Pinko has left for the desert. He's helping build the infrastructure of Black Rock City as a volunteer with Department of Public Works. He sent a message to say that he and the crew he had picked up at the Reno airport were just about 100 yards away from the DPW party in Gerlach when the RV broke down. That's just how he rolls.
The good news is that Burning Man is filled with people who are handy with tools and gadgets and things, so they'll all surely be fine in no time. The other good news is that I'm not depending on him for transportation. If I need a ride in Black Rock City, I'll be on the Train of Thought.
The Train of Thought (note: Engine Number 42) began life as a golf cart. I think the Currus Autem Solis did too.
These little mutant vehicles are licensed by the Black Rock City Department of Mutant Vehicles. Nella Gadget and Simmer created the Train of Thought, and Doktur Morbius, aka Killbuck, and Nila Northsun came up with the Chariot. Naturally, they both light up at night. So does the Corndog Calliope, also brought to all of us by Doktur Morbius:
A fellow named Oscillator is intimately involved with the creation of this equipment, which is all integral to a theme camp known as Sideshow. Unfortunately for Pinko, not a single one of those individuals is in sight in Gerlach at the moment, but I believe Burners say, "In dust we trust," at times like these and everything works out all right.
Meanwhile, I got some boots for the occasion because as a New Yorker, I go straight to shoes - not because of fashion, necessarily, but because the ability to walk comfortably for miles and miles is essential. Dr. Martens was ready for me:
I wear mine laced almost to the top and tied in a big bow. I'll be wearing them to Fairway, the neighborhood grocery store, later today - but I walked across town and all over Fort Tryon Park in them as if they were made specially for me. Two lovely Twenty-Somethings complimented them as I was walking up the stairs from Abby's Lawn to New Leaf Cafe for a blackberry cocktail.
Preliminary research suggests that Burning Man is very likely the largest conceptual art project in history, when you factor in not only the size and scope of Black Rock City today but also the beginnings of Burning Man. It all started in 1986 when two guys, and maybe some friends, burned an eight foot wooden man on Baker Beach near San Francisco in an act of "radical self-expression," according to Larry - who burned the man.
Mythology has built up around the event on the beach and the event in the desert, but what interests me most is the temporary nature of the whole thing. Even though it's an institution with year-round employees now, the man still burns and leaves no trace. Black Rock City is there, and then it's gone - rather like Brigadoon.
I use Brigadoon intentionally because the amount of performance embedded in Burning Man is more involved than Hollywood and Broadway productions combined - complete with kilts and goofy pants.
As an Existential Absurdist, of the Cat's Cradle and Hitchhiker's Guide school of Existential Absurdity, an extraordinarily outlandish, monumental creation that goes from Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust in the blink of a metaphorical eye - just like humans, and all of humanity for that matter - makes my heart sing.
Here's another number from Gene Kelly. It's gratuitous, but what the hell. Classic production numbers can be Thing of Beauty #069-101; Burning Man itself can be #070-101, and me going gets to be #071-101. I'm betting that by the time school starts in September, I'm going to be on to a whole new list for the Exploring Beauty Challenge (h/t Jennifer at realia)
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