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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 ...
    Readmore...
  • 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 ...
    Readmore...
  • Radical Rituals at B ...
    Sunday is always a
    tough day at the
    burn because we have
    to strike
    camp—it’s
    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 ...
    Readmore...
  • 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 ...
    Readmore...
  • 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 ...
    Readmore...

Parentheticals

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

En-KiWednesday morning started off pretty mellow, though I still woke up early (at least I once again scored on a clean-ish potty). I stopped off and saw a few bits of nearby art on my way to and from the potty, and then wound up sitting in the Pink Swing with Anji for a little while to talk to her about some of the things going on in her burn. While we were there we saw a really amazingly all lime-green and black costumed guy trudging by, looking like he was on his way home from a crazy night out, and called him over so we could look at his costume more closely. He told us he was “En-Ki” (a Sumerian god), and he really made me want to up my costume game!

Anji and I decided we wanted to go to the Temple, so I went back to the yurt to change and grab my stuff and see if Josh wanted to go (he didn’t). Melanie joined us though, and we biked out to the Temple together and then split up when we got there.

Writing at the TempleI spent some time thinking about Josh’s dad and his imminent physical transition, and wrote him a little note on the Temple wishing him ease and grace during it. I also took off the embroidery floss bracelet that I’d been wearing since Gaming Camp started earlier in the summer and tied it to one of the wooden hearts that Anji had had someone make (they said “YOU ARE LOVED”) and bring to the Temple for people to use for their own messages. I wrote myself a couple little encouraging messages on the heart: “you are enough/self care comes first” (which is one of the big lessons that working—and breaking down—at Gaming Camp had reinforced for me) and “thanks past me for taking care of future me...I love you!” (which has also been a kind of ongoing theme for me this year). I didn’t drop down too deep into reflection because I knew my time there was limited—I had my Handpan Jam gig at Center Camp to get to by 10:30. So I left Anji there and biked back with Mel to Pink Heart to collect Josh and my handpan.


Supernova at the FYFFH workshop at Pink HeartI got up early enough on Tuesday morning to ride out to the playa-side potties (which had just been cleaned, great timing!) put my tutu outfit on and eat some breakfast. Then I got my self and supplies up to the frontage, where one of my favorite art flunkies (aka my mom) and I laid out some supplies and blank flags on one of the “mushroom” chairs in a shady part of the pink lounge. There were already people hanging around interested in the flag making, so I gathered up a group of people and explained the project and then sent the first batch off to color. People kept wandering in to the frontage and wanting to do the project so I found myself doing the same thing I do at Maker Faire, which is to grab people as they come in and make a group to which I explain the project all at once. After explaining the project concept and handing out blank flags I would remind them to use newspaper under their flag, encourage them to talk to each other while they were coloring, and tell them to come see me afterwards for pictures, and then let them go off wherever they chose in the frontage. Mom was also really helpful in explaining the project and encouraging people to make flags, and in helping me clean up all the newspapers and sharpies that got left about. Yay for art flunkies!

Freaks making flags at Pink Heart during the FYFFH workshopFor the last hour or two of the workshop there were clumps of people coloring all over frontage, which made me really happy. I believe we went through almost a hundred flags, which is significantly more than in past years. I’m not sure what made the project so attractive this year other than mere serendipity and timing (10am-1pm on a Tuesday seems to be a good time for people to come hang out and make art) but I was happy to see that everything worked out so well and that I had been able to touch so many people with the FYFFH project this year. I met some wonderful people and had a lot of fun talking to people about their flags (I asked each person to tell me a story about or explain something they’d put on their flag), and sometimes the timing worked out so that those stories could be told in a group setting, which I think was a great innovation. One of the important points of doing this project is not only to see and appreciate our own freaky bits, but those of others as well, so showing other people our flags and talking about our own freaky bits in a non-judgmental, supportive way with other burners (who are already mostly operating in a spirit of radical openness and appreciation) was really great. I also encouraged people to talk to each other while they were coloring, and to introduce their freaky bits to each other as a way to connect and to reclaim the word “freak” as a compliment (e.g. “hey, that’s really freaky!” or “you are such an interesting freak” or “hey I’m that kind of freak too!”)

