"Undermining my electoral viability since 2001."

Burning Videos

I got a little email which told me the name of my favorite art piece from last year's Burning Man, which got some press, which led me find it on YouTube, which let me share it with you.

The spinning is powered by a number of bike stations around the structure, and the strobing is keyed to the drums, so it's a group effort to make it happen. Sweet.

And some pyroporn:

Anyway, I'm in the Bay for a couple weeks. Insanely busy as always.

Speaking of such events, the Baby Blue Cherub remebers Chineese dinner.

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Charmed Outlaw

I have a delightful memory from last summer, of Friday night at Burning Man, being out and about with two beautiful girls from Portland we met; real underground babes with dynamite style, impeccable festival pedigrees, and at least a decade's worth of world traveling and other bohemia under their belts, all without ever showing taxable income. "Gone chicks," an older generation of beat writer might say. I wrote about this obliquely before, but never told the story itself.

We'd met earlier in the week when they sheltered with us through a dust storm, and bonded over knuckle tats and their delicious lavender vodka cocktails, just a good honest click with the whole group, and so naturally it seemed we should all rendezvous and ramble the night together. Though the whole pack started out as one, the girls and I got separated from Mark and Zya fairly early -- no worries, just the way things flow -- and the three of us ended up making a great convivial loop of the grounds on foot over the course of the night, dance party to dance party to dance party and yon.

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It's A Long Way To The Top If You Wanna Rock and Roll

It's the last day of summer, a summer of many scenes, travel, exploration, some hard yards. You learn things about yourself, things you didn't even know you didn't know, those fabled unknown unknowns.

You might come back from Mexico and discover from your roommates that you displayed a rather more zesty case of wedding-fever the other weekend than was previously known. It's all second-hand knowledge because you honesty don't remember yourself, and it sounds kind of tawdry, but making out with your friends' ex-girlfriends is a staple of Portland culture, so it's all good, right? Right.

One just like the other, Sin's a Good Man's Brother.

You might have your friends from Burning Man roll through, and go on and on about your square-ass work history over pre-dinner cocktails, and find out that the one you had an eye for already has a man back home. It's all in the game, but would you have found this out if you handn't had a burned-up hand and talked a bit more pretty? Might it have played differently, more like you'd hoped? The world may never know, but you try not to stress it. You resonated. That's rare and true and more than enough.

It's been two good years since I've felt clear like I'm starting to, back around the last time I returned to Brooklyn, post-Vagabender, starting up as a legitimate young man. I found myself a pretty nice girlfriend then, or maybe she found me (as has tended to be my m.o.), but regardless we had a pretty good thing for six months or so in Park Slope. The Belle do Mois. As has also tended to be my m.o., I got lured away by another bright sweet one, a real peach, and then I moved to the hills of California and didn't come back, lost her too. I wonder in hindsight what was really behind that decision to run.

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I'm back in the saddle. Audentes ortuna juvat. Fortune favors the bold. That's Virgil, bitches. Old school.

I'm going to write something good and gonzo exploring the Burning Man experience this year, but that's not done yet. I will start tomorrow, as gonzo works best if it's written fresh and hot, but for now I need to wind down and get another good night's sleep.

Suffice to say, my attitude about the universe is a whole lot better now than it was two weeks ago. There were some dark moments out there -- getting in the groove was hard, frought with weakness and defeat, and exodus was fucking brutal -- but the experience was high, heady, fun and most of all enlightening and empowering. As I said, I feel spiritually cleansed. It turned me on enough to believe in the "next year" dream of really organizing a big expedition, being a camp leader. More on that later.

Getting back into civilization was a long hard run, and the Default World is unquestionably weird, but while playa eyes and a clean spirit do throw our shadows into harsher relief, it's only because they bring a lot of positive light to the situation.

Indeed, it's been nothing but aces since we made the gate. Our Pyramid Lake dirt-nap saved lives. The waitress at the Iron Skillet was a queen. I turned $1 to $40 in the penny slot. Swimming in the Trinity was divinity. Kellymundo deep-cleaned the house while we were gone. Moamar will ride again. I got my passport in the mail. The Girth's would-be lady friend called him back. With the exception of my business partners being stuck in a glass house on the beach in the middle of Huricaine Henriette, everything's coming up Cabeçon.

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Default World

Just a quick note that I'm back in the default world. Spiritually cleansed and a little crispy. All is well.

More soon.

UPDATE: Scott at North Bay Auto says all Moamar needed was a tune-up. Given the experience of a sudden loss of power, I'll have to see it to believe it, but he's the man on this, and it's good fucking news to me!

