Tag Archives: Burning Man

Scrambling

After a week spent with family on North Carolina’s Outer Banks, I got back into town on Saturday earlier than I’d anticipated. I still had a house guest so I went straight to my sister’s fancy ass apartment. I was able to come back to my place yesterday. I’m now in the throes of packing and organizing and compartmentalizing in my mind, so sitting down to write anything coherent is close to impossible. Not only am I about to disappear into the high desert for three months, I’m opening my home to two different couples — foreigners, in both cases — while I’m away. I need to clean and tidy up, put away personal effects, make room in my closets and drawers, send off house keys…and generally freak out.

Add into that mix two doctor appointments and financial meltdowns, as I play my usual shell game with cash, checks, bills and what I owe to who. Oh, and yesterday was the closing for my sister buying my ex-husband’s half of my apartment. It’s no surprise that I wake up in the middle of the night unsure of where I am. And that won’t be changing any time soon.

In about 10 days I’ll be living in a box on a ranch in the middle of fucking nowhere. From there my box will be wheeled into “town,” the tiny town of Gerlach, population hovering around 200 until the Burning Man staff starts showing up. In Gerlach, my box will be Tetris’ed into a glamorous trailer park, where I’ll be sharing a bathroom with 20 or so other dirty hippies out in the desert to help build Black Rock City. Once we’ve built the perimeter fence, transpo starts moving shipping containers — and everything else necessary for the city’s infrastructure — onto the playa, the dry prehistoric lake bed. My box will be moved out there as well. I’ll be “placed” in a “camp,” where my box and I will remain until after the event, when transpo begins reversing the process and my box gets shuttled back to town.

Once everything has been removed, the Playa Restoration crew begins “line sweeps,” two weeks of picking up every bobby pin, button, cigarette butt, beer tab and zip tie left lying on the desert floor. Even though I enjoy making signs, it’s my favorite part of the process, a very Zen way to spend the waning days of summer.

Over the next three months, I’m sure I’ll experience stress and sleeplessness, as well as drama and delight, ideally more of the latter. I’ll do my best to check in, but the internet connection in my box is dodgey, at best. In town, it is slightly more reliable, but only slightly. And when we’re out in the middle of the playa, I’m betting it’s gonna be crap. Of course, we have a crack tech team doing their best to hook us all up, so we’ll see!

Whenever my ability to connect may be occasionally compromised, I can certainly continue writing and then back-blog when I’m online. It does get a bit difficult for me to stare at a computer screen when I’ve spent all day in the glaring sun, so I may just wind up jotting down notes. Who knows.

I’ve already made my appointment with my tattoo artist for whatever “Rite of Passage” ink I feel inspired to receive upon my return, which will be sometime in October. Every year I learn a valuable lesson and translate that to imagery. The appointment is for November 11, for maximal good juju (11/11/11).

Between now and then, I hope to continue my introspection, in whatever form it may take. Stay tuned!

Poetry & Bile

So apparently The Poet isn’t the only one who’s felt inspired by me. I recently received this poem by “South Dakota” in my OkCupid box and when I didn’t respond in a timely fashion, he emailed it to me, along with the preceding note to his friend Steve, who he believes might be a good match for me.

It has a certain tang of bitterness and I’m not quite sure why. It’s obvious that he’s read my blog and  I will assume that he doesn’t approve…of me or my lifestyle. He’s careful not to out-and-out judge but the judgement is there nevertheless. In our private correspondence he’s asked about Burning Man and seems skeptical that people aren’t all there for “the ritual,” as though it’s some Wiccan sex-fest. Which I suppose it is, for a specific slice of the burning demographic. Anyway:

Hi Steve:
What do you think about this poem that I wrote for that girl that I emailed you about sometime back to your OkCupid mailbox.  Yeah, the one that matches me zero percent and that is a 71 percent enemy just like you according to their rating system robot, the one Mary and I were joking about setting you up with, if she ever did get around to telling you, since Abby is looking for a guy to come join her in her West Village NY apartment.  I sent it to her but she hasn’t commented yet, she’ll probably like it, but she may want to slap me! lol
Tim

A Sweet Saturday Poem For Abby, by TK
Written June eighteenth, Twenty-Eleven

Life is an exhausting afterparty:
Butter and mayonnaise with crusts cut off,
You want a little?  I will give you some
Frosting of my already tasty cake.

