A Big Bosomed Bee, Curious Cats, and Other Whimsical Art of Burning Man

I came across these cats a few years back way out on the Playa, about as far as you can get from Black Rock City and still be in the area fenced off for Burning Man. They definitely meet my description for whimsical.

 

It’s photo Friday for me where I put out a blog that is long on photography and short (or at least shorter) on words. I’ve been concentrating on Burning Man the past several weeks and will continue for a few more. I have my ticket for 2017 so I am excited. Hopefully next week, we will get a ticket for Peggy as well.

 

It isn’t just anywhere you would expect to find a big bosomed bee. But then again, you never know what to expect at Burning Man. Someone must have had a lot of fun crocheting the bra.

 

Having tackled the giant women of Burning Man, I’ve been thinking about what to feature next on Burning Man sculptures. Like mutant vehicles, there are so many it is difficult to choose and even harder to organize. I started by going through my photo library and picking out a few I thought might be of interest. That got me down to 1500. I think you can see my problem. “Okay, Curt, focus!” I admonished as I scrolled through the 1500 photos for the third time.

There are categories, sort of. They are totally arbitrary and from my perspective. But it’s a start. So today, I am going to feature what I find humorous, whimsical and weird, recognizing that the three are often combined in my mind. There are enough here that I will be presenting more over the weekend.

Dogs aren’t allowed at Burning Man, but they made an exception for this fellow in 2006.

My friend Ken decided that the dog was large enough to ride, but was a little confused as to the direction. Meanwhile, the dog’s family looked on, including…

Mr. Big Bottom…

Miss Short Legs…

And Miss Long Legs.

Pucker up…

And meet a suave Sphinx.

Ready for a little monkey business?

Or maybe some big monkey business? All dressed up in his pink tutu, Kong is ready to go out on the town.

Do you want to dance?

The sound man is ready…

With his necklace of speakers.

The hare will fiddle… (Photo by our friend Don Green.)

And the turtle will dance with you. (Photo by Don Green.)

Tomorrow’s Blog: More humorous, whimsical, and weird Burning Man sculptures.

 

Colossal Women… The Sculptures of Burning Man

Sculpture Truth is Beauty by Marco Cochrane at Burning Man 2013

Truth Is Beauty is one of three colossal sculptures created for Burning Man by the Bay Area artist Marco Cochrane. Each of these sculptures captures the beauty of the female form but goes further. Marco’s works are designed to help us see women as total human beings instead of objects. Not to detract from Cochrane’s message, but I decided to kick off today’s post with this photo because I spotted a bit of green along with the truth. Happy St. Pat’s Day.

 

Now that I have finished my series on Burning Man’s creative and sometimes wacky mutant vehicles, I am ready to take on another aspect of the art that seems to bloom and thrive in the Black Rock Desert, sculpture. I am going to start with something big, really big— colossal women. We are talking 40 to 60-foot-tall sculptures here! Three artists have been responsible for creating the giant women of Black Rock City, Marco Cochrane, Karen Cusolito and Dan Das Mann.

Das Mann and Cusolito, working as a team, produced a series of works at Burning Man between 2005 and 2007. Mann’s interest in monumental art started with a degree in Landscape Architecture from Rutgers University. Cusolito’s introduction to the art world followed a more formal path with studying at the Rhode Island School of Design and Massachusetts College of Art.

These photos are from Mann and Cusolito’s 2006 and 2007 art at Burning Man.

My introduction to the art of Karen Cusolito and Dan Das Mann was this tall woman with her arms reaching toward the sky. She was located in front of the Center Camp Cafe which is considered a position of honor for art at Burning Man.

She was accompanied by this woman kneeling in supplication.

Another photo of the two with the Black Rock Desert for background.

This one shows the art’s location in relation to Burning Man’s Center Camp Cafe.

Close up of the ‘skin.’

For 2007, Cusolito and Das Mann created Crude Awakening.

This sculpture caught my attention. Fire shoots out from the hands.

Check out the chain hair.

Marco Cochrane was born in Italy to American parents in 1962 and raised in the Bay Area. According to his website, “he identified with the female struggle with oppression and saw feminine energy and power as critical to the world’s balance.” His art reflects this belief. In 2007 he attended Burning Man and would have seen the sculptures by Das Mann and Cusolito. Eventually, he returned to Burning Man in 2010 with the first of his own colossal sculptures, Bliss Dance. In 2013 he brought Truth Is Beauty to Burning Man and in 2015, R-Evolution. I’ve blogged about each of these creations in the past. Following are a few of our photos.

 

Cochrane’s first work, Bliss Dance, was my favorite. She now resides in Las Vegas just off of the Strip.

I like the playful nature of Bliss Dance.

Marco Cochrane's Bliss Dance at Burning Man.

A close up.

I introduced this post with a night photo of Truth Is Beauty. The sculpture shares this picture with other Burning Man art.

This photo provides a side view. The people give perspective.

A back view. Each of Cochrane’s works are powerful from any angle.

R-Evolution is the third and final of Cochrane’s sculptures at Burning Man. I like how R-Evolution fits in with the mountains here. (Photo by our friend Don Green.)

A night-time view of R-Evolution’s back.

And a front view to complete this post.

NEXT BLOGS

Something Fishy.

The Sierra Trek: We backpack through 106 degree weather, and the Sheriff pays us a visit.

More of Burning Man sculptures.

 

Mutant Vehicles IV… The Creativity and Magic of Burning Man

The thing about mutant vehicles is you never know what people are going to come up with, like this telephone: Off ‘Da Hook! Burning Man is an “Off ‘Da Hook” kind of place.

I could go on and on with mutant vehicles. Their sheer numbers and variety speak to the creativity and magic of Burning Man. But the camps, sculptures, temples, painting, costumes, performance art, the Man, and even bicycles also speak to the creativity, so I need to move on. Mainly, up until now, I have focused on vehicles that tend to stand out and draw crowds. Nothing is better at this than El Pulpo Mecanico.  There are dozens of other vehicles that also deserve attention that I haven’t covered yet, however. (And I wasn’t around in 2016 to see the latest creations!)

One mutant vehicle I haven’t featured yet, Never Was Haul, is right up there with El Pulpo Mecanico and the Rhino Redemption from my perspective. It’s here today, but there are also dragons and bugs and ships and animals and some really weird stuff. Oh my! Enjoy. (Unless noted otherwise, all of the photos are by Peggy and me.)

I selected this photo of Never Was Haul from my longtime friend Tom Lovering because it is one of his all-time favorite mutant vehicles. I would describe it as a combination of a steam train engine and a Victorian house.

