Coyote Nose Volume #1, Issue #04

And it’s only February –

During last year’s clean-up, we were all sitting at a mechanically separated work ranch breakfast, when Winnemucca Dave, or better known as WD 40, (he just turned 40), started telling of a nightmare he had. We where in the thick of clean-up, mind you, and the end of our rainbow was solely to have every trace of us off the Playa. Mr. Dave, at the time, had been bailing our butts out by spending his hours of the day dragging a chain-link ‘dune buster’ behind his big ole’ truckety-truck, when his dream put him back out in the field working, (I hate when dreams do that!). And what did he see?! A big fat line of cars, trucks, and campers marching toward us, and in to Black Rock City ’03! Horror of horrors, he sat up bolt right in a cold sweat! Well, he didn’t actually tell me that, but I’ll bet he did! With the wheels of our event spinning ever earlier, It made me think of some of the lore of Burning Mans past, when Danger Ranger Mr. Michael Michael and company would trek out to the playa just a day before to set things up for ‘the big weekend!’

Well, part of my job descript out there is to orient and survey the city, and lord knows, even trying to find true north can be a city-altering fiasco. So after hearing about how when Danger used to ceremonially orient the original city camps so that the sun would rise right smack over the man’s head, I had to ask him for his secret method of Boy Scout mapping. I mean, did it involve an almanac, a sextet, and daily observations?!
‘Well no,’ he replied with a well-seasoned chuckle, ‘We just went out there the day before, looked to see where the sun was rising, and then stuck the man there!’
Now there’s some last minute civic planning!

And now, the BRC ’03 city plan is sitting on my draft board in February. — Hope I can find true north —

Though it’s hard to imagine doing it all over again so soon after doing it all, ‘tis a good thing, I think. People are motivated, man. I’m thinking that the city is happening earlier and earlier every year because folks like their lifestyles in Black Rock City, and want to live like that for longer periods of time. ‘Why can’t we live like this all the time?!,’ is a common cry amongst our good citizens. A long ago weekend in the desert has quickly bloomed out to a week, and now with so many large scale projects and camps with scheduled early arrivals to allow for the needed extra set up time, (some villages are now bigger than all of Black Rock City used to be!), our population numbers have been growing exponentially even as far as two weeks before the burn. Makes you wonder what might happen if there were no government restrictions… Hmmmmm.

It was eerie sifting through DPW crew rosters from last year in the dead of winter. Was it possible to even phone some of these people? Do they keep emergency wake-up pagers in their hibernation dens? It’s crazy, but I have some solid friends and fellow crew members that live just a few blocks from me here in San Francisco, and we only see one another in the desert. Does this happen to you? Guess we’ll have to start thinking more about that winter burn in the southern hemisphere… It could happen —

Speaking of eerie wintertime out-of-desert experiences, I had some late night cocktails with Larry Harvey the other night. Never have I had an ordinary conversation with this man, and a recent essay that my mother wrote about her bizarre experience of ‘shopping around’ for her own cemetery plot darkened our line of talk considerably. We started talking of different stipulations people had attached to their funerals and such and we had both heard of some wild ones. You know, things like spreading ashes here and burying bodies there. (I was thinking that for myself, I would maybe like to somehow preserve my tattoos as a lampshade, or maybe a drum head, or something. Why should good art perish with me?) I’ve recently heard of another wild one where a mother had her son roll her ashes into a ‘cigarette’ of sorts, and smoke ’em! Well Larry had some unique thoughts surrounding his own mortality, and he told of a running joke he’s got going with his ex-wife. Apparently, she is to actually – DANCE – on his grave! Providing she outlives you, Larry. ‘I mean in a good way,’ Larry says. ‘Dancing is a good thing, right?’ I’m wondering what ‘special music’ she might pick. James Brown?

DPW commander and chief, Will Rodger asked that I include this powerful quote from Theodore Roosevelt in this column. It’s called ‘Courage’ and we believe that it captures at least some of our spirit in the long months of planning, organizing, setting up and tearing down Black Rock City. It’s a wonderful thing to experience the many departments of our event come together like cogs to create that thing that we create.


