sleep under that morning sun, I could have stayed there forever. Instead, I had to excuse myself after a few minutes of her happy chittering to petal my way back to camp with leaden feet to do my best at catching a few hours of ZZZ.

Miserably exhausted as I always was by that time of the week, I’ll be damned if I still couldn’t sleep even when in my own “bed”. Finally giving up on the attempt and getting up two or three hours later once the heat had become too much to bare, I headed over to one of the neighborhood’s lightly air conditioned chill champs inside a Middle Eastern style tent with a prayer that it would help. From there I made an effort to find Spicy given that he had already tried to find me so many times. Feeling insecure about showing up when I worried he might not want me to, I knew feeling that way was ridiculous but the torture of feeling vulnerable wasn’t about to let me get too confident. Even so, I made it all the way over to the other side of the playa per his direction and even made sure to take advantage and stop for a drink with random burners when something caught my eye along the way. For example, when I stumbled upon a Mardi Gras show at a New Orleans themed camp. A great example of one of the best and most magical parts of Immediacy at the burn. I don’t know if I ever would have had it in me to do so if it hadn’t been ingrained over those last five years or burning.

Finally making it to his RV, I kicked back in the oppressive heat on a mound of teddy bears and pillows he had set up under a tarp patio connected between him and his neighbor until he finally got up. Planning to head out to pick up the vest he had left at the glitter camp, we first hung with that attached neighbor who just so happened to be trans and also just so happened to be…we’ll just say also attached. It pushed my boundaries, yes, but mostly because she didn’t seem interested in befriending me and I don’t like feeling like second string. Our plan was short-lived from there as his bike had broke the night before and it became apparent that it wasn’t going to be a quick fix. It also became quickly apparent that plan B to hang in his RV wasn’t going to be a success either as he was too tired to perform and I broke the bed. It was time to call it. Leaving him to finally get what may have been his first major sleep for what could have been the entire burn, it would be the last time I was to see him.

