burning it off…

i’m going to burning man. (does maniacally  gleeful dance).

yes, i’m going to burning man. there are some old-school, longtime burners who have  written off the playa and are now venturing on to other realities. i understand that the annual burning man trek is a huge undertaking, which occupies most of the year and despite being a gifting community, ends up costing a not insubstantial amount of money. $2000 is not a bad guesstimate for what the average person spends on getting to burning man – and that’s if you live in the states. now take into account the burners who come from all the far-flung corners of the globe! a good friend of mine is spending well in excess of that coming from johannesburg.

having said all that – i am a 3-time burner, 2003-2005 and for two of those years, i was very involved in the fire community and spun fire the nights of  the burn. so let’s just say that i was very involved in the scene. in fact my last trip happened right after i started binnelanders. i actually flew back for 2 weeks in order to make my annual pilgrimage to the base of the man. since then i’ve never been in the states at the same time as the burn, so it’s been 4 years since i’ve been able to go.

thank heavens for the internet. i saw a post on one of my mailing lists earlier this year about a new conclave and i signed up via email, and because of my past experience  in the fire community, they’re allowing me to slot in with merely 2 rehearsals so i get to spin again on burn night and i get a discount on my ticket! yay!

however, once i started pulling my old performance wear out of the storage unit, it was abundantly (appropriate word) clear  that there was no way i was going to fit into most of it. this probably being my last time going to the burn in a while,  desperate measures were called for. remember how skinny beyonce suddenly was in “dreamgirls”? well, that was a result of something called the “master-cleanse”, a 10-day lemon, cayenne , maple syrup and water fast/cleanse (description and instructions below). well, i’m on day 7. my last day because i won’t be able to wean myself onto regular food in time for my trip if i go the full 10.

it was pretty uneventful except for the intense migraine which started on the evening of day 3 and went for about 18 hours. it was excruciating and  i was in bed by 8, but by the next night i was much better. most days i found it pretty difficult to finish the lemon drink and had to chug the remainder so that i could go to sleep. from day 4 onward, i started getting much more active – rode my bike a couple of miles. day 6 i got up and went for my first rollerblade in 18 months and then went for a 90 minutes yoga class. today, my last day, will end with a marathon dress rehearsal for the fire conclave, but i have no doubt i’ll be just fine.

i’m certainly looking better for it. i didn’t have a scale for the first 4 days and i seem to have not lost anything more the last 3, but i feel better and i’ve read somewhere that fasting actually can extend one’s life-span. i’m beginning to think that i need to institute a weekly monday water-fast, but i also realistically know that i have all kinds of good intentions when i’m doing the cleanse (this is my 3rd or 4th time), but they don’t always stick.

but i am going to look much better at burning man than i would have a mere week ago! 😉

LEMON DRINK for Master Cleanse

You’ll need:

2 TBsp lemon or lime juice (approx. 1/2 lemon)
2 TBsp genuine organic maple syrup, Grade B (the darker the better)
1/10 Tsp cayenne pepper, gradually increase (the more BTUs the better)
10-14 oz pure water

Combine juice, maple syrup, and cayenne pepper with water. Drink every 1 to 2 hours. Take no other food, but do drink lots of water in between lemonade drinks. *my modification is that i added psyllium husks to mine to add some roughage, but by day 5 i’d had enough*

Use fresh lemons or limes only, never canned or frozen lemon juice. Use organic and vine ripened when possible. Also, Mix your lemonade fresh just before drinking. Don’t mix it up in the morning for the whole day. You can, however, squeeze your lemons in the morning and measure out the 2 Tbls when needed.

Burroughs recommends a minimum of 10 days on this. You can do 40 days safely and more.

YL Clinic says you can use Agave instead of the maple syrup. Tom Woloshyn (who studied with Stanley Burroughs himself) disagrees. Clinic says if you have diabetes or hypoglycemia, use molasses. If you feel weak or have a sugar imbalance you can add a scoop of Power Meal. Or you can try Master Amino Acid Profile (MAP) for protein without any residuals or strain on the body  more info here: http:/www.weightlossessentials.com/aminoacid.html

NOTE: Be sure to drink plenty of purified water in addition to the lemon juice.


First Day: Start with 4 oz. fresh squeezed orange juice mixed with 4 oz. water. If it goes well, drink several more 8 oz. glasses of fresh orange juice during the day. Sip slowly. Dilute with water if needed.

Second Day: Drink several 8 oz. glasses of orange juice during the day — with extra water, if needed.

