FEEL THE BURNER
What's a "Burner"? A Burner is the kind of person that goes to Burning Man. You know Burning Man? It's that gathering in the desert that draws thousands of painted, feathered and naked individuals every year. Started as an organic little festival of like-minded souls (hippies), the thing now draws tens of thousands of weekend warriors, who pony up a good amount of cash to drop their inhibitions (and drawers), twirl the florescent noodle, and spread the word like rabid missionaries that the shindig is the best thing since sliced bread. There's corporate sponsors, goofy art installations , loads of drugs like X and K, and of course fire. "You gotta go to Burning Man!" the devotees always tell me. "It'll change your life." I have absolutely no interest. Thankfully my life does not need any more changing.
If my attitude seems a bit superior and dismissive of Burning Man, it's on purpose. My philosophy is diametrically opposed to what the organizers have done with Burning Man. They want to bring the world (in greater and greater numbers) to the desert. They want to make money. They want to exploit. I, on the other hand, want to keep the CLGM small, burn a few dollars, smoke a little pot, drink a few beers, have a bbq among friends (and a few strangers) and change the world right in front of our eyes. But with all that said, the other night I hosted a "Burner Party" at the CLGM. Fuck going to Burning Man. I can bring Burning Man to me.
I know it seems like sacrilege to pimp out the church for a party (for actual $) but in my old age I have to figure out a way to pay the phone bill without falling off of construction projects. So Saturday night about 60 people showed up to dance, cavort, twirl fire and Ooooooo and Ahhhhhhhh over our little parish here in the Catskills. Shirtless men and painted women came up to me all night long shaking my hand, telling me how blown away they were by the CLGM. They asked for instagram accounts and hashtags to post their happiness. I had none to offer. I frowned sternly and told them to keep it on the DL. They were perplexed by my "anti-viral" approach. It made no sense to them. We obviously came from different belief systems. Nonetheless they partied, drank, danced, twirled and tripped the night away to throbbing beats in the sanctuary and out on the lawn. At dawn, with about a dozen hardcore left in the church, I went to bed.
All in all it was a good experience (for them and me). They had a ball, cleaned up, were respectful of the neighbors, and left me with a pile of cash in my pocket. Yes, we are of different faiths, but as the sign says "ALL ARE WELCOME". I have no desire to make this a regular practice, but once in a while I may open up the chapel for revelers from other traditions. After burning thousands of dollars over 30 years, maybe now is the time to expand my beliefs and put a little folding cash in the coffers. I still have no desire to ever attend Burning Man. But Burning Man can always come to me.