Is That All There Is To Burning Man?

Hunkered in my trailer
Hunkered in my trailer

There I was, hunkered miserably in my flimsy pop-up camper as 50mph winds battered the canvas and rattled the chassis, insidious puffs of alkali dust sneaking in through every little crack and cranny, coating my dishes, wigs and even eyelashes in a fine white film of existential angst. I was tired, hungover, sleep deprived and pissed the fuck off — WHERE THE FUCK were all the perfect sunny days, languorous golden hours and pink-and-purple sunsets I’d been led to believe were my birthright? How the fuck was I supposed to cavort whimsically about the temple in my feather headdress and furry platform boots?! I WANT MY MONEY BACK!!!

Let this dust-caked Fleshlight speak for itself...
Let this dust-caked Fleshlight speak for itself…

That’s right, friends, it was Burning Man…and this year, Burning Man was a bitch!!!

I’ve been lucky; in the 7 years I’ve been going to Burning Man, the weather has been pretty good, and I assumed all that talk about day-long dust storms and whiteouts was just hippie hyperbole. Every year, I dutifully tied and re-barred everything down…but secretly wondered why the hell I was bothering, when the most catastrophic thing I’d ever experienced was a ruffled wig.

Well, now I know.

Before my camp was destroyed
Before my camp was destroyed

And it wasn’t just the weather that got me down — this year, every little thing seemed to conspire against my enjoyment of the Greatest Party on Planet Earth™: wind, weather, Eurotrash, mechanical troubles…and a general sort of malaise that had me wandering around the playa asking myself: “Is that all there is to Burning Man?

“Is that all there is?”

Let's break out the booze and have a ball!
Let’s break out the booze and have a ball!

Well, if that’s all there is….then might as well keep dancing.

I’m no weak-willed pansy; every time the playa knocked me down, I got back up again. When relentless blasting winds destroyed our camp, my sister and I swept away the sand dunes and built it back. When my usual mushroom truffles made me sick, I took whole dried stems and caps, instead. And when whiteout conditions blasted dust into every crevice and orifice…I threw on a niqab and my strap-on, and went to town. This is the party of the year — let’s break out the booze and have a ball!



most practical gift ever
most practical gift ever

What’s a niqab, you ask? Well, it’s one of those creepy fucking black veils worn by women in some Islamic countries, where every part of the face and head are covered except for a narrow slit for the eyes. It covers everything down to about mid-chest, and is often worn over another full-length creepy black garment so that the entire body is covered…but I skipped the body part and simply accessorized it with a black rubber strap-on, a pair of Frankenstein boots and a clown nose. A fan had given it to me early in the week…and whatever your personal beliefs about the misogynistic heritage of these garments, I’m here to tell you — they are great for Burning Man!

And not just for dust protection, either — wearing the niqab prompted many interesting discussions, of a deeper nature than the usual conversations I have at Burning Man (which tend to be drug-addled ruminations on matters of little consequence, like “Have you seen that amazing light installation in Deep Playa? It blinks in time to the rhythm of your farts!”).


The niqab provoked far more in-depth discussions on gender and religion, with people I met from all over the Middle East — including several oddly aroused Israelis (Israelis are thicker than dust at the Burn; they love EDM and psychotropic drugs, and are used to the harsh conditions of the desert). Although there was a tense moment when we visited my sister’s ex-husband and his all-Israeli camp, and I accidentally left my backpack behind when we rode off 😮 Other than that, though, people responded very well to the ensemble.

In fact, some responded uncomfortably well; one of my all-time greatest Burning Man experiences EVER came about as I was wandering the playa in that getup.

Battered to the point of exhaustion by the wind and dust, one afternoon my sister and I retreated to the protected confines of Center Camp (Center Camp is this giant circus tent in the middle of Burning Man, sort of a central gathering place full of art and sleeping hippies). We found a quiet corner with a few cushions to lay back on, and sat down to enjoy some good-old-fashioned people watching…which is excellent at Center Camp.

Everyone wanted to touch my dick
Everyone wanted to play with my dick

After awhile, a pudgy, bearded Deadhead came shuffling along, and asked if he could sit beside me. Noticing my strap-on, he also asked if he could play with my dick. Of course, I said yes to both.

