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Burning man.

For the past 19 years over 25,000 boheminas have gathered in a remote northern Nevada desert to invent a surreal city for a week on a featureless salt flat 120 miles outside Reno. Queer-popular Burning Man (August 29-September 5) is composed of art installations, scattershot events, and wacky theme camps. Ride in the crow's nest of a 50-foot long dust-scudding pirate ship; attend Fags Over 4 Tea, with a cabal of older gay men in a U-Haul-cum--Arabian tent; and hear thousand of people applaud the sunset each evening. Burning Man is a refreshing, artsy anomaly in America, a place where commerce and barter are not allowed, replaced instead with selfless giving on an enormous scale.

The queer factor: Being queer at Burning Man is more asset than liability. Almost 25% of attendees self-identify as gay or bisexual. Woman-focused events are as plentiful as men's. Gay marquee-name theme camps have been on the playa for nearly a decade, including Jiffy Lube, Avalon, and AstroPups.

Do take: Airtight, fashionable goggles; de rigueur cowboy hat and sarong combo; dust-proof plastic bags for all clothes, cameras, etc.; beater bicycle with bike lock; a sense of humor; and a cabal of friends to share the experience.

Don't take: Boring street clothes and designer labels; bad eco juju glitter and feathers; CD players (the dust ruins them); friends who can't handle harsh weather and dirt.

For Web links to maps and updated info, including this year's queer theme camps, queer BM history, and a guide to doing high drag in the high desert, visit OutTraveler.com.
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Title Annotation:TOP TIPS
Author:Taylor, Ggreg
Publication:The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1U8NV
Date:Jul 5, 2005
Words:261
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