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The Assless Chapel Newsletter #50: Communal Effort Edition

The Chaplain’s Screed

Communal effort isn’t just one of the Ten Principles, it is, arguably, the main reason camps like ours are able to form close friendships in just a week or two on the Playa.  Before I get into my screed, in the spirit of communal effort, I want to make a request.  My schedule is insane lately and this is a really difficult and stressful time for me.  So please, read the newsletters, take care of the things in the To Do section and, if you see something that you think you can go the extra mile to help with, let me know.  And keep me updated!

Communal effort is, of course, not limited to the Playa.  It is, in whatever form it took, the thing that brought Stonehenge together and erected the Pyramids.  On the Playa, of course, it also results in some pretty spectacular monuments.  But most of the communal effort in Black Rock City is more quotidien.  When the rain came and the ground turned to mud last year, our communal effort was focused on keeping our spirits up and making our own fun – along with breaking things down in the difficult conditions.  And every year, our communal effort is aimed at creating a camp and putting on memorable and fulfilling wedding ceremonies.

In fact, communal effort at Burning Man is generally not focused on manufacturing monuments but on making memories.  Even those monuments that are built are often burnt to ashes.  It is a nearly-insane, but integral feature of Burning Man, that we all head out there and work hard together to erect temporary structures and leave a legacy in the mind but not in the physical world.  It’s a classic example of when the journey matters more than the destination.

I want to thank everyone for their efforts for this camp.  In 2022, I planted a seed.  And for the past nearly 3 years, you have all done your part to water that seed; to fertilize it and care for it.  And it has blossomed into quite the sprout.  The other day, someone on a Burning Man Facebook group specifically asked if anyone could put him in touch with The Assless Chapel.  And by now dozens of people have cherished marriage memories that we facilitated.  So, thank you all and I can’t wait to see you out there!

Group News

Some great news, everyone: after many years of being stuck in immigration hell, Sia has officially gotten her green card!  She is a bona fide permanent resident of the United States of America!  This means she can go visit her mother in Bashkortistan and see her childhood home for the first time in years.  Also, John, the camp lead for Kelly’s, our neighbors from last year, is suffering from some health problems, which have led to financial issues.  Every little bit counts, so please consider donating a bit here.

Current camp roster (get me your travel plans when you can):

[redacted, see emailed newsletter]

Camp Planning

Wedding Planning

I received the Certificate of Authority to marry our Dutch couple.  I also just spoke to A (Russian) and T (Swedish) and they will be our second, legal wedding.  I’ve put them in our schedule.  They’ll probably get married at our camp, but maybe at some Playa art instead.  So, check our schedule to see the events we’re committed to.

Other Camp Planning

On Monday, Molly’s serving mojitos from 3-5p (more info below) and then we’ll go into open hours for weddings until 7p, with dancing and drinks until 8p.  Burning My Crêpe will be serving crêpes from 6-8p, so this is going to be a busy, busy night.

On Tuesday, we’re heading out to Deep Playa with Burning My Crêpe at 9p (or later) to do spontaneous weddings with crêpe service.

Wednesday we’ll be marrying Jolanda and Marcel.  Place and time to be determined.

Thursday, we’re marrying Thomas and Alex at 5p and then hosting the reception.  Then, we’ll do night weddings from 8p to 9p, followed by an hour of drinks and dancing.

As I said, Mo is going to put together a Mojito Monday.  Please take a look at her message below and let her know what you can do to contribute.  It’s also in our schedule.

There is usually a large crowd of people. Both those who sought out the event and those who are just passing by and see a crowd. I'm generally making mojitos as fast as I can, 1 to 2 GALLONS at a time in round drink coolers. Then I hand them off to servers who take the drink coolers out into the crowd and ladle into people's cups. This has worked much better, and more fun/interactive than a line. They make their way out in different directions in the crowd and by the time they come back there is another cooler ready to go. Because the drinks are made with fresh lime and mint, there are moop buckets with colanders placed at a few points to let people discard the remnants when they are done with their drinks.

Event helpers help with:

·         Crowd management - making sure bikes are not left in the road, pointing out servers, and directing people to moop buckets.

·         Serving. I will go over with servers the laws/regulations about carding and drink serving at Burning Man with which I am very familiar having run a full (big) bar on playa for 8 years.

·         Barbacks. Helping strip mint from stems, cut and squeeze limes, refill soda canisters, etc.

·         Set up/clean up.

Things I will provide:

·         12 years of practical experience running this event. Mixing/muddling, bar management during the event. Training of helpers as needed.

·         Drink mixing coolers (I have 3 or 4) which I will get to playa.

·         Muddlers

·         A few ladles

·         Cutting board and knife

·         Can take away the moop/grey water produced if needed.

Things I will need to acquire with host camp or independently depending on budget.

·         Mojito ingredients. Quantity depends on budget: White rum, Lime Juice, Limes, Mint, sugar/simple.

·         I have a soda maker, but could use additional soda canisters.

·         Simple syrup. Easy to make with a bag of sugar and water on playa. Will need access to a camp stove at some point before the event.

·         Ice on playa - 5 bag pack should do.

