Burning Man – Artistic Genius – Then Burn It Up

Since Burning Man begins in a month – always over the Labor Day weekend, giving yet another insane rendering of “Labor” – and make no mistake, for those Black Rock Rangers and the other intrepid workers who lay out and construct what you see below – there is a ton of work they labor at, in a pleasure so pure it hurts:

(left click images to enlarge)


In the end, a city of 40,000 campers looks just like this:


The efforts get cleaned in a rather dramatic fashion, later, including the burning, as mentioned below, of everything, no matter how temporarily cool:


I’m doing this post to please a friend who asked about what all the hubub was over Burning Man. She had never heard of it. Since I’ve been there, I have my own very personal opinion. So, Marcia – here ya go. The event is coming soon. Adventurous, thought-provoking, anarchistic, artistic – the adjectives flow like water over the Niagra Falls………..in the end, while it is indescribably interesting, make no mistake – it’s fun!


I guess I’m stretching a bit to present what to many is a scandalously misunderstood event in here in my nice conservative, construction and design-related blog, but I feel somehow almost obligated to. I enjoy sharing my life in every way and I obviously appreciate products I consider items of artistic genius.

My interest in this popular and controversial event  stems from these underpinnings. And I am one who fully believes Burning Man is an event of Timeless value.  There are many sayings and diatribes on how we contaminate reality with belief, but the purity of the vision here and the enthusiasm of its participants, is wholly off the charts. This event is unique in the world – thus drawing so many travelers who design visits around it. I guess that pretty much says it all.

(click any image to enlarge)


Burning Man is a week-long event of something more than epic proportions, held on the same “playa” or lake bed where the world land speed record was set a few years ago by the crazed Englishman piloting a virtual jet car at above the speed of sound. Gerlach, Nevada is about 60 miles Northest of Reno and it is an otherwise sleepy, oppressively hot burg of a scattered population of every political persuasion known to man. But the world class events which happen out its front windows are some crazy stuff.


What began in 1986 with a few guys hoisting up an 8′ high wooden “Man” and then setting the sucker on fire on Baker Beach in San Fransisco, has now evolved into something of a virtual culture. This year, 48,000 people will congregate in the Black Rock Desert to participate in this year’s version of Burning Man – a festival like absolutely no other. Here, from the Burning Man’s own website is the timeline and history of the event.

You can see some strange stuff out there!


Nature gets gorgeous and pretty crazy during a stay in the desert like this. One sure needs good shades, some serious sun screen and a ton of water. Dust storms are normal, not rare – it seems every year is good for a nasty, good sized dust storm: Here comes one now!


But Nature also gives………..



It may surprise people to realize that the average age of a Burning Man attendee is around 35. After a walk around, through all the amazingly well-organized streets of campers, sporting silliness and wonder, it becomes more obvious.

Burning Man is a “barter zone” – money is only allowed for use at the Main Tent for coffee, lemonades and for the purchase of Ice. Otherwise, you can leave your wallet back where “civilization” rules. The Burning Man experience is so creative, large and literally engulfing, that you find yourself contributing. In the end, in fact, this is the energy behind the event. It has indeed become something of a culture of its own, led by enterprising artists and Internet-savvy art geeks and it provides a wonder of stuff – nearly indescribable, really. Night time scenes see amazing high tech lighting and nocturnally-inspired art work:



And the “Mobile Art”, lol. The Art Cars have institued their own world of whimsy, now featuring an Art Car Festival in Houston, Texas and a natural outgrowth of the male need to tinker and play, lol. Needless to say, these were always my favorites:


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Some are just for fun



Some are more serious:



And these are just the “cars”. The art?


This is what grownups can do, lol…………


A pretty solid visual feast, no matter how you look at it.


Then it disappears – in 3 days, it will be as if no one had even been there.


From these, the Fire Temple of wood, above and two years of The Man below:




From this……….



To this:


It’s all good, interesting, exciting and always weird  – which is the point. It’s is the single most Artistical Artical Event ever. 😉




4 thoughts on “Burning Man – Artistic Genius – Then Burn It Up

  1. Really enjoy the photos and report on Burning Man. This is an event whose website I check annually and have had a real hankering to attend. I just can’t get over the idea that I would not fit in and would miss the amenities of modern life (aka indoor plumbing). Most impressive that when the event is over, no evidence is left behind — no trash, no litter, nothing. Those attending are environmentally conscious and create art for the sake of creating. Yes, I very much would like to go, but I doubt that I will.

  2. Well, it’s about $600 for two, Bonnie. There was obviously much not mentioned. My fondest memories are of the hobnobbing and socializing with interesting people. My friends included two detectives from Memphis and Nashville, an Israeli I ran into walking one early morning who came especially for the visit and who was staying with a Danish couple in a tent near ours. One morning I got up and went for coffee. A member of the SF Symphiony – a cellist – was playing music at 8 AM in a very relaxed venue of the Main Tent, and making electronic “loops” as he played. He kept adding layers of these loops until he sounded like an orchestra, lol, and the music was as good as any I ever heard in my entire life. Not a bad Sunday morning, lol.

  3. Thanks for posting. I had fun looking at the photos. The fireworks, the giant objects and the burning tower have made the event spectacular! It looks like its really a successful ‘Artistical Artical Event”.
    .-= Daisy@Marshal Firth´s last blog ..Compete.com =-.

  4. Oh, it’s pretty fun, too. Did I omit that part? Truth is, it’s a lovely event, with seriously entertaining and interesting attendee’s and a few butt heads.

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