August 18th, 2010  |  Filed under Building BRC

Grab some shade

August 18th, 2010  |  Filed under Building BRC

Think about the jobs you might not want to do in the desert.  Pounding posts? Digging trenches? How about cooking over a hot grill?

Sure, none of that is much fun. But how about a job where you don’t get to spend any time in the shade, but you have to make sure other people have plenty of it? That’s what the shade crew does, and that’s the essential irony of the job: You make the shade, and then you leave it.

And then you do it again.

You do it about 90 times, actually. Two seven-person crews work for a month, putting up  shade they likely will never enjoy.

Not too long ago, shade duty was a really crappy assignment. That’s where they put the people nobody wanted to deal with.

But back in 2005, a core group got together and decided that really wasn’t the way they wanted to do things. So they re-thought the process, put some good leaders in charge, and changed the culture. Quiet Earp is the person in charge now, and Art, the crew leader yesterday, was around for the change, too.

And they not only changed the people, they changed the process, too. They made the shade structures simpler to build (although it’s still no walk in the park). All of them are based on a basic 12-foot x 12-foot version, which requires nine 12-foot 4×4’s to be sunk 30 inches into the ground. Then kickers and top boards are screwed on, and then the whole thing is covered with tarp that is hammered into place.

Ok, so the process is easier. But it’s not easy.

The biggest shade that the crews will build will go over Playa Info, and it will measure 60×48. On Wednesday, one crew took the truck, Priscilla, out to the Gate. They were there to put up shade so that you won’t have to stand in the blazing sun when you pick up your ticket.

It was a tight-knit group. Most of the seven people there had been working shade for the past several years, so they didn’t have to bother with the niceties of new acquaintanceship. The comments flew fast and furious. Lewdness counted. But the work never stopped.

“It’s hard, but we do it,” Art said. “And we thrust our chests out a little bit, too, because we get it done.”

Toad was on loan from the electrical crew, so of course he became the day’s target. Xeno, who’s been part of the build since 2002, took to calling him Frog. Toad was on the shade crew last year, and when his electrical team got the day off today, he decided to work with his old crew.

Montreal, Dani and Nice are veterans, but this is Eve’s first year, although you’d never know it. Talk about fitting in. She seems to have gotten it, right from the start.

“I like the fact that we’re working hard enough to earn that beer at the end of the day,” she said.

Toad was back for the day

Xeno checked in from deep in the Black Hole

At the end of every job, the last task is to nail a beer can somewhere in the structure.

40 Responses to “Grab some shade”

  1. Vic Says:

    Thanks for the hard work and the shade. Can’t wait to play find the beer can.

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  2. Nikki Says:

    Got some hotties on that crew* Way to go scorchbusters!

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  3. snow lep Says:

    y’all are bad ass, and my hero! thanks for trekking in early and making the playa a lil bit cooler :) love

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  4. Terra Says:

    I am a Burning Man Newbie, and I really appreciate all the sweat and love that you all put into making BRC a community! You all kick major butt for providing people with a basic need- shelter. Countless souls will be grateful for your work. Thank-you so much, and if I see you, I’m happy to give you a beer (or more!). Peace and Love to you all!

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  5. pope Says:

    bless your shady way!

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  6. Ra Says:

    Some beautiful photos. And a job well done, crew.

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  7. Moth Says:

    Thank you providing that relief from the sun.
    What can you about the dust?

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  8. Speedbump Says:

    Yeah, makes me want to give up the day job :)

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  9. Peter Says:

    Wish we had a burning man in cape town would love to go

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  10. hans honegger Says:

    …and thanks also for the thankless job of taking it all down after the party’s over and storing all that stuff god knows where!!!!!!

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  11. Raine Says:

    Exactamente, Hans!!

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  12. Clinton Says:

    Thank you for all that you do my shade brethren.

    You rock it.


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  13. RL. Holmes Says:

    Thanks for posting, the progress pics are always great to view. Nice work guys Applauding the crew! Unfortunately for me I wont be able to enjoy shade until next season. :(
    Looking forward to seeing more pics.

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  14. parsley garnish Says:

    Ahhhh shade! We salute you!

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  15. C-Virgin-Knesal Says:

    That’s Tits up Shade Crew! You are the deliverance! Thanks!

