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Burning Man is NOT a Spectator Sport: How to PARTICIPATE

August 4, 2009

passionateyearningI recently posted HOW TO GET READY for BURNING MAN encouraging YOU to get going on your bike, your camp, and your costumes.

There’s a lot of advice out there on the subject of how to prep and what to wear, but let me warn you, some of it is BOGUS! For example, Squidoo‘s Burning Man costumes site is full of ads for clothes that aren’t appropriate–some are downright dangerous and others–like anything feathery–produce MOOP (Matter Out Of Place).

Because Burning Man is NOT a Spectator sport, footwear is your key accessory–after your bike! This is how you’re going to get around–by foot and by bike. You’re going to walk and walk and ride your bike, and, if lucky, grab the occasional Mutant Vehicle.

So what’s on your feet really matters. If you look through any of the Burning Man Photo galleries linked to on this site, or watch the VIDEO OF BURNING MAN 2008 BY JASON MONGUE, you won’t see anyone wearing stiletto heels. Think walking outside. Think sinking into dirt. Think covered in dust.

If you wear stilettos anywhere outside your RV, you’re going to sink and join the evolutionary accidents of our collective past.

Instead, think boots: my main Burner boots include motorcycle boots, purple cowboy boots, knee high zebra fur rave boots, and converse all-stars. As hot as it may be, you don’t want to bare your feet outside of camp. Not only will your feet become disgustingly dirty, you subject yourself to the dreaded playa foot–deep, painful cracks which may take weeks to heal.

And if you’ve ever wondered why so many women wear fur leggings at Burning Man, now you know why: to look cool, sure, but to protect legs from getting so dirty and banged up during fun adventures.


No you can’t participate by burning what you want where you want.

While this used to be true, because of burn damage to the Playa,  people are no longer allowed to just burn what and where they want. It’s also a harmful waste of resources.

Fire is still a huge part of the Burning Man experience. Here are links to a few of of many fire troups who will be performing this year:
• Cinder Circus – Eugene, OR
• Controlled Burn –  Reno, NV
• Dreamtime Circus  – Bay Area, CA
• Fire Arts Collective  – Bay Area, CA
• Fuego Azul  – Bay Area, CA
• Garnish – Portland, Montreal, Los Angeles, Chicago, Seattle, Sebastopol
• Playa Del Fuego Fire Conclave – Washington DC area
• Pyroklectic – Prescott, AZ
• Pyronauts – International Troupe (23 Countries/19 States)
• Pyrospin – Santa Barabara, Santa Cruz, San Francisco, Nevada, Canada
• The Burn Academy – LA, CA
• Tribe Vibe – Reno, NV


Make something to give (like we’re tie-dying then silkscreeing bandanas) then

The objects and gifts that people give one another at Burning Man
reveal a great deal about their personalities and provide information
not recorded elsewhere about ways of life, religious beliefs, customs
and values. Gift-giving on the Playa joins creative expression with
joyous acceptance. These objects are often given spontaneously for the
pleasure of giving and receiving like the charm of a six-
inch man-doll handmade of toothpicks and the diploma from
the Ancient Order of Genuine Galilean Water Walkers. Sometimes they
are given for utilitarian reasons: to obtain a drink of water or to
attract friendly attention. In any case, Burning Man seems to inspire
the urge to create and give, and anyone inclined to make a gift object
is assured an appreciative reception.

See more about Material Culture and Playa Artifacts here:

See on-line archive here:

Please submit wonderful Material Culture items to be placed in on-line archives. You can do this in THREE different ways!

1. Bring your item to the ARTery, which is located on the 10:00 side
of the Outer Ring Road of Center Camp. Once you are there, our helpful
ARTerians will give you a form to fill out. Once you’ve done that
please place in the depository and our Material Culture crew will
handle it from there.

2. Print out and complete our on-line Material Culture form located

Once you’ve completed the form, insert two copies of your item and the
form into an envelope and mail to:

Material Culture
c/o Burning Man
P.O. Box 884688
San Francisco, CA 94188-4688

3. Scan or photograph your item and follow the instructions under “How
can I contribute photos of the item to this archive” on this page here:

Thanks for your submission! We look forward to seeing your beautiful
and creative gifts!

* The Material Culture Archive Team *





The Black Rock Arts Foundation supports interactive art project in off-
playa communities, worldwide and year round. Though the focus of our
work is off the playa, each year we return to our source of our
inspiration, to that city where interactive art is everywhere you
look: Black Rock City. We eagerly look forward to our stay on the
playa as an opportunity to connect with our supporters, to inspire
others to instigate interactive artworks in their hometown and to
educate about our mission and our projects.

