Perhaps you've heard for years about this countercultural utopia in the desert known as Burning Man. Or perhaps you're a seasoned citizen of the playa, working diligently on a costume or art installation for the late-August event and wistfully anticipating your next trip to Black Rock City. For the clued-in as well as the just plain curious, the L.A. League of Arts' Burning Man Film Series
at the American Cinematheque promises to shed both light and heat on the weeklong festival described by organizers as "an annual experiment in temporary community, radical self-expression and radical self-reliance" with a half-dozen documentaries, screening one Sunday each month at the Egyptian or Aero theaters leading up to BM 2011. Up first is 2009's Dust & Illusions
, which explores the event's 30-year evolution from hippie beach bonfire to 48,000-strong artists colony in the desert, raising questions along the way about the survival of ideals in the wake of such a massive and monetized success. Festivities begin at 1 p.m. in the Egyptian Theatre courtyard, with Burning Man art, performances and interactive installations for all ages (free and open to the public), plus a preview of artwork being created for this year's event. A Q&A with director Olivier Bonin follows the 7:30 p.m. screening.
Sun., March 6, 7:30 p.m., 2011