Road to Black Rock City
Here are some photos from my fourth trip
to Black Rock City, the site of Burning Man. You can see some
other photos on my 2002
page, and if you don't have too much of a clue of what Burning
Man is (a hard concept to explain), have a look at the official website.
With three previous trips under my belt,
I have create a routine for getting to and from the event.
My first year, this was particularly difficult, the logistics
of travelling from New York to the Northern Nevada desert are
It is possible to camp at Burning Man, though
this never struck me as an attractive option. Many of the participants
are from Northern California or other places that make it possible
to drive, so they load up their cars with a bunch of household
supplies, a tent and a sleeping bag and delude themselves into
thinking they are "camping" (the ability of Californians to delude
themselves is well documented). Coming from New York, this is a non-starter;
even if you had a sleeping bag and a tent -- and who would waste the
valuable closet space? -- you'd have to drag them on an airplane,
arrange for transportation from Reno or further away, buy and lug a
week or more of supplies, manage your trash and bring it back with you
until you could find someplace to dump it. All for the dubious pleasure
of sleeping on the ground in the desert? No thanks.
So I rent a recreational vehicle. Guided
by the Burning Man website and some other helpful postings,
Monte each year, and I am very satisified with this company's
service. They don't have an operation in Reno, so if you want
to use them, you have a choice of renting in Oakland, Phoenix
or Las Vegas.
The last two years, I opted for Vegas, which
makes the trip to and from almost as much fun as Burning Man
itself. I flew into Vegas on a Friday night and stayed at the Excalibur,
picking up the RV on Saturday. It was basically the same model as last
year, but a little larger since I took a friend this year. Here
is a view from the hotel room,
looking south at the airport and the Luxor and Mandaly Bay hotels.
For some of my female friends, I also took a shot of an ad for the
Vegas is always fun, even if you don't spend
much time at the gaming tables, and you can do some preliminary
shopping there. If you begin your trip in Sin City rather than
San Francisco, you get the added benefit of an easy drive through
the desert, good for the mind and body as you acclimate to the desert.
We loved the Old West feel of the road as we slowly approached
Black Rock Country.
This funky sign is
attached to a
A caravan of RVs heads
toward Black Rock City.
Not all who wander are lost. Some
are at the gate of Black Rock City
Burning Man has a theme every year; 2003's was Beyond
Belief. So there was a lot of religious and pseudo-religious imagery
among the art exhibits on the playa, the dry (in the summer)
lakebed on which Black Rock City is built.
This cross, made of shattered glass, was simple
The Temple of Honor, one of a series
of temples at Burning Man by the artist David Best.
Unlike his works of the past three years, this one
was made of paper, not leftover parts of dinosaur kits. Here is what
it looked like from the inside.
This yurt was pleasant to visit, providing a bit
of shade and a space for contemplation.
The Burning Man (Bernie, to the cognoscenti) was
built on a neo-Mayan temple this year.
Besides the Beyond Belief theme, there were plenty of things to
see on the playa. I worked at the newspaper, the Black
Rock Gazette, most nights, so my photos this year are all daylight
The Cafe at Center Camp. Always open, one of the few
places you can spend money (on coffee and a few other drinks) this is the
Times Square of Black Rock City.
This looked like fun, though it was just a bunch of
concrete slabs hanging from bent girders in the desert. It all depends
on who you hang out with.
I liked this Asian-influenced installation, which was near the northernmost
boundry of Black Rock City. The Himalayans go West.
This was a large art car whose passengers distributed -- what else?
-- bananas to passersby.
This also looked like fun. You could play the harp by
pressing pads on the white vinyl squares. So it looked like these guys
The gorilla float was pretty weird, but it was not the weirdest
thing I saw. I'm not sure if they ever meant to hang it on anything,
but there was this huge chandelier sitting in the middle of the desert
for most of the week.One of the scariest sites in Black Rock City was this
six-foot baby with a lazy eye.
Whenever I saw it, I wanted to be somewhere else. Then there was
the Green Guy. He was part of one of the artworks based on the Beyond Belief
theme, but I couldn't figure out what it meant. Didn't really want to ask.
There were more than 30,000 other people at Burning Man this year. Some
wore costumes, some wore nothing (arguably, the Green Guy had it both ways).
Here are some of the other participants:
|The Clown and the Tin Man looked
like they must have been pretty hot under their collars. The guy on stilts,
less so. But most of the naked guys bore closer resemblance to the ice men.
Last, but certainly not least, some of the ladies of Black Rock City:
Sometimes, wearing a little says a lot. That's my pal WeeGee
in the background, he's the photo editor of the Black Rock Gazette.
If you've got it, flaunt it for the photographers.
You don't see this too often in Black Rock City, a topless
girl eating an apple. There are no garbage cans, so what's she going to do
with the core?
I thought this gal was so pretty, I took her picture twice.
That's all till 2004.
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