People were cooking bacon over the smoldering ashes of the Man, symbolically reminding me that life goes on. Regardless. Others were collecting remnants of the tall sculpture: pieces of metal that refused to burn in the conflagration, even bits of wood and ash. These were souvenirs meant to be put up on the mantle or stored away as memorabilia. I stopped and watched for a few minutes before moving on. It was my last day at Burning Man 2015 and I was sure there was art lurking out on the Playa that I had somehow missed. Plus there were several sculptures that I wanted to revisit, to admire one last time.
Burning Man at night is a different world from Burning Man during the day. There is fairytale magic in the air as Black Rock City comes alive and colorfully lit mutant vehicles, bicycles, and Burners make their way though the temporary city, parade up and down the Esplanade, and move out into the desert. Dragons, ducks, ships, a rhino, an octopus and a myriad of other creatures breathe fire into the night. Acres of dust are turned into gyrating dance floors while shows ranging from burlesque to circuses entice burners in. Even the art takes on a different persona— some pieces shoot out flames, some burn, and all are lit up in ingenious ways. As wild as each night is, the burning of the Man exists in a class by itself.
Sixty thousand people plus and several hundred mutant vehicles gather in a huge circle around the Man. Music booms out into the night, a thousand fire dancers work their twirling magic, fireworks light the sky, and the Man burns, at first standing tall, arms outstretched, and then eventually falling— as Burners catch their breath in anticipation and then yell together in celebration. The deafening sound echoes out across the desert and then is absorbed into the night.
I like to wander around the night of the burn, as opposed to sitting in the dust for two hours. My tailbone doesn’t have the same sense of humor it once did and I enjoy the night look of mutant vehicles. I catch glimpses of the fire dancers as I go, but stop to watch the fireworks and burn. Here are some of my photos from 2015.
This marks the end of my 2015 Burning Man series. I hope you have enjoyed viewing it as much as I enjoyed putting it together.
I’ll be out of touch for a couple of weeks as Peggy and I head off to Alaska to visit our son and his family. They’ve urged us to come up and join them at the Fur Rendezvous in Anchorage and the World Ice Art Championships in Fairbanks. We will be taking the train up to Fairbanks from Anchorage. Altogether, I suspect there will be some good blogs to come out of the experience. To fill in the blanks while we are gone, I am reposting some blogs from our trip up to Alaska three-years ago. —Curt