the last spire is in the ground

Marlee and her anvil

The installation of the last spireĀ  is another of the key milestones in the building of Black Rock City. And it’s a big reason to celebrate. The work is nearly at an end, the guests are about to arrive, and it’s time to make the transition from work to play.

Yesterday afternoon, workers from all over the city got together in the near playa by the Jub Jub camp to put in that last funky, janky spire, which was “decorated” by all the various work crews here. Then there were cool refreshing beverages, and a bit of socializing. We may be under-describing the activities, but you get the idea.

Marlee supervised the blasting of a 100-pound anvil into the air. Why did they do this? Well, one big reason was because they could. She and her dad do it in the default world as well, and strange as it may sound, they know exactly how to engineer the blast for the maximum pop and maximum safety.
Which is not to say that you want to try and catch that anvil, because as we mentioned, it weighed 100 pounds. It took a pound of black powder and a special launching base, but the resultant boom and lift were truly amazing. The anvil soared almost gracefully into the hot desert sky, then crashed back into the playa to general hoots and hollers. The bang was big: even seasoned DPW workers were startled by the power of the thing.

Then there were beers, and a sledgehammer toss, and a pizza party, and general merriment. Yesterday had been one of the hottest days so far this year, and it felt good to catch a little shade and rest. And maybe admire the work that’s been done here.

BooYa can really toss that hammer.

This is the biggest Black Rock City that’s ever been built. Retro reported this morning that there had been more than 50 miles of “roads” laid out. (The city got bigger by two streets this year, and many of them were widened, too, so the footprint of the city is larger than it’s ever been.)

Many of you might be on the right by now, or just about ready to leave. It won’t be long until the gates are opened and we can truly get this thing going. As Logan said, “Let’s do this thing.”

What follows is a gallery of pictures from the get-together, featuring a lot of the people who’ve been working hard out here for so many weeks for you.




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.