Tuesday June 18, 2002

I just wrote this to the guy organizing the follow-up to the Dice Bar from lasts year's Burning Man because I think I'm going to volunteer to help them out. This is what made a believer out of me.

Last year was my first year. I decided on Saturday to go after years of avoiding it and showed up on Tuesday. The first night we went out and my friends were interested in seeing all the theme camps that were starting to be built around the esplanade. We went from one huge dusty disco to another. Just a large scaffolded box setup and a guy in a booth spinning. No where to sit down. Nothing to drink. Nothing to look at. Just lazers shooting everywhere people waiting for the X to hit. I was disappointed. Was this all there was to do at night? I like to dance but it just seemed kinda stupid out in the desert.

So I wandered off toward Bianca’s to find my friend Adam. I found him there and told him of my disappointment and he suggested we just walk out into the playa. I said. “Well, whatever.” We walked for a little bit and we came upon Psyche’s Windows. We sat around and talked to the artist for a while and enjoyed the chorale music and the sheets blowing in the wind. It was a nice night. I said to Adam, “This is nice, but what I’d really like to do right now is just sit down somewhere indoors and have a drink. Fuckin Christ. I can’t believe there’s no where around here to get a drink. People drag all this shit out here from SF and the leave behind one of my favorite things.” Adam said, “If you could have any drink right now, what would it be?” and I said, “A martini. Yeah. A martini. Real dirty.” Adam said, “Yeah, I’d love that. Maybe we should keep walking and maybe we’ll find something.” Not a fuckin chance in hell, I thought. Maybe we’ll find someone’s water bottle that they dropped when they were tripping too hard. Adam pointed out a little light in the distance and said, “I think that’s a casino bar.” And I said, “No, I went by that casino place on the way out here and it’s the other direction. It’s on the Esplanade, right? I saw it. I’m sure they don’t have drinks. It’s just another disco.” And Adam said, “Well, let’s just walk and see what we see. I think there’s a casino over there.” He said it so lightly and carelessly that I was sure he was fucking with me. I humored him. I said “Reno’s the other direction, buddy, and I’m pretty sure that’s the closest casino.”

As we walked up to the building I saw that it was really something different. There was life shooting out of it but not like the heavily-amped stuff on the Esplanade – it was sort of glowing. As we got close, suddenly, a car came close to the building and a guy was yelling on a bullhorn and then a beautiful woman in a black dress came running out of the building and she was pissed. She leaped onto the hood of the moving car and held onto the windshield screaming as the car did donuts in the playa.

As Adam and I moved closer and it looked like some bad domestic violence situation but then the woman jumped off the car and went running back into one of the Two Big Dice. We followed her in there and found her up on stage next to the piano man crooning a lovely tune. My god, she was stunning. There were people laying on the floor and sitting on couches! I couldn’t believe it. It was dark and beautiful. Adam said, let’s go get that drink so we head around the corner and belly up to the bar and he says, “Two martinis” and the guy looks at him and says, “Waddaya got?” and Adam holds up a little poker chip and says, “I got this” and they guy says, alright for you but what about him? And points to me. I didn’t have anything and I looked at Adam, and Adam reaches into his pocket and pulls out a little red die with white dots on it and says, “Ok, what about THIS?” and the guy looks at it and says, “eh, I don’t know” and Adam points at a woman down the bar and says, “Ask her what she thinks” and he does and she checks it out and says, “Give him whatever he wants” and so we get our big beautiful cold drinks in our big beautiful plastic martini glasses and I look at Adam like he’s Obi-Wan and just sliced off some guy’s arm in the StarWars bar scene and go to melt down into the couch with our friends Dan and Helena that just happened to defect from the disco drones and stumble upon the place. I asked Adam how the fuck he knew about this and why he was being so fucking coy and he said that he’d helped them put carpet down the day before and he didn’t know what it would be like. That’s how he got our drink tokens.

My God. I couldn’t believe it. My shitty mood disappeared and that one martini was like the strongest love drug I’d ever taken. I felt incredible. I ask Dan what that woman was doing screaming and running outside and he said that before we came in she was singing and some guy with an afro started messing with the piano player and then they got in a fight and he pulled a gun and she fuckin jumped him and all hell broke loose and that’s when we showed up I guess. Then I saw the guy with the afro just sittin at a table and mindin his own business and I though something weird was going on and then it started all over again and we realized that we were in a performance and that’s when I really got down on my hands and knees and thanked god for the dice bar. I was ok with Burning Man after that and it put me in an open frame of mind to enjoy a lot of other stuff that week. I told people about the dice bar but when we tried to go back it was a total mob scene and we couldn’t even get in the door. They’d have to be happy with legends.

voyeurs of the world, give something back!

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