Top Six Reasons You’re Bummed That You Missed Lightning in a Bottle

by Molly Freedenberg

With three stages, an idyllic forest location at the Live Oak
Campground, nearly 1,000 enthusiastic and creatively clad revelers
from up and down the West Coast, and all the accelerated bonding
that happens between people who sleep, eat, and consume massive
amounts of alcohol together, July 14-16’s Lightning in a Bottle was
every bit the “magical forest adventure” its organizers claimed it
would be. Here are six reasons you should be sorry you missed

1. The Yard Dogs Road Show: This freakshow puts
every other burlesque and vaudeville act to shame. Their
performance — complete with sword-swallowing, a jailhouse
striptease, bellydancing, topnotch lounge-singing, and a David
Bowie look-alike, proved the San Francisco troupe is only getting
better, funnier, and more professional.

2. DJ Naise: This Australian beatboxer, who
moonlights as the guitarist for a band that plays the Warped Tour,
managed to work the word “mayonnaise” into his freestyle rap when
most of us couldn’t say anything other than “I’m hot” or “I’m

3. The Tree House Dome: In this forest-themed
dance space that debuted at Coachella, DJs with good sense resisted
the temptation to play loud, monotonous oom-pah-oom-pah music all
day, instead bowing to the superior god of variety. Michelle Bass,
Ooah, Cheb I Sabbah, and others delivered downbeat electronica in
the morning, danceable hip-hop in the afternoon, ethereal worldbeat
at dusk, and a smattering of butt-rock metal throughout the day
that had even the hippiest of the hippies headbanging in their

4. The Vendors: One of the nice things about a
Burning Man-style festival that isn’t Burning Man is you can
actually buy stuff you forgot. The down side? The multiple tents
selling insta-burner playawear speed the process of even
“alternative” dressers looking alike. The plus side? Delicious
all-raw sandwiches that completely destroyed the suspicion that
“raw food” means subsisting solely on salad.

5. The Artist Formerly Known as Christian the
This L.A.-based artist, now working with clay
instead of metal, was responsible for a number of the weekend’s
delights. Not only did he provide a space for making clay beer
cozies and sculpture inspired by the children’s book Everybody
Poops, but he ran around all weekend in his striped man-shorts and
a child-sized Budweiser bib.

6. Billie, the Camp Quality Inspector: This
mulletted performance artist in jean shorts and an American
flag-themed halter top informed us that our camp wasn’t decorated
enough. Furthermore, our tents and chairs had too much of an
“autumn color” theme. She promised to return with paper and pastel
markers so we could add some elements from the “spring palette.”
She never did return, but she did leave a red, white, and blue air
freshener that did wonders for warding off the scent of


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