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The Burning Man Tapes

I was at Burning Man in 2003. It was great. You should go. I can't in 2004 because it's at the same time as the Republican National Convention in NYC and I will have more important things to do, but count me in for 2005.

This audio record is a massively incomplete account of only a few moments. I offer it here for what it's worth and nothing more. Some textual context is provided. At some point I'll also transcribe my paper journal, which was more a list of bullet points not to forget than anything else.

Recycle Camp
On Thursday I was starting to loose my cool. I had to find something to do. More participation in addition to just reading some of my performance art. I also needed physical exercise, so I hit up recycle camp. They crush beer and soda cans with a bike contraption. We took turns feeding in cans to be crushed; getting crushed cans in burlap sacks.

The camp was run by old hands, but there were a bunch of up and comers and youngters there too. It was a real good scene, and I was very happy to find it. Sparky was probably the best; he got a call on Friday that his wife was pregnant. There's a moment for you.

Interview One: I interviewed a 14-year-old making his second trip out about how he liked everything. You can hear them doing their hawking in the break here. For the latter half, I'm the one riding the bike.

Interview Two: An interview with a 12 year old. I feel like he was more on my level than the kid before.

Interview Three: Sugar Bunny runs this fuckin' recycle camp, agressive and wild and topless the whole time. Her and the rest of the people in charge were loud, agressive and drunk most of the time. It was too much for some of the more mellow people; but I got big kicks out of it.

Saturday Night
This was the main event, and I downed a quart of psychadelic mushroom smoothy and hopped on the back of the Wunami Villiage Bus to roll out to the man. It was a transcendent experience and utterly uplifting and positive. Don't listen to these things unless you're comfortable listening to what comes out of my mouth when I'm very high on mind-bending drugs. Some of it is interesting and I'll explain it all the best I can.

1 - Peaking: Prefaced with a little quip from my guide Robin. This is some audio from the very far out part, I think just before the Burn got started. There's an incredible convergance as the whole city gathers at the Man. People bring in portable soundsystems, there's mass fire-dancing, etc. The first big statement is "I'm a middlegrounder," which is a title that Robin's friend Nickoli gave me. He's one of those far out dudes who will talk to you about the Indego Children, I rocked a stars and stripes bandana most of the time, but we got along well. I like that title quite a lot. I'm a middlegrounder. I straddle gaps.

I knew I was going to try and work for MfA after this, so my mind was on big things; my self-appointed mission to save the country from ruin. Hence, "the flag is good for many things, one of them is burning." On Sunday night there's another big burn, the temple burn, and I wrote a series of resolutions along these lines, wrapped them in my American Flag bandana, and tossed it into the spiritual inferno.

Also from this part is my sense that "this is the future." Burning Man is very much a pirate utopia. The second part here is after the revel of the burn and I'm sitting down near this large ring of half-buried lights (think "running" christmas lights, but about the size of your fist and anchored with concrete) that had previously set up a perimiter around the Man. "Fire is where choreography ends" is a little art moment that struck me when I was watching the flames from the Burn create dust devils from the air being pulled in to feed the fire.

2 - Fun/Plateau: I was really wrestling with my role in things a lot here, and so I went around to a lot of different scenes, trying to find the right fit, trying to find "my people." I had a great time -- that bluegrass art car was a smoking good time, but the dude driving it kept giving me skunk-eye; jealously protecting his woman I think. A lot of my experience was dealing with sexual frustration. It's a hot place there, and I wasn't ready for it in a lot of ways.

I never did really find a social scene that I fit into, but I sure got some ideas about what I'm all about out of the process.

Full Circle and Complete The Joke were kind of my own little comic one-liners I used with myself.

3 - Cleanup: One thing that bothered me was the amount of trash left over from spectators at the Burn. It was really kindof gross, and I started picking things up. Problem is, there are no trash cans, so whatever I picked up now became my problem. I couldn't just ditch the trash, so I started strategically collecting stuff and making a little found-object puppet. I got a strip of a feather boa and a bunch of fragrant wax from a giant candle someone set up, created "Charlene, my MOOP date."

MOOP stands for Matter Out Of Place; playa-slang for litter. I would tell people, "yeah, I picked her up." I'm a witty mofo. It was a good exercise for me; creative and responsible and unsexy. After I took her home to our camps trash, I spent a lot of time standing on the smoldering remnants of the man. It was warm and kind of somber, and the people there were good. A lot of ex-firefighters and military types.

Final Thoughts: In my tent getting ready to go to sleep on Sunday night. Kinda wraps it all up.

Maybe more someday soon. Peace.

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