2013 Cargo Cult : A Trip Report

After 2012’s Fertility 2.0 and the crushing ticket fiasco of all times it would seem hard to bounce back, but Burning Man Project did and pretty darn well. All the pomp and pageantry came to Black Rock City in a glorious way with Cargo Cult and John Frum.2013 Temple

What were the numbers? Anyone will tell you there was a glut of newbies, virgins and tourists on the playa with other terms like dark-tards, weekenders and any of many other words for the people who are more and more becoming the gross of the population.

Speaking of population, another fiercely growing majority are LGBTQ people. We cannot see it in a skin color or any other physical trait but it is becoming more and more clear to the observer.  LGBTQ people have been open to the embrace of radical self expression over our counterparts who are still learning to wake that part of themselves up. This tremendous sense of living is what brings us back every year.

Gayborhood 2013

Before Burning Man 2013 the Placement Team announced where placed camps would end up which included the camps that would normally consist of the Gayborhood. The Gayborhood is a concentration of camps with camps like Comfort & Joy Village, Camp Beaverton and others at the nexus.

In the formation of the Gayborhood camps were spread out along the 7:30 corridor which brought trepidation and curiosity to this admin. In fact, the Gayborhood was just as good as ever, but we also had the benefit of being half of the 7:30 Plaza.

This area is the Castro of BRC and provides a valuable channel for queer, questioning and our friends to enjoy the special vibe LGBTQ Burners bring to the event.

The Gayburbs are the camps radiating around the Gayborhood.

There were some really bright stars in all of this:

  • congratulations to Comfort & Joy for their amazing courtyard and Village. The neon flags, glowing flowers and glow in the dark badminton were popular with everyone.
  • big applause for Crisco Disco who really proved to be a community art car; Brian and his crew who really focused on the community he was a part of and made it special for so many people.
  • and to BAAAHS who seemed to have a lot of mobility problems but were big hits on the playa with a sound system that matched or out-classed many other art cars out there.

In spite of being spread out the city the Gayborhood was a win! BloAsis Village dominated their block with one of the best setups I ever saw. The Beavers and Gender Blender were great hosts and their vagina glory hole even made the BRC newspaper. Many others were business as usual with business that is loved by the community.

Official Meet & Greet on Monday

The official Gay meet & greet was sponsored by The Down Low Club and welcomed over 200 people through the evening. It went on 3 hours with visitors from all over the city. They served a playa cosmo and snacks.

Guests included many people from this web site whom I had the pleasure of meeting face to face; some for the first time. We also saw Terry and Chris who built the ‘Time To Burn’ Aps for Android and iPhone. There was Tacoboy, Craig and so many others!

I did speak at this event for the first time and extended my appreciation to so many people the community. I had to thank Catcher and Red (Down Low Club managers) for once again sponsoring this event. I had warm thanks to Kitt, Matty Morin, Blitzy, Foxy, Scott Burdette, Indigo (Russ Smith) and so many more for being a part of the Queer Burner Leadership Network and helping make this project work over the last 5 years.

BRC Gay Pride @ Cargo Cult on Friday

In memory of a lost leader in our community, Mario Cisneros, the parade left The Man at 1pm. We managed to get everyone on wheels either via art car or bicycle which allowed us to take a slightly longer route that included the Gayborhood.

The Gayborhood had never been included in the parade before. It went from The Man, passing Center Camp, a lap around the Gayborhood and then off to the Gayburbs where a party was sponsored by Burner Buddies.

Crisco Disco was the shining gem in the crown of the parade and special thanks to everyone who brought out flags and banners. Though Crisco Disco was the only art car it really delivered. Kai Noble from Comfort & Joy worked the megaphone through the whole route adding to the amazing energy from the people participating.

Cargo Cult

The theme this year was the best in a long time and filled the imagination of so many. The iconography and pageantry was only matched by the hundreds of thousands of people who came to be a part of it. The weather all week long was optimal and there was very little wind. We enjoyed small bouts of rain, but in the end it was rain that chased many off on the last Monday afternoon of the event.

Entrance wait times were marginal for many, but up to 9 hours for some. Exodus seemed to average about 5 hours according to social networks.

