[naked] Burning Man

naked 0119 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

Finally, I am getting to write about one of the brightest events of the last year and my whole life so far – Burning Man, a festival that I had wanted to attend for years! And it is just on time before the tickets for 2013 go on sale already next Wednesday, for which you need to pre-register by this coming Sunday, 12:00 Pacific Time!

Of course, given this blog’s theme, I’ll focus on the naked aspect of the [Burning] Man, which is just a small portion of what I have experienced there. Nudity is a commonplace in Black Rock City (geographic alias of Burning Man), but only a fraction of people opt for it.  This gives you a realistic feeling of what it could be like if full nudity in public was legalised in Western society and some people would start make use of this freedom.

naturist 0130 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

By the way, it is thanks to this blog that I found a wonderful companion, Andre, to join me at the festival, as I had to sell a ticket originally planned for another friend who had to cancel. We planned all logistics together, and it worked out just fine, and we became good friends. The whole planning thing seemed quite complicated at first, as we had to organise a self-reliable camp out in the desert in Nevada with unpredictable weather AND visit and see as many interesting things as possible during the festival. The official website and mailing list contains all necessary information, but I’m going to give just a few words of advice re logistics (of course, this is just from our personal experience, and may be totally different for you).

1) There are now buses from some of the major cities in the area, but the price doesn’t seem to be competitive with car rental as long as you are more than one person.

2) Even a small tent can be totally fine as long as you have a good shading structure. You are not going to sleep much and spend time ‘indoors’. But it’s essential to have protection from dusty winds (sometimes) and blazing sun around noon (every day).

3) What the official booklet advised re water (up to 4 gallons per day per person) was absolutely over the top for us. I understand that they want you to stay on the safe side, but we took only half of the recommended amount and then had to give out at least a third of water.

4) Don’t bring booze, unless you want a very specific type or your camp theme is some sort of bar. There is plenty of alcohol everywhere, and don’t forget, everything is free at Burning Man once you get there!

5) Vinegar turned out to be really useful to clean skin, especially feet, from alkaline playa dust. I sometimes poured it in my ‘barefoot’ Bikram shoes; skin moisturisers are great too. On the other hand, I didn’t feel it was necessary to have more sun protection than, say, on a sunny beach day, as some sources claimed and urged to bring sunscreens of SPF100 etc. But then again, I was already tanned by the end of the summer, and also I suspect that dust might actually help against the sun. I used SPF15 or 30 on my shoulders and never got burnt.

6) Melons! They actually did well even in that heat for several days and we wished we brought more than 3.

7) Last but not least, it was a great decision to join a pretty big theme camp, Playa Bike Transportation in our case. They gave us a lot of advice and provided the kitchen, solar camp shower, and most importantly the shading structure.

So, construction of the shading structure was the first thing we took care of when we found our camp. This way we also got to know several camp-mates.

naturist 0021 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

It wasn’t too complicated, and I even found a minute to pose as the Vitruvian Man of Leonardo da Vinci :-)

naturist 0022 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

The only difficult part was hammering rebar into the hard playa ground. But I had no idea that it would be much more difficult to get it out afterwards! (That’s when we used some of our extra water, as it was easier to pull out rebar from wet ground.)

naturist 0023 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

Playa Bike Transportation camp turned out to be an excellent choice for me in many respects. Burning Man is built on the idea of everyone contributing something to ‘the community’ – “no spectators, only participants” is the motto. Being a part of a bike camp, it was easy to find a way to help people – by repairing their bicycles.

naturist 0003 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

Black Rock City is quite a big town without public transportation and cars (unless they are ‘mutated’), so most people rely on bicycles to go long distances. But with all that dust, bikes break easily (it makes sense to have a playa-dedicated bike if you are a regular, or rent one from a camp like ours). So, our camp was always busy with people lining up for self-service or help from our professional mechanics or amateurs like me.

naturist 0006 Playa Bike Transportation/ Repair, Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

While on duty, we got approached all the time, but the good thing was that it allowed us to get to know a lot of people!

naturist 0007 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

It is worth noting, that Playa Bike Transportation (this year, Playa Bike Repair) is not a nudist camp per se. I knew there were camps that were more related to nudity, but my idea was to try to live as if birthday suit was as ‘normal’ as any other outfit and just do regular stuff in the buff… like repairing bikes. I did not want to stay in any kind of nudist colony, and I think this was the best thing I could do to show that there is nothing wrong with nakedness. Before joining the camp, I discussed the nakedness issue with the leader and he seemed to be convinced, although Andre and I were going to be its first naked members (pun not intended). It worked out just great, nobody seemed to have issues with that and a couple of our campmates got naked too on various occasions.

