Center Camp… A Tale from Arabian Nights: Burning Man

Festooned with welcoming flags, Center Camp provides around the clock entertainment, coffee drinks and iced tea. Most Burners visit the Center daily… some, like me, visit several times a day.

I was preparing to write this blog on Center Camp at Burning Man and the image of a yuppie oasis popped into my mind. My mind, behaving as it usually does, made the leap to the Arabian desert and the book of ancient tales, One Thousand and One Nights, which led me to think about Scheherazade.  This in turn led to go in search of my iPod and the music by Rimsky-Korsakov. All of which explains why it takes me so damn long to put up a blog.

Naturally I had to Google everything. In the process, I came across the following image. How much more Burning Man can you get?

One Thousand and One Nights has seen numerous movie and book spinoffs. I found this representative painting on Google. It looks amazingly like Center Camp at Burning Man.

For ongoing entertainment conveniently located in one place, Center Camp Café is the place to be. It is the only location on the Playa where Burning Man’s unique wildlife can gather and actually purchase lattes. But it is much more than a desert watering hole.

An ever-changing kaleidoscope of exotic entertainment and colorful characters wander through its doors. Sensuous belly dancers are replaced by even more sensuous hula hoopers. Poi twirlers practice ancient Maori rites while drummers pound away in ecstatic, almost religious, fervor.

This young woman was part of a belly dancer troupe that came jingling and jangling through Camp Center.

I had never realized how sensual twirling a hula hoop could be before I came to Burning Man.

An impromptu jam session at Camp Center.

A beautiful, semi-clad black woman moves to the music and a mysterious shaman peers out from behind a painted, bone in nose face. His feather headdress dazzles the eyes, as does the large fan of a clown painted woman. A beautiful girl draped in damask white skillfully plays her flute with closed eyes. A naked man painted silver holds an animated conversation with a tattooed lady.

This shaman with his bright yellow feathers demonstrates how elaborate costumes can be at Burning Man. Center Camp is one of the best places to see and be seen.

Several photographers lined up for this photo-op of a clown woman with a bright fan.

This talented flutist played a haunting melody. While many performers at Burning Man are in the learning stage, others are highly talented. Everyone is encouraged to participate.

Yoga masters practice contorted moves while costumed Burners are invited to show off their zebra striped and pink finery in the annual fashion show. Just when you think you’ve seen it all, a suit attired right-winger charges on to the runway and threatens to blow up Black Rock City. In the end, the good vibes of Burning Man win him over.

Welcome to Center Camp.

Coffee drinks and ice tea are available at Camp Center. It’s about the only thing you can buy at Burning Man. (Ice is also available for purchase.) Volunteers do the work. Horse-Bone Camp member, the Papester, takes a turn at the latte machine.

Center Camp is also a prime location for Burning Man art.

While I’ve come to expect almost anything at Burning Man, I never expected to find this Center Camp fowl.

While you can obtain a cold drink and avoid the sun at Center Camp, you can’t avoid the dust storms that come whirling through. This is a photo of my wife Peggy, AKA Luna, doing everything she can to hide. A reminder to all of the new Burners coming to Burning Man this year: major dust storms are expected. Come prepared.

2 comments on “Center Camp… A Tale from Arabian Nights: Burning Man

  1. Ah….the dust. It is surreal to open your eyes after a sand storm while in center camp and see everything and everyone coated with a fine white dusting of sand.

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