Saturday night’s burn was breathtaking and it was a shock for many when a huge wave of large burning pieces and smoke tumbled into the crowd due to wind on the 11 o’clock side of the construct.

Sunday’s temple burn was moved up an hour to let people escape the city earlier because of the pending threat of rain the next day in an effort to minimize the time to get out the gate.

tumblr_msl9q5TBTv1qb4uc7o1_500Wins!

The weather, art cars, amazing art pieces, camps that filled the city even beyond the outer ring and more events that ever to shake a stick at. More people than ever seemed to state quite confidently than I have ever heard that this was their best year ever. The coolest MAN I ever saw.

Losses!

Unspeakable amounts of MOOP and investments in glow sticks. Darktards out the wazoo! Art-cars unwilling to take on passengers for one reason or another… and on the other hand people who think walking in front of an art car to stop it who think that is a wise decision. There were an unspeakable amount of fake entries in the What Where When, too, frustrating many of the city explorers.

Draw!

A disconnected Gayborhood spread through the 7:30 corridor above D street. More newbs than veterans and an uncommon amount of frat boys, tourists and weekend warriors.

It takes all kinds to make Burning Man happen and all the different flavors can be really fun, but this event and lifestyle are nothing like Coachella or EDC and is in danger of becoming all too much as such.

Conclusion

comfort_and_joy mapBest year yet. And what makes me qualified to levy that claim? Just my own experience as well as the general feeling in the air. Those of decades past might say otherwise, because it is not the same Burning Man of the nineties or the eighties. Although there were a lot of people who could not begin to harness the ideals of community and the 10 principles the city was more amazing than ever.

The art was exemplary and fascinating. CORE delivered and their Thursday night burn was pure gobsmack!

In spite of a spread out Gayborhood we were blessed. This year the Gayborhood had art cars, a spectacular nexus provided by Comfort & Joy, and such amazing life represented by Glamcocks and Paradise Motel among others. BloAsis was a new shining star on the 7:30 Strip! Thank you BAAAHS and Crisco Disco for your amazing service to the community.

Stiffy Lube 1

Talked with Tim Bates today ~ an old Stiffylube team leader who helped deal with media inquires as far back as 2001 (projects include media liaison about the infamous nude assfucking mural censorship drama from

Tim Bates sports a classic playa Fyerfli original embroidery vest.
Tim Bates sports a classic Fyerfli original embroidery vest.

Comfort & Joy’s first year that you can read about here). He’s volunteered at Touch (for me directly, he was great with some surprise errands, very constructive/low-drama, independent do-er, etc.)

Fun Facts: When Comfort & Joy was throwing our first series of “play plus” dance parties like Afterglow at Antler’s, many of our group attended Stiffylube events organized by Sister Porn to learn about how playparty dynamics work.

Now Tim lives in Wisconsin but is driving to Reno a week prior to construction to visit friends. He’ll meet the Comfort & Joy Opening Crew on Monday & werque the full construction week (IF we can get him an Early Arrival pass from one of our sister camps that had to cancel, which I’m 70% sure will happen). Tim is a trained former chef & bringing 400 pds of food so I’m hoping he can connect with Mona about integrating this into our supplies. I also encouraged him to prepare his tray offerings when his faerie senses tingle as Guest Services tra in the main tent.
Tim Bates on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tim.bates.370

2013 Naked Pub Crawl

2013 Naked Pub Crawl

The ride starts at the Man at 11:00 AM on Wednesday.
The website is http://www.dragondebris.com/brc_pubcrawl.htm (DEFINITELY NSFW)
Location
Arrive
Depart
Travel Time
The Man
11:00 AM
10m
Barbie Death Camp
4:00 & E
11:10 AM
11:40 AM
5m
Drive-By Misting:
Northwest Mist
3:00 & A
If Time Allows
15m
Duckpond
9:00 & E
12:00 PM
12:30 PM
10m
Drive-By Misting:
Bloasis
7:30 & D
5m
Celestial Bodies
7:30 Plaza
12:45 PM
1:15 PM
5m
BAAAHS
Mutant Vehicle
1:20 PM
1:50 PM
10m
LolliPop Guild w/
The Extra Testicles from Outer Space
7:15 & F
2:00 PM
2:30 PM
5m
Comfort & Joy
7:30 & E
2:35 PM
Afterparty

