Here's a short bit of our past; who we are/were, how we all got together. Some fun memories, hits and misses from the heyday of the Lounge. Hope you enjoy them.
96 - Helco - The middle of a mass of humanity
Our first year, we got in late because of car trouble on the wway up. It was almost dark and near white out. The 'gate' was a guy sitting on the roof of his car. He let us in free and pointed out the direction to go. A few miles that way and then go right for an other few miles. There were a lot of mud pits, no SLL per se, just a presence and lots of inspiration flooding in. The minute w got there we knew we were hooked for the next year. We camped next to porno drive-in camp, watching the coke bottle routine at 3 AM on some camp chairs. Loved the outdoor club scene at the 2 mile rave. We realized we needed to have our own nighttime, open air bar.
We drove up in my 1980 Toyota truck and Fred drove his truck. We didn't know what to take it being our first year so we were pretty light on the artistic segment. We had truck problems in Colfax on the way up. Fred did a minor/major tuneup, thankfully we broke down at the auto parts store in town! We stayed up all night on the playa because we had gotten there so late, it was only on the weekend those years. In the morning we ate some kind of soup stew uncooked out of a can...tasted great!
Bushey and I slept on cots in a small pvc dome covered with grey plastic tarps that kept nothing out. We were both covered with dust in the morning. It was the prototype for our future bar dome though. The Mermen played and the Seamen played fire breathing instruments on the stage.
Took a shower under the Water Woman for the first time and then headed out. We stopped at barter camp on the way out and not only had fun but the final piece for our future theme camp. The StarLust was born, a dusk till dawn barter bar!
- bigH, Bushey, Fred
97 - Birth of the SLL - Center Camp/3:00
This was the first time doing an official StarLust Lounge, we got a great spot in Center Camp thanks to Neal who was friends with Harley. What a great location for our first year! Barry and Don, two friends from Broderbund were important parts of the initial group that helped define what StarLust was to become. We had liked the idea of barter camp that we had stopped in before leaving last year and decided to do a barter bar.
Did some hair trimmin and body painting that first year, Cyberbus was across the circle from us at 9:00, we made friends with the girls over there and got exposed to absinthe, the human stew, naked twister, among other novelties. We met (3)Pete and Tara, who would in later years, both join the camp for a short while.
This year was our first of many visits to Fly hot springs on the bus. For some reason, the camp next to us, which was a pirate radio station, was blasting Joe Frank first thing in the morning, this was somewhat humorous to us yet irritating to Bushey. This was our first visit to Bianca's and their late night grilled cheese sammies. Some of Neal's friends who would later become Space Cowboys, camped behind us and we made some more new friends there as well.
A few funny moments: there was the acidified musician frantically searching for his violin at 3AM, tearing up the bar and ranting at the late night crowd. There was also the infamous bike ride out to the man with this guy running up alongside Bushey in complete darkness and yelling in his ear.
- Bleary, bigH, Bushey, Don, Fred, Neal
98 - Strawhenge - Center Camp/9:00
We were again in Center Camp but this time on the other side at 9:00. This year they had lots of hay bales in center camp and Bushey commandeered a shitload of them and made a circle of seating and walls for our camp. He also made a stage (our first of many) and that allowed us to start having guest get on stage to do a barter or just perform.
This year was also special because we met all the Seattle girls, Erin, Renee and Amanda. They bartended and hung out a lot. It was nice to have some female energy round things out. Pete and Tara joined us at the bar every night which gave us new energy and time to wander out and see what everybody else was up to. Tara later started Astral HeadWash another important theme camp on the playa.
We did a lot more body painting too this year. Space Cowboys were behind us, and they had developed more into a theme camp and had a cool western bar setup with swinging doors and a very tall shade cloth structure. Across the street from us was Radio Free BMan. We supplied them with a barterless tab and they advertised us on the airwaves.
Bartering was a big part of what StarLust was and is and we took it pretty seriously. To get a drink you had to come up with something, a story, a important (to you) item, a song, something to trade for a drink. It became an important piece of what made people remember the bar. We didn't have much music in the early days it was mainly a fun place to meet new people and laugh. Barry was probably the toughest tender for bartering. He really wanted you to come up with something that mattered. He'd burn money if you offered it for a drink.
