Peter Lyons


June 14, 2012

We did it! We put on a goddamn Circus at Apogaea. Rewinding to the week before, I was planning to go to Crested Butte for a mountain biking trip, but the organizers canceled it at the last minute, after I had already bought food and packed the car. I was irked but ultimately I knew it was a good thing so I would have time for more Apogaea packing and Gypsy Wranglers work. I ended up biking Sourdough Trail with Lewbacca early Sunday morning.

Brainard Lake with Lewis

We rode from the Sourdough trail head up to Brainard lake. We left Boulder at 8 AM and had the trail pretty much to ourselves. It's a lot of uphill slogging but I faired noticeably better than I did last year. It was nice to snack and look at Brainard Lake before starting the mostly-downhill descent. Lew's bike computer says he hit about 35 MPH on the road leading away from the lake.

Wednesday night I went to Jasmine's and helped her start loading up her huge van, known as Betsy the Gypsy Wagon. We were at it for a few hours packing things and loading the van. She cooked us a meal of quinoa and a salad of apple, carrot, and radish with from-scratch chocolate pudding for dessert. Thursday morning I was back at 7 AM for final loading and departure. We had a last minute emergency with our drummer, Jonathan, who's Grandfather passed away that week. We thought he would be out of state for the wake and unable to attend the festival, but he ended up able to come up Friday, play the circus, and the fly out Saturday morning. So I dropped off his ticket and then we stopped at my place to grab my hexayurt and a quick breakfast. Then Jasmine and I drove out to the festival site in Bailey, CO. It's less than 90 minutes from Boulder, which is so awesome in comparison to the 20+ hour drive to Burning Man.

We were able to get in without any problems several hours prior to the gates officially opening, and we set to work unpacking the van and doing some final camp setup. Most of the work had been done the prior weekend during "work weekend". I got my hexayurt set up in short order and headed to Camp Wardrobe Malfunction to get some costume wear for the event. Joe arrived soon after that with a lot more food and gear for camp, so we got him unloaded.

Joe, Cassie, Erica, and I walked around a bit and stumbled into Mother's Milk camp for cookies and milk. We stopped at the Sound Puddle and gave them a hand getting their dome covered with billboard vinyl. Then I had a snack and a nice long nap. I set up some gear in the music tent for Thursday's tech rehearsal, but in the end it ended up being an informal free-for-all for the acrobats to try things out on the stage, and we didn't play any music. Our guitar player and drummer weren't there yet, so it was just as well.

I headed up over the ridge past the 4x4-only camping area and sat on a stump admiring the mountain scenery for a while. I usually do my annual reflection and reevaluation during these times as opposed to during New Years. I did a bit of lifestyle planning and thinking about which hobbies I need to phase out and which to phase in.

Camp dinner was a yummy chicken curry with rice plus some extra veggie kabobs from our kitchen-mates the High Flying Unicorns and some brownies. After dinner we put some lights up on the music tent and then headed to the effigy for opening ceremony of fire dancing. At this point I was pretty exhausted so I laid down for a while. I got really really close to calling it a night, but Aaron "Piper" Merriam was "bup bup"-ing the Unicorns to go wandering and I got myself up for that.

We checkout out the big spiral scultpure, then danced at Atom and Eve a while. I later bumped in to Joe, Erica, and Mandaline and did another tour of duty with them. I was hanging back a bit as I was feeling very bloated and uncomfortable, which can happen when your normal diet consists of mostly identical meals. We hit a few bars including Late Night Schlongs and the Bing Zombie Bar. Some guy passed out in BZB and wasn't responding. I ran to get some help from BAMF and found them just 25 yards or so up the street, so they quickly were tending to him and later an ambulance came to get him. I called it a night shortly there after, still feeling lots of intestinal trouble.

Saturday I had a nice relaxing morning. I ate a little oatmeal and meuslix and then headed to Mi Casa Hedron, a nearby camp that was serving pancakes. It turns out these guys work at the popular Boulder breakfast restaurant Snooze. They were serving big, thick, Snooze trail mix pancakes and spinach and mushroom omelets. It was fantastic. By far my best Burn/Apo breakfast. At Snooze, this would cost you around $12 since they sell individual pancakes for $4 each, which is insane. Later Jasmine and I went to Bobalicious grill where they were cooking brussels sprouts in bacon fat as well as handing out bacon.

I did the beginner acro workshop that the CoiL folks were offering. We learned a thigh stand, a flag, and a shoulder stand. It was pretty fun and my legs were sore the next morning. After that I snacked on my beloved peanut butter pretzel nuggets and rested up for rehearsal. We rehearsed the show with no sound system, then broke for dinner.

Setting up for the show we were running really behind as we once again didn't ensure the sound guy would be there with his equipment early enough. We were probably off by an hour compared to what we really needed. So I was frantically trying to get musicians in place and cables connected and batteries replaced and so forth. We delayed the show a few minutes, but the jugglers and acrobats amused the building crowd in the mean time.