2013 Burning Man Gay Meet & Greet

The 2013 Burning Man Gay Meet & Greet is from 8:00p – 11:00p on opening night Monday, August 26.  Hosted by Down Low Club located in the Gayborhood at 7:15 GDP, this annual event is open to the entire LGBTQQ community and their friends on the Playa.
Come in your rainbow finery for the official start of Cargo Cult for Queer Burners and enjoy music, snacks and thirst quenching libations.  The first of many LGBTQQ events for the week, this is an awesome way to reconnect with all your friends from years past, make some new friends and perhaps even create some sparks for the week with that new hottie you may meet there.
The Gay Meet & Greet is also a terrific opportunity to network with other LGBTQQ Burners and learn about the week’s gay-oriented events. Bring info on your own events to post on our community board along with any snacks and libations you’d like to share.

Burners on the Playa

This site is a resource for Queer Burners (LGBTQ++ which is Radically Inclusive) who want to connect with and hang out with other burners with similar wants and desires. Those needs might be social and/or it might be sexual. Queer Burners have a lot of talented people. We also have a lot of amazing personalities people want to be a part of.

Gayborhood v. Gay Ghetto

The existence of the Gayborhood has been criticized and discussed in past posts. However, BOTH Queer Burner Leadership Summits (2012 and 2013) the attendees have discussed the real value 2013_Final_Web_LGof this part of the city is in it’s safety and familiarity for LGBTQ+ people. This is a place anyone who needs help will find real sanctuary if needed.

The one sad fact about the Gayborhood is how it is often misrepresented by the perception of those who do not participate in it. Or those from within the LGBTQ community who sit on the sidelines like bitchy gossips peering down their nose and refer to it as the Ghetto; not unlike a gay man being called ‘faggot’ on the street. It’s slanderous and mean-spirited.

The Gayborhood this year sits on the 7:30 corridor and is spread out thinner than it has been in recent years. This is both good and bad as it either undermines the sanctity of the space for queer and queer-friendly people or it gives other Queer Camps a chance to fill in the space and make a bolder statement.

LGBTQ Who’s Who at TTITD*

2006 DemographicAt some point (after 2006) Burning Man stopped sharing the actual numbers that were released through the afterburn reports. Assuming that this is a fair representation 22% of the people polled showed how potentially queers were playing a significant role.

In the same year, in a place with some very fluid sexuality, people were asked if they were bi-sexual. 38% of those who answered were vague at best but it further cements in the need for awareness.

Many of us have seen or participated in the census at burning man which can be found in the Center Camp Cafe. There are more questions than you can imagine in it and yet the afterburn reports give us a fraction of the results.

 2006 Bi Sexual? 2006 Straight ? 2006 Gay ? 2007 Gender ?2008gender-jpg 2009 Gender ?married-jpg 2011 Gender at Birth ? 2011 Gender Now ?

Take a look at the above charts from the afterburn reports and see how the data has been portioned out effectively editing out the queer community and focusing on a homogenized and very heterosexual audience. While the data showed in the past 1/5th and potentially more of the burners out there were or are LGBTQ identified or not. The data released spawns more questions.
(*TTITD: That Thing In The Desert aka Burning Man)

Not every rainbow is gay

Before you get confused about the uncommon amount to rainbow flags out there… they don’t all mean what you think. There are 3 rainbow flags out there and if you were unaware they meant something different one might think there were A LOT of Queers on the playa!

3flags

  1. 6 Color Flag: LGBTQS Diversity (gay)
  2. 7 Color Flag: Diversity (gay or not but usually not)
  3. 7 Color PACE Flag: Diversity with ‘Peace’ in Italian on it (same as #2 but pretending to be Italian)

Not that there are a lot of rules about flying these flags but my initial thought was ‘wow, there are a of gay people in these camps’ as if in many cases these were letting others know where we were… not so! But not necessarily not so either.

Maybe this was the same confusion Oscar Remundo (blogger for the Huffington Post) had when he stated in his post that 70% of Burning Man attendees were LGBT. I know I was starting to wonder myself because gay people were everywhere.

