Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Sold out "Burning Man" begins (watch live)

Madeleine Brand (KPCC)

BLACK ROCK CITY, Nevada - Economic austerity? Not when it comes to entertaining distractions. More than 50,000 people are converging this week at "Burning Man" for the annual arts festival. It reaches its zenith on Labor Day. Among the attractions are a 15 foot tall Pez Dispenser with a giant yellow chicken head and a giant fire breathing dragon that doubles as a Viking ship.


The festival culminates with the torching of an enormous effigy. For the first time in the festival's 25 year history, tickets are sold out. Scalpers on EBay are charging as much as $800 for tickets [for those afraid to show up and get in for free or for much less], causing some to suggest that capitalistic interests are overshadowing this year's communitarian gathering.

Jessica Bruder joins Madeleine Brand from the desert. Bruder is the author of Burning Book: A Visual History of Burning Man, writing about the gathering's growing pains for the New York Times.


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