Burners & Beers

Burners & Beers – complex noun

the most humble of burner gatherings. A mini-decomp for vets, a toned-down intro for newbs. We meet to plan and scheme for the next event, to mingle with new faces and old. It might be held at the crappiest bar in town, with dirty glasses and rickety seats, but every burner who walks in the door lights up the place until the room glows with love, sparkle and joy.

By Mimi W


Playasexual – noun: The immediacy of Burning Man naturally leads to exploring new things. Gifts are offered freely; many urge virgins especially to say yes to offers as often as is comfortable. It’s no surprise that, in the charged atmosphere of the playa, this exploration can take a sexual turn as well.
The word playasexual shares a similar construction to other modern slang terms like barsexual. However, in this case the primary impulse behind the new behavior is not inebriation — whatever drugs might be present — but a genuine sense of freedom. No one is likely to judge a person who decides to experiment with cross-dressing, kinky sex, polyamory or encounters with unexplored genders.
Though, regrettably, predators do exist who are willing to take advantage of this atmosphere in destructive ways, the majority of participants will welcome these explorations with a smile and a willingness to teach what they know. Though some are initially attracted by the promise of swag or a new experience, many return to reality camp with their sexual horizons genuinely expanded.

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


Nudity: noun.
The state or fact of being naked.
At that thing in the desert, or at those things out in the world, you will encounter people who are naked. Try not to be surprised, it happens to all of us occasionally.
For some it’s a natural state, for some it’s an act of radical self expression, some want to be looked at and enjoyed, some would like the freedom to be naked without having to experience your reaction to it. You’ll have to use your judgement and play it by ear.
There is some etiquette around nudity at events for participants on both sides of the clothing fence.
Ask first. This applies to most anything, touching, taking pictures, spanking, anything.
Bring a towel. Don’t sit your sweaty nether parts on my chair, couch, bike seat, or kitchen table.
Get over it. Humans look like that, it’s no big deal. It’s interesting because it’s unusual, but at burner events it’s not that unusual. It’s also not that exciting, or a political act. You want it to mean something sunbathe wall street.
Don’t push it. Telling people they ought/must to be naked is harassment. Telling people they ought not is equally annoying.
Use your judgement, actively look for and respect people’s boundaries, don’t expect to get served at a naked bar unless you are naked, and keep it out of family oriented camps, unless they are explicitly pro-nude.

By Shenanigans

Shade Structure

Shade Structure, –noun, It’s hot in the desert. Normal tents become unbearable for human occupation within a few short hours after being reached by direct sunlight. It quickly grows brutally hot; cloud cover is rare and shade on the playa is non-existent — unless participants bring it for themselves.

What a hat does for your head, a shade structure does for your camp. Shade structures range from the simplest rigged tarps to complex, custom built awnings. The geodesic dome, inspired by the work of hippie hero Buckminster Fuller, is a popular shape but innovation abounds.

Shade structures might be so small as to cover only a tent or a sleeping area (like many of the popular Hexayurt designs) or could be large enough to encompass an entire theme camp. Many camps have several structures — for example one might be a living room area for camp mates and visitors while another might serve as the kitchen.

Whatever their shape, structures must be able to withstand the high winds, sudden rains, and other hazards of playa weather. Like everything else, they quickly become inundated with playa dust — only complex airlock structures and perhaps motor homes have any hope of being less dusty.