Knock, a steady stream of gentlemen knock,
Go away boy-toy, I’m no longer young,
Sheesh, ya wippersnapper, go somewhere else;
I am more than a Mommy fantasy.

Please forgive my extreme navel gazing;
Where now are all the lovers on my list?
I’ve been mulling this over and over,
Friends are just lovers without all the sex.

Salivating seniors with wrinkled paws,
Bwahahaha, I’m available, not!
Older or fatter or starting to bald?
Not wanting to settle, up turns my nose.

Drinking and tanning were part of my life,
Rollar skating is my lovely fetish,
Star Spangle Banner chokes me up inside,
I don’t feel so terribly fetching lately.

Kiss me oh tall hairy toothy giant,
Love me sublime one, oh perfect someone,
Be faithful to me, I’m your sex goddess,
Celebrate with me now and feel my pain.

I love Burning Man loves your inner slut,
I volunteer, my eye is on the crew,
I worked my ass for free, but not for pay,
Forget your troubles, just party with me.

Hot dogs and burgers and bright-eyed newbies,
I’m in a great mood, not a smidge of snark,
Look at my corset and high-heeled boots,
The place is packed and people jam the mic.

Familiar faces wore my pajamas,
Release me from this sick hypnotic spell,
Thankyouverymuch it’s time to go home,
Pray for me cuz I’m trying to find love.

I’m not your wife and I’m not your girlfriend,
Would rather die on an island alone,
Than bend the knee and merge my heart with thine,
I’m told I’m hot and sexy all the time.

We play spin-the-bottle and truth or dare,
Passion and reason and games of the heart,
I pray for someone who will love me back,
Life is what’s left when we get done crying.

Out there somewhere is the man of my dreams,
Forever to love and never to part,
I yearn to know when at long last we’ll we meet,
Teach me sweet muse how to look at the heart.

And my response:

Morning, Tim!
I hadn’t responded because I was out enjoying the summer sunshine, the Mermaid Parade and, well, you know….being hot and sexy!
I’m not sure I’d call it a “sweet” poem. It has a healthy measure of bile in it. I wonder why you sound so bitter.
And who is this Steven person? Do you think we’d be a 70% + match? Wink.
Anyway, I see that you’ve taken some time with this, so I appreciate the effort. Hope you’re cool with me posting it to my blog! Heh.


Super Fun Saturday!

Following the emotional roller coaster of Friday, I was ready for some fun! And, thankfully, Saturday delivered!

The day started early with The Burner Lab Meet & Greet. I’d booked The Delancey’s lush roof deck from noon til 5pm, complete with BBQ grill. Corona was on special and I held off as long as I could, until 1:15. From there it was beer after beer, a parade of bright-eyed newbies and enough grizzled veterans to answer all their eager questions. Kat and Jesse Green were running a crafty corner, letting people decorate leaves for NYC’s CORE tree. Oman, Cinemagirl and Nickname were manning — and womaning — the grill, serving up hot dogs and burgers. I was in such a great mood I was actually nice. To everyone. ALL DAY! I know! Not a smidge of snark! I was like the proverbial burner welcome wagon!

The event really picked up when the Rangers arrived, fresh from their Ranger Training. It was gonna be tough to leave! But I eventually did, with one hell of a buzz, bound for home and a quick change from my DPW Playa Restoration t-shirt (represent!) to a corset and suede high-heeled boots. I brought a PBR in the cab with me en route to Paddles and the memorial for The Hellfire’s eminence gris, Lenny Waller. The place was packed as friend after friend took the mic to reminisce about the man who was the glue that held New York City’s fetish community together for over two decades. He truly was a great humanitarian.

