PLAYA GLOSSARY

  • Ancestors: spiraling, tornado-like dust plumes that traverse the playa, either produced by wind or by heat from large fires, such as the Man burning.

  • Art Bike: kissing cousin to the art car, the art bike is a decorated or "mutated" bicycle, and is the preferred method of transporting oneself around the playa.
  • Black Rock: A large dark rock formation at the North end of the playa.
  • Black Rock City: The annual, temporary city created by the community of Burning Man participants.
  • Black Rock Gazette: Newspaper produced on-site in the desert during the Burning Man event.
  • Black Rock Geyser: A water truck, frequently pursued by naive visitors looking to cool off. Unfortunately this water is sometimes dirty/un-potable and should be avoided! 
  • Black Rock Rangers: Volunteers who are there to help when needed. Recognizable by their khaki outfits and the radios they carry.
  • BLM: Bureau of Land Management, government agency which administers public lands, including the Black Rock Desert.
  • BMOrg: Short for Burning Man Organization, this term is actually a common misnomer. The actual name for the organizers of the Burning Man event is the "Burning Man Project".
  • BRC: Black Rock City
  • Burn, the: Reference to the actual event and activity, of burning the Burning Man icon on Saturday night.
  • Burner: One who has attended Burning Man, and takes the spirit of the event back with them to the default world.
  • Burning Man Shock: More or less the opposite of Culture Shock, a state of happiness, euphoria and freedom which sets in while attending Burning Man, after one has conformed to "normal" life for too long.
  • Camp Arctica: The camp on playa where participants can purchase ice to keep their perishables fresh, and their bodies cooled. Proceeds from ice sales are donated to local charities. 
  • Center Camp: Large circular area and structures located in the center of Black Rock City. Coffee is sold here 24/7 and there is always amazing art, performance and other activities always going on.
  • Danger Ranger: Founder and icon hero of the Black Rock Rangers.
  • Decompression: A party held after Burning Man to give participants a brief chance to return to Black Rock City. Offers relief from the Reality Bends.
  • Default World: The rest of the world that is not the playa.
  • DMV (Department of Mutant Vehicles): The team of dedicated volunteers who review and register Mutant Vehicles, giving them permission to drive on the playa during the event.
  • EL Wire: Electroluminescent Wire. Cool, glowing stuff used to make moving objects and sculptures out of light. The must-have accessory for the event!
  • Fire Dancing: The most popular past-time on the playa. The art of dancing with fire, usually in the form of poi, staff, hoops, clubs, fans, or other devices.
  • FOMO - Fear of missing out (suffered worst by those that miss Burning Man)
  • Gifting: A core tenet of the Burning Man ethos, gifting is the act of giving something (material or otherwise) to another person without any expectation of receiving something in return. The best gifts are those that are handmade with thought and love
  • ICS: Incident Command System, an action plan to be used by the Rangers in the event of serious emergency.
  • Jack Rabbit Speaks: Internet-based newsletter produced by Burning Man organization.
  • Khakis: Durable, tan-colored clothing which has become the standard uniform of the Rangers. Not to be confused with the ubiquitous tan-colored GAP clothing worn by business-casual office drones the world over.
  • Lamplighters: the volunteer group who lights kerosene lanterns each night of the Burning Man event to illuminate the esplanade and promenades, providing participants with valuable navigational aids. 
  • Leave No Trace: A philosophy learned during a rigorous 3-day back-country training expedition, during which participants are taught to clean up after themselves completely. Also one of the central tenets of the Burning Man festival. No, really, we're serious about this. Never let potential Moop hit the ground!!!
  • Lingam: The erect penis: companion to Yoni, and a symbolic of creative power.
  • Man, the: Term used for the Burning Man statue.
  • Miss Information: Legendary distributor of wisdom at Playa Info. Can be recognized by her bright green plumage.
  • MOOP: Matter Out Of Place. Litter, debris, rubbish.
  • Mutant Vehicle/Art Car: a motorized conveyance that is radically, stunningly, (usually) permanently, and safely modified. Larry Harvey likens Mutant Vehicles to "sublimely beautiful works of art floating across the playa like a Miro painting." Licensed by the DMV, these vehicles are an important part of the Burning Man experience.
  • Newbie: Any person who is attending Burning Man for the first time. Can often be recognized by the call they utter when coming out of the Porta-Potties on Tuesday: "That wasn't so bad."
  • No Spectators: Another central tenet of the Burning Man philosophy. By blurring the line between audience and performer, everybody is a superstar at Burning Man.
  • Obtainium: Any useful and valued material which is found or obtained for free off the Playa
  • Open Playa: the portion of the playa that is within our pentagonal event space, but is used exclusively for art installations rather than camping space.
  • Playa: Spanish word for beach.
  • Playa Foot: a common malady where one's feet become dry and cracked due to prolonged exposure to the highly alkaline desert floor. (always wear closed shoes!)
  • Playa Madness: Mental condition that occurs after being out in the Black Rock Desert for more than a week at a time.
  • Playa Name: originally spawned by the need for unique names on the staff's 2-way radios, playa names have become almost ubiquitous, and are sometimes used to provide an individual with an "alternate" personality or persona. Playa names are traditionally given to a person, rather than taken on.
  • Playa Platforms: What your footwear immediately becomes after it rains on the playa, when 2-3 inches of mud rapidly accumulates on the bottoms of your shoes. (if it sprinkles stay put)
  • Playafication (adj.: playafied): the process by which all participants' shoes/feet, hair, tents, carpets, furniture, vehicles, etc. become the same serene shade of playa-tan due to ubiquitous dust build-up.
  • Regionals: the global representatives of Burning Man who help connect Burners with fellow Burners off playa, while producing events and upholding the Ten Principles.
  • Sensory Overload: Just attending Burning Man. This is generally a blissful state, however, there is some sadness in the realization that a human can only witness a tiny fraction of the vast, non-stop, brilliant activities occurring during the week-long festival.
  • Theme Camp: A campsite which artistically presents an idea or concept and is designed to be interactive with participants.
  • Village: Affinity group of theme camps.
  • White-out: A dust storm which produces near-zero visibility. (Always find safety near-by piece of art, stay put, cover your eyes and mouth)

forever burning