Art car

This shot's a little tricky, and I apologize. It shows the "Carbeque" in the foreground and the "Slug" in the background.
This picture is a little deceiving, and I apologize. It shows the "Carbeque" in the foreground and the "Slug" in the background.

You really want to climb aboard some kind of vehicle if you are going to make an evening of traveling around Black Rock City.  Last night we got on The Slug, the skankiest, nastiest, Mad Max-ing-est art car out here. It started life in the mid-60s as some kind of truck, and now it’s smelly and dusty and LOUD. And unbelieveably cool. It’s pretty much the only car I would want to be seen on, and that’s really saying something.

This beast has been totally redone for 2009 (like the ads say). There’s a new second deck/dance area, a very cool visual system that throws green and red laser lights on the floor of the desert and makes things seem like we are floating on a green and red sea of jewels.This drives most Burners wild, of course, because they are attracted by all things sparkly.

Also, the sound system seems improved too, but I can’t confirm that. There were three DJs on board Tuesday, including the famous KidHack.People were streaming out of their camps as we came rolling by.

Not everything is new and improved, though. We broke down a lot, just like we did last year.

That's the early DJ on the right. He always seemed to be the last one to get on board when the Slug was starting back up. "You can't leave the DJ on the playa!" he'd say.
That's the early DJ on the right. He always seemed to be the last one to get on board when the Slug was starting back up. "You can't leave the DJ on the playa!" he'd say.

The Slug throws red and green sparkly lights on the desert floor.
The Slug throws red and green sparkly lights on the desert floor.
Cameron, who drove the Slug on Tuesday night, was a little skeptical at one of the installations we visited.
Cameron, who drove the Slug on Tuesday night, was a little skeptical at one of the installations we visited.
Squeaky was framed by a ball of fire at one of the stops. (It was Kid Hack who had the inspiration for this shot. I just had the camera.)
Squeaky was framed by a ball of fire at one of the stops. (It was KidHack who had the inspiration for this shot. I just had the camera.)

About the author: John Curley

John Curley has been Burning since the relatively late date of 2004, and in 2008 he spent the better part of a month on the playa, documenting the building and burning of Black Rock City in words and pictures. John is a longtime newspaper person and spent many years at the San Francisco Chronicle, where he was a deputy managing editor in charge of Page One and the news sections of the paper. Since leaving the Chronicle in 2007, he was a contributing editor on Blue Planet Run, a book about the world's water crisis, and for the past two years has been a lecturer at UC Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism. He has also started an event and editorial photography business, and is also working on a book about the "Ten Dollar Doc" from Arco, Idaho, which will make a lovely film someday.

11 thoughts on “Art car

  • We who are sad at “home” are really treasuring the look of our real home….please, please, please keep the pics coming every day…I can feel the fire from here and the good playa vibes. Ohhhhh, it’s killing me to be away this year but I love the blog…thank you so much for keeping it up daily! Love the people pics esp, as I hope to see a few familiar faces….ya never know what’ll happen on the playa!

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  • Oh thank you so much! I didn’t get to go and my husband and son are there. It’s not as good as being there – but this really helps me see all the amazing things that are happening to them.

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  • I am so sad that I couldn’t make it this year, but thanks to Burning Man and the Black Rock City Crew, I’m there, totally, this is where my heart is, and where it was so meant to be, thanks, for bringing this to me, so much, from my heart and soul, I’ll be there for the burn, thanks again!

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  • Thank you so much for bringing these wonderful pictures to us. I show these to so many people and talk about this experience so much that its good to show them what the community is all about. Also thank you for coordinating with Ustream so we can all watch at Camp Envy (aka our home envying you all). Love to all of you!

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  • Having spent Mon – Thurs on the playa, then the weekend watching the U-stream at my house, I’ve sort of had some of the best of both worlds. The Art Cars and Mutants really amazed me, and since I saw most of them up close, seeing photos of some more afterwards really helps round it out. Carbeque was such a wonderful thing: it was like “Gather Round The Hearth, Kids” Time every night.

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  • I was the “early DJ” and spun four 10 hour sets during the week on the slug. We did bring out a better sound system and lights this year but next year it’s going to be even better. So be sure and find us, jump on and hang on in 2010.

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