Did you go to Disorient presents Country Club this spring? For one crazy weekend Disorient pulls out all the stops in the Catskill Mountains of Upstate New York for an extended weekend of Pornj-branded fun. Dust off your leopard cowboy hat and prepare for camping: Disorient style. To me, what made this experience unique was the information I received after wondering about the event just hours before I headed up with my ride.
“You mean there are no showers? No running water?” I anxiously looked between my roommates for consolation. I received none –only wide grins of satisfaction. In my mind even I knew this would be a perfect opportunity to exercise my playa ‘survival’ skills and condition myself for the Burn. I radically accepted my fate and laughed at my own apprehension over the idea. No water it is. But I thought this was “glamping” (glam camping!)? What’s so glamorous about camping with no washroom? I would undoubtedly know by the end of the weekend.
We arrived early Saturday morning. I mean early. The sky was just starting to radiate on the horizon as I stepped into Pornj City prepared for the adventures ahead. I discharged the weight of my load and wandered toward the fires at the center of camp. There I found a cold drink and new friends to accompany the gorgeous sunrise. Light flooded the camp and the day begun.
Disorient was camping all week in preparation of the event. No doubt a team of pink and orange cherubs made raising the art installations a family affair. At the center of the city a geodesic dome served as the most popular dance and sound area. Inflatable furniture provided campers with comfortable seating and puddly enjoyment. Victoria ‘Vicksin’ Wagner later informed me that this structure took nearly twelve hours just to erect. With the assistance of Nicholas Whitaker and Sarah ‘Sinnabunz’ Wing, the crew of three was able to layer several orange tarps over the PVC limbs in order to create a shelter from the elements for glampers. The dome quickly became a beacon of extraordinary house beats and shade during the hottest midday hours. At night bodies packed the carpet lined mud floor to writhe and boogie down with the splendid beats laid by your favorite Disorient DJs.
Outside of the dome the city was alight with an array of interactive art and the energy of the people to fuel it. Starfish, a piece created by AKAirways using two gigantic ‘starfish’ shaped inflatables and a cherry picker, hovered above the camp by day. At night the piece was brilliantly illuminated by a rotation of colored lights. I often rejoined friends at this piece as it was placed close to the central fires. The Toad, a playa-ready art-bike created by Boris Burning Elf, Lollygoa, and DK, provided a renegade sound system for stomping down in the damp mountain earth while creating shade with it’s accompanying orange mushroom ‘umbrella’. This area was a welcome space for shade and chilling during the sweaty midday hours when all you wanted was a cool place and good conversation. Towards the front of the camp a garden of wood-sculpted praying manti brought to you by Gaetan VJ-Static Spurgin urged the community to get up close and down with their artistic selves using acrylic paint to adorn the primed body parts. By the end of the weekend the two newest manti additions were nearly completely covered in the expressional brush strokes of dozens of campers. An intricate PVC structure called DomeStar, comprised of over 3,000 LED components, further illuminated the field in variable programmed light patterns. Specifically, one of the settings resembled slow drip-drop of rain-like blinking which ultimately blew my mind. The community itself provided the ‘wearable art’, leaving none left out of participating in their personal artistic experience.
Glamorous was in fact an understatement for the event. So what even happened to my desperate pleas for running water? I found solace at the base of the hill we were camped on. Campers could retreat from the hustle and bustle of the day to cool off in the creek running parallel to the road. We flocked by the dozens to the area, soothing sun wrecked skin in the chilly current before sprawling out on the warm rocks like lounging lizards.
Sunday evening a burn of octahedron miniatures from the Geodesic Temple drew the crowd up into the rear-most field on the site. Hugs and quiet conversation were exchanged while the sculpture crumbled under the flames. The warmth of the family there surpassed the fire itself as I embraced my loved ones and absorbed the afterglow of my first burn for the spring.
Monday morning I got my volunteer on, as did dozens of others making this particular disengage go amazingly smooth. MOOP was low while morale soared high. I was able to reconnect with new friends I’d made over the weekend and thank them for all that they’d brought to the festival.
So what was so glamorous about Country Club 2012? All of it. Sick beats, art and community transformed an ordinary soggy field into a nucleus of creative expression. I was not only schooled in the ways of true glamping, but also in the establishment of my own burn survival skills; radical self-reliance. Saying goodbye to luxury amenities never felt so easy. If you weren’t able to make it this year, or chose not to for one reason or another, I highly recommend hitting up the next Disorient backed event. The pictures themselves will prove my point, but you are best off finding out for yourself. See you this summer!