I ran into a lot of familiar faces, many of whom mentioned “the old guard” when they greeted me. Who’d’ve thought that I’d be considered a member of the old guard in a community that I found so late? It was great to see those old friends, people I used to see on almost a weekly basis and hadn’t seen in years. When Porno Jim wrapped up the homages, it was time for me to jump into another cab, headed back downtown.

When I got to my apartment, Douggie, Natasha and Dirtbag were already on my stoop, bags of beer in hand. Soon my apartment was full of folks prepping for the Animus Slumber Party. I stepped out of my high-heeled boots and into a pair of penguin feety pajamas. Numerous PBRs were consumed. Hilarity ensued. And then we tried to get into cabs. Hahahah!

Upon arrival at Santos Party House, we were dismayed to find a giant line. “I can’t stand outside in the rain,” I wailed, “I’m in feety pajamas!” And I was gonna work those feety pajamas! We pled our case with Squire, the party’s co-producer and weasled our way in. The joint was jumpin’ with pajama-clad revelers, some actually playing Spin-the-Bottle on the floor! The DJ on the decks when we showed up wasn’t my favorite but the guy who followed him had me. I was a feety flannel frenzy!

At about 3:30 I hit my wall, realizing that I’d been drinking for 14 straight hours. Not a bad showing, thankyouverymuch, but definitely time to go home. I bleerily hailed a cab and was soon happy to be in bed, sandwiched between my two foster dogs. Before getting into bed, however, I inexplicably found myself on my knees, praying. Yes, praying. I prayed for the strength to get through the summer and seeing my ex every day…for his happiness and my release from whatever sick, hypnotic spell I’ve been under for the past five years… (Because even today I’m still struggling with the stories, both Friday’s and one contained in a heartfelt email from yet another woman who was mesmerized by this man. What is it about narcissists?) Anyway, I called upon the universe — or anyone else who might’ve been listening — to give me a hand, show me the way and, eventually, help me to find love again. With someone who is capable of loving me back. Pray for me, too, won’t you?

Stevie, Outer Space & Cinco, Blackout Cinco

Ah, the past few days have been dark ones, indeed. Coming down off my Married Man Marathon high and second date excitement, it’s back to the usual drought conditions. I’m doing my best to buck up and not be discouraged but it isn’t easy.

Last night was a riot of be-ribboned tambourines and lacy shawls at Night of a Thousand Stevies. I worked the door with the effervescent Cynthia and got to see everyone’s costumes in the light. All gorgeous! The show was the best yet, the 21st annual, and the evening wrapped up with “the battle,” when everyone in full “Stevie realness” is invited onto the stage for a twirl-off. I was busily wrangling the well-dressed for Finlay Mackay, an adorable photographer shooting for The New York Times Magazine. He and his crew were a pleasure to work with and I was impressed with how skillfully they juggled their equipment amidst the dangling satin banners and dozens of spinning Stevies.

When my work there was done, a few friends and I jumped into a cab and headed for Mars 2112, where Kostume Kult and Disorient were holding their annual Burning Man theme camp fundraiser, The Black & Light Ball. I’ve fantasized about throwing a party in this Disney-esque “outer space” since my first trip there years ago with my sister and her kids. To witness hundreds of blinking, glowing revelers enjoying the intergalactic ambience was amazing. I didn’t last long but at least I got to see it!

