The Morris Burner Hotel in Reno… Where Each Room Is a Work of Art

The old Morris Hotel in Reno, Nevada has now been renovated as the Morris Burner Hotel and will provide rooms for Burners on their way to Burning Man in August and people interested in art and the event year round.

The old Morris Hotel in Reno, Nevada has now been renovated as the Morris Burner Hotel and will provide rooms to people on their way to Burning Man in August and people interested in art and the event year round.

I’ve always liked Reno. As far back as I can remember the city has defined itself as the Biggest Little City in the World. It has also been known for its gambling, quick marriages and quicker divorces. My parents were married in the town. For years they teased me about my legitimacy. It probably scarred me for life. But I have the marriage certificate. It looks legit whether I am or not.

I personally became acquainted with Reno when I ran Peace Corp’s public affairs and recruitment program for Northern California and Nevada in the late 60s. The University of Nevada at Reno was one of the campuses where I recruited. I made the trip over the mountains two or three times a year. Those were the days when slot machines were still known as one-armed bandits and the mafia still thrived in Las Vegas– and probably Reno. I did my bit by contributing to the mob and Nevada’s economy but had little luck in persuading young Nevadans to leave the state, much less the country.

Reno is an event-oriented place. The city thrives on antique car shows, rib cook-offs, rodeos, Harley Motorcycle invasions, festivals, and innumerable races including hot air balloons, bicycles, airplanes and kayaks (the Truckee River flows through the middle of the city). Tourism is the lifeblood of the city. Recently, the Chamber of Commerce has added another major event to its things to do list: Burning Man. Each year tens of thousands of Burners pass through Reno on their annual pilgrimage to the Black Rock desert. Apparently they give the local economy a substantial boost.

The influence goes beyond economic to cultural. Reno has a thriving Burner community that brings it enthusiasm for Burning Man back to the city. The most unique contribution, from my perspective, is the Morris Burner Hotel. I read about it recently in Jack Rabbit Speaks, the Burning Man newsletter, and decided that Peggy and I had to add the hotel to our list of stops on our recent three-week journey through Nevada. As you probably know, I am a fan of Burning Man, having gone back regularly since my first visit in 2004. I’ve blogged about my experiences for the past four years. In fact, WordPress gave me its Freshly Pressed designation for my articles on the event.

The 80-year old Morris Hotel in downtown Reno is now the Morris Burner Hotel.

The 80-year old Morris Hotel in downtown Reno is now the Morris Burner Hotel.

The Morris Burner Hotel, according to its mission statement “is a Burning Man inspired housing facility and community space, dedicated to building community, fostering the arts, and helping to educate people in the Burning Man ethos. It is a place to share, create, participate, and build relationships.” The inspiration behind its creation is Jim Gibson, or Jungle Jim, as he is known in Black Rock City. (Most Burners have nicknames.)

Jim is an engineer who spent over 40 years in the microelectronics business, co-founded three companies, owns three patents, and, in 2007, was named Entrepreneur of the Year for Northern Nevada. In 2008 he retired and went to Burning Man. It changed his life. His purchase and renovation of the Morris Hotel is an example.

The hotel was built in 1931 along Historic Route 40, the Lincoln Highway, that ran through downtown Reno and on across the country. In its heyday, the Morris would have been a proud establishment, but over the years the neighborhood and the hotel had declined. As one of the Burners who worked on the hotel’s renovation noted, “It needed a bath something terrible… it was spine chilling disgusting.” A great introductory video on the hotel by Liz Margerum, photographer and videographer for the Reno Gazette Journal, captures workers wearing gas masks as they removed aged carpets.

Historic neon sign advertising Abby's Bar in Reno, Nevada.

Abby’s Bar is located next to the Morris Burner Hotel and is advertised with this sign of a bygone era when Historic Highway 40 was one of Americas major cross-country roads.

The hotel was still not open when I stopped to visit but I rang the doorbell and was greeted by Alon Vision Bar. Vision is Alon’s Burning Man name, and it fits. A former member of the Israel Navy who holds a degree in Business and Economics, he has a goal of bringing the Burning Man principle of community building home to his war-afflicted land. He is prepared to devote his life to efforts aimed at bringing peace to the Middle East.

Vision, seen here in the lobby of the Morris, greeted me with a smile.

Vision, seen here in the lobby of the Morris, greeted me with a smile. Note the “House Rules” on the right. They are pretty much what one would expect to find in a Burning Man establishment.

