If you've always longed to experience the Burning Man Festival but don't have the funds or the gumption to travel into Nevada's Black Rock Desert, you can get a feel for the experimental-arts celebration this summer at the Apogaea in Dreamtime, Colorado's first regional Burning Man event. This weekend, the Space Cowboy Benefit Ball will raise funds for the Apogaea, which takes place in Paonia from July 16 through 19.
"We've had a burn for the Western Slope before, but this is the first time we're hosting a burn for the entire region," says organizer Nani Oakley, a member of the Dome on the Range theme camp, which is co-sponsoring the party with the Alien Insects tribe.
"There are two theme camps for this burn, and we're joining forces to raise money and make it a success," explains Oakley. "We think the regional burn is a great way for people who are considering going to Burning Man to check it out and see it on a smaller scale."
The Space Cowboy Benefit Ball, held this Saturday at the High Street Speakeasy, will feature a slew of hot local DJs and VJs, including DJ Schmid E, DJ Psylens, DJ Wyatt Lightnin' and VJ WileCoyote.
Attendees are encouraged to come in costume, preferably one that fits the evening's cowboys-and-Indians/alien-insect theme. "I'll bet almost everybody will be dressed up," says Oakley, who plans to come in her favorite cowgirl costume. "It's all about participation."
The ball will also feature fire dancers, jugglers and Alien Insect Billiards -- High Street's back pool room decked out in alien paraphernalia.
For those unfamiliar with the Burning Man festival, it is a celebration of freedom of expression and self-reliance that began with the burning of a large wooden man on a San Francisco beach in 1986. Today the annual Burning Man "spontaneous community" draws more than 25,000 people to the Nevada desert in late August for a week-long party featuring art, music and, of course, the burning of the Man himself. The one rule at Burning Man: There are no rules.
"It's crazy -- you're out in the desert for the entire week with these huge, huge art installations and lots and lots of people," says Oakley, who ventured to Burning Man for the first time last summer. "It's just amazing; I've never seen anything like it before."