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Left Behind 

Wednesday, Aug 30 2006
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Track bike and unicycle owners might already have noticed how much easier it is to park this week, given that so many San Franciscans have beat a hasty retreat to Burning Man. The positive void left while the merry pranksters are away is akin to what happens during Thanksgiving and Christmas, giving transplants a taste of the relative solace that natives look forward to all year. But it's more than what those holidays offer; it's a time when what might be considered hipster services and hangouts are more of a pleasure to use and enjoy. It's also the point each year when the city's normally healthy freakonomics — that is, its propensity for freaks — registers a brief but glaring deficit.

Whether it's grabbing a loveseat at the Red Vic or just a faster super veggie burrito at Papalote, shit is just easier all around town. Need something at Comp USA or the Apple Store? This is as close as it gets to headache-free technology shopping; there's simply no need to feel embarrassed at who might be around when you're asking the salesperson beginner-level questions.

You can also stop postponing that Ocean Beach bonfire, for there's no one out there to bogart the fixins. Ditto for the Tactile Dome at the Exploratorium; bringing hand sanitizer is still recommended, but there are fewer potentially creepy things to feel in there. There's also little doubt that right now it's less stressful to procure Tibetan yak cheese — clearly the next big thing in socially conscious gastronomy — without having to wait in a line that smells like nag champa incense. And now's probably the best time to go to Greens and Millennium, those gourmet veggie restaurants that aren't always the easiest tables in town to book.

Luckily, those who get more excited than most about the yearly exodus have a place to commune and rejoice. The third annual "Fuck You Burning Man" night at Rickshaw Stop on Sept. 3 explores the edgy space between dance, rock, and rap — a punk attitude spitting in the eye of the granola vibe of the Black Rock playa (or, at least, the vibe that detractors project onto it).

"It's a celebration of all things un-Burning Man," says event creator Jef Fare, aka Jefrodesiac. "A party where you are sure not to run into anyone dressed bad or spinning around like a hippie. Or trance music. We celebrate that all Burning Man-ers are gone!"

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Tamara Palmer

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