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2004.12.05

Urban Legends

Black Rock City has been around as we know it for a little while now. The population has steady increased like any other town in America, the urban planning has developed to a point of satisfactory stability and the citizens understand the basic laws of the land. The “everyday life” here is not like any other place, however there are daily procedures by the citizens that keep sanity around. But, within this routine there are the anomalies; the unexplained. The stories of people they have scene, events that took place, or of times before the order of the land are now all a part of the lore of Burning Man, and in this contemporary context, these stories have become what we can consider urban legends.

Urban Legends at Burning Man have a common thread of being completely crazy, zany and fun, but at the same time they are completely believable. For example, it is rumored that Perry Ferrell attends every year. That’s not too hard to believe, for where else could he go and travel in the open, but completely under the radar for a week? Another famous face that is rumored to have graced a few stages is Paul Oakenfold. Previous years Oakenfold has played a show at the event, but this year it was rumored the face did not match the name on the playbill for the scheduled evening. Both these artists are believable legends for the event with the advent of the enormous electronic music trend that graces the playa. Other rumored names that might be brought on like moths to a flame are DJ Spooky and Phish. Phish’s appearance is the most highly rumored on the playa, however, I asked many of the organizers about this and every single one laughs it off with a roll of the eyes.

Funnier experiences are such legends as Waldo. One person dresses up as Waldo every day, and if you see him, you see him. No big deal, but funny.

There are things on the playa, too. Rumors of a porta-potty fully equipped with curtains, newspapers, fresh scents and other amenities that would make it the most desirable one on the playa.

Disasters are rumored, as well. Airplane crashes, people dying from falling off an art car, money being stolen, or even muggings are rumored. It seems that every year there is a story of a large camp losing a lot of sound equipment, or having vandalizing occur while performance groups are off performing. These are aspects of an evolving city, which makes it a complete urban landscape.

One myth to dispel is that Larry Harvey doesn’t walk around and do stuff anymore. That is simply not true. Larry is the most laid back large event organizer I have ever met. My friend Jeff, a photo journalist, and myself went to a press conference to ask him some questions and we were totally blown away by his down to earth stature. So, if you see Larry say hi and thank him for giving you a chance to find yourself.

01:32 PM in culture :: subculture | Permalink

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