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[personal profile] errantember
This has to be have been one of my best Flipsides ever!

I wasn't even sure I could make the event until the day before, because I was helping a relative recover from foot surgery. The final check-up appointment went well, however, and off I went!

I dragged my new yurt and 150 lbs of billboard vinyl all the way from Dallas. The car overheated at higher speeds, so I'll need to do some repair work and some load-lightening before I take the whole project to Portland this summer.

I arrived at The Cult of the Purple Taco shortly before dusk. To my joy, I discovered that several of my close friends and several more people I had met had come out from Georgia's Alchemy crowd and were camping in the *same* *camp*! Alchemy is my favorite burn after Flipside, and a large part of the motivation for taking my career on the road was to see that crowd more often. And here they were! Purple Taco didn't have enough space for my yurt, and I hadn't even started cutting the vinyl necessary to cover it, so I set up just the skeleton at Time Lords as an art project, and so I could enjoy and geek out on all my hard work with other homebrew housing enthusiasts. Some of the people who helped me unload inadvertently dropped the ends of the roof rafters into poison ivy, which was, unfortunately, one of the few negative themes for the event.

I proceeded to assemble the yurt on Thursday night, and only needed a bit of help to hold the roof ring up while I put it enough rafters to float it. I offered the helpers Technu, but they wandered off before I could deliver. I encountered my first hard-core yurt enthusiast during the setup, and we talked for over 30 minutes about it. I have a few easy ideas about how to stand the roof ring easily so that the structure can be set up by one person. I think once I have it down, it will take less than 30 minutes from start to finish.

The theme for the pairing of the yurt and the Metro is The Tortoise and the Hare. I'll be painting an enormous turtle shell on the yurt covering, and making a cute little head and fins to complete the motif. The Metro, at 55 horsepower, will be the Hare.

On Friday I spent some time hanging out with the Tacoteers and the Alchemists. I checked out The Hive project, headed by the same person who's been running Circle of Fire in the many years since my brief administration, which was super-cool. The idea is to create a center-camp-like at Flipside, with a modular design that could be added on from year to year. It was both beautiful and functional, and I got some great ideas on how to proceed with the vinyl covering for the yurt from that team. Kudos to Adam and crew for the project, and to Adam specifically for taking on so many projects that enhanced the burn. I also spent a few lazy hours lounging in the creek, the first time I'd ever been in it. It was hippie soup, but it felt great. I didn't see any of the promised leeches, despite being knee-deep in mud much of the time.

I felt slightly cheated, but other took the slight with greater equanimity.

On Saturday I got up after Not Enough Sleep to help out with serving our famous Purple Tacos. I had some good discussions with M. about emotional content being brought up by the burn, and also acted as a busker during the later part of the Taco experience to try to bring in people to finish off our ingredients. Our crew also made a visit to Burning Glam, where I procured a fabulously tight and slinky red top that I wore the rest of the day. I defaulted to wearing purple to show my esprit-de-corps with the camp the rest of the time.

Saturday evening I decide to have a new non-sober experience accompanied by my closest Atlantian friends.

Some vignettes from the experience:

I started out with my A. crew.

We started at a camp with excellent shade, a good view of the outside sky, but also a lot of fun internal lights. The sun went down as we came up, with the digital light replacing the natural in a beautiful, smooth progression.

Being completely entranced to my knees by Paula performing at Circle of Fire. At moments like these I often wonder if she's still married. :)

The delightful condition of being able to simultaneously go way out into serious visual effects and synesthesia, but still being able to concentrate, hold a conversation, and laugh at and make jokes. I recall getting several compliments for my witticisms, which felt good.

The general sensation of multiple levels of consciousness between total talking-to-God territory and lucid conversation happening at the same time, switching into each, or at least not having to wait long until the right one came along, at will. A friend later said "that sounds like lucid dreaming," and he was spot on.

See-sawing on the 'Stache Saw, screaming "THE DRUGS ARE TRYING TO KILL YOU!!!!!!" at the top of my lungs.

