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Burning Flipside 2012

Posted in Austin, Burning Man, Occupy Wall Street, and Sex & Relationships

After getting back from Flipside I took the week off blogging; as it was, I had to go right back to work editing MyFDL on Firedoglake. That meant I had to put off the usual post-Flipside energy crash. Somehow I got through last week so that I could collapse Friday night and sleep through the weekend. I’m recovered enough now that I can find the spoons to string together a few extra words here from time to time.

The 2012 Effigy explodes with fireworks on burn night.
The effigy ignites at Burning Flipside 2012 (Photo: Nadine Photography). Used with permission.

So, Burning Flipside 2012. It’s time to write a recap while any of the event is fresh in my mind.

I told Pet this was one of my favorite Flipsides ever. She’s been to three with me now, and she said “you always say that!”

It’s not true, though. In the 12 years I’ve attended, there were events marred by relationship drama or, in other years, moments of feeling lonely despite being surrounded by my tribe. I kept coming back.

Last year, Pet & I led a small theme camp called Halloween Town but most of our residents weren’t coming this year. Instead we became Halloween 2: The Survivors and got rescued from a lonely fate by the Cult of the Purple Taco. I’ve spent some time at their sex temple in that camp’s five years of existence, and eaten a lot of blue corn tacos but this was our first time camping there. We felt very welcome.

Pet & I set up our tent and a little shaded living room in the back corner of the camp, where others would join us in relaxing moments throughout the weekend. Four Burners from the Georgia Burning Man community were neighbors in camp, and quickly became friends and adventure buddies throughout the long weekend. It was wonderful to see their excitement at exploring our burn, and compare notes about regional differences.

The weather was milder than in the past, the water in the creek plentiful, and our camp had copious amounts of shade — important for a sex camp. In the back of the Taco’s sex temple was the air-conditioned purple hexayurt; this year the yurt had sliding plexiglass doors, so you could see any action inside while those cuddling in the cool air could watch the debauchery on the pillows outside, as well as even seeing into the dungeon at Sacred Sex Temple, the camp next door. There was cuddling & laughter with our camp mates, and many opportunities for exhibition and observation. Of course, Pet & I also earned our paddles from Smack That Ass! down the way.

Kit is dressed in a rainbow sarong, rainbow face bandanna, and holding a rainbow umbrella while standing outside the Purple Taco.
Rainbow Bloc Kit, outside the Cult of the Purple Taco. Pyropolis, Texas (Photo: Pet).

Despite ticket shortages, the atmosphere at this event was wonderful. We seemed to serendipitously find everything we needed through the weekend. When we went looking for pancakes, friends of us offered us their extras and a shady place to sit before we could even reach either of the two official pancake camps. While exploring with Bouncy House, a Georgian partner-in-crime, one camp loaded her backpack with fresh vegetables for the night’s Purple Taco stir fry.

Good food, drink, art and friendship were everywhere. We met many newbies who seemed to get it, and fit into the community instantly. We watched our friend Nicole get married in a beautiful bee-themed art gallery called the Hive, and I sang “Mercedes-Benz” in an outdoor creek side amphitheater with many inebriated Burners. On burn night, the effigy‘s four goddess faces, representing the elements, cried magnesium tears as it lit and I cried happily along with her.

When Reesa‘s family held her funeral earlier this year, there were small urns of her ashes for loved ones to scatter. A friend brought me one, and after the effigy fell I threw the urn into the flames and said my last goodbye.

My participation this year left me feeling loved, happy, and cleansed by fire.

About my only complaint was that the music was a little lacking — the ticket situation seemed to hurt the noise camps the most and Pyropolis seemed to go to bed early, to the dismay of night owls like myself. The sound issue reached its most humorous nadir when Abba’s Dancing Queen played on the Sacred Sex Temple’s sound system while I was in the middle of flogging Pet. Though I had not considered the rhythmic potential of impact play to Abba before, and hope I don’t experience it again anytime soon, I seemed to impress the spectators with my ability to roll with whatever comes my way as a dominant.

This Flipside reminded me why I got involved so long ago, and why I’m still part of this community. There were several occupiers at the event this year, and it helped to spend time with them, sharing our love of this community and our wish to protect it. Even if Burners aren’t going to join Occupy in droves as I once envisioned, Burning Man events are a place for activists to seek renewal and a glimpse of the better world we believe is possible.

Coming home is always hard, but re-entry reminds me that I’m actually very lucky — returning to a life with a lot of love, a wonderful home, and a job where I’m paid to use my words, my editing skills, and my creativity to make the world a better place. Even so, I’m already looking forward to this year’s decompression event, Repercussion 2012 (July 6-8, 2012).

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