My Cinco de Mayo turned out to be a complete disaster. I’ve spent the last as-many-as-I-can-remember with Corinne, one of my wildest friends. But the wild girl has been tamed and, rather than sucking down frozen drinks in her giant velvet, spangled sombrero with me, she was watching herself and her husband on cable as they won The Newlywed Game. A trip to Cancun! Sigh. I wound up drinking with a new friend who’s working on the Figment signage with me. We’d had a successful trip to Materials for the Arts, which was fucking incredible. Shopping without having to pay? Yay! Anyway, let’s just say that two quarts of margaritas and bumping into your ex-husband is not a great combination! In a less-than-felice blackout moment, un-remembered words were exchanged and my evening ended with me boo-hoo-hooing and bumbling home to pass out. Olé! Oy vey…

Friday’s Cognitive Dissonance

It began at lunch with the last of the married men in my marathon. I was prepared to be underwhelmed, the jaded cynic in me, perhaps. Instead I found myself on the verge of tears more than once, as The Poet posed personal questions. He observed that I was extremely guarded and spent time in pursuit of the “real me.” It was an interesting and emotional conversation.

But back to the dissonance. Here I was having lunch with a lovely man — polite, attractive, successful, engaging — who bragged about his honor student daughter and wonderful wife. But he wasn’t completely perfect. Because if I’d asked him back to my apartment he most likely would’ve agreed in an instant. And instantly become a cheater. Ah, perhaps not so lovely. But I kinda knew the circumstances going in. Which had me puzzling, in between sharing our life stories, whether good people can be bad.

By the time The Poet helped me to my door with an unwieldy package, met by the barking foster dogs, I was in a rush to prepare for my early evening plans. I had less than an hour to get ready, which included changing out of my Garanimals-like afternoon ensemble and into something more suitably punk rock. Once I’d applied heavier eye makeup and shrugged on my motocycle jacket, I dashed out the door to meet my friend Rob and his girlfriend at Joe’s Pub for “DanceNOW [NYC] Presents Alley of the Dolls, This is not a sequel.” The show was a bizarre mélange of performance art and dance, comedy and song, and a poke at show business, all loosely in homage to “Valley of the Dolls.” It had a sassy retro Sixties tang.

When the performance wrapped, we jumped into Rob’s truck and headed to Williamsburg for a chihuahua wedding. You heard right. The “puptials” of Rev. Jen Jr. and Taco took place in the spacious outdoor garden of Lucky Dog bar on Bedford Ave. The proud parents of the bride and groom, Reverend Jen Miller and Holly Waggytail DeRito (yes, the grande dame of the agency I foster dogs for) held the happy couple in their arms and read their dogs’ vows, with Faceboy officiating the ceremony. As one might assume, the festivities were attended by quite a colorful cast of characters, including photographer Alex Colby and his pretty Penthouse Managing Editor wife Christine, comic artist and dessert blogger Abby Denson, Carmen Mofongo, my Balloon Chain co-worker and Lucky Dog bartender Moonshine Shorey, and armloads of adorable dogs. Moonshine had the night off because he was on his way to his gig with Jugger Nut at C Squat. Which was where Rob, his girlfriend and I were headed next!

Approaching the block we knew immediately where the show was; the shitfaced  dirtbag lying on the sidewalk, slurring obscenities, made it a giveaway. I slid in the door and stood aside. Everyone was in an agitated state about the sidewalk scene. A droopy-eyed, stringy-haired hippy was telling the dreadlocked dude running the door, “I don’t know the guy, man. I mean, he’s not a friend of mine. I picked him up in Asheville but I gotta watch his back. He’s my homeboy.” Meanwhile, the guy is still rolling around on the sidewalk with everyone screaming at him to get up, get out, move on.

I paid my five bucks, got my hand Sharpied and waited for Rob and his girlfriend. They slipped in and handed me a 24-ounce PBR. Cracking up, I crowed, “I just became the hottest old broad in the building!” A guy nodded in agreement and said, “Yeah, you did!” We made our way toward the noise, stepping over half-passed out gutterpunks and straggly hangers-on. A small balcony overlooked a basement with walls covered in graffiti. Our timing was perfect; kids were shoving equipment around the stage in anticipation of Jugger Nut.

