Tag Archives: Twisted Swan

Burning Man 2019 – August 28th & 29th

Want to help support the cause? Donate here!

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!

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. 🍪