This was my 8th straight year attending Burning Man…and it was A-OK.
My mind wasn’t blown, my heart wasn’t grabbed and my soul wasn’t transformed or anything like that — alls I had were the usual spiritually bankrupt laffs: booze, drugs, dancing, gawking at art of questionable significance, insubstantial conversations about nothing with other high people…
For those don’t like to read, here’s a short video showcasing some of my Burning Man 2016 highlights. But if you want more information….continue reading below 🙂
Now, I don’t meant to sound jaded — I still had a GREAT time at Burning Man this year. I guess it’s just that, after raising the bar steadily every year for the past several years…it’s only logical that the experience would eventually plateau. But at least it was a beautiful plateau — with an amazing view!!
My sister and I left Vegas on the Wednesday before the event started — we had early arrival passes to help build a camp, and I wanted to make sure I had plenty of time to get there because it was my first time towing my new vintage camper trailer, and I wasn’t sure how it (or my truck) would handle the 500-mile drive. Luckily, it towed like a dream! I think the trailer weighs around 1000 pounds, which come to find out is well within the towing capacity of my 11-year-old, 180-000-mile transmission. (I only got about 15mpg while towing it, but still.)
We stopped halfway up and camped overnight at fabulous Walker Lake, and everything was great…except that I started my @#!$#%^!! period. I had a feeling that was going to happen again this year, so I had packed my trusty disco ball (the one I attached to my tampon string in 2014)…but I really didn’t want to milk that tired-ass shtick again; I like to keep things fresh. For that same reason, I didn’t really want to wear my niqab again, either — I felt like I’d already been there, done that. Old news!
Fortunately, I have a very light, short period…and it was over before the actual event even started, so the disco ball remained packed away with the niqab. Now the only question was…..what next???? How to set this Burn apart from all the others?
I did have a few Firsts this year: it was my first time camping in an actual hard-sided trailer (I taped up all the old-fashioned jalousie windows on my trailer to prevent dust from sneaking in, and it worked out GREAT!); it was also my first time having access to a shower. Prior to this, in 7 years of Burning Man I had only taken one shower (that’s right….one shower in 2013; the rest of the years I just stayed clean the old fashioned way, with a bucket and a washcloth). But this year, the camp that I stayed with provided a shower and 24-hour electricity. That’s right — this was also the first year I stayed with a big camp, instead of just going rogue and camping with a few friends. Ooooh…fancy!!
But lest you think I was camping with some douchebag Silicon Valley turnkey camp, rest assured….I haven’t sold out that much! This was just the rough-and-tumble crew of Playa flotsam and jetsam that my good friend Dr. Who camps with — if you read my blog last year, you may recall that it’s a mixed group of dedicated partiers, many from the adult film biz. To be honest, I was a little apprehensive about joining their ranks — these are people who shit their pants and fall asleep in their own piss beneath RVs!! But since I pretty much hung out with them all day, every day last year… I figured I might as well bite the bullet, pay their $200 camp dues, and camp with them officially.
The $200 camp fee covered use of the shower (they provided the water), the generator (which ran 24/7, and allowed me to have an electric fan in my trailer — a wonderful luxury), the bar…and also breakfast and dinner, prepared by different camp members each day. In return, I was expected to help with meal prep at one meal, and to serve one 4-hour bartending shift. Fair enough!
It was an interesting experience; like I said, in previous years I mostly just went rogue and had my own little camp out on the fringes, which was fine (I’m a bit of a control freak, and like my own space). If you’re considering going to Burning Man, but sweating the fact that you don’t belong to a theme camp (which is what they call organized camps up there) — don’t worry about it! It is perfectly doable to camp on your own at Burning Man, even if it’s your first time. The main challenge is rolling in and finding a spot to set up; once you find that, everything is easy. I’ve done it myself five times — and I’m a 95-pound weakling!!
