People: just one word “Foxy” nuf said


She was head Beaver from Camp Beaverton Home for Wayward Girls for a couple years. She was also the perfect ambassador that created a lot of bridges to other queer camps. She is an enigmatic member of our Queer Burner community: Foxy.

Flash mob idea. Burners show up all at once in playafied gear goggles bandanas etc. Then a zombie flash mob shows up. The apocalypse starting right before the innocent bystanders eyes.

Thinking back, certainly Jessica Allred was the mayor that really started working hard on making the Beaverton camp more accessible to the other camps, genders and people of the gayborhood outside of gender identified women. Mitch was Mayor for a while before Foxy took the mantel and really made the Beavers so accessible and welcoming.

I’m almost 40, wearing a fox onesie and Fox slippers drinking whiskey at home on a Friday night, after 2 weeks of sheep riding, day time dance parties, riding a carousel horse bike, high speed golf cart chases, and writing on a huge typewriter . It’s only the 40 part that seems ridiculous.

Her unlimited energy and exuberance and willingness to play in other people’s sandbox has made her the darling Lesbian of the community. She is not limited in any form, because she welcomes people and engages with vigor any and all.

12107223_10153647663934431_5443737548542265661_nThis year she has taken on a new title and something of a new journey by becoming a Ranger; that is a Black Rock City Ranger. It is a role of distinction in our community because these are the people we engage and help us in and outside the trash fence. We have seen how passionate she has become in her new role as a Ranger and how it has made her stronger and a better shaker in the community as a whole.

Foxy was one of the founding organizers of the 2015 Queer Burner Retreat called “Spring Retreat” and is planning on joining the production team for 2016.

In 2012 she was in a internationally distributed film called Meet the Beavers where she shared some of what she stands for in the Queer / Lesbian community. The making of the movie was a project she was very proud of, featuring the best parts of her collective, and putting the Beaverton crew as an even more important presence in the Gayborhood at Burning Man.

She loves pussy, in fact hers has a name: Augusta. It’s a kitty cat… with a lot of white fur. With four legs… not a euphemism.



People: They call him Chickpea


Do you know his birth name? For so many years he has been simply known as Chickpea. But in recent years we have been introduced to another persona that stemmed from the soul of the man: Amber Alert; yeas hunty has a drag(ish) persona both lovable and disturbing.

He is one of the leaders in the theme camp Comfort & Joy that started at Burning Man in 2001 (See Burner History X for more) but Chickpea first year was 1996 and he showed up without a tent.

my first year was 1996 i went with my good friend Damien Grey, we didn’t bring much not even tents just a tarp to put over the car to sleep under , sandwiches and popcorn for meals …. its kinda a funny story

He joined Comfort & Joy in 2002 at the encouragement of his close friend and today is the President of the Comfort & Joy board known as the Purple Circle. He is also responsible for all the neon decorations you see on playa and at every Comfort & Joy event including Touch and the Afterglow Parties. Yes, she makes the magic happen.

…my first year was 1996. That was the year Helco happened. When we arrived in the desert we asked a girl where Burning Man was. She said drive six miles that way and turn right, go another 2 miles… we came upon 20 grand pianos stacked together with a guy playing one. We asked if that was Burning Man… he said no, it’s two miles that way…” [paraphrased]

307881_2461318768820_898814095_nThen there is Amber Alert. She came into being around 2013 and family members emerged from dark alleys, cracks in the soil and some place near the bowels of hell. LOL. One of the most disturbing sibling was Playa Hole.

Above all else Chickpea (Brian) is a solid and engaged member of the community with a passion for art and creative endeavors. He has a huge aviary (yes, for real) in his home filled with small birds he cherishes and cares for. He is active with the Radical Faery community and extremely supportive of fellow creatives naturally drawn to him.

People: John Major aka M*J*R


He is one of the many captains of the Giant Sheep roaming several venues from Burning Man, Folsom Street, Palm Springs Pride and more and more and more. The art car came to life in 2013 with M*J*R as one of the guiding 11986487_10208601768028292_4745951768043673427_nwarriors of it’s creation. BAAAHS stands for Bad Ass Awesome Amazing Homosexual Sheep. He is currently featured in Polyglamorous parties and can occasionally be seen with GoBANG, Honey Sound System and has been seen hanging out with Digital Wildlife all based out of the San Francisco Bay Area.

M*J*R is a romantic behind this hot, tattoo, leather covered exterior. He has been in a partnered relationship.  He loves San Francisco and lives in the heart of the Mission. In spite of a shitty housing scenario last year he stayed here and continued to be an active member of his community and gives back with his music and art.

Those tattoos M*J*R sports are beautiful and worth a see. Ask him next time you see him.

Above all, M*J*R is a sincere and good soul with passion and heart. Just ask any of the many people he makes music with including Collin Bass and Mark O’Brien. He loves sunsets over the city and sunrises on the playa with a couple hundred dancing friends.

