The 3-minute interview with Larry Harvey

As an expected 45,000 people pack up for Burning Man, which starts Monday in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert, The Examiner caught up with one of the men who started it all in 1986 on San Francisco’s Baker Beach. The weeklong festival of self-expression, self-reliance and art has become an international event, but still draws heavy participation from the Bay Area.

Give us a sneak peak of this year’s art. It will be big. They’re already installing a piece called “Big Rig Jig,” two oil-tanker trucks that twine around each other vertically. It looks like a strain of DNA. It will be immense and intricate at the same time, an exquisite thing.

How has Burning Man changed — both for the better and the worse? For the better, there’s actually more participation than when it was small. There are more theme camps per capita, more art, more interaction — there’s just more of everything we come to value most. For the worse — for those who don’t like a big city, they might not like it because we’ve become a cosmopolitan place complete with our own international airport. I guess the only thing that’s vanished is the feeling of being a moat in the middle distance — when you’re pushing up against the horizon and feeling infinitesimally small at the same time, that’s near mystical.

Is there a place for introverts at Burning Man? Yes. At the back of the city, we have walk-in camping where your nearest neighbor will be many feet away. You can commune with the stars and enjoy a relative amount of quiet. There should be a place for the quiet-minded, but if you’re really seeking silence, I wouldn’t come to Black Rock City.

tbarak@examiner.com


Check out more 3-minute interviews from our San Francisco newsroom.

Bay Area NewsLocal

Just Posted

Pregnant women are in the high-risk category currently prioritized for booster shots in San Francisco. (Unai Huizi/Shutterstock)
What pregnant women need to know about COVID and booster shots

Inoculations for immunosuppressed individuals are recommended in the second trimester

Examiner reporter Ben Schneider drives an Arcimoto Fun Utility Vehicle along Beach Street in Fisherman’s Wharf on Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
Could San Francisco’s tiny tourist cruisers become the cars of the future?

‘Fun Utility Vehicles’ have arrived in The City

The Science Hall at the City College of San Francisco Ocean campus is pictured on Jan. 14. The Democrats’ Build Back Better bill would enable free community college nationwide, but CCSF is already tuition-free for all San Francisco residents. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
What Biden’s Build Back Better bill would mean for San Franciscans

Not much compared to other places — because The City already provides several key features

A directional sign at Google in Mountain View, Calif., on Oct. 20, 2020. Workers at Google and Amazon are demanding their companies pull out of Project Nimbus, a $1.2 billion contract to provide cloud services for the Israeli military and government. (Laura Morton/The New York Times)
Google and Amazon employees criticize $1.2 billion cloud services contract with Israel

‘We can create a world in which tech companies can thrive without doing harm’

Most Read