Things Are Heating Up

Burning Man: Not for the feint of heart
Burning Man: Not for the faint of heart

It’s hot. It’s damn hot. Not so dusty, but damn hot.

“I’ve seen a lot of people with that thousand-yard stare,” Logan said this morning. “Watch yourselves out there.”

The temperatures in Gerlach reached the mid-90s, but it was well over 100 on the desert floor. The wind was blowing, so if you could find some shade, things weren’t too bad. But shade is something you have to search to find. So bring some of your own when you come.

 

THE NIGHT SKY

The moon setting over the hills; those lights in the distance are from Gerlach
The moon setting over the hills; those lights in the distance are from Gerlach

We went out to catch the tail end of the Perseid meteor shower, hoping that the dark desert skies would give us a fine view. But the night was a bit dusty, and the light pollution from the city already has changed the night sky dramatically.

We started out at Point One and saw the lights from the what we believe to be the  Hycroft mines glowing in the distance. Then we went down to the other end of the city to catch the quarter moon sinking behind the hills.

The moon is waxing, which of course is a good omen for the building of the city. It’ll be full on the 20th, before y’all get here, then start to shrink again. It’ll be a quarter slice again the night the Man burns.

The light from the city was spilling out onto Point One
The light from the city was spilling out onto Point One

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THE MAKING OF THE SAUCER

The lifting begins
The lifting begins

They’ve started hanging trusses out at the Man Base, on the way to transforming the thing into a flying saucer. It took a delicate dance of cranes to accomplish.

Joe the Builder and Chaos were watching intently as Bruiser nestled the giant piece close enough to be attached to the base. Devo was running interference, and Goatt and others were in scissor-lifts ready to jump in to drive the screws.

After the first lift, which they call “picks” in the lingo, there was talk of what went right, and what they might want to try next. There are 12 more to do.

Joe the Builder watches the lifting
Joe the Builder watches the lifting

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Goatt was ready to drive the screws
Goatt was ready to drive the screws
Joe, Chaos and Bruiser talked about next steps
Joe, Chaos and Bruiser talked about next steps
One down, lots more to go
One down, lots more to go

 

RAISING THE ROOF

The beginning of the barn raising
The beginning of the barn raising

There was an old-fashioned barn-raising yesterday at the Ghetto, where most of the DPW makes camp and hangs out. An all-hands call went out to help lift the sides of the facade into place. Niko was the major domo, and of course there was the promise of PBRs to sweeten the deal.

A bunch of people showed up, and because there was so much help everything went pretty smoothly. Niko said it reminded him of his Amish days, and Customer Service was just happy to have the big lift done.

 

Everyone lent a hand to keep the wall standing
Everyone lent a hand to keep the wall standing

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THE OCULUS

The rigging for the Center Cafe is all up
The rigging for the Center Cafe is all up

They’ve finished the rigging for the Center Camp Cafe, and this is the best time to see the grace and simplicity behind the structure.

“There was a lot of talk at the beginning about being able to see” the wires, Marcia was saying. Marcia has a hand in many things, including the decor of the cafe. “It eventually became a safety issue,” she said of the decision to decorate the cables that hold the giant tent in place.

King Pole, the crew lead for the Center Camp Cafe build, was amazed as he snaked the cables through narrow spaces and saw the shape of the Oculus emerge. “I’m a visual learner,” he said, “and I’ve been studying this for months. But when you start to see it all emerge, it’s beautiful.”

That it is.

Soon the Decor crews will come in and do their thing to make the space as welcoming as possible for the throngs who will seek shade and rest from the Black Rock Desert. But the Rod Garrett design is a work of art in itself.

Checking the cables
Checking the cables
And checking again
And checking again
Zak couldn't help but keep looking up
Zak couldn’t help but keep looking up
Zak and Pole enjoying the view
Zak and Pole enjoying the view
From one side you can look out on 6 o'clock
From one side you can look out on 6 o’clock
And from the other you can see the Man
And from the other you can see the Man
Here's the crew that builds the Cafe
Here’s the crew that builds the Cafe
The tables get turned
The tables get turned

AND FINALLY, THE LESSON

Coyote and the boys
Coyote and the boys

Somebody, we won’t say who, gave Coyote what they thought was a compliment the other day. As Coyote was swinging his custom-made sledge, the observer said, “Hey, nice going, old man.”

Coyote was on him in a flash and wrestled him to the ground. We’ll be honest and say that Coyote had the benefit of surprise on his side, because the other guy was a pretty big dude. But nevertheless the point was made.

“Gotta do it at least once every year,” Coyote said.

 

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.

9 thoughts on “Things Are Heating Up

  • foxwalker: I knew that! I know stuff like that! But thank you for the save. I wanted to put a strikethrough on “feint” but I couldn’t do it in a caption. Anyway, thank you.

    Papersaurus: Oh, Stinger is very key, I know that. But this wasn’t meant to be exhaustive. Plus Stinger is one of my main go-tos out here, for words and pics, so I’m hoping she doesn’t feel slighted.

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  • gracious but that is beautiful! The playa surface looks really nice! I am so happy to be coming home soon! Thank you all for putting things together for us!

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  • good job you guys! Thanks for all your sweat equity! Be in the dust tomorrow, or as soon as it dries up! Bringing a virgin. I can’t wait for her to see the fruit of your labors!

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