by Chris Bodenner
Burning Man began today. Photographer John Curley and his team will be documenting the desert debauchery on the Burning Blog. (Jealous.) If you're unfamiliar with the week-long phenomenon, here's a brief take from Wikipedia:
Burning Man is an annual event held in the Black Rock Desert, in Northern Nevada. It takes its name from the ritual burning of a large wooden effigy on Saturday evening. In 2008, 49,599 people participated in Burning Man. The event is described by many participants as an experiment in community, radical self-expression, and radical self-reliance. Participation is encouraged.
A recent report on the playa (that's dry lakebed) after the jump:
[N]ot bad. Yes there are chunky areas. Yes there are areas that will force you off your bike. But in general, not bad at all. There is a surface crust of an inch or so in most places, with some patches, like the area above, a bit deeper than that. The surface is hard-packed right now, but obviously that's going to change when everyone gets here. Will there be dust? Yes there will be dust.
Bonus hippies: A video shot at Venice Beach of a topless protest staged by a UFO cult called the Raelians (NSFW, obviously). One woman explains at length the difference between their group and the Scientologists.