Tuesday, September 4, 2012


40 Photos From Burning Man 2012

"27. Rainbow Fish (left) and Ambidrextrous, their Playa names, enjoy a bottle of wine and a kiss at sunrise in the Black Rock Desert, on August 31, 2012."

75 Comments / Post A Comment


do you choose your playa name or does your playa name choose you?

(I'm thinking mine would be bedheaded&spacy ... but maybe it's supposed to be more like Coyote Nymph)


@redheaded&crazie I think I'd like mine to be Dances With Harpies.

fondue with cheddar

@Ophelia Just make sure nobody misinterprets the "a" as an "e".


@jen325 Yeah, I realized that kind of belatedly. Maybe I'll capitalize the A.


@Ophelia Although, now that I think about it, after a week at Burning Man, the alternate spelling would probably be more accurate.

ask an ex-radiator about anything

@redheaded&crazie http://www.mutantvehicle.com/name_generator.htm


I keep reading it as if "Playa" is slanger for player (which is slang anyways but whatever). I was expecting an entirely different sort of picture.


@OhShesArtsy Play on, playa.
(No diggity, no doubt.)

Tammy Pajamas

@OhShesArtsy Do we know for sure that it's not that kind of playa? I kept alternating between the two. Because if it's beach playa, well, that's a shitty beach.


@Tammy Pajamas Yes, the playa is what they call the site of Burning Man. Though I agree, if there ain't no water that ain't my kind of playa.

Lisa Frank

I...I don't get it. I think being dirty and getting high are awesome. I feel very strongly about recycling and bringing my own bag to the grocery story, but, but why would you do you have to set things on fire in the desert?


@Lisa Frank I am the opposite of you, I think! I am not into being dirty or getting high, but the idea of building huge structures intended to be burned and then burning them is awesome.


@SarahP I love the idea of temporary art. Do you think I can go, sit in an air conditioned tent, talk to no one, and just burn stuff all night? I could go for that.


@MilesofMountains I bet you could as long as you hung a sign on the outside of your tent saying something like "Please do not disturb this body, I am currently engaging in astral projection and mingling my spirit self with the playa."

So that way you can do what you want, and everyone will leave you alone IN CASE THEY DISTURB YOUR FOCUS AND THE ANCHOR IS SEVERED AND YOU CAN NEVER AGAIN RETURN TO YOUR BODY!!!


Don't be a playa hater.


Look at all those people, having fun and expressing themselves in ways I personally do not engage in. Terrible.


@joeks you say tomato, I say "those people are killing brachiopod eggs which are proof of life on the playa outside of periods of flood"


@hotdog You know what? I seriously bet this pisses people off more than shit that's actually bad for our country, like the RNC. It's dumb and lame and dumb and dumb and dumb and lame.

Heat Signature

@joeks Oh, I wouldn't call it "Terrible". I'd call it "Hilarious".


Which is kind of a weird response to "what you want on your sandwich".


Okay, but what is the bathroom situation?


@supernintendochalmers Porta-potties. Lots of porta-potties.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@supernintendochalmers Once you create your art in it, you burn it, man.


No one else finds it ironic that they're burning the word 'ego'?

Burning Man: the "look at me! look at me! No seriously, LOOK AT ME" festival.

dr. annabel lies

Whatever floats your boat and all that but godDAMN that looks like my worst nightmare to attend.


mostly super-cool projects and super-annoying looking people. Thus summarizes my own short dabble in the world of large scale performance/community arts and crafts.
signed, judgy mcjudgerson.


@bb Wow that's just about the most accurate sentiment on Burning Man I've ever heard. Well done.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

I'm totally intrigued by the art; I especially love pieces that other people contribute too, like that Juno structure thing. But having to camp there? Nope.


Is it just me or is Burning Man the whitest thing ever invented?


@Hammitt Seriously, it could take the RNC in a white-off.


@parallel-lines A white-off is the best idea of a reality TV contest I have ever heard of.


@parallel-lines I thought a white-off is what Romney gets on his taxes.


