The Streets of Black Rock City

BRC Map 2008For richer and poorer, in sickness and in health, the romance of the road is a quintessential American dream. For Americans, cars have always represented independence, self-expression and the mythos of mobility. And yet, like any love affair, relationships with cars are fickle and results are mixed. The story of the American car industry, an oddly expressive combination of heavy manufacturing and show business, has always been a narrative of boom and bust. From the days of the iconic cowboy riding off into the sunset, to commuter gridlock and the rising price of gasoline, who a people are and how they get to where they’re going is a tale of destiny. This year’s street names, laid out in alphabetical order, showcase this history. It is a story about politics, economics and technology, as well as the vicissitudes of love.

After the ’07 burn, and Afterburn ’07: news from BMHQ

Several pieces of news and info for you on this June afternoon – the 2007 Afterburn Report, the latest info on the arson, and a few notes from around BMHQ.

Yes, the 2007 Afterburn report is ready for the world! This comprehensive post-burn report is our annual soup-to-nuts rollup of everything it took to make Burning Man in the previous year, and the 2007 report is fresh from the oven and linked at

With dozens of teams reporting, plus the annual Census results, we hope this report helps to answer the question, “What do those Burning Man staff and volunteers actually do, anyway?” and gives you some insight into the inner workings of your other “hometown” in Black Rock City.


The Cutting Crew

Red Ryan saws a ring
Photograph by Ben Stoelting

Black Rock Station, NV. June 22nd, 2008 – The Black Rock Playa is known for its strong winds, and the all-encompassing dust storms that they bring. But there’s no wind today, and yet here, at nearby Black Rock Station, there’s already a thick layer of dust covering everything. Sawdust, that is.


The Krew Convenes

Crew Parking, Black Rock Station

Black Rock Station, NV. June 20th, 2008 – The Man Krew has begun to assemble. With each new arrival, a small homecoming celebration breaks out; everyone is excited to see one another again, and glad to be back at Black Rock Station. Even though planning and logistics for the build take place year-round, nothing signals the true beginning of our task more than this: arriving, once again, in the strange, yet familiar landscape of the Black Rock Desert area.

This year’s reunion is especially exciting, as we’ve learned that a number of veteran Man builders will be joining us. Although the majority of the krew are experienced builders, the specific knowledge of the Man that these veterans have is invaluable, and promises not only to speed construction, but to be very educational as well. Like the culture of Burning Man itself, the building of the Man is a communicated tradition – more story than formula – and when a veteran builder speaks, everyone listens very closely. The Man that we build is their tale made manifest.

At night, gathered around a burn barrel, it is noted that this is the Solstice, and that tomorrow is the first day of Summer. An auspicious day to begin our build!

How to Build a Burning Man

There are countless colorful rumors surrounding the creation of the Burning Man: That it can be ordered, in kit form, from Home Depot, provided you know a top-secret SKU#. That it has been fabricated entirely by machines since 1998. That Burning Men are constructed overseas, in bulk, and that at any given time there are several dozen of them stored in a warehouse in Wadsworth.

The truth, as many participants witnessed at last year’s event, is that that the Man is created just like every other work of art at Burning Man: by hand, and through the combined talents and dedication of a diverse team of artists, engineers and craftspeople. Every year our team, known as the Man Krew, gathers at Black Rock Station (Burning Man’s Nevada work ranch) to once again create this sculpture that is so central to our event. Now, thanks to the Burning Blog, we are able to share this process with the greater community. We’ll be posting Krew updates during the initial building of the Man all the way through to his erection in Black Rock City, and ultimately, the burn itself.

Bringin’ It to Bonnaroo: Let the Music Begin

I thought the Hug Deli sounded kinda dumb actually. When we were talking about it on conference calls during the planning stages of this trip, I thought it sounded lame. But it was going to be just one aspect of our camp, and I was heroically willing to look beyond the obvious unhipness of the so-called “hug deli” in order to appease the unworldly idealists who favored the half-baked concept. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

Loki and Austin settin\' up
Loki and Austin settin’ up

The Bring It! crew woke up at Bonnaroo this morning and assembled for the 7:15 meeting to find that Danielle, Blue, Rebecca, DTR, Bash, D.A., Weld Boy, Austin, and Loki had worked on set-up until 2 or 3 am. Camp was looking great! We only had about four hours until the gates opened to the general public, so it was all hands on deck to make sure everything else got done. (more…)

What IS a Burner, anyway?

Here’s a word that’s been on our minds a lot lately – “Burner.”

No, that’s not sarcasm…lately, we wonder a lot about this nomenclature and how it’s applied all throughout the Burning Man community in different ways. In fact, there was a tiny flap a few weeks ago when the JRS referred to folks attending regional burns as “Burners (and wanna-be Burners)…” We meant to refer to people who hadn’t yet had the opportunity to attend a burn (either BRC, or a Regional event), but alas – it ruffled the feathers of a small group of our “I’m-happy-at-my-regional-and-I-ain’t-ever-goin’-to-Nevada” friends who took it to mean, “People who hadn’t been to Burning Man, but want to, and won’t be ‘Burners’ until they have. ” And in retrospect we could see why they’d read it that way, really. It just wasn’t what we meant.

But it got us to thinkin’…who “really” is a Burner? (more…)