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The Assless Chapel Newsletter #8: Civic Responsibility Edition


Perhaps the most uninteresting of the Ten Principles, Burning Man describes Civic Responsibility as assuming responsibility for the public welfare at your theme camp, communication of civic responsibilities to participants and following the law. Boring stuff. For us, though, I’d broaden this principle to our core mission: co-creating unforgettable wedding experiences!


I’m doing a Zoom meeting on Thursday with a Guamanian photographer named Alicia aka Lishy tomorrow night. She’d like to join our camp. I’ll report back.

On Monday, I’m talking to Curtis, a former campmate from back-in-the-day. He and another of our campmates may be interested in joining us. They are solid guys with strong build skills. Curtis is a really sweet guy, a furniture maker, cook and artist. The other guy, Ken, is a Froymovich-level drinker and gave me my first and short-lived Playa name, Leroy.


Check out the unofficial map of BRC right here; it’s really cool! You can see who our neighbors are. There are some great neighbors. A few quick notes on our neighborhood:

· The map has us at 4:30 and C, while my email from Placement states that we will be at 4:15 and C. No big deal, just be ready to do a short search to find camp, if this isn’t clarified before then. Torsten and Kim, this is something you, especially, must keep in mind. By the time you arrive, BRC will be dense and harder to find us in.

· Our inclusive message and assless chaps theme has landed us in the “Gayborhood.” We currently do not have any gay weddings planned, but I’d be willing to bet that we’re going to get a lot of walk-ins.

· Food and beverage options include Vietnamese coffee and pho (Vietnamese soup) at PhoCure Burn (pho is pronounced like the fu in fuck); grilled cheese at Om Skillet and Café Diem for coffee. Burning My Crêpe will serve crêpes and we will be marrying a couple from there!

· We will be very close to one of the circular Plazas, which will include a Mutant Vehicle stop, called BAIT for Burn Area Imprecise Transit.

· We will be near Banya Camp, which will offer a Russian-style banya. Roman and Sofiia will be getting married legally at our place – they’re a couple young Ukrainians from San Francisco camping at Banya Camp.

· Glow Job is an LGBTQ nail salon that we can send our couples to if they’d like. Lingerie Lounge may be able to help dress our newlyweds, too, for those looking for sexy wedding photos.

· We will be quite close to the Port-a-Potties, which has its pros and cons.

Also, BORG posted the 2022 Survival Guide here.


I asked BORG to give us 4 Thursday entry passes and 7 Friday passes. They gave us 4 of each. That means we have Thursday passes for Sia, Red and myself, plus one more. We have Friday passes for Dreammaker, Stargazer and Antony, plus one more. I have until Monday to request any changes. Depending on discussions with Lishy and Curtis, I may beg them for one more to ensure a large build team.


Here are the current things that we need to be working on and where we’re at with them:

· I’m planning the Married ‘Til Monday public ceremonies. Please let me know if you have any ideas for these ceremonies or input for the timing of 3 ceremonies. I was thinking one Monday night, one Tuesday morning and one at sunrise on Wednesday (6a). The morning one will be kept simple and no one needs to attend, but all are welcome. I still need to design a marriage certificate for these events. Once we’re set on times, I’ll enter it into WhatWhereWhen.

· I am still working with Pershing County for my officiant registration, but it looks like it’ll happen soon.

· Lighting and shade are pretty much planned out and the lighting Torsten and Kim bought arrived at my place (and there’s a lot of it). Yosi, when will you have the parts list to me for the monkey hut?

· If you haven’t yet responded to Kim’s email, please enter times you can meet so we can plan another all-hands Zoom meeting. Also, make sure you get her your full emergency contact info.

· Sia, great job on the wedding certificates. I’ll see you on Friday for our planning session.

· Ziad, how’s the bar planning going? Did you figure out what we want to do for water and fuel deliveries? Any cocktail plans you want to bounce off of the group?

· Antony, have you been able to put together a first aid kit? Any questions or concerns?


“Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” - John F. Kennedy

In the Western tradition, the father of Civic Responsibility is often considered to be the Roman, Cincinnatus. He was a leader in ancient Rome, but spent most of his time, until his dying days, farming. At some point, invaders threatened Rome. Cincinnatus was asked to lead the fight against them and given powers very close to absolute dictatorship. He won the war in 16 days and then just went back to farming.

Now, I don’t expect that we’ll have to fend off any invaders while we’re at Black Rock City. The point in this anecdote is that, for Cincinnatus, the glory of his actions were only in their performance, not the adulation that resulted and certainly not in any material benefits he could gain. These were the Roman ideals and they served Rome very well. Black Rock City has a much less disciplined and martial culture, yet the idea of altruistic civic responsibility is something it shares with ancient Rome. And our pilgrimage to BRC gives us this opportunity to carve out a period of our lives to focus on this virtue, in addition, hopefully, to rejuvenating our desire to do so out in the default world.

The Man burns in 52 days.

The picture below is one proposal for the Man base. Follow the link for the other proposals.

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