No One Makes It To Burning Man Festival

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Vol 39 Issue 33

Public Urinator Gives Passerby Dirty Look

TALLAHASSEE, FL—While walking past a house party on Tripoli Avenue early Sunday morning, Howard Lipner, 20, received a withering look from an unidentified public urinator. "He was taking a leak right there in the front yard, not even behind a bush, or garbage can, or anything," Lipner said. "And he gives me this look, like, 'What are you looking at? Can't you see I'm trying to take a piss?' As if it's my fault for walking on a public sidewalk while he's out there taking a leak, like the king of Sheba." Lipner assured reporters that he intentionally avoided looking at the urinator's penis, because he's "not some kind of perv."

Woman Only Dates On National Television Now

HOLLYWOOD—After stints on Temptation Island, The Bachelor, and For Love Or Money, 23-year-old bartender/model Angela Langdon announced Monday that she refuses to date anyone who's not courting her in a front of a national TV audience. "Unless there's the promise of a million-dollar payday, a romantic evening in the tropics, or a humiliating rejection in front of all of America, I'm not interested," Langdon told potential suitors. "Come with cameras, or don't come at all." Langdon also expressed a preference for network shows over those in syndication.

Japan Spotted Hovering Over Algeria

ALGIERS, ALGERIA—Japan continued to vex the world Monday, as numerous eyewitnesses saw the exotic and mysterious Pacific Rim country hovering over the mountainous coastal regions of Algeria. "I noticed it up there around noon," said Ahmed Boumediènne, a farmer whose land lay in the 1,744-mile shadow temporarily cast by the floating archipelago. "The schoolchildren were having a great time waving at it. But, when I came out after lunch, it was gone again. Must have moved on." Boumediènne added that no one was threatened by Japan's serene presence. As of press time, the Japanese islands were back in the Pacific Ocean.

Great Lover Also Great At Slinking Out

MANITOU SPRINGS, CO—According to a number of area women, the lovemaking abilities of the handsome and gregarious Ken Millagro are matched only by his ability to quietly slink out the door after a night of passion. "I'll spare you the details, but Ken was really, really good in the sack," 35-year-old Heather Yorgrau said Sunday, the morning after meeting Millagro at a friend's birthday party. "He was also really, really good at getting out of the sack without waking me up. He was absolutely amazing at not tripping over the shoes on the floor, leaving the noisy fan in the bathroom off, and quietly managing the locks on the front door." Millagro was unable to be found for comment.

The Ten Commandments Ruling

State Supreme Court justices recently ordered that a Ten Commandments monument be removed from the Alabama Judicial Building. What do you think?

Billy Crystal Passed Over... Again!

Item! According to my sources, the Emmys—the Oscars of television—are going to be hosted by no less than seven comedians. Before you get your hopes up, I checked, and none of the hosts will be funnyman Billy Crystal. Now, I ask you, the esteemed Academy, why waste a golden opportunity? I'm sure the other hosts are very funny, but have they proven themselves like Billy? I doubt it.
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No One Makes It To Burning Man Festival

GERLACH, NV—The Burning Man festival, a prominent artistic and countercultural event that draws tens of thousands of people to the Nevada desert annually, is in danger of cancellation this week because "no one had their shit together enough to even make it," organizers said Tuesday.

The empty Burning Man festival grounds.

"Jesus Christ, this is pathetic," said event coordinator Ethan Moon as he angrily gestured toward the empty Black Rock Desert basin expanse, known as the playa. "We've been promoting this thing all year. You can't start panhandling quarters for gas the week before the festival and expect to make it here in time, man."

Moon listed some of the most common no-show excuses, among them oversleeping, forgetting to request time off work, faulty van-borrowing arrangements, a shortage of ochre body-paint, and the last-minute realization that transportation to the Burning Man festival requires money.

"As of a few weeks ago, or even a few days ago, there were 30,000 people who honestly planned on coming," Moon said. "In every case, however, there were, well, you know—shit happened."

