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The Assless Chapel Newsletter #6: Elbow Grease Edition


Well, we’re off to the races. All of us who are going have confirmed tickets and it’s time to throw together a theme camp, while also preparing to camp in an inhospitable desert for over a week. It’s been and looks like it will continue to be a part-time job for me. By any modern rationality, I would be asking myself, “Why am I doing this? Lost work time, months of a packed schedule, large expenditures, survival food, playa foot, triple-digit heat, filthiness, chapped lips, endless hours in the car, bureaucracy, Port-a-Potties that Satan himself wouldn’t allow in Hell! Why do I feel lucky to get to do this!?”

There are many answers to this. Art, parties, the beautiful setting, etc. But yesterday I had an unusual thought about this subject.

Indian saddhus who renounce worldly possessions and shelter for solitary wanderings and austere asceticism ask much bigger questions than those relevant to their suffering as Christian monks and nuns who renounce the material world focus on thoughts bigger than their own deprivation. The Greek stoics shunned comfort for a lifestyle that emphasized virtue as a path to happiness. The examples go on and on. The Mandan natives of North America might be the most extreme, going for days without food, water or sleep to then mortify their flesh in a variety of horrible ways, remove a finger and then race around their village to gain the approval of their spirits.

While Burning Man is far more fun and much less ascetic than any of these practices, I see a parallel. We sometimes submit ourselves to hardship, to deprivation, to challenges so that we may see things, feel things, know things that we don’t in our day-to-day life. It is through adversity and the obverse – accomplishment – that we get to feel and see who we really are; get to connect deeply with one another; to cleanse the smudges from our vision, the rust from our souls, the mold from our hearts.

And it’s also a really fucking great time!


I spoke recently with a fellow named Prateek.He seems great.We’ll see if he joins our camp.


I don’t have anything major to report, but check out these videos to get hyped:

And check out the upcoming piece of art on the next page:

“Sea of Flames Fire for the Hearts” by Harmony Switzer-Tryon and Mischief Lab


We are now 8 ticketed campers. I’m still hoping we can score 3 more tickets. The more folks we have coming, the lighter the lift for the rest of us. And anyone who is getting a ticket is quite likely to be pretty willing to pitch in a lot! I’ll keep everyone update for the OMG sale, so we can hopefully make that happen.

Antony, please create a Burner Profile by June 27th. That is the day I will be sent instructions on allocating tickets to campers. Yosi and Antony, please send me the official names you have on your ID cards, passports, etc.


[This has been redacted, as it was 13 pages long and uninteresting; Chapel members can find a copy in the archive, if they want to reference it.]


“Suffering has a noble purpose: The evolution of consciousness, and the burning up of ego.” - Eckhart Tolle

“When the Doors of Perception are cleansed, the world may be seen as it is, infinite”. -Aldous Huxley

The Man burns in 73 days.

This was the Man in 2005, my first year. The theme was Psyche and the base was a Fun House. It was sort of a crazy maze (see installations here.) I ran into a couple police officers in the Fun House. I asked them, “Don’t you feel like this would be just about the hardest place to catch criminals?” They informed me that they were mostly on hand to make sure no one got hurt and deal with overdoses. I informed them that I don’t try to be a dick, sometimes it just happens and I’m sorry.

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