With my book formally blasting off at our launch party this Thursday at Project One, I thought it might be a good time to begin dribbling out some excerpts on this blog, starting with the Table of Contents. Check back regularly for more excerpts, or you can check my schedule of readings on my Amazon Author Page, with more dates being added regularly.
The Tribes of Burning Man: How an Experimental City in the Desert isShaping the New American Counterculture
Prologue: Stating our Intention
Introduction: Welcome Home.
Foreword: Defining my Terms
Part I – Rebirth (2004-05) – In the wake of President Bush’s reelection, Burning Man’s artists stage a rebellion against the event’s leadership, sparking a grand existential debate over its direction as I help create the Opulent Temple sound camp, launch a series of newspaper articles on Burning Man, and become embedded with the Flaming Lotus Girls as they create their masterpiece: Angel of the Apocalypse.
Part II – Baptism (2005-06) – The Borg2 artist rebellion is a colorful and amusing flop, but Burning Man’s renaissance begins anyway, triggered by serendipitous circumstances. As the big sound camps evolve and the party hits its prime, Hurricane Katrina gives burners a new mission, summoning them to the Gulf Coast with a sendoff by NYC’s Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping. And in San Francisco, Burning Man and its artists make a triumphant homecoming, finally embraced by the city of its birth.
Part III – Renewal (2006-07) – Burners Without Borders, launched by a disaster, becomes a vehicle for good works around the world, standing alongside the Black Rock Arts Foundation’s success finding new homes for Burning Man artworks and initiatives. Opulent Temple brings the world’s best DJs to the playa, blowing their minds and putting Black Rock City on the musical map. Green Man is launched and burners run for public office in the default world. But the event is revisited by ghosts from its past, including a lawsuit-wielding founder and a rebel-turned-arsonist who torches the Man early.
Part IV – Striving (2007-08) – Larry Harvey reaches for greater societal relevance with his provocative “American Dream” theme as the country’s long political nightmare ends. But Burning Man has an inertia of its own, a spiral of sex, drugs, dancers, art cars, and Indie Circus freaks, despite those striving to make it more. Tom Price goes solar and I explore the long road between Burning Man’s counterculture and Barack Obama’s Democratic National Convention, with revealing insights.
Part V – Evolving (2008-09) – Burning Man doesn’t change the world or buy an epic piece of property (though it does try, tapping some powerful players in the process), but Black Rock City becomes a world-class Metropolis anyway, with tentacles everywhere, from Austin’s Flipside to NYC’s Figment to Fourth of Juplaya to the club kids from London to Boise who help save Opulent Temple. As Wall Street crashes, Reverend Billy runs for mayor, I find rejuvenation in my sister’s Grey eyes, and my Flaming Lotus Girls mentor goes out on her own.
Part VI – Metropolis (2010-The Future) – Burners finally arrive at the Metropolis they and Larry have been seeking to create for years, completing the event’s second act and setting the scene for its third. The frontier has become a city. The Man’s arsonist emerges from prison, triggering another round of old recriminations, answered by trying to turn the whole event into a nonprofit enterprise and let the community formally take its reins. Flaming Lotus Girls, a Space Cowboy, and eclectic group build the Temple of Flux, a telling centerpiece for the greatest Black Rock City ever created.
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