The Man Behind Burning Man

Larry Harvey, pragmatic utopian, wants to shape his bonfire party into a model for future living

He is not one of them. They are naked bongo-playing blue Smurfs proffering gang massages and, in the hindsight of photographic evidence, looking like a bunch of dorks. He is sitting alone on a couch in the middle of the desert, face hidden under a cowboy hat and aviator sunglasses, teeth like a colonial graveyard, chain-smoking unfiltered Camel 100s in the 98[degrees] heat and talking about the ancient Greeks' concept of public space. When the Internet took his bonfire and turned it into a horde-gathering weeklong event that generated headlines all over the globe, Larry Harvey could have become many things:...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!