How to reengineer our systems to address climate change's refugee crisis and create new, high-density cities on demand

Vinay Gupta (previously) is a polymath engineer/inventor, whose Buckminster Fuller-inspired "hexayurts" can be found all over Burning Man (and my novel Walkaway). Read the rest

There's a car horn that roars like Godzilla

One of you out there needs your vehicle ("car, truck, van, boat, RV, motorcycle, ATV, golf cart or any 12 volt supplied power source") to roar like Godzilla, I just know it. So, you're welcome.

The Godzilla Roar Car Horn is available from Boom Blasters ($39.99-$59.99).

Thanks, Maggie!

Godzilla image via The Wrap Read the rest

Burning Man is hiring an HR coordinator

The job listing for a vacancy in Burning Man's HR department is pretty anodyne, until you get to this: "Some of the work will be in outside weather conditions and will be exposed to fumes or airborne particles as well as possible extremes in temperature." "Possible" is really underselling it, to be honest. Read the rest

A stunning 4K art tour of Burning Man 2019

Wow, my pal Shalaco (previously) really hit it out of the park with this ultra-high-definition video tour of (some of) Burning Man 2019's art. I didn't go this year, but this made me feel like I was there. Watch it in full screen, at the highest resolution possible to really get the full effect.

I traveled over 200 miles exploring Burning Man art, and I still didn't see it all. Here's a taste of what was out there.

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Orchestra plays "Bohemian Rhapsody" at Burning Man

On Tuesday of Burn week, a ragtag group of musically-minded Burners played a (truly) moving rendition of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody," positioned in front of the massive art installation called "The Folly." Photographer Evan Halleck was there, capturing the performance on video from the sidelines.

These performers are both amateur and pro musicians who are part of the Black Rock Philharmonic. There's no audition process to join this orchestra, applicants just have to fill out a form and be prepared to perform (mostly) classical music concerts at Burning Man. Rehearsals happen on the playa, as do the concerts. This year, they played four concerts on four different days at three different locations.

Here is what they played at those concerts:

Read the rest

DJ pretends to arrive to Burning Man on a Popeyes jet

Diplo? More like Dipsh*t.

DJ Diplo, a.k.a. Thomas Wesley, was en route to Burning Man when this photo of him shilling fast-food fried chicken was shot:

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Popeye’s heard I wanted to try their sandwich so they sent me some in a jet.... Wendy’s your move.

A post shared by Thomas Wesley (@diplo) on Aug 31, 2019 at 4:12pm PDT

For the stunt, Broke-Ass Stuart has awarded him "2019 Burning Man Douchebag of the Year":

Burning Man is a great place for art, community, music, gifting, hedonism, self-expression, self-discovery, and self-reliance. Founded by a community who wanted an environment “unmediated by commercial sponsorships, transactions, or advertising”, which is why we are awarding the Burning Man Douche Bag of the Year to DJ Diplo, for using the festival for corporate advertising! Diplo & Popeyes’ chicken teamed up this year to use Burning Man to market fast food...

Diplo, is famous for dubstep, sexist tweets, and now for being a FuckJerry sized corporate douche. Popeye’s posed Diplo in front of a giant Popeye’s billboard, in the form of a jet, so that he could pretend he and the billboard were actually at Burning Man, and use the photo-op as an instagram marketing opportunity. He wrote, “Popeyes heard I wanted to try their sandwich so they sent me some in a jet... Wendy’s your move.” What he should have written was, “Here I am, pretending to be at Burning Man, and selling out to a corporation, sick right?

Read the rest

Listen to Tycho's Burning Man sunrise DJ set, the 2019 version

EDM whiz Tycho has once again gifted his Burning Man sunrise DJ set by posting it for us to listen to on SoundCloud.

Happy to present this year's sunrise set, live from the Dusty Rhino in Black Rock City on Thursday, August 29th, 2019. Thank you all for taking the time to share in this moment, it's truly a highlight for me to spend this morning with you each year 🙏 Big thanks and love to the Dusty Rhino crew...

2019 tracks:

Van Halen - 1984 Boards of Canada - Alpha and Omega Tycho - Japan (Instrumental) Muddy Monk & Jimmy Whoo - Divine Bakradze - Quiet Loop Karol XVII & MB Valence - Aqua Tycho - Easy Tigerskin - This Place Is Empty Without You Octavian - Lightning (Ross from Friends Remix) Bonobo - Linked Kiasmos - Drawn Tycho - Into The Woods Letherette - After Dawn Four Tet - Evening Side (Oneohtrix Point Never Edit) You Man - Birdcage Icarus - October Photay - Illusion Of Seclusion <<>> Westerman - Roads Tourist - Elixir Bicep - Opal (Four Tet Remix) Maribou State - Turnmills Tycho - Jetty B. Traits NorthShore Tycho - Pink & Blue (Instrumental) Chrome Sparks - The Meaning of Love Tycho - Weather

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A post shared by Tycho / Scott Hansen (@tychomusic) on Aug 23, 2019 at 7:58pm PDT

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‪Happy to present this year's sunrise DJ set live from the Dusty Rhino in Black Rock City, Thursday, August 29th, 2019 🌞 Thank you all for taking the time to share in this moment, it's truly a highlight for me to spend this morning with you each year 🙏‬ ‪Listen at link in profile 🔊

A post shared by Tycho / Scott Hansen (@tychomusic) on Sep 2, 2019 at 7:36am PDT

screenshot via @Tychomusic

Tycho's 2018 DJ set

(Kottke) Read the rest

Not going to Burning Man this year? Here's how you can keep the FOMO at bay

Normally at this time, I'd already be in Black Rock City. But I left on such a high note last year that I decided to take a year off. Still, I've been feeling tinges of FOMO and have been looking for ways to feel part of this year's Burn somehow. I thought some of you might be in the same boat (Mutant Vehicle?), so I'll share what I've been doing to stave off the FOMO from the comfort of my own home. Read the rest

Where to catch me at Burning Man!

