“Burn it! Burn the fucking thing!”. Feeling of the crowd is quite clear. If possible, if it is not too much of a bother, would sir kindly consider lighting this symbol of all things gloom? Please? Now? BURN THE FUCKING THING!
Personally I would pay a gazillion dollars for a bow and flaming arrow. Burn it! Emotions of Zozobra runs high. We are rather eager to set our gloom on fire. But let us begin with the beginning.
Zozobra, the burning man of Santa Fe, is held every year and the idea is to write down all your gloom on a piece of paper. These pieces of paper are then placed at the foot of a huge 15 meter tall Zozobra effigy and the whole thing is torched. Gloom up in flames, let us move on to next year. That is the idea anyway. Emotions run rather high as we want to burn our gloom and everything has been stalled for 90 minutes due to wind. BURN, please.
I am at Zozobra with Daniel Milnor. We are filming UNA PURA VERDAD. Basically I am stalking Daniel with a camera. It is an interesting way to experience things. This being New Mexico, it is not surprising we have met people dressed in renaissance clothing (medieval people I like to call them), a beauty queen, a massive police presence, and a small Jedi-girl with pink bunny ears wielding a light saber. Also there are snipers on the roof. And I look down and discover I am standing on the pitching mound on a baseball field. Burning Man on a Field of Dreams with Snipers on the Roof.
Via a friend of Dan’s we have access to the VIP area, a good spot in front of the crowd for filming. Afternoon has proceeded nicely, it is now close to 8pm, the sun has set over the field of dreams, and we should like to burn some gloom now please. One problem. Wind. Too much of it that is. For an agonizing hour and a half the proceedings are delayed due to wind. Patience is not really on anyone’s plate right now. “Burn the fucking thing” the crowd chants beautifully every time Man with Tall Hat asks us to wait some more. My kingdom for a bow and flaming arrow I tell Dan. I am sure the snipers are checking to see if they have some tracer-rounds lying around. Burn!
Just before the crowd is ready to start testing just how far they can throw a Zippo, the procedures finally roll forward. Dancers dance, twirling fire batons are, well, twirled, the same “roarrrrrrr” sound effect is looped on the PA, not really helping our sanity at this point.
In one minute it’s over. Zozobra and all the gloom, well the paper, is gone. After all that waiting, perhaps a bit of a quick release. Not sure all my gloom can disappear in a minute, but hey, geronimo, maybe it can, let us see if all the gloom is gone, for a while at least, quite sure we need to BURN THE FUCKING THING again next year. Crowd goes home, Snipers goes home, Jedi-girl goes home, we all go home, presumably gloom free for a little while. Onwards and forwards.
So endeth the tale of Burning Man on a Field of Dreams with Snipers on the Roof. As I was video filming for 99% of the time I only have a few quick nothing snapshots. It is my one gripe with doing video. I cannot shoot stills also, and miss it terribly. Itch I cannot scratch. To see my Zozobra video footage, well look no further, you must watch UNA PURA VERDAD (see what I did there, clever bit of promotion).