Sunday, 11 September 2011

A Big Burnt Man

We stayed at the Peppermill Casino in Reno either side of Burning Man. It was a vast labyrinth of mental carpeting, thoroughly unnatural lighting and haplessly unglamorous gambling.

The picture of understatement below is the Oceano sushi restaurant (which was better than Cafe Milano where everything you ordered came with whipped cream or bacon but not as elegant as the Eleganza, nor, I'd hazard, as romantic as the Romanza). You might think it foolish to eat seafood that far from the sea but we were brave souls and it was rather delicious.

Initially wandering around the casino and Tuscan themed hotel I got hysterical giggles at the monstrous neon absurdity of it all, filled with a mad mix of anticipatory Burners champing at the bit and with regular folk who had purposely chosen it as a holiday destination who remarked admiringly on the Italianate fixtures, curvaceous waitresses and appropriate background music.

Then the horror set in about here...

...when I got lost in a maze of corpses noisily slotting their way to penury, and became so depressed that not even being served a Bloody Mary by a friendly man named Ralph who garnished it with a rasher of bacon could cheer me up.

Just in time I spotted a video notice board which informed me that "The Peppermill continues to go green; by using artificial grass and flowers we save 4 billion tonnes (artistic license) of water every year." I tried to conjure what the electricity bill might be in a mile square 19 storey air conditioned, perma-lit Hotel-Casino in Reno, and roared with laughter until I choked on my bacon and went to bed.

N.b - despite being bitchily disparaging above, the Peppermill was stocked with wonderously friendly staff, poolside margaritas from Valhalla and the giant bed in the Tuscan Tower was just what I needed on the other side of the Burn.


Burning Man itself was indescribable excellence distilled in a week of utter joyous madness. Can't really say much more and not going to.

The specialist of all mentions goes to Ooligan Alley and ALL who resided there. Plus HMS-XS for the most magnificent boozing atop a motorised iceberg and Disco Knights for being a top notch stomping ground for ass-shaking.

Ariel views of Black Rock City:
(via Unofficial Networks)

Grant Kaye took him and his wife way out of the playa boundary to film the night the man burnt in time lapse - it gives a pretty good view of a night in Black Rock City.

Burning Man 2011: Rites of Passage - Burn Night Timelapse from Grant Kaye on Vimeo.

And this is a video of the giant wheel of skeletons rowing their way across the Styx, called Charon by Peter Hudson and it's the main thing I'm bummed not to have caught sight of. Freaking magnificent.


A very special place and only 355 days till I get back there.

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