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Burning Man 2009

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Burning Man, an annual festival of art, expression, and anarchy in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert, comes to a close today. The 2009 iteration, held Aug. 31 to Sept. 7, attracted tens of thousands of desert campers. (The Gear Junkie loaned a headlamp last week to a Minneapolis friend-of-a-friend going for her first time.)

Ultimate bonfire: The namesake “Burning Man” is a multistory man-shape inferno that serves as the climax event during the weeklong festival

I have always wanted to go — but have never been — to Burning Man, which is an open-ended week where “participants are removed from their ordinary lives and challenged to express themselves and create art,” as one writer put it. On www.burningman.com, the description is vague and hesitant: It’s about community and self discovery in the desert.

An article this week on About.com’s Adventure Travel page — “Is Burning Man a Pagan Rite? A Contemporary Woodstock? You Decide” — is a nice primer. It describes Burning Man as “an intriguing way to step out of one’s normal lifestyle for up to eight days.” The writer quotes a Burning Man attendee and talks about the 2009 theme, “Evolution.”

Cheers to the campers out there wrapping it up in the desert. Hope your experience included some personal discovery and evolution. Maybe someday I will join you.

—Stephen Regenold

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