It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena;
whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood;
who strives valiantly;
who errs and comes up short again and again;
who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause;
who knows in the end the triumph of high achievements;
and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly;
so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither defeat nor victory.

Theodore Roosevelt, April 10, 1899’

I guess spring is around the corner – you know, mating season. And here comes another wedding announcement. The big surprise of last week’s Staff meeting was Ada Chester and Mike Durgavitch ‘popping’ the news. Yup, another big ol’ sparkler has been put on another pretty finger, (it can be seen from across the zocalo), and let’s have some more parties! Plenty-o-time to plan, though, the date is set at April 4th, ’04. I love it! Durgy and Ada Dego Bay. Ada Durgy go Dego Bay Durg Day Go… or something. All for now.

The Coyote Nose

Coyote Nose Volume #1, Issue #03

Then Spanky said, “Fellas! What we need is our very own clubhouse!”

To which Alfalfa replied, “Aaaaand howwwwww!”

Then, in true DPW fashion, one saw hammers and nails flying, old pieces of plywood and railroad ties being transformed into a makeshift bars and tables, with images of Darla and Buckwheat slapping paint over the boards and themselves and scrawling the words, “Our Gang” over the top of it all. And even Petey the dog had a hammer in his mouth, and a paint brush tied to his tail.

It was somewhat in this fashion that our beloved “Beach Club” was born on our work ranch twelve miles north of Black Rock Desert back in ’98. I remember it was Will Roger, Rod Garrett, Flynn Mauthe, and I standing there in the middle of a vacant and shadeless desert chaparral, wearing ankle boots to ward off snake bites, and trying to imagine a place to live. About a month later found a small four trailer bivouac with a few logs around a fire pit, which in the years to come would become the heart and soul central of the DPW; the Beach Club.

The Beach Club –

Where work-a-day friendships are forged for life.
A game of cards can go all through the night.

Where a tired crew goes for food and drink
I woke up with a tattoo from there, I think

With 7:00 am meetings and the breakfast bell
A nice place for some shade, some cool in hot hell

You can imagine the stories and songs by the fire
With warm times like these, it’s hard to retire.

So many times it blew down
To be hammered back up
Each time with more flair
Each time with more love

We work very hard, and we play hard, it’s true
So Saturday nights finds a party-bashed crew.
We might even have tapped a keg or two…
Our club house, our Beach Club
It’s all gone, it’s all through. Boo hoo hoo!

So why are we crying? Last week’s column I mentioned our headaches with zoning laws, which has brought in scrutiny from the health department. The Beach Club was never an unsafe place to eat and drink, but one can find infractions in a hospital kitchen if they want to look hard enough. So we were forced to tear down our clubhouse, and all the tears, laughter, and memories with it. We might as well have just thrown the family photo albums into the fire, wedding pictures and all! Well you can burn down the church, but you can’t burn out a person’s faith! The DPW gang will surly find another way for our worship!! The Coyote said so.

{Jackrabbit note: for photos of the Beach Club dismantling and some great shots of the ranch, snow on the Granite range, and other hints of home, visit }

* * *

Speaking of DPW worship, We’ve been forging a new playhouse in the city, (San Francisco), and we all had a solid ball getting together and talk talk talking last Wednesday night at a quant little bar that I work at called the Bacchus Kirk – (925 Bush St. between Jones and Taylor). Bacchus is the god of wine and drink and such, so worship we did. A little quip that Danger Ranger, Michael Michael wrote:

‘Beyond Bacchus

A good Bay Area DPW turnout last night and… at an appropriately named place, in view of this year’s Burning Man theme. Bacchus of course, being the pagan god of wine, intoxication, and ecstatic celebration. But perhaps lesser known is the term “Kirk” which is a Celtic word meaning circle or church. I look forward to next Wednesday’s services, when the good Reverend Coyote will hold forth at the Church of Bacchus.’

Thanks for the kudos. m2!