That being said….there are some real perks to staying with a theme camp. It was really nice to roll onto the Playa and have a spot already reserved, it was great to have access to a big communal shade structure/lounge area…and the meals, bar, shower and electricity were nice bonuses, too. But the BEST part was waking up every morning (or afternoon) and having a giant carafe of piping-hot Kona coffee from Dr. Who’s personal plantation in Hawaii waiting for you!! That alone was worth the $200 camp fee!!
Anyway, we’ll call the camp created by this lovable hodgepodge of hooligans, heathens and harlots the Subset Lounge; their contribution to Burning Man consists of a huge, shaded bar and lounge area furnished with tons of comfy couches, tables and chairs, stocked with the most interesting cross-section of humanity on the playa; picture the Mos Eisley Cantina with glory holes, an onsite strip club and a gay alien whorehouse out back — it was that kind of scene!
As mentioned, many of the 80+ camp members are in or on the fringes of the adult entertainment business — but those people weren’t even the freakiest camp members; there were doctors, artists, hippies, tradespeople, married couples and professionals among the ranks who were even freakier! Like I said, I was kinda apprehensive about camping with this group, as my own freakiness is mostly shtick — but it all worked out great. My sis and I were able to stake out a little corner to ourselves all the way in the back of camp — a nice oasis from the 24/7 insanity in the front of camp, which was directly across the street from Distrikt (one of those ginormous dance camps with a crowd of thousands of bean-eating sparkle ponies rolling to 300,000-watt house music all day, every day). Our little enclave in the back stayed relatively quiet, even though we were basically right on the corner of 9:00 and E street (I didn’t realize until this year that the 9:00 side of the city is considered the party area; for some reason I have always camped on that side, but now I’m kinda curious to see how the experience would be different around the 3:00 area).
So setup-wise, everything worked out great. But like I said….this was no fancy turn-key camp! The shower broke after I only got to use it once, I missed half the meals, and the bar was down to nothing but Fireball and low-cal margarita mix by Friday. D’oh!!! That’s Burning Man for ya….you just have to adapt. Lucky for me, I wasn’t really used to having those niceties anyway…so going without them was no big deal.
And besides….whatever was lacking in infrastructure at our camp was more than made up for with interesting personalities!
As mentioned, it was a really diverse group. The camp leader and patriarch was this louche, genial ex-Deadhead, porn producer and three-time winner of the Slutgarden’s “Speed Boner” competition; his beautiful British porn producer wife served as de facto den mother. But rather than a traditional mom and dad, they were more like that one friend’s valium-soaked swinger parents who let all the neighborhood kids smoke pot in the basement — they took a very laissez-faire approach to governing the camp!
Aside from those two, we also had an ultraconservative surgeon who runs a side business renting out beater RV trailers to Burning Man attendees; a gaggle of beautiful Israeli first-timer sparkle ponies; a 7-foot hippie art-car builder who resembles nothing so much as a Viking Jesus; a pot-farming DJ who used to be a private pilot for Saudi royalty; and a depressed veteran porn actor in the middle of an existential crisis. Tired of people judging him for his work, he renovated a ginormous Army-issued troop transport truck and turned it into a playa bachelor pad, complete with a rooftop viewing deck overlooking the Distrikt dance floor and a 50-foot fishing pole with a life-size rubber replica of his dick attached as a lure. And guess what?? It worked — he ended up embroiled in a “Leaving Las Vegas”-style playa romance with a beautiful but clinically depressed sparkle pony, and at least one other drunk chick ended up passing out on his rooftop, rolling off the edge and landing safely in a puddle of her own drunken piss on the tarp covering his outdoor personal shower setup. LOLz!
With all this entertainment going on at camp, it was honestly kind of hard to leave…and that was the main downside about staying with the Subset Lounge: I spent most of the week just hanging around camp, and didn’t get out to see as much art and stuff as I’d have liked to. But I was also pretty busy with my own art; I had several performances lined up throughout the week, which also kept me busy.