Running into a strange group of people wearing fake beards and stovepipe and red-white-and-blue campaign hats lines up on bleachers singing "Bohemian Rhapsody." The energy was so powerful people who thought they had achieved Escape Velocity staggered around as though snagged by their souls with the Rhinestone Tractor Beam of Queen, joining in with manic, entirely mandatory glee. As a long-time choir singer, I've experienced magic in group performance on many occasions, but this was by far the most powerful experience of it's kind I've ever had, and it happened so fast I didn't even realize it until it was half over. With the enormous variety of sexual preferences, fabulous clothing, and human freedom, I don't think Freddy Mercury could possibly have been more proud.

Another Major Energetic Musical Moment was the two times we walked by Drum Camp. All of the swirling split personalities suddenly collapsed into a single clarifying unity the closer we go to the drums. Never have I so fundamentally understood their power and direct connection to the human psyche. Nothing else I've ever experienced while tripping was so...clean. And the effect faded in direct proportion to our retreating distance. I returned to drum camp later, with only two and then one person playing, to kneel before the altar and let the drums work me over for a good ten or fifteen minutes, until the player brought things to a halt. I bowed in gratitude and continued on.

Being completely breath-taken by the Well of Souls after making a request to get out into the nature a bit more for a breather. It was definitely one of the most convincing and visceral connections with spirit I've seen from an art display.

After about six or seven hours, we stopped by Purple Taco and ended up splitting up. I had a snack, then struck out on my own.

Riding Fatima, one of the Four Rocking Horses of the Apocalypse, in what turned out to be a very sexual way. The feeling of the smooth, rounded, sensuous body shape, combined with the crotch-grinding saddle-configuration and the twitchingly responsive rocking gait had me going for a good five or ten minutes before I decided to see what sensual pleasures awaiting me in War.

Riding War was very different, it was big and heavy and chunky, which turned to be perfect for dancing. I got the horse itself rocking to the beat of the nearby gypsy music, and it was more than stable enough for me to lift and the saddle and dance with the rest of my body.

Ended up at Burning Soul, where my good friend and ex-girlfriend and several other old-skool people from my early firedancing days were camping. I was struck, not for the first time, of how grateful I was and how novel it was that I had such old friends. As a kid, I was forced to move every few years until I got into junior high, so I had almost no ability to maintain long-term friendships. Austin and the burn scene is the first time I've ever had the opportunity to do it, and it feels so good and right, like a something inside myself that's been disconnected for ever was repaired.

Danced at several different locations. I can't say I generally get super into dancing while modified, although ingested weed can have that effect. I generally consider Flipside to be a major downgrade in my dance experience, but this time it was at least fun. I definitely missed Ish and it's amazing dance experience.

Spent some time communing with my yurt, and how it represented the fun, healthy new direction my life was going in. I had previously been intending to raise the doorway, because I have to duck slightly when I go into it. However, I had the revelation while running my fingers over the wood that there was a powerful metaphor lurking in the mild inconvenience. When we cut down on our life to find out what we really need (ducking through the door), then a little more (standing up again) feels like luxury. Without this exploration, our consumeristic culture just programs us to want more and more. It's such a perfect explanation of what I'm trying to accomplish, I decided to keep the stoop.

Ran into an old British friend from way back in my early Flipside days. We hung out for hours discussing simple living, camping, and my yurt, which we finally managed to find after over an hour looking. I escorted him home.

Continued wandering and experiencing as dawn crept up. I realized that the end of the effigy field near Ice Camp look a *lot* like the end of the field at Rec Plant, the original location of Flipside when I started going in 2002. There was an empty spot where Circle of Fire used to be on the old property, and it definitely brought me back. I watched the sun rise, and probably 12 hours after it started, my journey was complete. After two weeks of taking care of my relative and being locked in a room with cigarette smoke and Fox News, I had needed it. I went to bed a happy man.

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December 2015

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