In the evening make a vegetable broth (no canned soup). Use seasonal leafy and root vegetables such as: beets and beet tops, turnips and turnip greens, kale, carrots, onions, parsley, celery, potatoes, okra, one or two inds of legumes, squash, beans, a little salt, cayenne pepper and dehydrated vegetables or veg. powder may be added for flavor (no MSG or hydrolyzed protein).

Cook lightly. Drink the broth, eating only a few bites of the vegetables.

Third Day: Orange juice in the morning. At noon have some more soup with some of the vegetables. No meat, fish, eggs, bread, pastries, tea, milk, or coffee. For Dinner, have the vegetables in the soup.

Fourth Day: Orange juice or lemon and maple syrup in the morning. Fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts for lunch. Salad or fruit for dinner.

Fifth Day: Eat normally but no junk food, dairy, tea, coffee, white flour or white rice, heavy animal proteins. If, after eating is resumed, distress or gas occurs, go back to the lemonade diet for a few days until the system is ready for food.


Start each morning with 1 quart of water and 2 tsp. sea salt (NOT iodized salt). Mix well and chug dow

flying out the window

ever since i came back to south africa  from the u.s. 3 years ago, i’ve had a return ticket back to l.a.. it’s felt like a life-line, like i had a way out if i ever needed one – and i wasn’t planning on staying in any case. after 12 years of living on the same street in topanga, california, it was home. i’d come back to south africa for 2 weeks for my brother’s wedding and within 4 days had been offered a role they’d been struggling to cast  in a new soap which was just starting. too good to turn down.  i had an 8 month contract, but also a house full of stuff in topanga to return to.

3 years later i’m still blowing bubbles in soap land. no more topanga house, stuff in storage, my car being driven to death by the husband from whom i’ve been long, but amicably separated, and a new mortgage on a house in johannesburg. at least i still have a ticket back to l.a., my adopted home.

when I booked my flight back from my annual trip at the end of last year, i secured myself another return. i was told i couldn’t book the return leg of the journey for beyond 8 months from commencement  of  travel, but it’s happened to me before. no big deal . i put in a date and  decide later what i want to change it to. this time i chose the latter part of august as a possible date, hoping against hope, that i’d be able to use the ticket to go to burning man. a new mortgage and steeply rising interest rates later, going to  burning man from south africa, turns out to be a pipe dream, so last week i try to change my ticket to december, which is when i’ve gone to l.a. the last 2 years. i call vayama which is the site on which i bought the ticket and after being on hold forever, the woman comes back on the line and informs me that this particular ticket allows only a 9 month stay, not the usual 1 year!


it’s in the fine print, she tells me. so for $300 i can change my ticket, but  fly no later than october 1st. i’m working till december 5th. out the window flies something like $1000. so much for my life-line. i have to admit i feel slightly unmoored. now i will have to buy a return ticket from  south africa, not the u.s. which is much more expensive. so here i am, adrift in the uncertain seas of my south african life.  i don’t know when i’ll make it back to l.a., back to the life i’ve put on hold, back to the people i love, my burner community, back to a life without electric fences. don’t get me wrong, i was born here and yes, this too can be a land of opportunity, especially in my chosen career, but the reality is, when i put my request out to the universe, i really wasn’t specific enough. i wanted to get back to making my living doing what i do best – and that, without a doubt, is acting. what i didn’t specify, was that i wanted it to be in english, and preferably, in l.a.. so, i’m re-phrasing my request. ideally i want to be able to travel for work. i want to have a base in los angeles, as well as south africa. i want to travel between the two continents for work. i want to be in an american/international drama series, do american/international film – i’ve done it before. i can do it again. 

Burton Morris - Ruby Slippers

image by burton morris

in the meantime i steer my little raft and weather the gales as best i can. this dorothy knows she’s not in kansas anymore, but maybe sometime i’ll get back my ruby slippers and i’ll click my heels…

burning man – going home

it’s that time of year.  time for burning man. my burner friends from all over the world are packing their crazy costumes, faux fur, blinkies, neon everything, fire toys, fuel, bicycles, art cars, gifts, portable showers, power bars, water, hula hoops, everything needed to sustain life for 10 days, especially everything sparkly and glittery  – all of which, within moments of arriving on the playa, will be covered in tenacious, alkaline, moisture-sucking, skin-cracking, wonderful white playa dust.

it’s been 3 years since i last was able to go and i can guarantee that even here, 10 000 miles away on the other side of the world, i can go into my storage room and i’ll find you some playa dust. i’m so jealous of everyone heading to black rock city for a fresh supply. heading to  black rock city which, at this moment, is growing from an empty, dry salt pan, to one of the largest cities in nevada – at least for the next 10 days.

