Party at The Machine

DPW invites themselves to the Seattle crew’s camp

It’s a small city still, BRC. There are several hundred people by now, and more showing up every day, but that leaves a lot of empty space for the other 35,000 of you.

So DPW was happy to hear that the Machine crew had arrived. As crews go, they’re impressive: they’re tight, they work hard, and they’re making an amazing piece of kinetic art. DPW likes this. We also can’t wait to see the finished product. At our Wednesday morning meeting, Mayfield announced that there was a birthday party at the Machine that evening – so after dinner, the majority of the DPW motored across the playa to join in.


Sign Hos

Changing the world, one intersection at a time.

Oh, they’re cute, the sign hos. Officially they’re the Sign Shop crew, but they came up with a new name for themselves (and I like it). I spent today riding around in the back of a pickup truck with them, listening to music and putting up all the street signs in the city.
It’s a pretty big project, working for Sign Shop. They’re prolific. Not only are there the street signs to mark every intersection, but also the “Reserved For Theme Camps” signs, the speed limit signs, No Parking No Driving, and let’s not forget the BurmaShave – the series of signs that lines the gate road leading into the city.

So these girls work hard and start earlier in the year than most DPW, and the result is impressive. Every one of the lateral streets (say it with me: Amnesia, Bipolar, Catharsis, Delirium, Ego, Fetish, Gestalt, Hysteria, and don’t forget Esplanade) has a different font on its signs. The Esplanade signs this year were each sprayed three times to get the silvery flame effect. And once they’re all painted and mounted to posts, everyone piles on the truck and drives up and down the streets attaching signs to t-stakes with baling wire and duct tape.


Playa Life

Featuring: the season’s first dust storm!

The dust storm came up fast and low, whipping across the playa to where I was celebrating the end of a day’s work with a little coconut milk. It was already windy out, but we had been ignoring it so far – and then the air rose up all white and gritty, and the playa roared, and all we could do was to turn and roar right back.

Some people out here speak of the desert as a living thing. It lies quiet all winter, and then as more and more of us come out and start driving trucks and digging holes, it starts to wake up and get angry. Anyone who’s been to Burning Man can testify as to just how angry it gets, and just how awesome the power of the wind and dust is.

We have been punishing the poor playa recently. Suddenly it’s fenced in, and there are people everywhere, marking their territory. We put up the Commissary tent the other day, and the number of holes drilled and stakes pounded just for that project would be enough to wake any sleeper.


You can go Home again

Refried reflects on the day we’d all been working for.

Good morning from Black Rock City, resident population ~200!

Sunday was “the day.” The time had come to make the move from Gerlach Estates to the playa. After breakfast (and one last hot shower) I loaded up my gear and Iconoclast and I caravaned our VW buses to the 8-mile playa entrance. Pearl was there to greet us at the entrance to Gate Road, a spot he’ll be very familiar with for the next three weeks or so. Be sure to say “hi” to him on your way in.

All alone at 8:30 & Bipolar
All alone at 8:30 & Bipolar



It’s an Event.

photo by Jeb Feldman

Fence. Fence weekend. It’s an Event. If any of you out there have done DPW in the past, you might be impressed to learn that we did the entire thing in a day and a half. For those of you who don’t know the details, let me put it this way:

7.5 miles of fence
2,000 t-stakes pounded
27,000 knots tied
1.5 days.

The orange trash fence that surrounds the city is extremely important: if it isn’t up, then nobody can stay on the playa. However, it can’t go up until the first day of our permit. So on Friday, Mayfield rolled through the trailer park at 5:00 am with his horn blaring, and by 7:00 the entire crew was headed to the Black Rock Desert to claim us some federal land!


Moving Day

Last work weekend and progress as we move to the playa.

It’s been a heckuva weekend. The last DPW “work weekend” dedicated to building the fence around the city and kick starting construction on our beloved city. In addition to the work weekend, more folks, like myself, have arrived to live on the playa for the next month.

I arrived in Gerlach late Friday night, after a standard Burning Man departure scene. You get out of town a few hours later than you wanted to, after having stayed up too late the night before trying to find that _one_ box of blinky light toys, and having a few too many last minute errands to run. Nothing like Friday rush hour traffic to give a girl some quality time with her tunes and thoughts, and a chance to “car-eoke” all the way to Nevada.

The day before my departure, the new Burning Man Wall Calendars arrived back from the printer! Very exciting for me because I’ve been working to produce it for the last six months. Hopefully exciting for others because it is full of beautiful photos, artifacts and illustrations, and has a timeline of the past 20 years-plus of Burn History. Not necessarily part of building the actual Black Rock City, but the calendar allows you visit BRC all year long.


Life in Gerlach

A little slice of trailer-park heaven.

We can’t move onto the playa until Sunday, after the fence is up. Until then, it’s a little bit like summer camp here. Summer camp for weirdos and rebels, that is.

The DPW is crammed like sardines into the Gerlach Estates (A Gated Community). It’s a small trailer park, and it’s been overrun by desert rats with strange haircuts. We sleep in campers and tents and bunk beds and truck beds and VW vans, sharing toilets and showers. The trains roll by all night, close enough that the floor shakes when they pass – although we snore right through the noise by now. And in the morning, we all roll out of bed at 6:00, lace up our boots and tie our bandanas, and meander out of the trailer park, down the street, past the Black Rock Social Club and the Burning Man office, under the water tower, to Bruno’s Restaurant.