deBOCCEry Survival Guide – Burning Man 2009

August 11th, 2009

deBOCCEry Survival Guide – Burning Man  2009

SHELTER: Your vehicle and your tent are your best friends. They will hold all of your stuff and give you comfort in the storms. Make sure you pack so you can reach all of your essentials. Organization is key going there and then while you are home in Black Rock City. After you set up your tent (in a whiteout of course) you will want your ‘extra’ stuff easily accessible in your vehicle.

TENT: This will be your oasis in the desert. You should be able to comfortably stand up in it. Change you clothes in it. But most importantly get away from the little green man in it. You zippers should all work.

BED: This should not just be a sleeping bag on the floor. You are old now. You will need padding of some sort between you and the concrete hard playa surface. You will want an arctic grade sleeping bag and a few extra blankets. Yes it can be that cold. Plus you are sun burnt and either coming down off something or drunk out of your mind. You will be cold and if you accidentally pee yourself you will have extra blankets to swap out.

PILLOW: See you are old now.


LIGHT OF SOME SORT: Yes we will have a full moon this year, but again you will probably be altered and need to find the zipper out of your oasis.

CARPET: This is for the inside of your tent. Whiteouts create a lot of dust. This will either settle on the bottom of the tent where you will create dust devils every time you move or it will settle nicely in your shag. Options, life is all about them. A cheap Oriental Rug from goodwill will make you go from Eddie Bauer to Austin Powers.

CHAIR: or stool or something that you can easily sit in to take off or put on your shoes. See you are old and you are altered.

BIN: Pack your tent or bedding in it to the playa, but then utilize that nice empty bin to hold all the shit that you will be looking for. No we don’t know where your yellow lighter is. Or your flashlight, or that trinket from Temple of Atonement or that Hippie Girl’s camp address (ps she was not that hot in the light of day anyway). It’s your shit, keep it together. A bin may help.

CLOTHING BIN: Again trust us on this one. A big plastic bin with a lid is the place to store your clothes. Suitcases turn into a giant box of dust after 1 hour. It will also double as a side table next to your bed. Shagalicious. We will get to what goes in that bin in a second.

TOILETRIES BIN: A bin with a lid keeps the dust off your toothbrush, eye drops, aspirin, lotion, razors, etc. BTW you should bring 1 ply toilet paper. (RV/Port a Loo safe) A roll should be strapped to your bike at all times. You will need it. The port o’ loos will run out. It will be the middle of the night, and you will need it desperately. Trying to have the trippin’ dude in the Honey Bucket next to you hand you some will be more work than just carrying your own. Plus people will love you if you share.


CLOTHING: For all temperatures. Yes 101 degrees and yes 40 degrees. Wind (lots of it), possible rain, possible all at the same time. Hat. Thermal Undies. Gloves. Work gloves. At least two different pair of shoes. Mandals. Boots. Socks. You must change these once a day. Bring lots of them. You do not want playa foot. Seriously. All the rest you know. You have been dressing yourself for a while now. Bandannas. Sunglasses. Cold weather hat. Sarongs are delicious. Chicks dig guys in skirts…at least in BRC.

COSTUMES: See optional and you’re old now.

BIKE: Gotsa’ have one. Cheaper is better. Wide tires are a must. No 10-speeds. It will be ruined most likely if not accidentally stolen. A lock is awesome. But not as awesome as a basket on the front. Lights a must. Horn a must. Now decorate it. Make sure you can find it in a pile of 400 outside of a rave..while altered. Don’t forget to add the roll of toilet paper as a decoration. Can it hold a water bottle? It should.

ELECTRONCS: Will need heavy duty ziploc bags. The playa dust will eat your stuff. If you are not using it and want to again, keep it in a bag.

TOOLS: Vice grips (for the rebar we will tying your tent too. Leathermen. Flashlights. Head Lamp.  Work gloves.



EAR PLUGS (don’t forget these…we are been placed close to several loud rave camps. Lucky us.)


CIGARETTES. Bring 10 times as much as you would normally smoke. Everyone will be bumming off you. You will lose some. People will be begging for some by the end of the week. We ran out once….it wasn’t funny. Now is not the time to quit smoking or plan for it on the playa. We will only share as much as we would if we were all sharing a cell in prison. Get it. You will have to trade something of value for my last pack of smokes. Like your vehicle. Playa mouth is the only thing that tastes worse than smokers mouth. Rolling you own looks cool as shit while in a coffee house but on the playa you will watch more blow away from your lap than you ever inhale.