The next few hours were pretty lax. At the beginning of the burn, it was always exciting to mark the “when and where” events in a book we were given when first coming in through Gate knowing full-well that we’d be lucky to make it to any one of them thanks to living on playa time. In a last minute “oh yeah” on that particular day, I remembered a burlesque show that I had marked and actually made it for the first time ever. It was an excitingly hopeful first step in attending other events and workshops in my future. That was if I was ever able to figure out how to get some sleep.
After the show, I thought it would be nice to try to go find Spicy’s vest (never even found the camp) and fun to get us souvenir cups from Sharkey’s. Walking up to one of the camp’s two wooden bars with a brief stop to watch people do some axe-throwing, a sweet and somewhat proper British man of average looks and a friendly demeanor started talking me up. Having a tenancy to step in as a buzzed therapist when drinking combined with a background in matchmaking, I quickly became his Dr. Ruth. Pouring his heart out, he told me about how he had limited sexual experience, specifically in ways of his less traditional desires, and how those needs combined with the shame he felt about them had always affected his confidence and self-esteem. His thinking it would ruin the relationship with his fiance, he couldn’t take it anymore and had told her anyway before leaving for the burn. Half expecting her to break up with him, she instead told him to go experiment and have fun. Being honest with her had not only set him free from the cage he had been in for so long but also strengthened their relationship. It was touching.
Speaking of touching, he then asked if I would be up for going to the Orgydome. I can’t say it was a surprise. It was obvious that he was looking for a sexual mentor and was already seeing me in that light. Honestly, for as free-spirited, sexually liberated and open-minded as I like to tell myself I was, I didn’t know how I felt about it. When it came to sexuality, it only felt right to me to do the horizontal hokey pokey when having an intimate connection both emotionally and mentally followed by physical attraction. Whether knowing each other an hour or a year didn’t matter, just that level of connection. That meant that my first instinct was to say no. Then I realized that I had a chance to do something I believed important enough for it to speak to me. Besides stroking my ego (among other things) and having a little fun, I got to help someone. Not only that but I got to do it in an area where I also had a history of great pain and shame until having found healing at the burn. So I decided to go outside of my norm and what the hell, say “sure, let’s go”. His wide-eyed expression of nervous excitement was another of the moments that resonated with me most that burn. It was…cute.
Getting in line at the Orgydome, I was a little impatient to have to go through the routine of all the safety, consent, no phones, etc. drills again one day later but also excited to watch him experience what that looked like. Then getting up to the front, one of the gals working the door excitedly asked, “hey, you’re the chick who was covered in the glitter the other day, right?” It was obvious from her tone that our libido and other fun had been talked about in the camp along, I’m sure, with annoyance at the glitter. It was also entertainingly awkward to respond that, yes, it had been me and a little embarrassing that he heard it. Continuing on, we went to the “open to more” room as opposed to couples only and started to make out. It was odd as I didn’t feel much of a sexual connection but I didn’t feel like that was why I was there anyway. Excusing myself to run back for nipple-glue remover once taking off my fuzzy pasties, I came back to him and an attractive Asian woman with a very cool mowhawk that had patterns buzzed into the sides waiting for me. She had apparently approached him wanting to join. Things definitely got more interesting from there.
While petite isn’t my “type”, I also believe that objectifying people by putting them into narrow-minded boxes is BS. I loved her vibe, so I went for it. Partly because I knew it would feed into his fantasy. Like most of my theesomes from the past, it became more about her focusing on me because I made her feel safe while he excitedly jumped in wherever he could and how I instructed. What was different from past experiences was that I was leading as a coach in the whole thing. Communication and finding a way to make everyone feel involved, seen and comfortable was what it was about for me. His mind was blown, as was my eardrum from her screaming in it as she climaxed. I was content that I had given them something special and in so, they had given me a gift that meant the world in return. It all ended abruptly after she came, though, as I realized that I was about to be late for a bartending shift at a Celtic sing-song back at The Swan.
Giving him a long hug and getting a happy rush from seeing his enlightened and mind-blown appreciative smile as he thanked me, I took off and was bartending 20 minutes later. It wasn’t to be the end of my sexcapades for the night, though. The year before, I had been left after unsuccessfully chasing an art car to get to the Great Canadian Beaver Eating Contest at Spanky’s sister camp, Black Rock Bordello. A fellow camper had talked me into going to another neighboring camp with promises that we’d be back in time, which of course we weren’t. Yes, I am absolutely still pouting and no way was I going to let it happen again.

