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The Eight Most Surreal Moments in Burning Man's History

Including a naked opera.
Image via Youtube

By now, everyone and their mothers, life coaches, and cycling instructors is getting ready for the annual Playa pilgrimage known as Burning Man. Between the barely-there outfits, notorious camp groups, breath-taking art installations, and fur-covered bicycles, Nevada's Black Rock City becomes a temporary fantasy land where anything goes.

If your only interaction with the Burn is vicariously living through the videos friends post of themselves during sunrise at Robot Heart, there's so much more you're missing. Here, we take you on a journey through some of the weirdest, raddest, and most surreal Burning Man experiences, as documented by YouTube.


1. Skrillex DJing on an art car to a packed crowd of dust

He was playing Magnetic Man's "I Need Air," which may or may not have been intentional.

2. A wedding in stop-motion

Weddings at Burning Man aren't all too uncommon these days, but this video documenting Burning Man-trimony was filmed entirely in stop motion, making an already outlandish event look even more surreal. Extra points for using Mario (aka Mario Basanov, aka Ten Walls) & Vidis's "Changed" as the soundtrack. May their love burn longer than Basanov's career.

3. When someone turned Clueless character Amber's iconic dress into an art car

4. Le Mystere De Papa Loko

Klan-like costumes, babies, and painted penises: Burning Man's operas are the stuff of legend. Here's a recap of the 1999 edition, per the official website:

"In a ceremony of Mystery and Sacralization, the members of the five sects of Playa Voudoun (the green-mudded snake-people of Damballah; the red, fire wielding knights of Ogoun; the white-veiled, erotic Ezilis; the black-draped, morbidly obscene yet capricious Guede; and the energetic drummers and builders of Couzin Azaka) invaded the flaming Sacrosanct Pentagon. At the climax of the rite, altars, stages and giant totems were set ablaze. Frenetically dancing to the fire, the Children of the Spirits, followed by all Burning Man participants in attendance, pierced the flaming Portal of Life and Death in an initiation by fire into the new era."


5. Katy Perry's first burn

Katy Perry can make "Firework," but she can't seem to figure out how to make a Segway work. (Celebrities—they're just like us!) "Obvious first time burner alert," she wrote upon sharing the video on Instagram.

6. Halcyon and on and on…

In which a man spends most of this 14-minute video handing out stickers to fellow Burners. The highlight of this video is around 7:50, when you can hear Fergie's "Glamorous" in the background. Ten years later: still a jam.

7. Burning Man 2014: A Bear's Life

If only for its glorious soundtrack alone. Lana Del Ray's "Summertime Sadness" is peak soul-searching-in-the-sand material.

8. The Burn vs. The Bladder

On watching the Man burn: "The Man exploded in flames, and there was fireworks, and it was brilliant, and the Man was burning… and burning… and burning… and our bladders were filling… and filling… and filling… and the damn thing would not fall down… A lot of people are saying this was the worst Man burn in a long time."