KQED Guides

7 Things to Do While Your Friends Are at Burning Man

It might be because I am about to be 30 and I feel like that should mean something, but last week I made the dramatic decision to go to Burning Man, even though I could only go for three days. It was quick and mind blowing and now I am back at work, with chapped lips and electronic music still pumping in my brain, trying to reintegrate myself into default reality. It hasn’t been easy.

Knowing that there is a temporary magical land full of flame throwing sculptures and dance parties and land yachts building to a crescendo on the Black Rock Desert and I am not in the middle of it is depressing. Lucky for me, and for you, person with internet access who is therefore clearly NOT having an amazing burn, last year I took it upon myself to really explore the Burning Man Rapture in San Francisco, and so, in an effort to help cheer us up, I present you with seven things you can do to have an amazing time while your friends are at Burning Man.

1.   WEAR YOUR COMFIEST CLOTHES TO THE OFFICE.

Your boss is dancing in a tutu on the Playa so it’s totally cool if you wear a sports bra and flip flops while creating expense reports or whatever it is you do.

2.   WORK OUT IN PEACE

Yoga classes, skate parks, climbing gyms and roof top pools are all guaranteed to be at least half empty. So why not use all your Groupons at once and start getting your body into shape for next year’s burn?

3.  DRINK THE FANCIEST COFFEE WITHOUT FEELING JUDGED.

All the attractive and aloof types who usually glare at you while you order tea are off being transformed in the desert. So order what you want! Take a seat in the parklet! Hang out all afternoon!

4. GET BRUNCH WITHOUT WAITING FOR 2 HOURS 

Get a table anywhere! In fact, go big and invite all your non-dusty friends to brunch somewhere super popular and then ask for a table for 10. See what happens. You’ll feel like your back in the Midwest.

5. PARK IN THE MISSION

Even if you have a pretty good spot and you aren’t planning on going anywhere for a couple days, just for fun park your car on Valencia. I mean, #YOLO, right?

6.   BUY ORGANIC GROCERIES 

This will make you instantly happier in two ways: first, you won’t have to wait for hours in line at Rainbow. Second, you can buy something perishable and then put it in your fridge when you get home. You know where they don’t have fridges? The desert.

7. DRINK AT ZEITGEIST WITHOUT EVER WAITING IN LINE. 

Okay, yes, you will have to pay for your drinks, but think of how MANY of those drinks you can pay for if you are never standing in line? Sit at your choice of picnic tables and try to be grateful you aren’t in the middle of a sandstorm and that the bandana around your neck is purely ornamental.

Remember, you always have next year. Try not to cry. I hear the weather is going to be is going to be perfect and Temple is going to be amazing.

- Lizzy Acker

  • Gretchen

    These photos cannot be real. Can they??? I must know.

    • http://www.facebook.com/lizzy.acker Lizzy Acker

      They are! Taken last year! I will not, however, disclose the TIME at which they were taken…but everything was open when I took them!

  • East_Slope_Charlie

    Sorry, I, like you, am a NIMBY. YOU come, you see, you destroy! The floor of the Holy and Sacred
    Black Rock Desert plays a major role in the Origin Myths of the Paiute
    and Western Shoshone peoples. White people come and spread lies, Destroy
    the Environment, Despoil the Spirits which Live there.

    When asked politely to not return, you respond by Suing and
    Counter suing local residents with so much money and so many lawyers and so
    many appeals that even when 85%+ of the local population HATES Burners, you
    force your beliefs upon the locals who make it very clear that if you won’t
    respect their wishes, we will take you for every penny we can – for we cannot
    worship there any more, we cannot hold sacred healing ceremonies on Unholy
    Ground.

    And when we find oil trails from old vehicles, when we find
    our sacred hidden hot springs behind rocks up against the rim with poop beside
    them or in them, with garbage pits which ‘float’ the garbage to the surface
    every year when the basin fills with water – do not think that one of these
    days our humanity will leave us, and when we see you there poking around here
    and there after the ‘party’ waving for us to come to YOUR help and aid to
    rescue you – we will remember how we
    pleaded with you to save our land, and to rescue it from desecration we will
    pretend we do not see you as good spirits – and offer you up as a sacrifice to
    the angry Gods – by simply not pulling your POS car or pick-up out of our
    church and let you be found where ever it is you choose to wander. Hopefully as
    part of the consecrated food chain where you will have found forgiveness.

    Thank you for destroying our back yard and once our place of
    Holy and Sacred Worship. We hope to return the favor sometime soon.
    As one White educated woman said to me “It’s not like there is an
    environment out there to destroy — It’s empty– it’s built to
    party!”.

    Thank you for destroying yet another Holy and Sacred place which once belonged
    to our people and had been shared in peace with our white neighbors, and thank
    you for disregarding the wishes or the people of Gerlach, Empire, and the
    Paiute and Shoshone Tribes by overpowering our meager defense funds with the
    millions you can muster. Thank you for assaulting yet more land and destroying yet another
    Holy and Sacred place. You even cowed the BLM when they tried to enforce
    laws which would have held the land largely sacred by threatening Legal Actions
    and Torts without end.

