Greeter

Greeter, –noun

You’ve travelled a long way to get to the Burn, but before you can set up your camp you have to get out of your car and visit with the Greeters. Their job is to give you a hug, tell you “Welcome Home!” (a phrase shared with the Rainbow Gathering) and make sure you know what you are getting into. A greeter will ask you about your plans; it’s possible they will turn you away if they notice something strange really strange (or you think a sixpack is enough to survive a week in the desert), but all of that should have been caught at the Gate. In return, it is traditional to offer gifts such as snacks, water, or cold beer; this is effectively your first transaction in the gift economy.
A Greeter will pay special attention to initiating a newbie — or virgin. At That Thing In The Desert, virgins are often asked to lay down on the playa and create a Dust Angel. This is a replacement from the old days, when a Greeter would use a handful of playa dust to leave a hand-print with a dust spanking. Virgins are also sometimes given coupons for spankings which they can collect inside Black Rock City.

While it may seem like a largely frivolous role — designed mostly to ask silly questions, dispense hugs, and collect gifts — the greeter is actually playing a pivotal role in ensuring a healthy atmosphere. As any ritual magician knows, if you want to create a temporary autonomous zone apart from the default world it’s important to enforce its psychic borders. You don’t have to just keep out interlopers — which is the job of other volunteers — but you also need to ensure that those who are allowed to enter do so with the proper attitude. GP&E may enforce the physical borders of the city, but the Greeters defend its mental perimeter.

________________
From Kit O’Connell’s amazing Burner Lexicon! http://kitoconnell.com/writing/lexicon

Tourist

Tourist, –noun

Hey guys? Have you heard about this thing called Burning Man? It’s a big party in the desert with free booze and naked girls. I think this case of light beer should be enough for us to drink for the week. Let’s go!

If this is you, then you might be a Tourist. A tourist is someone who shows up at Burn simply to spectate — to look at the fire, underdressed hippies and weird vehicles — but brings nothing to contribute of their own. To make matters worse, many of them show up underprepared with few supplies, creating a drain on the participants around them.

At That Thing in the Desert, the tourists who show up for just the last few days of the week-long event are called Weekenders. Particularly obn

________________
From Kit O’Connell’s amazing Burner Lexicon! http://kitoconnell.com/writing/lexicon

Leave No Trace (LNT)

Leave No Trace (LNT), –noun

One of the most highly publicized aspects of the culture is Leave No Trace, often abbreviated as LNT. This principle is followed by even the smallest group wishing to be associated with the Burn. While regional events other than That Thing In The Desert may adopt their own alternative versions of the Burner Principles, this one is still universally practiced. It is not just good for the environment in an abstract way, but is also one of the main reasons that Burners are allowed to return again and again to the same public or private sites to hold their festivals and parties.

Many hours, days or even weeks of volunteer time are spent cleaning sites of trash and debris to return them to as pristine a condition as possible. This is done first by participants and members of theme camps, who may be penalized if their site is left in bad enough condition. Then, at Burning Man, the Department of Public Works takes over. These hard-working volunteers have even developed new techniques to face issues unique to playa cleanup, such as busting open the dunes that may form around discarded tents.

Of course, an event with as many generators, shade structures, outfits, and swag as the average Burn is going to produce waste and leave its mark on the environment, even before considering the supplies the community must bring in for basic survival. This principle is a goal to strive for and is meant to (and does) provoke debate about the best, least damaging way of doing our events.

