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Post Burning Man Decompression 2016

September 12, 2016
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by Ethan YiSheng Chan

How was Burning Man for you in 2016? Did you have a wild ride? Did you ride a skateboard? A roller coaster?

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A boar? A TV? A bike for miles and miles and miles only to find a cast iron clawfoot bathtub? Or Robot Heart? Or aliens?

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Or a light tunnel? Or a ceiling of fire? Or a giant victrola?

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All this and more?

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Did you find MAGIC?

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Did you find HOME?

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While Burning Man may be a “bucket list” destination these days, for most people, a trip to Black Rock City is more of a journey of transformation than a vacation.

And no don’t call it a music festival. Burning Man is NOT Coachella. In fact, most years when I go to Burning Man (And I’ve been 17 times out of the past 25 years) I spend very little time in the large scale sound camps. Mostly we just ride on past because there isn’t enough time to see and experience all that Black Rock City has to offer in the brief amount of time that it exists.

Because for a city of its size and population (70k or so; see the map below of BRC imposed on Manhattan for comparison), so much is going on day and night that there is no way you can participate in even a small percentage of the activities.

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But there is also extreme weather including blinding dust storms. And wind that can tear down your camp in a blink of an eye.

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In 2009 we tie dyed 150 bandanas which we gifted during dust storms to the needy.

You must construct shelter that will protect you from the sun, the dust, the wind, and even rain and freezing cold nights. In 24 hours the weather can change radically. In 24 minutes the weather can change radically. So you have to be prepared for anything and everything.

Little wonder that folks come back from Burning Man changed. And they look at the world differently, too. As participants, not spectators, ready to follow dreams and find magic.

Often it is a difficult adjustment. Burners gather together to recount tales and recreate BRC in their own cities in “decompression parties.”

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For example, this Thursday and Friday, September 15 and 16 is the Venice CA “Afterburn.” This event is free of charge but if you’re planning on attending, please support by donating to http://www.gofundme.com/veniceafterburn16
(Suggested donation $10 bucks or more).

Los Angeles Decom is usually held the first weekend in October but last year it was cancelled at the last minute because of incomplete permits; this year, no location has been announced so far making it doubtful it will be happening that weekend, and possibly not at all.

Fortunately there are decompression parties and regional burns happening all across the country. Reno will hold their decompression party Oct 1, and the 17th annual decompression takes place in San Francisco Sunday Oct. 9 14021473_1147484675307887_8979365096424775369_n

Hard to believe there have been that many… but then I remember going in 2000 and that was 16 years ago!

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Plus there will be with a Art Car Fest on Sat. Oct. 8. in Oakland celebrating 20 years with over 50 ArtCars from all over North America on display at the ArtCar Fest Bash at NIMBY artspace in Oakland. The event features musical guests Los Baños Bike Rodeo Band, The Reliables, The TomorrowMen, and an EXTRA-special guest band with additional entertainment from DJ Justin Credible, cabaret acts, marching bands, films by ArtCar documentarian Harrod Blank, spoken-word artists, and the ArtCar Fest Fashion Show (with Annie Coulter and Dr. Howland Owl presiding).

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Another event that I’d love to attend is Youtopia, organized by the San Diego regional and held each year in mid-October at the La Jolla Indian Reservation Campground. Tickets are $175 for the weekend of activities and camping.

Learn about other Decoms and Regional Events around the world, see: http://regionals.burningman.org/ This is a year-round community with events being planned across the globe every day of the week!

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