Frat, noun

The natural opposite of the Hippie, the Frat comes to Burner events for the party, nudity and sex. Which are a fairly decent set of priorities. However, Frats could care less about the art, the community, or the culture; often to the point that they don’t realise it’s happening, other than when it’s providing spectacle.
The good news is, it’s only a phase. Most Frats grow up, and some of them eventually get it and become contributing members of the Burner community.


B.Y.O.C. verb

Stands for Bring Your Own Cup, and is a fine example of how radical self reliance blends well with gifting and community spirit.
At burner events the world over, people will gladly pour you a drink and share their meal. Even if they are not providing a bar, they often make extra, just for sharing. However, it’s a lot easier to gift you if you have your own cup. Many playa bars won’t serve you unless you have your own. If they do, they’ll hand you a disposable one that becomes your MOOP to deal with and you have to carry it around until you get it back to camp. Most burners head out for the day with out at least a cup, and many will tuck a bowl and a spoon into their day bag, just in case.

Toi Box replied: Tips for BYOC:

* you probably want something that can hold about 8- 12 ounces. (sippy cups are a little small)
*Get something with a lid, you may not be able to finish your gift before you or your party is ready to move on and a lid really helps. especially if you are on a bike.
* Something with a wide mouth to make it easy to clean out as all kinds of things are going to get poured in there.
*Cups with caribeners attached to them are awesome. Stainless steel ones with lids can be purchased at 3Vets in Vancouver or Capital Iron in Victoria



Glamping. noun

Sometimes the evening’s activities call for a little black dress, but when you are a glamper that’s less of a problem than choosing between heels, flats, wellingtons, or platform rocker boots.
Beautiful, luxurious, glamorous, and ridiculous. From portable hot tubs to full service cocktail bars, Burners make camping in adverse conditions look good.
Of course there’s trade-offs, Glampers rarely fit their gear in the back of a hatch back, and occasionally are still tearing down camp long after other people are back home, but what’s the rush when you brought a real bed and a propane powered shower.
So if you think ‘roughing it’ should be saved for the bedroom, not the campground, you might be a glamper.


Hippie. noun.
Since the 60’s, whenever you are are building an alternative to mainstream society, trying to change the world for the better, or sneaking off somewhere remote to get high and play with fire, you get Hippies. It’s not clear whether social change attracts them, or by trying to be agents of social change people become them. Probably both.
There’s all kinds of hippie, from the hard working DPW’er with blisters from pounding in fence posts that tells you all about the significance of double rainbows; to the sunrise naked yoga grandma who gives great Reiki and put all her kids in tie died diapers; to that dirty hippie freegan who drank all my beer and disappears when there’s work to be done.
What’s the difference between a Hippie and other Burners? Hippies seem to be more invested in things having meaning or purpose: Double rainbows, crystals, Burning Man…

By Shenanigans

HIPPIE, –noun, 50,000 unwashed freaks in the desert for a week, driving mutant vehicles, sharing everything in a gift economy and dancing for hours on end to oontz oontz music while many are in states of questionable sobriety? You might think everyone at Burning Man is a hippie; you might argue that Burn culture is a descendent of the counterculture that came to prominence during the 1960s, but has roots which go back much further.

If you did make these arguments, you’d probably be right. But while some hippies embrace the term, for others it’s used with (playful?) disdain. You might be a hippie, but we’re serious artists, musicians, Burners, etc (see also: Burnier-than-thou).

Burners might create a HIPPIE TRAP to ensnare, confuse, or beguile the unwary or easily amused hippie. Some examples of hippie traps include cages containing fake mind-altering substances or structures covered in tangled string which might be untangled by someone in the right mood. HIPPIE FISHING, by contrast, is the practice of attaching a glow stick or other appealing piece of swag to a string and using it to lure in passing Burners.

The lexicographer was the pet hippie of the once fearsome Austin division of the Chupacabra Policia, who used to be known for their acts of audio terrorism as well as stomping around events in riot gear. However, I was kept in line by the implied threat represented by the ‘remains of their last pet hippie,’ a pile of bloody, tye-dyed scraps they kept in the corner of their camp.

This entry incorporates a suggestion from Teo Del Fuego.

From Kit O’Connell’s amazing Burner Lexicon!


Exodus, noun.
Movement of the people.
Oh yeah, this year there will be 60 thousand burners. And when they all decide to drive out sometime between the temple burn and Monday night, down a crappy country road at just over 2 miles per hour, it will be a complete mess.
There’s only one legal exit to the playa, and it’s only one lane. You will be correct when you imagine the bottle-neck is pretty bad. Generally it takes 5 or 6 hours in line to get off the playa, then perhaps another hour to get far enough away that you can get up to speed.
So bring enough gas and supplies to survive Exodus.
Keep yourself hydrated, even though you are leaving, you’ve got a lot of hours before you manage to hit a town.
LNT doesn’t stop at the trash fence, haul your trash all the way out, and dispose of it responsibly, preferably somewhere that isn’t completely overwhelmed with burner trash.
If you must pull over, or break down, get all the way off the road.

By Shenanigans

Land Grab

Land Grab. verb.
Land grabbing is the practice of sending someone in early to mark out and occupy camping space until the rest of the camp gets there.
In the back blocks of Burning Man it’s fairly acceptable, as long as you don’t take more than you need.
When it’s in the more hotly contested open camping spaces closer to the esplanade, or when you try and steal land that was assigned to a theme camp, it’s incredibly rude.
At regional burns, where space can be at a premium, don’t try it. There’s nothing worse than angry neighbours who’s spot you stole, and angry organisers, who’s carefully laid plans you have messed with.

