I'm supposed to be leaving for Burning Man next Wednesday, and I have a MILLION things to do in preparation. I need food, water and other supplies, plus I gotta pack my costumes, spray paint a wig, get my oil changed and my tires rotated, blah blah blah blah blah. In the meantime, I have like 500 friends who all came to town on the same weekend. It's been CRAZY!
To make matters worse, I just got BACK from a weeklong trip to the San Francisco Bay Area. A family member just bought a FANTASTIC sort of hippie cabin up in the woods on the Russian River, so I drove all the way up there to help them move…and to check the place out. It's FABULOUS!!!!
Now meanwhile, I'm still on a quest to make about $14,000, so I had this photo shoot booked here in Vegas for Wednesday morning. The photographer checked in around 10am, I was over there by 10:30, romped around naked for about an hour, got my pay, and then got into my truck and took the fuck off. I drove all the way to San Jose (8.5 hours), where I spent the night at my sister's house before heading up the rest of the way in the morning.
Now, if you've never heard of it, the Russian River is this beautiful river that winds through redwood forests all through Sonoma County (about 2 hours north of San Francisco) before it dumps out in the Pacific Ocean. Sonoma County itself is famous for its wine…but the area where I was at has more of a hippie/alternative vibe. Either way — wine, weed, it's a win-win!
The entire area is basically a giant redwood forest dotted with weird, funky little hippie/artist towns like
Sebastopol (artsy kooks), Occidental (hardcore hippie kooks) and Guerneville (gay and lesbo kooks). Also, oddly enough, right in the middle of all this blue state crunchiness is the secret Republican power broker enclave of Bohemian Grove. Bohemian Grove is basically a sort of Burning-Man-esque retreat in the woods where heads of state and captains of industry congregate every summer to run around in togas and piss on trees. I'M NOT MAKING THIS UP!!! Read the Wikipedia article!!!
Anyhoo, every Republican president since Calvin Coolidge has gone up there — none other than Richard Nixon went up there several times, despite his oft-qupted opionion that it was "the most faggy goddamn thing you could ever imagine," LOL! Faggy or no, once they're safely hidden up there in the woods, the fat cats and 1 percenters can let their hair down, and smoke cigars, get wasted, wear the aforementioned costumes and piss on the aforementioned trees. Then they burn a wooden effigy in front of a giant Owl Shrine (??!!). WOW!
I can only imagine the likes of those bastards Jamie Dimon and Dick Cheney romping around up there, blowing off steam from the long, hard year they've had. Seriously, though, it must be really therapeutic for stuffed shirts like that to be able to run around the forest half-naked and half-drunk. In fact, all of this makes me think they should hold the next general assembly of the U.N. at Burning Man!! I bet a lot of peace agreements could be brokered up there — Israel v. Palestine, Sudan v. South Sudan…the major problems of our time could be solved with a little drum circle at the temple! Mushrooms & dust, people!!!
Aaaaaaaaaanyhoo, you can't really check out Bohemian Grove as it's hidden pretty deep in the forest, on private land. But it's literally about 20 minutes from where I was staying, so who knows?! Maybe next summer when they do their crazy campout, I can sneak up there and infiltrate their ceremony for a little investigative journalism!!
As it was, I missed this year's camp by a few weeks, so I occupied my time in other ways. I figured I should try and make some money while I was out there, so I booked a few photo shoots on Model Mayhem with area photographers. The one guy flaked on me (and who says MODELS are flaky???!!!), but the other assignment came through, and it was GREAT!
I was hired to model for a nude photography seminar at this Victorian bed & breakfast in San Francisco, so I drove down there on Saturday, cruised around for about 3 hours trying to find a place to park, and headed over. The bed & breakfast was in a REALLY cool old Victorian house, but for some reason the proprietress of the B&B wouldn't let us shoot indoors — so we had to do our class in this lush little meditation garden out back, which actually worked out pretty well. There were two 2-hour sessions with about 5 photographers in each session, and all the guys were super cool. I know some models don't like modeling for seminars, but I don't mind — it IS kinda weird having 5 guys shoot you all at once, but I've done it a few times, and once you get the hang of it, it's not bad. I basically just stood around naked for the first few hours, but towards the end we started getting creative, and they had me put on some of my colored wigs and start flipping off the camera and stuff. FUN!
