movin’ on out

for a lot of folks, it was the first night to stay on the playa
for a lot of folks, it was the first night to stay on the playa

The move from Gerlach to the playa is underway. Time to haul your camp gear out there and get squared away.

And time to start spending your evenings in the incredible golden light of the desert.

king posts

how we began the night
how we began the night

I’m told the raising of the “king posts” used to be a pretty big deal.

The king posts are the 11 big beams that hold up much of the rest of Center Camp. The whole shebang is really a stationary sail, Devo told me, and he oughta know. He’s not only been working on the Build for years, but he also knows his way around boats. (He’ll be teaching disadvantaged children the joys of sailing when the Burning Man event his finished.)

So last night, after the big barbecue at the Saloon hosted by Camp Q (and oh god was it good: ribs, chicken, steak, mashed potatoes … completely fantastic. Absolutely delicious. And  they worked liked dogs for four hours to  feed the DPW crew after another back-breaking, sun-baking day of labor. The lines for the food sucked, but hey, even the liquor was free, and what’s wrong with that? Nothing.)

laying them out
laying them out

So after the big feast, we went back out to the playa in the gathering gloom. The sun was already down, and the big big sky had all those shades of pink and purple and blue that make a light show even before the first generator is fired up.

There was a time, Joe the Builder and Niko were telling me, that the raising of the beams was a pretty major deal. Everyone would be partying, and after each post was laid in the ground, it’d be time for another round. That didn’t sound too bad, honestly. (more…)

and just like that, there’s a fence

The work was hot and dry and dusty and hard, but at the end of the day, there was an awful lot to show for it. ….

There were actually about five miles of fence to show for it. And the rest of the fence was going to be finished on Saturday. That’ll be NINE miles of fence built in two days!

If you haven’t heard already, the Burning Man footprint is a lot larger this year. In the past several years, the circumference of the perimeter fence was six miles. But now, as a crowd in excess of 40,000 is expected, everything has been pushed out — the Esplanade, the area around center camp, and the fence. So everyone will have more room, but it also means that everything is further apart. So you might want to make sure there’s air in your bike tires, because you’re definitely going to need it.

The fence build is an amazing thing to behold. Everyone meets for a 6 am breakfast at Bruno’s, and Logan gives the rundown for the day: “Who wants to pound some fence??!!” he yells, and there are whoops and hollers throughout the room. (more…)

not all tape is the same

taping up
taping up

True, you have to take steps to keep your hands from getting wrecked when you are pounding posts into the playa all day.

But not everyone sees it as an opportunity for radical self-expression.

Don’t get in this man’s way!

a happy message

It has begun …

Before there’s the Man, before there’s a Center Camp and before the first sound system is powered up, there are the trucks.

All day long on Friday, 08/08/08, trucks came from the ranch and from points further away loaded with the gear that will make Black Rock City. Semi-trailers made their way back and forth from the staging area at the 200-acre Burning Man ranch several miles down the road from the playa.

To get an idea of just how big this operation is, Maid Marian told me there are 61 containers stored at the site, along with 45 travel trailers and about 30 semi trailers. “Transpo” day is really two days long, and four semis and a bunch of smaller trucks and haulers operate 10 hours a day to get it all  out to the playa.

You walk down the rows and rows of containers and see the familiar names — Here’s all the stuff for Artica; here’s Michael Michael’s gear; here’s everything for Recycle Camp; here’s the Bike Guild containers … it goes on and on.

And standing stoically at the gate to the yard, Corey keeps a clipboard and checks off everything as it leaves the yard. “Pretty damn exciting, huh?” he asks sardonically.  … Well, exciting may not be the exact right word, but “amazing” comes close.

Burning Man, where you can act as spontaneously as you want to for a week at the end of August, is anything but spontaneous before and after the Burn. It’s choreographed chaos that results in a city in the middle of the desert.

Everywhere Lane

Greetings friends!

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything. I just have to share with everyone how freaking excited I am getting about the creation of Everywhere Lane on the playa.

Everywhere Lane is going to be located at 6:15 and Esplanade and is THE place to stop by to find out what is happening in the Burning world year-round.

The Regional Network Center will be open from 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM daily with real, live Regional Contacts on hand to answer your questions and help you get connected to your local burner community.

Burners without Borders, the Black Rock Arts Foundation and Black Rock Solar will be our neighbors.

We’re working hard to collaborate and create a unique way to meet the folks working to keep the fires burning year-round.

Not long now. We head out next week to start construction on Everywhere Lane. More coming soon.

Until then.


Gift Back to Theme Camps: Leave No Trace

Participant MOOPing, 1998 (photo by Chad Slattery)
Participant MOOPing, 1998 (photo by Chad Slattery)

MOOP, in Burning Man speak, is Matter Out Of Place.  Trash such as paper plates, beer cans, bottles, cigarette butts, grocery bags, etc. often hit the ground and become MOOP.  Basically anything at ALL that isn’t native to the playa is MOOP, doesn’t belong there, and needs to be picked up off the ground by you and me.

All are welcome at Burning Man, and in Black Rock City (our playa home), we LEAVE NO TRACE.  Each and every one of us is responsible for the impact that we leave on the Black Rock Desert. At Burning Man, there are no public trash receptacles. You take your trash with you, and you take it off the playa with you. Radical self-reliance.  This has always been at the very core of our culture.

Of the tens of thousands of citizens in Black Rock City, perhaps the folks hardest hit by MOOP fallout are the Theme Camps, those hardworking people who create those special places for you to rest, heal, eat, imbibe, dance, and party.  As you can imagine, their already-difficult job is made much harder when you, citizens of Black Rock, visit their camps and leave behind your MOOP for someone else to clean up.  So, don’t do that.

“But,” you may ask, “how do I do that (especially while I’m busy having a good time)?”  Well, I’ll tell you. (more…)