Other idiotic Burning Man trips Back to the beginning of this idiotic Burning Man trip

The Hairy Larvae Book Signing

In June, 1999, Max wrote (on our BM preparations list): "Cupcake is going to score more paperbacks for another book burning, probably more copies of I'm OK, Your OK" [of course, she meant to write You're] "but we wanted to make new covers for them that say Larry Harvey Speaks and have his photo on the front, if we score enough books we'd like to have frequent book burnings."

To my (admittedly stoopid) brain, that seemed like a waste of good satirical material. Another plan presented itself to my lobes:

Item: We discovered last year that our friend Krishna bears a passing resemblance to Larry Harvey, Venerated Founder of Burning Man and Apostle of Radical Self-Expression.

Item: Our friend Krishna's Stetson bears more than a passing resemblance to Larry Harvey's Stetson. Sooooo ... why have a bookBURNING, when you could conceivably cause more havoc with a bookSIGNING? I ran the idea by the list:

"we could host a Larry Harvey booksigning at a designated time, with disgruntled postal workers performing security duties. dr. cliff could play a drunken lout who heckles larry & must be subdued by security."
The idea was well-received, but there was one snag, of course. Larry Harvey has been too busy making the world safe for Closely-Monitored Radical Self-Expression to have had time to express himself in a book.

No problem, Larry. We gotcha covered.

Cupcake, who works at a large bookstore, procured boxes and boxes of throwaway paperback books. I twisted the Burning Man logo into a more recognizable form (see Larry's armband) and designed a cover depicting Larry Harvey-ism in a different context. Reverend Chuck suggested we entitle it Mein Camp. St. Vincent dubbed the playa "Black Reich City." I considered making a sign with that name, and perhaps "Arbeit Macht Fire" ... but we all have our boundaries ...

Max made a bunch of stickers from the design, for plastering onto the fronts of the paperbacks.

Ted Casino, of cardhouse.com, designed a cover depicting a theme that conveyed the humility and self-abnegation that is the hallmark of the Burning Man LLC.

As we rolled through the streets of Burning Man in Art Cars, on the way to the Motorized Living Room, our megaphones blared the important message: Larry Harvey would be signing free copies of his new books at Center Camp.


Photo by Britain

People actually lined up to get autographs. It's amazing, the abuse they would put up with. First they had to be patted down by Larry Harvey's own Praetorian Guard, otherwise known as the Disgruntled Postal Workers. This is a crew that knows how to dish out abuse. Loudly. But people wanted their free books and to meet "Larry."

Krishna, looking like the bastard refugee child of Jim Jones that he is, was a true thespian hero in the Cult Leader role. He disdained even to look at his supplicants, who were in turn ordered "DO NOT LOOK AT MISTER HARVEY!" by the DPW (that's Disgruntled Postal Workers, not Dept. of Public Works -- that's a different Burning Man entity).

It was my job to make sure none of the books contained high explosives, or any other substance dangerous or repugnant to Mister Harvey. Then, and only then, would Our Leader make his signature. Sometimes he would sign "Larry Harvey," sometimes "LH," sometimes he would refuse to sign at all, and we'd throw the supplicant off the Motorized Living Room. Often he would write funny comments along with the signature, or circle appropriate phrases from the testimonials inside the front pages of lurid novels. Wish it were possible to remember some of them. As part of the security staff, it was important not to smile or laugh, but Krishna didn't always make that easy.
Photo by Bethany

Sometimes he whispered commands. He might demand a person's water, or require some other form of gift. Sometimes, he just didn't like the look of a person and had us throw the loser off the platform. Looks like this poor loser had to surrender his water cannon. NO UNAUTHORIZED WEAPONS IN MISTER HARVEY'S VICINITY!

Harry Larvae and his consort. Note how Krishna wears the regulation Larry Harvey sunglasses and even holds his unlit cigarette in the accepted Harvey manner.
Photo by someone evidently using Molly's camera