BurningManOpera.org >    Atlantean Life Overview > 

Pepe's Sculptures    The Pyramid     Group Kitchen      Rehearsals & Vortex      Pyramid Initiations       Costumes
     Great Rite 1     Some Eminent Atlanteans     Village Life     Elsewhere on the Playa 

1- Looking through the Yoni toward the Lingam

In the beginning (which is already ending) was the Lingam. The Burning Man institution known as the Opera grew out of ceremonies performed around the ritual burning of phallic sculptures Pepe Ozan built each year in the desert, starting in 1993.

For Burning Man 2000, Larry Harvey commissioned a gateway into the great Body laid out along the Spine of the Man. Finding his inspiration in female genitalia, Pepe fashioned for his gateway a giant Yoni.

For the Opera Pepe created a complementary Lingam, perhaps the most explicitly phallic ever.

2- Ballsy construction crew just after arrival of Lingam pieces

Pepe's method begins with a detailed wire mesh framework, created in his San Francisco studio in large pieces later welded together in the desert.


Photo by Stefan Ademek

More images from this early phase of construction here.

3- Pepe Ozan mudding the interior labia

Local mud is applied to create the final surface, giving his sculptures the sense of having grown organically from the Playa.

4- David on a scaffolding above the Yoni

Mudding Pepe's sculptures is a long process requiring many helpers working for weeks in advance.

5- Geysers at Fly Hot Springs

Pepe gets his mud from a nearby hot springs on private land.

These springs are the result of an industrial accident. Some seventy years ago miners drilling for oil struck hot water instead. Over the years mineral deposits from the resulting geysers have created these gloriously colored mounds.

6- Linton diving for mud

Mud-diving is remarkably sensuous.

Slipping into the coolest of several ponds, you swim down several feet and thrust your hands into the soft mud. Kicking for momentum, you push through to harder mud, then harder still, until your hands glom into the hard but pliable clay mud best for sculpting.

The deeper into the mud you go, the warmer it becomes. You can feel the warmth of Mother Earth.

7- Prairie as creature from the dark lagoon

Prairie is goofing here--you don't need to get this dirty to collect mud. Diana waits on the shore for full buckets.

8- Cody and Cole with a good load

Like anything else, with experience you become a more efficient mud-gatherer. Cody specialized in diving deep into the pond and bringing back huge gobs in a single dive.

9- Diana accepts an offering of mud

As our buckets filled we swam them over to Diana, waiting on shore.

10- Pepe supervises mud bucket collection

11- Linton walks on water

A warmer pond nearby is the ideal place to wash off the mud, meditate, and do hat tricks.

12- Amanda mudding the Yoni

Melitta's daughter Amanda applies finished touches to the Yoni with mud collected at Fly.

Pepe's Sculptures     The Pyramid     Group Kitchen      Rehearsals & Vortex      Pyramid Initiations       Costumes
     Great Rite 1     Some Eminent Atlanteans     Village Life     Village Life     Elsewhere on the Playa 

BurningManOpera.org >     Atlantean Life Overview  >