Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Burning the Ground, Part 1

 It's time for Burning Man.  What is that, you ask?  Well, it's an art festival...uh, a music festival...uh, a dusty luscious dreamscape cruise on a yacht crossing the desert.  No, really.  Your cruise director is a dear friend of mine so you're in good hands.

New Year’s Eve 1997 sometime after 2AM, somewhere in North Seattle

 A bunch of drunken revelers pile into the back of an orange VW bus for the long ride home.  Not willing to let the night die without an epic adventure those of us in the back start petitioning the driver.  “Vegas!” we shout, having pooled our cash and finding we have about $800 between us (did I mention the drunken revelry thing?).  Our driver simply shakes her head and points out that a few of us have to work in the morning and go back to being responsible adults.  Boooooo.  She was right, of course, but the moral of the story is that when someone named LaLaLaaDolceVita is your voice of restraint you need to rethink your plan.

This is LaLa.  Gorgeous, no?  Those freckles, those perfect brows, those amazing eyes, those...uh, goggles.  There's an explanation for those. 

I talked to LaLa last week while she was packing for this year's Burning Man (a process that she's likened to "packing for Mardi Gras on the moon") and in amidst all the giggling catching up we talked a little about what her experience has been there.  As we started she listed the contents of the tote she was checking: 

Prom Gown (check)
Cop Outfit (check)
Ewok Hood (check)
Cowgirl Outfit (check)
Leather Dress (check)
Leg Warmers (check)
Band Uniform (check)
Pearls (need you ask?)

Her Burning Man adventure began eleven years ago as part of the now defunct Cirque du Flambe where her act was skipping a flaming jump rope.  In the years since she's built a mutant vehicle, built a temple and played with and climbed on some really huge pieces of art stuck out in the Black Rock Desert.  Her favorite piece, though, "was sweet instead of all giant showy," a butterfly that flapped its wings when you turned the crank.  The art is almost totally interactive.  "You climb things or ride things or make it go.  Whatever go means for the thing you get to make it go."


Tomorrow:  Burning the Ground, Part 2: What's the deal with the goggles?


  1. Have been hearing about this for years w/o knowing what it is so I'm happy to read this.

  2. Great video! When I lived in Seattle, I had a friend in Seattle who specialized in lighting himself on fire, but I'm not sure if he ever performed at Burning Man.


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