@Hammitt so you didn't see the pink guy?


Every now and then I feel bad for being so down on Burning Man, but then I look at pictures and it's full of the worst kind of social media grifters and dot-com shitbags seeking drug fueled enlightenment (in the most psuedospirtual way ever) at an insane price tag and I'm like fuck it, and fuck 'em all over again.


@parallel-lines AKA most clubs in any large city on a Saturday night


@joeks I don't like assholes in hippie's clothing when I get get more obvious, undiluted form who won't feel the need to spout 'om shakti' when explaining their privilege.


"Mountain Spirit (left) and Shooting Star, their Playa names, dance in the desert during Burning Man 2012, on September 1, 2012."



@frigwiggin Well, squatting oddly.


@frigwiggin I have no idea which of them is which.


Oh good, I wanted to look at pictures of cultural appropriation today.


Zane Salzetti and Memory Collins sound like the heroes of a dystopian YA novel.


@frigwiggin Of course "Shaft" has a sippy cup.


@frigwiggin It's okay, they're allowed--these people are white and middle class.

Heat Signature

Not pictured: microbes


Maybe I'm looking at this wrong, but whenever I see pictures of BM it's always thin, white women in bikinis (granted, they're usually neon and/or furry/sparkly/whatever) and it's like, same old bullshit beauty standard--but it makes me madder because this is supposed to be an "alternative" environment and it's still the same old bullshit--chicks in bikinis. I don't know about anyone else, but part of the reason I sought subculture as a young woman was to try to get away from places where my worth came from my looks. And when you have a festival that's supposed to be all crunch and nonjudmental, having this overarching 'sexiness' to the female attendees is just weird.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@parallel-lines I feel like I'd be harshly judged for wearing clean pants, let alone not being super thin.



I used to work in a lingerie store in Santa Cruz, where the BM clientele was so strong we'd have a store party so they could all buy rainbow furry bikinis en masse. Never, not once, not ever ever ever, did a dude come in to buy a rainbow furry man thong.


@parallel-lines And just to be clear--I'm not saying the act of wearing a bikini is in itself some bad, antifeminist thing. I think that the when "sexiness" that permeates every other facet of American culture seeps into this event that bills itself as noncommercial and alternative it's a little odd. The strident old feminist in me is just confused. And maybe sad.


@parallel-lines There are probably non-thin, non-white women (in furry bikinis) there, they just aren't the majority and they don't make it into the pictures.


@parallel-lines Dude, you are correct (as is figwiggin) that the photos of the attendees all focus on thin white girls in tiny bikinis and furry boots.

When I went I enjoyed a little Tank Girl inspiration but loved uglying it up particularly... I liked looking like some mean, scrappy refugee from Mad Max. The women who manage to have full faces of makeup... fake eyelashes even? they must have had an air-conditioned RV with a shower to go back to.


@insouciantlover I was wondering that--like, I'm not exactly some desert expert (it's full of bacteria, I do know that now) but I camp quite a bit and I can tell you bikinis and platform boots probably wouldn't be my go-to, functional gear even in rave camping days in the 90s. And it can't be *that* hot if people are wearing all that synthetic fake fur and lame and stuff. I'd probably spend the whole time worrying about getting a dusty vagina.


@parallel-lines Thank you for thinking of the bacteria. As their official spokesperson, I am grateful for your support.


@parallel-lines Oh man, a friend of mine is always like "I just don't want to wear panties while I'm there" and I'm like, UGH, how can you NOT?

It is wayyyy too hot, and the boots are really only functional because they protect your feet from getting eaten raw by the extremely alkaline dust. And the bacteria because those little fuckers are angry and out for revenge.


@parallel-lines @parallel-lines It's not actually like that, in my experience. The magazines tend to cherry pick the "pretty people". I always come back from Burner events pretty overjoyed that I get to see so much body diversity. This is what I wrote after coming back from my most recent Burn event:

"As with most Burn events, I loved seeing all the pretty people. Everyone always looks so good. My guess is that people are so comfortable, and they are really expressing who they are and you get to actually see what people actually look like. The sheer creativity in attire helps a lot too. I love seeing what people put together every year in their costuming.

