Tag Archives: Spanky’s

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 2018 – How I “Recovered” from India

While usually being someone who lives in the moment, immediacy is at the same time the hardest of the ten principles for me. Specifically in regard to taking pictures and notes for memories. Besides the odd way my brain processes those things (hence this blog), it’s such a big experience for most of us that the first day or two can feel like a different lifetime just a few days later, just like travel.
Monday was the first official full day of the burn and I was excited albeit already run down. Once again, just like the norm of the rest of my travel. Venessa, my awesome pal from the previous burn who had also met up with me in Costa Rica for their “burn” found me later in the day, first hanging at Spanky’s and then ditching her man to wander and adventure all night. Staying out until just before dawn with her rallying my tired-ass so we could get our quality time together (yay!), Jewels found me in the hot and dry early afternoon the next day, unzipping my little ill-equipped but colorful tent to say hello. Still half-drunk, the effort made me feel bad about being so frustrated with her on the ride in. I wanted to be better than that.
With a quick and hazy hello and goodbye, I ascended into what was to be my crash day of the week after one or two hair-of-the-dog PBRs. My body was to break down four times over the burn, actually, as I was also getting a cold that must have come with me given that there’s hardly any germs out there.
In a hazy daze, I barbacked a lot for a few days, often with Crash bartending, and hung around camp. Sitting under the large circus-like tent structure during the intro speech of Admiral Painjoy when the time came, the owner and faithful lead of our amazing camp, I struggled to hold onto what he was saying. Especially over the dazed and grateful emotions of being there as a part of Spanky’s, one of the first camps I had so loved on my first burn back in 2015. I also failed to notice (more like be conscious for) the morning ritual of the blasting song, Sheena Easton’s Morning Train (English followed by French editions) and the accompanying dance party to tribute the morning before heading back to bed. Or for some, to head to bed for the first time.
It was something that had been adopted from another camp, which made me love it even more as that was the way the burn was built. It was one of those great things that I didn’t notice at first but creeped in a little more every day until the light bulb clicked and it became a celebration of starting the day that will forever be important to me both as a wakeup and a song. Kind of like howling at the sunset. Just one of those epic playa traditions.
Planning on, well, anything at the burn is almost a joke. So much unexpected amazingness happens at just about every turn that it tends to be more realistic to set a destination just to have a general direction while knowing full well that there’s a very good chance of ending up in something else even more epic along the way. My only exception for previous years had been bartending during the Irish music session at my first camp, Twisted Swan. Ironically, one I was to miss for 2018 as lower-key energy handicapped me from making any direct commitments. I did still manage to actually visit twice along with making it for visits to my two previous camps. One of the three times doing that at Leopard Martini Lounge being when I made it out on Edge’s art car to see a parody of Daft Punk at the trash fence, the second to be when Vanessa was bartending for their big party of the week and the third being to just sit around on fold out chairs for a low-key hang. I had even managed to find my old friend, Brandi, four times. She blew me off most of the time, which of course upset me, but did provide a good reminder (after taking a minute to pout) that the burn is not a place for expectations. Bla, bla, bla Buddhist bullshit.
With playa boogers that tended to turn it into the biggest nose-picking week of the year and a lot of sweaty under-boob thanks to being slouched and at least half-naked over a bike on those hot desert days, I was elated when finding a huge and quite awesome camp adorned with turquoise and grey draped overhangs along a framework of misters just down the street from Spanky’s. Gifting alcohol slushies and live classical music that I hoped in vain would one day include a lovely little lady from my camp who had been playing around the playa with a full orchestra, I was in heaven. Grateful for relief from the heat and also scolding myself for not having found it earlier, I made note to self (I’m sure not for the first time) to scout the neighborhood early on in future burns to see which camps were around for close access to relief, fun and debauchery.

While not a fan of the burn’s EDM music, by far the strongest influence of those offered, many other types that I did like could be found in the nooks and crannies. Case in point, the aforementioned classical and unexpected moments such as riding up upon a man adorned in a pegasus hat and yogi pants while singing opera at a skill level that made me think he must be professional. One of those surprise sidetracked moments on my way to get glow-in-the-dark henna Wednesday afternoon. An outing that also included a sunset wedding on top of a motorhome and new friends who came back to Spanky’s a few hours later.

