My Burn From Home…

TIB ALeksWe got an email on Thursday evening while at Burning Man that our condo in Oakland had flooded, so I decided to come home a little early.  The plumbers were able to fix it from the outside but the management company said that there was water in the outside hallway, and we found that fairly concerning.  So I was up early on Friday morning, down the hill, a little clean-up and all is okay.  But you know I am missing y’all, you know who you are.

I camp with The Mansonian Institute, and we always have an amazing mix of campers.   This year we have a lot of crew from The Generator, because my camp leader, Joe Olivier, is on the Board of Directors. Many of them were involved in building Pier 2 and La Llorona in 2012.  I immediately liked Fish, young enough to be my grandson and kind, smart and attentive.  So when I discovered he was also a photographer I of course wanted to see his photos, and to share them with you.  So from here at home, on my little porch, is a new photographer that I am sure you will be seeing again, Aleks Stirajs. The first Truth is Beauty shot is during the electrical storm during set up and it is my favorite.

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Burning Noir (5) – Love and the VIP room

Augustus was drinking heavily when I found him at Midnight Poutine.  But after I shared my Belgian beer he only spent 10 minutes updating me, and then ran off into the night, still steady on his feet.  Read part one of this series herepart two herepart three here;  and part 4 here.  – Caveat


The French Quarter bordello's second floor.
The French Quarter bordello’s second floor.

She unlocked the door to the RV she time-shares with her ex-husband at 46 minutes past midnight.  She was laughing at something a friend said.  She was just going to grab a coat she could wear over her costume, a silver space-alien get-up that exposed slightly less skin than a reputable bikini.

Instead, I stepped out from the dark and grabbed her shoulder.

She screamed.  I waited.  She turned, reaching for mace she’d have kept in her pockets if she’d been wearing pants, and then realized how defenseless she was.  She raised up her fist, then she saw my face.

She took a deep breath.  “Jesus!  You scared me half-to-death!”  Put her fist down.

I didn’t move.  “Then we’re half way there.”

“What … what are you talking about?”

“Why’d you do it, Krista?  Why’d you set me up?”

“I don’t know what you mean.”

I shook my head.  “You’re even more beautiful when you’re lying.  But I’m here for the ugly truth.” (more…)

Meet the Builders of CORE: The Big Fire

The work of the artists, more than 100 from around the world, has been completed. All 24 of the the projects in the Circle of Regional Effigies have been burned. While some of the members of these teams will return in the morning for Leave No Trace, their art has been featured as the centerpiece of a city-wide night of celebration.

Below are a set of the images from this night of conflagration and joy. We hope you enjoy them and remember that wherever your region is, it is a part of the Burning Man community.

As the participants arrive some feel the need to playfully express their sense of irony
As the participants arrive, some feel the need to playfully express their sense of irony


Burning Man, BLM Tighten Management of BRC Entry

Black Rock City 2011, Photo by Luke Szczepanski
Black Rock City 2011, Photo by Luke Szczepanski

Burning Man and the Bureau of Land Management have begun tighter management of the entrance gate to the Burning Man event. Measures are being taken to ensure camping is occurring in designated areas and to manage overall population of the event.

The new entrance controls will likely result in increased wait times at the Main Gate, participants who are not part of existing camps will be directed to camp on the outer fringes of Black Rock City between 3 o’clock and 5 o’clock. Additional streets have been constructed (the streets of M & N, from 7:00 to 10:00) to assist in these efforts.

The changes were agreed to by Burning Man and BLM to protect the health and safety of participants.

Burning Noir (4) – The clown always lies twice

The playa provides.  Augustus St. George was obviously avoiding me, and I didn’t think I had a prayer of finding him – until I finally visited the Temple for the first time this year (thank you, Polaris, for the ride), and stumbled into the wedding of a friend of mine from elementary school.  I’ve been missing this guy for years – when his family moved to Japan I “loaned” him my favorite book so that he’d have a reason to see me again and return it.  Never happened.  But here he was, getting married – and he actually knew where Augustus was today.  It’s powerful magic out here.  Read part 1 in this series herepart 2 here; and part 3 here – Caveat


IMG_20130828_005730Hiding at Burning Man is a lot like trying to sneak through a circus.   It matters who you’re hiding from.  There’s a lot of things to distract the rubes:, but the clowns are a tight knit group who know where to look.

Burners who barely know anyone outside their camp will never find you, and will probably stop looking after they’re drafted into a light saber battle pitting Darth Maul against Cookie Monster.  The eternal struggle.  But veteran burners have networks, and they’re not so easily distracted by zombie gospel choirs on pirate ships.  Go anywhere near their people, and they’ll run you down.

Even worse, they know who your people are.  The minute they want to know where you’re hiding, they’ll start interviewing everyone you’ve ever slept with.  No matter how drunk you were.

To escape the social mafia that runs Burning Man I make sure I take a different car every year, with different plates.  I change tents every year, and decorate it with just enough blinkies to look like I’m not trying to be anonymous.  And I pitch myself in the middle of walk-in camping, where I’m surrounded by neighbors who might share their morning eggs but don’t actually care who I am … and none of them have ever met Larry Harvey.

It’s the perfect set-up for privacy – or so I thought.  But I knew I’d been made when I got back to my tent in the morning, and it was unzipped.  I thought about bolting, but without an anonymous place to sleep they’ll find me anyway.  The only alternative is to sleep with strangers, and I’m not that guy.  I have a stoic wit where my game ought to be.

So I walked in.  The tent was just big enough to stand in, but Michael Michael – Danger Ranger himself – was sitting in my only chair, twiddling his thumbs. (more…)

CoRE 2013: 360° Panoramas

[Editor’s Note: We’re happy to have photographer Michael Holden documenting the art and experience of Burning Man for you this year, and posting regular submissions to the Burning Blog. You can find all his posts by clicking here. Enjoy!]

 The 2013 CORE installations burn tonight. In about four hours. Yikes. I made these panoramas of each of the four CORE groups this morning because I wouldn’t get another chance. Click the image below to check ‘em out. For best results, follow the instructions on the next page.

2013 CoRE Project 360° Panoramas


On that note, I’m going to change into my burn clothes and double check my gear, because at the stroke of 9 o’oclock tonight, these installations are gonna burn, big-time.  Should have pics of that later tonight.

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Meet the Builders of CORE: Interacting with the art

Since Monday, Burning Man participants have been enjoying and interacting with the products of artistic labor from around the world. They’ve been animating fish, receiving gifts or just meeting the builders in the shade of their temporary art. You can even get brisket and margaritas at the Houston CORE structure while dancing to the music they are spinning.

At night the pieces glow with colored or animated light, showing participants a new face.

Day and night, morning and evening, the area where the CORE projects stand are buzzing with activity. Below are many images of the activity around the CORE projects, as well as photos of the completed artwork by these dedicated builders.

Jasmyne uses a handle to animate a fish sculpture on the New Orleans CORE piece
Jasmyne uses a handle to animate a fish sculpture on the New Orleans CORE piece
Zed and Yando hold a re-commitment ceremony at the Reno CORE piece
Zed and Yando hold a re-commitment ceremony at the Reno CORE piece
The multi-colored scale fish of the San Diego CORE piece climbs a gantry holding participants
The multi-colored scale fish of the San Diego CORE piece climbs a gantry holding participants
The Fibernachi-inspired spiral of the East Bay CORE piece is both a tower with a view and a shelter from the sun
The Fibernachi-inspired spiral of the East Bay CORE piece is both a tower with a view and a shelter from the sun