We had a food tent this year with a refrigerator/freezer (with ice cream) as well - although the tent did start to get pretty rank at weeks end. We were getting used to being on the grid and having unlimited electricity. Neal did most of the cooking and he did some amazing meals out there. We were used to just eating cold sandwiches or burritos, Neal was doing baked salmon and grilled steaks. He still does it.
The water woman was out at a circus tent on playa. The water was pretty well filtered and definitely a nice way to cool off and make some new friends.
There were a lot of big winds that year and it was a challenge for our dome that was covered with a white parachute. We tried slitting it with a razor, that helped a bit. Don had designed a beautiful plywood top to contain all the dome struts but a big gust tore it in half. A couple of helpful guys at Space Cowboys came over and did a repair that got us thru the rest of the week.
We trailered stuff out to the playa on a rig that Don towed. We had loaded up a few water jugs at Bushey's in Marin that for some reason weren't on the trailer at Black Rock, oops! Dave's VIP lite brites were everywhere on the ground after the first storm but they looked so good that he used them every year after. We had a ton of good barters this year. We closed up the camp on Sat nigh so we could get out early on Sunday, Neal kept one of the bar tops open and did a hellava of a business.
Don added, "lots of X, Malia the queen of X. GHB makes you see funny and fall down and puke. Saw my first she male, Barry fell in love too many times, couldn't pick the right girl so he settled for the girl running the bath camp from Colorado, (Tara?). Shared a shower with the Cowboys, best show in town."
- Bleary, bigH, Bushey, Don, Fred, Neal, Pete (3 trick pony)
99 - Expulsion I - 6:30/Earth
Our first year out in the boonies...We were on the north side of the street, and we had a generator for all the lights that had become a big part of our night look. We didn't use a chute this year because of all the hassles from the wind in previous years. It had created some very cool effects but it's time had come and gone. We use it now and then to cover the truck. The lights now provided the canopy overhead. A Favorite/scary moment was Barry and I liquored up, pouring gas into a running generator - got to keep the lights running and the tunes blasting.
This was Sheriff Swamp's first romp with the camp and he and Cowboy Karl (also a first timer with us) were the kings of late night fro-licking on the new reBar stools. We had to do some major reworking for stability the following year. They did their own stress testing of the bendability of rebar. Clutch Cargo, who was camping next door, air brushed/spray painted a very cool sign. Bomb Boy's made his first appearance. Aladdin Bail Bonds had the Jell-O shack next to and behind us. They did pretty well for a first year even managing to almost lose their cart taking it out of the truck. You get to learn a lot out there watching others do something for the first time. Bushey didn't make it out this year.
- Bleary, bigH, Swamp(1st year)
00 - Expulsion II - Near 6:30 and E but on the south corner
We brought a generator again but ended up running a long cord to Sunbust (later they became Garage Mahal) instead for power. They were on the outskirts of CC and had power. We were across from Woowoo, met the Naked Architect and the rest of that fun group from Seattle. Jiffy Lube was caddy corner and Green Tortoise, with all their chaos, across the street, next door to Garage Mahal.
The stage supports were made from 2 x 12 scraps. We had a Jacobs ladder that shocked people during the mid week rainstorm and a full sized traffic light. Lots of extra stuff got hauled out that year. We carpeted almost the whole camp, too bad it rained and all the carpeting got thick with playa mud.
Lots of great themes, although hillbilly/white trash took off and never stopped. We had picked up a big log from the parking lot of a porn store in Reno that ended up becoming the whipping post. This was the 1st year of the 20 x 10 VIP shade structure.
Met Peggy, Bruce, Pleasure, Scott and the rest of Sunbust group, really nice people. Sneaking into Fly with Andrea, Peggy and Kathryn. Late night nitrous in Cowboy's trailer with the weird nitro machine. We had some big rain on the playa and everybody hung out in the back of the truck. Carpet guy was a prince and hauled out tons of mud soaked carpeting in his van.
