Monday, September 14, 2009


There's always a lot to do in Black Rock City. When you enter the City, typically you receive a book of "planned events" for the week. If I were actually talking right now, I would have totally used air quotes. There's something called Playa time, which means it happens when it happens, but generally after it was supposed to happen.

Friday evening was a great exercise in Playa Time. Apparently there was a scheduled "launch" of the Rocket. So, as Burners, we dutifully flocked to the perimeter set about the Rocket and waited with great anticipation. We listened to an art car's sound system calling for Major Thom...we sat, we stood, and then, after about an hour and a half, we left. There was another event to go wait for. The second event was inside one of the Domes towards the edge of the city.

The Domes are typically home of raves to the nth degree. The thumpa-thumpa is intoxicating enough (for me) but not for the multiples of those who experience the Playa in an altered state. Yes, this year I learned the term E-tard, referring to those who take so much E, that their eyes dilate to a point that they look like Anime characters and all they can do is laugh and react to the music. I don't envy the experience. I like my state of mind just as it is.

The music in the dome we ended up in was actually very interesting, as was the crowd. It was a techno version of what seemed to be Eastern European folk songs. Ravers were dancing happily around me, some without inhibition, some completely within their own worlds, and some oblivious to those around them. They wore variations of what seemed like gypsy/tribal garb, many with faces painted and props of indiscriminate nature. We were there to see a circus act, which, was operating on playa time as well.

The act we were there to see was actually quite exquisite. It combined an aerialist act, with fire dancing and various other erotic components. Although there was still more to see there, after a couple of hours, I was at stimulation overload. I needed a mellower place to be, a place without chemically induced euphoria. I parted from my friends with the intent to go to Jazz Cafe, but when I stepped out of the dome, I realized we were in the middle of a dust storm. And not just a dust storm but a white out. Despite the wind I got on my bike and headed the direction of Jazz Cafe, but after a couple of close calls with pedestrians, decided to dismount and just walk. I made it as far as the Man, when I decided pushing my bike into a wall of dust wasn't the thing to do. So I called it a night and headed back to my van instead. After walking across the playa, in a white out, I finally came to my block only to find another rave, just two camps down from my own, and almost every art car on the Playa seemed to be in attendance. The music was awesome and the crowd was inviting, but I was tired, and retreated to my van just the same, where I sprayed myself down with a vinegar solution and wiped the alkali based dust from skin. I fell asleep to the thumpa-thumpa of art cars and raves, and only woke up when the music stopped sometime just before sunrise.

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