Operated by John-Riley Harper. Dedicated to archiving photography from Utah's underground scenes, as well as other personal projects.

Uncle Uncanny's at Wind Walker Ranch
Uncle Uncanny's music festival was small enough that you could get around to see everything, but big enough that doing so was more than likely to cause exhaustion, fatigue, and loss of sleep. With larger events you just have to give up and acknowledge that there are more experience available than obtainable, but with this you could perhaps get close. We arrived just after a torrential downpour had made mini-flash floods sweep across the place, but because of the dark and the absorbent desert sand we couldn't see a sign of it. So the earth felt alien and unexplainable to tip-toe across, non-solid and squishy under foot. Music, shadow dancing, and sleep commenced.

Inspired by the wondrous Circus Pandemonium, I set up a trapeze and then proceeded to just about break my neck. After blacking out, waking up, letting the blood dry, and then running into the sunset with my camera in hand, I ended up at a sweat lodge. And this is where my story really begins. I've been to quite a few lodges before and they have usually been free, creative places to express and explore and get to a point where you almost pass out. I love the sounds you can make inside them when you can get everything out of your nose and throat and just have these resonant open air canals. Sometimes there is a bit of mysticism and oddness, but I usually ignore that.

China Blue resident Starman was running the sweat, and to begin he asked if anyone had a song to share or something to say. I was there in part because I wanted to meditate on my neck injury, give it some rest, and "cleanse," so I said that. The person to my right, in a beautiful Irish accent, said that he wanted the lodge experience to help think about how to better know when to assist other people and when to keep silent and stay back, for their own spiritual or experiential growth. I agreed in my mind that this was a challenging boundary to figure out. It butts the ego itself against the instinct to baby others against letting them figure out everything on their own. I felt satisfied that I was in good company.

And then the weirdness began. I wanted to open the conversation up to allow for responses to people's statements. I did not want the dialogue to simply be people on their own soapboxes, so I began talking about how I hoped it would be an environment where people could respond to what others said. The Irishman's response was something like this: criticizing other people meant that you did not accept what they had to say, which meant that you had your own worldview you wanted to spread in the world; the critique of others was the reason why there was so much violence, bloodshed, and war in the world.

I was stunned. I'd always thought that wars are only fought because people do not ask enough questions. The leaders and those in power very love this mindset. People with weak foundations are afraid of being questioned. And then we heard about how the universe was split into two genders, male and female. And then we hear about how humans are beings of light, made of photons. It's ridiculous. You won't find a physicist alive that would agree with that. Regarding gender, it's more social than anything else - and a recent one. To be even looser and say that the universe is divided into sexes - male and female - is just as silly. These are categories based our own view and the fact that most can be easily put into on or another box. It's comes down to one having a large reproductive cell and the other having a smaller one. For much longer than sexual specialization has been going on, life has continued through asexual means. There are all sorts of sexes in the natural world. We shouldn't believe these silly sorts of analyses simply because they make us feel warm and fuzzy inside.

Never let the aura of a situation stop you from calling bullshit!

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