Thursday was usually my crash day but I had already got that out of the way so my day was opened up to doing something on my burner bucket list a bit to the opposite end of the spectrum. Instead of staying up all night to see the mythical sunrise, I woke up an hour before in order to have the experience sober and with (still a very small amount of) sleep. Biking out to the dimly-lit temple in the dark chill of that desert night, I walked around looking at the hand-written letters and other tributes hung in the structure that were often made out to recently deceased loved ones (the doggo ones got me the most), observed the people in there and checked in with what was happening to me at that moment in the most spiritual place of my universe. Outside was more musicians playing impromptu, this time in the style of soft singer-songwriter, and watched someone dressed as a Chinese Death Warrior walking around while stopping to stare at the rising sun.
Biking farther into deep playa in a semi-agro-semi-curious search of the sound camp that had been shaking the entire city during all hours, I stopped first when stumbling upon a sunrise wedding and then continued on, finding it with what looked like spaceships outside and a kind of meditative chanting session beginning inside. From there I headed back to camp for the attempt of a nap, stopping along the way to check out the man and other art.
Later was the Swan’s music session where I experienced one of the most impactful moments for the year when watching a woman who appeared to be from Ireland or Scotland and was emotionally being reminded of some kind of big memory. It was fun to be able to be in the middle of the music instead of staring at the backs of others while bartending but it wasn’t so fun to bust out about half way through with an allergic reaction to all the dust that was being kicked up directly into my face thanks to the rugs of previous years being MIA during the obligatory jig-dancing and stomping with the music. Que a Benadryl daze and the third of the four times my body went down.

On what I’m not sure was that night or one of the two surrounding, I grouchily hoofed it to Go the Fuck to Sleep, Aaron and Brigit’s camp, after letting someone talk me into a different camp visit that made me miss an art-car ride that I had tried to chase down five minutes too late. Thanks to a flat tire on my bike, personal transportation had been grounded for the evening, leaving me on foot. Once making it and after hanging for a bit, our old pal Moose joined us in the special state we had opted to participate in for a designated night of playa wander. What itty-bitty-teenie-weenie little bit of it we could cover before our feet and backs started to hurt at least. We even managed to find some square dancing that Moose and I participated in (while Aaron grumbled) and live Bluegrass. Hurray for some of my kind of music/NOT EDM!
A couple nights later was the grand finale. Hopping on an art car that was a magic carpet to make our way out for the burning of the man, that huge and epic celebration full of lights and fire, it for some reason took on my spiritual highlight for the week. Even above the temple burn. When that happened the next night, after being pleasantly surprised by running into a woman also camping with us whom I had had a special relationship with years before when meeting at the event in 2013 that had first introduced me to the burn, I managed to hop onto a different art car that was a bar. As I still wasn’t fully recovered from heat exhaustion I got earlier in the day, not being fully there in head or spirit could explain why the man burning had more of an emotional impact for the year.
As was customary, I had made it to the Orgy Dome (don’t be a prude) after the man burned the night before with a great fella from my camp and a lovely couple from the UK who I had met at glow-in-the-dark body painting and hung with a couple times since. The problem was that we hadn’t made it there until the wee hours and had stayed until almost dawn before starting to break down camp just a couple hours after finally making it to bed. So yeah. Cue heat exhaustion. The grand finale of my body rebelling against such harsh conditions right after India.
Raking the dust to check for moop out there in the blazing sun where our large camp had been set up, I had eventually gotten dizzy and out of it enough to find a camp that was offering different flavor teas and set up to chill, as the one with misters I loved so much had already been broken down. Not feeling much recovery until the sun went down and even after the temple burn, I was still at half-mast for the last night’s epic party at what was left of Spanky’s. A great time complete with jump ropes of fire, I did manage to stay out long enough to want to be there as an end to my annual time on the playa for years to come.

With the odd feeling of a bubble of magic that had burst as our utopian city said goodbye the next day, for once I wasn’t bummed when reuniting with Mia and the crew to take off. I hadn’t known it would make such a difference when she had set it up before leaving San Diego but we were headed to one last burner escapade and it was already making all the difference. The adventure wasn’t over. We were off to Reno…
Brigit’s Cougar Camp where young fellas (though everyone tends to jump in) shake it for a cookie. 🍪













