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burning the man


burn! hollywood burn!

squishy <squishy@construct.net>

when's it gonna fall? when's it gonna fall? how far is the nearest sani-hut? or should i just take a open air playa pee? this is kinda anti-climactic. wow, I can feel the heat from here. so much smoke! fall already, big guy, so I can pee. my bladder's like a dixie cup...come on, come on...

trina <caterina@organic.com>

I will never forget watching the man burn.

It wasn't as suprising as Helco or as interactive as the piano thing, but it was beautiful as hell.

Derek M. Powazek

{audience} Don't look at the man, that's not the point. Look at the people and their reactions to him burning. They they dance, they strip, they beat drums, they scream. That's what is so amazing.

taylor <taylor@taylor.org>

It's appropriate somehow that the least interesting part is the supposed "main attraction" Burning the man was a chance to relax psychically, withdraw back into myself, come down in preparation to return to the mundane world (If the festival is Tiphareth, and my job is Malkuth, the burning of the man is Yesod) Not to say it was boring - it's far more exciting than just about anything else I ever do - just far less interesting than the rest of the weekend - let's here it for storytelling in the Chai Tea hut! ??pat

pat luther <pat_luther@intersolv.com>

I thought it was ironic that during the very event that was intended to unite the Black Rock City residents created preburning man bickering as to whether we should all stand or sit for the burn. Up until this point everything had been rather harmonious so far as my experience had been. The actual burning of the man was an awesome sight though so I'm not complaining.

Kate Reed <katereed@nbn.com>

Somewhere deep in the back of my mind, I was concerned about all the Hell references. I don't belive in Heaven or hell, but I do believe others do. Having never been to the Man, I didn't know what to expect. I arrived Thursday night, and it was awesome. Everybody doing their own thing. Next mornning, I raised my friend from Eugene Oregon over at Camp 52. It was really good to see them again. They got me stoned and I walked back to my camp. I'd never been in the arid desert heat up until this walk back (it was still early and cool when I'd walked over to camp 52). Suddenly I found myslef stoned, and I had a severe case of cotton mouth. Bout that time, the disgruntled postal workers blew through town, but I didn't see them. I only heard them cussing and screaming at everybody. Suddenly, I became paranoid. I was parched, and counldn't think straight. I thought, "is this how it's going to be all weekend? People swearing and being negative for three days in this harsh desert surrounding?" I got back to my lean-to and drank a gallon of water. My buzz wore off, and then I had a blast. I loved the explosions, naked people, high wierdness. It was all great. You become numb to how weird it is. There's no big deal about talking to a naked guy covered in LED's. It takes really wierd stuff to catch the eye, like a sofa moving under it's own power, accompanied by a lamp also moving under it's own power, or a fireball big enought to feel from 100 yards away. A giant gothic carrage complete with rusty saw blades and 50 foot flame thrower. Now, back in LA, I look around at the population at large, and know that I am a freak, and feel good about it. I can't wait to go to Burning Man again.

Dave Lewis <Underyeti@Datadepot.com>

{exploding man} We had been waiting "forever" for this experience: since last night, since Thursday, since last time two years ago. Finally it occured, with raucous pomp and ceremony, the minions of the Burning Man spilled forth into the area about the Man, chanting, singing, drumming, dancing, fucking. The Man was burning and everyone knew that this was it, our last chance to do "it", that vague undefinable thing that could only be done on the Playa & is forbidden to us "out there" in the normal world.

Nexist [DAR] <nexist@hevanet.com>

let's hurry to get front row seats! there are no rows! perfect! no rows! no little rows! his arms are up? they weren't up before. were they up like that today? that's go to be $3000 worth of just neon... RAHHHHHHHH! the color changed! why is it we love that? whoa- it's burning already. oh man.. i didn't know. i didn't know it was goping to be so dramatic. big long 10-second chunks of dense drama and beauty. oh i didn't know. i didn't know it was beautiful. i thought is was all sensational and big. i didn't know it was beautiful. AHHHH- the arms are going! they're goingggggg. now he has personality. the bony shoulders are limp. he's not complaining. [why do they keep jiggling the cables? let him go naturally? there is no hurry here. why tug on him? why pester him?] beauty. beauty. chortle. beauty.

glen <glen@glen.org>

This year I sat back and relaxed and watched the man from afar. Not too far. far enough not to get run over by any other freaks. I sat next to a girl that had stumbled into our camp the night before. With a name tag we had given her a new name. It was Elma. She had a gold fish in a jar. We renamed the fish Marcia. The fish lived through 3 days in the desert in a jelly jar. Amazing.

a <bitch@floozy.com>

{hand guy} Burning Man was a phenomenal experience! The actual Burn couldn't hold a candle :) to the 5 day life enhancing experience of the Playa and the people. I threw a bag of shredded play money into the wreckage, it felt amazing..I got so close I thought I was going to melt! Burning Man 1997!! My advice-wear more glitter!