Besides Playa Bike Transportation, Andre (mostly) and I volunteered at the neighbouring Post Office camp. Yes, Black Rock City may be a short-living settlement but it’s got its own functional Post Office with a proper stamp! I tried my best to be the least friendly possible mocking the stereotype of a USPS worker, but Andre was much better at it and soon became known as an ‘angry postman’.

naturist 0142 Post Office, Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

Again, we surprised our customers by our attire, but everyone seemed to love it!

naturist 0077 Post Office, Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

Our coworkers were cool about it too.

naturist 0078 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

Thus, I think our biggest contribution to the Burning Man festival was spreading the idea that nakedness is just fine and there is nothing shocking about it by doing regular jobs in the buff and interacting with large numbers of people every day. Burning Man is all about expanding your views and comfort zone, and hopefully we’ve triggered this at least in some of our “customers” and campmates.

Besides acquiring new friends, I also knew some old buddies were coming as well. One of them was Miguel, a devoted naturist traveller.

naturist 0000 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

He stayed at colourful Comfort and Joy camp.

naturist 0100 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

When I ventured out to search of Miguel’s camp, I saw El Pulpo Mecanico, one of the hundreds of art cars, or mutant vehicles on the playa.

naturist 0097 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

And I think it remained to be my favourite till the end. It looked fantastic in daylight and at night too, with all its moving tentacles emitting fire.

naturist  0000 Pulpo Mecanico, Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

Some mutant vehicles were huge and impressed with their design and mere size.

naturist 0139 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

There were also a lot of spectacular structures and constructions, big and small, that made the landscape absolutely surreal.

naturist 0107 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

This pirate ship sinking in sand was definitely one of the highlights.

naturist 0190 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

Some structures were interactive, like these phone booths.

naturist 0001 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

By the way, as you can see on this photo, there was a night when it was warm enough to walk around naked. When we played with my LED-lit frisbee, it was even too hot. But most of the nights were quite chilly, so we had to wear something. Andre and I had a minimalist ‘caveman’ outfit made of fake sheep fur rugs (you can see me on the left of the night el Pulpo Mecanico picture).

The main structure was of course the Man himself, seen from all over the city thanks to its geometrical plan (and provided clear weather, usually in early mornings) – on this photo from 9 o’clock plaza, where our camp was located,

naturist 0131 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

or from Center Camp, here.

naturist 0144 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

At night, it is lit up, as almost everything (and everybody) else.

naturist 0109 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

The Man structure was also a gathering point for some events like Black Rock City’s own issue of the World Naked Bike Ride, aka World Naked Pub Crawl. With bikes being such a crucial part of life during the festival, and its idea to promote self-reliance and sustainability, WNBR seems to fit perfectly into the concept of Burning Man; and with those phallic structures around the Man, which I guess had to do with 2012′s theme, Fertility, the naked aspect of the ride seemed only more appropriate.

naturist 0008 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

Before the ride, naked people took over the Man,

naturist 0012 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

filling the whole structure

naturist 0013 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

and climbing everywhere possible.

naturist 0014 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

Nice view from the Man ;-)

naturist 0009 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

Most of the participants were on regular bikes, but it wouldn’t be Burning Man without some amusing riders, who decorated their naked bodies,

naturist 0024 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

these fancy tandem bikers,

tandem bike naked Burning Man 2012

or like this guy on unicycle.

naturist 0010 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

Amazeballs! [I know, the term use is somewhat controversial, but it suits here more than anywhere else ;-) ]

Several “pubs” welcomed naked bike riders. The Duck Pond was probably the most fun, as it had a 150-foot-long slip-n-slide.

naturist 0036 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

At least one guy made it almost all the way till the end of it!

naturist 00366 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

I went a bit sideways and didn’t reach that far.

naturist 0067 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

Next stop was spontaneous, as some riders simply took over trampolines of another camp.

naturist trampoline 0015 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USAnaturist trampoline 0020 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

Needless to say, it was a lot of fun and some were really good at tumbling!

naturist trampoline 0037 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USAnaturist trampoline 0071 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

Next bar, Barbie Death Camp, saw a naked pianist performance.

naturist 0011 Barbie Death Camp, Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

Party Naked Tiki Bar, is a probably the most known naked hang out place at the playa, and it was a part of the World Naked Pub Crawl too, of course.

naturist Tiki Bar 0196 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

Besides those, I would also like to mention Scarbutts Cafe, where we got our late morning coffee

naturist 0140 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

for a couple of good spanks :D

naturist 0076 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

Center Camp is a great hang out spot too, and it wasn’t left without some naked activities either.

