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This is Burning Man: The Rise of a New…

This is Burning Man: The Rise of a New American Underground

by Brian Doherty

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I wanted to like this book but did not. First of all, it is dated. That is not the author's fault but the book was written at a very different time in the festival's history and it is difficult to put that context aside.

The author is a bit too much of a fan-boy for me but in fairness, does a pretty even-handed job given the passions around the "good old days" vs the scale Burning Man takes place at today.

Not really a necessary read. ( )
  burningdervish | Nov 29, 2016 |
Some interesting ideas but he probably could have cut out most of the filler in the middle in my humble opinion. ( )
  swampygirl | Dec 9, 2013 |
Burning Man is the arts/creativity/freedom/whatever festival held every September in the Nevada desert.

It started in 1980s San Francisco, in part as a reaction to Ronald Reagan’s America. A man named Larry Harvey and some friends gathered on a San Francisco nude beach to burn a wooden effigy of a man (for no especially good reason). The event was "adopted" by various California punk and arts groups, like the L.A. Cacophony Society, and soon grew too big for the nude beach. A home was found deep in the Nevada desert, miles from the nearest civilization.

It is a huge, empty, desolate place, described by one person as living inside an ashtray. The wind blows constantly, sometimes up to 100 miles an hour, and within seconds, everything and everyone is coated with the same gray dust. Permits are required from the Bureau of Land Management, the official owner of the land, and from the local county governments, not always an easy process. As the attendance at Burning Man has grown over the years, from a few hundred people to, presently, 30,000 people, changes have been needed in the organizational structure of the festival. An LLC was formed to take care of the financial recordkeeping, which, for several years in the 1990s, was loose, to say the least. An unofficial police force was formed, to peacefully resolve disputes and to supplement the actual police force, there to keep things from getting too out of hand. Actual zoning has taken place, including the laying out of streets.

At Burning Man, self-reliance is expected by all participants, which includes bringing your own water. Everyone is expected to participate in some sort of art project; spectators are discouraged. "Art" does not mean a painting that is hung on a wall, but some sort of large, interactive creation that people can touch and feel, usually involving fire.

For those with any sort of familiarity about Burning Man, this book does a fine job at getting behind the scenes. For those who have never heard of it, read this story of a truly unique American arts festival. Either way, this is very much recommended. ( )
  plappen | Sep 22, 2007 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0316711543, Hardcover)

Doherty provides detailed information on the outrageous festival---its inception, history, growth, and players--for the hundreds of thousands who have attended, as well as those who only wish they had.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:32 -0400)

A tour of the annual high-tech festival Burning Man discusses its history, the colorful characters that make up its participants, and the group creations that have been built at its Black Rock Desert site.

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