Posted on M*J*R’s Facebook today: I think it says a lot about the man described above and his passion:

“Seeing all of the queer kids (And I mean KIDS… teens and younger) dancing around/on/inside BAAAHS, sliding through the hole over and over, was so heart swellingly beautiful.
This was so worth it.
It’s easy to forget that the impact projects like this can have on people go so far beyond the immediate outcomes one(me in this case) often have of “throw a good party”, “have fun”, blah blah blah.
Touching peoples lives in positive ways (and young’uns!)… **that** is worth enduing working with this often scalding hot cauldron of culture to try and make something transcendent with.
Seriously strong work everyone past&present in BAAAHS.
What an incredible success.”

2016 Burning Man Theme


It was announced today! The news finally arrived. Just in time to get people excited for the pre-holiday ticket sale in coming up where Burning Man raises more funds for the year. Money raised goes to the production of the event as well as funding for art projects going to the burn.

DaVinci’s Workshop

The art theme for Burning Man 2016 will be “Da Vinci’s Workshop”, inspired by the Italian Renaissance of the middle fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, when an historic convergence of inspired artistry, technical innovation and enlightened patronage launched Europe out of the dark ages and into modernity.

Our story will focus on the republic of Florence, for it was here, in a city-state of about the same size and population as Black Rock City, that humanist ideals, a rediscovery of science, and funding from a newly moneyed class of entrepreneurs fueled a revolutionary cultural movement that redefined Western civilization.  –

Yes, we are excited. Yes, we are thrilled. No, this year does not begin with Car… (see last 3 years themes).

People: Toaster

The web site for gay burners started a long time ago, but not nearly as long as the Burning Man ideology existed. Some say Queer Burners and Burning Man cannot co-exist under the same theory. Burning Man is about radical inclusion and  everyone JasonTang3playing in the same sandbox on the same level. The theory is this is a gifting economy so sexual orientation, gender and economic class are irrelevant. In theory.

Gay Burners became Queer Burners less than four years ago by accident. It was an idea by Scott Kay aka Toaster in 2008 that evolved from a static site to the less static site it is today. His goal has been to make a site that gets contributions from various members of the community enriching everyone as a whole, which it has not really taken off. Much of the information is like a sign post.

p1060872-viDoes the Gayborhood and queer focused camps keep lgbt Burners from integrating? Another important question is should we want integration?

Toaster brought Queer Burners to life to bring lgbt burning man people together with growing success. The 2015 Sprint Retreat in Northern California and the last 4 years of Queer Burner Leadership events were great examples of growth in the community.

You have been granted a magic wand

fabFor all the silly things in this world there is nothing more ridiculous than the winds at 50 mph blowing dust non-stop so bad one cannot see 3 feet ahead of oneself. Or maybe that there is the same art car passing by fifty times and the people on it never let you on? Or maybe waiting to get in the gate when you can see the brightly lit gate area 12 cars away and YET it is still 3 hours from getting inside.

Insanity. (Did we see that out there somewhere in the form of art?)

What would you change about the Burning Man event if you could wave a wand right now?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

InsanitySo, we pass you a magic wand and now you have 2 choices to make a change on the playa right this moment. If you play the game right you will be whisked back in time and given a chance to relive Carnival of Mirrors with your changes implemented.

rules: 1. complete the survey as requested. 2. see the results as they compare to others who have also participated. 3. put on your favorite burning man costume. 4. this includes makeup and personal lighting. 5. proceed to your front yard/sidewalk/dirt-patch and light a small fire using anything flammable BUT cannot be larger that a very small flame. 6. dance around it while spinning siting the 10 principles in order and after 3 times… you will find yourself in deep playa. The consumption of alcohol or absinthe before answering the survey is a recommended start with a 2 oz shot with each step.

Blogs of the Burnerverse

Where do you get your information about Burning Man? In that first year, with glitter filled eyes, the best sources are YouTube and Facebook. The hungrier you are for Burning Man related posts the the less those two networks can satisfy, because what is the content that context is made from? What are those 10 Principles and how and when are they applied.

Burner Life

If you are a person who thinks the 10 Principles is something you hold on to for 8 days and nights a year then we respectfully ask you to put the toys down and back away slowly. Your inexperience with firey toys will get someone burned. Likewise, you are a tourist in a world many of us have committed to.

While Facebook and the hundreds of Burning Man related groups and pages that exist there are an amazing source of materials about the community, there is still more. While YouTube is a bonanza of burner videos and we see pretty boys and girls singing Dr Suess rhymes as what brought them out there. That is what writings of fellow burners can bestow upon you.

Here are, in our humble opinion, the best Burner Blogs:

  1. Voices of Burning Man Blog [Web]
  2. Burn After Reading Magazine [Facebook] [Web]
  3. Burn Life [Web]

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

good : the blogs listed above have been really true to the mission of the playa. While this is only a limited list of good ones out there that is not to say there are not others. These are just the noteworthy ones really deserving your read.

bad :  there once was a child who was really sweet, but someone spoiled the little brat. Some time ago Queer Burners published a post about other blogs.  The web site Burners.Me was once a platform of one person who raised a lot of dust; not in the good way. Well, after some serious bounce back that person supposedly went away but another took over with even more noise and rancor. So much so even a usually quiet FOUNDER of Burning Man came out swinging against him. Burners.Me was the good blog that threw itself on a sharp object and never recovered.

the ugly : the ugly side was pretty clear. But was is also ugly is when something good goes away. One of those jewels we lost was that saw it’s last post in 2012. 2012 was a transitional year. We have those points along the way that are milestones of change.