By now, having men fiddle with my fake penis had actually become fairly commonplace; because it was on a cute girl, the ersatz phallus was apparently a safe way for guys to indulge their latent bicuriosity, without fear of judgment….and just about every guy I encountered wanted to touch it. But this Deadhead took it to a whole new level!! After manually futzing with it for a few minutes, he mentioned that he could put a condom over it and actually suck it, if that was cool. Cool?! How much cooler can ya get???!!

suck my dick, hippie!
suck my dick, hippie!

So, as I lay there in my hungover stupor, not moving at all and looking for all intents and purposes as if I were unconscious…this hippie slipped a condom over my fake black penis and proceeded to go to town fellating me. FOR OVER AN HOUR!

And I’m not talking about a half-assed job, either — he really worked it, with astonishing gusto. I don’t know his personal story, or what what going on in that hairy head of his…but that motherfucker did not give a fuck. He sucked and slurped and deep-throated me, literally for over an hour, in broad daylight, and in view of many cameras. And I loved it!!

45 min later, still going at it!
45 min later, still going at it!

The best part was, I had on my big black stunner shades, so I could observe the reactions of people walking past without their being the wiser. You know these Burning Man types — blasé as fuck, like, “Is that all there is?” Well, guess what? Apparently, the sight of an unconscious woman in a niqab having her dick sucked by a bearded hippie with a hairy belly poking out of a tie-died Grateful Dead t-shirt is enough to make even Peggy Lee put down her gin-and-Valium and take note. For extra impact, I made sure my hairy armpits were on display (I have taken to not shaving unless I have a photo shoot…so by the time this went down, they were pretty furry).

This man gave zero fucks. Kudos to you, sir!!!!
This man gave zero fucks. Kudos to you, sir!!!!

After about an hour, the hippie’s jaw got tired, so we invited him to join us over at the nearby Hair of the Dog bar for a drink. He agreed, and we all went off to get our bikes…but when my sister and I arrived at HOTD, the hippie was nowhere to be found. Like all truly surreal visions, he had disappeared into the mists of the playa, never to be seen or heard from again. If anyone recognizes him from these photos, by all means please tell him I’m looking for him. His stamina was amazing!!

that niqab came in handy during dust storms
that niqab came in handy during dust storms

So anyway, that niqab was one thing that saved my Burn from being a total writeoff. Another lifesaver were these little powder-filled baggies I had ordered from called TravelJohns — basically, you pee into them, and the powder turns your urine into an odorless semisolid gel, which you can then throw away in the trash. They’re made for coal miners and lady truck drivers, but I’m here to tell you that they are INVALUABLE at Burning Man. You’ll never have to leave your cozy trailer in the middle of the night to pee again! (And that was an especially big deal this year, when a freak cold front blew in and brought temperatures down to freezing on at least one night. Yikes!!)

Boo Ya! photo by DPH LLC
Boo Ya!
photo by DPH LLC

But the niqab wasn’t the only amazing playa gift I got this year — this was actually an exceptional year for me in terms of playa gifts. I amassed a collection of scarves, necklaces, weed and mushrooms that astonished even me, but the most exceptional of the lot was this package that arrived for me via USPS — that’s right; they deliver on the playa via a P.O. box in nearby Gerlach, to which a fan had shipped me a care package full of all kinds of useful things ranging from trail mix and vitamins to Sno Balls, a fabulous purple dashiki and a $1,000,000 Zimbabwean dollar bill. You know…all the things you never knew you needed at Burning Man. A volunteer member of the Black Rock City postal service delivered it right to my camp, too. AMAZING!

But each time I decided to just keep dancing, break out the booze and have a ball…the playa would test me again. Like with poor Dr. Who.

my brother, the UC Davis-educated engineer, made this bong out of a rubber ducky!
my brother, the UC Davis-educated engineer, made this bong out of a rubber ducky!

Now, you may remember that Dr. Who is this wonderful, kindhearted kindred spirit I met at last year’s Burn, when both my sister and I became very close friends with him. We stayed in touch all year long (I even visited him at his beautiful home in Hawaii, and he came to see us at our mom’s house in the forest of Northern California), and we had all three been looking forward to spending some quality time together in his ginormous, luxurious RV. He had stuffed the RV with gourmet foods and liquors, and had even spent a good deal of time pimping out the ceiling with tassels and fringe.