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


Porta-potty. noun: Those lines of little blue boxes do not mean there is a Doctor Who theme camp on the corner. (The Doctor always goes to last year, it was better) Those are the potties, your high maintenance special friend for the week.
Porta-potties are one of the rare bits of infrastructure supplied by the organisers. You simply can’t have 50000 participants in the desert and not give them some place to go potty.
They are high maintenance as hell, requiring daily emptying and cleaning to keep ahead of the mess. Gift your porta-potty cleaners. Those guys are the most undergifted people on playa.
Potty etiquette is as follows: If it didn’t come out of your body, don’t put it in the Potty. No beer cans, no candy wrappers, no grey water, nothing but body waste and single ply TP. If the auger gets clogged, somebody has to put their hand in to clear it.
Close the lid. It keeps the smell down.
Don’t hover. There’s always some prissy ass who doesn’t want to sit. 1 minute later, nobody can sit. If everybody sat, it wouldn’t be an issue.
Don’t steal or waste the TP. I friggin hate going down the line of potties looking for the one with tp left. If you want some to carry around with you, buy your own.
Single ply only, available at Wallymart and RV supply stores, breaks down easier and doesn’t clog the auger.
Wear shoes. for your own saftey really.
It bears repeating. Gift the cleaner guys. The potties near my camp seemed cleanest.. Just saying.

By Shenanigans


Immediacy: noun:
Immediate experience is, in many ways, the most important touchstone of value in our culture. We seek to overcome barriers that stand between us and a recognition of our inner selves, the reality of those around us, participation in society, and contact with a natural world exceeding human powers. No idea can substitute for this experience.
In default world, we keep a lot of barriers between ourselves and the world. Many of them are reflexive behaviours, such as judgement and cynicism; needs to be perceived in a certain way; the need to perceive others in a certain way.
The principle of Immediacy asks us to set aside those barriers, and let go of those limitations. Be here, now. Put down the phone, stop worrying about tomorrow, forget about yesterday, and be here. Otherwise you’ll miss it. You really don’t want to miss it.

By Shenanigans

Playa Bike

Playa bike: noun
Black Rock City is bigger than you imagine, and getting from where you were to where you think you are going can take forever. Unless you have an art car at your disposal, a playa bike is your best bet for getting around.

Google will provide you with a dozen guides for the best playa bike, but the essentials are all the same;
*Fat Tires good – narrow tires bad.
*Light & decorate so others can see it and you can identify it.
*Lock it up.
*Arrive with it in good repair, and bring your own repair parts.
*Don’t bring the bike you can’t afford to lose, or have the playa eat.

By Shenanigans


The Uniform: Noun
For a people who are devoted to freedom and acts of radical self expression, we sure dress alike. Fun-Fur, animal ears, tutus and onesies are on the dress code, baseball caps and logo tee-shirts will get you judged on the esplanade.
The entire concept of The Uniform runs contrary to our stated principles, yet it seems impossible to shake. Many feel that people who don’t dress up are only tourists or lookie-loos, only there for spectacle and not true participants. Too many spectators can make the people who do dress up more self-conscious and ruin the atmosphere of self expression.
Others correctly point out that builders, artists and organizers often work stupidly long hours contributing to the event, and often simply feel more like being comfortable than putting on a tutu and a silly hat, and shouldn’t have to.
There are good arguments on both sides, and the Uniform continues to be one of those discussions that won’t go away.

By Shenanigans

Burnier than thou

Burnier-Than-Thou, –adjective,
There is always that burner who’s done it all, today, before breakfast, like they do every day. They have dust for blood, knows everyone, has been burning twice as long as you, and are quite willing to tell you that it’s been done before, it was done wrong then and you are doing it wrong now.
Part curmudgeon, part internet troll, the Burnier-Than-Thou is an asset to any camp. Use them as a reference, ask them to show you how it’s done, get them to call in favours for you. They will either step up, or have a mission from which they don’t return.

By Shenanigans


Playadipity; noun.
Playadipity is serendipity on the playa, the widely experienced phenomenon of finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for.
The ticket that comes your way at the last minute, the 3 am Karmic pizza, delivered to the deep desert, running into the childhood friend you had no idea was a burner, or the soulmate who turns out to live a block away in RL and becomes your life partner, are fine examples of playadipity.
Playadipity is not the finding of things that you are actively looking for, and it’s especially not the tendencies of some of the filthy fellowship to not provide for themselves and rely on everyone else to feed and shelter them.
Playadipity is often expressed as “The Playa provides.” but the desert is a harsh mistress, and will often provide what you need, not what you want or expect.

By Shenanigans