The Gifts of Burning Man
By Dale Pendell
Frog, Ltd., Paperback, 9781583941720, 110pp.
Publication Date: December 1, 2006
In part a nonfiction discussion of the Burning Man festival, in part a poetic romp through Nevada’s Black Rock desert, Inspired Madness is both an irreverent introduction for those curious about the notorious event and an exhilarating reminiscence for veteran "burners." Loosely structured around a week at Burning Man, the book combines a history of the festival with personal stories and social commentary, juxtaposing images and stories to capture a sense of the wild and unpredictable nature of life on the Playa. Throughout the week, readers are taken on a memorable ride, exploring the festival itself and meeting Owl, an eccentric beatnik and one of the organizers of the Delphic Delirium Camp: Lolo, Jah, Scarlett, and other larger-than-life figures. Interweaving dialogue, anecdotes, and stream-of-consciousness narrative with historical, sociological, and political observation, Inspired Madness evokes the half-waking, half-dreaming quality of the Burning Man experience.
"Dale Pendell’s account...confirms the gaiety and sprightly insight of our free human community, naked or clothed, muddy, dusty, clustered or soclitary, sharing and being. Is this old-time paganism or a hint of some future utopia? For sure it’s in the present moment and Dale brings it down to hearts and minds."
—Gary Snyder, poet
"Like everything, it’s all in the sensibilities, and Dale’s are acute, perceptive, funny, profound, twisted, and decidedly anarchic. If that’s you, you’re holding a treat in your hand. If not, go back to Scarsdale and have a gin and tonic."
—Peter Coyote, actor, author of Sleeping Where I Fall
"Bravo! Viva! Whoopee! I found it to be of the page-turningest philosophical travelogues ever."
—Rob Brezsny, astrologer, burner, author of Pronoia Is the Antidote for Paranoia