The room was like a scene from a movie: Sweaty kids were milling around, an old man was perched on a chair, hipsters were photographing each other with the cell phones. It was an impressive collection of nightcrawlers. And because I never go anywhere without running into someone I know, I bumped into Nicola.

Before I’d had a chance to finish my 24-ounce, the band came onstage in a cacophony of keyboards, drums, guitars and feedback. After a bit of ear abuse, the music was actually quite good! People were nodding and dancing or ducking for cover. My friend Moonshine isn’t a musician, he’s an adjunct to the band, a six-foot-plus performance artist of sorts, his painted face and voodoo accoutrements augmented by blood and chicken feet. He stalked into the pit and the parted.

I’m not sure I could ever find the right words to properly describe the scene and how it actually felt. It was like being in a time warp. Like being beamed back to the 80s. The floor was slimy with beer and a bedraggled chick in nothing but boots and a silver sequin miniskirt kept slipping in it. The crowd thrashed in the pit, slamming into each other just like the old days. The whole place smelled like sweat and cigarette smoke and beer. It was fuckin’ awesome!

The show lasted just the right amount of time and as the room cleared I couldn’t contain my excitement. “The underground lives!” I kept saying with a huge smile on my face. I couldn’t believe it! I was so invigorated I couldn’t just go home and go to sleep, so I strolled through Tompkins Square Park to Double Down. It was packed with too many irritating people but I wound up at the far end of the bar chatting with an interesting couple. He was in a heavy metal t-shirt and she looked like she maybe watched too much “Jersey Shore.” But we commiserated about the East Village asshole invasion and, astonishingly, Burning Man! He was leaving the next day for India. Sometimes life is full of surprises!

Anyway, I stumbled to the deli for a turkey sandwich which I didn’t remember eating the next morning as I marveled over my day of dissonance: the enjoyable Poet, dance show at Joe’s Pub, the chihuahua wedding, the C Squat Jugger Nut slamfest and the pleasant company over my nightcap at Double Down. It was an amazing dozen hours!

Scrambled

That’s how I’ve been feeling lately: scrambled. I’m not on any particular schedule. Sometimes I get up at 8:00am to work out with my cousin, who’s on her way home after dropping her son off at school. By 3:00 it feels like midnight! And sometimes I sleep half the day, cause, um, I don’t have anything to get up for, really.

I never know what day it is. I don’t need to, since I’m not working. There isn’t anything in particular that I do every week on the same day…so it doesn’t much matter. The closest thing I have to discipline is this damn blog. Unless, of course, you count watching The View every morning at 11:00…or Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune every night from 7:00 til 8:00. Talk about pathetic. I’m in the throes of transition but that means I’m sort of…nowhere. Or everywhere.

I got back from Burning Man on October 15. I went back to California for the holidays and returned on December 30. I’m leaving again on Friday, back again the following Thursday. Then on the 31st I’m going to Alaska (yes, Alaska), to hit Chena Hot Springs and, ideally, see The Northern Lights, back on February 5th. On the 14th I leave (again) for California, where my trip to Africa for a safari originates. I’ll be in Tanzania and Mozambique for 10 days, from the 17th of February til the 1st of March (I’m assuming there are days that I’ll spend in the air, accounting for those “lost” days in there). With just enough time to do a load of laundry at my parents’ and hopefully recover from my jet lag just a smidge, I fly out of SFO at midnight on the 3rd for New Orleans and Mardi Gras. I’ll be there a week, flying back to New York on the 10th. Just typing all this is making me tired.

I know, you’re probably saying, that’s a whole lotta jetsetting for someone who doesn’t even have a job! Well, I’m not paying for any of this travel. My budget could maybe get me to Coney Island. It’s all gonna provide me with plenty to blog about, that’s for sure!

