Trapped in the Man Maze

Constructing the Funhouse that will surround the Man.

Dirty Mick, Eric, Splashdown, Steeltoe, Jacob, Steve, and Todd

This is the Man Base Crew. Well, some of them. In fact, a lot of people have spent a lot of time constructing this behemoth of a Funhouse, and it’s really an impressive structure. It started in early August, when the decks were prefabricated at the work ranch. They were brought down to the playa at 3am on Day Zero (the day the fence went up), and the crew has been working long hours in the sun ever since. If you run into one of these guys during the event, make sure you shake their hand.


Since I don’t anything about construction, I was asked to help build the maze that will surround the lower floor. Remember all those sheets of plywood that I helped paint? Well, I got to see firsthand where they went.

The Funhouse is definitely going to mess with some heads this year. But that’s the point, isn’t it? Claustrophobics beware: it’s complex, full of turnstile doors and hidden doors and rotating doors (which are heavy enough to take out some fingers – be careful in there, kids). It’ll also have stages, barkers, and several rooms that will be taken over by individual artists. Want to visit the Man this year? You’ll have to find your way through the Maze. Good luck.

So we spent a few days attaching the plywood walls with brackets and clips and zipties. The construction had to be as minimal as possible for this section, because Blue and his crew will be out on Saturday morning to disassemble the whole thing before the Man burns.

Have you ever tried putting up plywood walls, without nails or screws or any type of frame, in a windstorm? It’s awesome. Half of it fell down the first night and had to be rebuilt the next day.

But hey, talk about being in the right place at the right time: partway through my second day on this crew, a big container opened and out came everyone’s favorite cultural icon.

He’s still in pieces, sitting on sawhorses waiting for assembly; early next week, he’ll be raised with a crane and placed gently atop the Base. Until then, be careful with him! Nobody wants to be the asshole that broke the Man. Minor defacement only, please.

Another bonus of being out in the middle of the playa like this, is that you get to see what everyone else is up to. I stopped by the Temple site to meet their crew, and also got a chance to meet Mark Grieve, who is this year’s designer. You probably already know that there will be a village of small temples this year, right? If not, go read more about the Temple here. Or, you know, just come and see it next week.

Mark Grieve and Steve23

About the author: The Hun

The Hun, also known as J.H. Fearless, has been blogging for Burning Man (and many other outlets) since 2005, which is also the year she joined the BRC DPW on a whim that turned out to be a lifetime commitment. Since then she's won some awards for blogging, built her own creative business, and produced some of the Burning Blog's most popular stories and series. She co-created a grant-funded art piece, "Refoliation," in 2007, and stood next to it watching as the Man burned on Monday. She considers that, in many ways, to have been the symbolic end of Burning Man that was. The Hun lives in Reno with DPW Shade King, Quiet Earp. You may address her as "The Hun" or "Hun". If you call her "Honey" she reserves the right to cut you.

Leave a Reply