The Most Chic Camps at Burning Man 2016

After pedaling around massive art sculptures rising out of the desert silt or partying to techno music, 65,000 burners retreat their camps in Black Rock City to recharge for the next adventure.

Most burners pitch nylon tents in the dry lakebed, affectionately known as the Playa. 
But a steady trend toward Playa glamping has bred elaborate setups, with an eye toward design style, comfort, and fun.
Ali Bar Bar offers drinks at night in a Bedouin tent

Dome On The Range provides cold beer on tap in their saloon
Didn't get enough soccer at the Olympics? 
AwesomeSauce Camp invites burners to become a human soccer ball

So what is Playa-Chic 2016? 
Forget must haves of the “Default World” such as copper bathtubs, barely-there kitchens, reclaimed wood, massive flat screens, or “important” artwork.
Barbie Death Camp serves "fine wine in cheap paper cups,"
while burners admire the art
Even in an RV, burners show domestic high style…

...more so in a bus without amenities.

The hottest camps find a way to beat the heat. Their soft (if dusty) seating, vivid use of color, and over-the-top art offer all-around respite from the blistering, two-tone landscape. 
A water mister is glorious; a slushie machine, the holy grail.
Frozen Oasis is the top of my list for style, hospitality, and music.
This camp not only is artfully decorated, has water misters (!)
  and multiple slushie machines (!!),
it also gifts classical music concerts by the 80 piece Playa Pops Orchestra
to the burner community

White Bronco camp has killer decor
and the hippest DJ dance tunes at night
These White Bronco burners don't really mind the heat
Each Theme Camp, planned and run by 15-40 burners, offers a special gift to the larger community: a classical symphony performance, free handmade food on Taco Tuesday, a pictorial museum of "The Man," group showers, a steady supply of bacon. 
Mansonian Institute (think Smithsonian but MAN-sonian) presents
a pictorial history and museum of The Man
Tubatron entertains visitors to the Museum with his flaming tuba

Comfort and Joy is a gay community camp offering a full gym
and yoga classes to all, in great colors against the dust
The best camps, welcoming in their decor and atmosphere, embody the inclusive spirit of Burning Man itself. There’s nothing sweeter than a fellow burner’s ready offer of a slushie when you stumble back into camp after a hot day on the Playa. Nestling into a dusty beanbag, you sip a frozen brew and drink in the artful d├ęcor all around you.

Fannie's Favorite Hidden Gems at Burning Man 2016

At Burning Man all the works of art, like our inhibitions, are on full display against the vast emptiness of the ancient dry seabed, known as the playa. Some artists are fortunate to get placement on the inner playa (and partial funding from Burning Man), near the camps of 65,000 burners. But out in the deep playa are some equally stunning works, waiting to be discovered. You can pedal your bike or hop on a mutant vehicle to get there.

What’s the best time to venture out on your discovery mission? It depends. Some artworks are wonderful by daylight, though they are hard to find in the dust. At night it’s easier to find some of these far out pieces, their light or fire a beacon in the dark. 

Either way, you won’t be disappointed. 
Here's a short list of my "hidden" favorites this year:

1. Sonic Runway by Rob Jensen. Way, way out there in deep playa, I first saw this piece in daylight and loved its minimal effect against the horizon. It’s nearly invisible by day.


At night, dazzling sound-activated LED lights make it a huge hit with burners. 

2. La Victrola by La Victrola Society. In the outer reaches of deep playa the mammoth Victrola plays soft music and offers a resting spot for burners in a dust storm.

3. jack champions murder by jack champions murder. This murder (flock) of 5 playa-scale crows inspires a range of interactions. Even more bizarre, I saw a live crow walking nearby, the first live bird I’ve ever seen on the playa. This work is high on the burner scale for weirdness and humor. 

4. TRASPARENZA by Andrea Greenlees. More intimate in scale but a real gem, TRASPARENZA appears like delicate dusty lace during the day. By night its light changes color and mood constantly.

5. Awakening by Ryan Elmendorf and Nick Geurts. Though the colossal size of this sculpture makes it visible even in the deep playa, it has a hidden surprise inside the head. The darkened interior space contains a camera obscura

6. Wittgenstein, Da Vinci, Rachmaninoff by London Committed. A multi-sensory, participation piece, it’s covered in images of knot designs by Leondardo da Vinci (da Vinci’s Workshop being the theme of this years Burning Man), sayings by the philosopher Wittgenstein, all set to music by Rachmaninoff. Inside are ropes and instructions for burners to make their own knots, as they contemplate philosophy and listen to music.

7. Electric Renaissance, a Tribute to Cadillac Ranch by Heliotropics. Even at nine feet tall, this piece might be missed in the wide flatness of the playa. It’s CAD-like structure is quite beautiful as you move around to view it. Note the Tesla body, a humorous nod to the emergence of electric cars. 

8. El Pulpo Mecanico by Duane Flatmo. This longtime Burning Man favorite has no fixed location. As a “mutant vehicle,” it roams the playa, jetting fire from each moving leg, warming up burners in the cool night air.