Some of us have been visiting the playa since we were very young. But it wasn't until 2005, when the first members of Above The Limit wandered out to Burning Man, built our first camp, and began participating in earnest.
That year, our theme was The Green Fairy Degenerates, possibly arising from some very popular beverages we brought and shared across the playa…
In 2006, we were on the playa the entire week before the event started. A year before, we decided to build the first air terminal at Black Rock International Spaceport. After all, who wants to wait for a mile-high flight in the dust?
The terminal was first prototyped in balsa wood. Little did we know what we were getting into...
We got to experience the agonies and ecstasies that are all part of building the City in the Desert.
That's Overkill atop the Tower #2 that gave him his playa name.
The tornado that started in center camp and the great white out that followed just added to the entertainment experience for all of us, including the multitudes who sought refuge in our camp.
Even though not all our parts were delivered on time, that terminal was up and running Monday morning, to the amazement of all but our build crew.
We also shuttled vast quantities of people, equipment, aircraft parts and beer between Reno and the playa to keep those engines turning.
A glass cockpit view of the route from Reno to BRC. Yes, flight computers can be programmed to fly direct to Black Rock International Spaceport.
2006 was our first year of serious brewing. The event theme was Hope and Fear, so our theme became Hops and Beer. We built our first EL Wire sign to adorn our first beer storage unit, an 800-pound unit filled with craft homebrew made under the supervision of zintli, our resident beer judge and master brew craftsman.
There were only 10 of us, and we had a quiet corner camp.
We also helped out other camps. Playa Q, for which we imported a truckful of fresh produce and provided flightseeing, invited us to their legendary Rock Star Dinner, which at the time was the most amazing and truly over the top culinary feat ever attempted on the playa. (Ask us about it sometime over brews.)
In 2007, we registered as an official theme camp, and we continued our camp(y) theme: for The Green Man, we became The Brewing Man. We brought over 100 gallons of outstanding homebrew in three 500-pound beer service units. One of them was installed in our camp’s new mutant vehicle bar-lounge The Beer Garden I, which roamed the playa in search of thirsty travelers by day and by night.
Night cruises were sufficiently illuminated from inside and out...
We built our first domes—40’ and 20’ domes to support our entertainment efforts.
The little dome was easy, the big dome less so. Here it is going up, with moonrise in the background.
We learned a lot about securing many large structures during the big storm, regardless of how good the weather might happen to look.
The 20’ long Costco barns would forever become Costco kites in our vocabulary, as several attempted to head over the rainbow to Oz.
We launched Café KONA, serving awesome 100% Kona coffee to those awaking or staggering back around daybreak. Bringing the Aloha spirit to the desert was great fun!
Back at Airport, we re-assembled our bolt-construction re-usable air terminal, which finally got its perfect roof, some great interior decorating, and excellent art.
We did some serious flightseeing with camp members and friends.
A view of the city from above.
We introduced another new mutant vehicle to the playa: the first incarnation of Twilight's 26 foot F-15 fighter jet.
We were deeply honored to be chosen to help cater the afterparty at the end of the legendary CT-12 parade of 10,000 intrepid women bicyclists and their friends.
By the time the storm hit 30 minutes into the party, we had served over 35 gallons of Skip & Go Nakeds, tons of beer, and the occasional water. After the first half-hour, nobody was keeping track anymore, and as the visibility dropped to about five feet, people kept coming—and we still kept serving…
…And the party kept going…
Albino! and A Cavallo did an outstanding job, as did every dancer on the rig and on the ground!
2007’s big bang was the oil derrick at Crude Awakening. Who would have suspected less than a year later what was to happen to the price of oil?
The derrick’s explosive finale was well worth the effort at any price!
In 2008, our theme was The Beermerican Dream, from sea to shining sea. True to our beginnings, we served over 125 gallons of craft homebrew and occasional sightings of green beverages. But that was only part of the insanity.
One of our biggest camp efforts was The Crystal Cavern, a 40’ dome-bar-lounge filled with giant fluorescent crystals and incredibly comfortable pillows. We built and shipped a truckload of crystals—some over 18 feet in length— to the playa to create a tribute to the Naica crystal caverns. We had no idea how successful this space was to become—it operated as a chill space and, much to our surprise, a hotel.
Saturday, in the midst of the great dust storms, we hosted a Cave Man Dinner in the Cavern. Huge amounts of food and eight fresh apple pies disappeared in minutes.
Café Kona got its own 20’ dome and served a record amount of 100% fresh Kona coffee, chai, and tea.