In addition to reprising my role as co-host for the annual Porn Star Dating Game show on Wednesday night, I also brought back my world-famous Electric Vagina and whipped up a batch of Vagina Coladas that same afternoon. It was actually really cool; a guy who had watched my show last year came by wearing a t-shirt with a photo of us at last year’s performance — and he said he wears the shirt to festivals all over the place! Better yet, we re-created the photo this year, with him wearing the shirt — how meta is that?!
My sister and I also had a couple engagements as the Cock Sisters, debuting our fabulous champagne-spewing golden cocks. That went really well! We did it one afternoon at the Subset Lounge, and then a couple days later on the stage over at the Hair of the Dog camp. The only problem with the Hair of the Dog performance was, I was reeeeally hung over that day, so I had a trusted friend dose me with a small amount of ketamine beforehand, as a sort of goose (ketamine is a horse tranquilizer, but in small amounts it works as a fun party drug). Unfortunately, my friend dosed me just a tad too much….and by the time I got to Hair of the Dog I was high as a kite, and had to sit in another friend’s RV for an hour until
I sobered up! It was like Judy Garland back in the day; people kept knocking on the door: “Are you guys ready?!?” “GIVE ME JUST A MINUTE!!” But my friend made me a cup of coffee, and after awhile I was good to go.
It was fabulous! My sis and I pranced onstage with themed music blaring from the P.A., showering the crowd of dancing peasants in the golden runoff of the 1% — and I do mean literally showering; one naked man stood in front of my sister, slowly rotating in the spray of her cock with his eyes closed and a blissful smile on his half-baked face. Thankfully, all of this was captured on HD video by our friend Surfer Dave; I’ll be sure to post it here when he finishes editing the footage! I can’t wait!! Meanwhile, there’s some footage of our performance in this video, around the 1:20 mark:
Anyway, after two performances as the Cock Sisters and making Vagina Coladas, I was pretty worn out; thankfully, after the Hair of the Dog show I had no more obligations to entertain, and was able to get just get fucked up and enjoy the show. Unfortunately for me, I was sitting in camp one afternoon trying to wake up when another friend from Vegas rolled up in his camp’s fish-shaped art car, Sebastian, and offered to take my sis and I for a ride…but rather than just hop on in my street clothes, I remembered I had one more trick
up my sleeve. “Hang on! Let me just get dressed real quick….”
I slipped into a nun’s habit and my golden strap-on, and since we were out of champagne I filled the reservoir with drinking water — excuse me, holy water! My sis grabbed a megaphone and we rolled off, me splay-legged on the front of the car spewing a baptismal fount of salvation from my cock, my sis on the megaphone spewing a stream of furious invective: “YOU WANT TO BURN?! YOU WILL BURN — IN ETERNAL DAMNATION, UNLESS YOU ALLOW THE LORD TO COME UPON YOUR TITS WITH HIS HOLY GOLDEN LOVE!! GOD HATES RAVERS!!!”
Oh my gawd, it was a riot!!!! Out of anything I’ve ever done at Burning Man….this was possibly the most fun thing (except for having that hippie suck my dick last year). And there I was, hungover with no makeup — a totally impromptu performance. But it was great!!!
What made it especially great was the fact that I got to be honest without seeming like a total hater — because LOL OMG LMAO, I was just performing! I marched right into the thick of the ravers and sparkle ponies on the Distrikt dance floor, cursing one and all: “FUCK YOU AND YOUR FEATHER FAUX HAWK! FUCK YOU AND YOUR STRIPEY PANTS!! GOD HATES DISTRIKT!!!” And the raver kids literally lapped it up, lining up to drink from my cock. Ahhh….talk about therapeutic!!
Alas, I got so swept up in the fun of the moment, I failed to realize how offensive this shtick might seem to people in the “default world” (what they call everything outside Burning Man)…so when I got back into cell service, I posted a photo of the performance and incurred a 30-day Facebook suspension 🙁 30 days!!!!! I can’t post anything on my personal Facebook page until Oct. 7th, and it feels like one of my limbs was cut off; I didn’t realize how big a part of my life my Facebook network was 🙁 The struggle is real!
