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The Assless Chapel Newsletter #21: Turnin' It Up 2023 Edition

Updated: Feb 22, 2023

The Chaplain’s Weekly Screed


Today I’ve got lots of news for you: good news, big news, little news, ticketing news, placement news, website news (?) and plenty of “is-this-really-news”? Speaking of news, in my quest for Immediacy in the “Default World” I made and stuck to a commitment to not check news from my phone for a full week. It felt great, though it wasn’t easy. Now I just hope to keep it to a moderate and healthy level going forward. I’m going to keep this section short and sweet, as we’ve got plenty to talk about this week and a whole lot more next week.

That being said, let me just say that, with tickets being allocated, the Burning Man preparation cycle has genuinely kicked off in earnest. Coming up, in rough chronological order, we will be: deciding who is coming to The Assless Chapel 2023 and planning for ticketing; creating a website; filling out our application; planning our preparation; and actually preparing for the Playa.


Group News


So, I’ve decided to create a The Assless Chapel website. Its functions will be to (a) provide information about us to members of the Burning Man community and (b) serve an information hub for us. I am currently working on it and hope to launch the public parts of it within a week or two and the internal use parts in 2-3 weeks. In the meantime, though, I have a request for you all. Please let me know if I can add you to the ‘Team’ section and, if I can, please send me: the name you’d like to have up there; a photo you’d like up there (doesn’t even need to be of you); an email address if you want to share one publicly; and a small blurb of bio if you want to share that. None of this is required at all.


I got to see Sia a few weeks ago. I still had her Burning Man gear up at my place, so I drove down to San Francisco to bring it to her. She was a very gracious hostess, treating me to a lovely lunch, sending me home with bread from her favorite local bakery and turning me on to a record store that had stacks of random used records for $1 each, including a Beatles compilation album no one has ever seen. Hopefully, I’ll get to visit the rest of you at some point in the future, too. In the meantime, I’m looking forward to more pal-ing around with Sia right here in beautiful Northern California.


Next week, I will be sending out another newsletter with a few additional folks that may be joining us and a request for an update on how everyone is feeling about coming.


Black Rock City News


Right now, the Playa is probably still frozen under a thin sheet of ice – how dissonant is that with our experiences out there? If you watch this little bit of Burning Man propaganda, you will be two minutes closer to it thawing out and two minutes closer to the Man burning.


Though the Playa is frozen, the good folks at Burning Man are, of course, already planning it and have selected a design for the Man base. Looks pretty cool. Here’s a video, if you’re interested, about how the Man who will stand on that base is “clothed.”


If someone in the group wants to be a Black Rock Ranger, applications are being accepted as we speak. It’s a bit of a lift and it’s not for everyone, but we’ll support you, if you choose to do it. And, if anyone knows American Sign Language, interpreters are currently in demand.


Placement / Ticket News


Sometime today, I’ll receive an invitation to fill out the dozens of pages of paperwork required for us to return to the Playa. I’ll have 6 weeks to fill it out. Expect some questions, from me, for the group.


And some great news: BORG has allocated 4 tickets for The Assless Chapel this year! I’m hoping by next week to have a full, tentative list of who may be coming and a plan for getting tickets for everyone.


Upcoming Tasks


· Please send me info to put on the website, if you’d like to be put up on there.


· Meditate on whether you can make it back to the Assless Chapel.


· Let me know if you have any news to share.


· Look out for newsletters or one-off emails asking for your input to answers for BORG’s Placement Questionnaire.


Closing Thoughts


So, with tickets being allocated, we’re at that pivot point between decompression from last year and really preparing for this year. Assuming the first of us shows up on the Playa 10 days prior to the Man Burn, we have 9 days before it’s 6 months to arrival. That’s my guideline for when I should start organizing for departure (and I’m behind schedule, of course.)


At this pivot point in the Burning Year­­, we switch from “looking back” mode to “looking forward” mode. Of course, Burners are always, it seems, doing both. On the one hand, we love rehashing our greatest memories and telling everyone how it was when we first started coming to Burning Man. On the other hand, as soon as we depart the Playa, we start talking about what we’re going to do next Burn.


For me, in those moments alone in the shower or car, where the mind drifts off to daydreaming, I always end up in a different time than the present. Reviewing regrets from the past or just dreaming of being able to communicate with my past self; and conversely, dreaming of my future. In fact, I often wish I could have witnessed what the world was like in the past and still wish I could somehow observe it for a thousand years into the future. That’s where maybe I should focus on my Immediacy. Why dream so much of the past and future, when one can enjoy the present?

Still, I sorely do wish I had somehow been able to start burning years before I did – like there’s some hole in my past because I didn’t. Perhaps I should make a trip to visit some of the Burning Man archives.


“Life moves fast. As much as you can, learn from your history, you have to move forward.”

-Eddie Vedder


Planned Man Pavilion 2023:


The Man burns in 199 days!

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