back to the playa

It’s just past midnight. In less than 8 hours, we leave for Black Rock City, the place that physically exists as the third-largest city in Nevada for only one week a year. A city 8 times the size of my home town of Sausalito.  It will be my fifth visit.

Am I prepared? No. But I’m as prepared as I’m going to get. At some point you just need to point yourself towards Center Camp and start peddling.

This year I’m going to be serving two roles in the city. I’ll be managing the Café Kona, serving fresh-brewed coffee to the people of Black Rock City every morning. I’m taking over this role from my friends Barry & Ricardo, who sadly can’t attend this year.

I’ve also been chosen to be an official photographer for the event, one of 18 members of Camera Girl’s Doc Team. That’s an amazing opportunity for me. I’ll be documenting a sector of the city, the Black Rock City airport, and some of the many mobile artworks that wander the ‘playa’, the affectionate name that residents use to refer to the dry lake bed that defines and often consumes the city.

People take an alternate identity in the heat of Black Rock, and part of that is selecting a ‘playa name’.  Mine is of course ‘Coyote‘. I am not the only one, but coyotes tend to run in packs. Dan has chosen the name ‘Senex Rex’, after his Jungian archetype. Bobby is naturally ‘Chino Loco’.

In addition to our family, a wonderful group of friends will be joining us out in the desert, including Francisco (‘Toro‘), Leviticus (his real name), Rick Mei (‘Wildwind‘), Sorin (‘Russian Navy Blue Toes‘), Bob Free, Rob, Nyla, & cousin Jon.  Wiley Wang will be coming out too. That’s not a playa name, though I think it would be perfect as one… that’s his real name. Wiley’s playa name is ‘Pupzilla‘.

Except for Dan, Sorin, and I, this will be the first year at Burning Man for everyone.

My personal goal for the week is to tell a story of life in Black Rock City that gives you an idea (with words and pictures) of what life is like in our little city. There are a lot of misconceptions about Burning Man, for example:

  1. Burning Man is a drug-fest.
  2. Burning Man is a nudist event.
  3. Burning Man is hippy love-fest.
  4. Burning Man is a rave.

All of these are true, but none of them define the event. Burning Man is an artistic explosion, and like all great art, everyone takes away something different. But at Burning Man, you are part of the art, and that means you also get to define the event for yourself. Burning Man is not consumption, it’s participation, it’s gifting of yourself.

Over the next week this blog will be my gift to you. I hope you enjoy it.

— Coyote

3 thoughts on “back to the playa

  1. Thank you for sharing your experience! It brings me a little closer to what I would have experienced if I didn’t “sell out” to the ‘man’. XP

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