02 September 2011
BURN HIM! BURN HIM!
Unfortunately I will not be able to make The Burning of Zozobra this year as I have to be to work at four am the following morning.... bummer. So here is a re-post of the 2009 event I attended with my buddy Dale who was visiting from Maine. If you plan on being in Santa Fe next Thursday night I highly recommend the event. Tickets in advance online are only $10 --$15 at the door. Only 25,000 tickets are being sold this year and it WILL sell out.
Enjoy the Santa Fe Fiestas and have a plate of green chili chicken enchiladas for me!!
KOB.COM [channel 4 in Albuquerque] will broadcast the event on its website. Check it out.
...meanwhile....set the Way-back machine for September 2009....
Early September signals the return of many traditions in New Mexico like roasting green chilis and the return of Old Man Gloom.
Last September my friend Dale was visiting and I took him up to Santa Fe where we watched the original 'burning man' burn.
We had actually arrived in Santa Fe a little late as we made a stop in Madrid, NM.
Madrid is a very cool little artist community on the east side of the Sandia Mountains. There are all kinds of arts and crafts shops and a restaurant or two. Madrid has a kind of funky/kitschy feel to it.
By the time we got into Santa Fe the plaza had pretty much closed up shop so we missed all the cool booths.
We parked a couple of blocks away from Fort Marcy Park and followed the crowds.
There was not much to be seen once there. The obligatory souvenir booth which had ok t-shirts [wtf - no black T's?? I would think that would be a given]. I saw a cool bobble head of Zozobra for $25 bucks...eh I could do with out it. I ended up not purchasing anything.
Next, the food vendors....err.. only 8 of them?? Kinda disappointing. We had some shredded pork that was ok.
Once on the field we pretty much just waited with everyone else. There were bands playing but nothing else.
What suprised me most were the people having picnics on picnic blankets. It was crowded enough with tens of thousands of people around you with out having to worry about stepping on someones blanket.
Also I was very suprised smoking was allowed on the field. Most curious.
The festivities started around nine pm -- for five bucks it was worth the wait. The light show was pretty cool and the burning it self was pretty awesome.
Pagan type dancers came onto the stage first and danced around the giant marionette, followed by dancers with fire sticks. The music was perfectly eerie.
There was something eerie about the whole event. Thousands of people chanting "Burn him, burn him" the whole thing had a pagan feel to it. As I mentioned before, if I were a four year old in the audience it sure would freek me out.
Did I mention the odor of 'ganja' was very apparent...lol.
I would think an event as old as this one, 86 years, would be able to afford 'known' bands. I guess too many peoples pockets are being lined.
Anyway... Zozobra was 'burned'. It was very creepy seeing his head on fire with flames shooting out of his eye sockets and mouth and him moaning and wailing about, ultimately seeing his head fall off in flames.
When all was said and done, it was pretty cool. The crowd then proceded to wander the streets of downtown Santa Fe yelling, "Viva la fiestas!!!"
Eighty-six years ago artist William Shuster, Jr came to Santa Fe to paint and would stay on to help build the arts community in The City Different.
Shuster created the first Zozobra, or 'Old Man Gloom' [now a 40 ft tall marionette, which Guiness has verified is the largest marionette in the world], an effigy of all the gloom and dispair from the past year, to be burned.
Tradition holds that you are supposed to offer your gloom and dispair in documents or notes to be burned with Zozobra at the Fort Marcy Park grounds near the plaza in Santa Fe.
Definitely one of the more interesting ways to spend an evening.
And so ends another adventure in the Land of the Zia.