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

LA Weekly