Fun times
Fun times at Dr. Who’s camp

Well…apparently he should have spent more time pimping out the engine, too, because the RV broke down en route to the Burn, and poor Dr. Who, who had looked forward to this all year long, ended up missing the first few days of Burning Man — and spent the next few sleeping at his camp in a rental car, with all his gourmet foods and costumes rotting in the trunk, until he was finally able to return to Reno and pick up his repaired rig halfway through the event. D’oh!!!!!

BARF! photo by Soul Thief Vision
photo by Soul Thief Vision

But that Dr. Who has an indomitable spirit, and despite all his setbacks he was hellbent and determined to have fun. And if Dr. Who was able to have fun despite all HIS problems, then certainly I could! To that end, on Monday night I shoved a fistful of mushrooms in my face, and set off for a night of hijinks. But wouldn’t you know it; the playa still had it in for me…I had eaten one of my usual chocolate-mushroom truffles, which have never before given me problems, but this time made me super nauseous…so much so that I had to bail out and to go to bed early 🙁 I HATE MISSING A NIGHT OF BURNING MAN!

tumblr_lrb4cipOY41r22325o1_500Worse, because the shrooms were still zinging around in my system, I spent a very restless, shitty night tossing and turning in my bed. I knew my sister was OK out there — she’s a super sharp chick, and in good company with Dr. Who — but for some reason I still had this weird dream where I was in an old-timey steampunk-type two-seater rocket ship, bound for the moon…but she wouldn’t get on board. In my dream, it was the saddest thing — I waved good-bye to her as I blasted off into space, knowing I’d never see her again 🙁 WTF?!? Damn shrooms!

Anyway, after tossing and turning all fuckin’ night, I finally gave up at 7:30am (!!!)…an hour at which I rarely see the playa. I felt like I’d been hit by a giant fur-covered schoolbus, but there was nothing for it but to sack up and soldier on, and try to salvage the day. I threw on my stunner shades, purple dashiki and a pink Afro wig, and shuffled down the street for a cup of coffee at Dr. Who’s camp, where they serve coffee brewed from his plantation in Kona…trying to drown out the ennuyée voice of Peggy Lee echoing once again in my head.

Let's keep dancing
Let’s keep dancing!

But you know me — let’s keep dancing! While slouched on a sofa nursing my life-saving brew, a photographer friend who was camped next door came over and invited me to join this photo shoot he was about to embark on with another model (he’s one of those insane early-riser types you see out on by the temple at daybreak, photographing Goddesses frolicking about in feathered headdresses, etc). Now needless to say, I was NOT in photo-shoot-ready condition — remember, I was wearing a fucking purple dashiki and a pink Afro wig! But despite my miserable hangover and sleepless night, I decided “Fuckit! Let’s break out the booze and have a ball!!!

a more fabulous wig and outfit pic by MG Imagery
a more fabulous wig and outfit
pic by MG Imagery

I dashed back to my camp to don a more fabulous wig and outfit, and we all three rode out to the playa in the beautiful morning sunlight, to commence shooting a series of irreverent artsy nudes among the fantastic art pieces out there. There was some really cool art this year, and three of us had a grand old time.

But, just as I was starting claw my way back to the aforementioned boozy ball…wouldn’t you know it, my resolve

blasted away by a dust storm
blasted away by another fuckin’ dust storm

was tested again; yet another miserable whiteout dust storm came blasting through the playa, and before you know it we were lost in an endless, choking cloud of alkali dust, cutting short the shoot and destroying my wig and very nearly my willpower in the process. I got on my bike and pedaled furiously through the howling, blasting grit, completely clueless as to where I was headed in the dusty void. Somehow, I eventually managed to navigate my way back to camp, where I tore off my filthy wig and collapsed in a heap of frustration. Damn you, playa!!!

this weather SUCKS!
this weather SUCKS!

By this time I was tired, hungover, my camp was in ruins again and I was very seriously considering approaching one of the many law enforcement agents at the event and offering up my entire shroom collection in exchange for being carted off to a nice, air-conditioned jail with hot meals and no fucking wind; as an added bonus, they could seize all my property and save me the hassle of trying to pack up the fucking mess it had become — I had serious doubts that my poor long-suffering pop-up camper would survive the blasting 50mph winds, and I had the sinking feeling I’d be unable to crank it closed at the end of the week. GOOD RIDDANCE!!!

my outfits were skimpy and not suited to cold weather
my outfits were skimpy and not suited to cold weather

Seriously, this weather was the pits. I was being mildly facetious when I said I’d never experienced less-than-perfect weather at Burning Man in the past; I did suffer a nasty gash in my leg during a violent storm in 2013, and had been caught in a few whiteouts over the years. But never anything as relentless as this. Not only was it windy and dusty as fuck, but as previously mentioned it was also cold as fuck — dipping into the 30s on several nights. As luck would have it, this was the year I had decided to “pack light,” and not be a sparkle pony with 1,000 coats and costumes — so I had stupidly neglected to bring a big warm fur coat. D’oh!!!

