Burning Man on Instagram: photos by sfslim

I cannot get to Burning Man this year because I'm in cancer treatment. It's funny, too, because the experience of going through that has given me a new kind of fondness for the annual playa festivities. The freedom, the wide open spaces, the happiness of mutants.

Following long-time Burner Aaron Muszalski (@sfslim) on Instagram is the next best thing, and I recommend it strongly, whether or not you're going to be in Black Rock City in person. He's a talented photographer, and he captures the whimsy, the art, the beauty of those vast desert expanses with the comfort of one who knows them all intimately. Bonus: you don't have to get any dust up your gullet.

To all out there as I type this, have lots of sex and fire and drugs and candyraving and shirtcocking for me.

"SFSLIM," on Webstagram, or receive his photos via Twitter. Wish Instagram had a searchable web interface.

And if you'd like to watch the live video webcast from Burning Man, you'll find that here on Ustream.


        1. It’s kind of useless right now, just a still frame? But my reaction to it will depend on what it ends up containing. Why don’t you like it? Is it because you wish that the experience were not diluted by being broadcast? I can understand that.

          1. That is part of it. But mainly it’s because pan and zoom are controlled by the ustream chat session and while it’s generally been OK, there have been instances of zooming in on women and tracking them as they walk across the playa. It make me feel like it’s less of a safe space this year.

          2.  I’ve watched the live stream a bit during the day (like many, I have mixed feelings about its existence), and it looks like this was a good year not to go. The dust is abysmal — whiteout central. Attendance seems to be drastically down — Center Camp bike racks only had 3 or 4 bikes each! Far fewer people going down the radial avenues.

            People were literally giving away tickets before the event, largely because of the epic sales debacle that resulted in major percentages of long-time camp-members being unable to get tickets earlier on. Estimates are that around half the sales were to newbies, which should make things, um, different.

            I’m curious to talk to people who went after it’s over to see if it was any different.

          3.  I know one of the things I’ve enjoyed about being at Burning Man is the lack of contact with the outside world and although I’ve been checking in on the ustream for a few days now, I kinda share some of the same feelings of it being uncomfortable feeling (including the tracking of women with the camera….) But I’m torn, because watching is the best I can do in terms of experiencing it this year besides what’s in my head or still-not-cleaned-of-playa-dust or talking to others that couldn’t go this year for whatever reason.

            The ticket situation really screwed me though. I was looking for tickets for over 6 months without any luck. Finally the end of July they started coming at me from every direction, but it was too late and my work wouldn’t let me take off the vacation at that point.

  1. I’ve just looked up “shirtcocking”, and I have to say that I feel a bit less bad about having never been to BM. 

      1. It is curious that a naked man with a shirt on is offensive while an entirely naked man isn’t necessarily so. I mean, I agree, but I don’t exactly know why I feel that way. There’s something somehow non-consensual about shirtcocking. Is that prejudice, or insight into the unsavoryness of the shirtcocker’s soul??

        1.  Shirtcockers generally belong to the (much) larger category of COGs: Creepy Old Guys. I’m not sure what they’re proving, as virtually everybody who sees them just kind of rolls their eyes and moves on.

  2. Statigram and Webstagram both let you search for users and tags, so I don’t quite understand your wish for a searchable Instagram web interface.

  3. I’ve always wanted to go to Burning Man, but all I can think of is how bad my asthma would act up in that dust. I LOVE that it exists, and it’s generated some good writing; I liked Dale Pendell’s book on it. Erik Davis wrote really well about it too. 

    In my fantasy, I get to go to Burning Man but my asthma doesn’t kick in; I get to do some new psychedelic with Sasha and Ann Shulgin, (or one of their acolytes…Sasha’s sick I hear?), and I actually get to catch some solid zzzzzs. Do I sound like an olde man?

    Sending good tumor killin’ vibes, your way, Xeni.

  4. Buried in Slim’s friends’ comments up there is a reference to a pants cannon, the community’s response to shirtcockers.

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