Regular readers of this blog who have observed an occasional cynical slant to my opinions might be surprised to learn that I’m a long-time fan of Oprah Winfrey. It stems from my college days, when my choice of how to spend the day was between bicycling to an Economics lecture or laying in bed with a hangover watching daytime TV on one of New Zealand’s 4 television channels. Oprah usually won.
Oprah has always had a very positive message of personal empowerment. She has created a new 7-part documentary series called Belief, which is looking at 33 different stories of spiritual journeys from around the world. And one of them is Burning Man.
Belief premiers Sunday October 18th at 5pm PST on the OWN channel, with a new episode on every night. The Burning Man episode will air on Wednesday October 21.
Did she just say “Art Project”?
Seven billion people around the world, searching for connection, redemption, meaning. This fall, Oprah Winfrey presents the landmark television event “Belief,” a week-long documentary series airing over seven consecutive nights that depicts how people with a wide range of beliefs search for deeper meaning and connection with the world around them – the rituals, stories and relationships that bind us together as human beings.
The documentary series will explore humankind’s ongoing search to connect with something greater than ourselves, traveling all over the world, and to places “cameras have rarely been,” in search of the origins of our diverse faiths.
The series will premiere on Sunday, October 18 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network.
“For the past three years, my team and I have been working to find the most compelling and thoughtful stories of faith, love and devotion from around the world,” said Oprah Winfrey. “This truly has been my heart’s work, to be able to share stories like these that reflect our world and explore humankind’s ongoing search to connect with something greater than ourselves.”
Here’s the official trailer:
Before I learned about this, there were some puzzling things about this year’s Burning Man. Now, I am no longer puzzled by them. YMMV.
Things like – why would Larry Harvey do an interview from the Playa about black people, saying that they don’t like camping and he can say that because he has a black ex-wife and son? Why would this story go viral around the world, getting picked up by more mainstream media than even the Bugpocalypse or Chocotacogate?
My coincidence theory antennas are also tweaking at the sudden formation of the Pink Hearted at Burning Man and Beyond Facebook group…did Halcyon get an inside tip?
I am surprised that there has been not a peep in the JackedRabbit, Voices of BMOrg, or the new Burning Man YouTube channel about something as significant as Burning Man being one of the things Oprah wants to feature in her special. The last issue of JRS had this:
Steven W Thrasher writes:
“After three treks to Burning Man, the famously hedonistic festival in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert, I must admit it: I am a black Burner.
My black friends and family think I’m crazy for going to Burning Man. According to its own 2014 census, Burning Man is 87% white and 1.3% black. But while Burning Man founder Larry Harvey recently told me that the reason so few of us are here is because ‘black folks don’t like to camp as much as white folks’, the 20-odd black burners (plus one Chicano and one Latina) I interviewed during this year’s Carnival of Mirrors-themed festival had a more nuanced take. Some agreed with Harvey, but many had very different ideas about what keeps black folk from Black Rock City.
We black Burners hailed from several countries and included virgins and veterans. Below are excerpts from our conversations, as we chatted about white hippies, the great outdoors, the problems of black hair and skin in the unforgiving desert and everything in between.”
There’s an important conversation about this article happening on Facebook, too.
(Photo of Mark Adolph, a.k.a. Leut, by Alexander Heilner)
If you follow the link to the “important conversation” on Facebook, you’ll find a whole heap of WTF coming from the Burners at this one.
The Burning Man segment on Oprah was apparently filmed in 2013, when it was the Temple of Whollyness. The episode will air this Wednesday, October 21.
Wednesday, October 21, “Belief: A Change Is Gonna Come” – Explore how our beliefs help us change. First, Anju, a young woman in central India, has committed to forgo all of life’s conveniences and permanently sever ties with her family in order to be initiated as a Jain nun. Anju must first pass three tests designed to challenge her commitment. Next, Howard Fallon and his daughter Shane arrive in the Nevada desert for Burning Man, an annual festival that provides an experiment in community art, self-expression and culminates in the ritual burning of a large wooden effigy. Howard and Shane are seeking to reconnect and heal after unimaginable personal loss. In another part of the American desert, Ashly Hines, a member of the Yavapai-Apache Nation, prepares to participate in the Sunrise Ceremony, a spiritual ritual into womanhood. Finally, scientist Marcelo Gleiser stands at the foot of one of the most powerful telescopes in the world. He has journeyed to the heart of the Atacama Desert in Chile to look deep into space for clues as to how the universe was born and how it is changing over time. He finds the more he searches the universe, the more he must embrace the mystery of the unknown.
So Burning Man has a Temple, and is being presented to the world in quasi-religious terms by the Queen of All Media herself. Meanwhile Burningman.com is posting sermons about the event from Trinity Cathedral (the priest is pretty cool, especially with his glowy costume).
Could we get any more mainstream than Oprah Winfrey and Dr Phil? Where do we go from here, Martha Stewart and Duck Dynasty? Caitlyn and the Kardashian clan on a catwalk made of glow sticks? Mickey Mouse?
“It turns out that in this vast desert space…there are peculiar properties, peculiar magic that takes hold” – Larry Harvey