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Last weekend I attended Repercussion, a decompression event for Burning Flipside 2012: Freaky Deeky Time Machine. Like many of our smaller Texas events, it was held at the shady, beautiful clothing-optional camp ground where Flipside first began (and that I enjoyed over a decade ago when Pagan festivals occurred there too).
It was a small event, just a couple hundred people, a few organized theme camps, and a lot of smaller groups representing their usual groups but without the larger Flipside infrastructure. There was some great music, and a lot of good food. Some of those most involved in organizing the event also set up a kitchen, and we had breakfast tacos with roasted peppers and mushrooms, and late Saturday night there were about 100 grilled cheese sandwiches made for the community to enjoy. A breeze kept us from roasting up. Though there was a burn ban, a short rain Saturday night brought a party to the campground’s shade pavilion, and later fire spinners on the newly moistened grass in front.
I attended with a friend who has done graduate work in queer studies and theater. I enjoyed seeing her perspective on the event. It’s no wonder academics are fascinated by Burner culture for many reasons, from huge installation artwork in the desert to smaller scale performance here. Each fire spinner is a performer who has made unique and thought-provoking decisions about their style, tools, and what they wear while spinning. People at Burns express themselves fully, and reflect human sexuality (and orientation) in uninhibited ways. A neighbor complained that modern queer culture (as amply exhibited by our part of the encampment) made it difficult to tell by looking who was gay. By contrast, I welcome that conversations rather than assumptions are necessary.
One of few complaints I have about the weekend was the aggressive music played around dawn on the final day. I like when DJs play downtempo, ambient, or other chill morning tunes to begin a day, especially when many have been awake all night. Lately, however, the smaller Burns seem to end with ‘Wake The Fuck Up & Go Home’ music. Sometimes Radical Self-Expression means expression I don’t like and that’s OK.
My attitudes towards Burning have gone from starry-eyed adoration to burnt out over the years, but after Flipside and Repercussion I’m happy to feel like a Burner again, perhaps with a more realistic (but still loving) view of our community than before.