On-playa, we host an art-making activity that bridges the gap between
those who are able to visit BRC, and those who cannot. This year we
embrace Burning Man’s theme, Evolution, bringing into play a fun side
note in art history: the game of Exquisite Corpse. Exquisite Corpse is
best known as a collaborative drawing game invented by the Surrealists.

Whether or not you can make it to BRC this year, we invite you to play
Exquisite Corpse by mail… and get a drawing mailed back to you,
postmarked BRC! To read more about how to play an participate, visit

… or stop in on the playa and play a game!



Calling All Info Maniacs!

So, are you looking for a volunteer opportunity? Want to assist people
coming to Burning Man from all points around the globe? Well, we’ve
got something for you!

In case you haven’t heard yet, Air Playa Info will be happening again
this year. It was a huge success last year and the Reno airport is
very eager to have us back! And this year is even better with a
Burning Man art exhibit currently on display that continues through
the event.

Air Playa Info will operate from 9:00a – 10:00p Friday [pre-event]
through Friday [event] at the Reno Tahoe International Airport.

We’re looking for volunteers to staff the table. You’ll be helping
arriving Burners get the info they need, such as where to buy
supplies, where the best ride share spots are, the locations of
recycling centers and dumps, etc.

Parking will be validated for confirmed volunteers, and a shuttle bus
might be available.

This is a great opportunity for folks not going to Burning Man this
year, but wanting to stay involved. Or, for folks that have some extra
time on their way in to the playa. Reply ASAP to: AirPlaya(at)att(dot)net



It’s that time of the year, and Burning Man Information Radio is
gearing up to announce your highly evolved event, theme camp, or
artwork on-air to the entire Black Rock City community. But we don’t
want to announce it only once; we want to get it out over the air
waves throughout the week. So crank up that home studio, record those
MP3 spots, and send them to

New to audio production? No worries. Check out
for a video tutorial on how you can use free tools to create your
audacious announcement.

Sooner is always better, but be sure to email them by August 22 to
guarantee they get on the air. Or drop by the station during the week
to hand deliver your CD or flash drive into the receptive and waiting
hands of your friendly BMIR DJ.



Center Camp Cafe is looking for muralists and artists to contribute to
the Fence Gallery! Yup, once again the Cafe has over 200′ of plywood
fencing to beautify PRIOR to the event. Muralists are needed to paint
their wonderful art a few days before gates open.  Cafe is also
looking for artists who want to exhibit existing work on the fence.
Interested? Good!

Contact the Fence Gallery Coordinator “E.” at

Please include examples of your work to get things going.

Remember: Center Camp Cafe starts caffeinating the BRC community on
the first day of the event (Monday, August 31). The Fence Gallery
artwork associated with the Cafe MUST be completed/installed by Monday
morning 8/31.



ART KIOSKS!  These will be 4ft wide by 4ft tall boards to hang either one or several wonderful

two dimensional creations upon. Each board is elevated 3ft off of the ground and these kiosks will encircle the center of the Cafe space. Size limitations for a single work will be 4ft wide x 4ft tall. Each artist is limited to one single board space. Don’t be a kiosk conqueror! Let’s have plenty of space for all! If you are an artist of the 2-dimensional genre and you’d like to hang
your art in the Cafe, you can either pre-register your art piece or just drop in en Playa (But don’t forget to bring your piece with you into the desert)!

To pre-register, please write to with your full
name, contact info, and artwork dimensions. If you would like to just
drop in at the Cafe, please go to the Cafe volunteer table next to the
coffee counters, and ask for the Cafe Art Team. They will send us
right over to help you out!



Join our public discourse on evolution, Wednesday to Friday at Entheon
Village. we’ll be exploring the topic from different angles: science,
culture, consciousness, economics, technology and personal growth. The
symposium format will feature concise 30-minute presentations and
longer round-table discussions. if you have a compelling and well
thought-out perspective on the concept of human evolution, or the
legacy of Charles Darwin, please send us a brief proposal. we already
have a great line-up of speakers, but there are a few more spots
left.. come join us!




Bike Rock City, Burning Man’s central bicycle repair shop needs
mechanics. Our shop is looking to fill shifts Monday – Saturday of the
event. Shifts are from 10am-1pm, or 3pm-6pm. Last year we were
overwhelmed with the amount of repairs, so this year the shop is
expanding to accommodate the crowds. Our shop will be more full
service, so we need people who know how to fix a bike the playa way
and keep the line moving. Ideally, you would even bring your own tools!

If you want to help wrench some bikes and drink some cold beers while
you do it, shoot an email to

Please include the following information: Name (real or imaginary)
– Contact e-mail
– Day and time you want to help out (M-F, Morning or Afternoon)

Hope to see you in the shop.