This is my last day at my desk until Labor Day: tomorrow, we're driving to Burning Man to get our annual dirtrave fix! If you're heading to the playa, here's three places and times you can find me: Read the rest

Coming to Burning Man? Join our "Assassination Army" game!

This year for Burning Man, my lovely campmates and I at Liminal Labs are running a big, playa-wide squirt-gun game called Assassination Army: come and get a gifted squirter from us (or bring your own!), don a brightly colored wristband, undergo our rigorous strategy-and-tactics training, and then go and soak other players out in the world, collecting trophies when you zap 'em! Read the rest

Watch Christian TV news show 700 Club's report on Burning Man (1996)

I've never been to Burning Man but this 700 Club report from 1996 really sells that year's festival theme of "The Inferno!" From the blog of Oliver Bonin, director of the Burning Man documentary Dust & Illusions:

In 1996 a group under the name “The Sentinel Group” goes to Burning Man, right during the year themed as “HELL” [sic]. After gathering hours of footage during the event, they went to the TV show “The 700 Club” hosted by the wealthy, supposedly christian, Pat Robertson, one of those extremists that you can find only in America, preaching the bible and making millions at the same time.

I found this incredible excerpt of the 700 Club during my search for archival footage about Burning Man.

Read the rest

The BLM's Burning Man environmental impact statement is terrible, calls for drug searches, dumpsters, and a 19,000,000lb concrete wall

The Burning Man event is seeking a renewal of its 10-year permit to use the federally owned Black Rock Desert site managed by the Bureau of Land Management; the BLM has responded with a bizarre, overreaching Environmental Impact Statement that ignores the lavishly documented record of Burning Man's excellent safety and stewardship record. Read the rest

Burning Man purges one-percenter camp that charged up to $100K, littered like crazy, and ripped off its attendees

Burning Man has long struggled with the tension between its commitment to "radical decommodification" and grifters and their ultra-high-net-worth marks who organize "turnkey camps" where you can pay giant sums to pretend to be a Burning Man "participant" while being looked after by paid "sherpas" (including, rumor has it, sex workers), in luxury settings designed to repel non-paying attendees (sometimes guarded by private security guards). Read the rest

Touching video tribute to Burning Man founder Larry Harvey

After Burning Man founder Larry Harvey died in April of this year, a special storytelling event was held in his honor a few months later at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco. I attended "The Man With the Hat" event and can attest that it was a lovely, heartfelt evening. Of note, his brother Stewart and nephew Bryan shared their stories set to a backdrop of personal photos from Larry's childhood in Nebraska and from his early "bohemian scene" (pre-Burning Man) days in San Francisco. It was a delight to see them then, as it is now in this lovely video tribute of Larry that was created and gifted to the community by the Profiles in Dust group.

Screenshot via YouTube Read the rest

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

Burning Man 2019 theme announced: Metamorphoses

Burning Man has announced its theme for the 2019 event in the Black Rock Desert: Metamorphoses:

Burning Man is routinely described as transformative. At the personal level, a transformative experience. At the group level, a transformative event or culture. What does that really mean?

From “It changed my life” to “it’s changing the world,” Burning Man is a million stories, and the through-line across them all is change. Mutability. A tempering or annealing, like metal in a forge or glass in a kiln. Shedding the dross, revealing the true nature within. A crucible of souls...

This year’s theme is a celebration of change, and an exploration of uncertainty. As such it invites a consideration of time; not its circular nature, or its attendant ritual, but in this case the relentless flight of time’s arrow, and an embrace of the elusive now. Memory is fickle, and the future is uncertain. None of us knows what they will become, but we can seek to understand where we are at this point in our transformative trajectory, this fleeting chord on the strings of existence.

Transformation happens whether we believe in it or not; but if we have learned anything in our Burning Man experience it is that we do have a say in our own futures, that agency is ours if we choose to pursue it. While we may never know the ultimate outcome, there is a shared belief that our dreams matter, and that together and as individuals we have the power to shape our own stories and transform ourselves in positive ways.

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The playlist of the 2018 Burning Man Temple Burn

In all my years of going to Burning Man, I've never stuck around long enough to see the Temple burn. Its Burn happens on the Sunday evening after the Saturday night Man Burn. Once it's over, the event is essentially done for another year. The street signs start coming down and all the participants are sent back to the "default world."

This year, I decided to arrive late and leave late, instead of arriving early and leaving early. So, I was able to catch both Burns.

In my inbox zine, I described the Temple's overall mood:

The Temple is a place to say goodbye and its vibe cannot be fully explained in words. I believe it must be experienced in person to truly grok. People leave photos, altars, and other mementos, generally as a way to pay tribute to loved ones who have passed. People also scrawl messages all over the structure itself.

It's generally quiet but sometimes you'll hear people crying or even wailing. The energy is thick and solemn.

The Man itself burns on Saturday night. That's a loud and raucous Burn.

When the Temple burns on Sunday night, the playa goes quiet.

Except (and, yes, I'm sure there are other exceptions), as I found out, for BMIR, the playa's radio station. My friend Rocky Mullin (whose playa name is "Swipe Left") was deejaying through the Temple Burn and shared his playlist (playalist?).

This is what he had to say about it:

The set begins with heartbreak and healing (to get that basic af pain/processing out of the way, like purging bile at the beginning of a psychedelic trip) and then moves on into death, fear, processing, celebration, ritual, renewal...

Read the rest

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