|Burning Man 1993|
I was really going to start early,I was going to make something cool and really big to bring out to the Playathis year. I decided to create a larger than life sized man. He would praybefore the Burning Man and just as the Man fell he would leap in the airas if living only to be crushed under the flaming Burning Man.
I spent a couple of months thinking,gathering materials, then two weeks before the event I went crazy, nightand day working on it. I ignored all my responsibilities, didn't worry, didn'tclean didn't do anything other then prepare my work of art. My new girlfriend, Helyn became very sick and I didn't go and see her. I had to finishthe sculpture. She would call crying and I would promise to come over andtake care of her and then cancel because I had to work on MY sculpture.(She got even sooner than later.)
Finally, it was time to go soI packed up a couple of tents, some toys, found some cool costumes, andsome tapestries. I put my sculpture in a friend's truck and drove to SanFrancisco to Helyn's home. She was going with Dave and I and she had agreedto drive her car. I felt totally ready. We had a stove to cook on, crazyclothing, and tons of water. I had this beautiful woman who loved me andwanted to go and I had my sculpture. Our friend dropped us and everythingwe had on the corner, clothes, camping gear and sculpture. He waved goodbye and left. Helyn looked out her window and yelled for us to come onup with all our stuff. Up we went, ready for the Man. She gave me a bigkiss looked over my shoulder and said "There is no way in hell thatpiece of sculpture is going on top of my car all the way to Burning Man"I was stunned, speechless. She was not kidding and hated that sculpturebecause I had worked on it, ignoring her, while she vas very, very sick.She was sure we would get arrested if it was on the top of car. We argued,I begged, she wouldn't budge. I called everyone I could, trying to get itthere, all to no avail. She left me no choice and I left it in her livingroom and went on to the Man.
By the time we reached the desert,I had pretty much forgiven her for making me leave it behind. She was right,if I had planned a little more, started working a little sooner and thoughta little harder about how I planned on getting the damn thing there, itwould have made it to the desert. If I had planned on putting it on thetop of her car, I should have been a little nicer and come up to the citywhen she was sick and needed me.
Nevertheless, this was one ofthe best Burning Man experiences I have ever had. Our camp was just right,two tents, a car and a bunch of tapestries. Everything tied to everythingelse, just enough shade for the three of us. Every couple of hours somepart would fall and I would hear "Charlie, Fix!!" It would comefrom under some collapsed part of the tent from a sleepy camper and I wouldfix. This line has lived on for many years.
There were about 1,000 peoplethere and it seemed huge at the time. The Man had feet, Pepe's tower wasa single chimney and the fashion show was not a show but a great paradewithout spectators. I remember going out to the rave camp, it was fiveguys, a van, a couple of big speakers, a card board box covered in tinfoil, colored lights and a strobe light. It was all cool.
This was the year I saw ChristmasCamp. Christmas Camp was my all time favorite Theme Camp from any year.They had Christmas lights, elves and a Christmas tree. They gave out wrappedgifts and had a very twisted, skinny, drunk Santa Claus. Santa always carrieda shot gun and didn't stop swearing all weekend. We went over there onenight and saw Santa get a lap dance from two young ladies from NY wearingnothing but silver paint and silver G-strings. I think we saw Santa comingdown the chimney. Later in the weekend, the "Healer" from WellnessCamp stole Santa's shotgun because it bothered him. It created one of thefunniest bits of gossip to spread like wild fire through the Playa.
This was the year of the neoncrop circle. This was the largest neon piece of art I had ever seen. Itwas so apropos to the desert: Aliens, Neon, it's fragile nature, just thename crop circle in a world with out plant life. The artist put a lot oftrust into a lot of people's hands and the work lived through the weekend.I felt lucky have seen it.
There has never been a greaterburn for me than the last night of the Burning Man 1993. They lit the Man,it burned and then the sky began to light up with lightning. Huge boltstraveled horizontally through the sky. The lightning grew stronger as theMan burned. People began to scream, "the gods are angry" or "thealiens are coming" or we preferred "Mother Nature is partyingwith us". Just as the Burning Man fell, a light rain began, lastingonly a few minutes. Then the rain stopped and a calm settled on the camp.With a snap of a finger, a sand storm appeared out of nowhere, coveringthe already wet celebrants, camps, cars, everything out there with a layerof fine white dust. The storm lasted only a minute, but left everyone andeverything covered, head to toe, in playa . Only eyes and teeth and thefire of the man could be seen. Everything became part of the playa for aminute. Then the real rain came and everything was washed off, and everythingbecame completely soaked. We sat in the car the rest of the nightthinking that we were going to be there in the middle of this lake fora very long time. We were able to leave the next day, the playa suckedup all the water and it looked like it had never rained in the first place.
ps. My sculpture did burn. Wetook it out to Ocean Beach and had a little burn. My Man and Brian Goggin'sTiny Town both burned great with enough gas. I have been having my ownlittle burns ever since.
Charles A. Gadeken