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...

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Video: A fun Burning Man 2018 hyperlapse with lots of lovely robots

Longtime Burning Man enthusiast and video maker Mark Day shares “A quickie iPhone hyperlapse of some Burning Man 2018, including some lovely robots, as befits the "iRobot" theme.” Read the rest

Listen to Tycho's sunrise DJ set from Burning Man

Enjoy Tycho's sunrise DJ set from the Dusty Rhino at Burning Man, August 30, 2018. Track list below the audio embed.

Fila Brazillia - A Zed And Two L's King Of Woolworths - Bakerloo (Main Titles) Squarepusher - Iambic 5 Poetry DJ Krust - Soul In Motion Aphex Twin - IZ-US Tycho - Adrift PFM - One & Only Art Feynman - Slow Down Weval - Thinking Of Glue70 - Til You Say Com Truise - Flightwave Melanie De Biasio - Afro Blue James Holden - 10101 Voyage - Dynamic Weval - It'll Be Just Fine Roman Flügel - 9 Years (DJ Koze Remix) Jon Hopkins - Emerald Rush

Pluko - l o v e Aleksandir - Yamaha Chrome Sparks - Moonraker Kölsch & Tiga - HAL Bicep - Glue Original Mix Chrome Sparks - All There Is Tycho - Awake

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I went to Burning Man in 1996

When we ran out of bullets the noise from "Rave Camp" became intolerable.

After eating all my mushrooms I watched some dudes burn a poorly built mannequin thing.

A half-naked woman,

out of her head on MDMA,

whom I'd never met before and never will again,

snuggled up and fell asleep in my lap.

I drank a huge rum and coke. There was no ice.

A woman was carrying a live goldfish in a cup.

The van I borrowed from motorcycle.com mysteriously acquired bullet holes.

There were dogs.

...Burning Man, 1996.

Image via Ryan Powers 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

Federal officers establish unconstitutional checkpoints on road to Burning Man

Burning Man message boards have been on fire all week as people report being stopped on flimsy pretexts by federal Bureau of Indian Affairs officers in the tiny town of Nixon, one of the last stops on the narrow, quiet rural roads that 60-80,000 people use to access the Black Rock Desert, home to the Burning Man festival, which opens to the public this coming Sunday. Read the rest

Burning Man ticket program gives cancer patients or survivors a chance to go to the desert

My pal Aaron Muszalski has just announced Burning Wish, a wonderful new nonprofit that grants Burning Man tickets to cancer patients or survivors. He writes:

Do you know a cancer patient or survivor who’s always wanted to go to Burning Man?

🔥 We’re especially looking for first-time burners who’ve already decided to attend this year, but still need tickets. 🔥

Refer a friend or apply yourself at https://goo.gl/forms/6Cri3CscOn82bZXg1

Burning Man isn’t for everyone — the event takes place in the Nevada desert, where temperatures can exceed 100° F — but there are ways to minimize many of those challenges. For patients who are physically well enough to make the trip, the experience can be incredibly transformative and empowering.

My name is Aaron Muszalski. I’m a longtime burner and recent cancer survivor. Attending Burning Man during my treatment gave me the strength I needed to successfully complete chemotherapy. I’m now NED (“No Evidence of Disease”) and want to share the magic of Black Rock City with others facing this disease.

Burning Wish’s mission is to help connect fellow cancer patients and their loved ones with the resources they need to experience the burn safely — medically AND emotionally.

We’re also looking for volunteers. If you’d like to support this project in any way please tell us more about yourself at https://goo.gl/forms/7Glz3WwqcSDLTUju2

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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 shalaco (@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 shalaco (@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 shalaco (@shalaco) on Aug 4, 2018 at 9:38am PDT

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Check out these machine-learned Burning Man camp names

The theme of this year's Burning Man is I, Robot, which focuses "on the many forms of artificial intelligence that permeate our lives..." So, naturally, someone trained a neural network to come up with some camp names.

It spit out believable names like Spankles, Astro Sparkin, and Space Rock Screamin Camp, as well as weirder names like Corn Viral Hammers, Wiq Renames Spaghette, and Hellball Lounge. Then it went with some truly bizarre ones like Cohnie Stacefur Ass Chaos, Sir Liberains the Wreck Middle, and Awes Orpoop.

The woman behind the experiment, research scientist Janelle Shane, writes:

Thanks to an anonymous burner, I had a list of 1593 past Burning Man camps to feed to a neural network. A neural network is a kind of machine learning algorithm that learns to imitate the data it sees. My starting point was a textgen-rnn neural net that had been previously trained on metal bands and roller derby names, so it had a few ideas of its own to bring to the table. It did not disappoint.

There's a bunch more of these machine-learned camp names over at Shane's site.

Let's hope life imitates art and some Burners out there actually create one (or more) of these camps this year on the playa!

Image via simon of the playa

Thanks, Dan S.! Read the rest

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

RIP Larry Harvey, Burning Man founder

A few weeks ago, Burning Man founder Larry Harvey suffered a massive stroke. Today I have learned that he has passed. He was 70 years old.

