THERE ARE DRUMS, fire dancers, revelers. A tiny effigy sits at the center of it all. Eight p.m. is showtime. Everyone is gathered ’round, waiting. A rogue firework bursts from its canister and pops. Onlookers screech and laugh. It’s begun. Phones out, cameras on, eyes transfixed. Finally the flames have started to climb the log cabin-like stack of firewood that sits beneath the art figure and his arena of star kabobs — decorative chips, skewered at the center of their five points. A tiny kingdom for a tiny man whose significance is not quite as small.
The drums are swelling now, the DJ’d vocals piercing the collective trance every so often. Every crackle excites the crowd. Firekeepers swarm the bonfire, brushing fallen pieces into the flame. Everyone watches attentively. They’re dancing, smiling, nodding affirmatively.
When the fire finally burns out, pranksters skirt around it, gesturing to amuse their friends. They return to dancing and refill their glasses. It’s two more hours till the next baby burn. In the company of kindred spirits, the time will pass quickly.
Every Monday in the courtyard of Bar +Bistro at Arts Factory, Burner Mondays take place. This Monday was special, though, a tribute to the second annual First Friday burn that might have been — a canceled follow-up to last year’s 20-foot-tall Lucky Lady Lucy, which drew record numbers to the monthly arts festival. When First Friday announced there would not be a burn this year, local burners took it upon themselves to put on a symbolic show, in a true turn-out of Burning Man’s 10 principles — radical self-reliance being among them.
Because if they won’t burn it for you, simply burn it yourself.