Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The dark side of Burning Man

Nightfall transformed Black Rock City into a new world filled with pulsing music, glowing bodies and fire-breathing mutant vehicles that seem to float across the surface of the desert. At the center of it all was The Man, towering over his elaborate color-bathed base.

We started each night by donning dozens of glow sticks. They're a critical accessory out in the darkness, and you can't bring too many of them with you. Tim models what proved to be a popular light-stick ensemble.
The Towers of Shiva, an art installation that doubled as a stage by David King and Controlled Burn of Reno, served as a central gathering point and performance space for dozens of fire dancers twirling flaming poles, lanterns on chains, wheels and clubs.
The dancers, the fire-breathing towers circling the stage and a long row of tall-standing flame throwers performed in synchrony to amazing sets of music. Hundreds of people clustered around the scene each night as the pandemonium went on for hours.

Click on this pic and you'll get a feel for what the city looked like from the center of playa at the peak of nighttime activity. Keep in mind, you're only seeing about a quarter of the entire illuminated horizon.
Away from the playa, the streets were teaming with activity well into the early morning hours.

The space under the base of The Man offered a break from the sensory overload.
Showing off their nighttime gear are (from left) Steve, Scott, Kent, Tim and Pete.
These eyes, illuminated by battery-operated spotlights, were fastened to the fronts of a of pair bikes that roamed the playa side by side.All good things come to an end, even on the playa, as documented by this sunrise pic by my friend Steffen P.

Up next, we take a trip . . . or two . . . or three . . . to Black Rock City's amazing medic station.

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