The House Rules at the Morris Burner Hotel. No whining and remember to laugh.

The “House Rules” at the Morris Burner Hotel. No whining and remember to laugh. I particularly like “Share Your Toys.” Guests at the hotel will be expected to clean their own rooms and help in preparing meals. Sounds like Black Rock City to me.

But for now, Vision is serving as manager of this rather unique hotel. He provided me with a tour of the guest rooms. Each one has a separate theme and has become a project for individual artists. Walls, ceilings, floors and even furniture serve as the ‘canvas.’ Sculptures add to the ambience. Halls, lobby, dining room, and restrooms also serve as space for artistic works. Outside, a large patio is being designed to accommodate performances. The whole hotel is an art work in progress.

Guest room in the Morris Burner Hotel in Reno, Nevada.

Each guest room will have a different art theme. This is the Goddess Room done by artist Carole Ann Ricketts.

Guest room featuring art at Morris Burner Hotel in Reno.

Almost everything is fair game in the rooms for artists as long as safety is taken into consideration. Note the incorporation of the night stand into they painting. And down the rabbit hole we go.

A room at the Morris Burner Hotel in Reno, Nevada.

This frame on the wall may give a new meaning to the ‘dark arts.’

This brightly decorated room at the Morris included a painting of the hotel.

This brightly decorated room at the Morris, the Cuban Gangster Room, included a painting of the hotel.

Enchanted Forest Room at Morris Burner Hotel in Reno, Nevada.

Rooms also incorporate sculpture. This “Enchanted Forest” deer god was created by Heather Lee Jones. It could be straight out of Greek Mythology.

Balcony at Morris Burner Hotel in Reno.

The whole hotel is an art work in progress. This photo is taken from the lobby looking up at the balcony. Art can be seen through the railing. Also note the ceiling.

Burning Man symbol hanging in lobby of Morris Burner Hotel in Reno Nevada.

There is no doubt about the Burning Man connection. This immediately recognizable symbol of “The Man” hangs in the lobby.

The City of Reno is very supportive of Gibson’s renovation of the Morris. The hotel is located in a run down area of 4th street three blocks from downtown. Its presence is encouraging other businesses to locate nearby and is leading to a gradual transformation of the area. The crime rate is already way down. Peggy and I look forward to the time we can return as guests.

NEXT BLOG: We visit the town of Hawthorne, Nevada, which is where military ordinance goes when it retires. A very interesting museum provides insight into the town’s past. After that it is on to Area 51 and ET…

As this blog goes to press, Peggy and I are off backpacking in the Red Buttes Wilderness, home to bears, cougars, old growth forests and possibly a wolf or two. (Or-7 and his girlfriend are wandering around somewhere in our county.) There have also been several (unsubstantiated) sightings of Bigfoot in the area. We have a camera along. If we see one, you’ll be the first to know. (Grin.) The Red Buttes Wilderness is located on the border of Oregon and California 14 miles from our home.

On a related note, I did a guest blog this week on how I celebrated my 60th birthday by backpacking over 300 miles from Squaw Valley to Mt. Whitney following the crest of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Check it out here if you are interested.

Walkabout at Burning Man 2012

Burning Man is crammed with interesting people. Getting to know your neighbors is an adventure. Panzachual lived next door to us in the Dharma Dinosaur Camp and would stop by frequently to chat. One night he joined us for dinner. His group came from New Orleans and his costume was created by a prominent New Orleans clothes designer.

The thing about Black Rock City is it is big and bursting with creative energy. There is no way a person can see or do everything. Art is missed, lectures skipped, and late night performances slept through.

The Greeters handed Peggy and me a 160-page events catalogue and a map when we entered Burning Man on Tuesday. I checked out the day’s activities we were invited to attend. There were 360. That’s right… three hundred and sixty! It would take an hour just to skim through what we might do.

For example, I could go to the Moroccan Tent and energize myself with “some endorphin boosting exercise.” Or I could visit The Children of Chaos and obtain “Jewish Motherly Advice.”  Both sounded like things I needed.

Most great adventures involve moving beyond your comfort zone. I found this sign on a sculpture out in the Playa. It definitely applies to the majority of people who visit Burning Man for their first time.

I could learn to belly dance, make necklaces, twirl fire, pole dance, spin hula-hoops, create balloon hats and juggle balls. If I were shy, an alcoholic or had Bi-polar disease, there were caring people ready to help. I was invited to eat popsicles, spaghetti, hot dogs, pancakes, and Miso soup or do beer tasting, wine tasting, whiskey tasting and tea tasting.