Ariana Raedene ------ <Jivashanti@AOL.com>

my award for most altruistic behavior goes to the guys who pulled up to watch the man burn, got on top of their blazer to loudly and proudly announce: "FREEEE BEEEEEEEER!!" hats off 2U.

shawn <shawn@livingbooks.com>

Burning Breasts, that is what I renamed the gathering. What I am about to write is real, no names were changed. Saturday night, I ventured to the main camp. I started chatting with the cameramen from MTV and other paparazzi Being a fellow Filmmaker, I told them of a shot that I thought must be recorded. A monk. A monk with a maniquin's leg in his mouth. It was on fire He was biting the heal as flames shot up from the thigh. He was a tall monk. It was very surreal. So as I am directing the shot beneath the monk, the cinematographer from MTV and 8 photographers, the leg completely ignites and the burning foot falls and lodges in my bra top. Suddenly, all the cameras are on me, the medics are hosing me down, people are screaming, my friends are rolling on the ground laughing and am trying to brush the toe embers out of my breasts. The medic would spend half the time very serious telling me that I needed to be helicoptered out of there to cure my burns. It was hard to take them seriously as they would break into laughter. Camera's were flashing, white trash beer belly boys were groping for my breasts asking if they could check the burns as the while, all the cameramen want me to reveal my burns. Absolutely not, as I laughed, oblivious to the pain. As I mentioned, this is all true, I have scars (small) to prove. Truly the funniest thing that has ever happened in my life.

Tiffany Shlain <tiffany_shlain@webmagazine.com>

When we joined the outer circle, it was still small. We sat down and slowly more people came and started moving in front of us so we did the same. Pretty soon we were close to the hay bales and workers for the performance kept asking us to move back. Well, suddenly someone rushed forward and everyone else did too until we were past the inner hay bale circle. When the man was lit we could feel the heat. As it got hotter, everyone moved closer into the searing temperature. We had to back away because of the heat then slowly started circling. Before you knew it we all were running around the man until he finally fell! Whew... What an experience!

John Arrasjid <johna@webnexus.com>

"How could they know that he feeds off of their emotions? Or that he will touch all of them at some point in their deluded lives of comfort and security. He saw me, the Burning Man...for the first time in months that I've been following him, he saw me and just smiled...the kind of smile that made me want to rip my eyes out...the kind of smile that said, "come with me...come with me..." --LUXOR's Journals


I thought after HellCo burned The Man would have a tough act to follow. But he was up to the task... He didn't just burn - he BLAZED! He kept burning and burning and BURNING - Brighter than ever. I thought he would keep going forever.... Wow.

Juke <pmackey@digiforest.com>

... Drove all the way from Baltimore to do the Burn with the EarthBound Medical folks, and was delighted with the small amount of fire- related injuries considering the crowd and what the crowd was getting into. Also had a hELL of a good time...

Ed Lizard Rosen <n3gxh@smart.net>

.....the burn was a beautiful and extraordinary sight to behold, but only one, of very many....

Jo Abbott <abbott@unix.sri.com>

I was not in the right frame of mind for the event. I was just not really into mass quantities of people and I just wanted to get away. There were too many beer swigging yahoos screaming pointless obscenities for my tastes. At another time I might have been at least bemused, but not that night. I squatted on the playa and watched the ring of people press forward trying to get a closer look at the man before he was ignited. Each step closer afforded me with a less obstructed view. I brought a flugelhorn with me and played a few quiet jazz ballads to pass the time, but like me, the instrument and music were out of place.