I tried to talk my crew from the Swan (and other compadres from PolyParadise) into coming with but they were unfortunately already amped about going to an event where one of our guys was going to get naked and completely lubed up to wrestle another guy while swinging from chandeliers. That meant that the only one who ended up joining me was Trevor. Great. Don’t get me wrong, I was a fan of the big guy but his crush was suffocating and I resented that I all of the sudden felt like I was on a date that I didn’t agree to. Making it to the tent for the show, we took a front row seat and I was quickly jumping back and forth between him and other Spankers. Partly in an attempt to show Trevor that I saw him as nothing but a pal, I told Levi that if he wanted us to compete, to sign us up. It was an unintentionally mean and I still feel bad about it but feeling suffocated makes me panic. Haven’t mastered that one net.
Next thing I knew after that, Levi and I are being called up and I’m getting the most intense oral that I’ve ever received. So much so that I was gripping onto the mat so that my sweaty body wasn’t pushed off the stage by the pressure he was using. Almost laughing as I ripped off the rainbow wig I was wearing and putting on my sunglasses to hide from the intensity, I was in and overwhelming state of pleasurable shock that absolutely entertained me. That didn’t mean I wasn’t making an attempt to look up at the other competitors, though. I mentally pouted at those unsuccessful attempts but got over it when realizing that we must have been the best show given that the judges extended our time twice and I could hear the crowd cheering. As someone who thrives on bringing pleasure to others, damn straight I’m an exhibitionist and damn right was I loving it. Trevor was gone by the time the whole thing was over. Feeling relieved though bad, I was also later a bit angry when he pouted about how he was OK but would have rather been a participant in a way that made me think he was assuming it would be us.
What a day but the sexapades even STILL weren’t over. There was a hottie from camp who had been watching and had been turned on by the show. When he politely approached me about hooking up, I was a little weirded out that he would be interested in a woman who had just been receiving oral from another man, and in front of a crowd no less. We all have our turn-ons and I knew that, so I found myself once again asking why it made me feel awkward. The best answer I had was that I hadn’t been in that particular situation before. Being nice as I skirted off with a smiling decline to the invitation, I jumped around with my friends until he appeared again an hour later. Finding him sweet, laid back and quite attractive, I decided what the hell for the second time that day and went for it. Going to his nice conversion van, he lit candles and was more the most tender of my recent lovers. Kind of boring, actually, in that he liked me laying down doing nothing while he hit it from behind, but he did give me three orgasms from oral (extra impressive given alcohol and that crazy head from Levi) so it was a big win over all.
During our shenanigans, there had been a knock that I had a feeling was his partner with some kind of message. Seeming to have turned into a theme, it was the third new experience pushing my boundaries for the day. When I sought him out to say hi a couple more times over the rest of the burn, one of the times he had actually been with the partner who I assumed was the one to be the knocker. Not making an attempt to be part of the convo with him and I, it was once again what most bothered me. My connection with him didn’t go any farther. That was until he added me on Facebook and I found out that he lived in my Northern California neighborhood. Not that he’d even respond to future PMs. So weird.
Man…what a day for the books. Reminds me of a certain meme about doing all the wild and crazy things we can now so we have something to talk about at holidays when we’re old. Anyone who knows me well knows how much I love shock value. That’s one to look forward to indeed.

