The night was warm. No wind. Perfect. Couldn’t be nicer. Thousands surrounded the mighty buildings in a calm and respectful way, waiting. And then, those ornate wooden structures began to burn.
The Temple of Transition was aflame, and within a couple of minutes, the inferno was roaring. Two commonly overworked adjectives, awesome and epic, were accurately appropriate for this colossal spectacle, as the Temple and its five satellites made the rapid, outrageously massive metamorphosis from solid to gas. The great fires raged, and those who watched seemed content to do so quietly, each consumed by their own cranial firestorms.
The Temple finally collapsed into a blazing heap, and then, shortly thereafter, a new apparition appeared and climbed into the night sky. A kite of a ghost, unmistakable in its design, quickly gained altitude and flew high over the flames, riding the heat waves soaring up from the fire. The two-tailed spectre stayed aloft for minutes, becoming a special part of the event, inspiring new thoughts and feelings. The Ghost of the Temple Burn, as it turned out, was totally and completely perfect. One of those moments that reminds you why you came out here in the first place.
The grand Temple of Transition was, by just about all accounts, a smashing success and one of the greatest projects in the history of Burning Man. For us locals, it was also a point of pride that this particular Temple was created and built, piece by piece, gargoyle by gargoyle, right here in downtown Reno. The construction site was the Hobson Building, that huge, vacant old hulk at the corner of E. Fourth and Morrill streets.
But, hold on. The story of the Temple didn’t conclude with its immolation. The gigantic landmark ran a little over budget, and the group that made it all happen would be most delighted if locals who dug, vibed and loved the Temple would now show their gratitude in a more, uh, well … materialistic sort of way.
See, here’s the deal. Burning Man LLC doesn’t build the Temple. It puts that year’s Temple out to bid, open to any group that wants to give it a go. This year, the International Arts Megacrew won the bid, whereupon the LLC then doled out the money for the Temple’s budget. Well, the Temple, as mentioned, ran a bit over budget, which is putting it delicately. It’s safe to say that there’s five digits worth of red ink to tidy up, and right now, the IAM isn’t especially inclined to ask Burning Man to cut a check for the difference, for whatever reasons. IAM would much rather do it on its own.
So, if you’d like to help with a little financial gratitude—or a lot—go to temple2011.org, and click on the donation icon. Your appreciation will be totally appreciated. And keep an eye out for fund-raising bashes in the very near future.