How to Survive the Apocalypse, A Burning Man Inspired Opera

Groundzero by Barbara Traub

How to Survive the Apocalypse is a rock opera about Burning Man that is running for two weekends in January at Stage Werx Theater near Union Square in San Francisco.

This show has generated excitement and swift ticket sales not only for its cast’s talents but also their direct connections to the temporary zone of great art, big fire, painted nakedness, expanded minds, and rented RVs that happens on Labor Day weekend in Nevada each year.

How to Survive the Apocalypse is a Burning Man-inspired theatrical freak-out that combines rock opera, vaudeville, and a Dionysian revival show that is just as inspired and terrified by current events as you are. Part mutant mystery play, part crash-course in proactive future culture, the evening combines millennialist rants and sexy burlesque with select scenes and songs from the “Burning Opera,” an ambitious and ferociously inventive rock musical scored by Mark Nichols, with libretto by counterculture writer Erik Davis.

Uchronia 4 by Barbara Traub

As I mentioned this is a hot ticket. The first weekend sold out so fast that they have now added a second weekend. At the time of this post tickets are only available for the Friday January 23rd show.

Stage Werx is a small theater, run by twin sisters Ty & Cory McKenzie who in addition to being longtime SF theater workers are themselves Burning Man regulars (see the pic of them below at the event).

Ty and Cory by ChiaLynn

The cast of the show includes Steffanos X who has performed in actual playa operas by long-time BRC auteure Pepe Ozan (Mr. X was also seen in Star Wars on-stage and The Wicker Man, and for years as lead singer of the much missed band Tom Jonesing).

Another participant is Barbara Traub, who is best known as the photographer who created some of the most recognizable images of Burning Man including those in the 1997 HardWired book on the festival.

Most of the photos on this post are from Traub’s book Desert to Dream: A Decade of Burning Man Photography.

Man by Barbara Traub

A stellar cast and a Stetson hat also help to bring to life the music of Mark Nichols and the lyrics of Erik Davis. Davis is a noted expert on Philip K. Dick and Led Zeppelin whose most recent book is The Visionary State about California diverse history of alternative spiritualities, and he has written for Wired amongst many other publications.

Traub and Davis also each performed in Laughing Squid’s living artist series The Tentacle Sessions somewhere on the edge of the last millennium.

Poi Spinner by Barbara Traub

Here’s Steffanos in action with Tom Jonesing (at least one other member of which is also in this show):

photos by Barbara Traub and ChiaLynn