Touching the elephant

 

 

Here are some quick stories from the week, in hopes of giving you a little sense of what’s been happening at Burning Man.

When the event starts, it is impossible to keep up with. The Roshomon effect is especially strong, except we’re not touching various parts of an elephant, but a fire-breathing Tyranosaurus.

The day starts early and ends late, it is full of both giant spectacles and tender intimacy. All things great and small.

So from our narrow little perspective, a peephole view of the past few days.

IMG_8248
A sliver-y moon brightned the eveing skies on Friday
IMG_8243
Erica drank a margarita from the end of the Zebracorn
Chris and his Zebracorn
Chris and his Zebracorn
And then out of nowhere you meet a supermodel
And then out of nowhere you meet a supermodel
Scott London and Sydney Erthal, whose wonderful new Burning Man book, written by Jennifer Raiser, is tearing up the Amazon charts
Scott London and Sydney Erthal, whose wonderful new Burning Man book, written by Jennifer Raiser, is tearing up the Amazon charts
Little kids seem to adapt to the desert extremely well, especially when they have experienced and self-reliant Burner parents
Little kids seem to adapt to the desert extremely well, especially when they have experienced and self-reliant Burner parents
"Are those heavy?" we asked. "My shoulders are killing me," she replied
“Are those heavy?” we asked. “My shoulders are killing me,” she replied
The Lamplighters off to light the lanterns around the city
The Lamplighters off to light the lanterns around the city

Michael Christianson's keyhole piece reflects the area around Rod's Road
Michael Christianson’s keyhole piece reflects the area around Rod’s Road
"Cosmic Praise" by Douglas Ruuska of Brighton, Ma. One of our favorite pieces of art on the playa this year
“Cosmic Praise” by Douglas Ruuska of Brighton, Ma. One of our favorite pieces of art on the playa this year
Janky mutant vehicles are always prowling the desert
Janky mutant vehicles are always prowling the desert
A touchy time-out
A touchy time-out
Dancing in the dust
Dancing in the dust

 

The final hours of the Alien Siege Machine. In the evening burn, pyrotechnics were taken to a new level of entertainment. Outstanding!
The final hours of the Alien Siege Machine. In the evening burn, pyrotechnics were taken to a new level of entertainment. Outstanding!
Amazing-looking people emerge from the dust on a regular basis
Amazing-looking people emerge from the dust on a regular basis
IMG_7763
“Embrace” was set ablaze early Friday morning
IMG_7753
“Embrace” just before the fires were lit
The Volcano burned as Hawaiian dancers celebrated around the perimeter
The Volcano burned as Hawaiian dancers celebrated around the perimeter
The DPW bucket was especially large
The DPW bucket was especially large
Epona took the ALS challenge
Epona took the ALS challenge
The DPW had a parade, and it was hot and fun
The DPW had a parade, and it was hot and fun
Andrew Johnstone got married
Andrew Johnstone got married
The crew at the Center Cafe are very very nice
The crew at the Center Cafe are very very nice
Mirthe acquired tickets in the Oh My God sale while she and her boyfriend were still in Amsterdam. They decided to come and spend the next three months in the States.
Mirthe acquired tickets in the Oh My God sale while she and her boyfriend were still in Amsterdam. They decided to come and spend the next three months in the States.
Matthew is doing a performance piece in which he had himself dropped at the Gates of Black Rock City with nothing but the clothes on his back. When we saw him he had a shopping cart filled with goodies, and he offered us water and almonds. But this is not advised for newcomers. Not at all.
Matthew is doing a performance piece in which he had himself dropped at the Gates of Black Rock City with nothing but the clothes on his back. When we saw him he had a shopping cart filled with goodies, and he offered us water and almonds. But this is not advised for newcomers. Not at all.
Jenn is a documentary filmmaker who has spent time in Israel, Palestine, and now Burning Man. A remarkably accomplished 26-year-old
Jenn is a documentary filmmaker who has spent time in Israel, Palestine, and now Burning Man. A remarkably accomplished 26-year-old
Our friend and artist Bunnie Reiser to refuge in the center cafe
Our friend and artist Bunnie Reiss to refuge in the center cafe
Flash visited with Larry at First Camp, after Mr. Harvey gave his state of the Burn address. This is an in-between time for him: the current theme is about to hit its peak, and in the meantime he's engaged in formulating the theme (and Man design) for next year
Flash visited with Larry at First Camp, after Mr. Harvey gave his state of the Burn address. This is an in-between time for him: the current theme is about to hit its peak, and in the meantime he’s engaged in formulating the theme (and Man design) for next year
We had a little photo session with the Black Rock Scouts. Then the kids went out and took amazing photos.
We talked about photography with the Black Rock Scouts. Then the kids went out and took amazing photos. (Photo by Brooke La Valle)

About the author: John Curley

John Curley

John Curley (that's me) has been Burning since the relatively late date of 2004, and in 2008 I spent the better part of a month on the playa, documenting the building and burning of Black Rock City in words and pictures. I loved it, and I've been doing it ever since. I was a newspaper person In a previous life, and I spent many years at the San Francisco Chronicle. At the time I left, in 2007, I was the deputy managing editor in charge of Page One and the news sections of the paper. Since then, I've turned a passion for photography into a second career. I shoot for editorial, commercial and private clients, and I'm especially fond of shooting weddings. I'm also the editor at large of the Tasting Panel magazine, which is devoted to the beverage industry. I've also taught a bit, including two years at UC Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism and a year at San Francisco State University. I live on a (house)boat in Alameda, California.

5 Comments on “Touching the elephant

  • Amani says:

    I’m so glad someone got a shot of you with the Scouts! Adorable, and they were really taking some great shots!

    Report comment

  • JV says:

    Black Rock Scouts is such a great idea, it makes me want to bring my two younger kids next year. My oldest kid? He’s on the playa right now, his first year. Damn, might be a family affair next year.

    Report comment

  • Kiki EnFuego says:

    Gorgeous photos as always!

    I was one of the leaders at the Scouts session. It was wonderful to watch them go from apathy to engagement when they shared their photos with you.

    I’m a long-time John Curley fan and it was great meeting you.

    Report comment

  • pilar says:

    zomg, even YOU call him michael christianson!!! the best i heard this year was mitchell christianson… hilarious. it’s michael CHRISTIAN. period. no son. :)

    HA!

    ps, love you, love your work, john curleyson!

    Report comment

  • Freshiedoug says:

    Hey John!! I was the biker who stopped to talk to you and erica out by the man during the dust storm on monday. You snapped a couple of shots of me riding towards you. Wondering if they came out?? Would love to see it!!

    Report comment

  • Comments are closed.