Burning Man Epiphany Makes for Better Pizza


The Dallas Observer reports on a local man who went to Burning Man, had an epiphany (as you do), and took it back home with him in a very real way.

Influenced by his years of attending the Burning Man event, Dallas pizza shop owner Frank Nuccio decided to make some changes to his business’s (My Family’s Pizza, formerly Pizza by Marco) pizza-making process.

“The dough will use water only from a reverse osmosis system being installed this month. I’m removing all toxins such as chlorine and fluoride from all the water used in the restaurant,” Frank said. Not only that, he’s also stopped selling any products that contain aspartame — including soda — instead opting for a soda brand made with pure cane sugar (which tastes a helluva lot better, frankly).

We like to say that being a Burner is a way of being, a lens through which we perceive our relationship to the world, and it’s up to each of us to make change happen on a local as well as global level … as we do. And a pizza joint is as good a place to start as any, right? Right.

Nice job, Frank. Next time we’re in Dallas, we’ll be sure to stop in for a slice.

So tell us, how have YOU manifested your Burner ideals in your day-to-day life?

MOOP Map Live, Day 7: The Green Streak Ends

Greetings MOOP maniacs and line sweepers extraordinaire! Here in Gerlach, the Playa Restoration All-Star team is being blown across the sweeping expanse of the Black Rock Desert by winds that have gusted as high as 50mph.

Luckily for Black Rock City, these rockstar Restoration experts are sticking to the task at hand, grabbing every last bit of MOOP, and still managing to look great doing it.

Burning Man Playa Restoration 2013, Day 15.

The Temple

We spend the day clearing out the camp. In exhaustion, I collapse in my tent under my eye mask and try to recover from the lack of sleep.

I awake from my tent to find my camp empty and to see bikes cycling furiously, with purpose along the road. I look at my watch but am not convinced it is telling me the truth. Somehow, the only watch that is set correctly is never truthful to the time here. However, the urgency of the bikes around me, tell me with some confidence that the temple is burning or is going to burn very soon.

I quickly heat up some food, devour it and then begin to walk up the street towards the temple for one last time. The streets are desolate. Iconic landmarks have been dismantled or are in a state of ruin as the end nears. I walk closer and closer, until suddenly I see it, the iconic building with flames flicking from its head lighting up the horizon.

It is burning peacefully and slowly, very different from how the man burnt. I walk alone in a straight direction towards the spot where the man used to stand, across the sand and a strange thing happens. For reasons I cannot fathom, tears begin to fall from my face. As I move closer, with bikes shooting past me, the flames seem to grow. The flames grow into the shape of a phoenix standing tall with its wings hanging down at either side and suddenly from its beak it sings, projecting ashes into the sky.

My tears fall faster, and I find myself gently sobbing for reasons I cannot understand. I feel as if all the injustice in the world is here in this moment, in this desert. I find myself tearful for how such a beautiful object could be destroyed and as if I’m absorbing the sadness of all those around me. My head is filled of confusion at why it burns.

I realise that the ashes that now jewel the smokey sky represent all the words I have read inside the temple. The hopes, anxieties, insecurities, regrets, prayers and sadness of thousands of people are reaching out into the sky forming stars. I hear their voices in my head.

“I want to let go of my insecurity”

“I held you in my arms when you were born and I held your daughter in my arms as she was born…”

“I miss you brother.”

“always missed”

“it’s not my time yet”


“Dad can’t wait to see you again”

I watch them all dancing together in the sky. I continue to walk slowly and closer, gazing at the eye of the flame, my gaze following their dance through blurry eyes, as the blurry lines of bikes zip past me.

A man taps me on the shoulder and awakes me from the trance. He looks like a caveman. He gestures and grunts and I realise he’s offering to take my photo. I brush him off as I’m lost in a moment that no camera could possibly capture. He stomps off into the crowd confused. Awoken from my trance, I realise I can feel the heat of the flames burning what remains and that I can walk no more.

I watch the flames die, and with them the stars evaporate and there is calm. Someone waves a flag slowly ahead. I look around at all the people around me that remain and begin my slow walk back.

