The burners return, en masse and without class

Owen Thomas · 09/04/07 11:33AM

The good news: Burning Man is over. The bad news: The burners are back in town. Once a year, the Bay Area's most troublesome pyromaniacs head out of town, leaving Silicon Valley cubicles deserted and Mission barstools empty, as they fill up Black Rock City, the temporary site in the Nevada desert for the now-ended arts and counterculture festival. Despite Caltrans's best efforts to block their return by closing the Bay Bridge, they've come back — except for one sad suicide. It's never the ones you wish would off themselves who do, of course. Take Paul Addis — please. The man accused of prematurely setting fire to Burning Man's giant wooden statue was one of the first to return, beating a hasty retreat after spending time in a Pershing County jail. At a Labor Day barbecue, blogger Scott Beale taped Addis in a pseudoconfessional rant.