September 4th, 2004

buzzed, B&W

The last day . . .

I wonder if the costumes here are a sign of conformity or individuality. They're so common that often they seem "normal," and I feel slightly unusual in my own clothes. It seems to me that the costumes are a part of Black Rock City, perhaps the uniform of society.

The camp has definitely been switching gears from the true community that exist, to a party mode. As some have said, the "weekenders" have been arriving, many here it seems just to party.

Looking back over what I wrote Tuesday, I have to revise what I said about Matt and Cal. Cal seems to be truly amazed by what is here, often surprised, feeling the need to point out anything that isn't quite normal. Matt on the other hand isn't amazed by everything, rather he just wears his emotions on his sleeves - when he sees something he likes, you'll know. Both different from my somewhat detached/non-chalant, inexpressive self; neither being better or worse.

The mornings here are interesting. You can watch the camp slowly wake up around you, people offering their excess food, saying good morning to their neighbors, etc, but behind it all, you can still hear the techno pumping from the Playa, a reminder that there are people still dancing from the night (or nights) before.
buzzed, B&W

After the burn . . .

So, the burn was what I expected. A silly, over produced affair, that felt very commercial. I didn't feel like there was any meaning to it, just a bunch of pyrotechnics, fire dancers, and a burning effigy. The awards show and opening ceremonies at DI Globals have more emotion to them.

What the burn did remind me of was Stratford-fest, a big block party back when I was in college. Mob behavior, entranced by fire (in that case, burning couches in the streets). The crowd/mob was similar here, somewhat restrained at first, then rushing the collapsed, burning effigy.

On an unrelated note, I'm annoyed at how people on one hand realize they're part of a great community, sharing whatever they have. On the other, many don't seem to realize the "Leave No Trace" motto is just as important to preserving the sense of community. To keep Black Rock City alive, the Bureau of Land Management has to be appeased, which means we have to follow their rules and regulations. That means no trash, or the organizers get fined. Perhaps this is too big picture for many of the participants of this community(particularly the weekenders), revelling in their RV's and bringing in semis full of junk. The amount of trash I've picked up this week is ridiculous within the confines of preserving this community. Yes, there is trash pick-up after the event (I've heard it takes 6 weeks) but a true community, nay a true member of a community needs to take ownership and responsibility - that means people need to stop throwing their beer cans wherever is convenient, dropping glowsticks, losing candy wrappers, etc etc, hoping/thinking that their one piece of trash won't make a difference. If this were a true, member empowered community, people would take responsibility for their actions, rather than hoping someone else will cover their ass. Yes, in a community, the members will help others when they slip, but careless abuse of the common ground reeks of immaturity. Wow, that was quite the rant.

So, does the lackluster burn make me feel scorned, or that BM is a waste? Absolutely not - but I don't believe BM is defined by the Burning Man. Perhaps the temple burn tomorrow would make me feel like there was valid closure or a true climax to this week. I doubt it. I think the observation yesterday, where it was stated that come the weekend, BM goes from from community to party is pretty accurate. Not that there's anything wrong w/ a big party, but I think the amazing community is so much more impressive.