Queer Utopia

LGBTQ people have flocked to this culture because of it’s radical inclusion and acceptance of people irregardless of who they were or where they came from; as long as they can afford a $400 ticket and survive in the dirt for 8 days.

Conclusion

The contribution the LGBTQ community offer a lot to the Burning Man experience inside and outside of the trash fence. Our identity as Queer Burners v. just being referred to as Burners is often at question, but to be minimized by BMorg (the Burning Man Organization) or from within by Queer people is a cancer that is not constructive.

Being aware of each other out there strengthens us as a whole not just LGBTQ but also with Burners everywhere.

We celebrate faggotry and all Queer presence on the playa that gains focus in the Gayborhood and radiates outward. The Gayborhood expands and contracts wildly with layers and satellites that bring diversity all over the BRC (Black Rock City).

Queer and Burning Man

We have been fighting a battle that may have reared it’s ugly head in 2001 when a protest over a Jiffy Lube sign on the playa caused an uproar on the playa. Even Larry Harvey had to go speak at this protest on the playa… that is a little burner history.

Burning Man Organization (BMorg)

Burning Man has changed a lot over the last couple years as they transition to a non-profit and less about running a giant festival in  the desert. Yes, I called it a festival. That Thing in the Desert (TTITD) reels when called a festival. By virtue of existence of the Gayborhood we have been accused of being divisive; in the sense that we are keeping people out and keeping people in.

tumblr_mekr8bs8221qfld0uo1_500

I got word about this last year from the home office. We are not affiliated with BMorg (Burning Man or the Burning Man Project), but in the 2013 Queer Burner Leadership Summit we attacked this question directly. Were we acting against the principles of Burning Man by creating this neighborhood that seemed to cater to a specific demographic of the experience? Collectively and through a great deal of discussion we determined the answer was a resounding “no”.

We have multiple events inviting people in to participate in this amazing community.

  • The Gaybohood has 2 stops on the Naked Pup Crawl.
  • Camp Beaverton: Workshops for everyone
  • Comfort & Joy: Fantastic workshops and shared space
  • Celestial Bodies: a hub of the playa with Playa Cosmos
  • AstroPups: Naked Showers
  • Camp Conception & GlamCocks: Amazing parties

We are looked at as being exclusionary. We are looked at as being divisive. We are simply misunderstood. While Burning Man wants it’s citizens to be integrated, the level of homophobia at Burning Man and in the community is always surprising to people exposed to it.

BMorg members and leadership camp in an area called First Camp which is positioned just outside center camp. They actually have a wall around their camp. Anyone can walk in and engage people but how many feel welcome?

Visitors stream into the Gayborhood sometimes aware of the principle demographic or not. They run through the silver streamers in front of Comfort & Joy or just enjoy the art and welcoming, open spaces of our community.

The Gayborhood

We went through a lot this year. We had some people within the LGBT community attempt to tear us down from within and we had people looking in from outside making huge assumptions about what this neighborhood represents.

Our leadership has converged and came to a conclusion; we are here and we are queer. We provide to the Burner Community and we have a neighborhood that is a community in every sense of the word. We provide a safe island for some who stay a long while or just a quick visit.

This rich space is filled with art, faeries, sex positive support and expression and so much love it is hard to fathom. We are always welcoming and we are always giving back.

Queer Burner Leadership Summit (QBLS)

We did it. I could not do it alone. Although I did put a lot of effort into this event it could not have happen if a few people had stepped up and lend a hand here and there. Whatever their efforts were I am grateful. Some of the people I would like to specifically thank is:

Bernadette Bohan | Kd Calfee aka Kitten |
Jean-Jaques | DJ Momme aka Fathom

This was our 2nd year and believe it or not year 3 is already somewhat on the calendar, but no real planning will go on until after the beginning of the year (September).

The expenses in 2012 for the event was $1200 and that may not sound like a lot, but it is when this is a non-money making operation. In 2013 we spent almost 50% of that to bring a stronger overall event.

Check out the reports and please make comments. If you can, please join us next year!

My eyeballs were falling out of my head the Friday night before. I was hoping to get out to First Friday in Oakland, but it was not meant to be. Alas, we had such an amazing day in the end.

We had attendees that traveled in from Georgia, Sacramento and Los Angeles.

Skip to toolbar