Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears. This was the best Saturnalia yet! Wow – what a fantastic party. If you didn’t come, you really, truly, and most definitively missed out on a wonderful Burner event. So many Burners and friends came from all over the place, in fact, a third of our partygoers were from outside of the Milwaukee area! The evening was filled with Roman sights, sounds, music and food. Most everyone was dressed in their creative version of togas, slave garb, gods, goddesses, and we even had a Krampus! Some folks really got into the spirit of costuming and displayed very detailed and inventive outfits. I especially remember our volunteer Oud musician, Thomas Chickpeazio, and the beautiful steampunk queen Alexa Hollywood in her gorgeous goddess robes and headdress. Some people even Burner-ified their costumes as Burners do, by adding lights to their wardrobe.
The most fun band in the universe, Uncle Larry, had the joint jumping’ and Romans dancing’ in the aisles, as they put on a spectacular show; the crowd called for an encore and just couldn’t get enough. Madtown Moebius on drums joined Chickpeazio on Oud for live music ambience with some mysterious ancient sounding music.
Platters of grapes, dates, figs, olives were carried around and served to the people, while several kinds of donated wine, beer, and liquor were lovingly swilled. Our Krampus, Tina S, brought homemade vegan cherry cordials, and many other people brought delicious treats. Just Don doled out the Roman drinks like the Caesarian (Bloody Mary) and the Brandy Alexander the Great.
Becky G. brought an assortment of her own clever Saturnalia cards for the guests, while Anna S. brought Baby New Year (yes, a real, live baby!), Max W. gifted us with a masterful glow poi performance, and Tina S. went ’round the party with a bag for people to pick out their New Hobby for a New Year. I chose ‘antique lamps’ after first getting an ‘Oops! Try again!’ while, Just Don got ‘socks’ after first getting ‘self-doubt.’
Suzanne and Wayne expertly handled the gambling for the evening by bringing the III Emperor’s Casino! Dice games of chance rewarded winners with gold coins. There was lively “betting” on the horses during the infamous Horse Race game.
Immediately after the gambling, Venus (Terry the Rockstar) and Dionysus (Sandra H.) collected everyone’s wishes on slips of paper and stuffed them into the magnificent effigy sculpted by Lucid Brujo. Here I have to say that this was the most magnificent and best effigy we have ever had, in my opinion. This was a true work of art that I hated to see burn, but couldn’t wait to see burn! I don’t know how we will ever top this effigy and we want to give an extra special thank you to Lucid for donating his artistic talents to the creation of this fabulous beast.
Terry and Chicken (Tara), geniuses that they are, thought of something we never had and brought lots and lots of handheld musical instruments to give to the people to play as the Fire Conclave spun their hearts out. And then the burning of the Effigy took place and what a sight to behold! Smoke poured out of the top of the head as the flames licked up the from the base to the body. The crowd cheered when the head fell off and rolled on the ground (thanks, Nick for kicking it back into the fire). This was one of our longer burns since the Effigy had more material in than we usually use, so luckily we got to stay outside in the perfect weather and relish the sight of this furnace of flames. When it finally keeled over, Niacin made his Solstice proclamation and the crowd proceeded to do its counterclockwise parade around the fallen man.
Once the fire was out, we went back inside for a rousing round of poetry reading. Just about everyone took a turn reading a poem by Sappho, and while some were heartfelt, others were hilarious. Thank you, readers, for really making that a fun event. And another big thank you to Rocket and Brian S. who took on Greeter shifts (which allowed me to fully enjoy the event for once, something I haven’t gotten to do in years, that was very meaningful for me and I thank you wholeheartedly for taking on that task, you guys are my heroes!). Thanks, Madtown, for providing Ranger and Perimeter duties in addition to your musical contribution. If there is anyone I’ve forgotten to mention, please know that you were very much appreciated and you helped make this Saturnalia the best one we’ve ever had. Photos and a short video of the evening will be posted here shortly.
We have a few items in our Lost and Found after the party ended:
Who left behind a bottle opener that was in a green plastic bag with a few cans of Miller High Life?
Who left behind a small handheld drum musical instrument?
And Terry, we think this is yours, we found a binder of poetry by Sappho.
THANK YOU FOR A WONDERFUL PARTY, EVERYONE! Our volunteers are the best, and our partygoers are, too. See you next year!