Burning Man vs. Decompression: A Heated Investigation

Decompression is a touchy subject, especially in Burning Man’s hometown of San Francisco. This year I was exhausted and cranky as I got ready for the annual 13th Annual Decompression Heat the Street Fair. But tradition is tradition (not to mention I was assigned to write this article) and so I donned my fishnets, lace lingerie and furry kitten gear, downed some tequila, and got ready to hit the streets.

I have a love/hate relationship with Decompression parties. Or maybe hate is too strong a word; let’s say love/dislike relationship. On one hand: any opportunity to dance in the streets dressed like a kitten and celebrate playa magic and connections is always a good idea. On the other hand: the vibe of Decompression seemed to me to always exist amidst a haze of psycho-party-entitlement, stemming from a combination of attendees burnt out from a summer of festivals and raging it, mixed with a sense that this is the last real chance to go all out like champions until festival season starts up again in the Spring.

Maybe some of these negative feelings I had began back in 2007. I remember coming home from my first Burn and feeling lost in a cold and sad world. I counted down the days until Decompression where I would be with my people again. I rushed there as fast as I could after work, but still only arrived after the sun had set. I was broke and remember being pissed that it was still ten dollars to get in even though there was only a few hours left of the all-day event and I tried to bargain for half price admission. “It’s for the cause,” said the girl at the gate in a pretentious voice. I felt so disillusioned as I handed her my last ten dollar bill. So you fundraise all year so for one week we don’t have to spend any money? What’s the logic in that? This energy needs to exist all year long, not just on the Playa!