* * *

This years theme does encompass gods and ceremonies and I’m informed that the city design has been altered a bit to match it. Ceremonial processions are a large part of this years activity, so the Man standing at 100′ at the center of the city will have four, yes four promenades radiating out from him to create an “all roads lead to the Man” feel. The city is going back to being a clock, and these four lamp-lit walkways will be lined up with 12:00, 3:00, 6:00, and 9:00. It adds up to an additional 64 spires, and the lamp lighters are, again, surprisingly undaunted. My spire crew that sledge-hammers them in then pulls them down afterward are cocking an eyebrow at me though.

David Best (builder of last years “Temple of Joy”) swears that this year’s temple will definitely not be taller than the Man. Talking to him last year, he informed me that the temple was one foot shorter than the Man. What he said to me was, “anything that I build will always be one foot shorter than the Man – no matter how high I build it.” I think I catch his drift…

* * *

Some mini items and goings-ons, and such:
Congrats to Dr. Jessie Jones (manager of the Center Camp Café, Camparctica) and Machaela McCormick (I like the way that name rolls off the tongue – she’s the Café volunteer coordinator), Dr. Jones popped the question, and put quite the sparkler on her finger. I think that the diamond companies have been in cahoots with the gals to trick us fellas with some crazy formula of two months salary for a ring. Sheesh! What are ya gonna’ do? They even set a date for September 27th, 2004. I smell one hellova party!

One small bump for the road: Hangin’ at the work ranch one afternoon, Flynn asked Big Daddy just how he got so big.
“Ketchup,” was his stoic answer.

All for now till next week.

Coyote Nose

Came with no idea… left with LOVE

by Mandy

To this day its hard explain what happened to me at Burning Man. Simple but hard. My best friend “BIG DADDY” told me I belonged there and that I had to go. The year prior to the 2002 Burn was one of the toughest times in my life.

I had a ticket, costume and a place to rest my head and I decided not to go. With all the pressures of life and who I am it just made more sense to stay home. I’m glad BIG DADDY talked me out of it. I came with the mindset of “whatever happens, happens” what did really happen?… On Tuesday I met the other half of me.

For seven days, I felt like I was back at summer camp, finding that summer fling and being “SEXY DUSTY KITTIES” all over the Playa. It was bliss, beautiful, comforting and real. It was very different. We danced all night long, slept in the day, met up at sun down, and played till sun up. Saw and experienced many things, felt so much love, peace and happiness. In retrospect… we were at our “dating” phase. I had no clue what he did for a living, didn’t care, had no idea where he came from, didn’t care, didn’t know if I was ever going to see him again… didn’t care… I was going to put the entire experience in my heart and cherish it forever.

Then the depression of leaving the playa hit home. What do I say? What do we do? I didn’t really say or do much… we left with the exchange of phone numbers and a look that melted me inside and out. I came back to Orange County and he back to the Bay area on Wednesday… he was at my home in Southern California by that Friday.

It is now close to Valentines Day 2003 and I am sharing it with my other half. We are “The same, but different” We shine, we laugh, we play like DUSTY KITTIES all day long. From what I hear it’s hard to keep the Man alive during the year, not at my house. I can honestly say I found love on the Playa. Real love, the kind that makes you want to become a better person, the kind that makes you feel woozy all the time. The kind that moves you. I am so glad I went and got to experience something so rare and real. It was the best thing I have ever done in my life. This year I will spend my one-year anniversary with him on the Playa… celebrating with the rest of our family. That was my first time.

Coyote Nose Volume #1, Issue #02

IN WHICH Coyote examines the finest of the DPW’s finer points …

Mechanically separated chicken. Yup, if one should closely examine the first ingredient of a can of Spam Lite (of course, regular Spam would never have this) that’s exactly what it lists! MECHANICALLY SEPARATED CHICKEN. A fella’s gotta wonder of the horrors! Sounds like something out of a Tim Burton movie. Well, I mention this because that’s the title of a song I was hearing being sung by one Sir Metric of Black Rock Station while sitting enjoying a beer at Chicken John’s Odeon Bar in the Mission last Tuesday night. I wonder if anyone else picked up on this irony… the song was written by Mr Metric and fellow DPWer Cowboy Bob, over a work ranch breakfast where Spam Lite has been known to be a staple. Yes, it has been sung by many a camp fire.

