Larry Harvey

"Well we don't have a lot of rituals in this society really. Well we have some rituals in this society; we have football games, we have the Super Bowl. But when the Super Bowl is over ,when a football game is over, you've had your thrill but suddenly you begin to realize that it was inherently meaningless. There was no transcendence..." --Ritual, Community and Burning Man, An Interview with Larry Harvey, Burning Man's Founder /@Deolog!

"We lead lives that are deadeningly passive. Everyone is sorted out in a seperate stall, like cattle in a feed-lot. Every time anything like real culture is produced by a creative community it's expropriated and flogged in the media and turned into a cliche - it used to be six years, now it's six months it's getting down to six weeks." --Larry Harvey

Our community will have a defining perimeter. We moving from the illimitable space of the Black Rock Desert to terra firma. This place has the permanency of real land. Until now we have floated in nothing. --Burning Man '97: Promised Land

"Nothing's going to trickle down anymore, so there's no point in sitting around waiting for a grant," he says. "Populism is in the air. There are amazing reserves of raw talent out there. Wonderful things have been achieved at Burning Man by people who have never done art before. Instead of doing art about the state of society, we do art that creates society around it." --from Got A Light? SF Bay Guardian, 8-28-96

"It was started by a guy named Larry Harvey," I explained to the camping store salesman, whom I hoped could guide me to the spot. "He was getting over a love affair, so he and a friend built an eight-foot man, took it out to Baker Beach in San Francisco, and burned it. It took off from there." ... Ten years later, the Burning Man is a four-story wooden figure in the desert a hundred miles north of Reno. The premise: light it with neon, pack it with pyrotechnics, party around it for three days, and then torch it. --from Call of the Wild - A Year of Living Riotously - Discovery Channel [1995]

Burning Man, when we met, was an arty attraction of San Francisco's creative underground; Larry and his friend Jerry James had begun, four years before, constructing a human figure from scrap wood, taking it to Baker Beach on the summer solstice, and burning it against the ocean sunset. The first Burning Man captivated an audience of unexpecting passers-by, and so a second, larger Man was burned the next summer solstice for the delight of friends. --from The Burning Man Responds to the Proust Questionnaire

" ... an archaeopteryx on my shoulder did whisper me a lulu, videlicet: Larry Harvey, the Artist in Charge of The Whole Thing at the selfsame Burning Man Thingamajig is now negotiating with one of the larger casinos in nearby Reno, working on the Deal of the Century. Sources close to the First Church of the Last Laugh blabbed to this very col. that Harvey will sell the entire Burning Man concession to the casino. The adjacent town of Gerlach will be made over into a modern parking facility. From thence, air-conditioned trams will carry festivalgoers onto the playa at scheduled intervals. At the re-named Larry Harvey's Burning Man Land & Casino, attendees can gamble, visit theme "lands" such as Mudland & Swimsuitland, & watch the Man burn, every hour on the hour. Rumormill hazzit that the Disney people are just a bit worried. . . --from The Earth is My Beat, September 1, 1995 Burning Man Late Edtion

HARVEY: I grew up in the outskirts of Portland, Oregon, in a truck farming region that was amid truck farms and pastures, at the end of a road, in an area that was populated by this diaspora of immigrants. Japanese, Germans, Italians. And the Harvey's there, squatting in the midst of it.

My father was a carpenter and mason. A relentlessly self-made man. Semi-literate, and so fierce in his autonomy, so insistent on his integrity as someone self-made, that not through a mean heart, but perhaps because of a blind one, he neglected to make contact with those around him.

So, our family in many way was nestled in the midst of strangers. I turned at an early age to the communion of nature, which was wonderfully, mystically present to me from an early age. We were on the flood plain of the Columbia river, sitting on top of 30 feet of loam. We had an acre and half. We had chickens, we raised every vegetable known to man.

I was an adopted child, as was my brother. Both my brother and I had reasons to feel isolated, doubly so because in our family there wasn't a great deal of direct emotional communication. Finally, the world receded in my childhood to what I could securely keep behind my closed door.

My father, avatar of integrity that he was, respected that, which was a wise thing. It was a kind of love. But I, for years, felt as if I didn't know why anyone did anything. In a way it's good. Throughout my life I've always felt that I was making some new landfall on the shores of humanity, having started out from such radical isolation. ... from page 4 of techweb interview

More about Larry...

I wanted to ask Larry Harvey if success was killing his original idea for Burning Man. So I did - Commonwealth Club ads ... Tom Ridge and The Commonwealth Club at

Now, apparently, even the Commonwealth Club thinks it must grasp clumsily after slow minds in the youth demographic, and you can see the results in an unctuous ad campaign running at a transit stop near you. In the campaign, supposedly hip and attractive men and women of the 18-to-34 set assert their intense desire for close interaction with semicelebrities at the Commonwealth Club. All of the ads radiate condescension; one particular ad, located at the bottom of an escalator serving the southeast corner of the Powell Street BART/Muni station, is cloying enough to have inspired sarcasm of a type that can only be called ... inspired.

In the ad, a young woman states that she'd always wanted to directly question the founder of the Burning Man festival. "So I did," she smirks - So I Wrote a Snide Column On big teeth, demographic pandering, and the Commonwealth Club BY JOHN MECKLIN

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