Monthly Archives: September 2006

projects that burn brightest

my eyes get fuzzy and i have to push away from the computer…. 14 hours straight working on burning man images for the 4th day…. enough….

spinning slowly in a long hot shower. tabouli and licorice for dinner. i press a button and a fan turns on. the simple pleasures of indoor living…

i am still hibernating… haven’t left my house or seen anyone. my burning man gear still remains unpacked, an elephant in the living room.

it is easy to stay silent… brady is gone for a week with his family. my schedule has been cleared, no shooting… i did this before i left with the intention of writing my book… but it hasn’t gripped me… soon though…. it’s festering…

my world is a lazy susan… i spin with hot plates… my mind races… i think in contrasts…. i work at lightning speed… but only on the projects that burn brightest at the moment….

swizzle sticks make me miss brady…. the excitement of finding them alone makes me wistful. he’ll return in a few days, just in time for me to finish my burning man and james brown images, do some laundry, deal with the elephant. we’ll spend a few hours together before my flight to the east coast to shoot…. ah, back to our rockstar schedules….

but the swizzle sticks, they make me mush…

between desert and sky

i unclutter the path and work only on burning man images now… i jump with each image that pops up, as if i saw these things for the first time, lived those 2 weeks thru someone else’s eyes… i’m filled with emotion today… my eyes glaze over in gratitude, in love, in disbelief of the times had… i have been waiting for the energy settle and for life to return to normal but that hasn’t happened yet…

i am a bell struck,
a pensive feline force
between desert and sky,
i can now only communicate thru photographs…

burning man 2006

8/22 san fran
waiting impatiently for my ride to burning man, violently twiddling my thumbs and pacing like a caged cat… in the 2 days i’ve been in san fran, i’ve been preparing my body. i moisturize my hands and feet, drink alot of water, suck on vitamins, drink superfood. i’ve begun to crave the foods i usually do in the desert… pita chips, pickles, lentil soup…

my goofermen, boenobo & vegas pick me up from my swirly vau de vire hot tub world at mike & shannon’s…. we drive in bo’s klown truck to the 2-foot box truck that is picking up the vau de vire stage and taking me out to the playa. having made one trip out there already, the truck now has a fine layer of dust on it and i can’t help but to lick the passenger window, therefore claiming my destination… on another window are the words ‘in dust we trust’ carved out of playa. at the wheel is picolo pete the fish, or as i like to call him ‘picadilly’. he goes by just ‘pete the fish’ but mike thought his name was ‘picolo’ and i interpret that as ‘picadilly’… picadilly paints a portrait of himself as a surly chain smoker with an affection for vaporizers. he says he hates los angeles and that pot prevents him from killing himself. he also happened to mention that my passenger side door is perfect for kidnapping as it can only be opened from the outside… and so begins my journey with him alone to burning man….

outside gerlach
“i want to eat the nothingness!!!!” i scream to picadilly… 4am, almost there… one hell of a ride… i put it behind me and enjoy the desolate road. 29 miles to gerlach. the brightest stars above and high dry brush for endless miles. i am alive in a way i could only be out here… in a way that time stops and returns to natural benign rhythms… first and foremost i switch off my cell phone. no signal anyhow ‘goodbye cell phone!’ i slip it into an awaiting ziplock bag. the one that holds my house key, my credit cards. the one i’ll pretend to lose…

playa
sunset thru a funnel of clouds meeting stark mountain tops. the echo of machinery as the city builds. we are one of the first to set up in gigsville. two circles in the playa for the van-b-que and uberman… these days before everyone arrives are bliss… fresh playa like virgin snow, each crack a fingerprint, flags bend and trail off… our carports squeak, small cars like pots and pans rattle and come into view… plumes of dust follow and accumulate like ribbons. sunrays like fingers of god, these black mountains hold us like a bathtub of unreason. wishies float by… the sun anchors finally… a chill sets in, a bell is struck… and the drums of nighttime begin…

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as daytime temperatures climb, my bicycle-squirrel antics subside and i sink softly into the desert floor. eyes parallel with puzzle peices of a jagged sacred earth… this morning i spoke in charades with the belgium artists… awe is a universal language… the sheer scale of what they are erecting is enormous, just insane…. with great swooping arms they painted for me what it will look like when they are done. one of them pointed to my camera and my early arrival wristband. in our charade game, i told them of my art documentary work that i am doing for the burning man office.
each morning and also at dusk i circle round an emerging city, lending a hand to various projects, finding friends, photographing the madness… center camp alone is a surging epitome of what it means to build a city… i circle it mesmerized a few times a day… it’s like an oiled can of kick butt, a busy busy ant farm… there are people welding on final touches to the huge metal sculptures and painted benches are arranged like a parking lot for now.

