Sounds of Burning Man 1998
by Allan Lundell
Every Labor Day weekend
for the past 14 years, thousands of revelers gather in the desolate
Black Rock desert of Northern Nevada to participate in a radical
art experiment. Almost overnight, a little city, replete with
hundreds of interesting and often quite bizarre structures arise
from the "tabula rasa" of the dry lake bed playa,
each with its own purpose or theme. And many strange and arcane
inventions also dot the playa, promising a special show for
the temporary inhabitants of Black Rock City.
Why does Burning Man happen and
what's it all about? This is best explored by visiting the www.burningman.com
site, as it's history is rich and colorful. What we have to
offer you here are some video clips of this year's festivities,
brought to you at high risk to our coveted and valuable video
gear. The alkaloid dust of the dry lake bed, you see, is very
fine and likes to permeate everything, including our equipment,
often rendering it useless unless disassembled and cleaned immediately.
When one of the frequent playa dust storms strikes, we run for
cover, stuffing our gear in plastic zip lock bags, hoping that
we have averted equipment disaster.
first video clip we offer begins with a view of the majestic
Man just before he burns, with flame throwers heralding his
approaching fiery demise. Stuffed with over half a ton of pyrotechnic
special effects this year, the burning of the Man promises to
be the most spectacular yet. What we see next is an amazing
new illusion, never seen before. Someone has figured out how
to make a bicycle appear to be a glowing galloping horse, at
least at night! Very cool, the galloping bicyclist never fails
to draw ooohs and aaahs from the crowd. I managed to catch him
with on the way to the Man while traveling the playa with an
amazing inventor and fellow reveler Pat Flanagan (http://www.flantech.com/).
We shot the neon galloping horse video with Pat's Sony TRV-9
Hmmmm...just how did he create that galloping horse effect?
We are investigating...So far, we've found that the people who
did this fantastic illusion also create the monster Tesla coil
out on the playa, reputedly the second largest on the planet.
Watch for our upcoming net clip featuring this awesome lightning
In our current clip, you can see
the Man being ignited by a fiery human torch, flaming from head
to toe. It's also been confirmed that the Man started burning
much more rapidly than expected, so before the human torch can
light the Man's second leg, some pyrotechnics go off, and he
runs for his life. Flame on!
Also, check out the colorful fireworks
exploding from the Man this year. The white hot Magnesium heart
flare was especially endearing to all the lovers in the crowd.
A very special touch...Quite spectacular!
Notice the shift in the crowd as
the Man plummets to the playa. It would have been interesting
to view the scene from above. We would have seen the surrounding
crowd begin to rotate counter-clockwise around the Man's burning
pyre, creating a massive spiraling galaxy of human motion and
dance. And every so often a large burnable object, like a couch
or canoe, would make it's way to Galaxy Central, and further
brighten the scene.Wheeww Hoooo!
man ecstatically drumming while singing "Burning Man!"
after the Man falls is none other than Fantuzzi, a world class
musician and a founding brother of the Rainbow Tribe (http://www.welcomehome.org).
He has carried the flame of celebration and music since his
appearance at Woodstock, back in 1969, when his image was emblazoned
(with a fem counterpart) as the icon of the era, on the cover
of Newsweek magazine. You will see him again in future clips
from Burning Man, performing with the amazing Maui Tribal Trance
band, "Lost at Last."
You may notice that many of the
celebrants are illuminated by an eerie green light. This is
the look of Sony's "Nightshot," a sweet little bonus
feature found on many Sony camcorders. It's a very handy feature,
allowing us story tellers to record events in complete darkness,
using invisible infrared illumination. So far, this feature
has been particularly handy in capturing an audience's attention
and reactions to stage performances, making it very apparent
that a "show" is not simply what's happening on stage,
but also what's unfolding in the audience, and how that affects
the stage performance, etc., etc. I am often amused at what
I have seen...
Too bad Nightshot has been discontinued.
Apparently, under specific circumstances, its possible to see
through clothing with it. Our experiments have confirmed this
is true. But that's another clip...
In this net vid, thanks to Nightshot,
you can see various cybertribal digerati ecstatically celebrating
the Burn, among them, the brilliant and beautiful cyberauthor/poetress
Alex Utterman, acupuncturist and technoshaman Steve Zilber,
photojournalist Maggie Hallahan, this year shooting Burning
Man for the German publication, STERN, riding on the shoulders
of playa paraglider aviator "Sebas" (from Icarus Camp),
Verbum publisher/Digital Be-in/Party meister, Michael Gosney,
with the stunning Carla King, just back from her epic solo motorbiking
trip across China.
If you like what you see and want
more, let me know. I respond to appreciation. Enjoy!
Man Part II