The Man is gone, long live the Man

Holy crap, just like that it’s done.



There’s a fair amount of breakdown happening today in Black Rock City. People are pulling up stakes (quite literally), camps are knocking down their shade, and all of a sudden there are playa spaces opening up where crowded campsites used to be.

The playa is reclaiming its primacy. There shouldn’t be anything here, and soon there won’t be anymore.

There may be other kinds of breakdowns going on today too, of a more personal nature, but we’ll leave that for another time. Maybe when we get back to our customary lives, we’ll ask you what it felt like to have to leave this all behind.

But for now, there’s still a lot of story left. The Temple will burn tonight. The big cars and big crowds will gather in eerie, contemplative silence. The torch will be put to the Temple of Flux, and all the work and love and heartache and memories will float up into the desert wind.

It’s breezy and a little cooler today, but there is still lots of dust in the air. It could be coming from all sleeping bags and tents being shaken out before being loaded back into cars and trucks and RVs. Soon enough the bigger structures will come down, too. The Center Cafe will have to go back in it’s box for another year, the carpets put back into their railroad containers, the rigging wires rolled up, the shade tarps folded and stored.

Decked out in Burn night finery, and after she climbed the “Minaret,” Kasey danced at the top of the keyhole.

We haven’t been down to the Gate today, but we know the line of vehicles leaving the city started last night, even before the burning of the Man. It’s the end of summer, the end of the Burn, and the other life awaits. At midday Sunday, there was about a 3 hour wait to get out of the City, and the population had already shrunk to 38,275 (from its high of more than 50,000).

Ideally, you think you’ll take home some of the life you discovered here. You certainly think that the people you met here will become a part of your world. And for some people, their lives really did change.  They’ll go back home only long enough to wrap things up and head for San Francisco, looking to find a place among the culture and community and free spirits residing there. (I am not making this part up. I know more than a few people who’ve made the move after Burning Man.)

Others will go home to stay, but they might try to keep the spirit alive through a connection with a Regional network.

We haven’t talked much about the Regional doings, and that’s our fault. The very lovely District Everywhere camp was the meeting place this week for the disparate elements of Black Rock Nation. You could read about the Kiwi Burn, for example, which has been going on in New Zealand for 10 years now. Or you could discover that Australia just hosted its first regional burn. And while New York has a very active group of Regional burners, there is also a contingent from … New Jersey! (We have a special place in our hearts for New Jersey. We were raised there, and we kind of think of it as the Hayward of the East. (And we say that in the most loving way possible.)

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Again! It’s too soon to let go, so we won’t! Not yet!


A Little More of Everything!

Just more manifestions that I needed to be sure you have seen! I am thinking of all of you that did not get to come for whatever reason, those who thought they did not want to come and then regretted not coming, those who were there and are missing it already and those who are still there for the party.  And we are always thinking of all of you who will be there long past our departure getting it ready so we can come again, thank you.

As you can tell, I had a great time at [BM] I loved the weather, thanks for that big party in the desert!

Bliss Dance by Marco Cochrane and Crew photo: Xeeliz
TubaTron, the Flaming Tuba photo: Cory Mervis


Yep, It’s Art, Fire, Creativity and Community!

As you are packing up, or starting home, or maybe already home I just wanted to share some photos that made me smile, reminded me why I go to Burning Man and keep me in awe of the art, the fire, the creativity and the community that are [BM] for me!

The Man and the Fire Conclave
Temple of Flux by Rebecca Anders, Jessica Hobbs, Peter Kimelman and Crew
Kate Raudenbush’s Future’s Past
EL Wire Costumes

photos:  The Blight   Thanks for more great photos!

The day to burn that Man

Hanging around the "Minaret."

It was a day and a night, and one blended into the other, and the experiences were not what you thought they were going to be, and then the ones that did happen according to plan became something else entirely.

We realize there’s no authoritative way to get an overview of what’s happening here, so we don’t really try. That’s one of the good things about so many people having so many different experiences, and maybe it’s one of the reasons why it is so hard to quantify the whole Burning Man experience. It’s this, but it’s also that. It’s my experience, it’s your experience, it’s ours together and it’s ours alone.

Umbrella man was back again this year, doing his thing in the afternoon sun.

We sat on the Poop Deck for a bit, a second-story structure that allowed us to look out over the Center Cafe and out into the open playa, and we thought about all the people having their own Burns — the ravers and dancers, the wanderers, the camps hosts, their guests, the old friends, the new acquaintances. It’s easy to think of all this as a communal exercise in shared joy, and lots of times it is, but there are plenty of times that it’s not, and you’re making your way on your own or with your friend or small group of friends.

It’s a little like traveling alone — the highs are so high, and the valleys so deep.

We like to explore our immediate neighborhood, and yesterday we went out to 6:30 and D to catch up with friends at Red Lightning. There was a group meditation exercise going on, more than a hundred people under the shade of a teepee, being led on their journey by a woman who helped them isolate their pain and banish it. We lingered on the outskirts for a bit, then decided that our thirst was of a more physical realm, so we took a seat at the bar across the street at the Conscious Dreaming camp.


