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.

Anyway at around 1pm we started cleaning up and taking the final pics because we had to start setting up the frontage for ice cream, and both Mom and I were supposed to be doing a server shift. So there was no real break in between—we just transitioned from flags to giving people ice cream cones. I was all right with that though, because I really like being able to gift people something as lovely as a cold (albeit somewhat melty) sweet treat, although there were so many people there waiting for ice cream that we didn’t really have a lot of time to interact with people. I did get to see and re-hug several members of Daring Greatly whom I’d greeted at the Gate the night before, who had come by for the ice cream I’d told them about, and that was fun.

Dust storm as seen from the front of Pink HeartAfter serving ice cream for an hour or two, we were relieved by other Pinkies and had a little bit of a break where I went and laid down in our yurt. Then it was time to go work at the Pink Heart water bar from 4-6. It was still super hot and people were really thirsty and appreciative of our water bar, so that was fun gifting as well, but it also meant that we had to keep the line moving and there wasn’t much time for interacting with each person, plus I was constantly filling (or convincing other Pinkies to fill) and replacing the water coolers. Still, I had some nice conversations and was able to give out a few water bottles (sometimes in a semi-scolding way, where I’d tell people “hey, Pink love is tough love and I’m gonna give you this now but you’d better take care of yourself better from now on and bring a water bottle everywhere you go”). While we were at the water bar, there was a huge dust storm that blew in. Pink Heart got lucky and wasn’t really hit by the storm and was kind of protected, so it was kind of fun to watch it from a relatively safe place, and to see everyone so frosted with dust afterwards. After the dust storm there was also a bit of a rain (and a rainbow!), but luckily not so much that things got muddy.

Bella, Michelle and Alex with the Gifting WallAfter the water bar shift I believe there was some sitting around and some camp dinner, and then I rallied for one last push to go put up the laser-cut wooden heart necklaces and the accompanying sign and larger hearts that we’d made for the Gifting Wall. (Which I really think we should have renamed the Radical Love Ritual.) Michelle, Alex and Bella all pitched in to help, which made the whole thing go a whole lot faster and made it more fun, of course. The idea was that there were a bunch of blank heart necklaces on one side of the fence and you could walk up and take one off and write a couple words of love, compliment or encouragement on it with a pink sharpie also attached to the fence, and then hang the one you made on the other side and take one that someone else had left. So you got to make love and take love. You could also write additional words of love and positivity on either of the two larger laser-cut wooden hearts we attached to either side of the necklace area, and these would be taken to the temple to burn and release all that love and positivity into the world. Anyway we seeded the ritual by writing a few things on the heart necklaces and the big hearts and then just left it set up there to see what would happen. (More on this later).

After that I’m sure there was more hanging around and shenanigans, but I don’t remember specifics except at some point I did have a great conversation for a while with a guy who was the driver for the Soul Train art car (I’m spacing on his name). He was hanging out with us and rejuvenating while his car was down at the Black Rock Roller Disco a few camps down the Esplanade. I do know that I went to bed relatively early again, not only because I was tired from a long day but also because I had things going on Wednesday morning and was planning to stay up all night Wednesday night.


[Radical Rituals at Burning Man: Preamble and Prologue]

[Radical Rituals at Burning Man: Part 1]

[Radical Rituals at Burning Man: Part 3]

[Radical Rituals at Burning Man: Part 4]

[Radical Rituals at Burning Man: Part 5]

[Radical Rituals at Burning Man: Part 6]

[Radical Rituals at Burning Man: Part 7]

[Radical Rituals at Burning Man: Part 8]

[Radical Rituals at Burning Man: Part 9]

[Full set of Radical Ritual pictures on Facebook]