Drama in the Desert: The Sights and Sounds of Burning Man

Drama in the Desert: The Sights and Sounds of Burning Man

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by Holly Kreuter

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Publishers Weekly - Publishers Weekly
Once a year, perhaps 25,000 people gather to create highly idiosyncratic, often body- and performance-oriented art and to watch a 60-foot wooden man burn. Begun in 1986, when a wooden figure was spontaneously raised and burnt on a San Francisco beach, this informal festival now takes place in Nevada's Black Rock Desert, where supernatural sculptures of light, earth and mesh curl into the sky, and people bike and dance like it's 1967. Burning Man staff member Kreuter has here assembled 286 full-color photos covering five years of the festival, along with writings by 42 Burning Man devotees who seem to be struggling to capture the immensity of the experience: "Go now. Whatever it is/ that you long for is waiting for you/ Right now." The photos document a seemingly stranded phone booth and mailbox, a living room tableaux of '50s-style crash-test dummies with the familiar plea to "kill your television," futuristically body-painted revelers, various large-scale figures on fire and phallic outcroppings in twilight. An enclosed DVD includes a 74-minute "feature presentation," eight interviews with artists and organizers and a 560-image "slide show." It may simply be the limitations of the two media employed here that leaves an "I guess you had to be there" feeling; Eggers's foreword urges, "Go and set up your tent." While it probably doesn't herald the dawning of a new age, this book should do well in alternative culture outlets. (Nov.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

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Raised Barn Press
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10.00(w) x 10.00(h) x (d)

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