Sunday’s just another day

Sunday feels like any other day out here. The work doesn’t stop, the meetings don’t get cancelled, and no one’s dressed up in their Sunday finest. At least not at the 7 am meeting.

The number of DPWers in attendance seemed to have dwindled, though. It might have been due to the game of full-contact duck duck goose the night before, but there’s no way of knowing for sure.

Things were blazing after breakfast. Over in Center Camp, they had already finished putting in the 20-foot king posts and the 12-foot outer posts, and they had moved on to the rigging. That’s 12 king posts and 48 posts in the outer ring all set and secure.

It’s not glamorous work. It’s tedious and hot. But when you’re enjoying the shade and the camaraderie and the community of the Center Cafe during the event, you can think back to the second week of August when a lot of the heavy lifting was done.

There are 12 people on the Center Camp crew, which is called Oculus now. They used to be called the Aftermath crew, but that was back when Heavy Equipment did the Cafe build. They’d run the heavy machinery all day, and in their spare time construct the big tent that serves as the central meeting place at Burning Man.  Three years ago, the members of Aftermath who had moved on to other tasks decided they wanted their name back, so they took it. That left the Cafe crew nameless, and they decided upon Oculus. If you stand in the center of the Cafe structure and look up, you’ll see a beautiful opening to the sky above, framed by support wires. That’s where the name comes from, and it fits perfectly.

The whole crew was slaving away yesterday, Jamie and Austin and running the scissor lifts, Goat and Peaches and Tennessee and Bible Thumper and all the others pulling the cables, tightening the bolts and stringing the barrel wrap that the shade panels will hang on.

The rigging seems to be going up faster than it ever has, which is amazing, given the heat. But the wind has calmed, and that should make hanging the shade a lot easier. The crew seems to get better at the tasks every year, which is a common theme around here.

Austin's belt says DPW on one side, BRC on the other

All good camps have good schwag, and Oculus is no exception

Marcia's here from the Decor crew, and good organizational skills were on display, as she knew exactly which box to open first.
Austin was high in the sky to tighten the rigging.

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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