Burning Man 2018 – Back on the Playa Again

Waking up and driving the last five or so hours (which included a few stops for eating, gas, water and groceries) on that day, Friday August 24, 2018, we finally made it to the outskirts of Black Rock City. Pulling up to a line of loaded up often decorative vehicles full of burners on a two-lane road that lead to a dried up riverbed that, beyond our temporary city, had nothing except a tan-colored alkaline dust that was known for getting so far into every crevace that it reached our dusty souls. It only took maybe three hours to get into city limits from there, which was the main reason I was happy to be there a day before the main entry. When coming normal entry my first year on the Burner Bus, it had taken over ten hours to get in and it had taken about twelve hours to get out the year before thanks to an Amber Alert. It was always a gamble and I had learned to change my mentality to embrace it as part of the experience (might as well get out and hang with traffic neighbors) but was happy when able to avoid it.
Knowing that we had two Burning Man virgins with us, my exhaustion was momentarily lost as I became majorly pumped as we pulled up to the greeters. Between not knowing what the deal of who these people were, the traditions they carried out and complications of being on the Burner Bus my first year, I hadn’t got my chance for the initiation our two gals were about to go through. Every year since then, I had lived vicariously as the initiation speech was given, virgins were rolled around in the dust and they were given a hammer to hit the gong. It certainly rang my bell in all the right ways. Most of ours, actually. To see people first experience the level of magic I had only ever found there was the kind of wonder that could bring us to our knees.

With the miserable experience of getting there and having to set up at night more than once in the past, my lowest of lows for those years, it was a happy relief that we had gotten there midday. It gave us time to build our individual homes for the week, mine being the second dropoff after Elena (aka: Glenda the Good as she was deemed for a burner name at warp-speed) at her Russian camp, You are Healer , and to either reunite or get introed to new campmates while helping to build our theme camps. A couple of the new guys I met, by the way, that I used the last of my favorite hot pink lipstick on.
After two more of my first new pals in camp helped me set up, a couple of Indian fellas from LA who were super excited to be there for their first time, Mia had found her way back over after getting set up at her own camp, Cheesy Porn. It hadn’t been far from my own, Spanky’s Wine Bar, but was still above and beyond to bring the things I had forgotten in the RV. As was all to common at the burn in regard to expecting the unexpected and it being so easy to bond, that quickly lead to hanging. Something that included a ride on one of my most-visited camp spots for the week, a Sybian. A fascinating (an expensive) machine in that all it looked like was a simple horse saddle with a lump (attachments are an option) that can be ridden fully clothed (if chosen) while giving women an intense orgasm. An experience for Mia that entertainingly puzzled the two of us in that semi-private trailer turned sacred safe space as it made her laugh uncontrollably. Spanky’s is obviously known for wine but also for PBR (playa beer) and for being playfully sex-positive. Beyond the Sybian was erotic massage with multiple sensory stimulations, especially an experience named by the campmates gifting it as Eros Tangere, naughty games at the bar and a stripper pole in the middle of the circus-like tent space that the camp was centered around.

Adding to the gang of new burner buds was a couple who had almost immediately offered me the shower in their RV along with napping any time I needed. Crash and Rex were super awesome and, among the many I bonded with, the closer of my new amigos. In no small part, I’d imagine, due to the time Crash and I got to spend together with her bartending while I barbacked. We both took on those rolls a lot during the first few days. It was by far the largest camp I had been with and the burn brought out such an amazingly loving connectedness that it was hard to not want to give back and participate.
The next day was the official first day of the burn. After grumbling to myself about adorning my body with the weekly atire of a Camelback, a scarf to breathe through in dust storms, goggles and a whole bunch more necessities one never wants to be caught without (including a more heavy-duty mask in my bike basket and mist bottles to gift), Mia and I took advantage of the morning hours to bike around the playa. Myself, beyond the things previously mentioned, in nothing more than a fanny pack, unicorn horn and hot pants. As we peddled around checking out camps on the Esplanade (the main street all the way on the inside of the u-shape of the “suburbs” that included the biggest, oldest, arguably most fabulous and eco-friendly camps), we managed to find Hardley Saloon. A camp that had always been one of my favorites with it’s theme being an all-night whiskey bar and old-West style saloon. Svetlana even went on a date with one of their main campers when we met him at the SF Decompression event a month or two later.
Once the temp started getting too hot to wander comfortably, I headed to Brigit & Aaron’s camp, Go the Fuck to Sleep. They were part of a neighborhood full of Rangers where I would, of course, be visiting a few times throughout the burn. Something I was particularly happy about that day as the worst dust storm I experienced for the year (along with a tiny bit of rain) meant that cars would be stopped at the gate due to visibility. Also holding them up was that more people than Nevada would allow were trying to get in. More and more examples of the ways the line could take so long. A big “whoopsie” on behalf of the org and why I was so thankfully relieved to come early entry.
In addition to finding shelter with Brigit and Aaron from the dust storm, it also provided one of my most entertaining moments for the year when Aaron came looking for after he got the feeling that I’d get lost on my way back from the blue rooms. Which I did. Opting to stay and hang back at camp later on with an “early” bedtime around midnight, the official day one was complete.