Saturday night is the culmination of Burning Man, the moment that gives the event its name, when they actually burn the Man. It’s the only time virtually all the 40,000-plus residents of Black Rock City are in the same place and focused on the same thing.
The man in question is an enormous wooden, um, idol (I mean that in the most value neutral way, of course), bathed in white and yellow neon. It must be five stories tall and stands out on the open playa. When the air is clear, you can see it from miles away.
Unfortunately, as me and the Wandering Jewess headed out there after nightfall on Saturday, the air was anything but. A whipping dust storm had besieged Black Rock City all day, but out on the open playa, with nothing to block it, the storm was beyond fierce.
As we walked across the desert, we could see the Man looming in the distance. But as the wind picked up, we were totally whited out. We wandered around blindly, the dust completely enveloping us, and mildly worried we were going to get hit by someone equally as blind as us or, less plausibly perhaps, lost forever.
And then, out of the void comes a bus lit up in neon with the word Bukkake. If you don’t know what that means, consider yourself lucky. We ran towards it, as did about a dozen others also stranded in the dust. Imagine the scene — everyone costumed, dust-covered, in various states of inebriation, and seeking shelter on the Bukkake Bus. Here’s how me and the Jewess looked.
By the time we made it to the Man, the air had cleared entirely and we found a spot to enjoy the show. There’s not much to say about it other than the fact that it was probably the biggest fire I’ve ever seen, both hot and mesmerizing. I took about 100 pictures of it. Here’s the one I think was the best.