Anyway…..besides my little jaunt on Sebastian, I also spent a lot of time riding around on one of our camp’s art cars: the beautifully-designed-but-vulgarly-named Playa Penetrator. The convenience of having a bad-ass art car in camp made me lazy; I barely even bothered to ride my bike anywhere, it was so much easier to just ride along on the Penetrator, wherever it ended up! Although sometimes (OK, often) it ended up at some rave waaaaay out in Deep Playa at 5am…and one could easily find oneself stranded miles from camp unless one wanted to dance until 9am.
Our camp mate Viking Jesus is the brains behind the Penetrator — he designs and builds art cars for a living, and is actually quite accomplished. He rented out another of his creations — a giant jet plane called Playa One with hydraulic wings that become dance floors — to a camp of rich Mexicans for the week, and after the Mexicans left at the end of the event, he picked up Playa One and brought it over to our camp. We rode it to the big Monday night afterparty, where anyone left on the playa burns up all their leftover propane, and it was a blast! That Monday party is one of my favorites of the entire week — by then, everyone is so faded that there’s no cute costumes, no fancy headdresses, no posturing like you see on Saturday night. By Monday, everyone is tore the fuck up and RAW!!! I myself stuck two tap lights in a nude body stocking and called it good — it’s that kind of party!
That being said…I actually had more fun this year at the big Saturday night Burn than I ever have. Normally I’m not a fan of Burn night — I find it kinda aggro and frat kegger-y. But this year I had a blast — probably mostly because a friend gave me 2 grams of liquid psilocybin. Liquid psilocybin!!! I don’t know exactly how they extracted the psilocybin from the mushrooms, but it was in some kind of alcohol solution and it was fan-fuckin’-tastic — I got higher than a kite and danced all night wearing a
silver space suit with two LED-lit balloons stuffed into the cleavage, and even figured out a way to light up one of my Electric Vaginas with LEDs so that my whole body was glowing. I have rarely had so much fun, period — and have never had that much fun on Burn night 🙂
Even the following night, when they burned the Temple, was more fun than usual — after the burn was over we had a dance party back at camp, with actual music with words. Since it was Sunday night and most people were already leaving or packing up to leave, we were one of the only parties in the area and it attracted quite a crowd — even the trannies across the street came over with laser lights and bubble blowers! (I say “tranny” with relative impunity as one of them, Ms. Shavonna Starr, is a friend of mine…and that’s how she refers to herself. I definitely don’t mean to offend!)
But eventually all the parties finally did die out, and we packed up camp to head home. The plan was for several of us to meet up at a hot spring in the woods to decompress for a few days, as we did last year and the year before…but unfortunately, as of last year we were banned from our usual spot (Sierra Hot Springs near Truckee) so I’d been tasked with finding a new spot. I came up with a beautiful doozy, in the woods off U.S. 395 near Bridgeport…but it was rustic forest camping with no bathrooms or anything, so before you know it everyone had pretty much dropped out except my sis and I, Dr. Who, and one other guy.
Whatever! I was still down to soak in the woods for a few days, so on Tuesday morning we all packed up camp and headed out, leaving the playa for our triumphant return to civilization. Dr. Who had to drop off a few other camp members in Reno (most Burning Man attendee decompress after the event at the Grand Sierra in Reno, which becomes a total shit show), but he planned to meet us in the woods afterwards. UNFORTUNATELY, my dumb ass fucked everything up 🙁
Some of the people in Dr. Who’s RV wanted to stop for Indian tacos on the way out from the playa; the road from Burning Man passes through all these economically blighted Native American reservation towns that try to capitalize on the stream of spendy hippies passing thru in any way they can, mostly by selling $6 gastronomic abominations called Indian “tacos.” As a connoisseur of real tacos, this is an unforgivable misnomer — basically, all they do is throw ground beef, iceberg lettuce and canned olives onto a puff of greasy “fry bread” (basically white flour and lard). How dare you call that a taco, Sir?!
