At a Desert Festival, Costumed Campers Show Off Their Apocalypse Survival Skills

Because Burning Man was so 2012.

Glenn Francis/Wikimedia

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In September, thousands of fantasy buffs filed into a valley in the desert to race tricked out cars, flaunt hand-crafted warrior costumes, and party in theme camps. No, this wasn’t Burning Man. It was Wasteland Weekend: An annual gathering in California’s Mojave Desert that claims to be the largest post-apocalyptic festival in the world. The event draws inspiration from the Mad Max film series and dystopic fantasy books and video games.

Jalopnik sent some journalists to cover this year’s event, and they came back with some truly surreal shots.

Reporter Anna Merlan details the festival’s “all-gender, gloriously weird swimsuit competition, an array of bands (most of them astonishingly bad metalcore and industrial acts), burlesque, fire-dancing,” and a “battle cage” whose participants face off with real steel weapons.

“Everyone may look scary,” aerial photographer Pavel Aubuchon-Mendoza told Nerdist back in 2015, “but Wastelanders are the kindest, most wonderful people you could ever meet.”

“Wasteland isn’t just a car show,” one participant told Merlan. “It’s a way of life year-round.”

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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