August 24th: Upper Management

This might be the only organization where people can wear anything they want and still be judged on the caliber of their work and dedication.  Panties and bras, 4” platform boots, cornrows and corsets.  Vests with no shirts, ripped up clothes, filthy clothes, and all manner of hats.  Anything goes, as long as you do a good job.  And out here on the playa, it all looks perfectly typical.  Yesterday I was sitting at First Camp with a guy wearing a lingerie slip dress, zip ties in his hair, a beer cozy as a bracelet, and a radio on his hip.  I didn’t even notice until a friend of mine pointed out the utility of carrying around zip ties.


August 23rd: It’s Art, Not Math

At this morning’s meeting we talked about the completion of the solar array, the progress of the Community Bike Project, and plans for the DPW parade on Saturday of the event.  Johnny Amerika and Rock Hard announced plans to fire up the Trebuchet for Doyle’s birthday tomorrow night.  D.A. briefed us about plans for Playa Restoration.  (Only ten more days til clean-up!)  There were five separate sign-up sheets floating around, one for each project, only nobody knew which sheet was which because, in true DPW fashion, they were all blank.  It was awesome.


Man To Be Rebuilt After Fire

(Black Rock City – August 28, 2007) The Man at the center of Black Rock City will be rebuilt after an overnight fire which damaged the effigy at the center of the Burning Man event. Rebuilding is expected to take about two days.

Black Rock City officials say there was structural damage to the figure of the Man, but relatively little damage to the art and exhibits at the base of the Man. No injuries were reported.

An arson investigation is underway, and one arrest was made shortly after the fire was set. No charges have been announced, and the name of the suspect is being withheld. There has been no discussion of motive in the episode.

“We have the means and the will. The event continues on schedule, and the Man will burn on Saturday night,” said Andie Grace, Communications Manager for Burning Man LLC.

A perimeter has been established around the scene, but event organizers say it is likely that participants will be permitted to visit the pavilion while the rebuilding is underway.

This is not the first time the Man has required rebuilding. In 1990, the Man was accidentally cut up with a chain saw while in storage prior to the event. It was fully rebuilt in time to be transported to the desert.

Burning Man annually attracts as many as 40,000 participants in the last week of August. The climax of the event is the burning of the effigy on Saturday night. [para_end]

August 22nd: Heavy Equipment Rules

I spent the morning with Support Services.  This is the heavy equipment team, the crew with the Cadillacs.  They are led by a guy named Big Stick and dispatched by a dude called Chaos.  One of them goes by Bruiser, and when asked how he got the name, just says, “Look at me.”  And don’t think for a minute that this is a men’s club.  One of the operators is a tall smart beauty named Snatch.  An orange-haired girl named Roo kicks ass on these machines.  She has an amazing presence and a tool-laden, harness-assisted swagger when she’s working.  These people are the rock stars of Black Rock City.


DPW Safety Meeting

4:20 Spire
One of the DPW crews has been putting up spires for days, along the Esplanade and down each of the Promenades at 3:00, 6:00, and 9:00. During the dust storms last weekend the spires and signs are what got people safely through town. They were about the only thing you could see on the streets besides other vehicles that seemed to appear out of nowhere through the blowing dust. Today at 4:20 the spires crew finished the job with a well-attended celebration.


Community Bike Project

This morning at the DPW meeting we got a beer cozy. In case you don’t already know, I’ll tell you: DPW swag is cool.

The morning meetings usually last about half an hour, and it’s a chance for everyone to get on the same page with the way things are progressing. Miss Handler emphasized DPW policies for fleet vehicles. Check the fluids; don’t lose the keys; don’t wreck the cars. Dave X talked about fuel needs. Logan went over the daily crew list. Spider announced that the gate is officially up and running. No more 6 mph or unlimited in and out privileges. Game Show delighted in presenting found radios to people who had lost them the night before. (Losing a radio is a cardinal sin here. Don’t do it, lest you be temporarily but severely humiliated.)


Driving To Black Rock City

Photo by Timmmii, 2007; Empire, NV
When driving to Black Rock City, it’s important to remember a few things:

  • Take Your Time – We know you’re excited to get to BRC. It is exciting, after all. But don’t try to rush things. You’ll get there. This means don’t try to pass slower vehicles on Hwy 447. This is a very dangerous single lane road to attempt to pass. This stretch of road is long, windy and hilly. You’ll be at the gate before you know it. Slow up.
  • Construction – If you’re coming from the west on I-80, be aware that there is some construction zones not too far from the Nevada border and traffic is winnowed down to one lane for several miles.
  • Slow It Down Through Small Towns – Once you get off I-80, you’ll be traveling through a number of small towns like Wadsworth, Nixon and Empire. Be very aware of your speed as you enter the city limits. We’re talking 25 mph. Seriously. Local police are sitting there just waiting for someone to zip through at 40 mph and will pull you over lickity split. Don’t say we didn’t warn you. (more…)