August 25th, 2009  |  Filed under Building BRC

Safe landing and preparing for lift-off

August 25th, 2009  |  Filed under Building BRC
Sean Orlando in the belly of the beast

Sean Orlando in the belly of the beast

Sean Orlando and the Raygun Gothic Rocketship had a safe landing in the desert early Monday morning. Two semis and an accompanying truck hauled the gleaming piece up from the Bay Area, and it was assembled in the beautiful light of the late afternoon.

It’s a massive thing, weighing close to 5,000 pounds, and there isn’t a more unlikely object to be found on the playa. The rocket is covered with a gleaming silver metal skin, which was stretched on an English wheel and pressed into place by hand.

rocket-ship-aug-24-2Sean of course is the man behind last year’s Steampunk Treehouse, which, incredibly, is NOT on display publicly right now. Sean says there’s an organization in Delaware that is negotiating rights to exhibit the piece, and he’s hopeful that the Rocket Ship will wind up on the Embarcadero in San Francisco after the burn.

It was amazing to watch the pieces come together for the first time yesterday. The ship had never been assembled before, and of course there was a fair amount of last-minute improvisation going on to get it upright on the playa. The crew watched arm in arm as a crane slowly raised the pieces into position.

There are three chambers to the rocket. One includes the living quarters, navigation and communications equipment. Another will feature an alien specimen lab and various alien life forms,  including a sculpture from Barbara that honors the memory of longtime Burner and artist Tom Kennedy. The piece references three of Kennedy’s art cars — Ripper the Shark, the Whale Car and the One-Eyed Wonder.

Dozens of artists collaborated on the design and interactive stuff on the inside of the rocket. There’s a denseness to it all; layer after layer of interest. “I hope it’s not too busy,” Sean said. Not to worry. There will be plenty to do after liftoff.

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15 Responses to “Safe landing and preparing for lift-off”

  1. miss GO Says:

    Sean Orlando,
    YOU ARE HOT!!!! WOWZERS… I hope that I run into you on the playa.. hehehe…

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  2. Nor Cal Amy Says:

    Incredible!! :) Very exciting….only days now….

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  3. masho Says:

    very nice

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  4. Booper Says:

    WOW!! I can’t wait to see it. This will be my sixth year and I keep coming earlier and earlier, but still don’t get around to see it all. Maybe I’ll have to volunteer as a helper so I can come even earlier next year.

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  5. Nick Winterhalter Says:

    Congratulations, all! It’s been absolutely amazing working on this project. See you in dirt soon.

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  6. Bob Hofmann Says:

    Wish I was on the Playa already!

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  7. Bob Hofmann Says:

    Wish I was alredy there!

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  8. Jordan Tenney Says:

    That is so awesome. Good job guys!

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  9. Claire Says:

    I’m loving every blog post because after three years attending, I can’t make it this year because I’m taking a road trip to move from Boston to Seattle. My son is on DPW bike crew so I’m waiting for a photo of that crew. See you next year, come hell or highwater – I’ll be there again until I am unable! Keep up the great blog.

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  10. mendo mikie Says:

    hello everyone: can’t wait to see barbara’s sculpture honoring tom kennedy. Just want to tell everyone that several of us will be driving tom’s last art car project ” hadeen”. Look for this way cute fishmobile on the playa and come say hi to us as we all honor tom kennedy and all he did to make this world a better place..

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  11. Melissa Alexander Says:

    Thilling, but know one should be surprised they did it. I think a rocket on the Embarcadero is exactly what San Francisco needs. Your photos are wonderful John.

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  12. Green Burner 07 Says:

    Absolutely awesome! This has a strong resemblence to the spaceship used by Flash Gordon. Is that intentional?

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  13. JoJo Says:

    Fantastic piece, very cool! But if you’re going to make thousands of burners wait around for hours, it better lift off, or a real alien comes out, or you light 700,000 gallons of gas instantaneously.

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