The show was fantastic. The band played about as well as we ever have, and as well as we could hope given the amount of rehearsal time we have spent (about 1/3 of what we needed). The crowd gradually filled in as the sun went down and peaked at several hundred people surrounding our camp on all sides. The community really really enjoyed it I think, and we were told as much many times afterward. The stilt walking and stilt costumes, and Joe & Jas's acro duet were big hits. It's pretty awesome to see a really tall woman balancing upside down shoulder on top of shoulder with a tall man.

After the show we spent a really long time tearing down equipment and enjoying the buzz. Then I headed out with Johnathan, Adam, Andrea, Randi, and Thad to look for mischief, which we promptly encountered. We did a bit of sheep jousting, which was a lot of fun. However, when my sheep stopped short at the end of its track I was thrown forward and hyperextended my thumb a bit in the crash, but otherwise I was fine. After a few rounds of sheep jousting, it was on to the big spinning wheel. We strapped Randi into a 5-point harness on a big wooden wheel and spun her round and round while throwing foam axes at her. It was quite and blast and we put Jonathan, Andrea, and Adam on it as well.

We hit the Zombie bar again and danced to some 60s grooves. I later found out this this area of the festival was the "no whomp zone" where dubstep and electronica are forbidden, which is pretty cool and amusing as well. I drank a Vodka and 7up at Late Night Schlongs, which was surprisingly yummy. I think I am about to cross the line where I can enjoy hard liquor drinks. Should make for an interesting year.

Then we trudged back to Atom and Eden to dance in front of the Whomp Truck. They were in transition between DJ sets and the crowd was growing ornery. Someone quipped in a phony Indian accent "We should not has simulcasted this. Total waste of a simulcast", which I thought was hilarious.

We lost track of Thad and Andrea and I went to look for him in one direction but ended up stumbling on some cozy hammocks and that's where we stayed for a while just relaxing snugly in a hammock. After a good long while we headed for the warmth of Jasmine's van and joined the cuddle puddle in there.

Jonathan was there as well. Jas had to wake him up and send him on his way in the middle of the night so he could get back home to Nederland and then out to the airport in time to catch his flight.

Overall it was an epically fun night. I was thinking to myself, between the awesome breakfast and the nighttime shenanigans, this is probably my favorite day at Burning Man or Apogaea. And then I remembered, OH RIGHT, between those two things we put on a kick-ass Circus performance! Hands down the winner.

Here's a slideshow of great photos from the performance that Deana took

Saturday the bright sun hit my face through the open door of the Gypsy Wagon. I got up, cleaned up, and had some breakfast of oatmeal, veggies and potatoes, and chorizo that Blake and Heather cooked for camp. I sat in one of the birds nest chairs the High Flying Unicorns had set up and journaled a bit. I tried the acroyoga workshop but discovered since I can't lie on my back and put my legs straight up at 90 degrees, many of these poses don't work for me.

Saturday afternoon Andrea and I wondered up to Banana Republika for a great party featuring "jungle juice" cocktails and a huge spread of banana desserts with all the fixings. We also wandered to Mother's Milk again for milk and cookies. That evening was Jill and Aaron's wedding extravaganza. They had a bunch of aerialists performing on bungee trapeze, hoop, and fabrics. The bride and groom were both on stilts and Aaron's father, a Baptist minister from Texas, we decked out in long red coat tails and a top hat while he performed the wedding ceremony. It was a lot of fun, although it was blazing hot and sunny. Afterward there were rainbow cupcakes and champagne and general milling around.

Early in the evening Jasmine, Andrea, and I headed over to the Sound Puddle with instruments in tow. We found a bunch of other CoiL performers there as well. We played a bunch of tunes and enjoyed the great vibe in there and the LED light show. There were a bunch of really great moments. These are the moments that bring me to these events. They are such a great contrast to the frenzy of the dancing/drinking/drugging/partying scene, but they are just as much a part of what these festivals are about. There are several other videos in addition to the one below if you want to check them out.

After a while in the Sound Puddle I think Andrea and I went to look at stars for a while before returning to the Gypsy Wagon.

Sunday was pretty much all packing up from the get-go. We got the van loaded up pretty quickly and tore down the last few bits of camp. We did some "greening" moop sweeps and also went over to help sweep for moop inside the gigantic Wardrobe Malfunction tent. We were packed up earlier than Jas was expecting, so I think we departed by 3pm or so. We carpooled with Andrea and stopped at a brew pub for a post-Apo meal. We unpacked my stuff at my place and some of it at Jasmine's. Then we headed to Joe's apartment for a dip in the pool and hot tub with Joe, Erica, Ryan, Andrea, Jasmine, and me. It was really refreshing and a great way to cap off the event.

Here are my photos. There are just a few. Tons more good ones on Facebook.