Steve Hawley <hawley@zoom.com>

The flames burned my heart and released my soul.

dyneshia <dmg17329@pegasus.cc.ucf.edu>

The man twitched and shimmied in and out of phase with the rhythms of the climactic tribal drumming, transfixing me with a queasy thrill that was utterly unique.

mRXs <marxaos@wolfenet.com>

I was working the perimiter, trying to get people to stand far enough away so a) they wouldn't get scorched b) we could fit 10,000 around the circle. People responded to me - as I walked by (I was wearing white & wings) they would say: "Look Angel, we're holdin' the line" "We're stayin' back Angel" I must have carried 4 or 5 handfuls of personal belongings, letters, or momentos from the crowd to the man. People kept handing me things "Can you put this under the man? I have to burn it" We should have lit the hay bales first. The man went up too fast - Kimric's propane lines broke and the body went up in under 10 seconds. Boggmann dosed the big piles of hay bales with the flame thrower, but we should have lit the little bales first to keep people back. The angels didn't light on time either When the man went down and everyone rushed forward, I looked over and John Law was standing about 10 feet away from me - his face frozen with horror & despair. I fought my way to the front of the crowd, trying to tell the naked dancing frenzy that they were in danger because there were unexploded charges and fireworks in the man was the worst moment of that night (thank god) the crowd was so dense the people behind were pushing the people in front closer to the fire. There were about 4 rangers in there with me - Little Joe, Joseph, Abs and John. After about 10 minutes of fighting the crowd, Boggmann got on the radio and said "Any Rangers in the inner circle GET OUT. The crazies will push you in - if they get burned we'll medivac them out later. GET OUT NOW!" I thought a moment before leaving - as I struggled past the cheering crowd John got on the radio: "Angel this is Jack - do you copy?" "Jack this is Angel - go ahead." "Are you out of there?" "Yes I'm out now" "Good - Jack out" Joseph and Little Joe stayed in and watched the fury die (bad play on words here) down and I walked back to the Ranger tent. I was drained. I felt so empty. Despair. On the way down I ran into the aggravator machine It was blowing fire 30 feet in front and it was moving. Danger. I grabbed one of the rangers and said "I want a 30 foot safety zone in front of this thing" Then I ran up to the guys who made it and yelled "IF I GET ANY INJURIES FROM THIS THING I WILL KILL YOU BOTH!!!" I walked back to ranger camp. Praying the whole way. The message board went up at 12:32. We had a good quiet night - we laughed, we sat around camp and waited for the injuries that never happened. Dawn came and we breathed a sigh of relief. Then we got the call from rave camp.

Angel <satori@sirius.com>

People are frightened. A pall hangs over the playa, fear, malevolence and the spirit of Mike Fury. The undercurrent of malevolence has always been part of the experience, but this time it's different. The danger made me feel more alive, but now i'm scared and i can feel it in the people around me. We bemoan the barricading, afraid to admit to each other that it has become necessary to protect the ignorant hordes from their own stupidity. I don't feel that the man next to me is my brother anymore, he's just some drunk fuck in a polo shirt carrying a camera. The crowd is more mob than ever, screaming burn, burn, burn....the procession was muted, like sheep being led to a slaughter....they needed to be led, most of them had no initiative of their own. Now i see them milling, purposeless, agitated...many are resplendent in costumes and formal wear: they are the ones with caution and fear in their eyes. They KNOW. The rest of the crowd, dressed as they would for a brief trip to Wal-Mart, stares vacantly or yells drunkenly...they shove their neighbors and stare at the semi-clad...do they really see what is about to happen? How many of them have SEEN anything this weekend? I pity them. The burn begins, faster and more immediate than ever. Everybody dances, yells, jumps and shouts. The forward crush is unrelenting. How can you insure an event like this? The man's arms fall to his sides as if in defeat. He shakes and shudders, as if racked by spiritual pain far more intense than the power of mere mortal flames; and as i look around me i see the dark eyes of the revelers echoing the defeat of the man: every year, he is fated to burn but it seems as if this time, he somehow knows he will not be rebuilt. The energy around me is an odd mix of despair and ecstasy. Now I begin to envy the drunk tourists, they enjoy the spectacle most freely, unfettered by any sense of loss; it is not their community witnessing its own systematic rape, pillage and destruction. The man quivers as he gives up his ghost, the people holding the guy wires transmitting the sense of hopelessness, of the total and irrevocable destruction of the spirit of the Burning Man. Fighting the lump in my throat, i look around to see people crying...the tall man in the tutu is sobbing, the clowns wear only painted smiles. Defeated, the Man falls for the last time, giving up his brief life to the surging throng that surrounds him. I hang back, as do many others. The despair is palpable, no one speaks but even through the makeup, feathers and costumes, we all know that we have witnessed the final destruction of the Burning Man and all he stood for. Returning to camp we anxiously try to reassure ourselves that it is not over but the Spirit of Mike Fury visits one of our crew in the night, and the sound of the helicopter returning only reinforces the fear, that our beautiful and exotic desert flower has lived out its brief period of glory.