they’re going home. and those of us who’ve been and who aren’t able to go, feel an inexorable longing. i feel all the playa dust that i’ve inhaled, absorbed into my skin, packed up with my belongings, become magnetized to the true north which is black rock city and it is only my very pedestrian circumstances which keep me stuck here while my every cell is extended like an olympic rhythmic gymnast, legs outstretched, toes pointing, fingertips reaching toward, yearning for the nevada desert. 

i first got to burning man in 2003 (on a whim, with almost no planning, but scooped up in the circle of some fabulous hoopgirls (christabel of hoopgirl, anah (hoopalicious), the eve of hoop-dancing)- booking my ticket midnight thursday, leaving saturday). it was beyond belief.

like long-lost family, people met me with huge hugs and a “welcome home!”. i thought they were freakishly weird. what do you mean, “welcome home?”, i’ve never been here before!  hippy-dippy. and yet, by the time the week was up, after spending most of the time observing, getting thoroughly steeped in playa dust and burner community, clicking happily away with my camera, trying to capture it all, i realized that after a long circuitous route, mainly detours,  i was finally home. i felt like i’d been asleep for years, cocooned in a 10 year marriage, becoming invisible, forgetting who i really was. at burning man, after what felt like eternity, i seemed to bump into myself again. the real me. and it made it impossible to go back. within months my husband and i had separated and i was on a journey back to me. i had become a burner.

p.s. (my blog banner is an image i photoshopped of me on my bicycle on the playa in 2005)

saturday night fever…

just how difficult does it have to be to find a place to dance on a saturday night in johannesburg? based on my experience this past weekend, very.


seeing that we’d taken the trek out to montecasino so i could be guest dj on jacaranda fm, i decided that we needed to make a night of it. in l.a. i would be out at some party maybe once a week, or at least a few nights out of the month. i’d spend an age dressing up outrageously, pack my spinning toys and go and play with a lot of very creative, crazy other burners. here in johannesburg, i seem to be living someone else’s life. a very staid, boring someone else! i never seem to go dancing anymore. i don’t spin as much any more (more lately, but still not enough).

anyway, once done with the jacaranda interview, we head over to kai thai for supper. ok, but not great, food. i break out the red bull i have in my bag. ready, set, go. we head over to wakamata, a club recommended by a few people. unfortunately, they’ve got some hip-hop event happening. i have finally headed out of my house to find some dance house, and they’re playing hip hop! i feel like i’m deflating fast. we head upstairs to a restaurant whose name eludes me know. they’ve got a live band playing “o lare, ohoh…”. their tiny dance floor is pretty much packed. we contemplate the floor for a minute, but decide we’re forcing the issue.

after much uhm-ing and ah-ing, we decide to head over to rosebank and try out moloko. i’ve heard about the place from a number of people. on joburglive it’s described as “The slick, power suit community at play.” and it is. it’s still early so there’s no one around, yet the very pretty model type wo-manning the velvet ropes, gives us a very snooty appraisal before deigning to let us in. she laughs as i call her on it. inside, it’s all black on black, niche lighting to go with it’s niche market. the place to be for the BEE set. we pick a seat against the wall only to have a guard point out that this area is “reserved”. o-kay! we get a drink as the place starts filling up fast. finally the music bumps up a notch, and we hit the dance floor for a few minutes even though the music is kinda old-school. i’m still in search of some phat, progressive house beats. not here, at least not now.

i head to the bathroom where i have to clean the previous fashionista’s piss off the seat. if you’re too good to put your ass on the seat, at least have the decency to clean up your mess! but oh wait, i forget myself! someone else is expected to clean up after. jeez! we promptly depart and decide to check out latinova upstairs. the music sounds pretty pumping, but the guy at the door is officious and the cover is R150! i am obviously way out of the loop! who has the the kind of money to frequent places like these?

as we head to my car, we decide to check out the capital. i’m trying to figure out what the scene is, while the doorman tells me that it’s a “private function”. it takes me a minute and then i realize that this is the monthly lesbian bar a few of my girlfriends have threatened to take me to. it is obvious that we don’t belong here. if i were on my own, i’d check it out, but instead we head round the corner and downstairs where the doorman directs us. the music seeping out the door sounds pretty decent, so we opt to pay the R70 cover. inside, almost everyone is hip, black and at least half our age. the music at least, finally hits the jackpot and we hit the dance-floor and get down. this lasts about 45 minutes and then seemingly irrevocably, it switches to hip hop. we at last decide to admit defeat and call it a night.

it’s about 01h30 and between the two of us, we’ve spent between 6 and R700 on the evening. maybe next time i’ll roll up my carpets, crank up the music, and get down to house. at my house.