I had to ruin the effect of my silver spacesuit with Dr. Who's blue fur coat
I had to ruin the effect of my silver spacesuit with Dr. Who’s blue fur coat

Thankfully, once Dr. Who was able to retrieve his RV from the repair shop in Reno, his exuberant relief was infectious. Now I had not only a safe refuge from the miserable weather, but the chance to borrow one of his furry jackets, as well. So around mid-week, things turned around dramatically — to the point where I was finally able to dance, break out the booze….and have a legit fucking ball!!! It’s hard to be truly miserable at Burning Man…if you are, you have serious problems!

Now, you’re probably wondering why, if we spent so much time hanging out with Dr. Who anyway, my sister and I hadn’t just camped with him. We’re weird like that –Dr. Who stays with a big group, with organized meals and showers and camp dues and other commie bullshit, but my sister and I like our privacy, and prefer to have our own setup off on the fringes, where we can set up a little sanctuary of our own, and be our own bosses. I guess you could say we’re control freaks! We usually just invite a few friends to stay with us, and sort of cobble together our own freaky little camp…like we did last year, with the Goddess Collective and all the other sparkle ponies.

Goofing around with my friend MG Imagery
Goofing around with my friend MG Imagery

Well, alas….this year our own camp kind of sucked ass. We had cool people, but the infrastructure wasn’t there; because not one of our campmates had an RV to act as a windblock, our setup was repeatedly destroyed by the wind. Worse, none of our immediate neighbors had RVs either — we somehow ended up in a section of Black Rock City that was full of nothing but Millennial Eurotrash in tents and Jucy vans, who only returned to camp to sleep, eat and leave their garbage all over the playa. Apparently they hadn’t read up on the “Leave No Trace” thing; the porta potties in our part of town were reprehensible (even by Burning Man standards) — despite all the signs and exhortations that “If it didn’t come from your body, don’t put it in the potty,” they were sickeningly full of old champagne bottles, tampon applicators and beer cans. Our neighborhood was like the Black Rock Youth Hostel…lame.

During a rare sunny moment, I ran into this friend from Vegas
During a rare sunny moment, I ran into this friend from Vegas

And the only major camp in our area that wasn’t run by Eurotrash idiots was even worse — they had a 500,000-watt sound system blasting horrible music at random hours of the morning, waking me up at 5:30am with the theme song from “Cheers,” followed by a rousing program of Rage Against The Machine. I fully expect to suffer 24/7 loud music up at Burning Man, so I always sleep in earplugs…but earplugs can only drown out so much, ya know? It’s fairly easy to ignore the monotonous thump of EDM…but the theme song from Cheers gets your mental gears going, trying to remember dumb shit like the name of Ted Danson’s character (Sam Malone). And don’t even talk to me about Rage Against The Machine — that band sucks ass any time of day!!

Huddled around a burn barrel with a lady sexologist, my sis and a new friend
Huddled around a burn barrel at Dr. Who’s camp with a lady sexologist, my sis and a new friend

So understandably, as mentioned my sis and I spent almost the entire week hanging out at Dr. Who’s camp, and will probably stay there next year, commie infrastructure be damned: he camps with an AMAZINGLY zany collection of kooks, freaks and pornographers, mostly from L.A., and they were among the most diverse, amazing group of people I have ever met at Burning Man: porn actors, actresses, production crewmembers, hippies, Republicans, at least one virulent Obama-bashing Libertarian, art car builders, doctors, lawyers and a fantastic bevy of boozy, busted sparkle ponies shoving their tits into the faces of one and all. Say what you will about people in the industry; these were some of the most genuine, creative, wonderful people I’ve ever spent time with. I loved those crazy fuckers!!

