Burning Man is a gathering of about 30,000 people in the Nevada desert
each Labor Day. An entire city is built and destroyed
in a week. The exchange of money is not allowed, you can only
barter and give away things. Explaining Burning Man properly would
take too much space here, so you can check out the
Burning Man website.
The Playa (as the desert is called) is full of art installations.
For example, this roller coaster,
which unfortunately I never got to see run because they spent all
week constructing it and the last day taking down. This other guy
had a daisy chain of red wagons that he
pulled people around on.
My favorite, though, was the Temple of Joy,
a giant structure in the middle of the Playa.
It was made of wood but looked like lace.
One couple was married there.
The temple was built by a man in memory of his wife, who had died of
cancer. It was covered with notes that people had written on it
to dead relatives and friends. I wrote something to my cousin
Sasha. On Sunday they burned it.
One day we were hit with a pretty bad sandstorm,
though the sand is so fine there that it's more like dust. It
It took over a year to get it completely off my car.
On Saturday they burned the Man, a giant wooden
structure of a man. (Notice the smoke tornadoes spinning off to the left.)
It's the climax of the week, preceeded by an hour
of drumming and fire dancing. It's very primal and pagan. There
were wonderful sunsets.
It's hard to describe the experience of going to Burning Man.
Those who go there obviously already buy into the idea of
a temporary art-oriented utopia, so it works really well. You're
surrounded by thousands of open-minded people who want to give things to
each other and be nice to each other. It's great. We'll go
again next year.