We went over the top on vehicles. We launched our 22,000 pound (empty) Emerson aircraft loader, The Super Beer Garden. This transport, fitted with over 700 feet of EL-wire and lighting, a large sound system, and our traditional 500-pound beer service unit, could lift over 50 people 15 feet into the air.
She was used to, yet again, cater the CT-13 afterparty serving plenty of beer and, of course, Skip & Go Nakeds.
She wasn’t bad as a Burn viewing platform either, unless you were standing behind her...
The Super Beer Garden was joined by the Beer Garden Express, a comfortable street cruiser with yet another 500-pound beer service unit and lots of foliage.
The F-15 also returned this year, transformed after a lot of work into the flagship of the Black Rock Air Force. It is the fastest beer transport on the playa!
With the help of our resident artist Illustrator, we made some very cool SWAG to hand out.
The fun didn’t end…
The fun didn’t end on the playa. In 2008, we were invited to set up a mini-Cavern at the San Francisco Decompression party.
We also brought a mini-version of Café Kona as well at the Black Rock Air Force F-15. Both were big crowd pleasers.
From SF Decom, we headed to Reno Decom. But we had one more event before the season was through. PartyRadar and Rooster asked Above The Limit to participate in the Burning Man Holiday Party @ BMHQ in San Francisco!!!
With silkscreens from Arun, a gifted artist from Portland, and with some of the smaller crystals, we helped decorate Burning Man HQ appropriately.
Eight of us were present to set up two bars—one for general service, and one dedicated to flaming drinks. The results were awesome, and the party was fun for everyone (leastwise the parts people can remember).
What a year! 80 people in camp. Illustrator's brainchild Darwin's Monkey Bar became the camp centerpiece. The Royal Barge version 1, our giant mutant vehicle in the form of a Thai temple, transported 80 people at a time. Our elevated Shower Tower with a view all around the neighborhood proved very popular. In a tribute to 2006, we put on a fantastic gourmet Three-Star Dinner.
Before the event, we reprised the Absinthe and Flaming Bar from the 2008 Holiday Party at DPW Spark, and we participated in the Open House and The Last Supper, the last big events before the Burning Man offices left Third Street at the end of April. (Big thanks to Jocko, Rooster, and PartyRadar for their help!) Then it was on to Fourth of JuPlaya.
Summer work crews were... intense, Phoenix and Twilight worked all summer to build The Royal Barge. Our crews also constructed the Shower Tower and a new DJ setup. Our brew crews prepared over 200 gallons of outstanding craft brew. For the first time, we added refrigerated storage and a 40' cargo container to our facilities.
Strangers, newbies, old friends, aviators, and visitors of all types were welcomed for refreshments, relaxation, homebrew, and conversation on anything and everything -- Metropoli past, present, and future, desert structures, playa flying, solar power, EL Wire, photography, flame effects, entheogens, shamanism, software, singularities, art, ancient civilizations, and more -- always undertaken at least two steps Above The Limit.
, our 40' radically illuminated dome-bar-lounge, returned with 18-foot fluorescent crystals and more pillows to provide another year for this amazing chill space. We added a ring of red and white mushrooms, new lighting, a giant dragon mandala on the ceiling, and a great new audio system to host some outstanding psytrance.
The Cityscape Bar welcomed participants with craft beers, city-themed drinks, an upper deck,and a large seating area under an extensive misting system.
returned in its 20' dome for a fourth year on the playa to provide morning cups of 100% fresh Kona coffee, chai, and tea, all served with a generous helping of old Hawai'i.
For 2011, Veeta and DarkStar became co-coordinators of Above The Limit. Brew was off the menu (OK, some of us still brought plenty to camp), as the focus shifted to the new Saraswati Tea House and a really rocking Crystal Cavern. Our loyal brewers who had been brewing for ATL since 2006 decided to form their own Camp WetSpot, which became a successful and rocking neighborhood bar and music space on the other side of the playa. (They still have great brew!)
The Saraswati Tea House made its debut with Above The Limit to offer a quiet, comfortable space tended day and night by a tribe of tea wallahs dressed in white. The tea wallahs will serve Saraswati by welcoming those who need respite and a kind word during their passage towards wisdom and evolved consciousness. The wallahs served Indian chai and other refreshing teas. The Tea House provided an oasis for visitors who needed a place to rest, rehydrate and reflect on the ebb and flow of their personal journey.
