Posts during October, 2012


October 11th, 2012  |  Filed under Environment

MOOP Map Live 2012: FINAL RESULTS!

Hello out there, MOOP maniacs and line sweepers extraordinaire! Well, this is it. The moment you’ve been waiting for has arrived. It’s almost time to unveil the COMPLETE 2012 MOOP MAP!

Finishing strong with one final cheer. Photo by Vertumnus; click to enlarge.

Let’s have a big hand for the Playa Restoration team, who covered more ground in 2012 than they’d ever done before. Kudos too to Mother Nature, also a major player in this game, who kept the winds low and the temperature moderate so our team could knock this one out of the park. It’s a year that will go down in legend, folks, and you were here to watch it happen.

Just some of the amazing people who make Playa Restoration the best time of the year. Photo by Vertumnus; click to enlarge.

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October 8th, 2012  |  Filed under Environment

MOOP Map Live 2012: Day 6 Results

Hello out there all you MOOP maniacs and line sweepers extraordinaire. We’re back with the penultimate installment of MOOP Map Live 2012! Yes, that’s right, another incredible season is drawing to its close, and the last teensy remnants of Black Rock City have been swept away by the amazing Playa Restoration crew.

Let’s give a shout out to that crew now, as we examine the well-dusted machine that is our 115-member Restoration team. This group of highly trained, dedicated and foolhardy individuals join forces to create the ultimate Playa Zamboni, inhaling MOOPy dust and exhaling pure drifted playa.

Phase One of this process belongs to the imposing MOOP Line Sweep, a 75-member force with another 15 acting as support. The Line Sweep marches tirelessly from block to block, capturing every morsel of MOOP it can — all without breaking pace. See video:

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October 4th, 2012  |  Filed under Environment

MOOP Map Live 2012: Day 5 Results

Welcome back all you MOOP maniacs and line sweepers extraordinaire! The Hun here, reporting from Reno where I, along with my 115 Playa Restoration teammates, am sadly scrubbing the last of the playa dust from our various crannies.

I hate to see you leave, DPW … Photo by Vertumnus; click to make it bigger.

Plumb tuckered lil DPW dogies. Photo by Vertumnus; click to enlarge.

Yes, the Restoration team has completed their mission, sweeping more of Black Rock City than has ever been done, and giving every last ounce of their legendary stamina to make sure our site is clean, so we can have Burning Man again.

Of course, we won’t know the fate of next year’s event until the BLM inspection in a couple of weeks. Between now and then, I’ll be sending you the final results of MOOP Map Live 2012 — our running record of what those intrepid MOOPers have unearthed from the dust of this year’s festival.

I won’t make you wait any longer, folks. Here are the results of Day 5, in which the MOOP Line marched all the way from 7:00 to 2:00 along the blocks between Foxglove and Columbine.

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October 3rd, 2012  |  Filed under Environment, News

MOOP Map Live 2012: BLM Inspection Postponed

Hello out there MOOP maniacs! Just a brief post to let you know that, due to a scheduling conflict, the Bureau of Land Management has postponed Burning Man’s site inspection (originally scheduled for today). It has been rescheduled for two weeks from now, on October 17.

The DPW Playa Restoration team has nonetheless finished their job and cleared the playing field, and the Black Rock Desert has been successfully restored to a pristine and featureless (and MOOP-free) state.

I’ll be back tomorrow with more results from how the Restoration season played out, and it will be my honor to share with you the results of the BLM inspection as soon as it happens. Barring any inclement weather or other force majeure, that ought to be two weeks from now.

Thanks for staying tuned! We’ll be serving up more MOOP Map results shortly.

October 3rd, 2012  |  Filed under Tales From The Playa

The Theater

Tales From The Playa are dreams and memories of events that took place at Burning Man, as told by its participants.


by Steve Cole


I found the theater by accident one night far out in the deep playa. The deep playa is where few people go, far from the city but still within the official boundary. Notice in the photo that you see nothing in the distance – only the people by the theater. I found it at 2 in the morning on my way back to the city from seeing the art projects and wildly varied interactive and other things widely scattered in the dark a mile or three from the city. I spent 7 or 8 hours on my bike going from one distant speck of light to another in the total darkness of the vast expanse of the “DEEP PLAYA” (drums beating slowly in the background as “Deep Playa” is read). The playa is perfectly flat and level. The temperature feels like it’s in the 70s at night, and it’s easy to pedal over the surface. You don’t have to worry about hitting anything going fast way out there because it’s, well, perfectly flat and level. (People and bikes have lights. They’re supposed to.)


Did I mention that I was wearing a white seersucker suit with thin blue pinstripes — matching coat and pants — that I borrowed from the Pewter Plough Playhouse (live theater) in my little town of Cambria?