Speaking of the work ranch – things are in flux, and the gods are taking notice. It seems that our Black Rock Station, located twelve miles north of our beloved playa has grown beyond anyone’s expectations, and it’s becoming dang noticeable. Sometimes it does give me the impression of a Waco compound. Well it’s true that the beautiful ranch lands of northern Nevada have been zoned for agricultural growth, and the county zoning commission has come a calling. One can imagine that they are having some trouble putting us into a category. (Upon entering Black Rock Station, one is met with the wild surreal nature of many of the art pieces of yester-burns) “Just what is the purpose of a giant yellow ducky?” The good news is that seeing how they are fully empowered to take daddy’s T bird away at any time, and the show’s over, they are being understanding to the fact that the survival of our event depends on this ranch, and are willing to work it out. This is a tough one though, folks, and the game just keeps on getting trickier!

According to the news:
(Las Vegas Sun)

Gerlach — Burning Man organizers’ plans for a permanent staging area for the counterculture festival in the Nevada desert are drawing opposition from residents.

Organizers are seeking permits from Washoe county to operate the staging area called Black Rock Station on 200 acres they own 20 miles north of Gerlach.

Plans call for supplies to be stored there year-round and for up to 120 volunteers to stay there in the weeks before and after the festival.

Patricia Hanneman of the Gerlach-Empire Citizens Advisory Board said the land used in previous years was “turned into a dump” by Burning Man volunteers.

But Burning Man organizers warned that failure to win permits could doom the event. ‘Black Rock Station is absolutely fundamental to the Burning Man event,’ said spokeswomen Marian Goodell.

County planners expressed optimism that issues surrounding the permits can be solved.

What do you mean ‘turned into a dump?!’ It’s ART, dude! One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. So don’t panic, anyone! It’ll be some time before this can be sorted out, and Burning Man has wiggled into the local community with several years on our belts. It’s true that our event is quite a different desert plant, but our roots have become entwined with local roots, and solid friends are being forged. In the end, our event is a benefit to the area, and because we don’t leave a mess, local support will help us survive. And, of course, it’ll cost us.

Some quotes sent in from Ginger Petunia:

Societies need rules that make no sense for individuals. For example, it makes no difference whether a single car drives on the left or on the right. But it makes all the difference when there are many cars.
- Marvin Mensky

The DPW ranch is a durty dusty harsh place to live. However, ‘Sleep, riches and health, to be truly enjoyed, must be interrupted,’ said Jean Paul Richter.

Don’t complain that you are not getting what you want, just be glad you are not getting what you deserve!

No matter how thin you make a pancake, it always has two sides. After you’ve heard two eyewitness accounts of an accident, it makes you wonder about history.

You will not be punished for your anger,
you will be punished BY your anger

You never know how many Apples there are in a seed.

Power is like being a lady -
if you have to tell people you are, you aren’t
- Margaret Thatcher

Last column I made mention of Sir Flynn and Maiden Lisa. Well Lady Bee has corrected my ignorance and has informed me that to be called a ‘Maiden,’ one has to be a virgin. I guess I should have said ‘Maid Lisa’ (she does have a daughter). My apologies, but the Coyote really isn’t very versed in virginity. Oops!

So it seems that some are impersonating DPW across the land with phony DPW stickers on their cars, and dropping names for phone numbers and waking up people for money. It makes me think of one time when I borrowed my roommate’s jacket, forgetting that it had Hell’s Angels colors on the back — almost got my ass kicked!

All for now
Coyote Nose

What Goes Around…

by Dr. Lizard

It was 1996, and I had been wandering around for a while. Pepe’s opera had begun and I had a good view. It was hard to make much sense out of the opera, especially in my somewhat enhanced state, but I was enjoying the spectacle.

