My Dead Husband’s Penis


a Burning Man conversation….

NOVEMBER 22, 2016

The sun had just set.  The familiar dusty smell welcomed me back to the Black Rock Desert. We rode out to the temple build to visit other early arrival friends.

I was excited to paint a mural this year. It would be a representation of All About Dick.  I wanted to poke fun at our penis owning population but with love and respect. My playa gift was All About Dick, an adult-only coloring book; a humorous look at society.

I gave a copy to friends who were working on the build. We were discussing it as we toured the temple. One of the prestigious build team members joined us in conversation. Shortly after, his wife came to extract him to attend to a pressing issue.

In that moment of politeness – between “excuse me” and physically departing with apology, I began to explain where the idea for All About Dick originated.

“It was twenty years ago when I would dress my then-husband’s penis in costumes and photograph them.”

“Your what?”

“My then-husband’s penis.”

The look on her face was as though she had just swallowed a raw chicken liver but thought she remembered someone telling her it was very healthy for you. In other words, a look of absolute disgust mixed with a reluctant satisfaction.

“Your what?”

“My then-husband’s penis.”

“Oh, I thought you said your dead husband’s penis.”


I exploded in laughter.

I almost couldn’t breathe as the realization of what she just said washed over me.

“Oh my god.  That’s hysterical and so completely fucked up.”

Only at Burning Man could someone think you would take the time to dress, light and set decorate your newly deceased spouse’s penis before calling 911, an ambulance or the funeral home. And, that it was actually somewhat acceptable, albeit a bit strange, even viewed as “artistic.”

In the following days and still, I think about that conversation and laugh out loud. I’m kind of proud that someone thought I was that avant-garde.  Is that what makes a truly great artist? There are other artists photographing the dead in interesting and perverse form. But I haven’t found anyone dressing up dead penises. Alas, something new for the art world… you sick bastards!

Now that’s a humorous look at society.


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