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September 06, 2005

Burning Man 2005

Burning Man 2005 Gallery LinkFinally... end of August once again. Just a few days left until Labor Day.
What does that mean? Time to head out to the Nevada desert and come home to Black Rock City.

As you can read in last year's article, I was quite excited about my first visit. So it didn't take me a long time to decide that I want to come back in 2005. I bought some tickets the second day after they went on sale...

Our trip started Wednesday night with the drive to Reno. Tori, Daryl and I met Beth there. After having a "real" shower for the last time and filling up our provisions, we left for the Playa on Thursday. Jeff was hitching a ride with us.
Setting up camp was a bit more involved this year. Since late April, I had felt the strong urge to build one particular thing. The four of us constructed a shade structure. The roof was made of 200 large trash bag bubbles attached to fish net, creating a cloudy sea constantly moving in the wind. Check out the images in the gallery.

Friday night, we saw Soul in the Machine performing. After a hypnotic hour of live electronica, I found out that "Passage" was my favorite 2005 art installation.

Burn night was great. The Man exploded in fireworks and flames raged, but he held up extremely well. Even after the supporting structure which had been the Funhouse collapsed.
Once the Man had lost his struggle, we spent time at the truly mindbending Inner Mind all the way out at the trash fence. We played with SoLA and warmed ourselves up in the body of the Angel of the Apocalypse. The Angel truly became the heart of Black Rock City once the Man was gone.
Later, I spent time at the 2:00 dance clubs, met some friends and experienced Satan's Calliope for the first time.

Burning Man 2005 Gallery LinkSunday is always a more sombre and introspective day. A strong contrast to the wild party atmosphere of the burn night.
This year's Sunday though had a very special touch to it. News about the catastrophy in New Orleans had finally spread throughout the city. The burner community started to find ways of helping the victims in the south. Early afternoon, all radio stations announced that Joan Baez was attending Burning Man and offered a fundraiser concert at the Temples of Dreams.
We hopped on our bikes and witnessed a very moving non-faith/inter-faith ceremony held by Rev. Billy from The Church of Stop Shopping. He was accompanied by a jazz band and Joan Baez singing "Swing Low Sweet Chariot" and "Amazing Grace" through a bull horn. Then, volunteers walked around with empty water bottles and asked for donations.
Sunday culminated with the remarkable temple burn, ending the existence of the Temples of Dreams.
Later that night, I spent time listening to a classic-electronic trip hop trio performing at the Passage installation. Between the many dust storms, I enjoyed Pyrokinetics' Pendulums of Fire. Finally, I found my way to the burn of the clock tower (see the image above).

Exodus went smooth this year. It took us less than two hours to leave the city limits. Leaving later on Monday was definitely a plus. So the lesson is to build even more stuff next year to make the breakdown take longer.
Every stop on the way home to Santa Cruz involved meeting other burners. Nothing is easier to tell whether or not a car and its passengers just spent a week in the desert.

Posted by Uli at September 6, 2005 11:26 PM

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