Caught in a blasting whiteout on the Mugwump
Caught in a blasting whiteout on the Mugwump

In addition to providing a comfortable bar and lounge area to chill in, they also had several art cars to ride around on — the elegantly-designed/inelegantly-named Penetrator, a Day-Glo Frankenvehicle called the Mugwump, the sleek LED-covered Mirage and even a fur-covered rabbit-shaped Studebaker one of the camp members had built for a client who turned it down last minute — so we were never without a fun way to see the playa. Oh, except for the fact that the fucking dust storms often ENGULFED the playa to the point where you couldn’t see a fucking thing, anyway!!! We went out one afternoon on the Mugwump and ended up stranded in Deep Playa, unable to find our way back due to a FREEZING COLD, BLASTING whiteout dust storm that obliterated everything and left me hunkered down behind my niqab and a bunch of fuzzy pillows. D’OH!!!

on the Mugwump, Penetrator in the background
on the Mugwump, Penetrator in the background

But, somehow…dust storms notwithstanding, thanks to the astonishingly hardcore ebullience of this dedicated band of ragtag partiers, it became easier and easier to just keep dancing — those motherfuckers know how to break out the booze and have a ball!! My sincere, heartfelt thanks to the crew of Sunset Lounge, for helping me see the folly of my wussy ennui 😀 You guys are awesome!!!

my barrister merkin
my barrister merkin

Besides their positive effect on my attitude, there were other reasons I should have camped with them — mainly because I was involved in several events they were hosting, and I wasted a lot of time running back and forth from my camp to theirs. One afternoon I was scheduled to adjudicate Playa Divorces — temporary, 24-hour divorces meant to give romantic partners a break from each other on Burn Night, and the opportunity to go fuck around, I guess. To that end, one of the campmembers had gotten me a judge’s robe and barrister’s wig, and I even made a little barrister’s merkin to match (astonishingly, when I Googled “barrister merkin” while I was prepping for this, I was unable to find a single website using that word combo. I guess I win the Internet!).

co-hosting PornStar Dating Game at Sunset Lounge photo by Soul Thief Vision
co-hosting PornStar Dating Game at Sunset Lounge
photo by Soul Thief Vision

Then another night I co-hosted the Pornstar Dating Game — a version of the old 70s TV show “The Dating Game,” but with real-life porn actors choosing dates from among the audience members! Now that was a shit-show; my co-host wore a powder-blue tux and quizzed the gentlemen, while I needled the ladies in a psychedelic-print 1967 Jantzen swimsuit and beehive wig. GOOD TIMES! The porn actors and actresses all chose dates, took them out on the playa for an evening of fun…and I’m pleased to report that most resulted in the proverbial happy endings. Yee-haw!!

blending up vagina coladas at Sunset Lounge
blending up Vagina Coladas at Sunset Lounge

But the main performance I had to take part in was all my own; just like at our Vegas regional burn last May, I had brought all the trappings to make my world-famous Vagina Coladas. In case you’ve forgotten or haven’t heard, Vagina Coladas are delicious, frosty piña coladas made with kegel power, using a blender I plug into my Electric Vagina. I dump in all the ingredients, then bear down and squeeeeeeeeze…with much theatrical screaming for extra flavor. Guaranteed to quench the thirst of even the hottest, dustiest playa denizens!

Vagina Coladas for al!
Vagina Coladas for al!

I blended up Vagina Coladas on two occasions at the Sunset Lounge, and then another day I took my shtick across town to the Hair of the Dog camp, where my friend Fritz had even arranged to book me a slot on their stage, with music and everything. To the pounding strains of Iggy Pop’s anthem “Pussy Power,” I blended up pitcher after pitcher of delicious Vagina Coladas, making many new friends in the process. It was amazing! I really liked that camp (Hair of the Dog) — not only are they the oldest continuously-operating bar on the playa, they’re also just a really fucking cool group of people. I spent many afternoons hanging out at that bar, and had many truly stimulating conversations.

