- The Magazine
- Current Issue
- Events & Shows
- Web Extras
- Yellow Pages
Campers feel the burn at Black Rock.
Photo: WALDEMAR HORWAT
Participants are free to reinvent themselves at Burning Man, a festival of art and community that begins August 27 and runs through Labor Day weekend on Nevada’s Black Rock Desert. On Saturday night, the 40-foot Man is torched. Whether the firing of the Man is symbolic or not, it serves as a fitting end to the freewheeling event. In the days preceding the “burn,” more than 35,000 revelers defy the harsh environment, share their food and drink, and dance most of the night. Fanciful art cars cruise the playa, and body-painted burners roam Black Rock City, a vast camp that rises and completely disappears in a week.
The five pictures above, shot by Waldemar Horwat, are symbolic of the culture of Burning Man. The official name of the 2006 wood sculpture (top left) was Uchronia, but most festival-goers called it the “Belgian Waffle”—its creators, who arrived at the playa 90 strong with nail guns and piles of scrap wood from Canada, are Belgian. At right, a cherry picker holds one of the builders. Uchronia served as dance hall until it was burned. Bottom right: In 2006 Dan Das Mann and Karen Cusolito created three “Leaping Giants,” including this kneeling sculpture that wept fire at night.
Photographer Scott London captured the images above. Melissa and Natalie of the Bay Area stilt walk in the White Procession (left), an annual ritual at the Burning Man temple. Bay Area costume designers F’kir Elderfae and Anastazia Millison also take part in the White Procession (middle). At right, Stacie Michon of Miami tries to hand off a sign to passersby. In London’s 2005 photo below the feature image at the top of this page, Shael Stone of Ojai, California, wore jewelry and sunglasses with a butterfly motif.
Scott London snapped four of the six images above. Clockwise from top left: Randal Alan Smith of San Francisco, aka Shaman Randal, takes part in the “Billion Bunny March” to protest cruelty to rabbits; Craig Sakowitz, from San Francisco, built “Unabungasaurus” in 2006; Sharon Glassman braces herself during an intense dust storm in 2006; Ira Goldman, aka Uncle Ira, spent a day attaching faux birds to his “Green Man” suit. The remaining two photos were provided by Bill Kositzky: Jenn practices her fire spinning at sundown; and Dave King (in kilt) and the Controlled Burn group, from Reno, coordinate fire performances that take place before the Man is torched.
The Flaming Lotus Girls created the Serpent Mother, which guards an egg that slowly hatches over the course of the festival.
Photo by Waldemar Horwat.
Above left: Michael Christian was inspired by War of the Worlds for the 2006 sculpture he called “I.T.” Photo by Scott London.
Above right: The Man burns on Saturday night at the festival. Photo by Waldemar Horwat.