According to BMorg online Ticket Sales for Burning Man are officially sold out! That’s right kids, one of the biggest years ever for this event, is running out of tickets. …er, ran out of tickets? Something like that.

2011: Rites of PassageIn January when tickets went on sale Tier 1 and Tier 2 sold out within hours. That meant that a buttload of tickets flew through the door in spite of the miserable management of the on-line ticket system. Patient and experienced Burners are used to the insanity of 1st day sales, but thankfully they have been working on improving that system.


The event is limited in it’s terms of being able to grow. Last year at it’s highest point which was Friday night the highest level of people present was just over 53,000 people. There is a magic number Burning Man has to look at as a tolerance (a gray line) before exceeding the attendance limit and getting fined by the BLM. According to Marian Goodell that tolerance floats around 52,000 because for a variety of reason tickets are issued for various services and contributors; bottom line to be there you have to have a ticket even if working it.

Marian GoodellOur BLM permit is the restriction. We are between 5-year permits and this year we need to stay with the max-population to be within 2% of last year’s max-population. We grow every year more than that, so we couldn’t allow the natural growth for 2011, we’ve had to shut things off to stay within the BLM’s comfort zone. Capacity is a relative term in the desert. We need to stay near the max pop of 52,000.” – Marian Goodell (7/25/2011)

There is a fixed in growth allowed of about 3,000 per year… and this is by word of mouth. In reality, growth is expected but there is negotiation involved between the powers that be that set those along with the required presence of Law Enforcement.

2011 Features

This year “Rites of Passage” features the CORE Project where 24 Regions around the World (YES! The World) are bring effigy’s somewhere between 15 to 20 feet tall to be placed in a ring around The Man and will be ignited a day or two before The Man burns.

The Man will be posed differently than ever before too!!! He will be in a stride, which means the entire body will be in a step.

25th Anniversary? Last year was touted as the 25th Anniversary of Burning Man going back to the days of Baker Beach. Word is that the actual anniversary, counting events, falling on 2011. Just an item from rumor control…

Rumors / Truth

There are always rumors and interesting stories flying around. Only believe what you hear from the source. Check out Burning Man on Facebook and their web site Burning Man [dot] Com.


2011 Black Rock City

ROUGHLY speaking, and without any authority to claim one way or another, for those asking here is the general Queer Spread. There are a couple concentrations of gay camps.

The Gayborhood usually contains but not limited to:

  • Comfort & Joy
  • Camp Beaverton Home for Wayward Girls
  • Gender Blender
  • Dickstracted

The Gay Ghetto usually contains but not limited to:

  • Moonbow
  • Tiny’s Lounge

Like I said this is generally rough. Be sure and check out all the postings including the Events Page where great things are going on. The Beavers and Gender Blender have some amazing classes and events, but they post on their Google Group of which I will add to the links section to the right.

Now, there are camps that might be “queer” that have not participated with Gay Burners yet, but given Radical Inclusion everyone is a little Queer out there… just get into the Downlow Club and see. HA HA HA… Some of the camps that threw down and have a very queer vibe include:

  • Pink Mammoth
  • Mal-Mart []
  • Pink Heart Camp



(7/18/2011) Yesterday’s trip to the “Prepare for the Playa” and my recent involvement with “Burning Man Costume Creations” got me thinking a lot about what people are wearing to playa.

A few weeks ago I went to “Rites of Massive” which was a huge fund raiser on Treasure Island for Opulent Temple and the Distrikt which are 2 of the larger clubs on the Playa. It was huge, amazing and… opulent. On the way in I started looking at peoples wardrobe and heard a veteran burner describing to his newbie friend was is burner and what is not.

There is a mainstream of apparel that smacks of typical burner attire including for women: corsets, fishnets light tubes and fake dreads in any form; also include almost anything you might see Stevie Nicks in. For men there are these beautiful long pirate or Edwardian coats, womens skirts, more dreads either real or fake and often some kind of full on women’s outfit at some point. Note: almost anything with faux fur is a winner as in vests, animal hats and giant coats!

With all the talk of radical self-expression there is a hell of a lot of definition what is burner and what is not. It can’t all be furry pimp hats and Edwardian /  Stempunk blah blah blah, but the idea of radical Self Expression is the ability to make your own spin on the costume of your choice.

Burning Man itself is a very hetrero-centric, Caucasian, hedonistic love fest that somewhere along the way blended with the Raver community. I feel often that their radical self expression is something Queers like us already do on a daily basis; but with a little more style. (Note: hesitates with some of these words as to not seem to put us above this demographic, but note that gays – lesbians –  trans-genders – etceteras have been do this in the default world in our daily lives)

The impact on the Burning Man culture with the huge presence of gay neighborhoods has more or less fit into the culture and the costume expression that has gone along with it has been fairly uninspired on a lot of levels, but I suspect we have made a lot of effort to show how much we appreciate Burning Man and the ability to play like all the others. The biggest innovators from the gay world has been the more hard core gender bending camps that Comfort & Joy as well as Camp Beaverton/Gender Blender have brought to the scene.

Costumes for the Newb

If nothing else there is a shopping list of must haves when at Burning Man and a few suggestions. As far as what the average burner is wearing often that is defined by the economic status you are in or what you are able to create. Radical Self Expression still has to be the core that your express yourself with! You can go to things like “Prepare for the Playa” and spend hundreds of dollars on playa gear, too. What I saw on prices was pretty high, but then I looked closely at what was there and said…I can make that. Don’t be afraid to whip out your hot glue gun or Barbie sewing machine and give it a whirl.