lizard man <dalton@isidis.colorado.edu>

Whatever in us that does not burn watches the part that does.

Pat <pathardy@well.com>

"Mike, we're gonna do a turn around the fire and meet you back here." "Okay" "Burn the camera!" I look around and see these guys laughing at ME, because, along with the folks doing the FILMING (of whom they were refering), I too have a little video camera. Settle myself down [these guys are just kidding] I look around again [these guys look REALLY evil] [Man, I wish I wasn't on so many mushrooms, these guys are just like me...I think] "Burn the CDs!" Now, this wouldn't ordinarily freak me out, except, I'm wearing a vest made of CDs... It was time to do a few laps around the fire myself... this was the only night I lost my bearings

Mikey <mkbrooks@popmail.leapnet.com>

Wandering the playa I heard a whine, and then a roar. I turned to see a huge cloud of Playa dust, and watched a black insectoid helicopter rocket from the mess. The sun hit the windshield, then it was gone.

Andrew Schmitt <schmitt@vitesse.com>

Like many others, I found the actual burning a tad anticlimactic, but impressive nevertheless. I was carrying a penant made from a sign I'd picked up off the floor of a firefighter's convention, something I'd saved simply because it was weird. It was an exhibitor's booth sign (comes with the booth), just a cardboard rectangle with the company's name. But this particular company --in a show of fire departments-- was "Firefighters for Christ," some fire dept. in the Arkansaw or somewhere in the deep south. It was while I was packing for Burning Man that I saw it, and said "I will definitely find a use for THAT!" So I had this flag with that sign as the banner on a pole, and at the burning of the man, people were looking at me like I was one of those pseudo-anarchists who were rallying to stop the burning of the man. But I wasn't. I'd seen them driving around the playa with a megaphone earlier in the day yelling "DON'T BURN THE BURNING MAN! DON'T BURN THE BURNING MAN!" My friend and I were recharging under the tarp shade from the previous night's debauchery, and overheard someone yell out "BURN THE DON'T-BURN-THE-BURNING-MAN MAN!" So we stareted yelling, "NO, DON'T BURN THAT DON'T-BURN-THE-BURNING-MAN MAN, MAN!!" After the sucker fried anyway, and all the bonfires were going, I had to turn away from that scene when I saw some guy in a line of fire-leapers NOT clear the fat pile of burning embers in a particular spot, land feet-flat in the bed of coals, fall on his face with his legs in the fire, and LAY there for a few seconds not even trying to get up! People pulled him out, but that was my cue to head on into the other amorphic parts of that memorable (if only I could remember it!) night. But before leaving the scene I decided to get rid of my pennant, and feelilng slightly bummed out by the scene I'd just witnessed, I walked up to the bonfire and threw it on the coals. The sign just SAT there, resting stubbornly on a blazing bed of white hot coals, saying "Firefighters for Christ" and NOT BURNING! It was positively spooky. It hissed, and tossed off steam, it crinkles a little, and began to warp, but it resolutely WOULD NOT BURN! It took me several minutes to realize that the damn thing, altho plain white cardboard, was treated with a fire retardant! But everyone was looking at it as if some higher (or lower) power was at work, refusing to allow this extremely ironic message to be consumed by fire. Ultimately it just sort of shriveled up and disintegrated, but it never did burn.

Chris boy <cyberiad@sfnet.com>

tha burn wuz tha bomb.

phil <cj762@freenet.carleton.ca>

Third timer! Saw the last two years from the front row, Awesome! This year, the man was on a pedestal, so I watched from background, on top of my car. What a difference to be able to see the processions, the crowd and the overall big picture. It was incredible! best one yet!

