THE GUARDIAN GUIDE TO BURNING MAN: Tips and resources to get the most out of Burning Man
Burning Man costume creations If it's sewing or other costuming help that you need, there are lots of local designers who might lend a hand (see "What not to M.O.O.P." in this guide). Or you can stop by these Aug. 11 or Aug. 25 sewing circle meetups listed at www.meetup.com/Burning-Man-Costume-Creations
Here are a few of the major installation artworks with Bay Area connections that I'm excited to see on the playa this year:
Charon by Peter Hudson Peter Hudson and his large volunteer crews have created some of the most dynamic art pieces in Burning Man history, zoetropes that use motion and strobe lights to animate the characters they create: the swimmers of Sisyphish, the divers of Deeper, the snake and monkeys of Homouroboros, and the man reaching for the golden apple of Tantalus. This year, Charon the boatman crosses the river Styx into Hades and, well, you just really gotta see what could be his best piece yet. As the artist says, "Charon asks them to reflect on their own mortality and ponder how to give and get the most from their brief time here on earth.”
Tympani Lambada by the Flaming Lotus Girls Combining fire, steel, light, and sound on the massive scale that we've come to expect from the Flaming Lotus Girls, Tympani Lambada simulates the structure of our inner ears, which control not just hearing but balance and perception. As always with this crew, this project promises to be space as occupy and interact with (usually with an unbelievable sense of awe) rather just a structure to see. And as they've been doing for many years (see "Angels of the Apocalypse," 8/20/05), the dynamic crew built this creation right out at the Box Shop on Hunters Point (with an assist for American Steel, where some of its longest sections are being built).
Truth and Beauty by Marco Cochrane Following up last year's amazing Blissdance, which is now on display on Treasure Island, this crew hoped to make an even larger female nude sculpture of the same model (55 feet this time), but their fundraising fell a little short so they couldn't complete it. But even in the abbreviated form they're bringing to the playa this year — just the torso from knee to shoulder, but well-anchored that it's climbable — it should still be something to see.
Temple of Transition, by International Art Megacrew The Temple is always a special place at Burning Man (see "Burners in flux," 8/31/10), and this year promises to be as spectacular as it is spiritual. The project is headed by a pair of builders known by their nationalities, Kiwi and Irish, and built mostly in Reno by a crew of committed volunteers from more than 20 countries. It's centerpiece tower, Gratitude, is a towering 120-feet tall, surrounded by and connected to five smaller towers: Birth, Growth, Union, Death, and Decay.
Otic Oasis Lightning (Burning Man's attorney) and friends (including named artists Gregg Fleishman and Melissa Barron) wanted the quietest spot on the playa for this 35-foot wooden pyramid of comfy lounging compartments, a remote spot where even the music from art cars couldn't reach. Their answer: at the very back of the walk-in camping area, a spot only reachable on foot by people intending to go there. Finally, a quiet spot to chill out.
OK, I know that many of these events are music-related, and there are an untold number of quirky, weird things to do on the playa besides just rocking out to a DJ. But exploring what the hundreds of theme camps offer each year is part of the fun, and it's too Herculean a task to sort through the voluminous information and offer you sound predictions.