Bike Rock City Manager



Extreme Cooking: Evolving Food Alchemy on the Playa

Jean-Pierre “Chef JP” Weingarten, Feed the Artists program co-founder
and Chief Kitchen Bitch of Entheon Village, invites all chefs on the
playa to his lecture at Entheon Village (6:30/D&F) on Tuesday,
September 1st (starting in the late morning or early afternoon). He
will be speaking for an hour or so about the rigors of setting up and
operating a kitchen on the playa. Some of the topics of discussion
will include:

• personal bio in the hospitality industry and other extreme cooking
• Feed the Artists (genesis, history, future)
• hooking up with a theme camp
• pre-playa setup including menu planning and pre-playa preparation of
• what to bring in terms of equipment and utensils
• transportation
• preserving perishables (ice, fridges, etc.)
• maintaining good sanitation and health practices (especially on the
• what to expect from the Nevada Health Department in terms of permits
for public gifting
• volunteers
• kitchen layout (container, tent, etc.)
• type of service provided (buffet, sit-down French, family style, etc.)

Also, they’re still accepting a limited number of campers at Entheon
Village. Interested folks can go to for more
info and registration.



WE MEET ON: Wed, Thurs, Fri, Sat at 10:30 am
AT: Jazz Cafe, right around Center Camp, just ask anyone, it’s been
around for years…
WE SING: a mix of gospel, choral, a cappella, spirituals,
improvisational circle songs
WE PERFORM: on Sunday morning at 11 am with a 10 am dress
rehearsal…it’s a playa style sunday gospel service

If you are a choir singer, a shower singer, a folk singer, a jazz
singer, an out of tune singer, an opera singer, a whatever-you-want-to
call your self singer, come and join this choir. I LOVE doing this
choir, it’s my favorite choir experience I have ALL YEAR LONG!

We Need Rhythm Section Players Too!! BAND!!!! We’re doing some gospel, some soul, some original music and something improvised. If you are looking for a place to perform, if you can catch on quick, (by ear or by reading, either way) if you have good time/rhythm and you have a burning  desire to play in a rhythm section for the playa choir, please send a sample of your
music to ME!

Come to 2-3 rehearsals (two at the very least) on thurs, fri or sat
morning at 10:30 am-12ish and perform in our Sunday service at 11 on
sunday am (dress rehearsal at 10am) at Jazz Cafe. House drums and amps
(and power) is provided. Just show up and play.



Critical Tits evolves and rides on!

The ladies will ride, but THERE IS NO PARTY! No fancy drinks, no art
cars, no rave music.  New this year: at the end of the Ride, a Ritual
of acknowledgment and heart centered connection; to recognize and
celebrate the community of women.  Not for spectators.  We invite
partners and friends to help hold the ritual space.  We need
volunteers for set up/clean up, bike parking, drumming.

4:00pm at the Man and the Ritual finishes by 6:00pm.

If you want to get involved, contact



False Profit Labs is looking for live musical acts that have their own
instruments and sound system to come perform Wednesday, Thursday or
Friday nights of the event.  We will connect their sound board to our
software and the Carbon Garden flowers will respond to their music in
waves and patterns of fire.

Here’s a video of the installation at the Crucible’s Fire Arts Festival:

Interested folks can email Brett at



Inspired by the Spanish tradition of the Running of the Bulls,

the Black Rock Bull Run consists of a herd of bicycles adorned with make-
shift cow heads (these would be the bulls) in hot pursuit of hundreds
of participants on foot, dressed in white w/ a splash of red.

Even if you don’t have time to prepare and you see it passing by, jump in and run (or ride) with the bulls!!! Friday at sundown (~7pm), B-street, clock-wise from the 2:00 end.

Get instructions on how to turn a cardboard box into a cow head at

Brought to you by the Instigator of the San Francisco Pillow Fight.



Make yourself an EL wire letter before you get to the playa and join
us for Scrabble Night on Wed, Sept 2, starting at 8 pm.

We’ll mix and mingle to make words.  L-O-V-E one minute becomes E-V-O-
L-V-E the next.  I might want to wear X and do cartwheels while
looking for S-E-X.  When I get tired of X, perhaps you’ll trade your S
with me and off you go, looking for N-E-X-T.  We have over 40 letters
(and peeps playing) so far and hope to grow even bigger for our
onplaya scrabble “game.”

We’ll meet at HOTD in SiliCon Village on Wed, Sept 2 at 8 pm.  Once
we’ve collected ourselves there, we’ll walk out to the Esplanade and
play with the masses.

If you want your EL letter to match what we’ve done, our letters are
13.5 inches high and 11 inches across and most are aqua-colored
standard 2.3 mm wire.  To keep it simple, we’ve used 4” zip ties to
attach the wire to a plastic grid (in the needlepoint section of
Michael’s and Jo-Ann’s and other crafty shops).  Of course, feel free
to make any damn letter you like and join us.  This is a radically
inclusive, equal opportunity event!

