The Burner Diaries: Monique

For my final Burner Diaries before everyone goes off to the playa, I got to talk to these lovely ladies at the Melting Pot World Emporium. Monique (pictured left) is the owner of the Melting Pot and Sydney (pictured right) is an employee, the Melting Pot is a store located in Midtown Reno where burners and people alike can find amazing clothes, nifty accessories, a large variety of incense, and much more! 

Monique

Burning Man: 21 years

What is a specific instance that will stick with you forever?

“Seeing these amazing performances of really crazy stuff like a guy juggling a bowling ball, chainsaw, and an egg. Like where do you see that? You kind of have to be there sometimes, but sometimes you find those really special moments when there is just a small thing happening and there’s only a handful of people experiencing that moment. The thing I miss the most are the live random drum circles you would stumble upon. People would have open fires and others would show up and drum and dance. Two years ago, we showed up at a who knows where performance. It was this floating balloon performance with really beautiful music and it was fenced off with these little wires. There was this woman singing to this amazing music, and my son was probably 7 at the time, and next thing you know he’s under the wires and in the balloons. Everyone was sort of cool with it which was really special. No one was like “hey get out of there!” It was organic and such a beautiful thing and having this really sweet child fascinated by the whole thing. Little snidbits of those things make it really special.”

What’s it like taking a child?

“My child has gone for the last five years but he isn’t going this year. It’s really fun but it’s really hard. There’s a lot of factors to think about when you bring a child. Safety, just making sure your kid is hydrated and wearing sunscreen. You must be aware of another individual, but it’s rewarding. I always said I wouldn’t take a child unless he/she could communicate their needs. I don’t think small babies should go, but I have seen them out there. That’s not for me. It’s kind of an adult Disneyland so it’s nice to not bring your kids and get to do your own thing sometimes.”

What are you most excited for this year going back?

“I don’t know. There’s no expectations, so it’s hard to say. I am excited for the art projects. Jus Jub’s Plastic Circus will be a spectacular piece and the Space Whale, oh my god, that goes without saying.”

What’s a tip you would give to a first timer?

“No expectations. Go in with an open mind. If you go in with expectations, Burning Man is where plans go to die. Anything can happen out there, good or bad, and you kind of just have to roll with it. The way you respond to things happening to you is the key to life actually. It can be very introspective in a way of checking yourself. It is very trying. Maybe the weather is just shit all week, and it’s just a big dust storm. It’s been like that before that and it just is what it is. You think you are going to be doing one thing, but then the weather starts and plans change. You just have to make the most of it and see the beauty in that. Burning Man is a lot about the heart and the community but also mother nature has a huge role in that and she’s in control.”

What is the worst part of Burning Man in your opinion?

“The worst part is when people do deviant behavior and unconscionable acts. I mean they do steal your shit. We woke up one day and our couch was gone. A bike has been stolen. There are predators that go out there just for the reason to prey on people. Stealing your shit, sexually taking advantage of women. It is what it is. It’s 80,000 people but birds of a feather, you just have to be aware, smart, and keep track of your stuff and your friends. That’s where the community comes in, you have to watch each other’s back. Same with your neighbors, if you see weird stuff going on, you have to look out for each other.”

Any other thoughts?

“There’s no place like it on earth, that’s for sure. I’m 21 years in and all these years later, I’m still amazed that it’s right there. It’s 107 miles northeast of this town. It still amazes me that people come from all over the planet to go there.”

 

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