Caboose mutant vehicle at Burning Man.

Trains are one of the themes for mutant vehicles. This caboose fits right in.

Steam engine Mutant Vehicle at Burning Man.

As does this steam engine. The grill on the front of this steam engine and Never Was Haul is known as a cattle catcher, BTW. I am not sure that the cow is in any better condition after a collision with a train, but the engine is. They also work for moose and buffalo!

Dragons are also a common theme for Burning Man mutant vehicles. (Photograph by our friend Don Green.)

Scary dragon mutant vehicle at Burning Man.

This is one of the more scary dragons that roam the Playa. Most of these fellows breathe fire as an added attraction.

Green dragon mutant vehicle at Burning Man.

This dragon was ,um, green and horny. His/her dark snout came from breathing fire. It is standing next to an array of solar panels and the Black Rock Desert serves as a backdrop.

This ferocious looking dragon had chains for reins and palm trees for wings. I think it is a creation of the NOLA camp at Burning Man.

Sparkle Pony Mutant Vehicle at Burning Man.

Numerous animals wander the Playa. This is a Sparkle Pony. (Sparkle Pony is the name for Burners who show up at Burning Man and expect to be waited upon.) Our friend Leslie Lake thinks that is a great idea and has adopted Sparkle as her Playa Name.

Rabbit mutant vehicle at Burning Man.

Some of the animals are just plain friendly looking, such as this rabbit.

Dog mutant vehicle at Burning Man.

And this buck toothed dog.

Cheshire Cat mutant vehicle at Burning Man.

The Cheshire Cat is, of course, noted for its huge grin.

Giant bull mutant Vehicle at Burning Man.

My guess is a giant cow. Her eyes flash out beams at night, giving this friendly beast a more scary persona.

Steampunk mechanical horse mutant vehicle at Burning Man.

This mechanical horse with its carriage represents the heavy steampunk presence at Burning Man.

Chicken Pox mutant vehicle at Burning Man.

I finish off my animals with this humorous Chicken Pox.

Sailing ship mutant vehicle at Burning Man.

Once upon a time, this section of the Black Rock Desert was a huge inland sea. So why shouldn’t there be sailing ships at Burning Man?

The yacht Christina, a mutant vehicle at Burning Man.

And yachts. This boat is named Christina and looks quite gorgeous at night.

Crab with shell mutant vehicle at Burning Man.

As might be expected in an ancient sea there are also numerous creatures of the ocean at Burning Man, such as this crab with its colorful shell.

Articulated fish mutant vehicle at Burning Man.

And an articulated fish.

Many of the fish swimming in the Black Rock Desert feature large teeth, such as this Disco-Fish.

Fish eating fish with provocative tongue mutant vehicle at Burning Man.

Big fish trying to swallow equally big fish. What puts this mutant vehicle into my weird category is the tongue, however. Note the stirrups so a Burner can hop on for a ride.

Sea creature mutant vehicle at Burning Man.

I am not sure what this creature is, but I think it belongs in the sea. I’ll go with seahorse.

Praying Mantis mutant vehicle at Burning man.

There are numerous insect mutant vehicles at Burning Man. My favorite is the praying mantis. So I will let it represent the bugs.

VW Bug art car/mutant vehicle at Burning Man.

Speaking of bugs, here is a VW Bug art car.

Walter the mutant vehicle at Burning Man.

And his bigger cousin (much bigger), Walter the VW Van. (Photo by Don Green.)

Mutant vehicle hot rod at Burning Man.

While I am on vehicles, I’ll include this dream of a hot rodder’s hot rod.

Pucker up mutant vehicle at Burning Man.

Often, it’s the faces on the mutant vehicles that capture my attention. Pucker up.

Joker mutant vehicle at Burning Man.

This joker has another memorable face.

I think ‘Kilroy was here’ of Kilroy fame may have been the inspiration for this face with its large tongue.

 

NEXT BLOG: I’ll finally get Sully landed on the Hudson River and off of his plane.

 

 

Steampunk, a Towering Octopus, and a Giant Rhino… The Mutant Vehicles of Burning Man

Burning Man's El Pulpo Mechanico.

The sometimes scary El Pulpo Mechanico in black and white.

Peggy and I were out wandering around Black Rock City when we came across the steampunk mutant vehicles that I am going to feature today: El Pulpo Mechanico and the Beamer Steamer. A flaming duck was also present. The folks that created these vehicles came from Northern California and Southern Oregon— our territory, and at least two of the vehicles had connections with the human-powered Kinetic Sculpture Race that runs between Ferndale, Eureka and Arcata over the Memorial Day Weekend.

El Pulpo Mechanico sprang from the creative mind of Duane Flatmo. His parts were scrounged from the Arcata Scrap and Salvage Yard in Northern California. Jerry Kunkel designed his electronic and flame system. His crawdad attachment was once part of one of the Kinetic Sculpture race vehicles.

El Pulpo always draws a crowd at Burning Man, especially when he is flaming. He can go through 200 gallons of propane in one night.

El Pulpo always draws a crowd at Burning Man, especially when he is flaming. He can go through 200 gallons of propane in one night.

El Pulpo at Black Rock City.

This shot of El Pulpo by our friend Don Green also shows his crawdad front.

Heres a shot of his crawdad front during the day. This creature was once part of a kinetic sculpture that participated in the Kinetic Sculpture Race in Eureka.

Here’s a shot of his crawdad front during the day. This creature was once part of a kinetic sculpture that participated in the Kinetic Sculpture Race in Eureka. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)

Looking up at El Pulpo provides a view of his barrel tentacles.

Looking up at El Pulpo provides a view of his barrel tentacles.

El Pulpo Mechanico fish at Burning Man.

This primitive fish is also a part of El Pulpo’s decorations.

As is this sea horse!

As is this sea-horse! (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)

El Pulpo's head.

El Pulpo’s head.

El Pulpo Mechanico at Burning Man.

A final view.

Bob and Karen Thomson of Southern Oregon had been participating in the Kinetic Sculpture Race for several years when they decided they wanted a vehicle that they didn’t have to power with their own effort and sweat. They created the Beamer Steamer to go to Burning Man.

The Beamer Steamer at Burning Man.

The Beamer Steamer mutant vehicle by Bob and Karen Thomson.

I am not sure of the history of the flaming duck but it can light up the sky at night.

The flaming duck during the day at Burning Man.

The flaming duck during the day at Burning Man. Check out its head.

The flaming duck at Burning Man.

