Lahontan is Lake Again

Image: Renee Aldrich via RGJ

The Interwebz are all abuzz with pictures of people kayaking on the Playa, which has been under water for a couple of months now. Check this story at the Reno Gazette-Journal Kayakers Take Over Black Rock Desert.

Once upon a time, the Playa was a prehistoric mega-lake

Re-blogged from



A weather phenomenon in the Black Rock Playa is creating a stir amongst this year’s prospective Burning Man attendees. The innermost basin of the 200-square-mile expanse located outside Gerlach, Nevada has flooded as a result of torrential downpour, and some question whether or not the transformational gathering will still take place.

Over the past couple weeks, murmurs have circulated about how the flood has left the Playa submerged in up to 6-8 inches of water. Much of the Burner community dismissed the rumors as “fake news” (with varying degrees of apparent seriousness), but Nevada Magazine Associate Editor Eric Cachinero posted the following photo in the Burning Man Facebook group:

To verify the authenticity of the photo, Cachinero followed it up with a video:

However, perhaps the most picturesque photos of the flooded Playa were posted by another group member named Ted K. Stoltling:

Several Burners have speculated that the water will evaporate by the time organizers start setting up for the gathering in August, and indeed, a visit to the Friends of Black Rock-High Rock website reveals that floods take place on the Playa every few years. However, if uncharacteristically high precipitation did threaten the event, Burning Man promoters Black Rock City, LLC (BRC) would not be held accountable. An excerpt from the organization’s legal disclaimer to ticketholders reads:

Tickets are nonrefundable even if the Event is terminated early or canceled due to harsh weather, acts of nature, government regulation, or conditions beyond BRC’s control. BRC is not liable for acts of God or actions taken by government agencies.

Burning Man has taken place annually in one form or another since 1986; 1990 marked the first edition that graced the grounds of the Black Rock Playa. As opposed to similar large-scale festivals, the ethos of the event is built upon ten principles which include radical inclusion, decommodification, and radical self-reliance, among others.

As of this writing, BRC has yet to issue a statement regarding the Black Rock Playa flood. The 2017 edition of Burning Man is slated to take place from August 27th to September 4th.


Spring: In the Air, and on FIRE

by Whatsblem the Pro

Mr. President, we must not allow a trebuchet gap!

Mr. President, we must not allow a trebuchet gap!

Have you ever wanted to set something on fire and fling it straight to Hell with a trebuchet, then set the trebuchet on fire and dance your crazy ass off?

I know, stupid question. We all have. It’s a universal dream, held in common by all humanity, everywhere.

If you haven’t yet managed to make that dream come true for yourself, Spring Fling is for you. They’ve got the trebuchet, they know the secret of making fire, they’ve got Opulent Temple, Dancetronauts, and Digital Apex personnel to play the special music for you. All they need is your crazy dancing ass, and the world can finally end happily. . . and it’s free!

It seems like new burner events are popping up everywhere lately, like mushrooms. . . and pretty much everyone agrees: that’s a good thing. As a culture, we need to spread and grow. We need to find opportunities to preserve and evolve our more radical artistic and recreational tendencies, and get ourselves out from under the thumb of the corporation that runs Burning Man. Regional events, sanctioned or unsanctioned, are the scaffolding that makes that happen.

To that end, from April 26th to 28th the Mojave Desert fifteen miles outside of Barstow will come alive with lights, beats, poi spinning/fire dancing, pyrotechnics, whatever amazing talents and gear you bring with you, and a sky full of high-velocity objects of your choice zooming devil-may-care to a fiery doom. “Bring your tools,” exhorts the website for the event. “Bring your hard hats. Bring your party pants.” Bring that inanimate object you hate, too, for the trebuchet.

You’ll also get an opportunity to learn something about meteorite hunting, and maybe even find a meteorite or two of your own. The dry lake bed where Spring Fling is being held is prime territory for meteorite hunters, and you’ll undoubtedly witness some innovative techniques for finding them.