Blending Vagina Coladas at Hair of the Dog
Blending Vagina Coladas at Hair of the Dog

Now speaking of my friend Fritz, he also had an RV and was more than willing to offer me shelter during the frequent dust storms. He also cooked a couple of amazing dinners for my sister and I — that guy likes to cook, and does it exceptionally well! One night he made mushroom risotto, and another night some amazing pasta fagioli — in addition to all the hot meals I got from Dr. Who and his camp as well, I actually ate better this year than I had ever done at Burning Man…weather be damned! Thank you, Fritz <3

So, after all of the wind, dust, Eurotrash and angst…against all odds, it actually turned out to be one of my better Burns, after all. SHOCKER! Apparently, I’m not ready to throw in the towel quite yet — in the words of the immortal Miss Peggy Lee, “Oh, no…not me. I’m in no hurry for that final disappointment!”

beat-up and exhausted, looking like Carol Channing
beat-up and exhausted, looking like Carol Channing

But either way, by the end of the week we were EXHAUSTED and drained — moreso than usual, and I was really looking forward to our planned group decompression at nearby Sierra Hot Springs, nestled in the pine forests near Truckee. Last year, my sister and I spent a few magical days there with Dr. Who, and we were all three looking forward to a repeat; plus we’d be joined by several of the pornographers and kooks this year, so it was shaping up to be a great coda to an often-miserable week. One guy in particular was joining us; we’ll call him Johnny Cum — the exceptionally entertaining star of 1800 adult movies, an irascible, fiery Jersey goombah with chiseled muscles and a penchant for telling filthy stories. I was really looking forward to sitting around in a hot spring with a cocktail, listening to him ramble! 

Time to get to work, hippies!
Time to get to work, hippies!

But before I could leave the playa, I had to help break down the Soul Train. For the past few years, I have been assured a Burning Man ticket and an early arrival pass (thus missing all the traffic) by virtue of my helping out with the assembly of this art car built by a friend of mine here in Vegas — a giant, lumbering replica of the old cartoon train at the beginning of the Soul Train TV show. It’s a monstrous project that takes about two days to complete, both before and after the event…but I don’t mind helping out, usually.

This year, however, my friend who owns it had accidentally booked a gig in Indiana on Burn Night (he’s a professional puppeteer, who performs at halftime shows and stuff like that), so he had to fly out of Reno for work, and miss the whole culminating weekend. In his defense, Burning Man fell much later than usual this year — it’s always the week before Labor Day, but this year Labor Day fell later in September than usual, and it threw him off, so he’d accepted the gig, thinking Burning Man would be well over by then.

playa selfie
playa selfie

Anyway, to make up for his missing the Man Burn and the Temple Burn, he planned to throw a party on the Monday night after the Burn, and not pack up til Tuesday —  by which time I’d hoped to be long gone on my way to the hot springs with my merry band of freaks. Instead, I had to stay on the playa and help out. D’oh!!! Oh, well — at least the weather had finally settled down and turned nice. (After the event was over — IT FIGURES!!)

So, my sister and I packed together our own disastrous mess (my camper barely creaking shut), then helped my friend pack up the Soul Train as quickly as possible…and then finally escaped to the loving, wind-and-dust-free embrace of Sierra Hot Springs. Only to my dismay, it wasn’t so much an embrace as barely-tolerating arms-length highway robbery — the smug fuckers gladly took our $30/night per person, but let us know in passive-aggressively veiled terms that Burners were not really welcome there, and that we’d have to leave by Friday. Well, fuck you, too, ya sanctimonious hippies!

20150910_134120That hot springs has problems, let me tell you. Their facilities aren’t equipped to handle hordes of dusty hippies; they only have two hot showers, and their tolerance for people who enjoy talking and drinking alcohol is basically zero. Yet their greed compels them to welcome all Burners anyway, take their money, and then bitch about them passive-aggressively, as seen in this note posted prominently on the office door.

The staff was so rude to us, in fact, that my normally law-abiding sis and I actually did something utterly loathsome: we skipped out on paying the last night’s fee. We had already paid a total of $120 for two nights in our little camper; we didn’t feel like giving them any more, especially when they were such assholes. Because of this, we are both now officially banned

banned for life
banned for life

from ever returning. I think the ban might also have something to do with the rowdiness of the rest of our crew; despite the “no alcohol” policy at Sierra, the picnic table at our camp was openly covered in booze bottles and beer cans, and we were all up late into the night, every night, talking and laughing and probably ruining the peace and quiet for all the other soul-searching campers. Apparently, Sierra Hot Springs does not subscribe to the Peggy Lee School of Dealing With Life’s Challenges…no dancing, breaking out the booze, nor having a ball allowed. It’s all about pious introspection, apparently. Oops :/

Before they could run us off, we packed up our shit and got the hell out of there…the pornographers back to L.A., Dr. Who back to Hawaii, and the others back to their respective towns and countries. Except for me; I couldn’t go home and start the arduous clean-up process yet…I had one more party to arrange: my mom’s birthday! As completely exhausted and worn-out as I was, I could not miss it; it was a milestone birthday, and I’d have felt really shitty. So I mustered my remaining strength and got to work one last time.

