Guest History: The Greatest Burn

Posted: October 19, 2011 in BurningMan, History
Tags: ,

The Greatest Burn

by Ben
Without a doubt, the greatest burn ever was the Burn of 1553.  I arrived on the playa that year, early arrival as usual, to find it festering with bears.  Now these weren’t just any old bears, these were polar bears bedecked in tuxedos, each equipped with a guitar.  We paid them no mind and set up our giant subwoofers at 2:00, ready to blare solid beats for Lady Jane Grey and her entourage–well-known ravers all.  But every time we’d take a break, we’d come back to find our speakers disassembled and packed away again.

After a few days of this, it was getting close to the time for the unwashed masses to come in.  We were way behind schedule, and couldn’t make any headway with all of our work being undone.  So we decided to spy on our speakers to see what we could see.

We lay in wait for hours.  Then we saw something strange: one of the bears approached our speaker.  He said, “I’ll give you a nickel to tickle my pickle.”  I couldn’t believe it–he was hitting on the speaker!  Another of the bears approached.  He started hitting on another speaker.  This went on for an hour.  Then, and this really surprised us, the speakers started to move slowly away from the bears, packing themselves up.  You could see from the way they moved that they were filled with disgust.

We came out of hiding, and the bears and the speakers froze.  They were all ashamed at the scene we had witnessed.  When we explained to them that we didn’t have any judgment about bear-speaker love, we all sat down to see whether we could work something out.

It turned out that the speakers were just upset that the bears hadn’t been listening to them.  And then it came out: the bears all liked to play only Pete Seeger songs.  So we came upon this–whenever we didn’t have a rave going on, we’d play Pete Seeger songs through the speakers, and the bears could listen and strum along on their guitars.

This arrangement worked out beautifully, and the speakers began playing our drum and bass with the sweetest beat and the best melodies.  Our camp was the place to be at that burn.  Twinks and nymphs and leprecauns filled the dance floor, powered all night by Timothy Leary and Hunter S. Thompson themselves.  Lao Tzu, Rumi, and L. Ron Hubbard subtly imparted wisdom through the vocal tracks of the music.  Che and Davy Crockett fired their guns into the air and at the ground, to keep the dancers on their toes. And a horde of butterflies hovered overhead, achingly beautiful to those who were sober and completely trippy to everyone else.  The hours before the temple burn, God Himself appeared and began to dance the simplest and most beautiful dance I had ever seen, moving to the music, and bringing us all along with Him, whether we were talented ballerinas or cripples without any feet.  After He departed, we turned the speakers to Jonathan Richman and Pete Seeger.  We wept.  The
n the bears left to hibernate and the rest of us went to watch the temple go down in flames.

That was a good burn!

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