________________
From Kit O’Connell’s amazing Burner Lexicon! http://kitoconnell.com/writing/lexicon

On a mission

On A Mission

The playa is noisy, fiery, sexy, chaotic. Normally it’s almost impossible to go in a straight route from point A to point B at a Burning Man event without being distracted by dozens of things along the way. Even a simple trip to the porta-potties and WORD OF THE DAY: On A Mission, The playa is noisy, fiery, sexy, chaotic. Normally it’s almost impossible to go in a straight route from point A to point B at a Burning Man event without being distracted by dozens of things along the way. Even a simple trip to the porta-potties and back can turn into an hours-long adventure. The exception is when a participant is “on a mission.” Instead of the usual meandering, wide-eyed stroll, they move quickly, even speed-walking toward their quest. This is the only way to keep from being stopped by something remarkable or a friend who just has to share some fabulous new discovery. The mission might be anything from a quest for food to a search for a ranger. When on a mission, a Burner will always refuse your offer of a fresh grilled cheese sandwich, unless perhaps it’s cooked on a flamethrower, laced with LSD, and served by boys in bikinis. Some distractions are just too exciting to ignore.back can turn into an hours-long adventure. The exception is when a participant is “on a mission.” Instead of the usual meandering, wide-eyed stroll, they move quickly, even speed-walking toward their quest. This is the only way to keep from being stopped by something remarkable or a friend who just has to share some fabulous new discovery. The mission might be anything from a quest for food to a search for a ranger. When on a mission, a Burner will always refuse your offer of a fresh grilled cheese sandwich, unless perhaps it’s cooked on a flamethrower, laced with LSD, and served by boys in bikinis. Some distractions are just too exciting to ignore.

________________
From Kit O’Connell’s amazing Burner Lexicon! http://kitoconnell.com/writing/lexicon

Shirt-Cocking

Shirt-Cocking, –verb

Shirt-cocking is when a man wears a t-shirt but but goes naked from the waist down. This practice is a natural outgrowth of Burning Man events which value “radical self-expression” but are held in clothing optional environments. Shirt-cocking has become one of the few genuine fashion faux pas in a community that otherwise turns a blind-eye (or a downright appreciative one) on all kinds of egregious peacock-like displays of one’s ability to combine neon colours and fun fur in new ways.

The potential offensiveness of a female counterpart to this behaviour is still in question. When done by a woman, it is called Shirt Boxing or Daisy Ducking.

From Kit O’Connell’s amazing Burner Lexicon! http://kitoconnell.com/writing/lexicon

________________________

Blues Bob (on the Burning Man FB page):

I’ve worn size 9 shoes for years. I brought two pair of Hi-Tops with me to BM 2010, but I went barefoot just about everyday. I wore the shoes mainly at night. By the end of the week my feet had swollen, and the shoes were really getting tight. I came home and doctored my feet. The swelling went away. But for some reason all

my size 9 shoes no longer fit. Over the next year I had to replace everything I owned with size 9 1/2.
In 2011, I brought several hats with me to BM. They were all 7 1/4. They fit fine before I left for the playa, and for most of the week while I was there. But toward the end they felt tight also. I returned home and continued to try them on throughout the year, but they have never fit well since. Last week I gave the hats to one of my nieces and bought a new one. It seems I now my head size is somewhere between a 7 3/8 to 7 1/2.
Why am I telling you all this? Because I want all my friends to know why I’ll be shirtcocking frequently this year.

Theme Camp

Theme Camp, –noun

Lots of people camp together at Burning Man, but only some of them form theme camps. A theme camp is an organized group which provides food, drink, exciting events, or other services to the temporary community that forms around an event. The idea dates back to the early 1990′s, with the formation of theme camps such as Christmas Camp. The oldest theme camp in continuous operation is probably Deathguild / Thunderdome, which has existed in Black Rock City since 1998.

Theme camps function within the gift economy, meaning that they do not charge money but give away their wares and services (or less often, engage in barter). This means that theme camps depend on the donations of their members and grateful visitors to continue operating. Many camps throw parties or other fund-raising efforts in the default world to enable their actions on the playa. Some camps reinvent themselves constantly, but others return to an event year after year with only the smallest changes.

