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  • Radical Rituals at B ...
    This year I’m
    doing something
    different than my
    usual tradition of
    pithy punch list of
    lessons learned to
    wrap this series of
    entries up.
    I’m writing
    this last entry
    exactly two weeks
    after we got home
    from the burn, b ...
  • Radical Rituals at B ...
    Monday morning I
    woke up early and
    decided that I
    wanted to do one
    more personal ritual
    before we had to
    break down and pack
    up our yurt and load
    the truck and leave.
    So I took my handpan
    and one of our
    little chairs and
    walked ou ...
  • Radical Rituals at B ...
    Sunday is always a
    tough day at the
    burn because we have
    to strike
    tough physically of
    course but
    it’s also
    tough emotionally
    because it feels
    like the setting and
    the vibe we worked
    so hard to put toge ...
  • Radical Rituals at B ...
    Saturday was my only
    day with nothing
    pre-planned and
    nothing I had
    committed to do. The
    burn was almost over
    and I was starting
    to feel nibbles of
    FOMO (Fear Of
    Missing Out) so I
    was determined to go
    see some more art
    (especially ...
  • Radical Rituals at B ...
    Because I had
    actually gotten
    enough sleep, I woke
    up reasonably early
    on Friday morning.
    Josh was still
    asleep, but I wanted
    to take advantage of
    the relative
    coolness of the
    morning and go do
    something. So I
    decided to take my h ...


A blog in which Our Heroine records, reflects and wrestles with meaning. With lots of asides.
Tags >> life

The Space Whale at Center CampTuesday morning a group of us Pinkies (me, Josh, Mom, Anjanette and Deron) put on our tutus (for Tutu Tuesday, of course) and decided to go on a playa art adventure, spurred in part by reports that the Space Whale baby (more on that in a minute) was wearing a giant tutu in honor of Tutu Tuesday, and in part by Anjanette’s desire to go say hi to our mutual friend Chris (Chrispy) at her camp (ASS camp) a few time zones over. We hopped on our bikes and headed for Center Camp, which is where the Space Whale was located. The Space Whale was an ambitious and amazing project: a life-sized diving blue whale mama made of ball-and-joint metal skeleton skinned with over 1800 panels of gorgeous stained glass designed by Android Jones, with a baby whale rising to meet her. (The baby whale was not skinned with stained glass, but it was, as we’d been promised, wearing a purple tutu that day. Later in the week we spotted a narwhal horn on the baby whale.) We ooohed and aaahhed and I took a bunch of pictures but then we got restless (as you do when you’re on an art adventure) and kept going to ASS camp. We stopped in their lounge and did indeed find Chrispy and hung out with her and some other folks for a bit.

Lord Snort the giant metal warthogThen we got restless again and went to go look at more art. Highlights included a gorgeous wind-powered kinetic sculpture (made by the same artist who made the Olympic torch for Rio, apparently), a giant spinning metal warthog called “Lord Snort” that you could climb on (though we didn’t at the time, because it looked too fact apparently the spinning got to be too dangerous so they shut that part of it down later in the week), an incredible huge orange and blue octopus made out of concrete surfaced with a mosaic of round ceramic tiles (we met the artist, Peter, and some of his crew out there...they were giving away ceramic stamped octopus pendants and leftover bits of the mosaic tiles, and it was really hot out there with no shade so I told them I’d come back to them with some ice cold cucumber water from Pink Heart), an incredible 12-foot tall bear with “fur” made entirely of pennies pressed edge-way into concrete, and a giant friendly-looking metal robot called “Mechan-9” sprawled out on the playa as though it had just collapsed and been partially buried there, which we climbed all over.Josh and Anjanette climbing on Mechan-9

Eventually we headed back to Pink Heart, but as soon as we got back I went to our water bar and filled up two Pink Heart water bottles full of cold cucumber water and convinced Anjanette to come with me to give them to the Octopus crew. We gave them the bottles and they loved them, and we had a bit more chatting and took a few more pendants to give away, but then just as we were getting ready to leave the dust got worse and worse until it was a total white out so we had to stay put for a bit. (Anjanette and I seem to have a particular gift for getting caught in white-outs together.) By the time we got back to camp we were completely frosted gray with dust. But dust is something you learn to live with and appreciate out there so we just wiped down and then we went to go serve ice cream (Pink Heart also gives out vegan coconut milk ice cream on three different days, and as previously mentioned, free frozen treats in the desert are AWESOME). I spent a fun hour or so dancing up and down the line giving people ice cream while Josh and Alex scooped. Just like at Arctica, I loved being able to make a quick positive connection with a cross-section of amazing burners. Some people just take the ice cream with a smile or a thank you, but some you get to talk to for a minute or flirt with or make them laugh with a joke.The amazing mosaic tile Octopus (and fish)

Anjanette and Julia in the Pink Lounge at Pink Heart CampMonday was a slow start. I was hoping to be able to go to the Temple and place my art piece and have my processing time, but the Temple wasn’t finished yet (there were quite a few things actually that weren’t finished by Monday, including the Man, whose head had broken off and they were struggling to fix, the Catacomb of Veils, various big theme camps, and probably a bunch of other things I didn’t see). So instead there was a fair amount of hanging around both in our little shade patio outside the yurt and out in the front of camp in the Pink Lounge. We had fun reconnecting with people we hadn’t seen in a long time (like Fink Purry and Aurora Gold, whose RV was next to us) and got to know some new-to-us Pinkies like the adorable Keith (who made the Love Trees art project across the playa from the Pink Lounge) and his wife Ali (later renamed Bliss), who were from the U.K., and Deron (an old friend of Halcyon’s and an amazing artist, who drew super cool sharpie “tattoos” on my arms).

