Playa Confessional

On September 11, 2012, in Past Morning Briefs, by David

As ever, I am astounded, baffled and extremely extended by my sojourn to and from Burning Man. Say what you want, plan all you will, you never know what you’re going to get from that dusty box of chocolates till you take a bite. And even then who really knows for sure if it’s the luscious crème of cocoa, or just…dust.

Unlike many, whose journey included the process of finding a 2012 ticket out of scarcity (which ultimately morphed to abundance), my ticket and commitment to a 7th consecutive burn was sealed in Round 2 of the controversial, all but forgotten lottery. Going all the way I was, which is usually a good thing for this Gemini.

Ah, but good or bad…who’s to say? I’m sure I’ll be pondering this Burn for a great long while, playa-moments moving in and out of consciousness like psychic soul puzzles as the next 50 weeks of calendar time unfold. We ignore the messages of the playa, and our friends and peers and everything else for that matter, at our own peril. One trick I’m trying to teach myself is to ponder without obsessing, to analyze without picking to death, and to do my best to turn all the moments and lessons, high and low, into the rocket fuel of my lateral existences.

I’m a big believer in the transformative nature of the Playa. I have seen first hand how Burning Man has planted seeds in individuals, and in turn these individuals become catalysts within our society. Burning Man is much bigger than going to Burning Man, as evidenced by the numerical truth that there are more people who want to go than there are tickets. Its guiding principals transcend Playa-time and inform our evolving sense of community and culture.

As ever, I am always impressed by the ability of the Burning Man community to band together, co-create, and deliver an unrivaled experience to all who attend. It is, I reckon, a container and we are the payload. More power to all who make the pilgrimage, and commit whatever we will to the greater community, as well as the benefits to the evolution of ourselves. One of the biggest prizes of the journey. Difficult to explain, and way way more than sex, drugs and rock and roll. Promise.

If you’re curious, and you’ve never been, indulge yourself one day, buck up, and get there. I promise you the challenges have nothing to do with what you think the challenges will be. And the rewards are on a level beyond all other vacations, adventures, road trips, etc. when you commit, participate, listen, and let go.

Big lessons of the last year going into 2012 Burn:

1. When I say something about someone else, I’m usually also saying it about myself.
2. Butterflies mean you care. I am learning to treat performing like an athlete treats a big game. Physically and mentally.
3. There is such a thing as too much of a good thing.
4. Checking my ego with humility.

My commitment for this year’s Burn:

1. To curate the best possible lineup of music for the biggest and one of the best run institutions on the Playa – Disorient.
2. Be there to facilitate the performance, and experience, for all to cross-pollinate international talent connections with the Disorient crew and vibe.
3. Offer these opportunities to play music to fellow DJs without expecting anything in return.
4. To live with integrity within my commitments, and experience the rest of Burning Man beyond DJing, curating music, and participating in camp.
5. Take care of myself physically, without enabling injury or exhaustion.
6. Come back ready to rock and continue to produce new material from Day 1.
7. Take a look at the way I react to challenges and crises to continue being the best I can be “in the moment.”

Intentional take aways from this year’s Burn (related to my personal commitments):

1. Wrangling cars can be tricky.
2. The playa provides.
3. Preparation is our ally.
4. I only need half the things I bring with me. Next year, bring less.
5. The playa diet always works.
6. If it seems like a bad idea before leaving for the Playa, it will probably turn out to be an even worse idea on the Playa. Maybe not, but probably so.
7. Ask first, how have I created this?

Unintentional take aways from this year’s Burn:

1. For someone who has the ability to delight and sometimes even astound, I can – in my worst moments – be a bitter pill to friends and casual observers.
2. It’s both what I do, and the way that I do it that counts.
3. I almost never quit, contrary at times to good sense but usually to my benefit (and occasionally the benefit of the greater good).
4. Try as I might to keep my best-intended commitments, doing things that call for collaboration require an understanding that all who participate may not share my agenda and priorities, well-intentioned or otherwise.
5. Expectation and entitlement are not our allies. As ever.

That’s all I’ve got for now. May amend later.

Attempting to provide a list of friends and colleagues to give thanks. People, and our collective experience, are what matter, and I am completing a lap that took me to the darkest regions of wanting and having things to respecting the amazing gifts that we and our connectedness bring to each precious day.

With love, humility, self-reflection, pride and gratitude…


Rebecca/Ruby – co-pilot extraordinaire
Ted Werth
Hruby Maiers
Ky Nguyen
The Eye
Steve and Giggity
Michael – Driver to the Stars
Matt P for being in the right place at the right time; knew you’d figure it out
Deidre (thanks for the ice!! More than I could ask for 🙂
Jesse – Nice rally!!!
Arturo – great voyage for you. Very proud.
Bacon and Victoria
Eva – partner in crime Delivers.
EZ and the Crew of the Blackbird
Mindy (ink & pencil)
Topher – Good Man!
Camp Charlie and the Unicorn Crew
Pumpkin (your sunrise set rocked and ruled)
The Blackbird
The entire crew of the Blackbird – love, respect, empathy and thanks
Coyoti – our communication turned the tide
Nemo & the crew of Nautilus X
Diva, Wolfie, Cos, Jeff, Jackie, BC, Todd and Ron for a perfect Thursday night
Syd – thanks for understanding; you will reimbursed literally and kharmic-ly many fold.
L & J Greenbot – many-fold
All Homeslicers
All PlayaSurfers
The Steampunk Saloon
Donald – Spaceman, you grew 10 years younger on the playa; happy to see it
Adam Freeland – great as you are, better than imagined
Marques Wyatt for 3 hours of pure bliss after the Burn
Rox – awesome Burn!
Saadhu/Peter – you are always there in spirit, Bro
CTC/CT3 – Large and in charge
Ally – back at ya!
Nick – thanks for a hook-up on the Unicorn Tuesday night
Friar Tuck
All who gave all at Disorient
Cos, Ana, Jeff and Joane
Pope and Napalm
Felguk and Lazy Rich – gotcha!
Professor Lacroix – heard it all; best Dome set of the week (for me)
Beau Robb – except for Beau 😉
Fleetwood Smack – respect!
Brandy – rock star moment!
Wall Street – they rocked it so hard Thursday night they couldn’t burn it down till Saturday
Jessica – Temple Burn moment
Corey Endeavor Rosen
Playa Barbie!
Warring – the eyes have it
Farilla & See
Diggs – with a <3 as big as the Playa



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