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When "Metropolis" was announced as the theme for 25th anniversary my affection for Burning Man triggered the connection in my brain and heart to combine a "take" on the famous "Hollywood sign, the name of Larry Harvery, founder of Burning Man and how his passion for art has turned Black Rock City into another famous metropolis. I also hoped to create an art plaform that would honor all of the fabulous artists whose works have thrilled me the past ten years since my arrival on the playa for the first time.
The entire sign eight, feet tall composed of ten letters spaced out over 80 feet in length, was accomodated on a small flatbed truck driven from Park City, Utah to Black Rock City. True to Burning Man tradition as soon as I drove to my assigned location a burner named Mark, from San Diego helped me off load the entire project and begin the set up.
I was fortunate to score an ideal location for the sign at 900 feet from the Man at 7:30 which placement allowed for excellent photos with the front of the Man in the background.
The sign was minimally completed by around midnight on Tues but still needed a fresh coat of white paint and some additional back supports.
John and Sherri from Montana, on their first burn spent hours helping me screw and bold the sign together and fill the fort sand bags to keep the sign weighted down in the wind storms. Nick and Carol assisted in lining up the letters later on.
To my delight the sign stood out brilliantly in the afternoon light and the two par cans by night.
The Red People were one person short to match one on one with the ten letters of the sign.
Staring Thursday late evening other pranksters/artists contributed to the creative craziness by turning the "HARVEYWOOD" sign into an anagram machine. The sign changed into the following morphs from every few hours to every day until dismantled and burned as planned late Friday evening.
These six blokes came all the way from Melbourne, Austalia to "Get their woody on."
"If I'd known what a chic magnet my sign would become I would have built it twice as big!" - Larry Harvey (Not really. This is a photoshopped image to spoof the rumor that Larry sponsored the sign.)
A few burners from Texas got their "Rave Howdy" on after early morning prayer service on the playa.
A burner suggested "Rave Moody" to honor those who biked in the traditional "Critical Tits" all women bike parade.
A crowd of people suddenly converged on the "Harveywood" sign and climbed up on it with their own letters, resulting in a slightly altered message... - submitted by Carl - 09/13/2010
This image appears at Death Guild's Facebook. DOOM RAVE is the new DEATHKEY.
The sign was engineered and designed to be permanent (for the week at least) and hurricane proof in strength. Mother nature was not the problem but the creative and practical joking fellow burners supplied to make the sign a living anagram which delighted thousand of burners as they passed by. In stead of resisting the changes I encouraged burners to re-arrange and actually assisted many of them in adjusting the letters to their liking.
I was repeatedly asked if I was Harvey and would joke back that I was and that I built signs extolling my prominence every year at Burning Man. About a quarter of the burners passing by did not understand the sign or its symbolism, but they caught on quickly after I informed them who Larry Harvey was how the HOLLYWOOD sign was fitted into this year's theme.
Some burners split a gut as they heard and observed my attempted explaination of what a "woody" was to a middle aged Japanese couple who were respectfully taking photos of the sign. Where English words failed, the creative use of body language provided the necessary enlightenment.
Just in case you are curious. I have never met Larry Harvey and he did not visit the art project while I was around. The feedback on the sign was most positive with several people seeking me out specifically to thank me and to say the sign was in their top ten favorites this year.
And thanks to a gentleman named "Styles" from New Jersey who helped me dismantle the sign at five a.m. on Saturday. Other volunteers helped for short periods of time and now their names escape me.
Here are some anagrams for Harvey Wood that we missed out on the playa. Oh well, maybe next year! As Paul Harvey (no relation to Larry) once said, "Now you know the rest of the story."
