Tessie art car brings touch of Tahoe to Burning Man
August 29, 2009
Beginning Monday, a city will spring up from a dusty playa in the Black Rock Desert a few hours’ drive north of Reno.
For the duration of one week, the city will burst with the kind of rampant existence only the temporary life can truly appreciate: endless music, dancing, art of all kinds, nudity, culture, and a spirit that most thought died out with the ’60s.
Created in 1986 by Larry Harvey and a small group of friends in the San Francisco area, Burning Man started as a celebration on Baker Beach, where an 8-foot-tall wooden man was burned.
Four years later, in 1990, participation had grown to 800 people, and the celebration was at that point moved to the desert, where revelers would not encounter problems with city police.
Since the move, the wooden man has grown from 8 to 40 feet tall, and is now placed on top of annually themed buildings ranging as high as 50 feet. What started as a small fire celebration has become a global phenomenon, and is now attracting about 50,000 participants.
This mortal, makeshift city will thrive, for its time, as a temporary oasis from the infrastructure of modern civilization. Burning Man rejects money, instead using a reciprocity system.
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It does away with any confines of acceptable appearance, and instead invokes a free-form style aimed at some of the core institutions of our day-to-day society, breaking things down to the most natural of naked states, and adding, if anything, the individual expression of whatever a person feels like.
This outward description of one’s self does not stop at just clothing, it is encouraged onto a person in every mode felt fit – to include their transportation.
Michael Beaudoin, a South Shore resident and five-year Burning Man veteran, has built an art car for this year’s celebration, in the form of the both feared and beloved lake monster, Tahoe Tessie.
“I wanted to make something to represent Tahoe, and go along with this year’s ‘evolution’ theme,” Beaudoin said. He accomplished just that by starting with an extended four-door ’86 Chevy Suburban, and spending a full summer working on the vehicle: constructing a steel frame, cutting and fitting endless feet of green cloth, adding more than 500 feet of glowing LED wire, installing an impressive sound system and, in the end, creating a mobile Tahoe Tessie party-wagon that is bound to turn the head of just about anyone.
“At Burning Man, having an art car is better than having a bike,” Beaudoin said. “You get to bring the party with you, instead of riding around the playa all night trying to get somewhere.”
In the spirit of the community, Beaudoin is making Tahoe Tessie available for appearances at local fundraisers and Tahoe events. He may be contacted at (530) 363-2675 or through Tessie’s Web page, http://www.Myspace.com/Tahoetessie. Although, for the first week of September, Tahoe Tessie will be camped at the 2:30 and G street location in Burning Man’s Black Rock City.
Some Carnelian Bay locals heading out to Burning Man this year are Spencer Lee Noel and his fiancee, Teddy Patricia Brandon. The young couple set their wedding date of Sept. 5 to be married during the Burning Man celebration. When asked why, Teddy said:
“The playa is a beautiful blank canvas, where someone can really make their dreams a reality, and live the way they want to.”
Spencer added: “We feel at home there. It is the best place in both our minds. It goes along with who we are.”
The newlyweds will be camped in Dinosaur Cove, at 4:30 and Extinct, where, throughout the week, participants will also be able to catch Spencer’s Electronic House DJ sets.
The regional contacts operate the Tahopia camp (located at 9 & G) and Tahoe Village camp (located at 4:30 & E).