Burning at Burning Man

As a number of people have heard, there was arson last night at Burning Man. Around 3:00 AM, the Man sculpture was lit on fire. Fire crews came from the surrounding area and eventually put the Man out.

Burning Man Blaze

Eventually, San Francisco artist Paul Addis was arrested for arson. Details aren’t clear right now but a mugshot that has been called “surreal” was made available by the Reno Gazette Journal:

Paul Addis Mugshot

I recognized Paul from the play, Gonzo, that R and I attended earlier this year. Paul played Hunter S. Thompson in this relatively well done play. One of my shots from this can be seen below.

Gonzo 5

I have no idea why he did it (or proof that he did though I am going to assume he did do it at this point). The grin on his face in the mugshot certainly doesn’t give the impression of a remorseful soul or one caught for a crime he didn’t commit.

I’m sure more news will be coming out over the next day or two. You can watch the updated article at Laughing Squid on this matter.

Update: I can’t believe I’m actually quoting Valleywag as a source. It makes me cringe. Here is an excerpt from their article on the matter:

The facts as they stand are thus: Addis climbed to the left foot of the man armed with fireworks of some kind, lit them, and set The Man prematurely aflame. Local police now have him in custody, and word is that Burning Man organizers are going to press charges to the fullest. We speculate that had it been up to Burning Man's Department of Public Works, the notoriously hardcore, grizzled crew that spends months in the desert to construct, tear down, and clean up Black Rock City, the perp would have been hogtied with electroluminescent wire -- a popular art-car decoration -- and torn to shreds by a sunburned, stinky, enraged mob underneath The Man's smoldering embers. But for now, vigilantes do not rule the streets of Burning Man. Rick Abruzzo, an acquaintance of Addis (and former Valleywag correspondent), mentioned that Addis had been asking for a flare gun or similar object the evening before The Man lit up. Not that anyone obliged. Acquaintances say of Addis, "He has all the ambition to be a Hunter S. Thompson, but without the elegance." One witness, who also did not wish to be named, said she actually saw Addis setting the blaze, and was told that he had been bragging about it beforehand to some campmates. The campmates were apparently also the ones who turned him in.

Laughing Squid has reported that Addis is now out of jail on bail paid for by friends, who had to convince him to give his name to the police, which he had been refusing to do for some reason.