The flaming duck out on the playa at night waiting for the man to burn.

You have to travel south on Highway 101 from Eureka to come to the home of my fourth mutant vehicle today. The Rhino Redemption was created by Kevin Clark and the artistic group that works out of the Reared in Steel building in Petaluma. Kevin was also responsible for the creation of the Medusa Sculpture at Burning Man that I have featured in the past.

This wonderful rhino mutant vehicle has become one of my favorites at Burning Man. I was once charged by one of his counterparts in East Africa and have had a special appreciation for rhinos ever since.

This wonderful rhino mutant vehicle has become one of my favorites at Burning Man. I was once charged by one of his counterparts in East Africa and have had a special appreciation for rhinos ever since.

Rhino Redemption at Burning Man.

A side view of Rhino Redemption. He can accommodate up to 20 people.

Rhino Redemption at Burning Man.

Rhino charging? It’s kind of how I remember it. (grin)

Rhino Redemption in camp at Burning Man.

A final view… (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)

NEXT BLOGS:

I’ve decided to take a semi-break for my birthday next week when I will be in Las Vegas. I’ll see you back here on March 6. Well, I may put up a blog or two if things are slow, but I wouldn’t bet on it. (grin)

–Curt

DMV… Burning Man’s Department of Mutant Vehicles: Part 2

One of Burning Man's more unique mutant vehicles from my perspective is this traveling eye.

One of Burning Man’s more unique mutant vehicles from my perspective is this traveling eye. The only thing remotely like a normal vehicle are the tires peeking out from below. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)

 

“A Mutant Vehicle is a unique, motorized creation that shows little or no resemblance to their original form, or to any standard street vehicle. Mutant Vehicles are radically, stunningly, (usually) permanently, and safely modified from their base vehicle. Sometimes the whole vehicle is made from scratch.

Mutant Vehicles may include such non-standard motorized forms such as furniture, other non-street vehicles such as a boat or train, animals, or just about anything imaginable.” —Taken from Burning Man’s website.

 

Eye of mutant vehicle at Burning Man.

The eye up close, checking you out! (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)

Animals are a favorite theme for mutant vehicles. This polar bear would have fit right in on Valentines Day.

Animals are a favorite theme for mutant vehicles. This polar bear would have fit right in on Valentines Day. (Photo by Tom Lovering.)

Polar Bear mutant vehicle at Burning Man.

A side view of the friendly polar bear. (Photo by Tom Lovering.)

Burning Man takes its mutant vehicles seriously— partially because they are an integral part of the Burning Man experience and partially because safety is a critical issue.  These often-large vehicles must maneuver through and around thousands of bicyclists and pedestrians both during the day and at night.

The permitting process is extensive. To start with, both government agencies and Burning Man place limits on the number of mutant vehicles. Far more people want to bring vehicles than can be accommodated. Participants must meet stringent requirements to bring their creations to Black Rock City. (Go here to learn about requirements.)

The Department of Mutant vehicles is responsible for overseeing the permitting, inspection and operation of Mutant Vehicles at Burning Man.

The Department of Mutant Vehicles is responsible for overseeing the permitting, inspection and operation of Mutant Vehicles at Burning Man.

Headquarters for the Deparment of Mutant Vehicles at Burning Man.

Headquarters! All mutant vehicles must stop here to pick up their licenses to operate at Burning Man and have a safety inspection.

The first requirement is that the vehicle must in no way resemble the initial car, truck, golf cart, etc. (Boats seem to be an exception, but hey, they are ‘floating’ across the desert.) Beyond this, the organization states, “the mutation should aim to provide a level of ‘radical visual stimuli’ or ‘wow factor’ for the other participants of Black Rock City.”

A covered wagon mutant vehicle at Burning Man.

A covered wagon had us running for our cameras. I’d say that there was a ‘wow’ factor.

Conestoga Wagon mutant vehicle at Burning Man.

Another view. The Black Rock Desert would have seen similar vehicles (albeit smaller and attached to oxen) in the 1860s along the Applegate cutoff to the Oregon Trail that ran through the area. This photo was taken in front to our camp.

Cat car mutant vehicle at Burning Man.

The cat car is another perennial favorite of mine at Burning Man that has a definite ‘wow’ factor.

A side view of the cat car mutant vehicle at Burning Man.

A side view. It takes a lot of guts to have pure white upholstery at Burning Man!

Close up of head of cat car mutant vehicle at Burning Man.

And a close up of the kitty’s head.

Interactivity is also considered critical. Giving rides to Burners and providing entertainment are two ways of accomplishing this. For example, one year I saw a fire-breathing mutant vehicle that featured an opera singer standing on top. When she hit her high notes, the vehicle would send flames shooting into the air.

Safety involves many of the things you would expect including good brakes and safe accommodations for passengers. Think of 40 people (some who have spent a fair amount of time visiting Burning Man’s free bars) dancing on top of a vehicle as it drives through the desert night. Falling off is a real possibility. Railings are critical.

Orange bus mutant vehicle at Burning Man.

There are serious railings on this orange bus mutant vehicle. Note the intricate carving of the wood.

Orange mutant vehicle bus side view.

A side view of the bus. I suspect one would land with quite a bump coming off the slide.

Mutant vehicle with beak at Burning Man.

This guy with his boxer-beak and tail feathers also has a well-built railing.

Tail feathers on a mutant vehicle at Burning Man.

The tail feathers.

Vehicles that want to travel at night must have adequate lighting on all sides of the vehicle. But the requirements go further. Lighting is also expected to contribute to the “wow” factor. Many mutant vehicles are more spectacular at night than they are during the day. One of my all-time favorites is a large, travelling vase.

Mutant vehicle that looks like a vase at Burning Man.

This large vase mutant vehicle normally lives in camp during the day.

Vase mutant vehicle at Burning Man with mountain backdrop.

Another day-time shot. This one with a mountain backdrop.

The mutant vehicle vase at night. This was on the night when the Man is burned and vehicles form a large circle around the Man.

The vase at night. Mutant vehicles form a large circle around the Man on Saturday night when he is burned. The flower is part of another mutant vehicle.

Vase mutant vehicle lit up at night at Burning Man.

A different views with different colors.

I caught this shot as the vase left a wedding in Black Rock City we had attended.

I caught this shot as the vase left a wedding in Black Rock City.

As you might imagine, vehicles that feature fire art and shoot flames into the air, must also meet strict requirements. The types of tanks, fuel lines, daily safety checks, and emergency shut off valves are all included. But the effort is worth the extra care when you consider the results. Imagine meeting up with El Pulpo Mechanico as it roams across the playa with all eight arms flaming.