Was I up for a naked pub-crawl? Did I need a lesson in bondage?  I had my choice of several types of meditation and yoga. Would I go to the prom, a popcorn feast or a lecture on unified physics? Maybe I should dress up in pink and pop over to the Pink, Pink, Pink Party.

You get the point. The number of choices is overwhelming. There is something for everyone at Burning Man. You are invited to be yourself or someone you have always fantasized being.

As an introduction to Burning Man, I advise newcomers to go on a Walkabout or Bikeabout and simply absorb the atmosphere… and then jump in.

Journey out into the Playa or down any road. While-away an hour… or four, at Center Camp. Poke your head into an interesting tent. Become involved in an animated conversation with a stranger. Go out at 2 PM and 2 AM. Climb to the top of a sculpture. Pick an event you couldn’t imagine going to and go to it. Allow your imagination to run wild. Maybe you will even find something that changes the way you perceive the world.

Today’s photos include a potpourri of things Peggy and I found amusing at Burning Man 2012 in our camp or on our walkabouts and didn’t include in previous posts.

My next blog will focus on the burning of the Man and be the last in this series.

Every street, in fact almost every block, contains something of interest. Peggy found this display of Mr. Potato Heads when she was on a walkabout. There must have been at least a hundred of them. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson)

Center Camp is much more than a place to buy coffee and iced tea. Expect performances of some type almost any time of the day. Or just go to people watch, to see and be seen. Here Punkin and Luna relax in their formal evening attire after a busy night on the Playa.

Most Burners enjoy having their picture taken. They have gone to a lot of work on costumes, bikes, mutant vehicles, performances and art. A photograph is a form of recognition. For individual shots, it is proper to ask first. Often a fun conversation will take place. I loved this bike.

We came across this wonderful creation by Steve Blake out near the Temple. I dubbed it the Bauble Bike.

I was photographing a tall llama mutant vehicle when this six-foot-six guy jumped into the scene. I think he may have been the llama’s creator. Anyway, I found him as interesting as the llama.

This attractive, pregnant gal with pasties and a DNA model outside of Silicon Village invites people into the camp. All large camps offer events for Burners to attend. Among Tuesday’s Silicon village offerings was an opportunity to learn how to build yurts. Another was on sensuality. BTW, most Silicon Villagers come from the Silicon Valley. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson)

This is here because it has to go somewhere. Radical Self-Reliance, one of the Ten Principles of Burning Man, requires that Burners bring their own food. We are always amused that Don, AKA Scout, a retired judge and member of the Horse-Bone Tribe, considers this a gourmet lunch. The sun is serving as his oven. He eats right out of the can. “Why waste dishes?” (Photo by Peggy Mekemson)

I’ll conclude with this little desert fish because it says to me you never know what you will find at Burning Man. (Photo by Beth Lovering) Next blog: The Man Burns.

Wonderfully, Whacky Vehicles… Burning Man 2012

The mutant vehicles at Burning Man 2012 provided ongoing amusement, as they always do. I encountered this Woolly Mammoth at the port-a-potty. Later he came down our road.

I was standing in line for the port-a-potty when the Woolly Mammoth with massive tusks came by and dropped off a half of dozen people to join us. He was one hundreds of wonderfully imaginative ‘mutant vehicles’ that provided transportation across the seven square miles of Black Rock City during Burning Man 2012. 

At any given time of the day you find these Black Rock City licensed vehicles parked in camps, driving up and down the roads, and wandering willy-nilly across the vast open spaces of the Playa. They range in size from one-person scooters up to fifty-person busses. Each one looks like something it isn’t. There are dogs, cats, rabbits, flowers, jungles, bugs, fish, dragons, stagecoaches, ships, yachts, and even a wart hog. The list goes on and on.

One of the main attractions at Burning Man 2012 was a fire shooting steam punk octopus that went by the name El Pulpo Mechanico. Created by Duane Flatmo from Humboldt County, California, El Pulpo’s eight tentacles shot ten-foot high flames into the air. His head added a thirty-foot spout. A typical night of flaming used some 200 gallons of propane. 

Peggy came across El Pulpo Mechanico resting up for his night of carousing out on the Playa. He had also been at Burning Man 2011. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson)

Here, our flaming friend, El Pulpo Mechanico, gathers a night time crowd of Burners.

I believe this big eyed, floppy eared 2012 Burning Man vehicle is a bunny. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson)

Some Burners at Black Rock City require a yacht for transportation. This boat is named Christina.