Freaks and their flags at the FYFFH workshop at Pink HeartThe only hard part about the FYFFH workshop was taking pictures, because the place where I was taking pictures was in the direct sunlight and it was HOT, especially early on before the shade spread to cover the whole frontage. The direct super hot sunlight not only made it difficult to see the camera screen (I just pointed my phone in the right general direction and hoped for the best), but I actually got a little woozy and had to drink a ton of water and be vigilant about staying in the shade at all other times. I’m not positive I got all the pics I tried to take (because I couldn’t even tell if the camera app was on), but those I did manage to take turned out pretty well, if I do say so myself. I didn’t pass out any moo cards or flyers, but I told people that if they could remember the instruction to “fly your freak flag high” they could find the web site and see their pics later.


Superhero SupernovaI woke up a few minutes before my alarm went off at 2:30am, and changed into the “space babe” superhero outfit that I’d packed to wear for my Greeter shift. I had found the base of this costume at a playawear sale in Berkeley a week or so before the burn. It was a zip-up, silvery black spandex bodysuit thing with short sleeves and super short shorts, with a long red spandex cape attached at the shoulders and six large round turquoise plastic “buttons” down the front that each had a circular infinity light inside of them. It was something I originally pulled out of the rack and looked at and went “naw, I can’t possibly wear that, it’s too small, too revealing, not flattering to my big butt and thighs”. But some other little voice inside me said “aw come on, just try it on and see...besides, every time you think some piece of apparel or accessory is just too outrageous, you wind up loving it later.” So I tried it on and it did fit (yay stretchy spandex), and it was in fact revealing but I decided to experiment with it anyway. I added black, fringed fingerless gloves, black thigh highs, sparkly silver UGG boots, the silver and turquoise crown I made at Gaming Camp and big star earrings. And thus was the superhero version of Supernova born. As it turned out, the night was mild and I wasn’t even cold so I didn’t have to put on a jacket over the outfit, and the light ups in the bodysuit were perfect for the night part of the shift. I wish I had some pictures of the moment but I will always remember how good it felt to be standing tall and proud at the Gate at sunrise with my cape flying in the wind behind me.

Greeter Stations with bellsAnd being a Greeter turned out to be super fun! Anji, Kathy, Michelle and I rode our bikes out to the Gate and got there early for our shift, so we sat around for a bit in the Greeter station and got oriented by the very nice shift leads, and then when it was time, we all sort of randomly picked a spot in the Gate lineup to get started. We overlapped with the previous shift for a few minutes and watched how it was done, and then we were on our own for four hours. The Greeter before me gave me some great stickers that he’d made to keep handing out to people along with the usual What-Where-When guide, map and other materials. The traffic was pretty slow (it being so early in the morning) but pretty much everyone who came through was super stoked to have finally arrived and happy to chat and talk and do some ritual if they were first-timers (virgins).

I told virgins that we had two different Burning Man rituals for them to Participate in (they could lie in the dust and do a dust angel or some sort of dust encounter, and they could ring the bell next to the gate and shout “I am no longer a Burning Man virgin!”), and invited them to try one or both. Every virgin I talked to at least rang the bell, and many of them also did some sort of dust angel. I also told them that since the theme this year was Radical Ritual, they were particularly lucky to be able to do their virgin rituals at this burn. I told them this because I wanted to make the moment special and meaningful for them. (One of the gifts I like giving people at the burn is an awareness of/appreciation for a small, positive moment that they’re in.) I also encouraged people to Participate in the ritual of hugging the Greeter and did my best to welcome each and every person with enthusiasm and excitement. (I told people “oh man, I’ve been waiting for you for so long, and I’m so glad you’re finally here! I’m so glad to see you! Welcome home!”)


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