El Pulpo Mechanical as he flames his way through the Burning Man night.

El Pulpo Mechanical as he flames his way through the Burning Man night.

Burning Man mutant vehicle designed to shoot flames into the air.

The ‘weapon’ on top of this Mad-Max look-a-like shoots flames as well.

Dragon head on mutant vehicle at Burning Man.

A front view…

Close up of dragon headed mutant vehicle at Burning Man.

And a close up.

And finally, there are sound requirements. Nothing is more irritating than a mutant vehicle with humongous speakers making its way through your neighborhood in Black Rock City while blasting out music at 2:00 AM. Burning Man notes that there has been an “increase in the number of vehicles with sound systems that would normally be designed for an arena or stadium.” No kidding. Having those systems pointing at you is like deaf city. Fortunately, the loudest systems tend to be restricted to the outer areas of the city where Burners can go deaf to their hearts-content.

Check out the number of speakers on this mutant vehicle. They are the reason it is assigned a position way out at the edge of Black Rock City in the Playa.

Check out the number of speakers on this mutant vehicle! They are the reason it is assigned a position way out at the edge of Black Rock City in the Playa. There is almost always a crowd of people dancing around and on this vehicle, including up on the heart.

And just for fun, I will close today with this googly-eyed, low-tech frog.

Frog mutant vehicle at Burning Man.

 

NEXT BLOGS:

Monday: The airplane that crash landed on the Hudson River in New York City.

Wednesday: The Sierra Trek— Our second day included a sixteen mile hike without any water sources, a lost trekker, and a huge timber rattlesnake that insisted on blocking the trail.

Friday: More Burning Man mutant vehicles including El Pulpo Mechanico and a huge Rhino that would send his African counterparts scurrying for cover.

A 60-foot Fire-Breathing Dragon Roars into Washington— 3 Days after the Election… The Mutant Vehicles of Burning Man: Part 1

If Trump had stared out his window and seen this fellow staring back at him, do you think it would have changed history?

If Donald Trump had stared out his window and seen this fellow staring back, do you think it would have changed history?

Today I am kicking off my Friday photo-essay series on Burning Man. Last week I went through the thousands of photos I have taken since I first went in 2004 and winnowed them down to a mere 4,000. (grin) I suspect you will see a few hundred of them on Fridays over the next six months leading up to the event. 

I had a long discussion with myself over what to start this series with. “What are you talking to yourself about?” Peggy had asked worriedly. Mutant Vehicles won out. I love the variety: from dragons to bugs to ships to rhinos to cats to Mad Max wannabes— Burning Man has them all! 

Peggy and I share photo taking responsibilities at Burning Man but we also have help from fellow members of the Horse Bone Tribe: Don Green, Tom Lovering and Ken Lake. I’ll try to credit Don, Tom and Ken, but if I miss a few, my apologies. 

Let’s start with Abraxas,  a 60-foot dragon equipped with a 10,000-watt sound system. Normally, Abraxas hangs out at Burning Man, but on November 11 (right after the election) he was in Washington DC on the Mall. I wonder if the new president looked out his window and saw him. Probably not. There weren’t any tweets.

He seemed quite proud of his offspring who followed him everywhere.

What would Trump have tweeted about Abraxas? Any ideas?

Abraxas has been going to Burning Man for a number of years. In 2016, he showed up with a baby.

Abraxas has been going to Burning Man for a number of years. In 2016, he showed up with a baby.

Early in the morning before sunrise, Abraxas likes to hang out at the Temple, you can see him lurking out on the Playa. When the sun comes up, it is time to dance and he fires up his 10,000 watt speakers as Burners gather around.

Early in the morning before sunrise, Abraxas likes to hang out at the Temple, you can see him lurking out on the Playa. When the sun comes up, it is time to dance, however, and he fires up his 10,000 watt speakers as Burners gather around.

Another close-up of Abraxas.

Another close-up of Abraxas. The tube coming out of his mouth spits out fire at night.

Abraxas the mutant Vehicle at Burning Man.

Check out the claws!

Most mutant vehicles at Burning Man take on a different look/personality at night. Here, Abraxas was getting ready to go out and party the night away.

Mutant vehicles at Burning Man take on a different look/personality at night. Here, Abraxas was getting ready to go out and party the night away. You may have noted the different faces. Most years,  Abraxas comes back to Burning Man with a new look.

The golden dragon is one of hundreds of mutant vehicles/art cars found at Burning Man each year. While you are required to park your car, truck, RV, etc. at your camp and leave it parked, mutant vehicles are free to roam the playa and Black Rock City, assuming they have a permit. Today I am going to also feature a warthog, a lion, an angler fish, a lizard dragon, a mammoth and traveling bar. There will be more next Friday!

Warthog mutant vehicle at Burning Man.

This warthog is a favorite of mine.

Warthog art car at Burning Man.

Head on! Check out the tusks.

Burning Man warthog mutant vehicle.

And a side view. I think he is kind of cute. I once followed a warthog and her kids across the Serengeti Plains in Africa. Mom and kids all had their tails sticking straight up in the air.

Burning Man is okay, huh. Are you ready for some reggae?

Burning Man is okay, huh. Are you ready for some reggae? The M.O.J.P. is taken from Bob Marley’s song, Exodus, and stands for “Movement of jah People.”

M.O.J.P. mutant vehicle at Burning Man.

A side view of M.O.J.P., which I assume is a lion. Note the big mouth.

M.O.J.P. art car at Burning Man.

My friend Tom Lovering found it quite comfortable. M.O.J.P., BTW, was once an RV.

Lizard dragon mutant vehicle at Burning Man.

Peggy found this small but ferocious looking dragon out on the Playa and climbed aboard. Fortunately it was missing keys. Otherwise I still might be searching for her.

Small dragon art car at Burning Man.

The dragon’s snout.

Head on view of mammoth art car at Burning Man.

Somebody had a twisted sense of humor when it came to creating this Mammoth art car.

Head and tusks of mammoth at Burning Man.

A side view of the mammoth’s head and tusks. I wonder if the wire around the head is supposed to be a halo?

Mammoth art car in Black Rock City at Burning Man.

A full view of the mammoth.

Angler Fish art car on Playa at Burning Man.

Whoa! If I didn’t have a clue about what was happening and saw this creature drifting by in a dust storm, I would be looking for the nearest exit.

Angler fish mutant vehicle at Burning Man.

Here’s the angler fish up close and personal. In nature, angler fish use the nose dangly as bait for attracting prey. Great teeth.