Due to the site being private property (though it is adjacent to BLM land), Spring Fling has some unusual restrictions – no glass is allowed, for instance – but for the most part, this decommodified leave-no-trace event will be free of the rules and restrictions that prevail in Black Rock City. The judicious reader will appreciate the depth and quality of that freedom when I mention that you must sign a liability waiver to attend, which legally speaking is a lot less laughable than the somewhat less than binding ‘contract’ we see on the backs of Burning Man tickets. Spring Fling isn’t going to be total anarchy, but it will definitely be potentially fatal in a good way.

Attention, meteorites: You can run, but you can't hide.

Attention, meteorites: You can run, but you can’t hide.

Here’s the events schedule for Spring Fling 2013:


Friday night we will hold a large bonfire at Center Plaza. There will be music and the Beer Garden will be open (the Beer Garden is free, however there is a two beer limit).

A smaller trebuchet will be launching whatever you bring to launch, up to fifteen pounds.

The entertainment tent will have some stupid movie playing, and there will be popcorn available. Bring your own chair.


During the day the Beer Garden will be open, body painting will be offered, and a geologist will be leading hikes for meteorite hunters. Several camps will have music playing and other attractions.

All Day: Trebuchet building will start early; please bring your tools and hardhat. Yes, a hardhat is required. We will have the main frames already assembled. The goal is to have it completed by 3PM and a test firing at 4:00 PM.

9:30 AM  10:30 AM: Coyote Dirt Pancake Breakfast. Join us at Center Plaza for some warm pancakes.

11:00 AM – 1:00 PM: Mud wrestling competition will take place. Winner will be the second to launch the large trebuchet. Showers will be available for you to clean up.

1:00 PM 2:00 PM: The 3K Coyote Run. Try our obstacle course and see if you can make it to the finish line. Mud, fire, Sand People, coyotes, beer/soda, water. . . and hopefully more Sand People. Winner will be third to launch the large trebuchet. Showers will be available for you to clean up.

1:00 PM – 2:00 PM: Ultimate Animal Costume Dodge Ball. Bring your animal costume or paint your body to look like some sort of animal. Last person standing will be fourth to launch the trebuchet.

2:30 PM – 3:30 PM: Burning Man Lessons. Come and learn about Burning Man and how to prepare and participate in this epic journey. Hear from experienced burners and let them teach you how to prepare, setup camp, what to bring, the do’s and don’ts of Burning Man, and anything else you want to know.

3:30 PM 5:30 PM: Fire poi dancing lessons. Want to learn how to dance with fire? Come to this event and learn the art of fire poi dancing. Our instructors will teach you the basic skills and equipment needed.

4:00 PM: Listen for the horn, bell or some other large noise. The practice launch will be underway.

3:30 PM 5:30 PM: Beer Pong/Quarters Tournament. We will teach you how to play Beer Pong with the big dogs. This a 21-and-over activity; wristbands will be checked.

4:00 PM – 5:30 PM: Communal camp clean-up. Please join us in preparing the large trebuchet for launching and general camp cleanup. We will do a general camp cleanup and prepare the area around the trebuchet for the burn. This will be a communal effort so please come.

5:30 PM 6:30 PM: Fire display and show. You won’t want to miss this.

6:30 PM: Join us in the plaza for the Memory Launch. During the day a hay bale will be available to which you can affix a note, photos of loved ones, etc. . . anything you would like to symbolically fling away or give a special ride. This launch will be one of sorrows, pains and joys. Once the hay bale has burned to ashes, the party will begin.

After the Memory Launch, we’ll have a fire show and start launching other things with the big trebuchet. When the moon rises above the mountains around 10:00 PM, we will burn the trebuchet to the ground with a fireworks show to celebrate the event.


The gate will open at 8:00 AM and you can leave at that time. We’re asking for volunteers to help break the large tents down and load them on the big truck. Please clean up your camping area and haul all your trash out.

For more information, check the Spring Fling website, or the Facebook page for the event.