·         Container/bowl for cut limes

·         A bucket or two

·         A colander or two

·         Additional ladles (total of 4+ needed)

Additional questions:

·         Music for the event? Are you set up for that? Anyone want to DJ?

·         Signage? Do you have something to make a sign for earlier in the day on Monday to advertise?

·         Are things like the bucket, colander, container for limes, ladles, things that your camp already has/will have on playa?

·         Promotion! I always worry about getting the word out. Tell you friends, share the event on playa and before!


All of our events have been submitted to the online database and the What Where When booklet, though we can’t know if they will all make it into the booklet.  I also recorded a promo and sent it to BMIR.

Red Folder Video: Heat Illness

Here’s your Red Folder assignment for the week (I’m putting them on YouTube now to save my own cloud space).  If you want a podcast, download it here.

Black Rock City News and Acculturation

·         Here’s a first-time burner’s guide on The Hive for anyone interested and here’s a BRC orientation.

·         New episode of Burning Man Live is out, focusing on veterans at the burn.

·         If you know anyone interested, Burner Express Plus tickets are available now.  These allow you to buy a Burning Man ticket along with your Burner Express ticket.

Placement / Ticket News

Placement News

No new placement news.  Just remember that this year we’re at 4:45 and D.

·         July 10th (est.): Placement announces neighbors.

·         August 19th: First WAP entries.

·         October 24th: Post-Playa Report due (opens in September).

Ticketing News

Support Access Passes

As of now, it looks like we have SAPs for everyone who needs them.

Ticket Allocation Plan

Please see the emailed newsletter and buy/sell tickets and VPs, as directed.

Adding New Camp Members

Seeing as it’s a reasonably easy ticket year, we can add campers right now.  If you have someone you’d like to add to our camp, let me know.  Just think long and hard whether this person is a good fit for Burning Man and The Assless Chapel.  S/he must read and sign the agreements and get them to me.  I also need to do a Zoom with any additions to the camp but am mostly relying on you to bring someone who is going to be a good campmate.  We have a couple people interested in joining our camp.  I’ll let you all know more as I find out.

Ticketing Calendar

Here is the ticketing calendar this year (these events usually occur at noon PST):

·         June 29th: Last date to make changes to WAPs.

·         July 20th: WAPs allocated.

·         July 24th: OMG registration opens.

·         July 26th: OMG registration closes.

·         July 30th: OMG Sale.

·         August 10th (est.): WAPS sent to Assless Chaplain.

·         August 12th (est.): WAPS, tickets and vehicle pass distribution finalized within camp.

Current Pre-Build, Build Week, Burn Week and Exodus Schedule

Here is our current schedule for pre-build, build week, burn week, Exodus and post-Exodus (keep in mind there will be many changes and additions).

You may have noticed that I added color-coding to show the expected brightness of the sky (assuming no clouds), based on the moon, for the period we might be on-Playa.  Gray days are Build Week and red days are Burn Week.

Upcoming Tasks

To Do in the Next 10 Days


   Send me any updates on your plans to join us or bring friends.

   Buy / sell your Burning Man tickets to one another!  Then let me know.

   Send me your travel plans.

   If you haven’t yet, please look through the spreadsheet, so you know where to find essential information.

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

   Let Mo know what you can do to help with Mojito Mondays.

   Here’s your Red Folder assignment for the week (I’m putting them on YouTube now to save my own cloud space).  If you want a podcast, download it here.


   Write and approve a script for Thomas and Alexandra.

   Obtain permit to marry Thomas and Alexandra.

   Schedule 2nd meeting with Jolanda and Marcel.

TAC and Stupid Seamus

   Pull out altar and old signage and spruce up.

   Spruce up the Dusty Altar Bar and consider adding wheels.

To Do in the Next 60 Days


   Finalize WAPs.

   Tune up truck.

   Tune up/purchase bikes.

   Print wedding certificates.

   Template for impromptu weddings.

   Buy carbon offsets.

   Buy a hanging work light


   Get food permit


   Buy actual bubbles


   Get food permit

   Get champagne flutes


   Inventory EMT and shade cloth

TAC and Curtis

   Get tarps for ground cover

TAC and Stupid Seamus

   Put up shade structures

   Build mirrors for costume dome

   Obtain and fix up bikes, as necessary

TAC, Stupid Seamus and Curtis

   Create new nighttime signage

   Get earth anchors and/or spreaders


   Buy booze and mixers for the bar

   Make sure you have tickets, SAPs, VPs, wallet and IDs

   Pack a backpack with toiletries, clothes, water, food, medications, phone and charger.

   Get muck boots.

   Get all your personal stuff squared away

Closing Thoughts

I mentioned Stonehenge as a great example of communal effort in action.  Closer to the heart of Burning Man was The Ant Farm, a dissident architecture collective from the 1970s.  Their installations had a strong influence on many of Burning Man’s large scale art creators.  Here’s their performance art piece Media Burn:

This was temporary art, like we’re used to on the Playa.  Their best-known physical legacy however, is very much like Stonehenge.  In fact, it’s often called Carhenge and is now a quirky road trip stop along Route 66:

That’s all I’ve got for closing thoughts.  Too mentally tired to think of anything deep today!

The Man Burns in 70 days! 

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