This is such a limited list of voices out there. Even a google search kept looping me back to a few. The Borg has done a great job marketing The Voices of Burning Man and they are really great posts. What are you favs? (Comment Below)

2015 Trip Report

Carnival of Mirrors

Well, we survived another year at the burn. Burning Man: Carnival of Mirrors was spectacular. It was a year that felt inspiring again after a few years of transition with the organization that makes everything happen. Since 2012 Burning Man feels like it has gone more commercial than ever yet somehow maintaining a grasp on the desired core values of the past.

Big Picture


Carnival of Mirrors theme was another big hit. The abomination that was Fertility 2.0 that went to Cargo Cult (loved it), then Caravansary (Fabulous), and now Carnival of Mirrors… what’s next: “Carrot Top”? While struggling to think of something Carrific we are eagerly awaiting next year’s theme.

Carnival of Mirrors featured a Midway that was as superb as the Souk from last year, showing that Burning Man is working on elevating the features of the-man experience. If this is the working model moving forward it certainly brings a greater sense of excitement to the event. It’s very marketable.

The Gayborhood

Another change to the Gayborhood layout made it much larger this year. It also lent to a greater opportunity for the queer camps of Burning Man to make a greater presentation. We were laid out on “D” street between 6:30 t0 8:30 which the Gayborhood renamed Rainbow Road.

pre-event estimate of Rainbow Road: not the actual

Some new camps in the Gayborhood made quite a splash:

  • Hanging Gardens rocked the hood with an exciting presentation
  • Cubhouse participated in the Naked Bike ride and served it
  • Bierdhaus struck out from their village last year and rocked it
  • Sun Guardians delivered and grew rapidly

Some established camps in the Gayborhood schooled us animal style:

  • Mudskippers: Whitney Houston Party always epic
  • Glamcocks put on an amazing show
  • Celestial Bodies, BloAsis so many…

…they killed it. There are so many camps in the Gayborhood who really uped their game this year and make Rainbow Road spectacular. But there were a few Queer camps outside the Gayborhood that brought it as well.

  • Disco Château  – amazing
  • Peterson’s Pink Pagoda – awesome
  • Burner Buddies – Nacho Daddies sexiness….

Queer camps were all over the playa. Our preplaya map that was published before the event including Get Nailed that was over on B street. It was exciting and having the chance at having so many friends all over the city just a huge bonus.

Evolution in the Gayborhood

Rumor has it that a few more camps are going to enter cocoons before the 2016 unnamed event and come back in new forms. We hear that Comfort & Joy are going to go through a few changes again. Also, rumor control has it that the Down Low Club is not coming back in the same form as they have since 2001. It seems that Comfort & Joy is always evolving anyway and as they seem to be always at the epicenter of the Gayborhood we appreciate the work they put into their real estate with those amazing lights and art displays.

Theme camps and villages are the interactive core of Burning Man. An ideal theme camp should create a visually stimulating presence and provide a communal space or other opportunity for interaction. Burning Man Theme Camp Organizer Facebook Interactive Group

Is it rumor or true? We will find out next year, but the sources were rock solid, and if these camps and others grow, evolve or transition then we stand behind them. Many camps have stayed the same for years and Burning Man is demanding that camps evolve in order to get placement. Staying the same is just not acceptable. We have to offer engaging and interactive camps that bring something to the event.

Working Together

We as patrons and proprietors in the Gayborhood make choices of what we engage and offer in the neighborhood. The growth and new structure of the Gayborood, aka Rainbow Road, lends to a whole new level of opportunities and leverage that we have began sampling. Working together, like the 7:30 Block Party by Hanging Gardens, is a big win for the community.

This is not the first time camps working together have found such a huge success. Glamcock’s Cock-talks and Beaverton’s workshops are another level of success. Comfort & Joy has also been a champion in this area of radical inclusion.

We, as a community, have chances to make our community and culture stronger. We are certainly not confined to just Queer Camps (because we are radically inclusive) and have non-queer neighbors interlaced with the Gayborhood that want to benefit from the A.D.D. razor like focus and creativity we have to share.

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

good : Other than all the previously mentioned goodies at the burn this year, there was an amazing piece of history that reappeared on the playa this year. Taking Burning Man back to it’s roots of radical expression was the ‘art piece’ that appeared on the playa in 2001 that was censored by the Org. It was an important and amazing presence on Comfort & Joy’s courtyard.

Learn more about this bit of Queer Burner History in our Burner History X article on this site. Having discovered this piece on the day of the Naked Bike Ride found friends taking pictures with it. It seemed to be quite the attraction and if only those people knew the history behind it.