Front view of angler fish at Burning Man.

How the fish might look just before it chomped down on you.

I'll conclude today with the Playa's wandering bar complete with outhouse. (Photo by Tom Lovering.)

I’ll conclude today with four photos of  the Playa’s wandering bar complete with outhouse. Wandering around through the desert can give a person quite a thirst! (Photo by Tom Lovering.)

This tractor pulls the bar around.

This tractor pulls the bar around.

Burning Man's traveling bar.

Action at the bar! Tom and I stopped for a taste of moonshine. It was potent stuff!

Kitchen of wandering bar at Burning Man.

Peggy walked through the bar’s door and came out in this kitchen!

NEXT BLOGS:

Monday: I’ll conclude my Boston series.

Wednesday: It’s back to the Sierra Trek and the “pot smoking orgy.”

Friday: My next post on the mutant vehicles of Burning Man.

Ten Favorite Burning Man Activities… Updated!

The classic female nude has always been a favorite subject of artists. This beautiful woman was over 50 feet tall and was one of a series of three at Burning Man.

The classic female nude has always been a favorite subject of artists. This beautiful woman was over 50 feet tall and was one of a series of three at Burning Man. Art, more than anything else, has been pulling me back to Burning Man since 2004.

With two laptops down and this one heading for the doctor, I have to revise my publishing schedule for the next week. I’m reaching back into my archives and pulling out three former posts that are at least in the spirit of what I have promised. Today is on Burning Man. I’ll follow up with an historical blog on Philadelphia’s Fort Mifflin and then a backpacking tale that includes bears, lots of them.

I may be totally off the Internet for the next week. If I don’t respond immediately, that’s the case. 

It’s time to buy tickets for Burning Man again, which is always a harrowing experience. At least it has been for the past several years. I made my first trip to Burning Man in 2004 and have been back numerous times since. I can’t resist. It is one of the most unique events I have ever attended. Following are some of the reasons why. Today kicks off a Friday series on Burning Man I will be running over the next couple of months during the ticket sale time that feature favorite photos from my archive of thousands. Enjoy!

I should probably name this blog Curt Mekemson’s Ten Favorite Burning Man Activities. When it comes to Burning Man, things get personal. One person’s preferences might very well be another person’s boring, with just the right teen-age emphasis followed by, “Was that guy actually there?”

For example, I don’t like loud music but there are camps at Burning Man with humongous speakers that blast out ear shattering decibels 24/7. Fine, it’s their thing and they have lots of fans, not to mention some of the best DJs in the world. Many Burners list these venues among their top choices. They joyfully dance the night away, literally. I like stopping by but my ears soon send me scooting for quieter locations— like the opposite side of the Playa.

Dancing and music are an integral part of Burning Man. The event attracts some of the top DJs in the world who spin their tunes for free at Burning Man.

Dancing and music are an integral part of Burning Man. The event attracts some of the top DJs in the world who spin their tunes for free at Burning Man. The hanging speakers give an idea of the volume that can be generated.

I don’t run around naked at Burning Man, either. That would be scary— for both me and anybody looking in my direction. But I have no objection to other people being nude. Some Burners are quite attractive while others are at least, uh, colorful. I assume all are enjoying some form of liberation, or at least a bit of exhibitionism.

Outrageous costumes make people watching at Burning Man a number one activity. The guy 'looking the wrong way' helped make this photo. Note the platform shoes on the woman. She wears them well.

Outrageous costumes make people watching at Burning Man a number one activity. The guy ‘looking the wrong way’ helped make this photo. What was he thinking? Note the platform shoes on the woman. She wears them well.

The thing about the Burning Man experience is that it depends on the individual. My recommendation for new participants is to come with an open mind and explore. If you want to get naked, go ahead; but you don’t have to and most don’t. Your experience can be as radical or conservative as you wish to make it.

So, having established my parameters, here is my top-ten list of things to do at Burning Man (assuming one can finagle a ticket). They aren’t in order of preference.

1. Attend the Burn: First, you will want to visit the Man during the week. There are usually a number of activities taking place that reflect the year’s theme. Plus you can often climb up into the base and enjoy some of the best views available of Black Rock City! The burning of the Man on Saturday night is the climax of the week where everything and everyone comes together. Hundreds of fire dancers and drummers kick off the event and are followed by an elaborate ceremony where the Man is set on fire.  Things start with a bang, literally, as rockets explode and light up the sky. The Man then moves toward his ultimate demise, slowly. His last seconds are met by silence from 70,000 people, possibly the only time when Burning Man is quiet, followed by oohs and ahs building to a crescendo as he comes crashing down, completing his annual sacrifice. Don’t worry, like Frosty the Snowman and the Phoenix Bird, he’ll be back. The burn is only part of the show, however. Elaborate costumes, giant mutant vehicles, and total  bedlam compete for attention.

 

For six days the Man serves as a gathering point on the Playa and as a landmark for lost Burners. On Saturday night he burns in what has become one of the world’s best known New Age rituals.

Burning Man's roots go back 27 years to the burning of an 8 foot tall statue on Baker Beach in San Francisco. Today's man stands some 40 feet tall and rests on a 60 foot pedestal. The wooden man and his fiery demise symbolizes the annual event that takes place in the remote Black Rock Desert of Nevada.

Burning Man’s roots go back 31 years to the burning of an 8 foot tall statue on Baker Beach in San Francisco. Today’s man stands some 40 feet tall and rests on a 60 foot pedestal.

My friend Don Green took this photo of the Fun House entrance that was built around the Man in 2015.

My friend Don Green took this photo of the Fun House entrance that was built around the Man in 2015.

The night sky is lit up by fireworks during the burning of the Man at Burning Man 2014.

Suddenly the night sky and the Man are lit up by fireworks. The burn is about to begin.

A close up of the Man burning at Burning Man 2014.

Don Green captured this photo of the Man Burning.

The Burning of the Man on Saturday night gives the event its name.

Huge flames light up the night.

People perch on El Pulpo Mechanico at Burning Man and watch as the Man burns.

People perched on El Pulpo Mechanico at Burning Man and watched as the Man burned. Even the mutant vehicle, El Pulpo Mechanico, seemed entranced.

2. Enjoy the People: I don’t know where one could find a more interesting cast of characters than Burning Man. But then again, there aren’t many places where you are encouraged to be yourself and pursue ‘radical self-expression’ in a region where temperatures top 100 and 60 mph windstorms kick up massive dust storms that create zero visibility. Tribes, events and volunteering create numerous situations where it is easy to meet people and make friends. While Burning Man preaches involvement, you are also totally free to wander around and simply observe.