Marian Goodell, Burning Man's CEO, made the announcement:

Our founder, friend, and original instigator, Larry Harvey has passed away. Larry suffered a massive stroke at his home on the morning of April 4. We resolutely held out for a miracle. If there was anyone tenacious, strong-willed and stubborn enough to come back from this challenge, it was Larry. Though we all hoped he would recover, he passed peacefully this morning at 8:24am in San Francisco, with members of his family at his side...

Read Marian's announcement in its entirety here: The Man in the Hat, Larry Harvey, Passes

Larry's friend of some 25 years and a director of the Project, Stuart Mangrum, penned a tribute that detailed Harvey's life:

...As a denizen of San Francisco in the 1980s, Larry found himself drawn to the sorts of Bohemian scenes that are often the breeding grounds for serendipitous collaborations. And when he started hosting his own happenings on Baker Beach, he lit a flame that in turn drew these free spirits to him. He joined forces with the San Francisco Cacophony Society, and its members became some of the first Burners. When San Francisco authorities shut down the Baker Beach Burn in 1990, it was these Cacophonist colleagues who helped orchestrate the event’s relocation to Nevada’s Black Rock Desert.

Over the next three decades, Harvey fought tirelessly to keep the event going, through dark days of organizational strife, government opposition, and financial uncertainty, as well as through boom times of community growth and unbridled creativity.

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Burning Man founder Larry Harvey in critical condition after 'massive stroke'

Sad to hear my pal, Burning Man founder Larry Harvey, has been hospitalized since last Wednesday.

Burning Man's official blog The Burning Man Journal made the announcement Monday:

This is a difficult announcement to make. Our founder and friend Larry Harvey is currently hospitalized after suffering a massive stroke on Wednesday, April 4. Larry remains in critical condition. While his prognosis is unknown at this time, Larry is receiving excellent round-the-clock medical care and constant companionship from his family and very close friends.

We know this news may be startling and saddening for many of you, as it has been for us. Please send your positive thoughts and intentions to Larry and his family. If you feel moved to share well wishes, notes of gratitude, or your best and craziest Larry Harvey stories, feel free to do so respectfully in the comments below. For those who would to like to send messages directly to Larry and his family or share reflections more privately, please email TheHat@burningman.org.

More: Burning Man Founder Larry Harvey Hospitalized

photo by @Kmeron for LeWeb13 Conference Read the rest

Podcast: The Man Who Sold the Moon, Part 08: the FINAL INSTALLMENT

Here's the eighth and final part of my reading (MP3) (party seven, part six, part five, part four, part three, part two, part one) of The Man Who Sold the Moon, my award-winning novella first published in 2015's Hieroglyph: Stories and Visions for a Better Future, edited by Ed Finn and Kathryn Cramer. It's my Burning Man/maker/first days of a better nation story and was a kind of practice run for my 2017 novel Walkaway.

MP3 Read the rest

Podcast: The Man Who Sold the Moon, Part 07

Here's part seven of my reading (MP3) (part six, part five, part four, part three, part two, part one) of The Man Who Sold the Moon, my award-winning novella first published in 2015's Hieroglyph: Stories and Visions for a Better Future, edited by Ed Finn and Kathryn Cramer. It's my Burning Man/maker/first days of a better nation story and was a kind of practice run for my 2017 novel Walkaway.

MP3 Read the rest

Podcast: The Man Who Sold the Moon, Part 06

Here's part six of my reading (MP3) (part five, part four, part three, part two, part one) of The Man Who Sold the Moon, my award-winning novella first published in 2015's Hieroglyph: Stories and Visions for a Better Future, edited by Ed Finn and Kathryn Cramer. It's my Burning Man/maker/first days of a better nation story and was a kind of practice run for my 2017 novel Walkaway.

MP3 Read the rest

Podcast: The Man Who Sold the Moon, Part 05

Here's part five of my reading (MP3) (part four, part three, part two, part one) of The Man Who Sold the Moon, my award-winning novella first published in 2015's Hieroglyph: Stories and Visions for a Better Future, edited by Ed Finn and Kathryn Cramer. It's my Burning Man/maker/first days of a better nation story and was a kind of practice run for my 2017 novel Walkaway.

MP3 Read the rest

There's a semi-secret Burning Man calendar that you can (shockingly) buy

While some can only think of the Burning Man as a party in the desert, diehard Burners, its citizens, will tell you that it's much more than it. They'll tell you that it's a year-round community whose leadership is, amongst other things, determined to protect their unique culture from commodification. People looking to exploit the culture with "commercial sponsorships, transactions, or advertising" will promptly be shutdown. Amazingly, besides some coffee and ice, nothing at the annual Burning Man desert event is for sale.

In fact, decommodification is so important to them that they've made it one of their 10 Principles.

Now, I've been in the Burning Man community since 1995 and I've just learned this week that the Project does actually have one product for sale: a calendar. You can buy it online, like I just did.

Through a recent blog post on her site, I discovered that my pal Arin Fishkin has been the calendar's designer since its beginning in 2004. In the post, she not only shares the calendar's history -- highlighted by lovely sample pages of each year's edition -- but also tells why an organization that protects itself from commodification is selling it to begin with. She writes:

The funds from the purchase price go to producing the calendar which is primarily gifted to staff, volunteers, visiting dignitaries, politicians and….mayors. As I understand it, having items available for purchase is one way to claim and protect their trademark. So we make this beautiful thing, that is mostly given away, and mostly kept secret.

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