BLACK ROCK CITY — Ladies and gentlemen, Valleywag is live and on the scene at Burning Man 2007. Through the miracle of modern technology your intrepid girl reporter is blogging this from the middle of the desert, approximately 77 miles from everywhere, risking life, limb, and laptop to bring you the freshest in technohippie gossip from the alkali-dust floor of the prehistoric Lake Lahontan. It promises to be an event of thrills, chills and special magnificence, campers, so hang on to your hats, grab your dust masks, and get your hipster-hippie baiting sneers ready, because we have a whole week of this and we are dragging you all down with us into the playa-dust mud.
This, friends, is Burning Man in a nutshell: part experiment in creative community, part test of endurance, part excuse to go out to the desert and do lots and lots of drugs.
This year's theme is Green Man — "raising awareness" about the "environment" and the "impact" that "participants" have on the landscape, both on the "playa" and off. If you take the hippie raver filter off, this also means "I have an excuse to go out to the desert and do lots and lots of drugs."
There is art: some transcendent, some barely qualifying as "art". There is heat, altitude sickness, personality clashes, that one whiny campmate who also happens to the the CEO of that really popular company, and of course the continuous chorus of how much cooler it was last year and OMG who let these Yahoo yuppies in.
We scoff, we judge, yes, but we also remark that even the most jaded types come back year after year to inflict this punishment on themselves. As with any enormous undertaking, the refrain echoing off the far mountains screams "I SWEAR TO GOD I HATE THIS I AM NEVER DOING THIS AGAIN" followed immediately by a twitching, mumbling affirmation that "Next year's gonna be so much better."
There is something to being out here in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by likeminded folks — smelly likeminded folks, prone to giving inappropriate hugs, but likeminded nonetheless. We aim to find out what, if anything, sends people put here, and more importantly, what Twitter add-on widget they feel compelled to build when they get home.