Roadtrip Archives

In the summer of 2003, Charlotte and I decided to take a trip across the country by rental car (why a rental? Don't ask--it's complicated, dull, and annoying.), stopping at various friends along the way, seeing the sights, and culminating in our annual visit to the Burningman festival in Nevada. This is the diary we kept along the way.

email: roadtrip at sebbo dot org
phone: 781/308-4152

Rough Itinerary
14-20 Jamestown NY
20-21 Cleveland OH
21-24 Louisville KY
24-25 Memphis TN
25-26 Hot Springs AR
? Oklahoma City OK
? Albuquerque NM
30 Taos NM
31 Mesa Verde CO
? Grand Canyon AZ
6-8 Tucson
8-10 Phoenix AZ
10-11 Indio CA
11-13 Los Angeles CA
13-16 Yosemite CA
16-24 San Francisco CA
24 Tahoe CA
Reno NV
24-Sept 1 Black Rock City NV
2 Salt Lake City UT
3-11 ?????
12 Louisville KY

Wed, Oct 01, 2003

Charlotte writes:

My Burning Man W(h)ine

At a vineyard in Sonoma, I got into a conversation with the friendly hostess, who told me how Burning Man was all commercial now. "Um, you mean since there is no one selling/marketing anything there?" I asked. No, she goes on to tell me that it is because people create documentaries about it. Hmmm, a definition of commercialism with which I am not familiar. Budweiser and Coca cola cans are still not hosting it (nor leaving thrie empties everywhere) And no one expects anyone else to entertain them (No spectators! One of several guidelines that govern our fair but temporary city) Honestly, coffee, ice and water ARE sold and the profits go to the schools and charities in Gerlach. Gerlach is a small town, with a fairly small financial base and very small school system. Sebastian has come to the conclusion that, there are several probable issues behind the commercialism comment by former burners. It could be that Burning Man is not free anymore; tickets start arround $165.00 in early Spring. Or it is a misdirected complaint. Sebastian explains there are maybe two sets of former burners. These former Burners want to be part of some sort of elite, that doesn't believe Burning Man should expand or include others-- a hip, secret society. Or those others who believe it should transcend the desert and the one week--and expand and change the world. As a non -former Burner, who is OK with the ticket price, and actually having port-a-johns and medical evacuation services for those that need it. I don't see why you could say that it is more commercial. Yes, pictures of Burning man were in National Geographic, and Wired and appear regularly in the press. Hmmm, yes, it is the publicity that makes it more commercial. There are two books about Burning Man: one coffee-table version by Wired with mostly sensationalistic, large-format, compositionally-weak photographs of Burners in strange costumes, and the book Drama in the Desert: sights and sounds of Burning Man, which gives a more thorough and thoughtful representation of the event and its culture. The latter created and self-published by burners. The pasts of burning man which pull me back every year are the bits that I try to bring to my life outside of Burning Man. I would like to see a world a little more creative, a little more tolerant, a little more committed to taking others as they come, and see people a little more interested in giving others a lift in spirits just for the sake of play, and see people be responsible for their own health and safety, and not so concerned with protecting people from themselves physically or morally (judge not, lest you be judged), and a bit more commitment to the environment (leave no trace). Now you know what category I fall into--the category which has all of us poor, delusional souls, being repressed by the current commercialism of the event.
Ah, end of rant.

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