But apparently people like them, as there are “taco” stands churning them out all along the road from Burning Man to Reno. Our caravan stopped at one on the shores of beautiful Pyramid Lake, but I refrained from eating anything as I preferred to save my calories for a different kind of Indian food — the kind they sell at the 76 gas station in nearby Fernley, which is Indian food from India! For the life of me I cannot understand why anyone would spend $6 on a puff of grease and canned olives when just 19 miles down the road you can get freshly baked naan with tandoori chicken, palak paneer and mango lassi…not to mention Middle Eastern nomnoms such as couscous, beef kebab and tzatziki — in a freaking gas station, for the same price!!! I’m here to tell you, the 76 in Fernley is where it’s at — it’s run by a super-friendly Indian couple, so if you happen to be passing through the area, stop in and give them some business! You won’t be sorry!
Anyway, after the others finished their grease-puffs, we all got back in our cars to continue on the road. The parking area at this taco stand was pretty tight, so my truck and trailer were parked really close to Dr. Who’s RV — and when I pulled out to get back on the highway, I guess I accidentally clipped his side-view mirror with my trailer, knocking it clean off the side of his RV 🙁 The weird thing was, I didn’t hear or feel a thing — I continued cruising down the road for about 10-15 minutes, blisfully unaware, until I noticed I had about 15 text messages, and checked my phone. D’OH!!!!!
OMG, I felt horrible — they tried to re-attach the mirror with duct tape, but it was one of those ginormous class A RVs with giant, 10-pound side view mirrors, and it was tough to keep the mirror upright when traveling at highway speeds. Poor Dr. Who already had to drive into downtown Reno to drop off his passengers with this severely limited visibility; driving down a winding mountain road into the Eastern Sierra forest for the night was out of the question, so he wasn’t able to come to the hot spring with us 🙁 Booooo!! I ruined Christmas 🙁 🙁 🙁 🙁
Of course Dr. Who, being the classy and generous gentleman that he is, refused to take any money from me and insisted my sister and I enjoy the hot springs without him. It really sucked on so many levels, not least of which was that I had really been looking forward to spending some downtime in the forest with him, away from the hustle and bustle of Burning Man….and I fucked all that up. Also shitty was the fact that before finding out what happened, my sis and I had already stopped off in Fernley and bought $40 worth of Indian food for a feast that night. Now we were stuck holding a bag full of delicious Indian food…with no one to help us eat it 🙁
Fortunately, however, we found someone.
The hot springs we were headed to are at the side of a clear mountain stream in a beautiful pine forest, just off U.S. 395 not far from the town of Bridgeport. The area around the 395 is known to hot springs enthusiasts as a sort of hot spring heaven, as there are so many of them — and they are gorgeous! I won’t say the name of this one, as a new friend I made up there asked me not to advertise it…but take my word for it, it is awesome:
Anyway, my sis and I rolled into a big, flat area in the forest where people can camp for free. There are no toilets or running water or any services whatsoever, and restrictions had just been put into effect so we couldn’t even have a campfire….but it was wonderful! The springs are down a short, steep trail at the bottom of a ravine at the edge of the forest, so it’s very convenient.
Still feeling shitty about what I’d done to Dr. Who’s RV, I was moping around setting up camp when a friendly vandwelling hippie who was camped nearby came over…and turned out to be one of the coolest people I’ve ever met! Not only did he know everything there was to know about the hot springs (he’s been coming for years, and is the one who asked me not to reveal the name in this blog)…but he is also from Bolinas, this super-cool little hippie town on the coast just north of San Francisco. Whenever I meet anyone from Bolinas I ask them about the Holy Grail of hot springs, Steep Ravine: these legendary, mystical tidal hot springs that are only soakable during certain inconvenient phases of the moon, and which are said to be super tricky to find. Not only that, but the local Marin hippies are said to be very territorial about them, and unwelcoming to any interlopers!
