Pressure Was ON the beginning of the
Burning Man event was approaching. Danny Umstead
was key in motivating an early move out to the
playa. The Dragon crew was hesitant; the dream
had been to make a dramatic entrance the first
night of the event, but what they actually drove
in that windy night was a very headless Dragon!
The sun had set by the time the crew caravanned
off the ranch and the static from the storm pulsed
through the Dragon and her crew. They gravy-trained
the crazy beast down route 34 and out onto the
playa. Celebration was in the air even though
there was still a huge workload ahead for the
ON THE PLAYA!
As Danny Umstead had predicted, the hands came
to the beast in number. For the first time Lisa
was not only artist she had become a Director.
The camera's were clicking and the video rolling.
Everyone was interested, so many wanted to help.
A total of about fifty volunteers ended up laying
their hands on the beast. In addition to the core
crew there was now "Playa-Aid" which
included the "out of the blue" arrival
of the much needed welder, Jim Breitrick. Thomas
Sepe, Scotte Laurie, Joshuala, Wayne, Lepracon
and mascot, Little Miles from Kids Camp, joined
the Dragon ranks. Each day presented a new set
of problems. That meant more work for Lisa and
her tired crew. It was interesting to see the
Dragon evolve into a new entity every other hour
had also become apparent that this Dragon was
actually a SHE, not a HE. Lisa named her Draka,
after the dragon constellation Draco, but with
a sort of feminine, but Germanic twist. On Wednesday
night, the 30th of August 2000, Playa-Aid and
Lisa took Draka out on her first test run. The
question of the moment was, could this beast actually
pull all of Draka's newly added weight? The test
met with supreme success! Fire performers were
then summoned to come wake the sleepy dragon and
parade her out along the Esplanade. Ecstatic and
cheering, the fire dancers energetically led lovely
Draka out onto the open playa. Near Center Camp
flocks gathered and eyes filled with amazement.
Everyone adored her!
What the Beast is made
of Draka had become a nocturnal beast,
needing massage by day and excitement at night.
At birth she measured in at 124 feet in length,
12 feet in width at her mid-section with a 30
foot wing span. Her train-like look being attributed
to the connection of one box truck to three trailers.
Her "Belly" was built on a Ford Econoline,
one ton box truck. The interior of this old fish
truck had been stripped and redecorated by the
Dragon Girls to make a very plush, warm and inviting
lounging environment. Sort of a modern I-Dream-of-Jeanie's
Bottle where six could sleep comfortably on many
a cold night.
The driver's "Cock-Pit" became a backdrop
to Road-Warriors and Dragon-Lovers with its red-washed
walls, fur and leather accoutrements. There was
just enough room for the driver and flame-thrower
controller to sit cozily next to a 30 gallon propane
tank. This section, connected to the Beast's Belly,
supported her head, neck and wings plus a saddle
on her back. The rear of the belly was secured
by two hand-made medieval-looking wooden doors,
designed with a fictitious gate to heaven and
hell in mind.
The second, "Bar, Lounge and Kitchen Compartment"
was all about swank with its curved benches lined
with red velvet and black fur, a zebra print rug
and bar covered with wooden shingles. Participants
were invited to have a drink, relax, and enjoy
while touring Black Rock City as seen from the
bowels of one amazing beast.
The third, "Entertainment Car," was
created for carrying musicians, dj's, and performers
like the Xtra-Action
Marching Band. By the end of the event we
had to temporarily remove this car. The excess
of people climbing aboard was causing the Dragon
to truly Drag and gouge holes into the playa floor.
The fourth and smallest "Tail Section"
finished off the beast and was utilized for the
storage of maintenance supplies and a generator.