Queer camps had a chance, better than any year before, to make a presentation that was a solid win. The stretch of Rainbow Road was phenomenal.

bad : Unfortunately this was not the year where the Burner Gods smiled upon the BAAAHS crew as they experienced a lot of challenges that they did not expect to meet. A neighbor or two or three or so complained about their sound levels; an absurd idea as they and Camp Conception were camps with some serious speaker action. (Yes, many of us knew going into the burn this year we had new restrictions on sound).  One neighbor actually made it her mission to rally the neighbors against BAAAHS but many stood by the BAAAHS crew solidly.

But that was not all. This was BAAAHS 3rd or 4th year on playa and this year they got dinged on a legal issue that may or may not have been noticed before, they were just over the legal size to move through the street by the DMV. Aparently mustant vehicles have to be on a diet to roam the streets of the BRC; maximum size is 14′, And it seems BAAAHS was 14′-6″… yikes!

The restrictions greatly limited what BAAAHS was able to do in the city and it was sad. We, as a community, support and love what BAAAHS and their support team delivers. It is awesome and it is entertaining. John Major, aka M*J*R wrote on Facebook how the year could result in diminishing his passion for Burning Man (heavily paraphrased); well we hope not.

ugly : Evolution is the only way Theme Camps can survive on the playa. As a community and subculture we also have to police ourselves. Reputation can follow for years but here are a few notions that we need to revisit:

  • Glamcocks is an unfriendly camp to visit for anyone over 30

GET OVER IT: Leadership in the Glamcocks camp has worked really hard to change the perception of this. Key leaders have made very public and vocal efforts to show they are welcoming to all. They have initiated concierges for their camp and a requirement for camp mates to welcome people who come to their camp and their events off playa.

  • The Gayborhood keeps people in and others out

GET OVER IT AGAIN… yeah! Many camps in the Gayborhood host events clearly programmed to welcome people from all lifestyles, orientations and genders. While a few may be specific to one of those demographics the bigger picture is that this is an unfair projection from people who dismiss the Gayborhood who typically have never been to it.

Annual events suffered this year for a variety of reasons like th Official Queer Burner Meet & Greet as well as the Gay Pride celebration.

  • The Official Queer Burner Meet & Greet on Monday failed to appear in the What Where When, but many burners remembered that Monday night was the night to come to the Down Low Club camp. The event itself was in memory of a beloved burner who left us a few years ago; Mario Cisneros. Participation last year was off the chart, but on this occasion the event was nice and cozy.
  • The Gay Pride Parade was supposed to be a strong show of pride and celebration but fizzled into nothing before we got very far. The restriction that knocked BAAAHS off the city streets also put the smack-down on our parade plans. Thankfully Burner Buddies party with Nacho Daddies was still a huge win.

While there are more, the politics of keeping a positive focus prevents them from being written about here. The goal of this project is to promote and encourage growth, evolution and elevation of our part of the city.


2015 was an awesome year. The borg is demanding, even forcing, change and evolution on the community. The people feeling it most are the people building camps, art cars and attractions. With new sound restrictions and a surging growth in law enforcement the radical side of Burning Man is waning. Fortunately it is still a life changing experience with the chances of our own individual growth and chances to grow our community. All it takes is a ‘we’.



Nathan Recounts His Burner History

Group organizing at Burning Man is a
big topic of discussion this year, and it has led to some very
interesting recounting of how various communities have participated
at the event over the years. This
, for instance, has some really great insights into the
organizing of raving at Burning Man since 1992. This History of the
Gayborhood is an effort to update the timeline of Queer participation
on the Playa over the years.

1993 – Early Days

In 1993, Burning Man was an event of
about 2000 people and there was no annual ‘theme’ for the
event, there were no organized streets, or registered theme camps. It
was much less governed by rules because it was such a small event,
there wasn’t really a need for rules. Plus, the gathering in
the desert was to make art with fire, and so the anarchist spirit
didn’t really lend itself to rules.

While the event was ‘anarchistic’,
it also was perceived at first by many early gay participants as a
‘straight event’ that was supportive of gay people, but
in the early days, appeared to not be a space where other gay people
were easily found.

Queer San Francisco Experience in
the Early 1990’s

Like the ravers and the San Francisco
Cacophony Society, queer creativity and participation on the Playa
had its roots off the Playa. The context of the early 1990’s
was very shaped by AIDS activism that was very visible at fundraisers
and parties, and these events had an edge that reflected the times.
Queer artists and event promoters who were helping create a wild
queer party scene in San Francisco during the 1990’s helped
create the context for Burning Man participation on the Playa.

Picture Left and Middle – Club
Uranus San Francisco 1991. Pictured Right, Ggreg Deborah Taylor, AKA,
Nambla the Clown. The early 90’s San Francisco “Club
Kids” brought their own style of creativity to the Playa in the
early years of the event. Photos by Mark Geller.

Queer activism and culture in the
1990’s generated from San Francisco sometimes took the form of
performance art and road trip adventures. Queer Nation’s “Mall
Zaps” and the “Lavender Tortoise” road trips to
Reno of the early 90’s organized by art and event promoter
Ggreg Taylor were examples.

