Halloween just isn’t close enough.  I’ve got costumes and I want to wear one right now.  I want to shed my skin as a human being and forget about the real world while I adorn my body in dusty attire.  I want to dance with thousands of crazy people. Watch stuff burn, spin, wobble, shake, rattle and roll.  Like they say in that annoying Black Eyed Peas song, “I wana rock right now!”

I was joined yesterday by thousands of others who I can imagine were feeling the same way.  Those of us, who don’t need much of an excuse to dress up and be wild, flocked to the 11th annual Burning Man Decompression party.  

Located on Mariposa Street in the Dog Patch district just below Potrero Hill, this six block street party is an aid to help us fragile beings struggling with the realities of work, school and life in general; to help us decompress and re-enter the land of the lost.  Land of the lost is of course a severely cynical and self-important term I have just now created to represent those not cool enough to go to Burning Man.  Sarcasm intended.

Although, I don’t believe everyone there had been to Burning Man.  As I started throwing fistfuls of dust collected directly from the Black Rock Desert specifically for this very purpose, into the air; not everyone seemed to think it was as funny as I did.  A gripe that in my opinion has no legitimacy.  It’s dusty as hell at Burning Man, and by golly I was going to make sure it got dusty at Decompression.  Which I did, over and over again, telling people it was the ashes of my grandmother.  I know, I know.

At just ten dollars a person (provided you were in costume, $20 for laimos in street wear) the fund raising event is quite a bargain.  It is a macro-climate of the actual event.  Fire is spitting into the air from a variety of orifices, funky art cars line the perimeter, huge sound systems pump out a range of throbbing techno, art installations dot the street, a few stages for live music/acts and plenty of games and small to-dos to keep things interesting.

Again, my strong belief that people are just dying to have a good time is confirmed.  Most people look happy.  In true San Francisco tradition there is a fine selection of freaks and oddities.  But the thing I always learn about freaks and oddities is that they are more often than not quite normal.  They, like my self, really enjoy acting weird when the situation lends itself.  I consider myself a mild mannered person in most settings, but inside is a boiling pot of goofball mischief.  And that pot needs its lid lifted more than just once a year on Halloween.

So you get a lot of people united by this passion to be creative, experimental, dancing together or just weird for the sake of weird.  It isn’t quite Burning Man.  It is in the middle of the city and only costs ten bucks, so naturally some riff raff are going to find their way in.  I did see a fight.  Granted, the kid at the source of the fight was very fucked up.  I had seen him previously making his way around the dance floor.  He was hanging onto girls and just not observing the sanctity of other people’s feelings and space.  I imagine he got put to the ground, which he did quite violently, after getting in the face of someone’s girlfriend.  It was unfortunate to see when otherwise the mood was so good.

In contrast to the larger soundstages, set up by theme camps from Burning Man, the stage at the north end of the street hosted some fine live music.  A group called the Burning Band treated the small crowd to some funky old time polka tunes.  With lots of big brass instruments, an accordion, a fiddle and who knows what else, they had the crowd swaying to and froe like it was a German schnitzel festival.  I repeatedly and openly requested the Chicken Dance, but my desires were not met.

For those of us who do go out to the desert, it really is nice to see all the art and get that feeling of “home” for a day.  It is the people that make it though.  Humanity never ceases to amaze and amuse me.  Where else do you get to see a naked dude, three branches up into a tree, dancing has ass off?  Not many places.

Like the Burning Man event itself, Decompression is a means to express art and creativity.  To give and share what you are able to create.  It is a mission to unite people through a common draw and hope that people take away something positive and spread it beyond themselves.  It’s also a good party.

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