Did someone say this Dragon
IS Magic? If you allow yourself to get close
enough, you will see the beauty in this beast,
exposed in Real, Fierce, Dragon Fashion. Souls
are often enticed by her furocious fire then lost
within her other-worldly magic... Others, like
Joy Orabella, saw visions of Draka before she
Noteable Events In 2000 Draka was challenged
by the Golden Dragon of New Orleans. The two dragons
met at the Flaming Heart at sunset for a dual
and Draka sent the little one racing away in fear
of disintegrating under the heat of her fiery
In 2001 Lisa and Flynn contemplated stuffing Draka
with pyrotechniques materials then sending the
dragon ablaze across the dark desert floor. What
a spectacle that would be! They decided to revisit
the idea a year down the road and see if this
would be the kind of show they would opt for.
The Power Behind
a Thought! On May 14, 2002, in the
Hualapai Valley of Nevada, Fire did Engulf Draka!
A small spark from Lisa's welding machine accidentally
sent the entire belly up in flames... In the middle
of the desert with no water in sight, a tire popping
and gasoline exploding spectacle ensued. Draka's
truck burned beautifully to the ground. A Phoenix
from the Fire was exactly what Lisa thought while
she and a couple others watched her Dragon burn
down to a good size bed of embers next to the
shop at the Burning Man ranch.
About a month later a truck was donated to assist
the dragon crew with their resurrection of Draka.
Slayed was not Draka! The crew assisted Lisa with
the shedding and remounting of Draka's exquisitely
singed skin onto a 1978 Dodge Tradesman. From
the ashes, Lisa and Sam were now able to reconsider
all they had rushed through in Draka's original
construction two years prior. It truly was a blessing
in disguise. Besides, what other existence could
there be for a dragon, but to live by the fire,
die by the fire, and be re-birthed again by fire!
Being that Lisa has four planets in Scorpio, she
understood all too well the crash, burn and rebuild
scenario of this here Dragon. Those hot embers
had delivered a real nice cup of Dragon brew...
Skinned and de-Boned, Draka presented herself
anew to 2002 Burning Man participants, with the
scars of a controversial past mixed with a fresh
attitude, three months later.
this dragon can really fly, she will travel to
Art Car Parades and outdoor sculpture parks across
America then make her way to Europe." ~ Lisa
can, she really can F L Y!
Well, sort of, at least by truck! By the first
of May 2004 Draka had made it from northern Nevada
to Houston, Texas for attendance in the world
Art Car Parade with sponsorship from the Orange
Show Foundation and Ann Harithas of the Houston
see more pictures of Draka and her dedicated crew
members through the years thumb through our Image
in the Making 2000
Draka's Maiden Voyage on the Playa
Draka as BRC-DPT
May 14 2002
Draka Rebuilt after Fire
journey to Burnin'Bush,
Renovations ~ inside & out
Draka Does Nevada 2 Houston
Draka in Houston
YOU PAST DRAKA VOLUNTEERS ~
for making Draka the monster that she is!
Original Draka 2000 Crew
Flynn Mauthe, for the Dragon~Train/Louisiana
Hay-Ride concept of a truck pulling 3 trailers.
Sam Wedderburn, for putting heart &
soul into Draka.
The DragonGirlz, for their Blood, Sweat
& Tears! That's Acelina Kruger, Sue Glover,
Suzanna Johnson "AquaGirl," Jenny-Jo
Leeder, Dea Million, Tanya Story, and Kris "Lt.
Mustard Seed" Willis.
Danny Umstead, for getting our metal to
the desert & our dragon to the playa.
Flynn Mauthe & Aaron Castro, for the dragon's
Flame Thrower design & construction.
Jim Breitrick, for being Draka's lead playa
A few other Noteworthy Fellas: Miles, Doyle,
Dark Angel, Attila Cumali, Red Aaron, Mark &
Karen Keesee, Mariya Kessee, Rody Jonas, Chris
Benett, Metric, Peter, Jamie, Taylor Selby, JD,
Joshuala, ScottE, Thomas, Lil'Miles, Reggie Ballard
A few other Noteworthy Ladies: Carolyn
Matini, Dana Rogers, Ilona Berger, Leah Elton,
Onie, Linda Kim
Thank you especially to BRC-DPW!
