Ugh. Today I am struggling to be positive. In the spirit of Yes-Vember! I will continue on my path. But know that it isn’t always easy. I often wonder if those perpetually perky people have a dark side. Do they ever feel bad? Hate anyone? Are they really experiencing “love and light” 24/7? I’m skeptical. But I will persevere. Because…goals and shit. But if you know me…well, you knew it would be a struggle two weeks ago when I made my declaration. Hang in there with me? Oh. And I just sneezed salad all over my computer screen. Awesome. Onward!
I’m going to connect you all with a couple of awesome books about Burning Man, either created by or contributed to by friends!
Let’s start with a New York City local burner. Peter Armenia has created the first children’s book about Burning Man. “The World’s Biggest Playground” features photos of the event and text aimed at the youngsters. I went to the book launch event this past Saturday, where there was bobbing for apples and bacon!
If you’ve been to TTITD, you know that people give gifts. I’m a total shwag whore and especially enjoy receiving jewelry. My friend Christine Kirsten, aka Lady Bee, served as editor of “Jewelry of Burning Man” is “a coffee table book of meaningful gifts: stories and photos exploring the collecting, making, and gifting of jewelry at Burning Man,” written by jeweler Karen Christians. It’s pretty cool seeing stuff that friends have gifted on-playa given a wider audience.
I met Jennifer Raiser through emails about the Burning Man “Burma Shave” signs. We volleyed back and forth about them back in 2013 (was it that long ago?) and wound up meeting, randomly — as is usually the case out there — when we were both hunkered down, taking shelter from the rains, in the Commissary. She’s a wizard of costumery so we’re kindred spirits. Her book, “Burning Man: Art on Fire,” was published in 2014. She contributes to HuffingtonPost, writes for the Burning Blog, and generally makes both Burning Man and San Francisco better places. She’s awesome!
I met Judy Strauss when we both soaking in Frog Pond. She said she was compiling a book of Burning Man stories. I told her I’d contributed to one and it turned out to be hers! “100 Spectacular Playa Moments!” is jam-packed with playa-dipitous tales with themed chapters like “Awesome Art” and “Spiritual Sensations.” My bizarre story about how feathers became so meaningful for me is one of the many “Life Changing Moments.” It’s a far more homespun than some of the more official tomes and features recollections by, yes, 100 burners, some of who are friends of mine as well!
Another recently published compilation is “Playa Dust: Collected Stories from Burning Man,” edited by Samantha Krukowski. My boss man (and previous profiled friend), Tony “Coyote” Perez, is one of the many voices of this communal memoir. The Amazon blurb says, “Contributors include those who built the first wooden effigies on San Francisco’s Baker Beach from 1986 to 1990, in the gatherings that would later become Burning Man; artists who have installed works at the festival; musicologists, photographers and filmmakers who have made work there; writers who have written about their Burning Man experience; architects who have built there, sociologists who have studied Burning Man’s experimental nature and even lawyers who have brokered Burning Man’s controversial existence.” And I will say that if Ms. Krukowski consulted with Coyote, you’re gonna get gen-you-wine, boots on the ground lore. Truth.