HOWEVER, just as it was really getting interesting, this woman started SCREECHING from the neighboring yard. Apparently, her kids were playing out back, and had caught a glimpse of the terribly perverted shenanigans going on next door through the slats in the lattice fence. They began to giggle, which triggered the FEMAPOCALYPSE!!!! This sort of neo-feminist-y-looking alterna-mom poked her head over the fence and began
to shrilly berate all of us for what we were doing, insisting that I put on some clothes at ONCE!
Whaaaaa? Never in my wildest dreams did I expect this to happen in San Francisco!! I thought it was such a liberal fuckin' city — gay guys running around in assless chaps and all that krazy krap you see on TV. Apparently not — or at least not in this neighborhood, anyway. This woman went INSANE! She was practically foaming at the mouth!!!
The proprietress of the B&B came out to try and calm her down, but that only made it worse. The FemiNazi Mom started screaming at the proprietress (herself a crunchy granola/BDSM type) about how "this kind of thing has happened before!!!" Apparently, this bed & breakfast is a pretty freaky spot, with people having sex in the meditation garden and all kinds of weirdos coming and going, day and night. FemiNazi Mom was mad as hell, and wasn't gonna take it anymore!
I thought it was really werid, being as we were on private property, and not shooting anything pornographic or anything…but it wasn't really my place to speak up. The FemiNazi Mom screamed at the B&B proprietess, who took it out on the poor guy who had rented the place for his photography seminar…while the photographers and I just sort of stood around looking at our feet, biting our tongues. AWKWARD! I wanted to give that harpy a piece of my mind, but thought better of it — I hadn't gotten paid yet, ya know! But seriously…who the fuck raises their kids in San Francisco, not expecting them to be exposed to some freaky shit?! Get a life, lady!!! It's like those conservative parents here in Vegas who bellyache over all the sexy billboards advertising strip clubs and the like — IT'S VEGAS!!!!! If you want a family town, move to fuckin' Provo, Utah already!!!
Anyhoo, the B&B proprietress shut down the seminar immediately. I had to throw all my shit into my suitcase willy-nilly and beat the streets back to my truck, where I changed clothes and then walked over to a nearby bar to meet a friend for some much-needed drinks. One or two Captain & Cokes later, and I was over it. Fuck San Francisco!! I mean, I still really dig it there, and hope to come back again soon and have a better time….but sheesh!!!
After that I was kinda soured on California, so I packed up and cruised back down to Vegas. I had to stop at my sister's house in San Jose again to pick up some stuff, so I spent the night there before driving the rest of the way home. The only problem was, my sister had gone to Israel with her husband, so it was just me and her dog — a normally loveable pit bull mix. But that poor dog was afraid of me or something, because she wouldn't let me NEAR her!! She let me pet her head a little, but then started to shy away, growling. Ruh roh!! I gave the dog a wide berth, but I wasn't there long anyway — just long enough to run 3 miles, get high and watch an episode of the Wire before passing out.
The next morning the dog was still growling at me, so I packed up my truck and left around 9am…and spent ALL FUCKING DAY driving to Caesars Palace (I had to work that night). I rolled in JUST in time for work — I literally got my swamp-ass-y self out of the truck, changed into my uniform, and got busy shooting souvenir photos of that damn creepy mannequin. WHAT A DAY! I was exhausted after all that!
Anyhoos, I better go start getting ready for Burning Man. Seeeeeeeeeeee you next time!
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I'm glad I was in the first group of photographers but if I'd of known you better, it would have been fun to take advantage of your hussiness and dress you up in fun ways. You were great and I'd love to shoot you again. Oh, and thanks for selecting a couple of my shots for your post. Have fun at Burning Man.
Thanks, Steve!! 😀
What is this $ 14 000 about that you HAVE to come up with asap?
$14,000 is the total amount of money I need to pay off all my bills, and to have an emergency cushion in the bank. Actually, I just tallied up my finances and all I need now is $11,600 🙂 Once I make that, I can FINALLY quit my dumb ass photo job and go freelance full-time!!!! 😀