For photos, please see:

Email with any questions.



“Attention lovers of everything fishnet! For the Fifth year in a row
the 6 Minute players will be putting on a live shadow cast performance
of the Rocky Horror Picture Show! We put the show on Friday at
midnight, so anyone who needs a Rocky Horror fix come on down to
Videogasm at Snowflake Village and give yourself over…to absolute

In addition we are looking for new cast members. If you would like to
join in the fun, have any Rocky experience or are just looking for a
great time, shoot me an email! There’s minimal time involvement on the
playa (1/2 hour before the show) and we always have a fun time and a
great audience. Don’t be nervous, you know you want to.

If you would like to view footage of our previous shows follow these

2007 –
2005 –

You can contact me, tiki Bob AT



Camp of the Living dead is doing a
Michael Jackson tribute at BM this year like Stokholm’s dance flash
mob. :-) They are having rehersals wed, thurs and frid from 1-3 and
then the “flash mob” will take place at BM on Friday. The song is
Thriller, and I would suspect this to be an amazing sight (if you’ve
seen Stokholm’s then you will understand). :-)

Mindy The Great



Calling all Art Cars (and Art Car Lovers)!

The Art Car Wash is a sexy daytime disco and interactive zone for art
cars, art car drivers, and anyone who enjoys getting their bumpers

Disorient invites all mutant vehicles to visit the Art Car Wash, where
playa participants will be waiting to greet them, mock “wash” their
cars, and groove to daytime DJ sets. Drive through the unique
Evolvatron car wash lane, where spinning fuzzy playa versions of the
washers and wipers found in a typical automated car wash will “wash”
your vehicle. Sexy playa Car Washers will be ‘buffing’, ‘sudsing’,
‘rinsing’ and ‘waxing’ the car to maximum sexiness.  After passing
through the wash,  park your mutant vehicle and join in on the fun!
The Art Car Wash will be operated daily by Disorient, but we invite
all playa participants to visit Disorient throughout the week and lend
a hand with towels, misters, buffy fuzzy things or just yourselves….
Hot wax job, anyone?




Calling all classical musicians: Automatic Subconscious is reviving
its Early Risers’ Classical Cafe.  Imagine live classical music
wafting through the morning desert air, with fresh coffee and tea for
all who care to wander in.  We need YOU to help make it happen!  If
you (or your group) are interested in performing a set, contact
Bethany (  Sets will be scheduled
between 9-11am, Monday through Sunday.

Love and playa dust,



Are you an engineer, artist, experienced fabricator? Do you want to
help us send pulse ripples down a 1000 foot long slinky-like tunnel?
Of course you do!

Flutter Tunnel is seeking a collaborative entity willing to
participate in engineering an interactive device/lever/pulley to
activate a large scale installation planned for the playa. Flutter
Tunnel is a series of 100 steel arches, measuring 22 feet tall x 28
feet wide made from 1″ bar stock ‘sucker rod’ steel. We have 1000 feet
of wire rope, and a means of attaching it to every arch, and are
dreaming of someone who might want to take on the challenge of making
a ridiculous interactive lever that enables you, me and your friends
to collectively tension 100 arches back, and release … ahhhh a
wigglin horizon space filled with gigglin people.

For some logisticals visit

Then contact Bland if you are interested…



The French Naturalist is seeking puppet performers to operate bread
and puppet style crepes for a walking tour on the Playa, “The Wild
Crepes of BRC.”

No experience necessary; over-qualification preferred.  Dates and
times still soft, associated with campdelicioso.

Please contact me by email at

Howard Seth Cohen



Does the desert make you dead tired?  Are your friends always telling
you to hurry up?  Is the most important quality in your partner a good

Then you might be UNDEAD!

Join your Zombie friends at center camp Thursday at sunset.  It is
time that the slow of feet meet up and celebrate the playa in true use-
to-be-living fashion. Kill your friends and bring them with, there
will be all the brains that you can catch.

When:  Thursday, sunset (About 7:30 PM)

Where: Center Camp

What to bring: Whatever is left of you

See you there,

Be Be TS


2 Comments leave one →
  1. Footsy permalink
    January 10, 2013 2:58 pm

    For the burn I swear by my Altama US army issue desert boots. I pretty much have them on my feet 24/7 when in BRC. Lightweight, comfy and breathable, perfect for dancing, biking or walking with no sweaty, sore feet. $40 at the local surplus store, already broken in. Made to last too.

  2. January 10, 2013 4:45 pm

    Thanks for the tip! It’s not too early to keep an eye out for this summer’s Burning Man attire!

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