Anything with feathers on it. Or sequins. Not because of taste but because the are outlawed there. Nuts with shells. Outlawed. Water melon, not because its outlawed but because of the amount of trash they make…and the seeds. Extra packaging. 2 ply toilet paper. Glass beer bottles. Glass soda bottles.


FOOD: We are providing some meals so to speak. But feel free to bring you own personal munchies bin. We will have a lot of food but sharing always happens in BRC and we will be feeding tiny starving raver chicks that you bring home and other e-tards that only brought pills and ramen to the desert for a week. Also you may not want to knock on the RV at 4am when you need some foods the most. Alcohol. Baileys, Vodka, Whiskey, Dealers choice. We will bring a bit of it. But sharing will happen and you don’t want to have to horde you hooch until the Big Burn. Beer. We will bring a couple of cases of PBR but it would be great if you could bring more. We wont be drinking it per say but we do have an interactive art piece for camp that requires handing out PBRs. You will love it. Soda we wont be bringing any so bring what you want. Water. Bring as much as you can safely get in your rig will all the other stuff. We will go through it. We will have to fill the RV by hand so we can all shower daily. You will drink about a gallon a day. Or you will die. Suitcases are the best because they flatten really good for the drive home. If you think this is all very excessive, it is. BRC is all about excessive hedonism and you will be part of it. This is not some snotty survival boot camp where you eat squirrel and are happy for it. This place is all about feeding the body, feeding the mind, and feeding the soul. Or getting high and eating ramen. Choices…a city of choices.


A few more things about picking up your essentials on the way to the playa. The closer you get to Gerlach the less likely you have finding what you need. One of the two stores that has supplies within 60 miles was reported to have almost zero supplies this year and wont be stocking up. Reno if you come that way or any other major hub should be your last minute items.

When you get to Gerlach fill up your tank. Yes you will have to wait in line and you may only need a quarter of a tank but do it. Hit the playa with as close to full as you can. I know you are so close now and you have well over a half of tank. Stop and do it anyway. Depending on your arrival and departure times from the playa it is possible to fly through the gate with only a 20-30 minute wait or a 8 -10 hour grid lock of a parking lot. You will be inching for hours and if a whiteout kicks up and they stop traffic you could be delayed anywhere from 10 mins or like our neighbors a few years back 12 hours. You will need your gas. People run out every year..a lot of them. Maybe that extra gas in your tank could help a new friend.


Burning Man 101

May 31st, 2009

You have heard about it, from countless stories that we forced on you.  You have read about it, seen the pictures and maybe a video or two.  Now you have decided to make the jump and join us for our annual trek home, Black Rock City.   Why you decided to do this puzzles me.  Weren’t you listening?

Since you did make the decision to have everything you own ruined I decided that a list of said items might be helpful.  But first I would like to tell you why this list will be long and seem like you need to bring your entire house with you.   The reason is that you will be in one of the most inhospitable places in America.   You will be there for the hottest and windiest times of the year.  You will probably be very cold at night, you may enjoy a little rain, most assuredly you will experience a complete white out and if your lucky see some of the coolest, weirdest shit that will all be covered in dust.  Before I go on I would like to talk about playa dust.   I know you have been in the desert before and even the coasts of many oceans.  But, you have not experienced playa dust before.  Its special, some say magical, I like to describe it as having all of the properties of baby talc powder without any of the enjoyable smells or textures.  The only way to deal with this magical dust is to succumb to it immediately.  And to bring at least two containers of baby wipes.  You laugh now but I promise you that when I pull my fresh baby wipes out of the cooler and hand you one in the heat of the day  you will pledge to follow me to the ends of the earth.

Black Rock City is crazy big.  Close to 50,000 people the last couple of years.  A bike is a great way to get around.  Luckily our camp has a Mutated Vehicle but if you are driving out a bike would be great  to bring.  If you bring one you will want to make sure the lights are in excellent working condition.   You will probably want to get a horn for it.  Bike traffic with a bunch of people who usually only ride when they are on the playa..and when they are altered can be super fun.  If you are so inclined glam up your sturdy mount.  Fake fur, tin foil, and duct tape can transform all things.  Perhaps flaming metal art?  You should have a lock as well.  A lot of bikes lose their owners at BRC.  Whether it’s someone high and thinks his bike looks just like yours or somebody  who is just an asshole, it may roll away from the dome you just stopped at.  A basket is ducky for transporting ice, trinkets, picking up trash and holding your stash.