What you Need

Tutu (or 2) | Good Shoes/Boots | Sari or wrap | Theme Costume (See posts on ePlaya)

Okay, so maybe that is a relatively short list of needed items. But the beauty of that is YOU get to fill in the blanks. I think… the billion bunny marsh is a annual tradition led by $tephen Ra$pa so you might need a bunny costume. Of course any type of cute bee costume seems to be a winner. Las year they did a whole superhero thing that went on through several days and camps. If you watch the chat boards they will start talking about something new. I did see something about unicorns… but who knows where that will go.

For survival through the week be sure to read all that Burning Man has to offer on Burning Man [dot] Com

Bikes on Playa

Burning Man is huge. No matter how dedicated you are, accept the fact that you won’t get to see everything. However, you will be able to see and do a lot more with a bike. And as with anything else, a little bit of planning and preparation can make the difference between a comfortable reliable mode of transportation, and a wasted effort hauling a 40lb piece of junk to the playa.

Here are some suggestions:


  • Don’t bring a kiddie (BMX) bike – they may pack easily but are horrible to ride on the playa – very tiring…
  • Don’t bring a bike with skinny tires as they tend to corkscrew when turning in the soft playa buildup.
  • Don’t bring expensive bikes – leave your “good” bikes at home.  PLaya CruiserOr plan on locking them up well.


  • Fat tire (Cruiser, Mountain bikes) bikes do better on the soft playa sand
  • Consider purchasing a thrift-store/garage sale bike and dress it up. Make it your “playa bike”. Optionally, go all out and build a frankensteinesque bike like this Chopper
  • Make sure you have a comfy seat – otherwise your rump will suffer.  You can build a comfy seat with padding and duct tape and/or cloth/fur etc.  Or buy them, but the comfy gel ones can be expensive
  • Get a cheap combination lock because bike theft/borrowing is quite a problem at BM.  Write the combo on your wrist in permanent marker and on the inside of your tent (or something you won’t easily lose).  (I have 4 combo locks and don’t know the combination to any of them!)
  • Decorate you bike and make it more than just a means of transportation. However, when you are dressing up your bike out please make sure that stuff won’t fall off and litter the playa as you ride.  Faux fur works really well – just make sure it is well secured to your bike. Decorating also helps because a unique looking bike is easier to find at popular SlimeChain Waxgathering places like Center Camp, Arctica, Temple, Man, etc.
  • At least one working brake is essential.
  • Oil the chain and make sure it doesn’t have any seized up links (one that won’t bend). I find the wax based lubes work best as the dust sticks to oil based lubes and tends to gum up the chain. And bring the bottle so that you can re-up as needed, and share with those who forgot to lube up.
  • Make sure you have good tubes (consider investing in a $8 bottle of “slime” – the goop that self-seals the tubes in case of puncture.
  • If you plan on riding at night, you will need lights (front and back). Please point your headlamps downwards so as not to blind other playa citizens. Glow sticks woven through your tubes are pretty cool to watch and make you more visible.
  • A basket or a luggage rack to carry stuff (including ice) is most helpful (Suggested by Zong). The little kid trailers also work well for hauling back ice and usually run around $20 used at garage sales, thrift stores, and Craigslist
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Camping 101

I am not the authority on camping at Burning Man. There is a whole survival guide available for the ‘how to’ and ‘how not’. This week I was talking to some people about their camping choices and it got me thinking about if any of our members were asking themselves the same questions.

Burning Man still has not released the official camp list, but they have changed the criteria for becoming a “theme camp”. The number of people as a minimum was greatly reduced so as many as 3 people can have a theme camp. The idea is to open the door to creativity and interactivity as much as possible.

Really some of the Queer Camps have done really well in this area and some of the new ones are looking pretty impressive. Everyone knows ‘Comfort and Joy‘; or at least you heard of them (see the Queer Camp page to get more details on these camps mentioned). They have things going on through most of the not the least of which are fully produced shows and the pink gym for those heavenly workouts.

The Camp Beaverton Home for Wayward Girls and their sister/brother camp Gender Blender have some great workshops you will find listed in the what where when.

These are just the big names while there is a whole bunch of camps with varying events to entertain and delight. BUT, what would make you camp with an established camp? Why? And why pay camp fees?

Well, you get the chance to be part of the machine that makes the camp work and your donated time along with your camp fee support the infrastructure of the camp. It’s like working for Disneyland and buying your own lunch at the cafeteria. Maybe you hate Disneyland and want to play alone on the Teacups???

One friend of mine on his first year had every opportunity dangled in front of him to become a part of any of a number of theme camps from the mega to the small and intimate. Yet, he chose to camp alone on something like J and 8:30… on the outer rim. He set up his camp and came home only when he was done playing. He went out to the quiet and sometimes neighborly outskirts.

I suppose that has been the complaint of some people camping much closer to the Esplanade, the lack of quiet. Rather the thump-thump-thump of roving art cars and sound camps. But I personally have spent my last two years just off the Esplanade and never had those problems. In 2009 I camped with Sin City Village on 7:30 and Esplanade. In 2010 I camped with Journeys at 5:30 and A.

That might be another alternative to Queer Camps is spending time with your region like I did.

Whatever choices you make for your burn do what you want to do. Here is some advice from other members for new and veteran burners that you too can participate in!

The City: “Rites of Passage”

Have you seen the new map of the city? 16 new streets this year! Sold out ticket sales!?!?! WTF? Check out these street names:

  • Esplanade
  • Anniversary
  • Birthday
  • Coming Out
  • Divorce
  • Engagement
  • Funeral
  • Graduation
  • Hajj
  • Initiation
  • Journey
  • Kindergarten
  • Liminal
I may not know what a couple of them are, but I love them all!
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