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safe warm calm cocoon descends… light breeze, silence… today brady shaved my head… it was almost sexual… it was such a release… the first cut was the hardest… i screamed… and laughed away the rest… i still have ponytails and 2 thin braids in the back but everything else is gone…
tonight the cirque berzerk tent went up. roo orchestrated the ordeal. the tent is up and oh the antics that will go down like history beneath it! brady and i made playful love in the afternoon, giddy meowy starfishes… we are insatiable! we rode our bicycles and i photographed welding sparks raining down from headpeices. i lay my head now to the pillow excited for playa dreams and the most fitful of sleepiez. my freshly exposed scalp now burns in its newness.
the first night i dreamt that moving men came to take all my possessions away… all my furniture, my books, everything… they replaced it all with dusty camping gear… and i didn’t mind…
the second night i dreamt of puck…

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tonight i rode my bike til i bounced off a fence…. i laid there capsized under the night sky, whispering ‘game over’ as bruises formed and i realized i was very far off from the event, somewhere near the gate and mountains… i laid there til i was sure nothing was broken and then i got paranoid about scorpions so i jumped back in the saddle… i rode thru an abyss towards lights and found myself at the gate. in my absinthe haze, i felt a strong desire to welcome everyone to the circus. they sent me a mile down the road to the greeters station. there, i stumbled upon welcomed wrongness, much of which i seemed to have created… i enticed virgins to strike the bell, straddling it between my legs, feeling their vibration, their exaltation, their want of reset… i spanked them with swords, hijacked their rv’s and sang johnny cash songs. my work done there, i raced my bike along dogfish. they fed me black cherry goodness and i missed brady, craving him like wine, loving him even the more for letting me be a fucko and rampaging the city at will… there is this fire, this life force, this firecracker within that needs a violent shaking upong aligning with this city and i can only do it alone among mountains and stars and strangers…. i am in love, a paramount blissful love… and while everything else is dramatic discourse, i find it necessary to rampage… i am free here in this wild abandon… i am home in this cageless retreat. the event hasn’t even started yet…

THE TORNADO
meade, the rare honey… the sugar that numbs what just happened… we were drinking bloody marys, brady & i alone in our house-shack-carport-lovenest… brady was stringing his guitar. i was drawing on myself… we saw a dark swirl in the afternoon sky…. “it’s an artcar,” brady said. no… it wasn’t… soon the sky turned dark, a girl on bike was laughing saying ‘that’s all dust and it’s coming this way.’ and a wall soon came upon us…. for some reason i decided my bike needed to come inside. brady zipped me in and stayed outside holding onto our house. the wall came closer and all hell broke loose. the carport went flying, the side pole missing my face by a few inches, brady went flying onto another carport, our shower was gone, everything we’d put together so perfectly in the week we’d been here, askew… lessons… nothing ever remains as you intend it… we are all subject to nature’s fury… brady, in pain, walked away…. i looked around in all directions, felt alone and went into shock. all our stuff was everywhere. my sister’s tent was fine… we had apparently taken a direct hit by a tornado…
i sit now in the middle of the strongest white-out i’ve ever had on the playa… sand rustling feirce and cracked parched toes. time stops and wind builds deafening…. i’m scared… we’re all at the mercy of the elements and i’m afraid….

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i’m in a tunnel of decompression… buildings with glass and metal, people with clothes on, my post office box filled with mail, packages, checks, a copy of rolling stone spain that my image is in, very exciting… 1300 emails in my inbox, phone calls from models wanting gently to know the status of their images from before i left… i’m in a haze… i’m vibrating… i’ve had an incredible time in the desert… i want to hold it near for as long as possible… i skim thru the 3000 images i took at burning man and in each one i feel as if i can jump in and never leave… i am in love more than ever, alive more than ever….

“kaleidescopes are like what happens when fireflies get really organized.” – a quote from puck