Josh with HeadspaceWe also got a chance to finally see Headspace, the amazing art car that one of our camp-mates (Mark) had built and brought to the playa this year (with a lot of help from a dedicated group of people, including our camp-mates Kathy and Anthony). They were still working on it when we first saw it, but we got a chance to get on it and look around and it was seriously gorgeous in every detail. I especially loved the metal sides with the “HS” logo cut out of them in a beautiful pattern, the gorgeous and comfy purple velvet cushions on the bottom level and the metal stairs that led to the upper deck with cut outs of the ten principles (at night these ten principles cutouts glowed with rainbow colors). Of course the face itself on the front of the car (which appeared to be white when viewed one side and black from the other, and was all lit up with changing color LEDs at night) was gorgeous and amazing too. Josh and I had contributed to the Kickstarter to help fund the car, and I was excited to see one of the “perks” of that contribution, which was supposed to be our names engraved on a copper plaque as “Headspace crew”. We found the plaque—but only Josh’s name was on it, not mine (probably because he was the one who actually sent in the contribution), which kind of bummed me out. He got a pink captain’s hat with the Headspace logo on it and some other schwag too, but at least we can share that.

Emily and Julia having grilled cheese sandwichesAround lunchtime someone told us there was a camp right behind Pink Heart that was serving grilled cheese so Mom and I went to go get one. They were pretty delicious (as is any food someone else makes you in the desert) and even Mom, a diabetic, decided to treat herself to one.

Yay, it’s finally time for the Burning Man wrap-up and reflection. As usual I am writing this a few weeks after returning home, when the dust has mostly settled and/or been cleaned off most things, so some of the immediacy and detail has faded but some of the lessons and themes have finally clarified. I already sort of did a context-setting introduction last week when I talked about “returning” as one of the big themes that affected/came out of reflection upon this year’s burn, so I’m going to just jump right in to the day-by-day recounting here. As usual though, you are welcome to click here if you want to just skip to the end of all this detail and read the list of lessons and takeaways, and click here if all you want to do is look at the pretty pictures with captions. And if you are unfamiliar with Burning Man in general, you can go read some of my initial entries from 2011 in which I do lots of ‘splainin’, or click here to go to the official Burning Man web site which has more info and content and things to look at than you can possibly imagine. (But don’t get lost, come back here eventually!)

Josh finishing up the sign for the Pink Heart Water Bar This year’s theme was Da Vinci’s Workshop, which provoked some thinking about Makers and making things (and was a nod to the Maker Movement). Normally I am all in when it comes to making things, and as previous years have shown I like to make big art pieces to bring, but with all my health distractions this year the only things I managed to make for Burning Man were a new pink scallop-coat and the plaster bust art piece I mentioned in the previous entry. Josh however had committed to making a big new infrastructure piece for our Pink Heart camp: a new modular metal water bar to replace our janky wooden one (one of Pink Heart’s major gifts is that we serve ice cold cucumber water 24/7 to thirsty citizens of Black Rock City). Unfortunately, given how difficult and distracting our pre-burn summer months were (with readying for and executing a month of summer camp and my undergoing and recovering from major reconstructive surgery in July, plus a few trips), the way that project came together was through Josh working heroically hard and mostly by himself (with some last-minute assistance from me) to get it done in the couple of weeks before the burn. Then he went up early on Thursday for build (with Anjanette, in a big U-haul that in addition to the water bar was also able to take a bunch of our other big items, thank goodness), to help put together both the water bar and Pink Heart camp. I stayed behind to finish all the packing and get kids situated for back-to-school and then Mom and I packed our stuff into our trusty minivan and drove up together on Saturday, with an overnight stop in Reno at the Grand Sierra Resort. 

Julia and Emily all packed up and ready to leave for Burning Man. Look how clean we are!Mom and I had reasonably smooth sailing out of the Bay Area and up to Reno, and arrived in Reno at the GSR around 7:30pm. It was a GIANT casino resort hotel, and a little overwhelming to us with a lot of activity, but we checked in and got our room and were able to chill out for a bit. We were hoping to meet up with another few Pink Hearters in Reno (Ari, a burgin from Israel whom we’d never met, and our friends Kathy and Anthony who were rolling in from Phoenix), and after a flurry of messages and phone calls we did manage to connect up. We decided to see Ari in the morning (our plan was to meet up with him and Kathy and Anthony for an absurdly early breakfast at around 4am and try to leave around 5am to caravan out to Black Rock City together, hoping to avoid the huge long wait to get in by arriving in the early hours) but we wound up managing to have a late dinner with Kathy and Anthony at the GSR. This was the first time we’d met Anthony, and he was a true delight just as we’d thought he would be. It was so fun talking and reconnecting with them that we didn’t get to bed until close to midnight.

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