Others at Burning Man are quite happy with a one-seater. I think Yummy was the name of the camp, not the vehicle. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson)

We were admiring theBurning Man 2012 Temple when this wart hog stopped by for a visit.

Climbing on this orange bus just has to involve a ride to somewhere mysterious and wonderful.

Check out the toothy grin on this Burning Man 2012 vehicle. The creature’s name is Disco Fish.

Sometimes mutant vehicles at Burning Man can appear downright scary, such as this dragon. Flame shoots out of its mouth at night. Note his tire tread skin.

This bear and her cubs show up annually at Burning Man. She and her babies are pulled by a bicycle so technically she isn’t a mutant vehicle. I included her on an earlier blog. I couldn’t resist her charm for my last photo in this post. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson)










On Becoming Outlaw… Burning Man Costumes

The best dressed member of the Horse Bone Camp is Ken Lake, AKA Scottie. 

I am a minimalist when it comes to costumes. In fact I am a shorts and T-shirt kind of guy. For Burning Man, I add a black hat and a neckerchief and consider myself dressed up. I become Outlaw.

Here I am in my Outlaw persona sans neckerchief. The Great Ape was part of a sculpture on evolution. Playa dust decorates my T-shirt and hat.

Everyone is allowed his or her little fantasies at Burning Man. In fact wearing a costume is highly encouraged. It is a key element in the principle of involvement and an expression of personal art. In theory, and to a degree in practice, people go to Black Rock City to participate, not observe.

Costumes have a liberating influence. They allow us to escape whoever we happen to be in everyday life and become, for a brief time, someone else. There’s a bit of the outlaw, or vamp, or siren, or shaman in all of us. One year at Burning Man, fairies and angels were in and it seemed like every other female Burner had spouted a pair of wings.

This is the most graceful pair of wings I have seen at Burning Man. Note the shadows.

Some guys like to get in touch with their feminine side. Or at least I think that’s what it is.  Dozens of men don dresses. If nothing else, their costumes come ready-made.

A manly man dons a dress.

In 2006 I was standing outside of Camp Center with my camera when the annual costume contest was going on. It’s where Burning Man’s best dressed strut their stuff. Somebody assumed I was ‘paparazzi’ and ushered me over to where participants were having their photos taken, a sort of Burning Man Red Carpet. I dutifully snapped away.

Many of the following photos are from that 2006 experience. Others are more random. I have also included photos by Don Green, a fellow Horse-Bone Camp member who is handy with cameras.

This is one of my favorite photos by Don Green. I can’t help but wonder if this is a costume, or whether it is who the woman truly is. For me, she defines exotic.

Another favorite of mine because the man absolutely bursts with personality.

This shaman represents how elaborate costumes can get at Burning Man. Think of the hours and imagination that went into producing it.

Another costume that caught Don Green’s eye. The pink tint to the glasses and the pink lip stick add a nice touch.

Henna Tattoos and body painting often become part of costumes. This woman was quite striking with her stripes.

I usually don’t post nude or partially nude photos out of respect for Burners and my readers. I couldn’t resist this cute pair of umm… kitties, however.

Purple Man.


Green man.

Yellow lady.

Age is no limit. This woman is in her 70s.

Frequently costumes are coordinated. This pair makes for an interesting fantasy.

I’ll conclude with this young woman because I like her hairdo and her smile.









The Man at Burning Man

Since the beginning of Burning Man, the Man has dominated the event, providing a convenient meeting place, landmark, and viewing platform for six days and burning on the six night.

The Man goes to his fiery death in 11 days.  Drummers will drum, fire dancers twirl, mutant vehicles gather, fireworks go off, and some 60,000 people witness the event. It is the highlight of the week, the one must-do event… and almost everyone participates.

But the Man is more than one final, fire-filled happening. For six days he will tower over the Playa and Black Rock City serving as a meeting place for friends and as a guide for misplaced Burners. Major events will start and end at his feet. He is the dominating figure at Burning Man both during the day and during the night.

With thousands of people wandering around in the dark, mutant vehicles lit up like Christmas trees roaming the playa, and dozens of events happening simultaneously, it is easy to become disoriented at Burning Man. Unless there is a whiteout and zero visibility, the Man is always there to provide a landmark. (Photo by Don Green)

Each year the Man is given a new base that reflects the annual theme. Burners are invited to explore the structure, check out the art, and climb up to high platforms that look out over Black Rock City. The following pictures are taken from five of the six years I have visited Burning Man.