Dr Who and a friend trying to fix my busted camper
Dr Who and a friend trying to fix my busted camper

First, I had to figure out where to stash my trailer. My mom lives on a really narrow gravel road in the forest, with extremely limited parking; there’s nowhere to park it up there, and besides…I didn’t feel like hauling it all that extra way, since when I’m towing it I can only drive 55mph, and it would take forever!!! So I found a place on the CA/NV state line that only charged me $20 to park it for a few days, and left it there; I’d pick it up on my way back. It meant adding a few hours to my trip home, but I really had no choice. Half of me just wanted to list the fucking thing for FREE on Craigslist and be done with it; as I feared, it’s jammed shut and won’t crank open anymore…the gears are clogged with playa dust. But I figured I should wait until I wasn’t so tired to make that decision, and try to fix it first — it might still have some life in it yet.

So, I dropped off my camper and joined my sister in the forests of western Sonoma County, to plan this surprise party. We had less than two days to get it all together — the party was Sunday evening, and we didn’t get there til Friday evening. But somehow, we pulled off our plan….and it was F A N T A S T I C ! ! ! Finally, after a long week of battling shitty luck…things went our way!

the pavilion
the pavilion

Our execution went off exactly as planned: in the afternoon, my sister dropped me off on a sort of island in the Russian River about 5 minutes downstream from my mom’s house, and I spent the afternoon setting up a magical medieval-style party pavilion, using all the dust-caked flowers and tapestries and cushions and whatnot from our ill-fated Burning Man camp. When the stage was set, around sunset, my brother put on a formal suit and drove my unsuspecting mother down to this little beach by her house, where my sisters greeted her with a crown of flowers and an old-fashioned lantern, and helped her into a two-person kayak that they’d festooned with more flowers and frippery.


Then, as my brother slowly paddled the kayak downriver through the gloaming dusk, my sisters hauled ass in their car back over to the island, where we were all dressed in fabulous colorful robes, Christmas lights and paper lanterns hung to help guide my brother onto our little beach. We had old-timey Renaissance music playing and a veritable feast laid out in the pavilion, with a throne for my mom and everything. And boy howdy, did she love it!! My brother beached the kayak by this little red carpet we’d laid out, and we helped her disembark, then led her to her throne for the feast.

It was so amazing, I can’t believe how well it turned out. A million different things could have gone wrong, but not one thing did — I guess we’d used up all our bad luck at Burning Man, praise Jebus! But the best part was yet to come — after we’d eaten, we had rigged it up so that her birthday cake came floating down the river on a little raft covered in flowers, candles shining in the darkness. I hate to use this word, but it really was MAGICAL! We reeled in the cake, pigged the fuck out, and then my sisters escorted my mom back home while the rest of us packed up the mess. We finally all straggled home around 11pm, and collapsed into bed from sheer exhaustion — but it was a happy sort of exhaustion 🙂

Wearing a scarf for a shirt...note armpits
Wearing a scarf for a shirt…note armpits

And then, the next morning, FINALLY I could start limping home to clean up. By now, everything I owned was destroyed and/or filthy; I didn’t even have one single clean shirt left to wear, and had to drive all the way back to Reno and then on to Vegas with just a scarf wrapped creatively around my torso (another amazing playa gift I’d gotten). It took me two days, but I finally made it. WHEW!

So anyway, here I sit, bone-weary, with a dusty spirit and a busted camper, reflecting on my Burning Man adventure with a rueful sense of wonder: wind storms and whiteouts, sleep deprivation and existential angst, dusty crevices and severely chafed inner thighs…is that really all there is to Burning Man?

Is that all there is?

If that's all there is.....
If that’s all there is…..

Oddly enough…I already find myself looking forward to next year’s Burn 🙂 Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right? And the weather can’t possibly be that bad two years in a row….right?!?! Either way, hopefully the weather this year scares off some of the half-assers and Eurotrash next year, and we’ll have a crew of people who understand what the fuck Leave No Trace really means.

