Burning Man: Love in a white-out dust storm and the Big Burn

Los Angeles Times Daily Travel & Deal blogger

Burning Man, the mash-up of art, music and “radical self-reliance” in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert, will light up its signature Big Burn of the Man at 9 p.m. PDT Saturday. Tickets sold out for the first time in the festival’s 25 years, so those who couldn’t get access to Black Rock City (population right around 50,000) for the big event likely will be watching on the live streaming webcast.

The website is chock-full of all that happens at Burning Man, but my favorite story so far was posted Thursday on the Burning Blog by John Curley, who has been in attendance since 2004:

“The Burning Man guide book will tell you that love on the playa is a complicated thing. Burning Man is good for couples, Burning Man is bad for couples. That’s what it will tell you. It’s a hard place to be together, and it’s the best place in the world to be together.


“We will tell you, though, that playa love, the kind that blossoms in the extreme atmosphere here, both sensory and emotional, where all your experiences are intensified and more vivid, we will tell you that playa love can survive, prosper and endure. It can take root, and flower. We tell you this because we have seen it over and over, and we saw it again last night.”

Wow. Curley goes on to describe the desert wedding of Ben and Helen, who met four years ago at the festival. Helen looks downright regal in her fitted white bodice, white shorts and flouncy fabric train; elbow-length white gloves and huge white goggles.

The wedding went something like this: Helen was nearly invisible in a white-out dust storm, her “art car” broke down and she needed a lift to the ceremony, bagpipes were playing, people were wiping their eyes and then the two “promised to be playa buddies, and all that implies, forever.”

Check out wedding photos -- and the rest of Burning Man happenings that continue until Monday.