August 12, 2005

Burn the Man

I've got this friend who's really involved in the Burning Man community, and she keeps telling me these crazy stories that make me want to get in my car and drive there, just to see what I'd do. This year's theme is Psyche. For those of you unfamiliar with Burning Man (by which I mean more unfamiliar than me, which isn't saying much, since I've never been), imagine:

Herds of humanity from across the world (yes, the Burning Man community is global) swarm into Black Rock Desert in Nevada and build a fully functioning city in a matter of days. These people then inhabit the city for two weeks of "celebration". Think a total experience of self-reliance with a heavy dose of anti-commercialism, art, music, (sounds OK so far, right?) followe by nudity, dancing, psychedelic-type costumes, crazy temporary buildings, themed everything and a splash of debauchery with good times had by all, but perhaps only remembered by some.

Then, after they burn The Man on Saturday (you're starting to get this now, huh?), the city totally vanishes as if it were never there. Everyone goes home to their normal lives and takes it all with them. Gone. Without. A. Trace.

Here's an excerpt from the horse's mouth, so to speak (link to the site by clicking the headline, above):

The event takes place on an ancient lakebed, known as the playa. [Black Rock Desert, Nevada] By the time the event is completed and the volunteers leave, sometimes nearly a month after the event has ended, there will be no trace of the city that was, for a short time, the most populous town in the entire county. Art is an unavoidable part of this experience, and in fact, is such a part of the experience that Larry Harvey, founder of the Burning Man project, gives a theme to each year, to encourage a common bond to help tie each individual's contribution together in a meaningful way. Participants are encouraged to find a way to help make the theme come alive, whether it is through a large-scale art installation, a theme camp, gifts brought to be given to other individuals, costumes, or any other medium that one comes up with.

If any of you guys go, come back and tell us all about it. Sounds like a wierd/cool experience. You know... like, trippy.


Drew said...

I got respect for anyone that is into this Burning Man stuff, but seriously, this shit just strikes me as super weird. Of course, my only exposure to it is E!s "Wild On" when they show weird naked old people wearing plastic space-like stuff on their private bits and dancing around in the desert while on barbiturates. Shit's bizarre.

Trebuchet said...

Oh, yeah... there's no question that enjoyment of the whole experience must have a lot to do with what various illicits you ingest (and the quality of said illicits). And it's ABSOLUTELY bizarre. But doesn't semi-nude dancing while hallucinating in a wasteland sound kinda fun?

Of course, if you're taking tips on what's fun from Wild On's Hollywood reigning Queen of the Ass-Out, your gerontophobia makes perfect sense, and you might be on a whole 'nother level... :)