This guy was really good at playing with the sock ball.

naturist sock ball 0000 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

And I was really happy that my Burning Man didn’t go without some capoeira games.

naturist capoeira 0100 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

There was a martial arts theme camp, Black Rock Kwoon and Dojo, with classes on different martial arts including capoeira, but there were daily games (rodas) at the Center Camp too.

naturist capoeira 0076 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USAnaturist capoeira 0077 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

And I was even happier when one more naked guy joined the game, as well as a topless girl (not on the photos, though).

For a moment, the Center Camp turned into an Ancient Greek gymnasium :-)

naturist capoeira 0050 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USAnaturist capoeira 0105 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USAnaturist capoeira 0106 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USAnaturist capoeira 0107 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

Too bad it was the last evening already, but that was a definitive “yes” – Black Rock City rocks!!!

naturist capoeira 0019 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

Those were sad and happy two last nights when major structures were burnt, but that is also a part of beauty of Burning Man, highlighting the idea that one must live in the moment.

naturist 0185 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

And it ends, as everything, only to give a new beginning… Already on the way back, my new friends and I were discussing our ideas for the next year! (Though I am still to decide whether I am going in 2013.)

naturist 0195 Burning Man 2012, Black Rock City, NV, USA

Oh wait, I’ve also compiled a video with some of the brightest moments at Burning Man. No video is capable to show what that festival of festivals really is, but hopefully it can give you some idea and inspiration.

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27 Responses to [naked] Burning Man

  1. Bruce says:

    Thank you for posting such an interesting report!

  2. A great chronicle of the event and remarkable photos! I’ve never been to this event but have several acquaintances who have done so! I need to get my buttocks there and soon! Thank you for posting this!

  3. Brendan Kilcawley says:

    Looked like an awesome trip Kiril. Great to see you so happy

    Sent from my iPhone

  4. christian tschoeke says:

    great blog and quite a video, good job!!! cT are you naked in the snow?

  5. would love to go there in 2013. anyone interested ?

  6. I am going… 5th consecutive burn! Miguel “Miracle” from Comfort and Joy!

  7. Another great story, excellent photos!

  8. grasseynoel says:

    Reblogged this on View from a grassey knoll and commented:
    As a great followup to yesterdays post, I just discovered this blog and his great article about his experiences at Burning Man festival

  9. I dream about Burning Man for 2-3 years now… wish I could attend once. Thank you for this extraordinary story !

  10. Jack Clark says:

    Great journal and pictures from Burning Man. I have only attended local burn in Florida but just like you said it is a wonderful open place to co exist as a nudist with others who may not be nudists but accept you as an equal and open to our choice. I feel so free there being a nudist. Someday maybe make it to Burning Man. Thanks for sharing your journey.

  11. αNaturist says:

    here is a good article about a father-son bonding adventure at Burning Man, that’s quite unusual!
    http://www.gq.com/news-politics/mens-lives/201302/burning-man-experiences-wells-tower-gq-february-2013

  12. brilliant report and made me want to be there thanks!

  13. naturalian says:

    brilliant report made me want to be there thanks!

  14. Pingback: World Naked Bike Ride, NYC edition 2013, is on Saturday, 8 June! | Active Naturists

  15. Adrian Rondeau says:

    Im a 25 year old fun and fit professional here that would love to go! Only if I could find some peeps that would be interested in going with me? Or at least teach me the ropes? :p

    • Jack says:

      Would love to go but 2013 out of the question. I may start planning for 2014 event. Several of my friends have been and it sounds so cool. I attend the regional burns down here in Florida and it is so cool. If you go this year have fun

  16. Pingback: some exciting events, from Pilobolus show to streaking for tigers at London Zoo and Volleyball Super Bowl | Active Naturists

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  19. Bart says:

    Wow, just great, and i love being nude in FIVEFINGERS

    100PROCENTNATURAL.TUMBLR.COM

  20. Pingback: Awesome bouldering at a foursome date | Active Naturists

  21. dtnyc2013 says:

    Nice pics !!! Wish there were more places to get naked in NYC!!!

  22. Happy Bare says:

    Thanks! Great story and photos! One day….

  23. philippe25 says:

    Thank you for this report and all the great photos. I’m a burner too, but it was in 2006 that I went there. That’s getting to be some time ago now. Our camp wasn’t all that much into the nudity, but there was quite a few naked people about. We had our shower set up just next to our tents, so we were publicly naked there. And we loaned the shower to a lot of people came along with their solar shower bags. So there was quite a bit of nudity in our vicinity, to come to think of it.
    Burning Man, I liked it and would probably go back if the right set of conditions all came together. Then again, there are a lot of other things to do and see too.

  24. adelbert meek says:

    I have dreamed about going to burning man for 15 years or so.

  25. Alex Makarow says:

    What a wonderful story. You were lucky to be there.

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