Quantcast
Connect with us

The Deadly Desert of Burning Man

Published

on

I go to Burning Man each year, and I went this year.

Yes, it’s difficult to explain the experience.

Moreover, although non-attending acquaintances may politely ask you how it was, their eyes glaze with incomprehension and boredom before you are half a minute into your description of the strange vehicles and buildings, the glowing, pulsating science fictional city.

ADVERTISEMENT

The fact is, they really just don’t want to hear about it, and the whole thing challenges description anyway.

Whatever it is, it isn’t Planet America. There are no words to render the weirdness understandable.

When you’re “out there,” time seems to expand in some way. It may only be about a week, but in some fashion it feels like months, in that desert.

So, anyway, I’m back … but it takes a long time, an indefinite time, to be “all the way” back.

I don’t just mean the interval in which you gradually resume your former daily routines– and that may vary per person. Everyone deals with it differently.

ADVERTISEMENT

What I mean is that you’re not back until you have finally gotten rid of the dust, the yellow-white dust of the “Playa” in the Black Rock Desert.

The incredibly fine, all-pervasive alkaline dust, composed of salt and gypsum and fossiliferous matter. Calcium sulphate. The residue of a prehistoric lake bed. Dust that coats your skin and your clothes and your possessions, the dust that creeps into every pore, every crevice of your physical being.

This dust simply has to be endured as a phenomenon of the experience. It is everywhere and can’t be avoided. There are dust storms…

ADVERTISEMENT

But when you return, it seems to have stayed with you.

Did you wash it off your clothes? You thought you did, but there it is again.

ADVERTISEMENT

Two baths later, it’s still emerging from your skin to color the bath water.

It’s so fine, you see. It won’t wash off; it “comes back” again and again– because you never really eradicated it.

It puts me in mind of another magical city surrounded by dust, something I read long ago in childhood, in the Oz books of L. Frank Baum.

ADVERTISEMENT

In the books, unlike in the Technicolor Judy Garland MGM musical– itself a fine entertainment which certainly may be enjoyed by heterosexuals –Oz wasn’t just “all a dream.” No indeed– it was really real.

But you couldn’t get there. Nobody could. Oz, and a few neighboring enchanted lands, were surrounded on all sides by The Deadly Desert.

The dust of this desert was fatal to the touch.

The Wizard floated over it in a balloon. Dorothy’s house was carried over it in the cyclone, or tornado, which had picked it up in Kansas. Neither of them came in contact.

ADVERTISEMENT

In one of the books a land-sailing craft, called a sand ship, was built, which glided on runners over the desert (this actually sounds like some kind of Burning Man vehicle, come to think of it).

The thing is, in those stories, if you ever touched this fine sand, that was it. When you died, you turned to sand yourself.

I often feel that may happen yet, in my case.

Oh well– after another month, there won’t be any visible signs of the dust.

ADVERTISEMENT

But it’ll still be there, just the same.

Hal Robins is a renowned underground comic artist and his work has appeared in Last Gasp’s Weirdo, Salon Magazine’s Dark Hotel and many other publications. For decades he has been the co-host of KPFA-Pacifica Radio’s “Puzzling Evidence” program. Reverend Hal is the Master of Church Secrets for The Church of the SubGenius. As Dr. Howland Owll, he has served as MC for many unique San Francisco events, and is the principle of The Ask Dr. Hal Show, still currently running both as a live staged event and in-studio on Radio Valencia (radiovalencia.fm) Friday evenings. Hal contributed his unique vocal talents to the award-winning interactive game Half-Life.

[fiery silhouette of athletic man via Shutterstock.com.]


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Facebook

Jared Kushner’s ties to Saudis could be fair game if Trump keeps going after Hunter Biden: Dem lawmaker

Published

on

On MSNBC's "AM Joy," Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX) laid out the case for impeaching President Donald Trump — and warned of the consequences for Trump's own family at the hands of future presidents if he is allowed to get away with it.

"He abused his power by trying to trade government resources for a political favor, to knock out a political rival in Joe Biden, the guy that he thought would emerge as nominee for 2020," said Castro. "We can't set a precedent where Congress says it's okay for a president to do that, because if we do that then a few things will happen. Number one, it opens the door for Donald Trump to do it again or a future president to do it again. To ask a country to interfere in our elections and knock out a political rival by digging up dirt."

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Melania Trump scorched by columnist for standing by president’s Thunberg bullying: ‘Indefensible’

Published

on

In a piece for the Washington Post, columnist Karen Tumulty called out first lady Melania Trump for her statement defending her husband's bullying of 16-year-old environmental activist Greta Thunberg in a fit of jealousy after she was selected Time Magazine's Person of the Year.

Responding to a statement from the White House that stated, “BeBest is the First Lady’s initiative, and she will continue to use it to do all she can to help children. It is no secret that the President and First Lady often communicate differently — as most married couples do. Their son is not an activist who travels the globe giving speeches. He is a 13-year-old who wants and deserves privacy,” Tumulty wasn't having it.

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

BUSTED: Devin Nunes is hiding how he’s paying for all his frivolous lawsuits — which could land him in more trouble

Published

on

On Saturday, the Fresno Bee dived into a lingering question: How does Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) pay for all the lawsuits he is filing against journalists, satirists, and political critics?

"Nunes, R-Tulare, has filed lawsuits against Twitter, anonymous social media users known as Devin Nunes' Cow and Devin Nunes' Mom, a Republican political strategist, media companies, journalists, progressive watchdog groups, a political research firm that worked for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign and a retired farmer in Nunes’ own district," noted the Bee.

These lawsuits were mainly filed in Virginia — a state with very loose laws against so-called "SLAPP suits," or meritless lawsuits intended to drown people in legal expenses in retaliation for expressing political opinions. Nunes was assisted in these suits by Steven Biss, a Virginia attorney, and yet except for the suit against the retired farmer, there is no clear record in Nunes' FEC reports of how he paid for the suits.

Continue Reading