Donors: Tom & Wess
Williams ~ the cedar shingles from Fly Ranch;
JohnBoy & Fernley
Thomas Sepe, Manager, Draka as BRC-DPT.
Amaris Black, Suzanna Johnson, Dana Rogers, Sam
Wedderburn, Ilona Berger, Ewa Hrynyszyn, Leah
Elton, Quiet Girl, Craig Laferty, Eric Close,
Lars Vegas, Tom Prophet, Rosanna Scimeca, Margaret
Farrow, Bean Cortez, Larry Matthews, Dark Angel,
Boris, Jen Jenkins, Wayne Miller, Spinner, Dusty
Dog, Brian, Tanner, Mateo, Elizabeth-Open, Dan
Deaderick, Craig Morse, Josh Howe, A'lan Abbruzo,
Trey Butler, Lawrenzo Share, Shiloh Rusk, Yeshe,
Malia, Z, and Rody Jonas.
Heather Ford ~the beautiful Draka Medallions;
Nicholas Butterworth and Mark Savukinas.
& GreenLee, for being there
Sam Wedderburn, Delores & her husband, Ilona
Berger, Ewa Hrynyszyn, Lisa LeatherTongue, Robert
Bernal, Laura Casey, James Bong, Dan Heil, Miss
Chaos, Nick of the North, Sara Gray, Kelly Ridgeway,
Brett Vayo, Gemena Jones, Racer Ryan, Chris Quintana,
Mark Holmes, Lone Feather, Matisse Enzer, Marc
Declerq, Shannon Marr, Joshuala, KittyMak and
Donors: John Mushoo
~ truck donation and use of heavy machinery. If
we were without John, we'd be out a dragon! Jeffrey
Johnson ~ the beautiful neon dragon creation;
Bob Meyer ~ the Draka postcards; JohnBoy
& Fernley Electric; Mark Savukinas, Dave
Hamilton, Rick Rickert, Gary Theut, and Darren.
Breitrick, Marc DeClercq, Sam Wedderburn,
Julie Parker, Bryan Cameron, Dinesh Prasad, Rae
Langes, Tank, Kate Masters, KittyMak, Johnny Roc,
Chris Diamond, Dana Rogers, Denise Albrecht, Chris
Quintana, Gary Taylor, Joshuala, Les & Amelia.
Thomas, Peter Levine, Ginger Book; JohnBoy &
Draka 2 Houston Crew
Glover, Flynn Mauthe, Marc DeClercq, Jim Breitrick,
Danny Grant, Mark Keesee, Kleetus, Tim Cole, and
Cazz. Special thanks
to Aileen Adler ~ for the wonderful
theremin playing on Draka during the parade, ScrapDaddy
~ for all the cool extras, Metric
~ for the orange trash fence to wrap Draka for
transort, WT Burge ~ for the
cool work space, ATS Trucking
~ for the starving artist discount on transport,
and Bryan Taylor and the Houston
Art Car Klub (HACK) ~ for being there!
Donors: the Orange
Show Center for Visionary Art; Ann Harithas
and the Art
Car Museum of Houston.
Draka in Houston Crew
Mauthe, Marc DeClercq, Jim Breitrick, Danny Grant,
Tym Sympson, Planet Ruth, and Cazz. 2005
Donors: the Orange
Show Center for Visionary Art, Hugo the Tire
Man, ABC Auto Parts.
Draka in Houston Crew
LeDuc, Richard Tomcala, Tymberline, and Cazz.
Donors: the Orange
Show Center for Visionary Art, Hugo the Tire
Man, ABC Auto Parts, and Advanced Gas.
the oh so many other Volunteers! It's
hard to keep track!
If we've forgotten you, please Email us with your
name at email@example.com
To learn more about the artist
click here > Lisa
photos this page: by T Sepe, L
Nigro, Metric, Bruce Damer
To contact Lisa click here > theDragonLady
To view more of Lisa's
work click here > Lisa's
©Draka the Dragon 2000-07