On Monday, tens of thousands of people and millions of dollars worth of hallucinatory drugs will be working to construct Black Rock City, a temporary "urban center" in Nevada's barren Black Rock Desert. Why, you ask? Well, they have to Burn the Man.
That's right—it's Burning Man time again. You're terrified? Me too.
You don't really understand what happens out there? Me neither.
You're sort of "Burner-curious?" No, I'm not. But you just admitted to being Burner-curious!
The story follows three newbies on their first adventure to Burning Man: an older woman whose husband left her; and a younger couple, Brooke and Bud. As if horrible dust storms and a bad acid trip weren't enough, Bud's girlfriend has an affair with another woman. But Bud doesn't run home complaining: Something about Burning Man makes him want to engage with the challenge. Librettist Erik Davis says the opera is trying to highlight this theme of Burning Man.
Apparently, the performance piece is marketed towards people like YOU, Mr. Burner-curious; those who are thinking about seeking out self-actualization by way of body paint in the desert, but aren't quite sure what they're getting themselves into. (Though, from what I can surmise about Burning Man via websites, photo galleries, and bleary-eyed survivors, I'm not sure anyone in attendance actually knows what the fuck is going on).
Here is a sample track from How to Survive the Apocalypse. Which, at a staggering 13-minutes of crescendoing nonsense, really does leave you utterly prepared for the end of the world. Or praying for it.
"How to Survive the Apocalypse" Demo, featuring performers, as well as Burning Man field recordings.