I had a well-honed strategy when it came to my conversations with Larry: I’d block out a solid three hours, putting everything else aside, because I knew from experience that our “30 minutes” would inevitably evolve into a circuitous rollercoaster ride through whatever was on his mind, and would end only after I begged out of the conversation due to intellectual exhaustion. But when we moved into an open floor plan at Burning Man HQ, he could just meander on over unannounced and strike up an impromptu conversation, blowing my plan, and usually a good chunk of my day, out of the water — leaving in his wake innumerable stories and anecdotes I’ll long hold dear. The man absolutely loved to talk, and to tell stories, and I loved listening to him.
Since the day Larry and his friends burned the first Man on Baker Beach in 1986, Burning Man has grown through the power of storytelling. With the impassioned tales people have shared — informing, instigating, and inspiring each other — Burning Man has become a global cultural movement, with over 80 regional Burning Man events happening around the world and more than 270 regional contacts in over 35 countries.
As we continue to mourn the loss of Larry Harvey, the founder of Burning Man, who held and nurtured a singular vision to create community through an extreme crucible of Radical Self-expression, and built it on the foundation of gifting one’s self to the greater good, we can think of no better way to celebrate his memory than through the thing he loved most: storytelling.
Rosalie Barnes and I (both proud Burning Man staff alumni) are producing, in partnership with Burning Man Project, “The Man With the Hat: A Celebration of Larry Harvey’s Life and Legacy” at San Francisco’s historic Castro Theatre on Saturday, July 14. Please RSVP to the Facebook event here and invite your friends.
We’re gathering some of our community’s finest contributors to shine a light on Larry’s life and path, exploring the man, his motivations and the global cultural reverberations he instigated. In honor of Larry’s greatest passions, we’re curating a wonderful multi-faceted experience of art, inspiration, live music, ritual, performance, theater, participation, and surprises.
The global community came together in a beautiful way on June 21, the solstice, as we saw through your expressions of gratitude on social media, and in person at Ocean Beach in San Francisco. We are looking to keep that momentum going, and you won’t want to miss this momentous event, marking the end of an era and the dawning of the next. Whether or not you’ve ever set foot on the playa, whether you’re a first-timer or a Burning Man veteran, you’re encouraged to join us, and contribute your energy to this beautiful evening’s creation.
Top photo by Benjamin Slayter