Left: The first
Lavender Tortoise road trip to Reno with Roderick McFarland, Leigh
Crow, Jade, Kent Victor Schuelke, Becky Slane, Jim Provenzano, Jim
Rudoff, Jason El Diablo. The Lavender Tortoise trips eventually
became the model for the Trannyshack road trips to Reno. Photos by
Mark Geller.

Right: Veronica Klaus
and Ggreg Taylor at a mall “Zap” organized by Taylor as
the first of its kind in the 1990’s.

In addition to the 1990’s
activist and “Club Kid” culture, many other queer
cultural scenes were happening, such as the Radical
, Sisters of
Perpetual Indulgence
, and others. Like fire performance and other
kinds of radical art and entertainment happening in San Francisco,
the desert became a new place to celebrate radical culture of every
kind that was becoming more regulated in the city of San Francisco as
the 90’s advanced.

Left 1993 Sean Bumgarner and Ggreg
Taylor at club Product.

Right 1993 David Lowe, Nathan
Purkiss and Steven Murphy at club Product.

Queer Club Kids go to the Playa

In 1993, three queer San Franciscans
named Gabriel, Bart and Graham went with a car, a tent, and very
limited supplies to check out Burning Man. They were regulars at
Radical Faerie events, SF clubs etc. and had heard about Burning Man
as an arts event, but didn’t know any friends who were going.
So they went. They didn’t notice any other gay people at the
time, but when they came home, they told all their friends, and
started a tradition of coming home and telling everyone’s
friends about Burning Man. This group eventually grew into the
200-300 person queer Avalon village at the event for many years.
(More on that below…)

The Burning Man event in 1993 was
smaller and followed a rhythm that was possible with roughly 2000
people that is different than with 50,000+ people today. The entire
community could see when anything happened like the start of a
procession with fire breathers, dancers and drums that could be heard
from far away.

photo – the Burning Man raised in 1993 (no elevated platform or
theme these days…).

photo – The Monkey Bean coffee car. This coffee car was
effectively “center camp” in the early days. The only
place you could buy coffee or anything out on the Playa.

Photo – Black Rock Gazette, 1993 edition on the right. It was a
2-sided paper issued Friday and Saturday.

1993 Black Rock
Gazette. Events were listed from Friday to Monday. Below are 1993
Saturday-Sunday events.

From 1993 – 1995, the
event was mostly a Friday to Monday event with some rituals that
happened pretty routinely. During the day people would drive to Fly
Hot Springs or Gerlach for food. At night, random parties would
happen at different camps, but Saturday night there was a procession
of dancers and performers, and a series of art installations being
burned; Sunday night was the Burning of the Man himself. The rave
camp was placed a mile outside of the rest of the camping area, and
after all the fire events finished, everyone would head out to the
raves to dance until sunrise.

TUBE VIDEO of 1994 Priscilla Queen of the Desert Party
Stan Christenson, Jim Rudolph, Gabriel Plumlee and others

I have 4
hours of video from 1994 and 1995, but it takes a while to select
sections and convert to digital. Can upload more if you want…)

By 1996, the event grew in size
and some of these routines started to turn into bigger traditions.
The Saturday night procession turned into a full scale opera. The
raves grew from small-ish sound system events to huge parties with
fire performers and a much bigger scale. The whole event adopted an
Inferno “Hell-Co” theme of sorts, which wasn’t
expressed as an official theme, but functioned as an art theme that
was the first time the idea of a theme really came into being.

Early Avalon Village/Mudskipper community at Fly Hot Springs in
1994.Right the 1994 DayGloasis art project created at the Rave Area
by queer artist Graham Cruickshank with the group that would later
organize the Avalon Village community.

In this period of 1993-1996, Queer
participation was as anarchistic as the rest of the event. There were
no theme camps or very organized anything, but queer people
participated in the event and began building small communities within
the event that would later become larger village communities.


Early queer community at Fly Hot Springs left/midle. Nathan Purkiss &
Brian Mays right & Santiago Salsido far right, 1995.

– Nambla the Clown 1996. Middle – Fly Hot Springs 1996. Right –
1995 Saturday Night Procession

Burning Man Transitions to a more organized event

In 1996 Burning Man grew in size to
8000 people and had a series of accidents that required changing the
event. A person drove through a tent and ran over another
participant, and organizers for the event made efforts to maintain
the anarchistic spirit of the event while creating rules to also
promote safety. A map was created for the event and driving (unless
driving a permitted art car) was no longer allowed. Theme camps and
organized participation developed out of this, and the event theme
itself seemed to become an organizing tool. In 1997, the official
theme of “fertility – the living land” seemed
designed as a calming theme after the 1996 inferno.

1997 poster for the Burning Man Opera; Right: 1997 “fertility”

1997 – Is Burning Man Over?

Many 1997 participants wondered if
Burning Man could continue given that it adopted new rules,
especially the rule to ban driving, as it would prevent one of the
best features of the event, driving to Fly Hot Springs to soak for
the day. People also wondered if the organized road map and camps
would kill the anarchistic feeling of the event. But the event
continued to inspire people and work through these changes.

