MachineGun Lily (aka Lily Rasel) works on Burning Man's Government Relations, Legal Affairs and External Relations Teams, and (because Burners are nothing if not versatile) lays out the Black Rock City plan in CAD. An accomplished fire performer, she publishes Kindle Magazine, and is currently attending UC Berkeley's Boalt Law School.
Madonna has been an active Burner since 2000 when Edub and Total Mess first dragged her out to the desert. Since then, she's been an intricate part of the BM community. As a photographer and one of Burning Man's original blog authors she composed stories and captured photographs that helped document the infancy and provide a visual diary of Burning Man in the early days. She created wildly popular photos and essays such as Sunny Dayz and Flambe Lounge that spread like wildfire; igniting the flame within founders, laypersons, and soon-to-be burners alike. Her photographs have been featured in the New York Times and the Burning Man website. You can check out more of here work at her site and the Building Black Rock City 2003 Blog.
Olivier Bonin (born 1973) is a documentary filmmaker, whose first movie is Dust & Illusions, 30 years of Burning Man history. His first attendance to the Burning Man festival coincided in 2003 with his debut in filmmaking. Bonin quickly decided to pursue an in-depth look at the infamous event as his first documentary subject. In 2004, he joined the Flaming Lotus Girls as their videographer and through that, he met some of the most important earlier makers and organizers of the Burning Man event. He discovered little by little the complexity behind the history of the event, the many faces, ideals and politics that came with it. In 2009 he released his first feature documentary film under the name Dust & Illusions.
Todd Gardiner, aka "portaplaya", is a professional photographer in Seattle and a long time documentor of Burning Man. After years of working with CameraGirl, he moved on to documenting the event for various other teams, such as the ARTery. Back in Seattle he was part of the regional arts group, Ignition Northwest, acting as a member of the art funding council. A perennial volunteer, he is a five-time Black Rock City Ranger, a past theme camp laborer, has done his time with DPW, and is currently a supervisor for Exodus Flagging; in addition to being a photographer every single year. Some say he is just an obsessive collector of official-looking laminates to wear to high school reunions. Either way he spent time working for others ever since his first year at Burning Man in 2001.
Starting in San Francisco in the early 90's Reverend Billy Talen began to explore "a new kind of American preacher" - a post-religious one, but a good whooping preacher anyway, inspiring people toward a spiritual event that did not need the mediation of organized religions or other corporations. Moving to New York City, he preached on the sidewalks of Times Square, and found people clapping and singing along with him, and the choir grew to empower the message of resistance to Consumerism. They called themselves the Church of Stop Shopping. They came to Burning Man in 2003 ("Beyond Belief"), but many of the singers and musicians were longtime Burners. They were invited to perform on a stage built in the base of the Man that year. Two years later they gathered with Joan Baez and the jazz musicians of the playa to raise money for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Their hope is to continue to preach and sing against Consumerism, and for the Life After Shopping! Change-a-lujah!
Rod was raised in southern California in the San Fernando Valley. He arrived in the Bay Area during the early '60's in time to encounter the Beat culture of San Francisco. Here he became friends with the poet Gary Snyder and the comic Lenny Bruce. During this same period he taught himself the art of landscape design and became a licensed contractor, specializing in the creation of fountains, pools and architecture. In 1995, he attended his first Burning Man, and joined the project as our chief designer in 1997. Working in collaboration with Larry Harvey, Will Roger, Harley Dubois, and other staff members, Rod originated the annual plan of Black Rock City. The huge tensometric structure that houses our community's central café was devised by Rod, as was the conception and configuration of the giant Laser Man at our event in 2000. In 2001, he designed the Temple of Enlightenment that formed the pedestal of Burning Man. As resident architect for the project, Rod also created many other structures and site plans for our Department of Public Works. Rod passed away in 2011.
Steve Mobia was amongst the original Cacophony Society members who went on the "zone trip" to immolate the Burning Man on the Black Rock Desert in 1990. In Burning Man's early years, he helped create desert fashion shows, large format photographs, and the first pirate radio station – hosting a program of experimental music called "Mobia's Trip". He was the first Lamplighter, organizing and running the Lamplighters from 1994-1999. His flaming helmet is now part of Burning Man's historical archives.
Tim was not born on a bayou, but he wishes he had, as that would be more romantic. Tim is a writer, editor, picky eater, lighter of some fluids, co-founder of Fireside Storytelling, wannabe statistician, avid bicyclist, host of the radio show Down The Well w/ Timmmii on RadioValencia.fm, fighter, loud, and Burning Man maven since 1999. Tim has other talents too but he prefers to leave you guessing.