How long have you been going to Burning Man?
This will be my 7th burn!
What does the Burning Man experience mean to you?
For me, the Burning Man experience means a lot of freedom. Of course, there are rules and principles. However, it means no phones, emails, alarm clocks, or schedules. I get to camp with my family of friends, and every year is a unique challenge and experience. Also, it’s now where I celebrate my anniversary with my partner, Sean.
We were married on the Playa in 2016! There's also a lot of personal growth that can happen. Relationships deepen, your heart opens, and your skills widen.
This year, you are part the Dot the Dog, aka #DotGoestoBurningMan… What is the backstory of Dot the Dog?
This year I am the Project Manager for Dot Goes to Burning Man! Dot is a memorial, static, open-fire installation. A crew of seven builders, including myself, will be building this wooden sculpture dedicated to the memory of George Simon. George wanted to build an art piece dedicated to his beloved dog, Dorothy, this year.
Sadly, George died two weeks after last year's event. His friends, family, and campmates are carrying the dream forward and producing this piece in his honor. We will burn the sculpture on Thursday night of the event.
The installations on the Playa are really incredible and we always wonder… How in the heck did they get that thing out there and set it up?! What are the logistics, people, and equipment required to set up Dot on the Playa this year?
It is really no small thing that any project, camp, or art car arrives on the Playa. It can be a journey of a year or more to brainstorm, plan, fund, and find your crew to bring your vision to life. Many months of planning, design work, structural engineering, and application processes need to be done.
Burning Man is especially strict with large-scale installations, and ours is also an "Open Fire" project which adds an additional layer of safety requirements and training. Our team will be partially building Dot in Los Angeles. On the 22nd of August, we will converge on the playa and start our process of setting up camp, meeting with various support teams Burning Man provides and then starting our build.
Due to the extreme nature of Black Rock City, we will be building from sunset to 3:00am! Ideally, this gives us a bit of dark time for decompressing and rest. Just before sunset, we will have our family meal and head out to our build site. No matter how big or small your vision is, your crew is your biggest asset.
Tell us a little about your wedding on the Playa. What was that like and did you have to prepare any differently for the burn that year?
In 2016, we had our ceremony during the event! Our friends gathered at the “Fire in Balance” installation, built by a friend of ours, just before sunset.
Sean and I arrived in our friend’s Playa limo and walked a red carpet to our impermanent venue! As the sun started to set, our two officiates, Coco and Serotonin, performed a completely unique ceremony.
We exchanged vows as our family of friends witnessed. After the sun went down, the art piece was lit on fire, and we danced all evening, drinking champagne and eating mini cheesecakes a friend baked on site!
For the rest of the night, we rode on art cars around the Playa. It was truly the most unique and special situation that we could have hoped for. We were also lucky that the wind had died down just before our timeline started. The only difference that year is we had to remember we had to do something at a particular time!
What are your 3-5 must-haves on the Playa to get thru the week safely and (relatively) comfortably?
The must-haves are plenty of food, shelter, shade, water, an open heart, your crew, and Action Wipes! We camp—and this is extreme camping.
You have to bring enough food and water (there is no commerce at Burning Man), though you are gifted snacks and meals and beverages a lot. Shade and cozy shelter from the elements is a must! An open heart to deepen your experience is key. And finally, Action Wipes (hey, this is not gratuitous).
For the last six years, I have been sharing my wipes with anyone who comes into camp. Not only are they a great pre-camp shower but also key for refreshing oneself throughout the day.
Burning Man is a gifting economy, and my gift is the fresh feeling that is the result of a freshly applied Action Wipe. Hot tip, put some in a Ziploc in your cooler—so, so good!
Thanks, Jen! Hope you, your crew, and Dot have an amazing Burn.
For more information on Dot's trip to Burning Man, visit his Facebook page.