Queer Camps begin to organize on the

Some of the earliest queer camps began
to organize with the new theme camp system. Early camps that got
started were Jiffy Lube (which became M*A*S*Hcara
for a time), the Black Rock Gym and Beauty Bar (which later became
Avalon Village), and others.

Jiffy Lube & M*A*S*Hcara

While Jiffy Lube had been around since
1995 as a sex-positive space, it registered in 1997 as a theme camp
with a different name – M*A*S*Hcara.
Using its historic “M*A*S*H style tent as an event area, Ggreg
Taylor worked with camp organizers to add a raised backroom entry
into the back of a semi-truck as a sex space with Wizard of Oz
footage playing. Very queer and fun. M*A*S*Hcara lasted a couple
years as a mixed performance art and sex space, until it renamed
itself “Jiffylube” and went back to becoming a mostly
sex-oriented tent. While M*A*S*Hcara had a very short time on the
Playa, it was a concept that was very similar to what would
eventually become Comfort and Joy in later years – a highly
creative space also celebrating sex-positive culture.

1998 crew top left. Ggreg Taylor, AKA Nambla the Clown, Top Right
(organizer of M*A*S*Hcara) Camp Jiffy Lube 2000.

2000 The Black Rock Gym and Beauty

In 2000 the BM theme was “The
Body”, and that year the
Black Rock Gym and Beauty Bar was formed by Gabriel Plumlee, Nathan
Purkiss, Scott Barney, Huck Worden, Victor Torres, John Cordaro,
Patrick Schiller, and others who had been attending Burning Man since
the early 1990’s. The gym included a fully functional dry sauna
to and the beauty bar featured drag artists sharing beauty tips for
anyone who trusted them with makeovers.

Left Black Rock Gym and Beauty Bar. Top Right E-L Wire Black Rock Gym
Sign. Bottom Left – Black Rock Gym fully functional dry sauna.
Bottom Right Spencer Day and Adam Shevel working out at the gym.

Left, Victor Torres
manning the Beauty Bar.

Center, Brian Mays at
the Gym

Right, Gabriel Plumlee
using the Black Rock Gym tanning facilities.

Black Rock Gym and Beauty Bar was a first-time theme camp that would
eventually become Avalon Village.

2000 Wind Sock & Tie-die cloth

In 2000 queer artists Jeff Kennedy and
Xavier Caylor (and others who would later be involved in creating
Audrey’s cabaret), created Playa art installations using
black-light radiant fabric art:

tie-dye windsock art by Xavier Caylor, Jeff Kennedy and others

The giant “wind sock”
fabric art piece included a tie-die tunnel that you could walk
through, as well as other cloth art installations on the playa. Jeff
also later organized a registered theme camp called “Audrey’s
Cabaret” that performed show tunes on the playa for several

Top Left –
Jeff and others walking through the “wind sock”. Top
Middle Jeff Kennedy in 2000. Top right and bottom left – more tie-die
cloth art installations. Bottom Right – Audrey’s cabaret
campmates (photo from Jim Orr).

Jeff had worked with Xavier Caylor
and others to create tie-die fabric art off the Playa for years and
helped organize “Flagging
in the Park
” in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park
before they used their fabric art work to create the wind sock fabric
art installation on the Playa.



Left and Middle –
Flagging in San Francisco golden gate park. Right giant ball of
tie-dye art for dance party. Cloth art from queer San Francisco
events was brought to the playa in 2000 as the wind sock

2002 – Avalon Village

After creating the Black Rock Gym and
Beauty Bar of 2000 and 2001, many of the Gym / Beauty Bar campmates
wanted to start their own projects. Scott Barney wanted to create a
fairy-wing making factory camp called “Fairyland”, and
Huck Worden wanted to create a lush lounge called the Sacrafactory,
Jim Rudolf wanted to create a mobile café to serve Vietnamese
Iced Coffee, and Nathan Purkiss and Gabriel Plumlee wanted to bring
the gym and sauna back again. Instead of breaking up into several
camps, the groups returned in 2002 as Avalon Village.

Avalon Village plaza 2002,
Avalon Village 2003 with Huck Worden on stilts;
Avalon Village Sacrafactory, 2003

Avalon Village formed a community from
2002-2008 joined by several theme camps with about 200-300 people
camping at the village each year, (but about 500 people connected on
lists of the various camps attended on alternating years). The camp
was envisioned as a space for queer people to find other queer
people, and a highly interactive village of artists, performers and
queer / queer friendly community. Activities at the village included
poi spinning classes, fairy wing and tutu making, wrestling matches,
fire dancing, massage workshops, drag performance, queer discussion
groups, parties, daily sober meetings, serving Vitnamese Iced Coffee
daily, and many other activities.

Avalon Village was first
conceived as “the Isle of Avalon” for the Floating World
theme of 2002, but each year a variation on Avalon was decided for
the community, often using acronym A.S.S. for the years when the
community took the name Avalon Space Station and Avalon Synapse
Station, etc.