Rockey <Rockey@hooked.net>

Fire! Fire! Fire!!!1 Uh...um...huh, huh,huh, Fire!!! Fire!!! Fire!!! Um this sucks! Uh, uh

Mike mccarthy <mtmccarthy@amherst.edu>

I saw the man- yes, I AM the man. I am the walrus. Burn, walrus, burn! I like pink. It looks good on me. And split-crotch panties. They burn well.

Jimmy Letson <klax@aol.com>

i was surprised that i actually had the urge to storm the man when he was burning, but i did. the entire four days, i loved the rave and the mudpit and riding my bike topless and our shade tarp and the cracked surface of the playa and the pure wide desert sky with silver stars and the people on the motorized couch and the people in tutus and combat boots, and everything, except for the idea of burning the man. it was the one thing i didnt like from the very beginning, but as soon as the roast got underway, i was captivated by it, and i dont say that lightly. i'm not one of those people who throws around words like spiritual and magical and real as though they were ice cream flavors that you could choose, so please understand that im not making some sappy, contrived, saccharine, sentimental statement. im not trying to be profround, i just honestly mean that i was captivated by the burning of the man, and it surprised me, because i didnt like the idea at first. i dont know how it changed my mind, but maybe it was just that there was so much heat and sound and color and motion concentrated in one space, and that kind of kinetic enery just draws you in. or maybe it was just the first time in the four days that eveyone who had been crawling around on that cracked earth in tutus and eveything else was actually together concentrationg on the same thing. or maybe because there's no real reason to burn something like that, there's nothing to be gained. it seems that it was just an enlarged version of the scenario that happens when you're sitting around a table, maybe after dinner, maybe on a porch or a patio, mayber you've had some wine, and you stick the tip of your paper napkin into the flame of the citronella candle, and you love to watch the slippery orange tongues lapping up the stiff fibers of the napkin, and you're disappointed when you actually have to blow the thing out so it won't turn into a disaster at the table, causing alarm and dirty looks. here, with the man, is the situation where you get to watch the whole thing burn, and no one can or wants to blow it out. you get to see what its like for the orange tongues to turn into roiling, searing waves and spark showers and breezy hot billows, like sails. and instead of a few fibers, its a satisfyingly swaying and rocking giant that crackles and snaps and takes a long, satisfying time to turn to crumbled black chunks. this is the time you get to watch teh whole thing, and you're not cut off. so i tensed up and pulsed and blinked and loved it when i saw it burning, and michelle and i were sitting on a hay bale with our cups of tea at the time, and we started edging forward, on our feet, a little faster and more frantic , and soon were sprinting in towards the column of heat and color and swaying motion and snapping noises, and we got close enough to feel the the hot air on our cheeks and we watched the whole thing burn until it couldnt burn anymore.

katrina hoch <khoch@sirius.com>

The searing of the burning man spectrums the glaze of the frozen man. Touch Buk drowning in the flame ignite/freeze dry touch Buk burning in the water. To prefer to burn or not to burn to prefer to freeze or not to freeze this is the melting in the freezer of love. Plug into that bonfire, baby and cystalize the man you human condition, you. Wonder where a burning woman glows shivers when you need one. Copyright Feb. 26, 1997, 11:13 a.m. by Frank Schier

Frank Schier <mail@trrt.com>

my lovely spouse

ross <rossa@itsa.ucsf.edu>

What I remember most is watching the moom rise in the east out of the ashes of The'Man. As in the mother rising out of the ashes of the father. Dr. Freud, are you out there? BURN BABY, BURN!


The dark, the lights, the heat and smoke and sweat and dirt...every detail replays itself when I see pictures of the Man burning; the images begin to sway and shiver again and I remember Burning Man '96, the maiden voyage...the first of many more to come, '97, '99, 2007...Beware the Bubbler! Ariana Raedene & I will be back!

Carrie Lynn <Carrie3777@aol.com>

Back on earth when he thought I fell, Now here I am kicking his soul all over Hell.


Looks like the same thing they do every September in Santa Fe, NM--Burning the Zozobra. If you dug, burning the man, you'd really like that. Check it out!

bonkeyhead <landino@mindspring.com>

You can check out the burning of the Zozobra (Old Man Gloom) at www.sfol.com/html.sfol

bonkeyhead <landino@mindspring.com>

{burning the man}