Burning Man opera with libretto by Erik Davis

Now this should be deeply weird... BB pal Erik Davis, author of Techgnosis and Visionary State, wrote the libretto for a rock opera about Burning Man. "How to Survive the Apocalypse: A Burning Opera" will be staged at the Teatro ZinZanni cabaret and circus tent on San Francisco's waterfront October 5-7 and 12-14. Here's what Erik says about the opera:
Burnopppp Designed to communicate the transformational madness of the playa to the "Burning curious" as well as the experienced (or jaded) playa faithful, "How to Survive the Apocalyse" follows three newbies as they stumble through the erotic, psychological, and visionary minefield of the festival. Scored by Mark Nichols, with libretto by yours truly (who also plays a wise-cracking bunny with a bullhorn), the show is appropriate both for Burning Man veterans looking for a familiar boost, and for anyone who has ever wondered what it would be like to enjoy the Burner mystique without the dust and brain-bubbling sun. Bring your neighbor, your Mom, your co-workers: all those folks in your life who've been wondering what you're up to every August but aren't willing to trek to Nevada to find out.
And from the opera Web site:
“How to Survive the Apocalypse” is a Burning Man-inspired theatrical freak-out that combines rock opera, vaudeville, and a Dionysian revival show that is just as inspired and terrified by current events as you are. Part mutant mystery play, part crash-course in proactive future culture, we welcome you to an ambitious and ferociously inventive radically-altered evening of musical theater,  scored by Mark Nichols with libretto by counterculture writer Erik Davis.  Prepare to Participate!
How To Survive The Apocalypse


  1. The preview was stunning. Can’t wait to see the entire show put together – and in the big top no less!!!

  2. Absolutely fantastic, would love to see this show.

    Any chance of bringing it to London?

    Will have to send some friends in San Fran along in my absence.


  3. I saw a workshop production of this piece a few months ago and I have to say it’s surprisingly effective in conveying the spirit and contradictions of the event, and highly entertaining as well.

    One of the highlights for me was a striking sung debate between characters John Law and Larry Harvey about which direction the event should head in. It hit all the right notes (excuse the pun) and dug deeply into the heart of the event.

    Don’t mean to make it sound like it’s esoteric or something, because it wasn’t. It really gets the point across with a lot of fun and insight. Highly recommended.

  4. Saw a preview of this in San Francisco last night. While there are glimmers of brilliance in the dialogue, lyrics and music, the show overall is sort of a mess, albeit a well-choreographed mess.

    The performances of the band and many of the singers are extremely mediocre and amateurish. While this maybe reflects the qualities of the real people and experiences of Burning Man, it doesn’t result in great theater. Expanses of time (a few seconds to a minute) would go by and I would wonder what exactly was going on, being said or sung, being expressed. I could tell many around me felt the same way by the relatively vacant expressions on their faces.

    If you’ve been to Burning Man and would be entertained by a bunch of self-proclaimed freaks coming together and singing and dancing, then you’ll probably like this a lot. However, if your bar is a lot higher and you’re accustomed to really well-produced theater, you might find this show a little disappointing.

    Sorry to be a buzzkill and break the lovefest. Hopefully, the show will evolve and get a bit tighter during its run here in SF.

  5. Maybe that look on my face was jaw dropping awe. I was there on the preview night and enjoyed this show so much. The writing doesn’t always follow a linear story line, but to me this seems to allow the plot the weirdness it needs to really represent burning man. Just in general, I’ve seen quite a few original shows over the years and this seems to be in a league of its own. I got chills during a few scenes. Highly recommended.

  6. I saw the performance last night. Perhaps it could be they’ve had a couple of weeks to polish this jewel but I rather think not. This was a brilliant piece of theatre. It doesn’t seem fair to call myself a Burning Man virgin any longer. The essence of it was delivered through words and music with the searing heat of the playa.

    With only two shows left in this run, it may be too late for others who read this. However, if the chance does come to see this play by all means, do.

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