- Amanda, Barry, bigH, Carpet guy, Johnnie Porno, Josh (1st year), Karl (1st year), Sheriff Swamp
01 - Is there 2 Much Porn at BMan? - Center Camp/12:30
Jim's psycho entry of blacklight strings. This was the first of two years adjacent to First Camp. We had a fire barrel in the corner and unlimited wood supply which meant we stayed warm all night. Bushey camped with a beautiful Spanish photographer 'on assignment'. Super Snail camp was next door and we got some great photos by Julian.
- Amanda, bigH, Bushey, Deputy Martin (1st year), Josh, Karl, Maite, Swamp
02 - Floating World aka Winnie World - Center Camp/10:00
Larger-than-life metal martini glasses. Lots of personnel problems and conflict. High priority for me was much better organization and clearer communication between members. TonkaJoe worked like a dog and made a lot of stuff happen that wouldn't have otherwise.
First year of the Serenity VIP lounge, 2 10 x10 canopies bungeed together.. The orig stayed at my house as a carport. Bushey, Swamp and me worked the Critical Tits after party, lots of fun. A bad crash on the highway out kept us there till Sunday night and watched the temple burn in a storm. Fixed a broken fan belt in Colfax after driving all night.
Deputy Martin's video art that played day and night, even in dust storms. Another year next to First Camp, this time we seemed to piss off Will and Larry with our fuzz super bass speaker setup. 1st year of palette shower with sump pump powered garden nozzle.
- Amanda, Aqua, bigH, Bushey, Joe, Josh, Karl, Swamp, Martin, Rosa (1st year), Rosie (1st year)
03 - Beyond Belief - Next to Arctica (ice house) Center Camp/7:45
We started with 3 people and grew to 8, the week before leaving. Swamp's super cool spaceship, religious indoctrination frisker. Liquor in 7 gal jugs. Punch with very few mixed drinks available. Minimal garbage and better recycling + more fun. big H's power distribution box, Sparky.
Rosa and Aqua build a stage with glass floor tiles, that was quite controversial within the camp. We had free ice all week, which was a real treat.
Lots of guest bartenders including, Brittany (Aussie), Dragonfly and his lady, Heavenly Bodies (pilots) and Synergy. Talked to Player and Sassy about joining forces and making a new spin-off club called Sassy's. Robbyn da Cradle is a hit. We do Decompression back in SF and have a blast.
The place was rocking from Monday night on. We went through so much liquor but true to course, all our buds kept us supplies when we ran out.
- Blair (1st year), bigH, Bushey, Horse (1st year), Jill (1st year), Swamp, Rob (1st year), Rosie, Tina (1st year)
04 - Vault of Heaven - 9:00 Plaza/7:00
Heaven and Hell VIPs. Lots of flack over the relocation out in the Plaza but it turned out great anyway, like it always does. First year for a tall ropelight sign designed by NatM, similar to Alien Love Nest. Tara, taking a hiatus from Astral Head wash, joins us as well as Player and Sassy and Thor.
Lot of wind damage (again) VIP was pretty mangled although it still got 'used' at night for nefarious pairings.
- Andrea, bigH, Bushey, Swamp, Player, Rosie, Sassy, Tara (1st year), Thor (1st year)
05 - Psyche - 4:15/Hysteria.
Premiere of the StarLush at 9:00 plaza 4:00. The SLL splits into 2 seperate camps, 2 locations, 2 groups. Everything is friendly, just 2 different directions.
StarLush opens their camp and it's a huge success. They were able to regroup the SLL fans as well as their own new ones, partly with similar name and similar location. Swamp has a raised DJ area next to open dome. Eveliscious and Aqua have a van with back lit shelved bar and shadow dancing on roof. X proposed to Aqua on the playa.
Bushey and I worked hard on getting our first mobile bar , Playa Rover going. We were able to drive the cart some and enjoy the burn on the playa with the other cars but the week was pretty much a try and fix the cart event. Mr. Fixit (Dale) helped us out a lot He's the guy with the big lighted head.
