Burning Man Arson Trial to Begin

Nevada man on trial for torching an art galleon.

By Chris Roberts
|  Thursday, Jul 26, 2012  |  Updated 7:28 AM PDT
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People of Burning Man 2011

Josh Keppel

Rites of Passage was a fitting theme for 2011, with “The Burning Man Project” non-profit recently being created “to facilitate and extend the culture that has issued from the Burning Man event into a larger world” (according to the media guide). As such, for the first time “The Man” was not standing still, but was instead seen on a precipice moving from one place to another.

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Forget the man. He burned the boat -- and he's in trouble.

Mike Stewart, a Nevada land owner who set fire to "La Contessa," a Burning Man "art galleon" stored on land he owned, will stand trial for the burning this week, according to the San Francisco Bay Guardian.
 
The owners of La Contessa had reached an agreement to store the boat on the land's former owners. Stewart burnt the boat without trying to contact La Contessa's owners first, the newspaper reported.
 
La Contessa was a boat built around a bus. The bus then drove around the Burning Man playa, making it appear -- to some -- that it was in fact sailing around the desert.
 
Stewart torched La Contessa in Dec. 2006 in Gerlach, Nevada, the newspaper reported. He is being sued in state court under "a conversion claim," which alleges he acted in a malicious and negligent manner.
 
 

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