The Man viewed through a metallic flower sculpture in 2009.

A close up and side view of the above photo at Burning Man.

The structure for the Man is always designed to burn. The site is closed down on Saturday while preparations are made. Art is removed and fireworks are inserted.

The 2006 Man provides a good example of how dramatically different each year’s structure is at Burning Man.

The Burning Man structure in 2010 provided great platforms for viewing the surrounding mountains and Black Rock City. Finishing touches are being put on the structure here.

A telephoto view looking into  Black Rock City from the Burning Man tower in 2010.

Another view from the Burning Man tower. In this one I emphasized the surrounding mountains of the Black Rock Desert. Note the bank of porta-potties on the left: not scenic but essential.

In 2007 the unimaginable happened and a misguided prankster lit the Man on fire Thursday night. By Saturday, Burning Man had replaced the structure. In this photo by Horse-Bone Tribe member Ken Lake, the Man (without his head) is being placed on the replacement structure.

A final view of the MAN in Burning Man.



Center Camp… A Tale from Arabian Nights: Burning Man

Festooned with welcoming flags, Center Camp provides around the clock entertainment, coffee drinks and iced tea. Most Burners visit the Center daily… some, like me, visit several times a day.

I was preparing to write this blog on Center Camp at Burning Man and the image of a yuppie oasis popped into my mind. My mind, behaving as it usually does, made the leap to the Arabian desert and the book of ancient tales, One Thousand and One Nights, which led me to think about Scheherazade.  This in turn led to go in search of my iPod and the music by Rimsky-Korsakov. All of which explains why it takes me so damn long to put up a blog.

Naturally I had to Google everything. In the process, I came across the following image. How much more Burning Man can you get?

One Thousand and One Nights has seen numerous movie and book spinoffs. I found this representative painting on Google. It looks amazingly like Center Camp at Burning Man.

For ongoing entertainment conveniently located in one place, Center Camp Café is the place to be. It is the only location on the Playa where Burning Man’s unique wildlife can gather and actually purchase lattes. But it is much more than a desert watering hole.

An ever-changing kaleidoscope of exotic entertainment and colorful characters wander through its doors. Sensuous belly dancers are replaced by even more sensuous hula hoopers. Poi twirlers practice ancient Maori rites while drummers pound away in ecstatic, almost religious, fervor.

This young woman was part of a belly dancer troupe that came jingling and jangling through Camp Center.

I had never realized how sensual twirling a hula hoop could be before I came to Burning Man.

An impromptu jam session at Camp Center.

A beautiful, semi-clad black woman moves to the music and a mysterious shaman peers out from behind a painted, bone in nose face. His feather headdress dazzles the eyes, as does the large fan of a clown painted woman. A beautiful girl draped in damask white skillfully plays her flute with closed eyes. A naked man painted silver holds an animated conversation with a tattooed lady.

This shaman with his bright yellow feathers demonstrates how elaborate costumes can be at Burning Man. Center Camp is one of the best places to see and be seen.

Several photographers lined up for this photo-op of a clown woman with a bright fan.

This talented flutist played a haunting melody. While many performers at Burning Man are in the learning stage, others are highly talented. Everyone is encouraged to participate.

Yoga masters practice contorted moves while costumed Burners are invited to show off their zebra striped and pink finery in the annual fashion show. Just when you think you’ve seen it all, a suit attired right-winger charges on to the runway and threatens to blow up Black Rock City. In the end, the good vibes of Burning Man win him over.

Welcome to Center Camp.

Coffee drinks and ice tea are available at Camp Center. It’s about the only thing you can buy at Burning Man. (Ice is also available for purchase.) Volunteers do the work. Horse-Bone Camp member, the Papester, takes a turn at the latte machine.

Center Camp is also a prime location for Burning Man art.

While I’ve come to expect almost anything at Burning Man, I never expected to find this Center Camp fowl.

While you can obtain a cold drink and avoid the sun at Center Camp, you can’t avoid the dust storms that come whirling through. This is a photo of my wife Peggy, AKA Luna, doing everything she can to hide. A reminder to all of the new Burners coming to Burning Man this year: major dust storms are expected. Come prepared.

Burning Man: It’s Not for the Faint Hearted

Burning Man’s roots go back 27 years to the burning of an 8 foot tall statue on Baker Beach in San Francisco. Today’s man stands some 40 feet tall and rests on a 60 foot pedestal. The wooden man and his fiery demise symbolizes the annual event that takes place in the remote Black Rock Desert of Nevada.

