600 lighted drones in murmuration over Black Rock City

This past year at Burning Man, 600 drones light up the sky -- accompanied by live piano music -- one evening in a beautiful "flying sculpture" called "Franchise Freedom." This is the recently-released film of the piece made by its artists at Studio Drift.

As dusk fell over Black Rock City, 600 luminous drones rose into a hypnotic display of technological choreography, accompanied by the poignant keys of Joep Beving. The drones were guided by a specially made algorithm that simultaneously allows both individual choice and movement as a group. The innovative technology made it possible to create a 3d image in the sky that could be viewed from multiple angles.

Thanks, Cheryl! Read the rest

Spoilers: Drone shots of Burning Man 2018

On Monday, the Burning Man Webcast team shot some amazing high-res footage of this year's Burning Man using a drone. Read the rest

A look at how Black Rock City rises from the dust

Ever wonder how the dusty blank slate of the Black Rock Desert becomes Burning Man's Black Rock City each year?

Well, my pal Shalaco has started vlogging and in his latest video he gives an interesting glimpse into this process by talking to the Survey crew as they create it. It's a really beautiful piece!

On the Burning Man Journal, he writes, "One impossible aspect about Black Rock City, and part of the nature of a city that is born every year, is that you can visit it at different times in its growth and development. Each and every year I visit, Black Rock City it is younger and younger. You can never visit New York when it was a colony or San Francisco before the gold rush, but you can do that with Black Rock City."

[Cue the music]

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It all starts from here. The center of Black Rock City, the Man it all starts as and radiates from The Octagon. #BuildingBRC #BRCsurvey

A post shared by San Francisco Photographer (@shalaco) on Aug 2, 2018 at 4:20pm PDT

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This is 7:00 & E. @phoenixfirestarter, Ankhor & Athibat use Euclidian geometry to square off the intersections along 7:00. This year intersections are smaller to encourage interaction. #buildingBRC #BRCSurvey

A post shared by San Francisco Photographer (@shalaco) on Aug 3, 2018 at 5:01pm PDT

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“The Lines” extend from the center of Black Rock City over a mile to the outer streets flagging the intersections of the annular city streets #BRCSurvey #BuildingBRC

A post shared by San Francisco Photographer (@shalaco) on Aug 4, 2018 at 9:38am PDT

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I was gifted a scenic flight over Black Rock City ​

I have a long history with Burning Man, both on playa and off, but I did not know until last year that ​a small group of ​generous Burner pilots ​gift scenic flights ​-- ​at their own expense and discretion -- over Black Rock City during the event.

The catch? Well, first you need to go to Burning Man, which means getting a ticket. Then, once you're out there, you have to get up real early, put your name on a list at the Black Rock City Municipal Airport and wait -- in the heat, for hours -- for your name to be called. Since the planes are small and each ride is about half an hour long, the wait to get that amazing bird's eye view can be upwards of six hours or more.

I woke up late on Saturday, the morning of the Burn. It was the last day pilots were gifting these rides for 2017, so I pedaled over anyway and put my name on the list. It was 9 AM and the guy in charge warned me it would be at least six hours before I'd be airborne, if I was "lucky." The airport was a fair distance away from where I was camping, so I decided to stay put. To kill some time, I asked the airport staff if they needed a volunteer. As luck would have it, they did.

I spent about 45 minutes organizing papers in an air-conditioned trailer (oh yeah) and the remainder of my three-hour shift checking passengers against flight manifests at the gate. Read the rest

A 40-foot tall pink flamingo is headed to Black Rock City

At last week's Burning Man Desert Arts Preview in San Francisco, I learned that artist Josh Zubkoff and his crew are bringing an enormous piece of hot pink pop kitsch to the playa this summer. Twenty times the size of a store-bought pink flamingo lawn ornament, his Phoenicopterus Rex will stand over Black Rock City at 40-feet tall!

Brigid Hughes, a witty cohort of the artist, described the installation to the event's audience. She said that Zubkoff designed the massive pink flamingo with four legs. instead of the traditional two, to give it additional stability. She quipped, "It's evolved!" (To get an feel for how huge this thing really is, 750 lbs. of steel are used per leg.)

Hughes said the installation will have a ladder so Black Rock citizens can go inside, and on top of, the iconic bird because, "Who doesn't want to ride a pink flamingo?"

The piece will be complete with a white picket fence and a fake green grass lawn (a repurposed high school football field).

Hughes closed out the presentation with, "If the playa is our home, then let us decorate the lawn," and, a beat later, "Shipping it is gonna be a thing."

I can't wait to see it. Read the rest