We’ll break out the booze, and have a ball…if that’s all there is.

Debbie (mama pokey)

Well Sara, a very well-written story for this year’s burning man. I had the pleasure of meeting you first with your strap-on and the cold dusty ride, huddled on mugwump. My guy Don and I think you are wonderful and would love to keep in touch. And definitely seeing you next year at Sunset Lounge!

Hydra Harley

You, my dear, are fucking hilarious. Thank you, thank you, thank you!! Your irreverent, fuck it all, perspective is a perfect embodiment of that thing in the desert.


agree agree agree. From this one post its like i wanna keep you in my pocket and turn to you on perspectives of all things joyfully harrowing. Burners like you are what give burning man a place in my heart.


devirginized burner here. thanks for the giggles & the eurotrash affirmation…i thought i was the only one that notice the hoards of them. BM is a pan-caucasian gathering. see you in 2016.


WTF!!! So I became a Wonderhussy fan after reading your BM post from last year about the dong and the disco ball and then proceeded to start at the beginning of your blog and read every entry. You are a very good writer, Sarah, and being a very well-educated human, require a certain level of word smithing to read anything of length. Well my super jealous El Salvadoran girlfriend who was constantly monitoring everything I looked at on Facebook and such saw something of yours I had liked and kept referring to you as “that prostitute in Vegas” blah blah, so I took a break from my quest and haven’t checked back to your blog in quite a while.

So after 5 years in this relationship, I am single again and attended my 13th burn a free man. I also roll solo on the playa so I can see more, do more, and enjoy myself A LOT more. I’m a real pro at burner shit, so the weather did not bother me so much and I had a most excellent burn mitzvah. But I really wish I had put on my mission list “find SJW and say (get) high.”

SO now I read your blog and realize I DID MEET YOU at HOTD when you did your act. I fucking love that bar and hang every year. Well this year I got their sound system working to DJ from my iPod for a few hours and totally KILLED IT with the crowd actually applauding my music picks – and I AM NOT a “DJ.” So It was me who played “Pussy Power” for you while I watched your act from the mixing board and specifically commented to one of the HOTD crew what a talented performer you were.

SO HOW ABOUT THAT? I finally met you in person and didn’t even realize it till right now. That’s some serious “playadipity” girl and going on my BRC story list for 2015.

I see you make it to my ass of the woods hear in LA LA land, so let’s see if we can meet-up on your next visit for a drink, a laugh, and a bong hit. Admiralllll out.


Nice gritty coverage. I with you on the wind. Pissed me off when the same dust came back three times. My StarMan Dome deflated twice and our Brainwashing sessions were delayed for the Cleu Camp visitors. Visit us next year for a CLEU. The Burn needs you.


Hey Sara! Just sayin’ HIGH (or hi) from your HOTD bud who smuggled you and your sis into the private party that afternoon! I loved your story on the playa about the guy in center camp who sucked you off, never imagined you’d post pics! LOL! I’m red with envy! Say hi to Randy and looking forward to seeing you again on the playa next year or maybe in Vegas if I can manage to make my escape from SF sometime in the next 10 months for a weekend or three.

Best, Jon/Bleurose


Have you ever checked out Wasteland Weekend, the Mad Max-inspired festival held annually in late September in California City? Adam Chilson (SoCal fantasy/fine art photographer) is one of the principals. This year it was held Sept. 24-27.


Love the hairy hippie dick sucker! Kudos indeed! You’re lucky – all I got at center camp was a group of millenial yuppies doing extreme yoga and talking about how they couldn’t wait to eat sushi again. Maybe the weather will scare them away next year too:)

Justin Black

Damn you WH!
Another hysterical & unique read hon. I envy your ability of turning bad situations into positive ones. An alternative motto suggestion: “Wonderhussy: She turns shit into sunshine!”
I say damn you bc I spit abt 4 oz of Two Hearted Ale all over my keyboard after reading the “suck my dick hippie!” caption. You are not normal. Please remain so.

ken san diego

i don’t know how i ran across your blog …burner (like me) or friends involved with model mayhem …BUT i love your writing … maybe i’ll take up photography or coordinate with you as a desert tour guide

Terry Dodge

It was interesting reading about how our American trash spends their time at burning man. Living in dirty Vegas, hanging out with LA garbage, being disrespectful of others at the springs. What a pleasure to have someone like you among us.

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