Bushey and I camped out near Danger Ranger and next to Neal. He camped out in the walk in area, we hung out some, talked about the old days and some politics. Good to reconnect with Neal out on the playa, he a great guy!
I enjoyed the new spot immensely and was glad I didn't have to deal with the previous years of setup and teardown. Not sure if I'm getting too old or too smart.
StarLust - bigH, Bushey, w/Playa Rover
StarLush - Aqua, Eveliscious, Swamp, Rosie, Thor, X
06 - Hope and Fear - 4:20/Hope.
Great year, not too hot and the nights were mild. I camped solo next to a first timer family from Calgary, Zoe and Zhara. They did pretty damn good in the dust.
I tended bar with the Lush group on Tues and Sat nights. They did a party with PeeWee and David Arquette on Thurs night, I was too tired that night after the dust storm to go out. From what I heard, it was a fun party. Mark had a compound out in walk-in and 3:00, also saw Truckee Jim and swapped grita recipes and stories about found iron.
Because the Lush was mobile, I never ran into Player, Sassy, Hope, Jim or Pinky. We didn't have that home base as much. I did run into Erin while she was driving out. First year of the aerobed, that was nice and a keeper.
Used the van for shelter and built a 9 x 12 shade structure with Bali flags and a 15' elec tiki tower. Shower was a blue jug off the van top with a nozzle attached. Stayed warm all day, really simple and for now I don't need to go down a solar pumped model. Standing over a palette and galvanized pan to catch and treat the gray water. I'm trying to get a little greener each year. It's definitely easier not being on the grid, the challenge is there right from the start.
Took the cloth mannequin for the first time and dressed her in a black bra and big island panties. No name yet. I didn't use a drop of el wire this year, STRANGE. Rear of my bike had a blinking tiki for a few nights. I brought the SLL sign but didn't light it at night. The red bar top from the '06 playa rover was setup as a coffee table.
07 - The Green Man - 4:20/Landfill
Camped out in the same area... Love that spot! Seems to be a little less dusty and the mountain views are awesome. Missed the early burn, I was too tired after watching just an hour of the eclipse.
This was the first year for Stinger and it worked pretty well except for the night version. The method I used for attaching the EL wires on the legs caused too many shorts. It was fun taking it out after the burn on the playa, found some cool neon scraps at the burn site too. I sued the solar panel to charge the batteries so it was very green. I plan to do the same for 08. I need to change some suspension changes, like pneumatic tires on the rear and maybe some kind of shock system to make the ride more comfortable. Also the electrics should be more robust with digital readout of battery charge and better lighting controls.
Hung out with Thor here and there and shared lots of cool beers for breakfast, ha ha. I also ran into Tara at the Empire store, good to see here and here she's living locally in Gerlach now.
The Dusty Dads aka Grateful Dads (minus RJ), Marty, Thor, Mark and myself, played over at Mark's camp where Laurent and team were filming the Temple for an upcoming film. Hopefully we’ll be in the film a little. Mark had setup a solar stage and we played a short set completely on non grid power. I was impressed with how smooth everything went and hope to see more of that out there.
On my way out on Sunday around midnight, I helped StarLush setup at 9:00 plaza and I worked the bar there a bit (actually a long bit - that was a long ride to Reno!), while DJ Swamp spun some sounds for the post Temple burn festivities, that was a perfect ending to the week!
08 - American Dream - 4:20/K-Car.
Did BMan light this year. Got setup and then hurt my back on Tuesday, ended up heading out on Wednesday. I did stop at Pyramid Lake store and got a replacement hat for the one I lost in Merida.
I was a little superstitious this year it being 13, should have ignored that shit but it did end up being a tough year. I did get a nice dose of dust and some wonderful nightime splendor so it was not at all a loss.
09 - Evolution -
Did not make it out to the playa this year. It was my daughter Natalie's last year at college and I wanted to do that with her. All the girls have been patient with me missing their opening days of school because I was out on the playa. I did watch some streaming video. What I missed the most was just hanging out at night, either walking or riding my bike and seeing and hearing all the sights. Nothing like the playa at night!