The folks who come to Burning Man represent a broad spectrum of people representing all ages and occupations— from broke college students to billionaires. this fellow is a veteran Burner who works with the Department of Public Works that helps build Black Rock City.

The folks who come to Burning Man represent a broad spectrum of people from all ages and occupations— from broke college students to billionaires. This fellow is a veteran Burner who works with the Department of Public Works that helps build Black Rock City.

This young couple stood next to me as we watched a burning piano be tossed 50 or so yards up the Playa. Glasses form an important part of Burner's costumes.

This young couple stood next to me as we watched a burning piano be tossed 50 or so yards up the Playa.

Costumes are an integral part of Burning Man and some people such as my friend Ken (aka Scotty) Love to dress up.

Costumes are an integral part of Burning Man and some people such as my friend Ken (aka Scotty) love to dress up. Scotty, BTW, is Ken’s Burning Man name. Almost everyone has one. Mine is Outlaw.

3. Appreciate the Art: Burning Man art comes in all forms, from monumental to small, from sculpture to painting to performance. Most of the major pieces and performances take place on the Playa or along the Esplanade. But there are many smaller pieces (and performances) found throughout the camp and at the Center Camp Cafe. Much of the art is interactive. Be sure to check out the playa sculptures at different times of the day. Many of the pieces are schizophrenic with radically different day and night personalities. And many are making there way into communities around the world.

Burning Man has become a major center for what is happening in today’s art world. Selecting a piece to represent what is happening in the Nevada desert is close to impossible. These two oil tankers welded together and stacked on top of each other, meld environmental concern with art, two of Burning Man’s major themes.

Medusa with her snake hair was one of my favorite sculptures in 2015.

Medusa, with her writhing snake hair, was one of my favorite sculptures in 2015.

Burning Man Fantasy sculpture

Monumental sculptures, many you can climb on, are among the most popular art works at Burning Man.

4. Save Time for the Desert: The Black Rock Desert and surrounding mountains are beautiful. Look around. Once the Playa was part of the huge Lake Lahontan, which was over 500 hundred feet deep. Mammoths wandered the lake’s shore. Early morning and late evening provide the best times for desert viewing. An early morning walk, while Burning Man more or less sleeps, is the best time to appreciate what the desert has to offer. Embrace rather than dread the weather. When else in your life will you experience a massive dust storm or see a desert rainbow?

The evening sun bathes the surrounding mountains at Burning Man in soft light.

The evening sun bathes the surrounding mountains at Burning Man in soft light.

I think Burning Man  fails to emphasize (or assigns to footnote status) one of the event’s most spectacular assets… the beauty of the Black Rock Desert.

A massive dust storm crosses the Playa and hides the camp.

4. Visit the Temple: The folks who build the Temple deserve a huge vote of thanks from all of us. Visiting is both an aesthetic and spiritual experience. To start with, the temples are gorgeous, with each year’s building a unique creation. Thousands of written messages are left on the walls to honor loved ones who have died or to give thanks for blessings. The messages are both sincere and touching. Take along a pen or a marker if you wish to honor or thank someone who has had a significant impact on your life. On Sunday night the temple burns, sending messages skyward in what I can only describe as a sacred experience.

The Temple of Promise at Burning Man 2012.

The Temple of Promise at Burning Man 2015.

The Temple of Grace at Burning Man 2014.

The Temple of Grace at Burning Man 2014.

The Temple burns on Sunday Night. Unlike the Burning of the Man which is a bit on the rowdy side, Burners watch silently and respectfully as the Temple Burns.

The Temple burns on Sunday Night. Unlike the Burning of the Man which is a bit on the rowdy side, Burners watch silently and respectfully as the Temple is consumed by flame.

5. Check out Camp Center Cafe, Often: Whether you want to perform, show off your costume, pick up the latest news, attend a show, enjoy art, have a cup of coffee, meet friends, have your fortune told, apply pasties, watch people or just hang, Camp Center Cafe is the place to go. It’s open 24 hours a day. Something is always going on. I visit two to three times daily. Be sure to watch the costume contest and the talent show.

This robot with his dog and a flower was in front of the Center Camp Cafe. He would raise the flower up to his nose and sniff it.

This robot with his dog and a flower was in front of the Center Camp Cafe. He would raise the flower up to his nose and sniff it. Each year Center Camp Cafe features a major sculpture.

“Yes Master.” Camp Center is a great place to watch people, show off your costume, and live out your fantasies… and it is always entertaining.

A show of some kind of the other is pretty much guaranteed when you visit the Center Camp Cafe. Here couples practice partner yoga. Are the two guys center-right twins?

A show of some kind of the other is pretty much guaranteed when you visit the Center Camp Cafe. Here couples practice partner yoga. Are the two guys on the floor center-right twins?

Center Camp is also a prime location for Burning Man art.

Center Camp is also a prime location for Burning Man art.

6. Stroll or Bike The Esplanade: This is Burning Man’s other major center of action. It provides the border between the Camp and the Playa. It is a theater, circus and walkway all in one. Stop by and watch people pummel each other with foam sticks in the Thunder Dome, enjoy a troop of fire dancers, go roller-skating, play games, try out a balloon ride, hear how loud music can actually get, dance, watch a movie, become lost in a maze, meditate… etc.

Hundreds of people lined up for an opportunity climb into the sky on this balloon ride that was offered on the Esplanade. Entertainment along the Esplanade varies from dancing, to roller skating, to circuses. Once there was even a booth that would spank you, assuming you needed it.

Major tribes with hundreds of members build elaborate camps along the Esplanade.

Major tribes , some with hundreds of members, build elaborate camps along the Esplanade.

A number of impressive buildings including the Sacred Spaces building are found along the Esplanade at Burning Man.

Another example.

7. Check out and/or Ride on Mutant Vehicles: Undecorated vehicles are restricted to camp. If you are going to drive you have to decorate. What’s not to love about a giant, wooly mammoth or a cat car with fur? Mutant Vehicles at Burning Man come in all shapes, forms and sizes. Some people spend weeks/months creating their fantasy transportation systems and even bicycles are elaborately decorated.  Various vehicles become dance floors, spout fire, look ferocious and even appear friendly. A polite request may land you a ride.

The Cat Car is a perennial favorite at Burning Man. This year she had a makeover and was looking quite snazzy.

The Cat Car is a perennial favorite at Burning Man. This year she had a makeover and was looking quite snazzy.

