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Home / Entertainment / Larry Harvey, the man behind the Burning Man, is dead at 70

Larry Harvey, the man behind the Burning Man, is dead at 70



The 10 official principles of the festival, written by Mr. Harvey, include civic responsibility, community involvement, gifts and immediacy. But the most frequently cited is radical self-expression.

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The final of Burning Man, the worldwide celebrated anti-establishment, anti-consumption festival that Mr. Harvey started in Nevada in 2013 with a friend. Credit
Andy Barron / The Reno Gazette Journal, via the Associated Press

Early on the event became popular in the digital subculture, conveying the belief that primitivism – even ironic primitivism – and big technological leaps are happy bedfellows. Mr. Harvey saw a connection.

"Both Burning Man and the Internet make it possible to gather the tribe of humanity," he told The Times in 1997. He also saw a "deep parallel between desert and cyberspace". [19659007] The so-called gift economy of the festival is the focus of the experience. There are whiskey bars and sandwich shops at Burning Man, but everything is free. Brenner, as the participants call themselves, offers their products and services as a gift. (The only things sold by the organizers are coffee and ice cream.) No one is allowed to wear a company logo or wear it on a T-shirt.

Mr. Harvey preferred to call the system a "gift culture," as visitors spend large amounts of money on their supplies in advance. But he believed that even a temporary experience with this culture was worthwhile – counteracting economic norms.

"When all of your self-esteem is invested in how much you consume, how many likes you get, or other quantifiable measures," he said The Atlantic in 2014, "the desire to simply own things outstrips our ability or ability Ability to create moral connections with people around us. "

Mr. Harvey was born on January 11, 1948 and adopted as a child by author Harvey and former Katherine Langford. His parents were farmers near Portland, Oregon, and his father also worked as a carpenter. In an article Harvey wrote for the British newspaper The Independent in 2014, he said that he and his brother Stewart, who was also adopted, "felt like exchange students: everyone treated us well, but we did not quite fit."

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At the 2006 Burning Man Festival, "giraffes" from Cape Town met a giant "cat". Credit
Heidi Schumann for the New York Times

Rural life did not suit him, and his parents were not exactly spiritual adventurers. "The heart can really leak out in these conditions," Mr. Harvey told the magazine "Inc." in 2012. "I always had the feeling of looking at the world from the outside."

He escaped while serving in the army. He gave college (Portland State University) a try, with the help of G.I. Bill, disappointed with what he considered humble for his professors

He and his girlfriend, Janet Lohr, now a Burning Man leader, moved to San Francisco in the 1970s, and he accepted Jobs as a bicycle messenger Taxi driver, a cook and finally a landscape gardener. He became friends with artists who made a living as workers.

The first Burning Man to take place on Baker Beach (known for its views of the Golden Gate Bridge and its nudist area) was a cozy affair for Mr Harvey and a friend, Jerry James. It consisted of burning a scrap wood statue of an eight-foot-tall man and was visited by less than a dozen people – including Mr. Harvey's son Tristan, who was five years old – although a crowd was soon gathered to watch. It was a summer solstice celebration; Mr. Harvey sometimes said that it also reminds of a romantic breakup.

Mr. Harvey was once briefly married to Patricia Johnson and raised her son, Tristan, who survived him as a single father. He also survives his brother Stewart.

Mr. Harvey remained fully involved in his creation until his onset, supervising design decisions and choosing this year's theme, "I, Robot."

The 2018 Festival, which will be held September 26-26, 3, will continue, the organization said in a statement, "If there's one thing we know for sure, Larry wants us to burn the man . "

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