Catharsis on the Mall starts Friday. It’s button-down DC's version of the Burning Man Festival in the Nevada desert.
But what’s fine in the middle of nowhere can be super controversial in the middle of Washington.
The National Park Service decided a 45-foot sculpture of a naked woman stretching toward the sky was too tall, too heavy, and too distracting. It denied organizers a permit.
But this is an event designed to push free speech, so instead, artists are installing a tapestry of a nearly as nude woman that will be strung up on a scaffold.
Organizers are hoping the“divine feminine” will spark a conversation about empowering women.
It's just a coincidence that it comes at the moment that the nation is seeing scores of powerful men knocked down by allegations of sexual harassment.
“We're going to have her facing toward the White House here for everybody to see at night,” said Joshua Carroll, who was working on installing some of the art on Friday.
The festival is a 48-hour celebration of dancing, art, music, and fire in the shadow of the Washington Monument, the White House, and the Capitol.
The centerpiece is a temple with prayer wheels on the side. You can write messages about them. And on Saturday night at 9, they'll set them on fire. They say it's a chance to release your anxieties and just dance.
“You realize that just about anything is possible,” one of the organizers told me.