Finally I have lucked out and scored a ticket to Burning Man. Now I have to scurry about and get ready. The event is three weeks away; it is serious countdown time. This means my usual blog is going on vacation. For the next three weeks, my posts will be all about Burning Man. I am going to reblog some of my most popular Burning Man blogs and include many of my favorite photos.

Afterwards I promise full coverage on what the 2012 event was like. You are invited along!

I discovered my passion for deconstructing pumpkins in 1992 and came to accept Halloween as an adult holiday. I still had a major hurdle, though; I refused to wear a costume. Even as a kid I resisted dressing up for Halloween. Somehow it seemed un-cool.

Five trips to Burning Man have changed my mind. If you are one of those folks who can’t wait to morph into Count Dracula or Suzy Siren, you might want to visit this annual event.

Burning Man is close to Libertarian in its rules. You are, however, highly encouraged to wear a costume. These range from the simple, such as this guy wearing a neck piece and a bowler, to the more fanciful such as the woman with high shoes and a bikini bottom. Expect some nudity.


But be warned: Black Rock City, the home of Burning Man, is not for the faint hearted.

Temperatures can rise to over 115 during the day and drop to freezing at night in this instant city located in a remote section of the northern Nevada desert. Dust storms whip across the Playa creating zero visibility and coating everything with a fine layer of dust. Eyes, ears, lungs, clothes, tents, vehicles, cameras and laptops become instant victims in this environment. Cleaning up afterwards is a weeklong process, so serious that some RV companies refuse to rent to Burning Man bound celebrants.

A huge dust storm makes its way across the Playa creating close to zero visibility along the way. (Photo by Don Green.)

Just when you believe you have mastered the heat and dust, it rains and you find two inches of mud caked on the bottom of your shoes or bike tires.

None of this seems to deter participants. They come in the thousands to this happening, which runs for a week including Labor Day. Burners, as they like to be known, come from all over the world to see and be seen, to party and perform, to enjoy and create art. And they get there in almost every conceivable mode of transportation including ancient busses, trucks, autos, bicycles, airplanes and over 3000 RVs – all loaded down with the paraphernalia necessary for a week of desert survival.

Overnight, a community of 50 thousand plus rises out of the desert, making Black Rock City the fourth largest city in Nevada for its one week of existence. Burners arrive to a well laid out semi-circular street system, some 450 port-a-potties, a Center Camp Café, the 40-foot tall Burning Man statue (perched on a 60-foot plus base) and little else. Everything they need must be brought with them.

This year a city of 60,000 people will appear and disappear in the Nevada Desert during Burning Man. This photo illustrates what it looks like early in the week. There are still spaces. My van Quivera, is in the foreground. (Photo by Ken Lake)

Center Camp is one of the few structures Burners find set up when they arrive. Here it is operating full tilt as shown by the hundreds of bikes (BM’s primary mode of travel), which are parked outside.

With the exception of coffee, tea, lemonade and ice, nothing can be bought or sold. There is zero commercialization.

As for what the event is, it can be almost anything an individual wants it to be. The only requirements are that you pay the entrance fee and follow a few basic rules.

I asked my friends to describe the event. Their answers included 1) Las Vegas glitter with a new age twist, 2) Haight Ashbury, Woodstock and Mardi Gras rolled into one, 3) a medieval fair dropped into an ancient Greek Bacchanal, and 4) a frat party with avant-garde art.

I view Burning Man as one of the greatest shows on earth. It ranges from the whimsical, as represented by this rabbit, to more serious themes.

My own take is that Burning Man may very well be the greatest show on Earth, a modern-day ‘Hippy Happening’ of gargantuan proportion. New age idealism combines with personal liberation, art, exhibitionism, holistic healing, self-discovery, environmental awareness and partying. Step aside Barnum and Bailey.

The event reaches back 27 years when an eight-foot version of the ‘Man’ was first burned on Baker Beach in San Francisco. Legend has it that Larry Harvey, the creator of Burning Man, was mourning a lost love.

Revisionist thinking suggests something deeper was involved, a search for meaning and unity in our Post-Modern world. And there is an element of that at Burning Man. Certainly much of the art is reflective of Post-Modern thought. There is also an underlying Utopian fervor among the BM true believers that the event can create positive change in the world.

Next Burning Man Blog: Beware of Large Bears with Tuning Forks

When I think Burning Man I think art. This colossal woman appears to be celebrating the event.