In between all of this, I’ll be dog fostering, packing and unpacking, trying to see friends, producing another singles’ event (or two), trying to date (as hopeless as that’s been lately), orchestrating my sister buying my ex-husband out of my co-op, looking for work (though what’s the point? I’m never home!), working out and attempting to maintain the discipline of this blog. For all, like two dozen of you reading! (So tell you friends, eh?)

Stay tuned for news on ALL of this stuff and the up-to-date details on my sanity. Or lack thereof!

 

Feathers


I got a new tattoo today. Finally. It’s one I’ve wanted since last fall. See, for the past few years I would get a new tattoo after every Burning Man. Thus far they have been: the word “cunt,” to symbolize my “owning” my cuntdom; the word “breathe,” after a season of hearing, saying and experiencing that word in many meaningful contexts; a partial Burning Man DPW (Department of Public Works) logo, to commemorate my first year helping build Black Rock City; a fork, because I felt like I was at a “fork in the road” of my life and because I kept finding forks , literally, in the road, during Playa Restoration.

Today’s tattoo is about 15 months later than I wanted it, due to life getting in the way and my bank account never really synching up with my desires. Not that my bank account is cooperating any more today than it was a year ago but after so many months of wanting, researching the symbolism of feathers, and being caught up in the whole 11:11 phenomenon, I decided that I had to get this particular tattoo on this date — January 11, 2011: 1/11/11 — to ensure the best possible juju. Plus I had a somewhat remarkable feather-related experience.

The back story on my passion for feather imagery is that during my first year working Playa Restoration I found a stunning sterling silver feather. I’ve been wearing it around my neck almost ever since I picked it up off the desert floor. I recalled having a pair of silver feather earrings that I’d probably had since high school. I don’t remember where or when I got them, possibly at a gift shop in Schroon Lake, and it’s been a long time since I’ve bought jewelry at a touristy gift shop! Anyway, I started wearing the earrings to match my necklace. Working post-event in 2008, I was taking down signs in Center Camp when I lost one of the earrings. I remember exactly where and when — I took off my sweater at one point — but never found it. And this year, during Playa Restoration, while playing a game of Scrabble with some friends, I told the story of finding my feather and losing my earring. One of my opponents looked at the remaining earring and said, “I found an earring in Center Camp that looks kinda like that. I’ll see if I can find it.” The next morning at breakfast, she showed up with the earring I’d lost two years earlier! That earring had been lying there in the desert dust for two years! And found its way back to me! So you can see how I’ve come to feel the way I do about feathers and why this year I became even more attuned to their symbolism.

But back to the tattoo. The design is an eagle feather that I sketched, then cut out of an 8’x4′ piece of plywood and mounted on the Trash Fence that serves as the boundary of Burning Man. It was one of a series of five feathers. They were briefly mounted in First Camp as decor for a wedding, then moved to the Trash Fence at Point 3, which is the apex of the city. If one were to follow the line from the Man to the Temple off into the distance, Point 3 would be the last point within Black Rock City, the furthest point a person can walk, making the feathers a distant destination. I registered them at The Artery as “Trash Fence Feathers,” made and mounted to look as if they’d been blown into this “corner” of trash fence.

I checked on them periodically and was initially disappointed when people began tagging them. Then, as they became covered in graffiti, I embraced the exuberant messages: “I made it!” “My first burn!” And from my friend Jamye, “I love you, Abby!” It was exciting that, having made art that wasn’t exactly interactive, people had chosen a way to interact with it. The feathers were pretty visible from a distance, even at night, when they were lit by small solar-powered lights. I loved the idea of people seeing something “out there” and making the journey to see what it was.

At the end of the event, rather than burning the feathers, I packed them into my van and took them home. Perhaps someday I’ll have a yard or some other suitable place to re-mount them. Until then, I’m wearing all three of my silver jewelry feathers and one of my “Trash Fence Feathers” on my right arm, permanently.

Thanks to Ronn, my tattoo artist! You can find him at Addiction Tattoo on St. Marks Place.

