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The Assless Chapel Newsletter #25: Regionals Edition

[Most of this Newsletter Unavailable - Sensitive Information]

Closing Thoughts

Prior to Burning Man there was the Suicide Club and then the Cacophony Society. The Suicide Club organized groups of people to do all sorts of weird shit. One great prank was to get all sudsy in an elevator in a fancy hotel and when the doors opened for someone, freak out, like they walked in on people showering. Another time, they took over a cable car naked. Most events didn’t involve nudity, but in describing the feeling of doing these naked pranks, John Law stated “It scared the fuck out of me. My stomach was tied up in knots. And then when we did it, I was enormously relieved.” I can relate to that thought. Like I said, I could barely talk myself into leaving my hotel room in my Burnal Equinox costume.

Why? Well, I was worrying about what other people think. You know how I say “My burn is my burn.” Well, eventually I decided that my night is my night. However other people want to respond to it, they can – not my problem. But I was doing my Radical Self-Expression. I mean, for me, it was really radical. And once I got past my worries and anxieties, I was living Immediacy in a way I rarely do.

The Suicide Club was more or less subsumed by the Cacophony Society. One of their pranks was to attend dog shows in dog costumes. [redacted] Stuart Mangrum was the house intellectual for the Cacophony Society. He once described his thinking in his youth as “I wanted to do something that was off the map. All my friends were turning into lawyers, I wanted some adventure.”

He produced the Cacophony Society’s 12-Step Program for those trying to recover from their addiction to living a boring, banal life. The final step was “to leave the world a weirder place.” The Cacophony Society would organize Zone Trips. Random, mysterious trips to weird places to do weird stuff. Here’s the description 1990 or 1991 for Zone Trip #4: “We shall travel to a vast, desolate white expanse stretching outward to the horizon in all directions…. A place where you could gain nothing or lose everything and no one would ever know. A place well beyond that which you think you understand. And we will be accompanied by the Burning Man, a 40-foot tall wooden icon which will travel with us to the Zone and there meet with destiny.”

And meet with destiny they did. John Law ended his association with Burning Man years ago, but Stuart Mangrum may be Burning Man’s leading philosopher. And their views, their energy, their principles have spread. I’m really happy to have gotten my chance this past weekend to exist in San Francisco the way I exist in BRC; to do something off the map and find some adventure; to leave the world a weirder place. I’d encourage you all to find your ways to do that in the Default World – maybe at your regionals.

A short video of the first Burn on the Playa, 1990 or 1991.

The Man burns in 157 days!

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