BONFIRE OF THE TECHIES

HORDES OF PLAYFUL DIGERATI ASSEMBLE FOR A HALLOWED ANNUAL RITE

On the last weekend in August, my two young daughters and I will pack our suburban minivan with 2 1/2 gal. of water per person per day and head off to northern Nevada. There, in thousands of square miles of pure desert nothingness, 20,000 cheering, dancing celebrants will circle a towering, two-legged wooden sculpture and burn it to the ground.

It happens every Labor Day. Burning Man, as the festival is known, is an annual outbreak of techno-tribalism that has the makings of the next great American holiday. If this year's party is like past ones, the immense desert flats will...

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