Mad Max meets Alice in Wonderland
Burning Man conjures up all kinds of outrageous images for the uninitiated: from naked New-Agers dancing till dawn to polyamorous pursuers fueled by drugs. Yes, the Playa (the desert stage location where the Man, the temple and much of the art is) is a culturally curious place, one part hedonistic, one part idealistic. But, amidst the hippies and Silicon Valley CEOs that populate this pop-up town, the common thread is an appreciation of the life-affirming nature of the artistic spirit.
First Burning Man
As the founding legend is told, in 1986 Larry Harvey and a dozen friends burned an effigy of a man on San Francisco’s Baker Beach in a cathartic act of spontaneous creativity. This experience of reconciliation and rebirth quickly grew into an annual ritual with hundreds of people, leading Harvey to move his Burning Man experience to U.S. government land in northern Nevada’s remote Black Rock desert. Today, this is where 60,000 people gather the week leading up the Labor Day, transforming one of the least hospitable pieces of land on Earth into a loving, hospitable temporary village called Black Rock City.
At its heart, Burning Man is a celebration of artistic self-expression for those who have a utopian vision of the world. For some it’s about creating a spiritual sense of oneness in an intentional community based upon 10 principles . For others, it’s about all-night parties and dancing, riding around naked on bikes and participating in the Slut Olympics (yes, this is one of hundreds of events). But no matter what archetype defines you and your experience, anyone who has done the pilgrimage to the desert is known as a Burner, and this may truly alter the course of your life.