Burning Man: And then there's the party aspect....
I actually have a Burning Man media badge! How cool is that. Under a shade-producing tarp near center camp there are a few worn-out old sofas that serve as media headquarters. But they got electrical plug-ins there and I somehow managed to borrow a laptop. I'm good to go.
Much to my surprise, at the world's most jankity Media Center this side of Lebanon, I met one of the world's most renowned journalists. And what are top journalists if not sources of magnified hot gossip? This guy knew ALL of the juicy tidbits. And was actually willing to spill....
Before talking with him last night, I had NO idea how many prominent Republicans were gay -- but not the gay-marriage type of gay. "I'm talking about the closet types who have orgies in the White House and then denounce homosexuality on the floor of Congress the very next day." Oh. Those kind.
So. Who was Jeff Gannon actually sleeping with? "My bet is Scott McClellan." Not Tony Blair?
I love hot gossip and this guy named names. "Jane, all that stuff that Dick Cheney said at the VFW convention in Reno about the NSA only wire-tapping foreign-originating phone conversations is a complete lie. He taps the phones of every journalist in America. I know for a fact that I've got a tap on my phone." Gee. I wonder if my phone is tapped too. That would definitely promote me to being a "real" journalist and not just a Molly Ivins wannabe!
Then I talked with another representative of the press as we went on a wonderful after-dark media tour of the Art Projects of Burning Man. They drove us around in a gigantic three-story bus tricked out to be a fire-breathing dragon and escorted by eight glow-in-the-dark Samurai. It was awesome.
"There's a blog run by U.S. soldiers in Iraq that has adopted me as their current object of scorn," I told this journalist, who had just gotten back from Iraq. "Here's my question -- this blog is one of the most up-scale efforts I've ever seen. Graphics to die for. Fabulous writing. Oxford dictionary-style grammar and spelling. Comment forms that actually work. How can they pull all that together if they are stuck out there in Iraq?"
"They can't. Soldiers stationed in Iraq ARE NOT ALLOWED TO HAVE BLOGS. In many cases, they aren't even allowed to get e-mail. It sounds like this blog is a psy-ops operation." Journalists know everything!
Well, I myself did some Investigative Reporting last night. There I was, curled up in my sweet little tent -- which had just withstood the biggest sandstorm in Burning Man history. How big was the storm? A 40-foot-high geodesic dome near me was casually uprooted by the wind and sent rolling down the road like tumbleweed. But I digress.
There I was in my sweet little tent, trying to sleep. It was like trying to sleep in the front row of a SuperNova concert. Not gonna happen! And this went on all night. It seems that I had inadvertently camped next Space Cowboy, the ultimate rock-and-roll theme camp. I heard one woman walking past my tent say, "I used to party on the other side of Black Rock City, but not any more!" Oh dear.
At around 3 am, I finally went over to tell my neighbors to turn the damn techno-rock down. Sleep-deprived and wearing my flannel nightgown and bunny slippers, I was a Force to be Reckoned With. "Turn that stuff down," I screamed. "People here are trying to sleep!" Wrong. I was the only single solitary person in all of Black Rock City that was trying to sleep. I'm here to tell you. Burners know how to party Bigtime! Here was a whole other side of Burning Man that I'd never seen. I had NO idea. Burning Man is the world's biggest party!
Then some young woman dressed in pink hair and gigantic fairy wings came up to me, gave me a big hug and handed me a drink. The drink was blue. I refused it and, instead of having the time of my life and dancing my heart out until dawn like everyone else, I wandered off and got lost while searching for the Porta-Potties. What was I thinking!
"This is your investigative reporter, Jane Stillwater, reporting from the Black Rock desert. It's a whole other world here at night!"