So I saw this point of light by itself off to the left. “Why not?” I asked myself (but of course not out loud). As I sped closer, the light kept getting brighter and larger until I saw what it was — a theater with a bright marquee in front and the building all lit up. My amazement was further compounded by “How in the world could anybody even find this so far out and in the dark????” There were a ton of bikes out front, and the theater was full. (And I have absolutely no explanation regarding that so just don’t ask. But the unexplained is what these people seem to trade in. Alice and Dorothy would have been proud.)

I wished someone had been there to take a picture of my face. Mouth and eyes wide open in amazement with the half of my face in disbelief fighting the other half with the smirking smile of a child. Then I remembered that this is Burning Man and that shiny thread of creativity, art and the unexpected whips right through this dark deep playa, snagging people, freeing them, and heading off to our city (which was possibly somewhere to my right, maybe a mile or 2 or 3). The marquee above listed the movie, and I entered through the double glass doors. Theater guy immediately asked what candy I wanted — all free, of course, since this is a “gifting” culture (no buying, selling or trading allowed, you remember) — and sent me to what looked like a rabbit hole to see the movie (A 3 1/2 foot hole with strips of material hanging in it.) When I emerged on the other side with my candy I was in a real theater. The screen covered the entire back wall and the seats were those extra-large well-padded kind that moved back when you sat in them and had cup holders. Oh yeah!

How’d they get all this from far away to the desert in the middle of nowhere and set up with electricity and everything? And in the normal, or “default” world, you’d also ask “And WHY?” with such a very serious face. I wasn’t wearing the kind of shoes to click my heels or possess a potion to drink to get back to the normal world so I just had to have faith. I relaxed in my comfortable chair watching *His Girl Friday* with that well-known what’s his name and what’s her name. Later, when I poked my head out the rabbit hole and looked around, the theater lobby and everything was still there — so I emerged, still in that curious magical Burning Man world. And the theater? I wouldn’t know where to find it again.

I knew this world couldn’t last forever, so I just resolved to participate and enjoy it while it lasted. And I was right. But I was wrong that I didn’t create it since, beyond the seeding of this environment, the interaction and the creative freedom of participation of people results in the creation and nature of this city. So now I see that’s why I had to experience it to understand its uniqueness. A few days later, it all ended, and I’m told that there’s not a thing there now that wasn’t there before. Not a string or a ring, not a thread or a bed, not a button or mutton, not a footprint — not even a MOOP! So that’s the scoop. And to tell the truth, it coulda been a dream. I’ll have to tell ya when I get back from it next year.

October 2nd, 2012  |  Filed under Afield in the World, Participate!

You’ve Been to Burning Man, now what?

By now you have hopefully done your laundry (check), cleaned your tent (check), cleaned your other gear (not yet) and settled back into life at home.  If this was your first year in Black Rock City and you are reading this blog, then you were probably deeply affected by your experience.  Did you learn about yourself, your friends, your community, and creativity?  Many of you are experiencing a post Burning Man malaise as you try to figure out how to integrate your experience with your life at home.  Decompressing can be tough and most of us go through it in some form or another no matter how many years we have been going.  Fortunately, you do not have to go through this alone if you know where to look.

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October 2nd, 2012  |  Filed under Building BRC, Tales From The Playa

Vodka Socks

Tales From The Playa are dreams and memories of events that took place at Burning Man, as told by its participants.

Coyote is Black Rock City Superintendent and an original member of the Department of Public Works. Photo by Vertumnus; click to enlarge.

Here’s an urban myth — don’t care if it’s true or not.

Story goes that a construction worker had been given his last warning about drinking on the job. Being a hardcore alkie, he solved his problem by soaking his socks in vodka and wearing them inside his work boots all day, getting drunk anyway!

I say again — don’t care if it’s true or not, I just really want to believe it. I’m sayin let’s go “MythBusters” on this one. We have the technology.

For several years, DPW Playa Restoration has been stockpiling a cellar of rotgut vodka that not even we will drink. (Have you ever tasted “Vodka of the Gods?!) All we need now is a Sunday off, some volunteers from the audience (would DPW have some takers?), and socks.

(If it works, this could be a start of a new DPW tradition … “Vodka Sock Sunday?”).

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October 2nd, 2012  |  Filed under Environment, News

MOOP Map Live 2012: Day 4 Results

Hello out there, all you MOOP maniacs and line sweepers extraordinaire! After a nail-biting interlude, we are BACK with the results of the next round of MOOP Map Live 2012. Our brave Playa Restoration moopers are nearly done combing Black Rock City, and let me tell you, this year they’re going above and beyond to cover more of the city than has ever been mooped!

Some of you diehard fans out there have noticed that there’s a significant delay between when each round wraps up, and when we post the score here. That’s because mooping is an art and a science! Read on to find out more.

Each morning, D.A. and the Playa Restoration team review the current map and lay out a plan for the day. Photo by Vertumnus; click for full size.

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