There are many kinds of theme camps. A few of them are:

Bar Camps are like bars in reality camp, except you don’t pay for your drinks. Most Burner bars expect you to bring your own cup, and it’s good form to bring an alcohol donation to your favorite bar to show them your appreciation. Bar camps attract fratboys like fruit attracts fruitflies.
Chill Camps are places with cushions, comfortable chairs, hammocks, and relaxing music where participants can unwind from exhausting or overstimulating experiences elsewhere. Full of hippies.
A favorite of sparkle ponies, Costume Camps allow Burners to trade their unwanted clothes for new, fabulous ones that have been left behind by others. These are a great stop for anyone but especially for virgins who feel out of place in the clothes they brought.
Noise Camps, also known as Dance Camps or Sound Camps, play oontz oontz music at very high volume for Burners. These camps are frequented by ravers but have near universal appeal at night or during rumors of Daft Punk performances.

For clarity, it is important to note that though an event may have a theme, a theme camp does not always have to incorporate it into its offerings or atmosphere.

________________
From Kit O’Connell’s amazing Burner Lexicon! http://kitoconnell.com/writing/lexicon

Art

Art, –noun

One of the burner principles is no spectators. Everyone at a Burn event is expected to participate by sharing their art or otherwise contributing to the community. When you meet a Burner and introduce yourself, early in the conversation you are often asked ‘What do you do?’ Your new friend is not asking to hear about your day job as a data entry clerk, he wants to know what you are passionate about; he’s asking what kind of art you make. Obviously, that giant sculpture that you haul out to the playa is art, but so is that fabulous costume you made, the meal you cooked with love and shared with the community, the music you make or spin, or the program you wrote to power someone’s robot.

Art is not the combination of drugs you took or how often you saw naked breasts during the event.

________________
From Kit O’Connell’s amazing Burner Lexicon! http://kitoconnell.com/writing/lexicon

Safety Third

Safety Third

When attending organized Burn events, participants agree not to hold organizers liable for injury or death. The playa is not a safe place — it’s full of distractions, many of them mounted on wheels, shooting fire, or both. One attends with one’s consciousness wrapped in a fragile fleshy suit that, when damaged even in seemingly inconsequential ways, is subject to infection by outside life forms, catastrophic loss of containment fluid, or even total failure of support systems.

There are two ways to react to this state, better known as the human condition. One is to make safety the focus of everything, even if this creates an environment harmful to pleasure and personal satisfaction; this viewpoint is common in the default world where even playgrounds have become too safe. Many citizens of Black Rock City, a place where people can and have died, embrace a different philosophy: Safety Third. This rallying cry can also be heard almost anywhere Burners and other passionate humans gather, from Pyropolis in Central Texas to Oakland’s Big Art Studios.

It is not that the community encourages taking needless risks, but more that it is up to each individual what risks are needful. For the most part, each person may be as reckless as they want provided they do not endanger others — the job of the Rangers is not to keep one from doing something stupid, but to prevent that stupid act from causing too much collateral damage.

________________
From Kit O’Connell’s amazing Burner Lexicon! http://kitoconnell.com/writing/lexicon

Virgin

Virgin, –noun

We all start somewhere and virginity is not just for sex anymore. A Burn Virgin faces the unique challenge of not just a single unfamiliar event, but days of new, often confusing experiences.

Virgins arrive on the playa from many sources — many are brought by their more experienced friends, but others stumble upon a Burning Man event with much less foreknowledge. Regardless of how much they read or are told, nothing but living through an event can fully prepare one for what is to come.

Despite this, there are some virgins who have studied so much about the culture, and participate so much even their first time, that they fool others into thinking they have been attending for years — such a person is called a Stealth Virgin.

A virgin’s burn begins at the Greeters’ Station, where they face various initiations from ringing a Virgin Bell to creating ‘dust angels.’ From there they are thrown headfirst into the wild, chaotic world of the Burn. Even if they are camping alone, they will often end up guided by others who know their way around. A Burner who helps virgins is called a Sherpa, after the mountain guides who help Westerners climb Mt. Everest.

There is some debate over when a virgin ceases to be and becomes a full-fledged Burner, but it is the opinion of the lexicographer and others that this happens when a virgin witnesses his or her first effigy burn.

________________
From Kit O’Connell’s amazing Burner Lexicon! http://kitoconnell.com/writing/lexicon