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  16. Tonka Says:

    Makes me wish I was back on the playa. Would love to be a member of the DPW to spend a month out there. Very cool pics too. Thanks for all the hard work!

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  17. tzipora Says:

    Thanks a million times for all you hard work that I can’t wait to stand under, not soon enough!
    Love the pix

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  18. DeePDX Says:

    As crazy as it sounds, I wish I was there to help set up these structures. I just did my first stint of setting up shade structures this summer and know its not an easy chore, and usually pretty thankless….

    Much love and blessings to those who brave the sun so that the rest of us won’t have to.

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  19. k8 Says:

    Glad to see the shade crew getting their props…but why didn’t you take your pictures on booty shorts day?!?!?!

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  20. sister marymargaritamartini Says:

    pls. do come to the Brand Ur Ass & More for a big cold martini made @ the Sr. Mary Martini School @ 4:30 & E…and Tanks alot.

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  21. Trouble Says:

    Thanks y’all!! You’re an inspiration! Way to kick ass and take names.

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  22. StickyBun Says:

    Thank you, Shade Crew! Big love and squishy hugs when I find you.
    Especially Toad, my long lost tattoo twin.

    *Rock Softly, And Carry a Big Spatula*

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  23. Brother Darrellson Says:

    There needs to be more people like you people on EARTH, please!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  24. xhoosier Says:

    thanks and I hope to give a hug on the playa!

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  25. Frog Says:

    Shade crew is awesome! Thanks for this great blog entry. One correction though, The Black Hole is gate *camp*, not up at the actual gate at the front of BRC.

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  26. SisterMableSyrup Says:

    Yay! Montreal! Thanks for busting (very attractive) ass to put shade up for us. Soon we will bump helmets once more… <3

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  27. John Curley Says:

    Thanks for the fix, Frog. I’m gonna correct the copy.

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  28. suz Says:

    i want to be able to fav some of those! ;)
    funny.. we left last year thinking we would never go back… but i see photos and think how could i not. sigh. next year maybe.

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  29. Clarity Says:

    Reminds me why I like Burning Man culture so much!

    Work Hard, Play Hard, Kick Ass, Repeat.

    Ah…if Burners ran the world.

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  30. Barb Coffy Says:

    THANK YOU, YOU ROCK!!!! I am a 60 year old lady, and last year was my 1st year to the burn. I had the best time ever and I am leaving florida the 27th of aug to get to San Francisco, and meet up with friends and treck our way to the Burn! I can not wait to give you all a big Hug!!! I learned so much last year and Iam so excited to keep learning and bringing back to the world the knowledge and spirt of the Burn forever.. thank you for the pictures and all of your hard, hot sweaty work! Love Barb

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  31. JUST Monk (dammit) Says:

    Awesome to see Eve on shade. I figured she’d fit in with y’all.

    Miss you guys.

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  32. VT Buddhamomma Says:

    Love ya bro. Beautiful people. Burners SHOULD run the world. XO sis

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  33. Jeffz Says:

    As a volunteer at Playa Info, definitely want to extend my heartfelt thanks for the best shade on the playa, keeps me coming back to volunteer there!

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  34. Zulea Bomba Says:

    Burning HOT for shade .. love and kisses to all!

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  35. Sparkle Ann Says:

    Even in my younger years I wouldn’t have been up to that kind of work. Thank you to ALL OF YOU!!!

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  36. Ali Baba Says:

    Awesome. I’m another Info volunteer that is thrilled to have so much awesome shade.

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  37. Razor Says:

    Shade Bitch it was a pleasure meeting most if not all of you! Glad to have read this story it spells it out pretty good!

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  38. Otto Von Danger Says:

    Thanks to the shade crew for helping with MegaMart at Megatropolis
    -Otto Von Danger

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  39. dani Says:

    Hi Curley – we had fun with you that day, too. we love ya and we love ur blog. and we kinda love our work, yup. next year, we’ll have to make sure we get you blogging a shorgy, where both crews come together and pound out some of the bigger structures together.
    thanks! Dani ~ Shade, bitch! I kill ya.

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  40. Spunk Says:

    Xeno’s lame! But and he loves boner cats!

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