, our 40' radically illuminated dome-bar-lounge, returned with 18-foot fluorescent crystals and more pillows to provide another year for this amazing chill space. This year it featured a huge new professional audio setup for professional DJs from ATL, other camps on the playa, and from around the world to show what they could do. It was the best audio we've ever offered, and it rocked the playa with outstanding psytrance, techno, and downtempo. Dubstep, well...you had to find that elsewhere!
returned in its 20' dome for a fifth year on the playa to provide morning cups of 100% fresh Kona coffee and chai, all served with a generous helping of old Hawai'i.
For 2012, in the midst of the bitterly sad ticketing fiasco, Twilight returned as Coordinator for what was to become the camp's largest year ever. We managed to score a total of ten tickets in the vile lottery, which meant--no camp. When the powers that be finally did the right thing, our amazing friends at Placement once again worked their magic, and we were granted quite a few Directed Tickets.
We became a mini-village of 154 truly outstanding people from all over the world. Traditional ATLanteans were joined by the awesome folks from Tea House, Dust Hazard, and Flow. While this year marked a turning point in our history, we put on an amazing camp. Remarkably, from the time we hit the playa on Monday of Build Week until the last day of take-down, everything was smooth and 100% drama-free. (BIG thanks to everyone who made this possible!)
The Saraswati Tea House returned to offer a quiet, comfortable space tended day and night by a tribe of tea wallahs. The Tea House provided an oasis for visitors who needed a place to rest, rehydrate and reflect on the ebb and flow of their personal journey.
, our 40' radically illuminated dome-bar-lounge, returned for the last time with its 18-foot fluorescent crystals and more pillows to provide another year for this amazing chill space. By day, it hosted the Palenque Norte Speaker Series that brought hundreds of participants to hear the inspired tales daily.
returned in its 20' dome for its sixth and final year on the playa to provide morning cups of 100% fresh Kona coffee, all served with a generous helping of old Hawai'i. In the afternoons, it served as a neighborhood bar and hosted Snow Cone Frenzy to help keep things cool.
After 2012, we were done. The ticketing fiasco forever changed the way many of the biggest contributors to the event perceived the relationship between our beloved community and those who referred to themselves as "owners." After tens of thousands of hours and over six $digits in contributions, the ATLanteans looked forward to retreating to a quiet, anonymous patch in the suburbs.
But by a series of coincidences--and there truly are no coincidences--the Spirit of Above The Limit arose from the dust once again to become part of the BRC Post Office Village at our favorite home on the 9:00 Plaza. Call it resurrection of the Phoenix... ATLanteans were joined by first-timers to celebrate, marvel, and rediscover the inspiration of the community in its many forms. We held our customary neighborhood dinner, and Papagren cooked up platter after magnificent platter of BBQ fixings for our camp and guests. We made new friends, sat by the fire, poured plenty of liquid cheer, volunteered, flew sorties in the F-15, wandered for miles, and had a great time.
The GGG Ranch where we built so many things now just looks after The Royal Barge. (We are forever grateful to Karen G for her kindness and patience as hundreds of Burners worked out there on our projects. If you ever need a place to store Burning Man gear, she's the best!)
The 2014 Caravansary theme led to research across all of the ancient Silk Routes. We were captivated by the architecture, light, and the tales of travelers. Then we found this short video that really inspired us! Twilight began design in January, and our prototype was successfully completed at The Generator in early April... Camp Coordinator Phoenix led the construction efforts, and he and build crew lead Ethan spent countless days, nights, and weekends working with dozens of camp volunteers to create our structures. JM spent weeks creating and painting the giant and spectacular laser-cut lattices. Despite long odds, it all came together.
The Crystal Medina arose as our tribute to the theme and to our camp's past. You couldn't miss us on Esplanade and the 9:00 Keyhole. Outside was a study of shape, light, and color. Inside was an inviting oasis of refreshment, relaxation, music, exotic scents, art, and conversation, with a backdrop of the silks, shimmering lights, shadows, and textures that provided respite from the journey through our very foreign lands.
Along with our subcamps Echo and Eurotache, the ATLanteans thank all of you who visited us and enjoyed our hospitality at the Turkish Delight Cafe, the Oasis Tavern, and the Afterburner Lounge.
Thanks to all of our 2014 camp members who worked so hard on construction, entertainment, hospitality, the Camp Dinner, camp support, and tear-down/clean-up. Special thanks to Kevin and Twilight for their harrowing and heroic efforts to bring everything back off the playa.
The Man Burns in 00 Days!
Website design by Alex J. Schneider