Blogging about mutant vehicles at Burning Man is always fun for me. Each year brings a new crop of these marvelous creatures, as well as old favorites. How can you not love dragons and cats and fish and ships and trains and planes and tennis shoes and Mad Max vehicles as they make their way back and forth across the Playa— blasting out music on occasion, and at other times blasting out fire.
Here’s the thing: you are not allowed to drive a regular vehicle in Black Rock City or out on the Playa. You can drive to your camp when you arrive at Burning Man and out when you leave. Beyond that you have to get creative and build a vehicle that doesn’t look like one. And you have to get a license. The Department of Mutant Vehicles, DMV, is waiting for you… and hundreds of other Burners who have built the creatures of their dreams or nightmares. Is your vehicle weird enough? Is it safe? If the answer is yes, are you turned loose to wander. Thousands of people are eager to see what you have created.
Mutant vehicles or art cars come in all sizes as well as shapes. Some will barely accommodate two people while others may accommodate 50. Most big ones are built by camps and provide transportation for their members. (The rule is, however, that anyone can hitch a ride.) They also provide a convenient viewing platform for special events, such as the Piano Toss, or a dance floor for anytime/anywhere. I once watched one crawl by in a whiteout with riders gyrating like the end of the world had arrived. I could barely see them 50 feet away. It could have been a scene from Dante’s Hell.
I decided to do two or three posts on mutant vehicles. There are simply too many to feature in one. Today I am going to focus on fire-breathing, magical dragons. Aren’t they all? I think it has to do with their genetic make up. There have always been dragons at Burning Man— at least since I started going in 2004. They deserve their own post.
NEXT BLOG: More incredible mutant vehicles.
18 thoughts on “Where Dragons Still Rule the Earth… Burning Man”
I felt an immediate affinity with that green dragon, Curt. My first thought was, “He’s cute!” But when the mama and baby dragon showed up, it was “Awwwww” time. The pair is just wonderful.
It does bring up something I’ve never thought about. I don’t remember ever seeing a child at Burning Man. I’m sure there probably are “no kids allowed” guidelines, but it’s still interesting. On the other hand, I suppose it could be argued that there aren’t anything but kids at Burning Man!
Love you last analysis. We are all kids. But yes, there are always a few children. There is even a theme camp for them designed with age appropriate games, etc. I wouldn’t take a kid there, but I imagine they will never forget the experience, they are always with their parents, and they seem to be having a blast. –Curt
Another terrific batch of photos, Curt! I find it hard to believe that you ever miss any display! They should make you the Burning Man Historian.
Wish it were so, GP. But every year when I look at other people’s photos I end up asking myself, how did I miss that! –Curt
That they are, Cindy. –Curt
Another feast for the eyes. Nothing like waking up to a mutant dragon.
Or going to sleep with one wandering down your road…. –Curt
Another great line; how can you not love dragons and fish and cats and fish. Why ever not? The stuff of magic for sure.
Magic it is Kayti… a continuing parade of it. –Curt
Wow, wow and wow! I think I would walk around with my mouth hanging open. 🙂
I do, Sue. 🙂 It is totally allowed. –Curt
Fascinating! These look like something out of Mad Max! Would love to commandeer that dragon. But I’d stay clear of the speakers on that music one — it probably vibrates the sand! Thanks for sharing.
There is a whole theme camp that reflects Mad Max. Not surprising. As for noise, I make a point of staying away from the venues that pump out the loudest music. Burning Man insists that they are located out on the edges of Black Rock City, but still… I’ll show a few photos. Another thing, many of the venues feature some of the best DJs in the business, which is something, I admit, I know nothing about. –Curt
This is the post I’ve been dying to read: I spotted the title in my inbox weeks ago, and I am a huge fan of dragons of all sorts. I see there is another one in a more recent post that I can also read about, so I’m all smiles. I loved your note on the speaker bus “check out the speakers.” Uh, yeah, try checking out anything that’s NOT a speaker: there’s your challenge.
The DMV is a whimsical and fantastic and wonderful thing. At first I thought it was just for entertainment value, but instantly I realized it would be necessary. I think I would like to work at the DMV, just to see the whole string of the mutant vehicles, to talk with their handlers, and to hear the stories of why they should be licensed.
Mutant vehicles + Dragons = can’t get any better!
My fave is the Green Dragon, who seems to have morphed to life from discarded debris. Sort of what I used to fear would emerge from my teenager’s messy room.
It would be fun to do a survey to see how many dragons are wandering around Burning Man, Crystal. As you saw later, junk is often used in creating Burning Man art! El Pulpo Mechanico, the giant octopus was also created out of junk, as was much of the art piece Medusa. –Curt
Great collection! I added a link to my Facebook page on Burning Man Dragons – https://www.facebook.com/DragonsOfThePlaya/
Thanks Stacy! Love the dragons and checked out your Facebook page. –Curt