Quite suddenly, I felt myself overcome by a wave of dizziness. It overtook me so quickly that I sat down promptly in one swift motion, lest I keel over on the spot. Speaking of spots, as I sat there surrounded by strangers, the spots in my vision danced and pulsed. That part I had experienced before, but the waves of weakness startled me. Sitting cross-legged I felt safe from collapsing but I was queasy and unsteady. Gulping back “the fear” I put my head down in my hands and tried to reason with myself.

“What is this? What brought this on? I’ve never felt this before. Did I eat something bad? No haven’t eaten in a while. Could I be dehydrated? But it’s night. Can you get dehydrated at night?” That was when I realized that I wasn’t carrying water… and I hadn’t had a drink in — well, by my most approximate guess, about three hours. I had been running around in the desert, talking to people, checking stuff out. And the weather was calm and cool. The sun had set long ago. But the alkali… it is hygroscopic, I knew that. It’s the technical term for a mineral that absorbs water from its surroundings. Gypsum and talc are common examples. And the playa contains a lot of gypsum. It sucks the moisture right out of you.

I recalled seeing a girl blithely walking across the encampment suddenly keel over the day before. Rangers ran in and knelt by her. Dehydration. It hits you suddenly. They took her away on a stretcher.

Now that I was sure what had happened to me, the next step was what to do, Though I was surrounded by burners, I felt more than a little tongue-tied, and also embarrassed. Could I make it back to camp? I knew I didn’t have the strength. Then I realized, I had been talking to a guy with an art car — Host — you know, the van with the Beetle welded on top, just before the opera started. He should be parked about thirty feet behind me if he hasn’t moved. He’ll have water!

I rested a few moments and then, summoning my remaining strength, stood and turned. Yup, the Host was still there. In retrospect I still don’t know why I didn’t just ask whoever was next to me for water. But I didn’t. Half falling, half walking, I pushed through the seething churning crowd and stumbled toward the van. Mike (I think that’s his name — don’t hate me if I get it wrong ok?) was there, and talking with some very cute girls. It occurred to me that perhaps I shouldn’t interrupt, but this was a matter of life or death! Somewhat rudely, I imagine, I stumbled up and leaned on the van.

“I need some water, man — I think I ‘m dehydrated” I managed to blurt out.

He smiled gently, reached behind him into the van, and handed me a quart bottle of water, right out of the cooler — sealed. I remember it was crystal geyser. I downed the whole bottle, and stayed leaning against the van while my strength came back. It was uncanny. I never want to feel that again.

Once I felt better, I thanked Mike profusely and headed back to camp. The girls had stuck around, though they didn’t seem to think very highly of me. I was just glad that Mike had had some water. When I got to camp, I drank half a gallon before I stopped feeling thirsty. Then I stayed up the rest of the night and had a great time!

So let that be a warning to you. By the time you feel it, it will be too late. Drink water at all times. Piss clear.

But my story does not end there. The following year -1997- I brought two quart bottles of crystal geyser with me. They were in the cooler from home to the desert, despite my campmates’ entreaties to make more room. No I said, when I see this guy, I have to repay his gift — twofold. And I want it to be ice-cold. They didn’t understand. By the fifth day, I was wondering if he would even show.

But then I saw it, the Host, meandering across the desert. I ran to the cooler, grabbed the water bottles, and ran toward where I ‘d seen the van. It was a ways off. He had stopped and gotten out. As I approached, I saw he was talking to two guys. Before I got within earshot, I saw the two guys turn and walk away, dejected. A few moments later, he turned and saw me.

“Hey! Remember me? I just wanted to thank you for the water you gave me last year. You saved my life!” I held out the two frosty bottles of water to him.

His expression as he looked at the bottles, then at me, was not at all what I expected. His face fell, and sadly, he gestured at the two guys, now too far away to call out to. “Those guys? They just asked me for water, and I said no, because I’ve given away so much water already this year I’m worried we won’t have enough for ourselves. And now here you are.”

Our eyes met with the knowing understanding that accompanies a playa parable.