The chicken man loses

A familiar figure on the Black Rock playa lost his race for mayor of San Francisco this week. Chicken John Rinaldi, a Burning Man fixture, came in eighth in a field of 10 against incumbent Gavin Newsome, who was reelected. Newsome was running against a field of unknowns and no other candidate broke out of single digit percentages. The chicken man drew 346 votes, giving him .80 percent of the vote in incomplete tallies. He is not expected to request a recount.

Chicken John, who with John Mason “led a rebellion against what they saw as Burning Man’s arrogant arts patronage” in 2005 (as CNN put it), also agitated in 2006 for a more environmentally sensitive festival. He actually designed his own hydrogen powered car that was displayed at Cleantech 2007 in San Jose.

During the mayor campaign, Newsome declined to debate, so Chicken John debated someone wearing a plastic Newsome mask (see photo at He also attended the banned Halloween celebration in the Castro dressed as Sen. Larry Craig, dragging his bathroom stall on wheels along with him.