Getting ready for the Man

So we went out to the Man Base in the heat of the day, and the crew was cooking, figuratively and almost literally. (It was allegedly 99 degrees in Gerlach, but it felt like 119 on the playa.)

A week ago, on the day the fence went up, there was only the Golden Spike. Today, three of the four levels are already in place, and the fourth was lying upside down on the ground, waiting to be flipped over and eventually plopped on top of the others.

The lower level of the Man Base is 15 feet high, the middle two are 14 feet each, and the top one is 20 feet, including the base. It’s an impressive and imposing sight. When the Man himself is put on top, the whole thing will be more than six stories high.
The design for the base is somewhat reminiscent of the obelisk of 2008‘s American Dream. But there won’t be flags running down the exterior. Instead, at least from the  design illustrations, the finished product will evoke the feeling of a Deco skyscraper.

The Metropolis base is also being built differently than the American Dream base. The 2008 structure was constructed on its side, then raised into place. This year, the four sections are being constructed upside down, then flipped and set one on top of the other.

Big Stick and the Heavy Equipment crew were there Monday to get the fourth level into an upright position. It was dangerous work, involving three cranes and mandatory hard hats. Your correspondent was kept 50 feet away from the proceedings for his own safety.

While the crane operators were tilting the base, the Man crew was hammering, nailing, hauling, carrying and generally moving full steam ahead. There are stairways up the center of the structure, and observation platforms on each level. Today it was time to attach the guardrails, and while things seemed to fit together well, it was still awkward and hot work getting the big slabs into place.

Roo's belt showed how much equipment has to be near at hand.
It would appear that things are going according to plan.

One of the Man Base vehicles featured a back seat driver.

About the author: John Curley

John Curley has been Burning since the relatively late date of 2004, and in 2008 he spent the better part of a month on the playa, documenting the building and burning of Black Rock City in words and pictures. John is a longtime newspaper person and spent many years at the San Francisco Chronicle, where he was a deputy managing editor in charge of Page One and the news sections of the paper. Since leaving the Chronicle in 2007, he was a contributing editor on Blue Planet Run, a book about the world's water crisis, and for the past two years has been a lecturer at UC Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism. He has also started an event and editorial photography business, and is also working on a book about the "Ten Dollar Doc" from Arco, Idaho, which will make a lovely film someday.

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