Burning Man 2019 – August 28th & 29th

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AUG 28 – WEDNESDAY
Following my favorite night was my favorite day. The morning started, as always, by hanging with folks at The Swan and PolyParadise until Spicy surprised me by showing up. Something he had attempted a few times before and would a few times after, usually without finding me. As luck would have it, he did on that particular day, though, and we were to spend most of it together. Dragging him right away to a camp controversial for offering biodegradable glitter, I had first been introduced to it my second year with the Frenchie friends I’d camped with and was determined to partake in that herpes of the crafting world fabulousness at least once again. Adorning each other head to toe, we then headed to Go the Fuck to Sleep in Hushville with stops along the way at camps that included one with a Russian roulette style game of choosing a flavored shot that ended with my taking one of disgustingly warm Cheese-It vodka and then headed across the street to a boring lecture on sexuality. Boring, I should say, for our level of experience. We made it to Brigit and Aaron’s camp after that for her popup event, Cougar Camp, where us ladies would all dress in leopard and sit out along the street to tempt guys (via Brigit yelling through a blow horn) into stopping to dance for us with a cookie as their prize. My favorite part for the year being a tie between Spicy being our pool boy and when chicks passing by would stop to join us.
Getting myself in a pickle with an actual pickle as Cougar Camp headed to a close, Spicy and I walked across the street to play a game of bobbing for pickles where the rule was to slap the bobber across the face when they came up for air. I didn’t understand it and thank God he wasn’t comfortable enough to really go for it despite my insistence. Receiving a small yet sobering smack, it was a slightly annoying experience that still makes me think of idiot frat boys and Marines of my past causing drunken brawls in bars. Moving on. The glitter camp and Cougar Camp had been main goals for the day but a goal for the entire week was to make it to Orgydome with him, so off we went. Before you get too excited, don’t. After the first five minutes, it’s nowhere near as wild and exciting as you might think. It’s mostly just a place for couples to have a mattress in air conditioning in a communal room with the occasional scene that’s more exciting than that. We’ve all experienced sex. After a couple minutes, it loses a lot of it’s excitement. That being said, it was by far the favorite time I’ve ever had in there and I’d imagine we were one of the rare who actually did put on a small show.
After getting past the mandatory lectures and speeches at the end of the line about acceptable behavior and measures taken to ensure them, we got to the main waiting room where we took advantage of cuddle couches and massage tables where I treated Spicy to what may have been the most epic massage I’d ever given. Per his request, we then moved into the couples only room when our turn came for two and a half hours of smooth and sensual sex. His libido mixed with an impressive member good at staying at attention was an orgasmic mix (pun intended) for a session that was less about the intense passion I was used to and more about relaxed pleasure that sustainable for a marathon. Challenge was that, even though we were rocking it James Brown style instead of ’80’s glam rock, it was still plenty enough over a long period of time to run out of water. His not being allowed to stay inside the tent without me, we got a break pass for 15 minutes to run out barely covering ourselves (not that it mattered) and try to find some much coveted agua. Unsurprisingly challenging as water was liquid gold on the playa, we didn’t find any. What we did find was margaritas at a camp called Sharkey’s directly across the street and ice cream sandwiches that someone walking by was passing out. Giggling as we hurried back with me joking about getting even more sticky, we gave it another try, though that time in the “open to more” room. Giving it a go for a little while longer, we had unfortunately lost our steam, but had an impressive four hour experience over all so we were happy. It still puts a big smile on my face to think about. Especially the part where we were running around like crazed, giddy kids trying to get back before we got “in trouble”.
I needed some alone time after that to recharge. Not specifically from him, more because I always did. OK yes, partly because I needed to process being into him more than usual. The environment of it all and wondering what was real didn’t help with all those confusing feelings either. Still, I would have preferred it if we were in the same camp so we could go back to our own places within instead of knowing it unlikely to find each other again that night regardless of what we planned. With word of meeting back up at Spanky’s a couple hours later, I let my foggy sex-brain talk me into skipping out on the night Aaron had suggested for the two of us and Brigit for the off chance of spending more time of him. Yeah, I was “that” girl. One of the many examples of the principal of Immediacy, time seemed to go away and I had even almost ditched the plan myself to jump on an art car made of a black light tiki-style face with curtains resembling moss as hair. Whether he showed or not, I did want to spend more time in my second camp. Still, I was just the tiniest bit resentful for giving up the chance for a night with B & A even if I did get to spend it reconnecting with other friends that I hadn’t seen in a year. Two of which were a couple from overseas who surprised me by seeming to be interested in a wee bit more than friendship. An odd follow up to the happenings of the day but hey, it’s all about pushing boundaries and learning about ourselves…right? Maybe, maybe not but it was too much for me at th3 moment. Even if it was fun in theory.

AUG 29 – THURS
Starting, of course, with the morning hang in camp, I didn’t make it too far for my morning venturing the next day when heading to a camp across the street early afternoon to participate in a shotski where a tall dude on one side of me sent the short chick on the other flying by throwing it back too hard. His being so thoughtless and oblivious was one of those things that weirdly annoys me all these months later. Back to camp not too long after, it was my time once again provide some of the meal for camp. It was way more chaotic than the first time, though, and partakers seemed more entitled than thankful. I had heard that to be the case after main gates opened but it was still a bummer. I stayed in camp after that for a live music session at The Swan Brigit spearheaded that consisted of a Celtic jam band. Hiding by the bar with so much going on it, it was unfortunately all a blur. Exhaustion and over-stimulation were already enough to make my brain shut down so adding a boozy buzz meant that I barely remember saying hello to friends whose face I would only be able to see that once for the year.
Short but sweet, when later heading to Spanky’s for a night that included the aforementioned couple making a more direct attempt and a naughty cuddle puddle with us and a few others trying to awkwardly join in, I had another of my highlights for the year when opening the door to a blue room with lights blinking out from the inside and walking in to see a disco ball and other shiny paraphernalia covering the walls. I had heard of those mythicaly decorated port-a-potties for years but had never actually come across one. It took half a decade to happen but it did and it was oh so worth the wait!