Despite (or honestly partly because of) all that rigamarole, I have been dying to soak in these tantalizing hot springs — but it sounds like the kind of thing where you pretty much have to know someone in the area to get in. I almost had it worked out last summer, when I met another vandweller from Bolinas at a hot spring in Oregon…but that fell through, and I had just about given up on ever soaking there until I met this new guy — who just happens to be the guy who originally discovered them in the first place!!!! What?!?!?!?
My sis and I invited our new friend over to help us eat all the Indian food we’d loaded up in Fernley, and the three of us enjoyed a lovely dinner party in the open air under the pine trees, with colored lanterns and Miles Davis playing on my iPod, plus a bottle of wine our guest brought. So much fun! Then after dinner, we all went down the hill for a wonderful, relaxing soak in the indescribably beautiful springs. The hot water at this spring basically spews from a rocky outcropping high above the creek, then flows down an overhang into the creek, where volunteers have built little pools of rock and sand to mix the cold creek water with the hot water from the spring. The rocky overhang creates a sort of waterfall, which you can pass through into a shallow cave. It’s really, really beautiful, and we spent quite a few hours in there soaking away the playa dust from Burning Man.
But eventually, it was time to pack up yet again and head home — back to the “real” world again at last. My sis continued south on the 395 to L.A., but I turned off to the east at Lee Vining, to continue on into Nevada, where I planned to meet up with the 95 south to Vegas. I gassed up in expensive-ass Lee Vining, but just enough to get me to Tonopah, where gas is like $1/gallon cheaper; from there, I could make it back to Vegas on one tank.
Unfortunately, along the way to Tonopah I kept passing all these amazing abandoned ruins, and had to keep stopping to take photos and record videos for my YouTube channel…so I guess I used up more gas (and time) than expected. To make matters worse, my GPS routed me through Fish Lake Valley instead of Tonopah — but I checked Google Maps, and it was only 93 miles to Beatty, where I knew I could gas up for relatively cheap. My gas gauge looked like I had juust about enough to make it, even with towing the trailer…so I took my chances and headed south.
But I failed to realize that, unlike on the way north, I was carrying additional weight in the form of gray water, black water and two more bikes I’d picked up for free, just before leaving the playa. (Rich douchebags go to Wal Mart and buy these beach cruisers for Burning Man, then abandon them on the playa because they can’t be bothered to pack them up and take them back. What the fuck?!?!?! Anyway, I got a bad-ass brand new pink Huffy, plus a men’s mountain bike, both of which I plan to keep in my garage for visitors to use.)
Anyway, because of all the extra weight I was carrying, my gas light came on when I was still 23 miles from Beatty. So I pulled over to the side of the highway and unhitched the trailer, intending to drive the rest of the way with just the truck, get the gas, then come back. It was a huge pain in the ass and it was already getting dark…but what are ya gonna do? I cruised at a fuel-efficient 50mph, a/c off and windows up, but even then my gas gauge was so low I though for sure I was gonna have to pull over again, and ride my new Huffy cruiser the rest of the way down the 95 to get the gas! What a pain in the ass!!!!
Thankfully, I had just enough gas fumes to coast into Beatty, and was able to top off, then drive back north 23 miles, re-hitch my trailer, and continue home…where I somehow managed to back my trailer up my narrow-ass sloping driveway before unhitching for a final time, unpacking all my crap, hosing off my personal filth in the shower and passing out cold into bed. What a day!!!!
Just writing about all this makes me tired — I mean, here it is two weeks later, and I’m still dragging ass from Burning Man! That event really takes a lot out of ya…but guess what?! I’m already starting to dream up plans for next year 🙂 Disco ball, blow job, champagne, holy water…. I haven’t figured out the details yet, but this I swear to you: some way, somehow, I *will* figure out a way to up the ante next year.
As dong is my witness!!!!