    While I see that the things you have listed here to do by not being there all
    involve the use of capital, moderate
    wealth, and the pursuit of things mostly material — Perhaps one of the things
    you can do by not being there is simply feel good that you are not destroying
    some of the most fragile environment on the planet, are not causing pain to our
    Spirits and the Spirits of our Ancestors, are not causing further irreparable
    damage to a place of worship; and know
    that by staying away you are helping the World and the Earth to become better
    places — where people respect each others feelings – and for Spirits, People,
    and our Mother to heal after their brutal rape. Which, as I write is still
    ongoing and no one is coming to their rescue except to bring more drugs, more
    irreverence, and more brutality.

    And perhaps you should feel best that you are not there
    creating even more damage and anger among the Gods and the local people who
    hold that you-called desert as a Holy Cathedral involved in the creation of all
    humankind – and a place of it’s Sacred Healing.

    • Kant

      you, are an ethnocentric metaphysically obnoxious property hungry idiot, though i agree with you that Burning Man sucks

  • Star_Circle_Star_Ranch

    After 4 years of field study at UNR Burning Man DESTROYED my M.S./Ph.D.
    study and project. THEN they wanted to CHARGE ME and entry fee to my study plots as I tried to switch
    and make corrections to my doctoral project.

    I was a poor, starving student. There were NO exceptions for those Capitalist Pigs to grant ANYONE, not even a scholar who was actively involved in studying the area entry to complete an on-going project! And so 5 years of
    Environmental/Geophysical studies . . . . .GONE!!!! WTF!?????

    I am now, and will
    forever remain, ABD because I happened to be poor, a serious student,
    and not much given to running around naked in front of 10, 000 people, doing a lot of drugs, or
    playing word or other games with people who seemed to have no respect
    for anyone but themselves and their agenda (which appeared to me to be a way to make
    money). Now I ranch and would LOVE to find some of those ignorant and stupid life-forms trying to steal my cattle or capture wild horses or burros.

    On my last 3 week foray out into the Black Rock before
    their BM two years ago, from the Playa to the Wilderness areas neither the plant nor
    the insect was found. The population had appeared to have been stable
    for the past several hundred years. But we’ll never know.

    Coincidence? Or a hasty,
    poorly done EIR propped up by Legal Defense Funds for the Right To Party
    rather than the examination of the Science seems to have brought my career, an insect and a
    plant to their demise.

    Maybe you might think about the damage
    being done, and simply say: enough is enough! NO MORE DESTRUCTION OF OUR
    ENVIRONMENT! And, simply, stop supporting the equivalent of
    above-ground Fracking in the Black Rock. Or are people too stoned and
    too busy being ‘free’ to care?- I hate to say it, but I’m VERY glad you only had the chance to destroy my old stomping grounds for a few days – though you will NEVER take away with you what I carry in me: the sound of a Meadow Lark at 3 miles or the click of a grasshopper at a mile — or the ‘lifting of the veil of our superstitions’ after 3 days of nothing louder than the wind in your ears — you will hear rock-n-roll poor girl. Not your soul. You will see lights and the hum of generators, not the Vastness of the Milky Way stretched out in it’s vastness across the immensity called the ‘Cosmos’ – and least you think you have seen it – RENO is too close for a dark sky, and Sutcliff, Nixon, Empire, and Gerlach spray and leak so much light you miss a good 40% of the ‘stars’ you can see on a quiet, clear, evening. You really haven’t a clue how much your BM destroys what I humbly asked permission to use from the Pyramid Lake Band of Paiute — you will never see it when what you are looking for is physical stimulation rather than spiritual reflection. Poor, poor, poor girl.

  • Seldom Seen Slim

    As my friend missed, perhaps your yoga instructors were FAR more enlightened and had FAR more compassion than you since they stayed to try to save your tranquility and inner peace, not needing to run off to an artificial ‘city’ so crazy that even San Francisco threw them out for being too crazy and dangerous, You should thank them sometime for their efforts on your behalf; and perhaps follow their examples. They KNEW you only as an over-stimulated hormone driven party animal, and tried to help you find the inner peace you think you are seeking, however destructive the methods you choose. While a good BM in the morning is said to not be a bad thing, a BM lasting a week is certainly a sigh that something is wrong. Listen to your Yoga Instructors and be YOU – don’t try to be what you are NOT – your past relatives, or hippies on Height in the 60′s or a Beat in North Beach. You should try to be what your Yoga Masters are telling you that you are: YOU: A 30 YEAR OLD WOMAN FROM SAN FRANCISCO WITH RESPONSIBILITIES – not a desert dog from Nevada – you don’t have the skills to survive three days ‘out there’ in one of the ‘deserts’ – just be you, and find YOUR inner Peace without destroying the peace of others who choose a life style you simply could not live. Listen to your Teachers who stayed behind to guide you, Listen to YOUR Heart. Stay Away. Be YOU.