The tusks on they mammoth are what make this art car one of my favorite mutant vehicles at Burning Man. People sit inside the rib cage. The driver climbs into the head.

The tusks on they mammoth are what make this art car one of my favorite mutant vehicles. People sit inside the rib cage. The driver climbs into the head.

Where's Alice?

Where’s Alice?

Never Was Haul resembles a Victorian House that has been converted to a steam engine train.

Never Was Haul resembles a Victorian House that has been converted to a steam engine train.

A rhino even more massive than its counterpart in East Africa.

A rhino even more massive than its counterpart in East Africa.

8. Join a Tribe, or not: Tribes are the major social units at Burning Man and there is a tribe for almost any inclination. Many feature theme camps based on the year’s theme and welcome visitors. You can also form your own. Let’s say you are a purple alien from outer space and can’t find a tribe. Create the Purple Alien from Outer Space Tribe. Odds are there are other purple aliens who will want to join. It’s doubtful that anyone will even recognize that you are an alien. They will just think, “Oh, he’s got a neat costume,” and want to take your picture.

The Peripatetic Bone, held here by Boots and featuring his leather vest, has his own tribe… the Horse-Bone Tribe. He has been visiting Burning Man for years and was even married there to Bonette, a few years ago.

9. Go out into the Night: The Burning Man night is magical. Everyone and thing includes some kind of lighting system including art, people, bikes and mutant vehicles. Most blocks provide entertainment. Is it going to be pole dancing, jazz or vodka creations that capture your imagination? You will think you have entered a different universe.

The front of the Temple at night.

The Temple of Promise at night.

A large group attended an evening discussion on the issue of violence against women.

R-evolutuion lit up at night. Here, a large group attended an evening discussion on the issue of violence against women.

Burning Man dragon created by Flaming Lotus Girls for Burning Man.

A fiery dragon.

Burning Man mutant vehicle. Photo by Curtis Mekemson.

And a mutant vehicle vase.

10. Peruse the Catalogue: You are given a catalogue when you arrive that includes literally hundreds of things you can do at Burning Man ranging from attending a lecture on solar power to having your breasts painted. The various tribes sponsor these events for free as part of Burning Man’s gift-giving culture. You can practice yoga, learn the samba, improve your fire twirling skills, watch a show, and even improve your sex life, regardless of which way you lean. You can also drink. The catalogue lists dozens of bars featuring everything from Bloody Marys to craft beers. One year I found a casket that featured beer spouts.  Drinks are free; bring your own cup. One of the first things I do after setting up camp is to go through the catalogue and check off things I might want to do. Hmmm, I wonder what bondage is like? (Just kidding… but there are opportunities to learn about it, and practice.)

Burning Man may be the greatest show on Earth. Bring along your imagination, sense of humor, and willingness to experience new things.

If you’ve enjoyed this post, are planning on going to Burning Man for your first time, want to learn more about the event, or want to reminisce about past events, I invite you to join me on Fridays for the next couple of months.

Fire in the Night: The Man Burns… Burning Man 2015

Intense flames engulf the Man at Burning Man 2015.

Intense flames engulf the Man at Burning Man 2015, reminding me of the power of fire.

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.

People perch on El Pulpo Mechanico at Burning Man and watch as the Man burns.

People perch on El Pulpo Mechanico at Burning Man and watch as the Man burns.

This one-eyed, toothed monster was one of several hundred mutant vehicles at the burn.

This one-eyed, toothed monster was one of several hundred mutant vehicles at the burn. I like his yum sign up on top.

A seahorse was accompanied by a jelly fish and other ocean life.

A seahorse was accompanied by a jelly fish and other ocean life.

Unicycle, or...

A very unique bicycle built for two.

Splendid tail feathers.

Splendid tail feathers.

Sharp teeth, and I suspect, a fiery breath.

Sharp teeth, and I suspect, a fiery breath.

Exotic bug? It's dome back made a good viewing station to watch the Man burn.

Exotic bug? Its dome trailer in back made a good viewing platform to watch the Man burn.

Fish mutant vehicles at night Burning Man 2015

No doubt about this water creature. Fun fins.

I am thinking grass hopper here.

I am thinking bee here. And it looks angry.

My search for unique mutant vehicles stops immediately when the fireworks start.

I stop wandering when the fireworks start. The Man’s head can be seen on the right between the two columns.

The fireworks can be intense with dozens of explosions going off at once.

The fireworks can be intense with dozens of explosions going off at once.

Red spotlights set the man off against the fireworks.

Red spotlights set the man off against the fireworks. We were standing on the side instead of in front of the Man, so we had a side view. His arms are always raised to announce the beginning of fireworks show. Immediately following the fireworks, the Man begins to burn.

Man burns at Burning Man 2015 1

Ghost-like, the man’s head appears out of the flames.

Man burns at Burning Man 2015 2

And then disappears.

Don Green took this photo.

Don Green took this photo that shows the burning platform and the Man’s arm, no longer held aloft.

Man burns at Burning Man 2015 4

I caught a pair of rabbit ears in this shot. The Man has become a skeleton of his previous self.

And eventually, even that is burned away.

And eventually, even that is burned away, leaving one center pole and the metal structure.

And finally, he begins to fall, bringing an to the burn.

And finally, what remains begins to fall as 60,000 plus people cheer.

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

Burning Man Walkabout 2015… Part 2

The options of what to do at Burning Man seem overwhelming. For, example, do you need a hug?

The options of what to do at Burning Man seem overwhelming. For, example, do you need a hug?

The Colonel from Kentucky was giving away fried baloney (his spelling) sandwiches on a slice of white bread and shots of Kentucky Bourbon. The elephant with his missing tusk was back. You could pick up “a long uncomfortable hug,” at the Hug Deli. Lamplighters marched by carrying 12 lamps each. A man in a mask was wearing a doctor’s smock and flowery underwear while playing a saxophone. And my friend Don was climbing everything in sight to take photos of the city.  (The truth here is that Don just likes to climb things.)

It was another typical day in Black Rock City. Every hundred yards or so offered another adventure. Each day, we checked out the Burning Man’s 160-page activity guide. Will we do something cerebral and go listen to TED talks or join the Billion Bunny March to Protest Humanity. The options seem limitless. Do I really need to learn how to spank Peggy? I don’t think so; neither does she. Here are some more photos for you to enjoy, including Don’s Black Rock City overviews.

Burning Man program guide 2015

The Burning Man activity guide listed close to 1600 ways to get into mischief or learn something new.