When you see the insecurities of a thousand people dancing as stars in the night sky, suddenly your own insecurities seem insignificant in comparison.

by Jon Robson

MOOP Map Live, Day 6: The Outer Limits

Burning Man Playa Restoration 2013, Day 8.

Hello out there all you MOOP maniacs and line sweepers extraordinaire! Here in the Black Rock Desert, your Playa Restoration team is in the final rounds of what has been a truly epic season. With just days left before we head back to the real world, we have swept throughout the Black Rock City grid, throughout the inner playa and up through the Man to the Temple. The pace has been quick and efficient, and the Restoration moopers have covered an impressive amount of ground.

The White Forest

Erika and Katie need to pee. Having just met them and also needing to pee, I decide to join them. The three of us, on our feet, walk down dark roads trying to follow the blue lights to comfort. Finally we find them, and after braving the “porta potties”, we begin our walk back to where we had met. As we do, we debate on what to do next. Then quickly in solidarity we conclude that we should find the “white forest”, a beautiful relaxing oasis in the middle of the desert that I had stumbled across the day before. A place where the floor is coated with the softest of furs and where seven feet above, strips of white plastic flap in a wind self created. A place of tranquility, comfort and relaxation.

We walk and walk and walk. All I knew was this magical place was near the temple, which was near the man, which no longer existed having just gone up in flames. Reaching the temple took longer than I remembered, and once there, we all felt the need to walk inside. Inside our eyes danced around the walls as we read sad stories of loss and heart wrenching stories of dying hopes and desperate dreams. A girl approaches us asking if we dropped some things. She opens the palms of her hands to reveal a phone and a watch. The watch is mine and I take it, confused to how I lost it. I ask her if she knows the “white forest”. She says she found it earlier but doesn’t know how. We say goodbye and continue to walk further around the temple, surveying the walls. Erika wants to write so we search for a spot amongst the angst that Erika can pin her feelings to and leave unanswered questions that can be detached from her and burnt the following day. As Erika writes she is tapped on the shoulder. The girl from earlier has decided to join us. We walk out with her, and the girl bounces off the sand. Due to her terrific energy, although her real name is Ali, Erika decides to name her “ninja”, just as she has named me “puppet”, a name which I like to think has some roots in a theme of loyalty rather than manipulation. We wander into the darkness to seek this now mythical place.

We walk and walk and walk for what seems forever until eventually we hit the fence that lines the perimeter of the desert. Erika asks what lies beyond there and I tell her it is the real world. We take it in and enjoy the quiet and the loneliness of being this far from the real world and from the world we now live in, as if living in a state of limbo.

A strange man cycles up to us. He stops and reveals he has a Polaroid camera. He offers to take our photo and we accept. We talk to him and then he parts. The four of us walk again back the way we came, alone. Harsh dust storms roll in and the four of us shelter together and wait them out. We share drinks, coats and hugs to keep warm and once the storm settles we walk and walk and walk. Another storm hits, and again we sit in solidarity riding it out, as our water supplies begin to dwindle.

Soon the temple comes into view and it becomes clear to me that the “white forest” cannot be found.

The destination is not the important thing. It’s always about the journey and those that share that journey with us. It’s about the things we share that are capable of making our minds mesh together; that dilate and shrink our eyes; that make our ears prick up in amazement in unison; that make our blood pump faster; that make our hearts explode.

The four of us, having been alone together now for several hours, return to the desert, to a rising sun and to civilisation. Four strangers now forever bonded through our experiences, no longer strangers.

by Jon Robson

What if my art project is a loaded gun?

Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here
Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter My Art Project

It was Tuesday in the desert.  The hottest part of the afternoon.  I was sitting on my favorite couch in BMIR when a woman I’d never met before came in and asked for the Rockstar Librarian Guide.

“Box,” I told her.

“What?” she asked.

“Box,” I said again.  This was a little game we played:  when someone asked for the Rockstar Librarian Guide, sometimes we’d just keep saying “Box” over and over, until they realized it was in the box they’d already passed on the way in.