I really hate the idea that people on television, in movies, on advertisements, aren't "real". But they tend, more often than not to conform to a particular standard with little variation. But all these beautiful people at Burn events are all over the map in terms of size and shape. I wish there were a little more ethnic and racial diversity, but baby steps, I guess. At any rate, most people only get to see the standard beautiful people in various states of dress. We Burners get to see pretty much everyone with lumps and bumps and scars and hips and boobs and flat stomachs and bulges and taut muscles and ailments and everything in between. It's refreshing. And I sometimes feel sad for the population whose beauty standards have been limited to what their society have told them is beautiful." --http://texaslawchick.livejournal.com/1063440.html

My husband and I were talking about a lot of these things last night. He was at an alternative event over the weekend, and some of the newbies were asking about the nudity. One of the women said that her reasons for being scantly clad were that, given her body type, it's generally frowned upon because she's NOT a pretty skinny white girl.


Aww, I was hoping self-destructing sewing machine booty shorts guy would be in one of the pictures.


Uh oh, my attempt to not be judgmental about this is not going well.


@werewolfbarmitzvah Don't fight it. Let's call a spade a spade here-or in this case, let's call all the spade's idiots.


I'd like to be self-possessed and remember that these people having their own kind of fun isn't hurting me. But of course, I live in the Bay Area, so it IS. My boyfriend is a bike mechanic and if he has to explain to one more shitty tech start-up d-bag why his Artbike, thoroughly encrusted with Playa Dust, is now rusty and falling apart and unfixable, he's going to start throwing things at every asshole with a goggle tan. "Oh, the $17 Huffy you got off Craigslist and covered in Silly Putty and affixed with a gigantic boombox is having trouble navigating? Fancy that." We get stuck in traffic behind slow-moving, incredibly rickety and unsound and dangerous ArtCars. The sidewalks are taken up with hula hoopers practicing (surprise!) without regard for others. And of course the fucking week before Burning Man when there are preparatory raves all over town. Oof. The best part of Burning Man is Burning Man itself, when all these people are out of town. But they keep coming back. :(


@Diana Oh honey. I kid you not--I have an amazing love affair with SF and think it is one of the best cities ever but BM people are the biggest reason I can't bring myself to move there. Sympathies to you both.


@Diana There are few things I would look forward to if I left the Bay Area to go back to KS. The total cultural irrelevance of BM there is one of them. (The nonexistence of shitty tech start-up d-bags is another.)


I can't decide if a water-filled fishbowl helmet is an excellent idea or a terrible one. Staying cool sounds great, but I can picture myself trying to eat/drink and forgetting about it and getting stuff all over the helmet, needing to scratch my nose all the time and having to take it off, and inadvertently tilting my head too far back so my nose was submerged and choking.


@Verity OMG I was so afraid that guy was going to fall asleep and drown.


How does one pack for BM with only one suitcase? Yeah, the fur bikini can squish; but what about the ginormous head piece? The glompy boots?

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@Justacaringal Maybe everyone just rotates clothing, and there's a wheel chart that tells you when it's your turn to where said glompy boots or the sparkly, spandex onesie of dubious origin, etc...


You guys. I had to wait tables for these people last night (I work in a restaurant within a Reno casino) and they were pretty fucking terrible. Some of them were really nice, just a little stinky and dressed oddly, but most of them were straight up rude and impatient. Admittedly, I am super judgy, but these people were ridiculous. Like, you were just in the desert for a week and created a community or whatever so you should be a bunch of happy hippies, right?

George Templeton Strong

I'll never understand cosplay.


His playa name is NICK. That's the best of them all!


@Stevie Reminds me of the Sarah Vowell essay about goths, where her goth name is Becky.


I KNOW THE GUY IN PHOTO #7. We lived in the same house in college a few years back. I am so proud that dude did not give himself a "playa name."

Post a Comment

You must be logged-in to post a comment.

Login To Your Account