Housing. You tent should be a sanctuary from all the beautiful chaos.  I can not recommend enough a piece of carpet that fits the inside of your tent.  I know that it may seem a bit extravagant but there are always reasons for the suggestions.  Playa dust.  Yep the inside of your tent will be covered within the first 12 hours on the playa.  It will settle on everything you have.  But by having that sweet little bit of shag on your floor it will mostly settle there and  then when the wind kicks up (about every hour or so) your tent will look less a snow orb from the inside.   It also soaks up the water bottle that you will definitely knock over in an altered state.  Sweet no mud puddles in the tent.   Please bring a comfy bed for yourself.  Please listen when I say that a sleeping bag on the playa floor is only fun for a night.  If that.  If your bag is rated for arctic weather you will also want at least one extra blanket. Did I mention that it gets cold at night?  A pillow is also excellent for those moments when the hallucinations are too much and you need someplace to scream.  As we will be neighbors I will appreciate that too.

Clothes.  If you have heard the stories then you know you dont need to bring any.  Again as your close neighbor I would say you dont have to listen to that.  Clothes for the heat of day, clothes for the coldest nights.  A coat is a must have.  Also on the hot must have list for clothes on the playa:  work gloves (you will be working), boots, man sandals, hat for day wear (please for the love of Jah no baseball caps), a cowboy hat is dandy (just make sure it has a string) a knit cap for night, or if you must one of those  jester hats.  You will want to have comfy warm clothes for the night.  Union suits, and long underwear will make you very happy…except while altered in a port o’ loo.  Trust me on that one.   We find that a great all purpose playa happy outfit for night is a mechanics jump suit over said union suit.  It keeps the dust off you, your ass warm and has a million pockets to keep your blow and flashlights in.  Again I will mention that these are not as awesome when you are in the port o’ loo and hallucinating that the dragons are trying to eat the peanuts out of your pockets.   A couple more things about your clothing.  Please no clothes with big ass labels.  Nike across you chest will probably get you rolled.  Also wearing a tank top and no pants is commonly referred to as shirt cocking.  I will only ask you once to refrain from this.

Costumes.  Ok if you must we will go over this.  Yes you can wear them.  No it is not a requirement…unless your are camped with a rave camp.  Which you are not.  You will see all kinds of expressions through clothing.  You will also hear Hov and I mocking said furry chaps and rainbow wigs.  That said we will be open to your expressions of self however they manifest.  We are not here to interfere with your experience but part of our expression of self will be mocking you if you dare to wear assless chaps and shave your chest hair into a question mark.  Please avoid feathers and glitter as they leave a trace (we will get to more on that later.)

Accessories.  Bring it.  Whatever will make your feet dance under the starlight.  Blinky things are a bit annoying after a while but will be allowed at deBOCCEry in limited amounts.  Cameras are great, as long as you keep them in a ziploc when not in use.  Same for ipods, cell phones and anything else that is electronic and has bits that will fail with prolonged exposure to corrosive alkali.  You wont have cell reception but you will want it for a clock or to throw at the little green men in your tent.  Alcohol if you so indulge is encouraged but comes with a warning that you will hear approximately 10,000 times in camp.  Drink your water.  High altitude, hot weather and zero humidity….drink the water before you have to have it hosed into your arm.  Other things that alter you…if you like them, bring them.  If you do remember that Black Rock City is just that a city.  Cops, Firemen, EMT’s all live there with us and like us to follow the laws of the great state of Nevada and the beautiful USA.   Yes you can get arrested for things like that, or peeing on the playa or even having sex in the open on the playa.  The days of a lawless BRC are long past…. nananana I was there for that.  I would strongly very strongly advise not trying to find these items out there.  Even if you are ‘gifted’ wouldn’t be the smartest thing to do.  Beside you will probably get dosed the first time a Mutated Bar floats by and you hop on and accept a drink from the bartender named Navel Gazing Fairy Scrotrum.  Dont be afraid, the first 3 times it happened to me were a blast.

