A documentary by Joel Ashton McCarthy and Bryant H. Boesen. Rating unavailable.
“There’s a difference between self-expression and just looking stupid,” says white-haired Charles Boesen, trying on garishly coloured balloon pants while getting ready to accompany his son, Vancouver filmmaker Bryant Boesen, to Burning Man.
The pants stay home, but everyone makes it out to the Nevada desert, as documented in this energetic, not entirely polished effort from the younger Boesen, who began this feature as a senior project along with fellow film student Joel Ashton McCarthy.
Known as Spry Bry (isn’t that usually the kind of nickname given to senior citizens?), the flamboyantly attired director is definitely an on-camera type of personality. He’s also an actor and DJ, with the latter coming into play in 2012, when he actually got to that city in the desert, alongside cautious Dad and easygoing Mom, Lilice, and sagacious older sister Mari, who showed up a few days later.
A sure winner if truth-in-advertising awards were handed out for titles, Taking My Parents to Burning Man gives us just a little background on the BM phenomenon, which started small on San Francisco’s Baker Beach, almost three decades ago, before heading to northern Nevada’s Black Rock Desert. Each year it attracts as many as 50,000 free spirits, most of them white, from the looks of it—at least at the beginning of each week.
There’s no attempt to explore the ethos of the place, but a lot is revealed through the film’s playfully immersive style, which beautifully captures surreal, sandstorm days, during which the Boesens and their busload of genial fellow travellers attempt, not too successfully, to build a geodesic shelter.
Even more hypnotic are the nights, heavy on electronic dance music, alcohol, copious amounts of fire, and a go-for-it attitude toward sex and pleasure in general—with hanky-panky only lightly touched on here.
Still, the decidedly noncommercial movie’s a good primer for anybody thinking of attending this decidedly antimercantile event—with or without parents, or pants.