Posts in metropolis

February 19th, 2011  |  Filed under Culture (Art & Music), Tales From The Playa

Syzygryd

Tales From The Playa are dreams and memories of events that took place at Burning Man, as told by its participants.

God knows how we found it, but isn’t that how all these stories start? We were wandering out near the Man on a clear night, the carnival was in full swing, and little loops of music bounced around from all directions. For a few minutes, we stood transfixed as a spinning steel globe cast white sparks of light in a whirling circle, projected on the dust.

Then, as if the Earth beneath us had simply switched one sculpture for another, we stood before a gyrating spire of boldly-colored lightbulbs, seemingly capable of casting any hue, creating the illusion of sending each wave of color up into the sky. People laid on their backs all the way around the base of the spire, their heads touching, their eyes breathing in the vivid display, their dusty boots splayed out around them.

The Earth moved again, and we began to hear some music.

Some rights reserved by mr. nightshade

Three glowing panels were arranged in a triangle around a twisted structure, which pulsed with sound and light and hissed with flammable gases. The beats and bleeps and bloops bumped in time with a sequence on the screens.

Someone danced animatedly at the panel closest to us, fiddling with the touchscreen grid and adding new, subtle elements to the song. Before too long, without me even having to scream “OH MY GOOD GOD, LET ME PLAY WITH IT!”, this Burner stepped aside, and the panel was mine. Read more »

November 22nd, 2010  |  Filed under Tales From The Playa

Epic Proportions

Tales From The Playa are dreams and memories of events that took place at Burning Man, as told by its participants.

Photo: ADLERPRODUCTIONS.COM

Burning Man is the best adult playground ever devised, a vast testing ground for one’s resourcefulness, imagination, and sense of adventure, managing to amuse 50,000 or so tech-addled, sleep-deprived, uncomfortable Moderns for up to a week or longer, while keeping them active, eating less, constantly testing their limits, morals, and comfort zones, and providing them with a social arrangement of managed freedom within limits acceptable to the paying participant.

It’s even more fun than college.

This was my sentiment on Thursday night of Burning Man 2010, as I sat by myself on the benches outside the Temple, aiming my dying headlamp into my little, red, dust-coated notebook. It was Metropolis, the biggest burn ever. In fact, it was my second biggest burn ever. The American Dream, 2008′s Thompsonian seizure of that mythological, materialistic nirvana for our own twisted purposes, was my first time.

When they first burnt the man on Baker Beach, I was negative one year old.

I think it’s safe to say that Burning Man has changed a few times since then.

Photo: Mischa Steiner

I would submit 2007 as the year Burning Man bloomed into its present incarnation. Veteran Burners had become increasingly fed up with what one participant called the “alterna-Disney” transformation of the festival, and The Green Man saw this come to a head in a… let’s call it a counterproductive way. Read more about it, if you like. My first burn was the year after that. Read more »