By Shenanigans

Playa Dust

Playa Dust. noun.

The Black Rock Desert is made up a not quite infinite amount of ultra nasty dust. It’s finer than talc, sticks to the least amount of moisture, gets into everything, and stays there, forever. Given the chance, it’ll eat your electronics, your feet, and in some cases, your lungs. It’s the most ‘in your face’ element at burning man, and if you are not prepared for it, it can ruin your week. However, it’s very easy to overcome, a simple dust mask and goggles can take you from blinded and immobile in a dust storm to once again being master of your destiny. Just don’t bring anything that you’ll cry over when the playa eats it.

By Shenanigans

An expanse of deep playa in the Black Rock Desert. Photo by Rob.PLAYA, –NOUN, Technically any dry lakebed can be referred to as a playa, but when a Burner says it, it’s almost always theBlack Rock Desert, the modern home of Burning Man. The event takes place within the trash fence in a space that allows for the 1.5 mile-across Black Rock City plus room for theTemple and other large-scale installation art and some open space. This unoccupied area is known as DEEP PLAYA orOPEN PLAYA. It remains empty except for rare artworks and occasional couples seeking open air intimacy.

The playa is not really sandy, but covered with a substance about the consistency of talc known as playa dust.Weather is notoriously harsh, with wide-ranging temperatures, frequent windstorms, and short-lived but heavy rains that can turn the surface to mud.

At regional burns, any focus of activity may be referred to as a playa. This leads to phrases like Burning Flipside‘sGRASSY PLAYA, which refers to the large open expanse of Pyropolis where they build their effigy and largesttheme camps. As a result, the phrase “See you on the playa,” can mean something more general than “see you next Labor Day weekend.”

Burning Man spent a year — 1997 — on another playa when it relocated to private land on the Hualapai Playa.

From Kit O’Connell’s amazing Burner Lexicon!


Here are some dusty videos for you to get a sense of what we’re talking about:

Radical Self Reliance

Radical Self Reliance. noun.

One of the 10 principles: Burning Man encourages the individual to discover, exercise and rely on his or her inner resources.
This is all about your ability to take care of yourself, to put on your grown up pants, (or tutu, or kilt) and take care of your own needs.
This could be your physical needs, which you can find lots of guides on line on how to do, what to bring etc. (ask in the comment section, and get directed to tons of them)
But just as importantly, you have take care of your mental and emotional needs. Burner events are great fun, and sometimes they can be hard. Sometimes you find yourself unexpectedly on an inner journey as big or bigger than the one that got you to the burn in the first place.
Plan as if you are the only one who prepared for this journey.

By Shenanigans

See preparation > event survival >  radical self reliance

RADICAL SELF-RELIANCE, Though it has its origins on a San Francisco beach, the home of Burner culture is the Black Rock Desert — an expanse of dusty, unforgiving emptiness with no shade, no drinkable water and almost nothing alive at all. The idea of going to such a harsh place to throw a big festival requires a certain degree of competency from its participants. Along with understanding the risk of injury or death (see safety third), Burners also agree to bring everything they need for a week in the desert or whatever supplies are appropriate for the environment and duration of their regional.

Radical Self-Reliance is obviously at odds with other Burner Principleslike Gifting and Communal Effort. Very few theme camps or art projects at these events are one person efforts, after all, and it would be a strange Burning Man event for most if they ate only their own food and never visited a costume camp or a bar camp. Despite the best efforts of the greeters there are those who show up with few supplies out of laziness, whether they term it an “art project” to depend on community generosity or are planning on relying on sex appeal.

At the same time, the volunteers that make these events happen are some of the most competent people you will ever meet. They might be skilled in anything from welding to accounting, skills in many cases learned through a Burner project or gained through their connections with others.

Radical Self-reliance is one of the ways we discover our art — by relying on our own abilities, we learn what we are capable of and what we still need to learn.

The Lexicographer has been soliciting opinions from other thoughtful Burners on the Ten Principles. Below you will find another opinion, but more are still welcomed. Use the contact information at the top to send your thoughts.

From Kit O’Connell’s amazing Burner Lexicon!

Sad Art

Sad Art. noun.
Sometimes the art has serious intent, and when you participate in it, or if it draws you in when you are not expecting it, it can make you feel pretty serious too.
The obvious example is the temple, it’s often the most serious place on the playa, where people bring their loss, grief, and pain, take vows, and hold weddings. It’s beautiful and meaningful,and often sad. Not really some place you want to take a drunken rowdy, or accidentally end up on that silly afternoon that you’ve spent giggling with the new crush, but perhaps perfect when you are tired of the oontz oontz, or are questioning the worth and purpose of things.
Sad art can be great, especially when the intention moves and inspires you, and sometimes you need a bit of grounding in the middle of all the craziness.

By Shenanigans


Whimsy. noun:
A ship sailing across the playa is cool, a fleet of them even cooler, but the impromptu pirate raid that swarms up on deck and feeds everyone rum? Pure whimsy. The odd, the fanciful, and the capricious are our every day environment at burner events, and while sometimes the art is powerful, moving and serene, more often it’s head scratching, WTF? hilarious, and just plain cool.
Art from the funny bone, art because fart jokes are still funny, art that you make because your inner 8 year old is in charge of the welder.
Art that makes perfect sense at 3 am when the tequila is just worn off.
Because you can, and it would be cool, and because if you don’t, who will.

By Shenanigans