Cover of "common ground" magazine from July 2010, featuring a couple with blue metallic body paint walking hand-in-hand on a beach toward a large, abstract wooden sculpture.

July / August 2010

The Summer Issue

It’s that time again, when the summer heat has children rushing through the garden sprinklers to keep cool. That is, unless the kids in question live in San Francisco, where the summer microclimate reverses everything. SF is so contrarian, including its weather. Gotta love it.

Whether you find yourself shivering in SF or sweltering to the north, east, or south, we hope you’ll agree that this issue of Common Ground is straight-up hot. We enjoyed putting together this edition, with its Burning Man preview. The radical self-expression and creativity that oozes out of that event is a tonic.

Can you believe that there are creative geniuses who launch spaceships out there on the desert? And the good news: One of them, the “Raygun Gothic Rocketship” that premiered at Black Rock City last summer, is soon expected to touch down at Pier 14 at the Embarcadero in San Francisco. You’ll be able to see it for free. Learn more about this on our Happenings page.

As part of a newfound tradition, we’ll likely be previewing Burning Man every year at this time. One of the privileges of this task is meeting up with event founder Larry Harvey at his apartment to discuss the upcoming theme and other stuff. This week, he had just returned from Washington, D.C., after meetings with the federal Bureau of Land Management. A five-year permit was secured, so that’s good news.

I enjoy speaking with Larry — he’s an articulate visionary.

Reflecting on the prospects of a Burning Man legacy, I predicted aloud that posthumous biographies would be written about Larry. He shrugged, uncomfortable at the notion of being objectified in such a way, tugged on his cigarette, and replied, “Being a stone atheist, there’d be nothing to appreciate. Nothing.” It was classic.

Despite our metaphysical differences of opinion (I am not an atheist), my appreciation overflows for what Larry initiated with Burning Man. If you missed last year’s overview of the event, see it at

The theme for this year is “metropolis” and has everything to do with our lives in community, in municipality — very intriguing. This year’s event will attract many urban-studies scholars, who will observe Black Rock City as a unique model of city life. As a green publication, we’re impressed that 50,000 people can build a city out of nowhere and then disappear, leaving no trace.

Apparently, the Burning Man organization is actively seeking new office space in Downtown SF near Market and Sixth streets. Ultimately, Larry envisions opening large galleries and creating a social hub. It’s obvious that urban planning is one of Larry’s closely felt passions, which is clearly reflected in his enthusiasm about this year’s theme.

Hats off to all the brilliant photographers who bring their keen skills to the desert each year to capture the majesty of this ephemeral gathering. –Common Ground and its readers benefit so much from your keen eyes. Special thanks to Scott London for providing our cover photograph, and to Ales Prikryl, who compiled a stunning pictorial from last year’s gathering.

We hope you enjoy this issue. Besides Burning Man previews, it’s loaded with great material ranging from an interview with don Miguel Ruiz, to an essay on relaxation, to tips on gauging whether your summer fling has more-lasting possibilities. We give you a heads up about some excellent events coming up in September: Bhakti Fest in Joshua Tree and Earthdance in Laytonville.

In September we will return to our theme of commemorating National Yoga Month. It promises to be a very strong issue.

Thank you for honoring our advertising sponsors — the best of the best. Enjoy your summer.

In celebration of radical self-expression and radical self-reliance,


Subscribe to our Newsletter

Join our once-monthly newsletter to get all the latest news & resources

No spam. Unsubscribe any time.