An ‘oh so SF’ Burning Man Publishing Event

On June 8, Burning Man Publishing held its launch event in Jack Kerouac Alley in San Francisco (co-hosted by Vesuvio Café). Our dear friend John Curley was on hand to snap some shots and report out from a wonderful evening of community celebrating three Burning Man authors. A full post from the event organizers is forthcoming.

More than a couple of dreams came true last night, and we were lucky enough to be in attendance for the celebration. The first one was the launch of Burning Man’s new publishing arm, and the second was launch parties for two books by pivotal Burning Man figures.

You may already be familiar with the two books, which were published over the last two years. Built to Burn: Tales of the Desert Carnies of Burning Man by Tony ‘Coyote’ Perez tells the incredible stories of the people who go out and build Black Rock City in the middle of the desert so 70,000 participants can enjoy art and each other. Caveat Magister’s Turn Your Life into Art: Lessons in Psychomagic from the San Francisco Underground shares a practitioner’s tips and tricks on the art of engineering immersive and transformational experiences literally anywhere.

We also celebrated a third book that’s currently in production by Burning Man Publishing. It’s too early to announce here (as much as we’d like to). You’ll learn more when the right time is right.

Tony Coyote’s mom’s prediction finally came true

Being an author is a long-time dream of Tony’s; his mom used to tell him all the time that he was going to grow up to be a writer someday. Last night was proof that it has happened. Publishing a book is just confirmation of what most of his friends already knew about him: Tony is a master storyteller.

For the launch party, what better setting could there be than Jack Kerouac Alley, between City Lights Bookstore and Vesuvio Cafe? The launch was indeed a San Francisco event, even though it was unusually warm and the wind was barely rippling. The conditions were downright pleasant in the alleyway — a very big surprise for a San Francisco night.

Among the celebrants were Stuart Mangrum, another principal in Burning Man Project’s publishing arm, and Andie Grace, a motivating force in the publishing division. Also at the event, George Post, long-time photographer and documentarian of the happenings in the desert, and Buck Down, who read a tremendously hilarious story of how Burning Man came to be in the desert in the first place.

Buck recalled the day when some misguided police officer told gathered celebrants on Baker Beach that they would not be allowed to burn the Man on Labor Day weekend — lo, those many years ago. Without that thunderous ‘NO!’ from a middling bureaucrat, the event would never have traveled with The Cacophony Society on its Zone Trip to the Black Rock Desert, and all of the 30 years of history would have taken place someplace else.

Cover image of Burning Man Publishing launch event in San Francisco, 2022 (All photos courtesy of John Curley, George Post, and Erica Bartel)

About the author: 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. I've also taught a little bit, including two years at UC Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism and a year at San Francisco State University. I live on the San Mateo coast, just south of San Francisco in California.

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