As if by wizardry, Black Rock has sprung to life, the party’s started, and everything everywhere is going off at once.
The city is ringed in light, the art cars and blinky bikes are out in number, and everywhere you look, everyone seems to have hit the ground running. The Center Cafe is good and crowded, the speakers and performers are going round the clock, and the yoga dancers and poi spinners are holding court in the center of the space.
Monday was a funny day, in that there seemed to be a higher-than-normal number of people wandering around the playa who looked fresh and clean. Their outfits were shiny and new, and their skin had yet to acquire a base coat of playa dust.
The hard flat playa is perfect for surfboard sailing this year.
By today, though, everyone was coated homogeneously, and you weren’t able to tell who’s been here for a day, a week, or a month. The temperatures were in the mid-80s (nice!), but the wind kicked up and was blowing at a steady 30 mph most of the day.
The population of the city doubled overnight, to more than 30,000, and of course there were plenty more people on their way in. By tomorrow, we’re guessing, we’ll hit an average peak population somewhere north of 50,000.
And the folks of Black Rock City went around and about, determined to make the most of these precious days. Here are a few snappies from the first full day of Burning Man 2011:
The Temple of Transition came and went from view, depending on how hard the dust was blowing.
When nighttime comes, it's time to get your face on for the evening's activities.
There was a lineup of art cars waiting to check in at the Department of Mutant Vehicles.
The fiery praying mantis is one of our favorites.
Art in the open playa is lit, the night air is beautiful, and the ring a lights around the city are glowing bright.
We love to visit the smaller art pieces that grace the playa, the ones that don't get as much attention or visitors as the giant projects. This one is called Gilnzobs, built by Zach, Capn Ron and Ryan from San Diego. It was inspired by the works of Carlos Casteneda and Daniel Pinchback.
Zach, Capn Ron and Ryan drove 11 hours from San Diego, got to the playa Monday night, and they were working on setting up their art well into the night. It was their first piece of art at Burning Man.
Sacred, another of the small-scale pieces here, is a mosaic glass and mirrors, and the artist began working on it way back in October to be ready for this year's Burn.
The Cafe decor has a chapel-like quality to it this year, all draped in white.
It might be fitting that the Cafe looks like a chapel: The cafe decor volunteer manager, Helen, is marrying her beau Ben at the Temple on Wednesday night. He built the structure that welcomes visitors to the cafe, and they took a moment for a picture together.
This is our home at Burning Man, Media Mecca.
Crimson Rose used the concentrated rays of the sun to light the fire in the central cauldron at the top of the keyhole on Rod's Road. Later in the week, the flame will be carried out to the Man on Burn night.
There are plenty of "big" pictures to take at Burning Man -- the art is inspiring, and the setting is fantastic. But it's also a great place to take pictures of the people you know best in the city. Here are Will Chase, who writes the JackRabbit Speaks newsletter, the Senator, who works in the Burning Man communications department, and Wanda Power, of Black Rock Solar.
Kate Raudenbush doesn't have art on the playa this year ("I reallllly needed to take a year off," she said), but she is active in the regionals network and was present at a mixer in Everywhere camp.
Super Minx does just about everything for the communications team, and when she's not doing that, she's helping other crews make their big art at Burning Man.
The "car-becue" was set aflame Monday night at Gigsville.
The flags at Botan's installation were flapping snappily in the strong evening breeze. It was a collaborative project that allowed dozens of camp members to design their own flags, with only the broadest design outline to guide them. Each flag was similar, but individual, too.
The "Pier" was glowing in the night, and the people at the end of it were "fishing" for bicyclists as they passed by. Later in the week, there will be a gathering of all the nautically themed art cars at the "Pier."
Where else but Burning Man can you be bicycling peacefully along when you come upon an art car capable of shooting giant bursts of flame maybe 100 feet into the air?
The Flaming Lotus Girls' piece was fired up, getting ready to go.
As you walked around it, the colors changed and the flames cascaded around the structure.