Expert tips for taking pictures on the playa

The panel: Curious Josh, Ryan, Liana, Kevissimo and Paynie

A group of super-talented LA photographers got together in a downtown loft the other night to talk about taking pictures at Burning Man, and there was a ton of helpful information you want to know about, whether you’re planning to bring a high-end DSLR, a disposable camera from the supermarket, or anything in between.

Here’s who was there and where to see their work. Take a look. These folks are seriously good:

* Ryan Jesena –
* Curious Josh –
* Steve Payne –
* Liana Bandžiulytė –
* Kevin Rolly –

So what they have to say about photographing on the playa is going to be worth your while. And we’ll get to some of their tips in a minute, but there’s some fine print that should come first. Lots has been written already about the rights and responsibilities of photographers on the playa, and we don’t have to go over it all again. But what a lot of it boils down to is: (more…)

New Pearlington Library Opens

Back in 2005, Burners flocked to Mississippi to help with the disaster relief effort following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.  After rebuilding a Buddhist temple and helping with demolitions in Biloxi, MS, this crew moved on to help another hard-hit town: Pearlington, MS — through which the eye of the storm traveled.  From this effort, Burners Without Borders was born.

The Pearlington Library

Today, Pearlington continues to rebuild, and the town and its wonderful people still hold a warm place in our hearts. We got word earlier this year about the reopening of the new Pearlington Library, and we thought we’d share an email we got from Patty Furr, Executive Director of the Hancock County Library System:

New Book Shelves

“Hi Andie,
Thanks so much for replying to my email.  We are so proud of the wonderful progress in Pearlington. I think some of your wonderful volunteers might have trouble recognizing the place. The dual library/gym renovation project costing 2.1 million dollars has not only allowed us to rebuild the library in the four rooms left over from the school, but in addition the money has paid for a complete and amazing renovation of the old “Pearlmart” gym into a modern sports facility with professional flooring for basketball, showers, lockers, offices and even an arcade for the teens to use.  A further project will also soon be funded by the county which will provide an outdoor pavilion with a full-scale concession stand and covered picnic table area as well.  All of the plywood “shacks” used by volunteers are gone to be replaced by an open green field for organized outdoor sports. (more…)

Compression! Art and Fire, this weekend in Reno

Evening crowd shot from the Cal Neva parking garage during Compression 2010. Photo by Bill Kositzky

Reno is blowin’ up. Living here right now is highly exciting, despite the recession that just won’t die. We may not be rich, but we Reno dwellers have great art at our fingertips and Burning Man culture up the wazoo. Who needs money when you’ve got art and fire?

For years now, the City of Reno has been working with BRAF to exhibit Black Rock City’s best artworks. This month, the Spire of Fire is in place and will be lighting up every Tuesday night as part of Artown, Reno’s month-long art festival. (more…)

Halcyon’s Tips & Tricks #9 & #10

Topics covered in this video: Theme Camps, Burning Man clothes, & Consensual Misting. (topics came from Facebook comments & from live chat.)

#10 includes: Cell Phones, Cameras, Night vs.Day, Labels, & Cops

These tips are solely the views of Halcyon and do not represent the opinions of The Burning Man Organization or Major League Baseball.

Stay tuned for more tips! Have some tips? Share in the comments!

Burning Man doesn’t do “ritual” – and probably never will

Philip Rieff is one of my intellectual heroes. And not just because he married Susan Sontag

Culture belongs to those who submit to it – Philip Rieff


I’ve only been invited to one playa wedding.

I’d just met Christa and Kanizzle, and immediately fallen in love with them.  We all proclaimed our undying devotion.  They told me they were getting married on Thursday, at the Temple, at sunset.  They told me it was crucial that I be there.  I swore I would, because what’s more important than lifelong friendship?

I didn’t make it.

I don’t remember why.  Something came up.  It might have been a situation at Media Mecca … or a friend in need … or a really, really good happy hour … or maybe I was making out with somebody … or I could have just been really tired.  It could have been anything, really.  I mean, it was Burning Man:  how can you plan three days in advance?

The ceremony still had a special guest.  A girl who Christa had known since the second grade but lost track of for years just happened to be there, at the Temple, at sunset.

A Burner friend of mine is getting married tomorrow.  Not at Burning Man, obviously, but it will still be out in the middle of the wilderness somewhere (so I’m told).  I’m supposed to sing at the ceremony, so they’re picking me up at some point (as of this writing I don’t know when) and driving me out to the site (I don’t know where) to perform a ceremony of indeterminate length, wherein I will sing … something (we haven’t worked the songs out in advance).  If I’m lucky, I’ll get a ride back. (more…)

Hysterical Revolution!

To The Burning Faithful –
Senior officials in the Earthalujah church have informed me that my god-reaching pompadour collapsed midway through this sermon. This is like the Nike swoosh turning into a swastika – a total brand collapse. But we stand by the heartfelt hysteria in this week’s lesson. We must inject joy back into our activism, and you who erupt in dance and song every year in the desert are the prime example. See you on the playa! -Rev.

Reverend Billy’s Freakstorm #10
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What is The Church of Earthalujah?

As The Church of Earthalujah takes off for our European tour, Reverend Billy gets a lesson in hysterical revolution from British activists and his one-year-old daughter.

Little Stories

That moment when you’re leaning against the railing of some art car, dazed, head lolling to the music. It’s chilly and late, and you wonder if your night is over. Then again, it isn’t up to you. It’s up to the driver of this mutant vehicle, and she doesn’t seem to be very interested in the 3 o’clock plaza, your corridor back to camp. Your fellow Burner pokes you in the ribs.

“Wake up!” he insists.

“I’m awake,” you concede.

Photo: Mischa Steiner


The moment a passer-by smiles at you from underneath a carved, wooden wild boar mask with broken, black tusks.


The moment the man stands up in the sweat hut, as naked as everyone, and starts singing “Hey Jude.” You wonder what his job is in the default world.


Photo: Chance

The moment you slice your knuckle with the dull multi-tool trying to punch the last hole in the last tennis ball to cover the last stake, setting up your tent on the first day.

You would have been done, ready, finally at home, but now you’re washing blood and playa off your hand, opening last year’s dusty first aid kit, swabbing with alcohol, wrapping a bandage, and laughing at yourself. (more…)