Cruzmissile from the Playa


Dear Mr. Mann,

Funny I was just checking out the Gametones site because Sporty Gametone put up some stills from the Love/HateSphere and lo there were all your dispatches from the playa. Not only did I not know you were out there but I was probably only a few hundred feet away from your camp. We were bedded down on the south side of center camp facing the Man.

Perhaps, you missed us, the Madagascar Institute? We were quickly charter members of a broad and needlessly self-righteous subsection of the Black Rock City community, true exponents of great ideas poorly planned and even more poorly executed.

Our camp rapidly became the most slovenly and decrepit of all the roustabout structures I saw. Passerbys would ask if it had always been that way or similarly if it was planned/constructed. Truly approaching it from the playa one could only conclude that New Yorkers were camped there.

Our puppet master didn't bring the puppets. Our crew/performers were alternately too wasted or not talking to each other to accomplish anything. Our sound system speakers got shorted by the rain. The battery went dead in the RV. Some of my fellow Madagascar Instituters failed to comprehend the following sentence: "Don't use the RV toilet, it's backing up into the shower."

Our makeshift pvc tube mortar self destructed in a poetically apropos vision of metaphoric impotence during its first playa test firing. Still, our failed water engineer/fountain maker blathered on about the upcoming reconditioned mortar's relaunch even though the pipe cap had become a preferred tool for scrapping the mud from shoes. The above implied fountain was such a farce that someone suggested we use the water pump to give the fountain maker/faker a much needed world's largest enema. Eventually we just used the water for "showers."

And I haven't even mentioned the heat, which did a true fucking through and through job on me on my first full day on he playa (Thursday). I shall never forget watching myself projectile vomit blue gatorade. Kudos to the Med crew for convincing me I wasn't going to die even if it took one hell of an effort to convince them I hadn't consumed truck loads of drugs. I hadn't. No lie!

Is there a point to this bitch fest, you ask. Probably not as I had a simply fucking amazing time! Great just great. Practically every time I turned around I saw something else that blew my mind. I woke up to camels, met a biker with a trained moth named Illuminato (the moth not the biker), spun an ambient ode to just about the most amazing sunrise I've ever seen, banged on metal scraps and junk until my hands and arms ached only to stop and then start all over again, and saw nudists become thoroughly embarrassed by a mildly off color joke. And I could probably testify four times as long as I've already spewed with all the beautiful pointless fantastic things I found all over BRC and the playa. I've been truly astounded by the efforts, energies, whimsy, mischief and creativity of our fellows. Nothing I had heard, read, been told could have revealed the lengths people will go for sheer play. Spectacular.

Great to read your impressions. I too was slightly underwhelmed by the Burn. Impressive but not quite the build up I had been given. Loved the flaming man that lit the Man though. Unlike your poster Terry though I found the fires not acrid, toxic or noxious enough. Nor were they, disappointingly, physically threatening enough. When I got back I saw some footage of an SRL performance from '96 (I think) where the audience was just engulfed in diesel fumes and burning, and probably toxic, embers. Now that's something!

I had similar feelings about the whole drug and drink thing too. Not that I was clean and sober by a stretch but just smoking pot, and taking acid on the night of the burn, seemed positively puritanical as compared to everything else around me. Sad how a culture of consumption breeds subcultures of consumption, be it material or chemical. Besides, wandering around fried out of your head seems pretty close to spectating in my book. But maybe I'm a hypocrite. Still I would blame fuck ups for being lazy fuck ups and not their weed or their booze or whatever.

Oh yeah and there should have been more hootin, hollerin and screamin. Sober, sloshed or otherwise!

Any how, gotta roll. All this reminiscing makes me want to go get naked in traffic.

See you next year if not sooner!

DJ Cruzmissile

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