Avalon Village art towers on the plaza were lit up at night in blue
LED lights. Pictured here was Astro Pups camp tower.

Fairyland Wing & Tutu making crafts workshop with art panels and
story viewing area.

was exciting for most of the organizers of Avalon Village was that it
was created by people who were not club promoters or professional
artists in the default world.
started the Black Rock Gym and Beauty Bar partly because they had
enjoyed Burning Man for so many years without contributing an art
installation or theme camp. So the group felt like they needed to
‘step it up’ and create something.
Once the group made their first theme camp, everyone was hooked and
wanted to do more. It turned into a very committed community for many
years, and many of the community still participate through a camp
that would be formed later called “the Mudskippers”.

Left: Bart Broome attending Burning Man since 1993. Mid Left: Nathan
Purkiss, Adam Shevel and Anthony Ramirez.

Right: Bryan Hughes DJ’ing. Far Right: Scott Barney and Scott
Stauffer of Fairyland & Avalon Village.

Village People:

left: Chris Dayson; 2
Left: Viva; Mid-Right: The Plaza in a dust storm. Far right: Rahul
during the post-dust storm rainbow.

Fairyland –
Avalon Village Theme Camp 2002-2008

theme camp organizer Scott Barney in the middle.

Barney who brought a panoply of craft materials for the Black Rock
Beauty Bar went on at Avalon Village to organize a much larger craft
factory project: Fairyland. Building a beautiful wood frame structure
(one year two stories high) with wall panels that illuminated fairy
murals as the environment, Fairyland hosted an enormously popular
fairy-wing and Tutu-making factory. Wing-making materials made out of
recycled materials (wire hangers et.) and instructions on how to make
fairy wings awaited Burners who came, and people spent hours each day
crafting beautiful fairy wings and tutus of every kind to wear out on
the Playa.

participants John Cordaro (top left) and Steve Heist (bottom left).

the Fairyland structure (with ladder to 2
floor) in the center photos.

Astropups –
Avalon Village Theme Camp from 2003-2008

Astropup theme camp at Avalon Village; Right: the first Astropups to
arrive in 2000.

2003 the Astropups theme camp joined Avalon Village. Organized as a
camp on the Plays since 2000, the Astropups have brought a fun,
frisky, and fabulous nature to the Burning Man Playa in the form of
events, costumes, and personalities. They regularly held wrestling
matches, prom dances, parties and all kinds of good fun for many
years. Like many of the Avalon camps, first and foremost, the camp
was organized to foster a spirit of community and companionship.
Astropups are still
an active camp and their website is:

AstroPups David Millard and David Lai at the Gay Prom;
wrestling match;


AstroPups organizer Paul Carey;

Brian Maier and other pups at the gay prom.

Rendering of Astropups one year (date and artist unknown):

and Thin Air – Avalon Theme Camps 2002-2003

making a fully functional dry sauna for the Black Rock Gym, Huck
Worden created two different theme camps for Avalon Village in 2002
and 2003: Sacrafactory and the “Thin Air” lounge.


2003 Avalon Village Theme Camp the Thin Air Lounge, was a 1960’s
classic airport lounge with drag hostesses serving cocktails


2002 Avalon Village Sacrafactory theme camp. Photo of the entryway
into the SacraFactory, a deep purple lounge reminiscent of an opium
den where participants could invent new sacraments.

Cabaret – Avalon Village Theme Camp 2005-2008

Quixotes Cabaret
is a troupe of performers mostly from the UK who travel to the playa
each year to build a theater with performances both by campmates, and
any participants from the playa who wants to join in their stage
events. They have always been more of a “straight friendly”
group, but they made their home in the queer-friendly Avalon village
for many years. Brit actors are fabulous and fun, and Avalon
Villagers loved that Quixotes chose their home at Avalon for so many

Quixotes are
still active and their current website is here:

of Quixotes Cabaret setting up.

Iced Coffee Camp – Avalon Village Theme Camp 2002-2008

also had a mobile cart that would serve Vietnamese Iced Coffee daily
at the camp, then move out onto the Playa to serve VICC at night!

Leaf (Ken Bonnin) left in both; and Sparky (Jim Rudolph) right in

Montage – Avalon Village Theme Camp 2006-2008


Nathan Purkiss and RJ Merck.

photographer Wendell Delano.

Montage formed as an Avalon Village theme camp in 2006 and was the
brainchild of RJ. Merck working with photographer Wendell Delano.
Merck worked with Delano on building his photos into illuminated
montages on large wooden boxes. The montage boxes were
extraordinarily beautiful art pieces recounting images from years of
Burning Man past.

is a collection of Camp Montage photos featured at Avalon Village, as
well as Comfort and Joy and the Afterburn San Francisco events.

Camp Stella –
Avalon Village Theme Camp 2005-2008

Stella first became a theme camp at Burning Man in 2003 but joined
Avalon Village in 2005. The camp offered a clean and sober space and
daily meetings for Burners.