She got it fast.  Satisfied, she looked around and realized that there was no shadier spot to be found anywhere on the playa.

“Hey,” she asked.  “Can I sit down?”

“Sure,” I said.  She took her tool kit off from around her waist and sat down next to me.

I don’t remember her name now, but we got to talking.  She’s 23.  Third year on the playa.  I asked her what she’d seen so far, and she rattled off a list of art projects.  I asked her what she wanted to see, and she rattled off another list.  Mostly things I’d heard of.

“But what I really want to do,” she said, “is meet the poet.”

“The … poet?”

“Yeah.  There’s this amazing poet.”

That was interesting … but … “I have no idea.  I’ve never heard of that.”

She nodded.  “Some of my camp mates met him.  Nobody knows where he is.  I hope I can find him.  I’m looking.”

“Well, good luck.”

We kept talking.  Burning Man stuff:  how do you like the Man standing on a UFO?  What do you think of the theme?  Goddamn there’s a lot of cops around. That kind of thing.

Eventually Ken Griswa, the Mad Artist in Residence at BMIR, came over and wanted me to sing somebody a song.  For … some reason.  I can’t remember now and I might not really have known then.  It can be hard to tell with Ken.

“Sure,” I said, opening up my bag and pulling out a book in which I had a list of songs.  It was part of an art project I’d brought to Burning Man.  “Let’s see if I can find an appropriate one …”

“Wait …” the woman next to me gaped.  “YOU’RE THE POET!”

Ken and I stared at her.  I blinked.  “I … I don’t think I am.” (more…)

MOOP Map Live, Day 5: A Work In Progress

Burning Man Playa Restoration 2013, Day 6.

Greetings MOOP maniacs and line sweepers extraordinaire! The Hun here, typing with gloves on. Yes, winter has socked the Playa Restoration All-Star team a good one these past few days, with temperatures in the 30s and rude winds poking icy fingers under our collars and down our backs. Just a week ago, we were basking in bikinis. Today, we’re wearing all the clothes we own.

Burning Man Playa Restoration 2013, Day 8.

Playa Restoration ends next Wednesday with the BLM site inspection. Between now and then, the Resto All-Stars are braving the wind and weather to pick up all the MOOP we can find and return the playa surface to a pristine state.

Burning Man Playa Restoration 2013, Day 1.

Changes to the MOOP Map

As I’ve mentioned before, the MOOP Map you see on this blog is a record of our progress — but it’s a living document, not the final map. Once we record all the data, we cross-check it thoroughly and make changes where appropriate. Today’s map may look very slightly different, so have another look at your spot!

Restoration Honors the Temple of Whollyness

Greetings MOOP maniacs and line sweepers extraordinaire! I’m here in Gerlach with 120 members of your DPW Playa Restoration home team. They are preparing to enter the damp, sticky and frigid playa — armed only with MOOP sticks, shovels and magnet rakes — to eradicate the final traces of Burning Man 2013.

Burning Man Playa Restoration 2013, Day 8.

Burning Man Playa Restoration 2013, Day 8.

The season is skidding to a close as we dodge rainstorms and near-freezing temperatures; we may even get a little snow this evening. Summer is officially a dusty memory, but still the MOOP lines march on.

Burning Man Playa Restoration 2013, Day 8.

As many of you have remarked, the line sweeps are covering a lot of ground this year, and in record time. On Day 4, 45 city blocks disappeared under the moopers’ feet. And yes, the Playa Restoration All-Star team is one hell of a crew — but the line sweeps’ pace ultimately depends on YOU, and how well Black Rock City practices Leaving No Trace. When the city blocks are green and MOOP-free, the Resto line sweepers move at a fast clip. And this year, we’ve encountered a whole lot of green blocks.

In fact, we’re seeing green this year in all sorts of places. So while Playa Restoration continues marching through the city grid, let’s take a moment and turn our eyes elsewhere: far out in the deep playa, where the Temple of Whollyness once stood.

Photo by Curious Josh / curiousjosh.com
Photo by Curious Josh / curiousjosh.com