Although Burning Man festivals have had no-shows in the past, Moon said he's never witnessed absenteeism on this level.

"You have to figure out a way to get here, stock up on water and extra clothing for the cold nights, and make sure you have adequate shelter," Moon said. "Apparently, the advance planning it takes to arrange those three basic things was more than anyone could handle. Sorry to be on this uptight trip, but check out the playa. Not a single nude dude in a homemade papier-mâché tribal mask as far as the eye can see."

Although Burning Man is billed on its web site as a "temporary community dedicated to radical self-expression and radical self-reliance," it became evident that the no-shows were more capable of the former than they were of the latter.

Los Angeles silkscreen artist Goldi Trewartha was among the tens of thousands of Burning Man devotees who stayed home this year.

"Yeah, I was supposed to go with Ari and Shel, but they couldn't score [Ecstasy] in time for the trip, and I forgot my bartering beads at my friend Marnie's place in Los Feliz," Trewartha said. "Oh, and I forgot to get a dog sitter."

Added Trewartha: "Shel made this great suit out of old stuffed-monkey pelts and duct tape, and he was going to hop up and down on this old trampoline he found. But his ex, Nikki, made him babysit [their daughter] Gaia while she headed out to Big Sur for a few days. I love Nikki, but sometimes she can be real flaky."

Chaz Bullard, a University of Vermont undergraduate and veteran mud person, had multiple excuses for his failure to attend the Burning Man festival.

"I totally spaced that August is 8, and I wrote down 9 in my sketchbook," Bullard said. "Oh, and I got evicted. Yeah, fuckin' Dyl up and ditches me, right, and I'm stuck owing $700, because he wasn't on the lease."

Bullard added that he contracted hepatitis from his ex-roommate's tacos.

Boulder resident Paul Sandley, who was halfway to Burning Man when his truck "totally konked."

Moon said he has received apologetic phone calls from a squadron of recumbent bicyclists lost somewhere in southern Nebraska, a Kentucky artist whose pet python was too carsick to continue the journey, and a group of Germans who uncovered a fatal structural flaw in their "Freak Harnesses" art installation at the last minute.

Hippies were not the only counterculture group to miss the Burning Man festival. Portland-area Linux user and self-described cyber-conceptualist "Free" Lance Kaegle explained his absence in an instant message from his studio.

"I was organizing this boss techno-art project called 'Off The Grid,'" Kaegle wrote. "We were going to set up computer terminals in various parts of the playa and have people use them. Then we'd feed the binary data from those terminals into this fractals program that [Silver Lake, CA software designer] Ricky [Thomas-Slater] wrote. Those fractals would be sent, on the fly, to a group of exiled Buddhist monks I befriended online. The monks would transform the fractals into a temporal sand painting, the making of which we would webcast live to everyone on the playa."

Added Kaegle: "But I had to stop working on the monk thing to finish up this Pam's Country Crafts web site I'm working on. I really need the money."

While most absences were accidental, a few were not. Doug "Crazyroot" Pycroft, a former smoothie-stand employee, has a history of missing countercultural events.

"I thought about going, but then I decided I don't need some dudes pushing their rules down my throat," Pycroft said. "That's the problem with these things. If they're so nonconformist, how come you gotta obey some fascist wearing a lanyard just to use the Port-A-John? Same reason I refused to go to [The Church Of The Subgenius'] X-Day back in '98. Hell, I ditched the very first Lollapalooza one hour in."

As a cloud of sand whipped across the desolate playa, Moon could only shake his head. Although the weeklong festival traditionally culminates in the igniting of the Burning Man, a 50-foot-tall wooden structure strapped with fireworks and other incendiaries, Moon wondered aloud whether he and the handful of other staffers should even bother.

"I guess we could burn what we've built, but it would just feel anticlimactic with no one around to watch," Moon said. "You gotta look at the bigger picture here, folks. You shouldn't think of Burning Man as a burden. Burning Man is about being part of a community. Unfortunately, it's a community of people who can't get up before 1 p.m."

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