Light.  Very important to bring.  A flashlight or perhaps several will keep you from walking into the rebar for the fourth time.  A headlamp is also essential playa wear.  Think of it as a necklace of light that will keep you from sitting on the leftover remains of whatever you stumble into in the now famous port o’ loo.  A lantern is an excellent friend.  Fire…did you say fire?  We like it.  We will bring it.  If you have some bring it too.  Glow sticks?  They are excellent zip tied to the spokes of your bike.  They are excellent tied to your clothes if you are walking through the night.  They are excellent to have in your pocket if you forget your flashlight and have to visit the loo.

Essentials.  Your medicine.  Whatever it is that makes it all better should be in your bag.  First aid, aspirin, aloe vera, lotion with a very high spf, rubbers, lotion for your feet, (trust me you do not want playa foot…ouch), eye wash, you get the idea.  No stores, no supplies.  Bring it with you.  Sunglasses, and goggles are your best friend during the day and during the whiteouts.  Bandanas…not just for signaling  to The Gays.  Keep one around your neck and you have a face mask, a doo rag, or a body fluid sponge.  Socks.  Lots of em.  At night if you just take the time to baby wipe you toots and spread a little lotion on then throw on a clean pair of socks you will avoid the most dreaded affliction at BRC….playa foot.  Had it once…wanted to be carried everywhere and now I bring a new pair of socks for each day.  Just sayin’.

Food.  Lucky for you your first encounter with the playa will not include the diet that ’sustained’ me for my first trip to BRC, magic mushrooms, beer, top ramen, spagetti o’s and a tiny bit of water.  Instead your landlords will be bringing out gourmet ready to eat viddels that will make you the envy of all the starving virgins that will pass by with tears in their eyes.  We cook almost everything ahead of time, put it in portion sized sealed meals and then we just boil water, throw in a bag of coq o van and well ah dinner is ready.  Camp deBOCCEry usually has a hearty breakfast, snacks in the middle of the day and a yummy dinner.  Most meals will be heavy on meats and carbs…you will need it.  Please let me know if there is anything I need to totally avoid in the prep.  We will bring a limited amount of mixers, whiskey, vodka, and beer…usually its for our company that drops in.  Please feel free to bring additional beverages of your choice.  We will make an ice run daily to keep all of drinks icy fresh and the water cooler full.  Sharing with drop ins is encouraged so plan accordingly.  We will bringing extra water but please feel free to bring as much as you can.  Since we will all be sharing the RV shower extra water will be very useful and if we have left overs we can give it to those who only brought mushrooms and beer.

Lets talk trash. It’s very simple.  Leave No Trace.   We have to pack all of ours out.  So if you can reduce your amount by getting rid of all extra packaging…like the plastic around batteries, etc it really helps.  We will have recycling in our camp and will ask you to help us make sure that nothing flies away and that no trash hits the ground.  We use paper plates and bowls so that we can burn most of our trash in the community platforms.  We will have a trash can for wet trash and recycling containers for bottles and cans.  Also please bring extra trash bags if you can fit them in.  Part of our responsibility to our city is that we clean up after the idiots who are either too stoned to care or really are just ass munches that leave their empties laying around.  That said Hov and I have both scored on stashes that people left laying on the playa or in a bag they forgot in the loo.  Nothing is more fun than taking that pill you found on the ground and waiting to see what happens.

Gifting.   Supposedly Black Rock City is a city of no monetary commerce.  Yeah…like I just didnt spend several thousand dollars to get out to the playa.  We will be spending money on ice daily, and to have the RV tanks emptied several times.  You can also purchase coffee, lattes, mocha thingys at Center Camp.  Why you would do that I am still not sure…as everyone has coffee in their camp and center camp still kind of gives me the heebie jeebies…but at some point you may find yourself at 4 am looking to find a warm cup of something.  Have a few dollars in your pocket and you can get a vegan chai….yum.  But there is something of value that all people of Black Rock City desire, schwag.  Yup.  Useless bits of stickers, plastic rings, necklaces that throb to the beat, friendship bracelets or a temporary tattoo that say “fuck yeah Black Rock City 2009?.  I love them all.  We usually have a schwag box in camp with such items and you may feel free to hand them out at your leisure.   But truly the best gift to give on the playa is your attention.  The stories you will hear and the ideas shared are the best schwag out there.

Well thats it for Burning Man 101.  I hope that you will find this outline helpful in getting you to the playa.  Don’t worry,  you will forget to bring some of the essentials and others will provide.  You will bring out too much but be able to give freely.  You will think of a 1000 things that will make next year so much better for you.  And if you drink the kool aid you will go back many times to ruin your beloved belongings and meet up with your new old friends.