The Center Camp Cafe has a performance stage. I helped run it and enjoyed the people I worked with. Like the event itself, our stage ran 24 hours a day with over 200 people performing.
Below are a few entrants to Saturday's fashion show.
I heard this guy is a winner
On other days I served coffee,
Coffee shop dish washing crew
took a shift on Man Watch (it guards The Man 24/7 until it burns Saturday night),
You meet some interesting people, like Cray Krey, when you're a guarding the man.
and assisted the foot wash/massage crew. Your feet take a beating in the hot, dusty desert.
My left foot getting some love
I missed having close friends around. With no phone service or internet, you feel far away and out of touch. One day I saw a bar with a sigh posted, "Stop here for free internet!". When I pulled out my PC and gave it a shot, nothing happened.
I asked the barmaid for help. She smiled and said, "We have no internet. We're just f--kin' with ya! I guess you're new here". I was. Contacting the outside world is frowned upon, part of the "live in the moment" thing.
A few days in I had better luck at the Temple of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Their tech guy had figured out a way to go online and I was able to sent out my first BMan blog and say hello to my family.
When I finished I noticed a phone booth next to their camp. In my own naive way I asked if it worked. Aaron (the tech guy) proudly said, "Yep and it's free. Anywhere in the world, five minutes".
He wasn't kidding. Everyday I'd ride my bike a mile through the dust to tell my wife and kids hello.
Everyone else assumed it was a fake phone and that I was part of the act. One morning a lovely woman stood nearby chuckling at me pretending to talk on the public phone. After I hung up I told her, "It's not a joke, it really works".
She said, "Really?... I'd like to call my daughter". When she tried she looked over at me and said, "Can you believe it? I can't remember my own daughter's number". No one remembers phone numbers anymore, it's a cell phone thing.
One theme camp brought a 747 and parked it nearby. They let me join the crew as we turned it into a night club. To enter you have to pass through an insecurity checkpoint,
get frisked by a hot, young thang,
then check your emotional baggage.
How burning man.
Occasionally I'd fly the dust covered mammoth myself.
Some days I was actually a Burning Man artist. I got permission from The Artery to set up a studio next to the big guy.
When people came out to see him they could stop and I'd draw them.
The Bad Portrait Studio was a hit; with pen in hand I was part of the fun.
At night I'd retreat to my favorite bar, The Awkward and Tawdry Lounge. They showed movies, served absinthe, and offered a living room setting with a roaring fire. The theme camp was composed of fifty friends who had grown up together in Sacramento. I felt comfortable there.
I could go on writing, about the porto-potti that came alive or the man that tried to sell me dehydrated water
but it's time to move on.
I'm back in the comfort of my own camper van heading for what must be another fun place, Death Valley. Although they brag about it being the hottest place on earth I hear their dehydrated water is free.
The artist and his fans