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This is Burning Man: The Rise of a New American Underground [Paperback]

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Item description for This is Burning Man: The Rise of a New American Underground by Brian Doherty...

A provocative look at the extraordinary annual Burning Man festival—held each year before Labor Day, and drawing thousands of people from all walks of life to the forbidding Black Rock Desert in Nevada—spotlights the radically self-reliant and vibrantly creative community that gathers for a week-long stay that culminates in the burning of a symbolic wooden man. The glamorous and anarchic aspects of the makeshift city—ideas that are at once ingenious and unimaginable in normal society—are detailed including a three-story temple composed of discarded dinosaur puzzle pieces, a giant flame-spewing metal-lotus flower, and a glowing white whale sailing over the starry desert sky. The magnificent spirit of a festival where money and spectators are not allowed is captured here, bringing a piece of the whimsical, strange, and enlightened energy to those who've never participated as well as to veterans wishing to reminisce.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   311
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.75" Width: 6" Height: 9"
Weight:   0.95 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jul 1, 2006
Publisher   Benbella Books
ISBN  1932100865  
ISBN13  9781932100860  

Availability  0 units.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Social Sciences > Customs & Traditions
2Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Social Sciences > Popular Culture
3Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Social Sciences > Sociology > General

Reviews - What do customers think about This is Burning Man: The Rise of a New American Underground?

quick read ...  Dec 26, 2007
good book, just to know about the history of the celebration and some good pictures. quick read ...
Great inside view of Burning Man  Nov 18, 2007
"This is Burning Man" is an excellent view on the Burning Man festival held every year in the desert near San Francisco. The book provides a rare multi-viewpoint perspective on the festival and it's researched very well.

The first part of the book describes the history of the burning man event, how Larry Harvey one day decided to burn a wooden man in the golden gate park and how it created an audience of people who organized around the burning of the man. He decided to do it again and slowly the burning man event was created. It describes how Larry hooked up with several other groups and how they moved to the middle of nowhere, in the desert. The stories about the early days of the burning man event are insane and clearly describes the sense of freedom that's part of the burning man event.

The second part of the book focuses more on the later years of burning man and describes the different viewpoints as it follows several different people and their burning man history. It talks about the art creation, the city build-up, the city cleaning, the expressions of total freedom and the shared sense of making the event a better place. Near the end of the book, it tells how burning man has now grown and how, unfortunately, the original atmosphere started changing and how everything is slightly more controlled. That's probably inevitable for growing an event like burning man.

The book is exceptionally well researched and the writing style is clear. The author tells the many stories from his research while linking it with his own experience and his own opinion. I enjoyed reading burning man, recommended for everyone interested in the burning man event.
I tought I burned lots of men until I read Burning Man!  Jan 11, 2007
I just finished reading the day that John Law sued the other founders over the name. So what are they calling it now? Hot Dude Fest?
For someone who would like to but cannot attend Burning Man (no guts!) it is fun to read. I did not go to Woodstock either. (Too pregnant.)
The book really is an underground networker's dream.
a must read if you want to know more about the history of BM  Jan 11, 2007
No one can tell the whole story, but to date no written account is out there to equal to this masterful work.
The story of a truly unique American arts festival  Jan 3, 2006
Burning Man is the arts/creativity/freedom/whatever festival held every September in the Nevada desert.

It started in 1980s San Francisco, in part as a reaction to Ronald Reagan's America. A man named Larry Harvey and some friends gathered on a San Francisco nude beach to burn a wooden effigy of a man (for no especially good reason). The event was "adopted" by various California punk and arts groups, like the L.A. Cacophony Society, and soon grew too big for the nude beach. A home was found deep in the Nevada desert, miles from the nearest civilization.

It is a huge, empty, desolate place, described by one person as living inside an ashtray. The wind blows constantly, sometimes up to 100 miles an hour, and within seconds, everything and everyone is coated with the same gray dust. Permits are required from the Bureau of Land Management, the official owner of the land, and from the local county governments, not always an easy process. As the attendance at Burning Man has grown over the years, from a few hundred people to, presently, 30,000 people, changes have been needed in the organizational structure of the festival. An LLC was formed to take care of the financial recordkeeping, which, for several years in the 1990s, was loose, to say the least. An unofficial police force was formed, to peacefully resolve disputes and to supplement the actual police force, there to keep things from getting too out of hand. Actual zoning has taken place, including the laying out of streets.

At Burning Man, self-reliance is expected by all participants, which includes bringing your own water. Everyone is expected to participate in some sort of art project; spectators are discouraged. "Art" does not mean a painting that is hung on a wall, but some sort of large, interactive creation that people can touch and feel, usually involving fire.

For those with any sort of familiarity about Burning Man, this book does a fine job at getting behind the scenes. For those who have never heard of it, read this story of a truly unique American arts festival. Either way, this is very much recommended.


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