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A Burner Lexicon: That Thing in the Desert

Posted in A Burner Lexicon, and Burning Man

A typical denizen of the dystopian wastelands. Black Rock City, 2010. Photo by Trey Ratcliff.

That Thing In The Desert, –noun, What is Burning Man?  Some people call it the Nevada Regional Burn. Some people call it a big nosy rave full of dirty, unwashed hippies. Others say it’s a life changing experience. Sometimes, though it’s just That Thing in the Desert. It was the first event and the origin of the subculture, but it is no longer the only one to bring freaks together around this specific mixture of art, fire, music and debauchery. It is the biggest event but also the one with the most police presence, the strictest rules, and the most expensive to attend.

The term may be playfully vague, it might be a way to discuss the event without cluing in the residents of reality camp, or be used with a slight sense of derision as a way to embiggen the other regional events.

There are times when you don’t want to tell the world you’re a Burner. Countless Burners take time off for their “annual family reunion” rather than attempting to explain to their bosses what they’re really doing around Labor Day.

Burning Man was probably the event with the harshest weather conditions in the harshest environment — until they started to hold Freezing Man at McMurdo Station.

Other entries in A Burner Lexicon can be found at