(left) and Jefferson (right) Camp Stella Founders John, Bart &
Friend at Celestial Bodies

Camps at Avalon – Celestial Bodies, Temple of Poi & IDC

the years several other theme camps joined Avalon for 1-year stints,
such as Temple of Poi, the Interplanetary Dance Commandos (IDC) and
Celestial Bodies. Temple of Poi hosted fire performances, IDC hosted
a dance space, and Celestial Bodies featured their famous saloon as
part of Avalon Village in 2009.

Avalon Village
“Uncharted Territories” – The Mudskippers

The Uncharted Territories was the community organized by
Nathan Purkiss, Anthony Ramirez, Don Raber, John Marasagan, John
Kisha, Anthony Williams, Gabriel Plumlee, Bart Broome, and others
that provided logistical support for Avalon Village. They built the
Avalon Village sign, lighted the village with solar powered blue
lights, did all of the administrative organizing for the village, and
some years built the Avalon Village Tower in the main plaza of the
village. They also created a “Sunken Pirate Ship”
environment within the village for camp mates to have a community
space within the village.

Psycho Bunny and Puck hanging out in the sunken pirate ship at
Uncharted Territories

Cookie Dough hanging out in the Sunken Pirate Ship.

Uncharted Territories Crew under the Rainbow. (Sean Niles, John
Kisha, John Marasagan, Jody Stevens, Gary Weisler, Nakhter Ahad, Don
Raber at the far right.

Avalon created a
learning opportunity at the Uncharted Territories that can’t be
offered at Burning Man very easily today. Avalon offered for people
who decided at the last minute they wanted to go to Burning Man to
join the Uncharted Territories camp and help work for the village.
Some of our favorite campmates were people who are by nature
spontaneous, and they don’t plan their lives a year in advance
– we wanted them to participate in the creativity of the

Participating in
the Uncharted Territories provided a way to share cultural
information, not only stories of how to promote safety etc., but also
sharing how participants could became active creators of art and
community. This is partly how Camp Montage got its start at Avalon –
RJ Merck came to our village as a newcomer, never coming to Burning
Man before, but after a very inspiring year at Avalon, he came back
to the Playa ready to create one of the most beautiful theme camps of
the village – Camp Montage.

Daniel and Anthony;
Bart, Nathan and Gabriel;

Avalon comes
to a close:

Avalon Village last organized on the
Playa as a village in 2008. The year before, 2007 had been a peak
year with dynamic theme camps, art, a beautiful plaza with multiple
towers lit up with twinkling blue lights, and great energy. By 2008,
many of the campmates were starting to feel burnt out about pulling
together the village for many years. It also seemed that Burning Man
was encouraging the village to break up into theme camps, as we had
feedback from them that the size of our village was unwieldy. Plus,
the American Dream theme turned off some of the queer campmates who
were very angry with George Bush at the time and decided not to go.
Those that did in 2008 still reported having a fantastic time that
year. But times were changing. We wanted something new again.

Puck, Mayor of Avalon Village in

The Mudskippers are Born!

In 2009 the Mudskipper Cafe grew out of the huge
collective “Avalon Village” from what was the camp known
as UT or “Uncharted Territories”. The 2009 Burning Man
theme of “Evolution” was appropriate for the change, and
the name “Mudskippers” represented the fun little
creatures that evolved from water to land roamers. So like the
Mudskipper taking its first step onto land from water, the Mudskipper
cafe took its first step to being an entity in itself.

Mudskipper People

Gayborhood Boom after 2009

In addition to Mudskippers, many other queer camps that
used to participate in Avalon continued to participate on the Playa
as well. Camp Stella, Quixotes Cabaret, Astro Pups and campmates from
all of the Avalon theme camps are still Burners participating at
various levels. In addition to those, other queer camps that had
never participated with Avalon (although were all friends) began to
explode with creativity and participation. Comfort and Joy became a
huge presence on the Playa. And later, the Queer Burners network
became something that Avalon always had tried to do, which was to
develop a catalyst for queer Burners to find each other on and off
the Playa.

Many changes happened that were improvements. New camps
expanded diversity even further adding new creative options on the
Playa. Avalon was a great project, but what used to be a registered
neighborhood during the Avalon years has now exploded into an organic
neighborhood, and that is a big new evolution.

Planning for 2015

Burning Man is not so much the drugged up party in the north many of the norms out there wish it was. Nor is it the fantasy many weekenders are seeking when they get out there. It is so much more.

2015_QB1_smWe have a secret. It’s not an us versus them secret. We have privileged information when it comes to Burning Man. It’s because many of us have made this part of our daily lives and have embraced the 10 principles. Some of us are in different stages of what those principles mean.

Now what are you doing with your two weeks in the desert? Please don’t go there looking to get fucked up for no other purpose than pussy or cock. This is a chance to connect, love, embrace, get an eye-gasm and soar with people with a mindset like no other.

The weekenders, tourists, norms, creeps and more sour flavors of the burn become blurry background to a burn done right. Checkout our 2015 Events page and get some key software. What’s the right tool for your burn? Get the Time to Burn App for Apple | Android | not Windows  [Facebook]

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