“Seven days in the desert! What are we going to do for all that time?”
Plenty. But you won’t know about the myriad activities until you read your What When Where guide, which you can obtain only by entering the gates of Burning Man.
I’m here to help, because I have in front of me one of my guides from a past Burning Man, and I’m going to share with you some sample activities you can expect during your week in Black Rock City.
The events are broken into two sets of groupings: first, by whether they are repeating or one-time events; and second, by one of 11 categories, specifically:
The book itself contains more than 150 pages of listings (in small type). One example is belly dancing class (probably taught by a professional) at 3 p.m. Monday. At 9 p.m. on Wednesday, there’s a night art tour with introductions to the artists. Up late? From 11:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. there’s Midnight Warmup at the First Kiss Café. It features tea and hot toddies. Even later, there are a number of dance parties from midnight to 4 a.m. (such as the famed Spanky’s disco). Each features a different type of music. An early bird? Try Energetic Yin Yoga at Naked Heart from 7 to 8:30 a.m. (I don’t think you have to be naked while you’re practicing your yoga exercises.)
If you’re looking for Burning Man’s legendary sexuality, enter the Slut Olympics from 2 to 4 p.m. Wednesday at Slutgarden (not sure what’s required but it’s suggested you bring knee pads). Or, if you’re truly adventurous, take your lover to the Orgy Dome. But be ready to share – it’s required.
Every day you can roller skate to vintage rock music at the Black Rock Roller Rink, play Bumper Cars and pick up Burning Man-themed swag at the Swagmart.
Whatever time you’re out and about, there are plenty of bars open, all of them serving straight liquor, wine, or specialty drinks at absolutely no charge. If you don’t want to cook breakfast, head out to one of the playa’s pancake emporiums such as the Pancake Playhouse. There’s no charge, but remember to bring a plate or you’ll be licking syrup off of your hands.
Nights are alive with burning art, outdoor movies, circuses and more. And if you find yourself under-dressed for the Playa, there are several spots devoted to finding you the perfect outfits for your stay in the desert. The largest is Kostume Kult, staffed by classic New York schmata salesmen (it’s Yiddish – look it up). Speaking of desert, if you feel too dusty to move after a few days in Black Rock City, you can visit either the Astral Hair Wash or the Human Carcass Wash. Just remember to bring a gallon of water with you and leave your modesty behind.
Bikes are crucial to your Burning Man experience, and if yours breaks down you can take it to one of the many bike repair shops such as Bike Repair@ShangriLa. Again, there’s no charge, and you may even avail yourself of a lecture on do-it-yourself repair or bike safety.
Each year, we mark our What When Where Guide with all the happenings we don’t want to miss. But there’s so much going on, that we rarely get to half of the events. Sometimes that’s because as we’re biking our way to one event, we see something along the route that attracts our interest and we go there instead.
So, if the potential for boredom is stopping you from attending Burning Man, push that excuse off of your chart of “no’s”. If anything, there’s too much to do in just one week on the Playa. Hope to see you there.