Wowzers! We just got back from Magic and from Burning Man, (see an amaaaaazing aerial shot here: http://www.burningbeach.com/images/bm2006.jpg) and all I can say is what a week! And then, to top it off, when we returned I got to speak with my son, Etienne, on the phone. Those two events pretty much take the cake as the highlights of my year so far!
Burning Man was amaaazing. Hard to describe unless you have been. It is like a whole alternate reality or universe into which you get to enter for a week. There is amaaazing art - true art - for the sake of art. Art that gets built just for the week and then burned to the ground for the desert wind to sweep away as if it had never been.
And then there is the music (from raver-techno to metal to worldbeat) that travels amaaazing distances in the desert from massive sound systems stationed in assorted camps and centers scattered across the lunar landscape of the Playa.
But the thing that struck me the most was how inclusive the event is with respect to the participants. You have people from all walks of life from all over the world in attendance. There are old school hippies and new age hippie types, artists, musicians, entertainers, dancers (fire, bellydance, and stripper alike), old people, young people, transgendered folk, gay, straight and bi people, stock brokers, doctors, lawyers, business execs, entrepreneurs, nerds, geeks, dorks, gothlings, rockers, pirates, cowboys, yahoos (and, no, I don't mean "our" beloved Yahoo! techies) - the cultural diversity is staggering! (The census this year was 34,000 people)
The other thing that struck me was the freedom to self-express in any way you choose that takes place. So much PERMISSION to BE! This was perhaps most noticeable in the fashion choices people made. It was, needless to say, a visual paradise as far as the fashion went! I brought a big suitcase stuffed full with nothing but creative costume wear. It was by far the funnest packing for a trip I have ever done.
The best thing (if I had to tease one element out of the experience) was the palpable sense of community and good will everyone seemed to have. You could make friends with just about anyone and everyone seemed genuinely open, loving and cooperative - not guarded and defended and isolated like many of us are in our "normal lives" in the "real world", which now seems more like the abnormal world to me. People freely give of their talents, skills, and Spirits at Burning Man. Special thanks to the guy that spent $50,000 of his own money to install a city-wide wireless network around Black Rock City! And, Joyous thanks to the fritzinator for inspiring us to attend this year. We hope to hook up with you and the PDX burner community again next year!
In other news, I want to thank everyone for their patience this last week as Leah & Joni attempted to keep business running as usual. Unfortunately, we did get a bit behind in shipping orders out and in responding to peoples' emails, but not to worry - we should be fully caught up by mid week. If it has been over 72 hours since you sent us an email, it is possible that we missed it altogether. Please resend!