Fast, faster, fastest

The DPW begins its parade. Remember, the extended middle digit means “I love you” in DPW speak.

Please, can someone put this week in a time machine and slow it down? It’s going way too fast.

After all the iffy weather and freezing nights, it’s been beyond gorgeous in Black Rock City. Hot, but not ungodly hot. And the playa on Wednesday night was just a wonderful place to be.

The moon is waning, but still, it rises above the horizon line a little later each night, and it’s all huge and orange, and sometimes it’s partially obscured by a puff of clouds, and it just is the most beautiful thing here, even with all the other beautiful things here.

The days and nights seem to blend together, and no one is getting much sleep. The Cafe is crowded with body dancers and massage therapists, and just standing in line waiting for an iced mocha is one of the most entertaining things you can do, because the people-watching is just the best there is.

We don’t like to take the camera out all the time in public places. Sure, most of the folks love to have their picture taken, but some don’t. And walking around with a long lens and snapping some candids of people who are unaware of your intentions is just not cool. So we stay away from it.

We’re staying in Media Mecca, which is just across the street from the Center Cafe, and this year there’s a big huge wonderful Narwhal parked out front. Wednesday night, as the stars came out, the ship was lit up for the first time. One of the talented folks in the Mecca took the mike and serenaded us with sing-along songs of a nautical kind. He has an operatic voice, and  the beauty and clarity of his voice snapped everyone to attention, and a small crowd gathered around the boat.


Tutu Tuesday

Man, I LOVE this place. Things are in FULL SWING out in Black Rock City. Hope you’re here, safe and happy.


Black Rock City has filled out nicely and the streets are alive with promenading citizens and there is just SO much to do. Everyone is having their various parties and socials, fashion shows, meet ups, performances,  so many events you can never make them all. The place is one big pie and there are an infinite number of pieces. Don’t worry about getting yours, there is more than you could ever handle.

Tutu Tuesday became Tophat Tuesday and we’ve been visiting and socializing and gifting ever since. My favorite sticker of the week so far is “It was on Fire when I got Here”. We’ve already had rain, a double rainbow and traffic all the way from Empire. We saw the City grow and the sound camps are up, pumping out their ever present soundtrack of ambient insanity.

JB made a really cool map for center camp
JB made a really cool map for center camp

Some rumors I’ve heard include that next year’s THEME is going to be either “Life on Mars” or the “Baby Monkey in Underpants”. Out at 2:15 where the four story tall traffic cone is near DISORIENT they were giving balloon rides to people who weigh under 150lbs, but some girl was up there and one of the tethers broke so they had a little difficulty getting her down. I hope we don’t see a bunch of ravers flying away Saturday night after the burn, up, up and away. Be careful out there. We’ve got some dangerous ART this year. If you’re at the Mansonia Institute of Urban Studies in Center Camp this year stop by and see Dodger’s Pyrograph.




Peacetropolis! ~ image by Ashanti Vivia – SentienZe MediA (Artist’s Rendering)

On Thursday morning  these are the instructions to create the image above:

Meet @ the Man )'(  Thursday September 2nd @ 11 am.  We (Burners/art cars/buses) will extend in 4 directions to start.  Up to temple – down to center camp – down to 7:30 – down to 4:30.  Get ready for satellite flyby pix @ 11:41 am exactly!!!!! :D    Ắsḩḁŋṫi ૐ Ṽiṿiḁŋ

There is going to be a satellite photo taken of Burning Man on Thursday morning at 11:41 exactly, and this is Ashanti’s vision of creating a peace symbol for the photo.  We will let you know how it turns out!

The State of the Man

Mr. Harvey addressing his guests

Larry Harvey had a bunch of people over for dinner last night, and he told them that he and the other board members were going to turn the Burning Man LLC into a nonprofit, and that the organization is looking to create an urban center in the 6th Street corridor of San Francisco.

If Burning Man can turn a desert into an oasis, they might help revitalize the mid-Market. “We want to bring our culture there,’’  Harvey said, “without unduly gentrifying the area.”

“We’d like to recreate our hometown,” Harvey said. Noting that the area has beaten all attempts at revitalization, he said, “The city fathers have decided to send in the artists, you know, like ‘Send in the Clowns.’”

The organization is looking to lease a space in the area, with an option to buy. It had been looking to create an educational and cultural center at Fly Ranch, just down the road from the site of the event in the Black Rock Desert. But those negotiations haven’t proceeded well. “We put an offer down and slid it across the table,” board member Will Rogers said,  “and they wrote one down and slid it across the table, but we weren’t speaking the same language.” Rogers did say that those talks are continuing, however.

Michael Michael and Harley DuBois

The dinner was held in a large tent near First Camp, where the founding members of Burning Man stay together, and it was something of a “State of the Union” address.