Tom decided he needed a hug from these people who were celebrating their daughters birthday. Judging from the look of the wife, I think it fell under the title of long uncomfortable hug.

Tom decided he needed a hug from these people who were celebrating their daughter’s birthday. Judging from the look of the family, I think it fell under the title of “long uncomfortable hug.” But Tom was having fun. They did tell us, however, where to go to get a baloney sandwich and a shot of Kentucky bourbon for breakfast.

The Kentucky Camp was offering the Kentucky bourbon and baloney, naturally. The Colonel gave me a wave of greeting.

The Kentucky Camp was offering the Kentucky bourbon and baloney. The Colonel gave me a wave of greeting.

This guy was quite pleased that baloney was on the menu.

This guy was quite pleased that baloney was on the menu.

Camps at Burning Man have mastered the false fronts of the Old West. Free drinks were offered here at night, as they are by numerous camps.

Camps at Burning Man have mastered the false fronts of the Old West. Free drinks were offered here at night, as they are by numerous camps.

Buildings can be quite elaborate, such as this one put up by the Burners from New Orleans.

Buildings can be quite elaborate, such as this one put up by the Burners from New Orleans…

And the Firehouse, a production of the North West Burners Camp, Do More Now.

And the Firehouse, a production of the North West Burner’s Camp, Do More Now.

One of my favorite buildings is this 'mobile home' pulled by a tractor. You never know where it will show up. This side features a 50s style kitchen that cooks and gives away cookies. The other side is a free bar.

One of my favorite buildings is this ‘mobile home’ pulled by a tractor. You never know where it will show up. This side features a 50s style kitchen that cooks and gives away cookies. The other side is a free bar.

I always stop and pay homage to Ganesha, the Hindu God/elephant that has lost his tusk.

I always stop and pay homage to Ganesha, the Hindu God/elephant that has lost his tusk. (Photo by Don Green.)

There are lots of opportunities to volunteer at Burning Man. Being a lamplighter is one. Each evening you can find this folks making their rounds.

There are lots of opportunities to volunteer at Burning Man. Being a lamplighter is one. Each evening you can find these folks making their rounds in a solemn procession.

This fellow seemed to be serenading the lamplighters as they went by. I found his costume amusing.

This fellow in his flowery underwear was serenading the Lamplighters as they went by. I found his costume amusing. (Sorry my photo was a little fuzzy.)

Don Green, who provided a number of photos for this blog series, works on his bike, Trigger. A bit of trivia: When Roy Rodger's horse, Trigger died, he had him stuffed. Trigger now resides in Bransom, Missouri.

Don Green works on his bike Trigger. A bit of trivia: When Roy Rodger’s horse Trigger died, Roy had him stuffed and mounted, which provided a new definition for mounting a horse.

We arrived early at Burning Man. You are allowed to camp anywhere that hasn't been marked off and to take up as much space as you need. My van is on the right and Tom's trailer is on the left.

We arrived early at Burning Man before the crowds. My van, Quivera, is in the center.  Tom’s trailer, Walter, is just to the left of it. (Photo by Don Green.)

Spaces quickly begin to fill up. (Photo by Don Green.)

Spaces quickly begin to fill up. (Photo by Don Green.)

And become crowded. (Photo by Don Green.)

And became crowded. (Photo by Don Green.)

A shot of Don's looking out across the Playa provides a view of the afternoon dust storms.

A shot of Don’s looking out across the Playa toward Black Rock City provides a view of the afternoon dust storms, which were rather mild at the time.

A shot of the Man before he burns on Saturday night. Surrounding buildings have all been taken down. NEXT BLOG: (and final Burning Man post for this series) The Man burns.

A final shot of the Man before he burns on Saturday night. Surrounding buildings have all been taken down. NEXT BLOG (and my last Burning Man post for this series): The Man burns. (Photo by Don Green.)

 

 

 

A Walkabout Tour of Black Rock City… Burning Man

The fun of going on a walkabout at Burning Man is you never know what will come up next, such as King Kong wearing a tutu.

The fun of going on a walkabout at Burning Man is that you never know what will come up next, such as King Kong wearing a tutu…

I am about to wrap up my series on Burning Man 2015 so I thought I’d take you on a walkabout tour of Black Rock City. It gives me a chance to slip in the photos I liked but couldn’t fit into the stories I was telling. This post and my next will primarily be photo essays. My final blog will be on the celebration surrounding the Burning of the Man.

Or maybe a jet airplane hosting a DJ.

This jet was hosting a DJ.

Dancing and music are an integral part of Burning Man. The event attacks some of the top DJs in the world who spin their tunes for free at Burning Man.

Dancing and music are an integral part of Burning Man. The event attracts some of the top DJs in the world. They spin their tunes for free at Burning Man. The size of the speakers equates with the loudness of the music. The major dance venues are relegated to the outer limits of Black Rock City, which is a good thing.

Large camps along the Esplanade are common along the Esplanade, Burning Man's main street.

Large camps are common along the Esplanade, Burning Man’s main street. This devilish clown had great character.

As was this, um, beauty.

As did this, um, bounteous beauty.

I caught this guy staring at her.

I caught this guy ogling  her.

Several million photos will be taken at Burning Man each year and this is how we photographers like to view ourselves with fancy equipment, standing tall...

Several million photos are taken at Burning Man each year and this is how we photographers like to view ourselves with fancy equipment, standing tall. Note the professional handling of the camera.

This is more the reality... lying in the dirt.

This is more the reality… lying in the dirt, posed under a woman with a whip.

Or butt up in the air while eating Playa dust... all for the sake of art.

Or butt up in the air while eating Playa dust… all for the sake of art.

I prefer my models posed on the same level I am. Being a nature lover, I couldn't resist these bunnies.

I prefer my models posed on the same level I am. Being a nature lover, I couldn’t resist these collar wearing rabbits. Or are they supposed to be bunnies?

It always pays to look up. You never know what may be flying out of the sky.

It always pays to look up. You never know what may be up in the air, such as this flying motorcycle. (Photo by Don Green.)

This heavy equipment was up in the air as well. Now you know how all of the large sculptures and buildings are put up.

This heavy equipment was up in the air as well. Now you know how all of the large sculptures and buildings are put up.

This is another way the equipment was used. The large block is being raised into the air to toss a burning piano that is affixed to the other end of the tower.

This is another way the equipment was used. The large block is being raised into the air to toss a burning piano that is affixed to the other end of the tower. I’ve included a video by Don Green of the toss as my final entry of the day. NEXT BLOG: We will continue our walkabout tour of Black Rock City.