Rally for Sanity

I realize I’m hardly a paragon of sanity. But that didn’t stop me from wanting to make the trek to DC for Jon Stewart‘s big rally. And while I realize that by being a part of the crowd I was showing my support for a more moderate, measured approach to politics (and everything else, quite frankly), the trip was hardly what I’d hoped for.

To start, I purchased a ticket on a bus a friend had chartered. I anticipated traveling with like-minded folks and meeting some new people. I wasn’t expecting a busload of partying burners but I wasn’t expecting 50-odd 50-somethings, mostly Jersey women in comfortable walking shoes. Nope, not one person on board who I had any interest in meeting! But let me start at the beginning.

My trip truly began at 3:30 on Friday, in a panic about leaving the newly-fostered neurotic puppy home alone. I’d enlisted the assistance of a friend who agreed to be there at 3:00. She said she was “stopping for food,” which I thought meant to pick up food. She’d just sat down to order food. At a restaurant. I shoved the puppy into his crate, locked the door listening to his shrieking and ran my keys to my friend at Kate’s.

After an invigorating dash to the Path, I rode to Jersey City to meet friends for the hour-plus drive down to Jackson, NJ. There was a diner dinner and poster-making and a quick stop at Target, where I picked up an awesome pair of penguin feetie pajamas. I know, I’m straying off topic… Knowing we were going to have an extremely early morning, most of us bedded down sometime after midnight. But a few others thought it was the perfect time to chat into the wee hours. Which meant we woke up at 5:30am after less than five hours of sleep. Ugh.

In the chilly, still-dark morning we drove to a random park-and-ride to meet our chartered chariot and the aforementioned 50-odd 50-somethings. Bagels and coffee were included in our ticket price but the bus driver wouldn’t allow any liquids on the bus besides water, so I chugged down my Dunkin Donuts caffeine and carried my bagel on board. It was a long drive down to RFK Stadium parking lot. But I was excited about being an activist!

Coming up out of the subway to thousands of people filling the Mall was quite a sight. We walked toward the front but didn’t make it very far; the. We made several attempts to penetrate the wall of humanity, cutting across the Mall, getting stepped on and shoved. I felt like a turnstile! People were trying to walk — well, squeeze between — in every direction. Except for myself and our 6’4″ friend, everyone was having anxiety attacks. The ambulance that wound up idling a few feet from us before it turned on its siren and inched right into the thick of things almost sent us over the edge. The fact that we couldn’t see a thing, not even the monitors, or hear a word made the discomfort totally pointless. We decided to bail.

At least we got to see dozens and dozens of ridiculous protest signs: Wraps are NOT sandwiches! Bacon is good for me! Free the kittens! There were costumes and hilarious t-shirts, all decidedly high-brow and primarily intellectual. I was semi-disguised as a zombie, prepared to say, “I’m here for the brains!” if anyone inquired. I would’ve followed that with, “I went to that Glenn Beck thing. Not a brain in the bunch!” But alas, no one asked. My friends were in costume as well. Alex was a pregnant prom queen with an “Abstinence Only Education” sash. Jonathan was a bear carrying a “Bears are not godless killing machines!” sign. We had an Uncle Sam, a cheerleader and a smarmy politician. Er, at least I think he was being a smarmy politician. He may have just been dressing as himself!

Walking away from the masses we came upon Abraxas, the glittering dragon that had been out at Burning Man, and its crew of burners. Of course we ran into familiar faces and it was nice to see the burners represent! We strolled along, people watching and protest sign reading, to Chinatown and finally found a restaurant without a two-hour wait: Mongolian barbecue, yum!

The return trip was almost as grueling as the trip down: a liquid-less bus ride, drive into Brooklyn and the fucked up F train to the East Village. I finally made it home at midnight, exhausted, cranky and pretty damn disappointed. Yes, it was a good thing to show my support. But I sure wish it had been a busload of burners, that I’d met some great new people and that I’d actually seen and/or heard the damn rally!