Ado Over Why
Day Over How
Whoa Do Very
Ray Vowed Ho
Ya Drove How
A Do Over Why
Aw Do Evry Ho
Rave Do Oh My
Ho Do My Rave
Vary Do Me Ho
tremendous piece of art!! plus now knowing the story behind it's many journeys on and off the playa...priceless!! good on ya,my man!! looking forward to seeing something else in the dust next year! Blessings, namaste - horney - 10/04/2010
Thought it was awesome! I loved every part of Burning Man! It was my first year and I'm definately coming back next year, with more virgin friends!!!! - 09/28/2010 - Hootie McBoob
You know I have to say since this was my first burn, I am so glad I didnt do any serious drugs because when I saw the sign one day and it said Harvey Wood and then I drove by it the next day and it said Have Wood I had to think for minute if what I thought I saw the day before was really real. Very fun and very cool to see what others came up with as well, loved it! - Bella - 09/25/2010
LOVED your signs - all of them:) - Sunshine Daydream - 09/25/2010
Great job, guy! Hilarious! I just get a little nervous when folks screw with someone else's art, though! Dat ain't nice. You got into it, so fine, but what if there had been some destruction, advance burning, graffiti, etc.? Permission, people! Permission! - Gerflash - 09/24/2010
I stopped to take picture's of Harveywood and spent the time putting the Man on top of the sign. When I came by later the sign had been changed to Have Woody, did I take the picture??? NO... decided to get up early in the a.m. to get a better shot and it was gone!! How much fun was that sign??? Thank's for being such a good sport!! :) - Inita Bonghit - 09/24/2010
Will never forget the HARVYWOOD sign. Another one for next year please, please please??? - anon - 09/24/2010
And for the record... yes, Larry thought it was pretty damned funny. - Redwood - 09/23/2010
I loved that art piece and I love that I know the stories surrounding it and you. I got a good laugh at the anagrams from a distance. That was another fun part about your piece-the distance away from the letters made it have a great impact. Cheers! Thank you so much for making me smile. - gadget girl - 09/23/2010
This was outstanding! Thanks for making my first burn so much fun with your willingness to let the pranksters take your contribution to a different plane of thought and expression!! Xoxoxoxo - Delightful - 09/23/2010
Here are some Have Woody pictures by the talented Michael Holden: http://www.flickr.com/photos/73557980@N00/5019109276/ - Instigator. - Baz - 09/22/2010
I had no idea it was such an INTER-active art piece!! Thanks for the documentation. I thought Harveywood was good - but the community and all it's iterations made it better. - High Priestess - 09/22/2010
Other folks assisting with turning DOOM RAVE back into HARVEYWOOD on Wednesday were Snatch, Rusty, myself, Chaos, and Big Stick. Big Stick seemed pretty angry at the time but I gathered later that he wasn't really and was just concerned on behalf of the rest of us who, it turns out, were all having fun anyway despite getting called to work just at supper time. Thanks for bringing a great project to BRC! - Pixel - 09/22/2010
Thank you for your contribution! When I saw "Have Woody" I laughed so hard! - KitteKaat - 09/22/2010
I was biking back from Esplanade and 8.30 one evening, and decided to cut across the playa. As I did, I wished I had made the Hollywood sign. About a minute later, the Harveywood sign came into view. After laughing so loud that I nearly fell off my bike, I took a minute to appreciate the burner who came up with the idea for Harveywood. It's great to hear your story - I had heard you'd been pranked but the whole tale is awesome. Thank you so much for your art, and providing me with one of my most memorable moments from this year's burn! - Super - 09/22/2010
I thought the rearrangement of the sign was part of the art, the fact that it happened on it's own is awesome and very Burning Man! - Ship - 09/22/2010
Your art and the pranks were enjoyed from around the world, all week long, because the sign was clearly visible on the live video feed. I watched from home and laughed each time it changed, as did all the people in the instant-messaging chat. Kudos. - sag - 09/22/2010
Awesomeness!!!! SO FUN to see your sign morphing on the playa. Thanks so much for your effort and excellent idea. - ripnchick - 09/22/2010
Sad to find the pic of the "rave woody" sign covered in stylish naked guys absent :) haha - Hephaestion - 09/22/2010
Thanks Steven. Excellent project and story! - Heather Gallagher AKA CameraGirl - 09/13/2010
Have you considered coming back next year with more letters? It was wonderful to keep coming back and seeing what the sign had to say next. - 09/13/2010 - Valkyrie
Artist's Reply: Yup, considered the idea. Mulling over what may apply to the 2011 theme "Rites of Passage."
Have you visited doomrave.? The prank is leveraged . . . - Art = Life = Art - 09/13/2010
DOOM RAVE LIVES - thunderdome - 09/13/2010
It's super cool to see all the transformations and weather patterns around your project. It's funny how RAVE stayed intact for so long while the following word changed (fitting, I suppose). Thanks again Steven, - Jocelyn - 09/13/2010
I wanted to take a photo of the Harveywood sign at sunrise when it draws a really long shadow but by that time, you had already changed it to an anagram. I thought it was a prank by somebody else....haha - 09/13/2010 - Lars
Your artwork provided much interest and laughter to this year's Burning Man! Kudos to you, even if some of that was unintended!!
I have two pix (Harveywood and Rave Woody) on my photo website, and will send the originals to you when I get home. www.flickr.com/photos/yourflyisopen
Burn on! YourFlyIsOpen (Jenny) - 09/13/2010
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