Mechan 9 photo by Mechan 9 Crew / Collaborator Jason Hutchinson
Summer has come and gone and with it, our primary festival season has wrapped up.
This year I was fortunate to return to the Black Rock Desert and cap festival season off, once again, with the Burning Man Festival.
Burning Man changed my life in 1998 in much the same way that reading The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test and learning about the Grateful Dead changed my life in 1985. Both opened my eyes to a world I had only dreamed existed.
The Grateful Dead allowed me to step into Jack Kerouac's rucksack revolution and go put on a backpack and see the world with a community of thousands of fellow explorers. The Burning Man Festival allowed me to step into a world where creativity was currency and art, in its various mediums, is valued beyond its material value.
This year I camped with the Sparkle Pop Kittens and in particular, the Portland based Mechan 9 crew.
Mechan 9, a giant metal Fallen Robot that contained within it a 5 part story and treasure hunt, was a very impressive piece of Big Art that was the brainchild of our campmate (and BM organization liaison) Tyler FuQua.
(The Mechan 9 pic at the start of this post was pilfered from the Mechan 9 Facebook page. Check out the page to learn more about the beloved automaton.)
Not only was the robot magnificent, the accompanying Treasure Hunt was also great fun (Sunny and Adam and I completed it together) and the story's completion was wonderful.
Equally wonderful was watching the others who completed the journey wander into our camp to finish the treasure hunt and receive their prize (a beautiful Mechan 9 pendant.)
At Sunny's suggestion, I put together (and she helped art direct) a blotter print that we gave out to campmates, friends and random strangers we encountered in the dust. This was my third time producing a Burning Man specific blotter print and, true to the ethos of the event, it is not available commercially.
Of course it would not be Burning Man without Cheese In A Can, so on Sunday, before the Temple Burn, I donned my papal regalia, gathered my altared boys and girls and conducted Pope Shady's Gonzo Evangelical Nacho Communion, wherein we offered the gathered congregation not just wine and a cracker, but also cheese. And an optional jalapeno.
Big thanks to the Sparkle Pop Kittens for being such a welcoming group!
The Man burns again in 354 Days! Barely enough time to shake off the dust and grease the chain on our bicycles! But in the meantime, we've got tickets to Desert Trip in Indio!
In Dust We Trust!