Is a headline most commonly referred to as click bait. It’s also how I spent a chunk of time this past Saturday—dancing, naked, with a bunch of other also naked people in the woods on the La Jolla Indian Reservation.
Let me explain.
The festival was called Youtopia, and it was a Burning Man decompression event (the running joke among people who didn’t go being “you guys are still decompressing? HAHAHAHA!”) I was there with B and Dave and a crew of rockstar artists, all of whom together created a camp called Art Temple, which was exactly as it sounds. Even better than it sounds, actually. It was divine. The artists drew and the models modeled and a woman named Talulah stopped by and played the most achingly gorgeous song on her violin and there was a talk on psychedelic advocacy and a talk on conscious breathing. There were also many dirty jokes.
I got in around midnight on Friday, set up my tent, had a pretty woman with a knife cut some decorative holes in my leggings and was then whisked away to a camp called Ego Trip, where the music was some glorious fusion of house and hip hop. Here I took a shot of whiskey, chased it with some pickle juice (the bartender’s idea), ate a pickle (my idea) and danced and danced and danced before strolling through over the river and through the woods (literally) with some good old friends. I then moseyed back to camp, where I drank beer and made yo mama jokes with Dave and the guys until some early hour of the morning that I can’t be specific about because I had turned my phone off immediately upon arrival at the festival and thus had no idea what time it was because what time it was didn’t matter at all. The stars were particularly twinkly, and not just because I was fairly drunk.
This event wasn’t as intense as Burning Man for many reasons that I don’t feel like being entirely explicit about right now but which include the fact that it wasn’t nearly as hot or dusty on the La Jolla Indian Reservation this past weekend as it was in the Black Rock Desert in August. I still got dirty from dancing around barefoot and whatnot, so it was a godsend to learn that the Dr. Bronner’s camp was nearby.
The concept at this camp is simple and completely fucking genius. You arrive, take off all of your clothes, get inside a huge shower with a bunch of other people, get wet under the shower heads and then get sprayed with soap hoses by people standing above you on an elevated platform. You then dance around in the shower while accidentally (or not, I suppose) sliding up against the other naked soapy bodies around you. Then the people on the platform spray you down with a hose. When you are sufficiently rinsed, you leave the shower and move to the adjacent dance floor, where there is a DJ and an area to brush your teeth, slather yourself in lotion and drink cans of yerba mate while drying off in the sun.
I imagine that some might say this all sounds gross or fringy or distasteful, but I’m here to tell you that that was not my experience at all. I felt safe and respected and surprisingly unselfconscious. I couldn’t stop thinking about the fact that there are places in the world where I’d be killed for dancing to bass music in my underwear amongst a crowd of naked (albeit extremely clean) people. This thought made me feel lucky. Obviously not every woman, (or man) would want to take part in this scenario, but I appreciate that I got to.
There were many other highlights of the weekend. I laughed so hard with B in my tent on Saturday morning that my throat actually still hurts. I got down to the grimiest dubstep set I’ve been to in forever in the woods on Saturday at dusk. I looked at the stars. I did not once look at my phone. I finger-painted. I watched two guys who couldn’t have been older than 21 play a killer trap set with more enthusiasm than I’ve seen from most any DJ I’ve seen play in the last year, and I have seen a lot. I left with B on Sunday evening and we listened to Innocents by Moby on the drive out as the sun was setting over the hills. There was a moment I thought I might cry from the beauty of it all, but in the end I didn’t, and that was fine too.