One of my favorite mutant vehicles at Burning Man is this large vase. Here it had shown up to help celebrate a Black Rock City wedding at the Church of the Jerk we were attending.
DMV is a well-known abbreviation in the US. It stands for the Department of Motor Vehicles and each state has one. I am sure other countries have a similar government agency. The mere initials can make a teenager sweat. It’s where they go to take their driver’s test and obtain their first driver’s license. Adults sweat too, or possibly curse. They go there to pay all kinds of fees and taxes associated with owning a car. Driving records are monitored as well. A DUI (driving under the influence) is bad news.
The DMV is slightly different at Burning Man. But isn’t everything? DMV stands for the Department of Mutant Vehicles. If you are going to drive in Black Rock City, your vehicle must be mutant. No way can it look like an ordinary car, truck or bus. No way! DMV exists to make sure your wheels are sufficiently weird. And safe. Some hold up to 40 gyrating Burners dancing to the throb of heavy metal into the wee hours.
The DMV building at Burning Man 2013 fit the character of its job. Early in the week, long lines of mutant vehicles wait patiently to be approved and obtain licenses to operate in Black Rock City.
A close up of the DMV building featuring an octopus. Strange, huh? But look below.
An octopus mutant vehicle, El Pulpo Mechanico, demonstrates fire-power at Burning Man 2013.
Beyond the art of Burning Man, my next favorite things are these wonderfully creative forms of transportation. Fire spewing dragons, boats ranging from ocean liners to pirate ships, bugs, fish, steam punk fantasies, a unicorn, a wart hog, and even a vase wander through Black Rock City and out onto the Playa. Some bristle with speaker systems guaranteed to wake a sleeping vampire at noon. (And yes, Burning Man has vampires.)
One of the most significant facts about mutant vehicles is that they morph. The admittedly unique vehicles of the day become fantasy creatures at night that create a magical world that out-magics the Magic Kingdom.
I’ve seen many mutant vehicle boats at Burning Man over the years but never an ocean liner. This big guy was lined up at DMV waiting to be checked out.
This unicorn mutant vehicle carries a crowd. (Photo by Tom Lovering.)
The unicorn lights up at night.
Dragons are as common at Burning Man as fleas on a dog. This one could wag his tail.
A close up of the dragon’s head. His black snout suggests he is a fire-breathing dragon.
This dragon at Burning Man 2013 received my nomination for the dragon I would least like to meet in a dark woods by myself. Note the claws and teeth.
Close up featuring big teeth!
A friendlier dragon?
Boats are among the more common mutant vehicles at Burning Man. Here we have the USS Nevada. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)
Check out the detailed rigging on this ship.
This “rubber ducky” was a giant.
Possibly a creature of nightmares.
A large fish lived not far from our camp, next to the infinite line of port-a-pots.
I found this blue-eyed mutant vehicle charming.
This returnee wart hog was also a charmer. (Photo by Tom Lovering.)
This narwhal seemed, um, more pensive than hungry.
Which wasn’t the case with this shark…
Music anyone? Choices ranged from this truck-sized boom box…
To this city of speakers on wheels.
While I have photos of dozens of other mutant vehicles and am having to restrain myself from putting them all up, I’ll conclude with this Jules Verne-type steam punk vehicle.
The details were incredible.
NEXT BLOG: Burning Man is about burning, right so its time to burn some things down.