Moop Map 2015: Day 5 – What’s That Red Thing?

Art! Art! Art! Honk! Honk!
Art! Art! Art! Honk! Honk!

Greetings, you moop maniacs and line sweepers extraordinaire! I’m writing this from the still-dripping eaves of the Burning Man office in downtown Gerlach, NV. We had a doozy of a storm that blew the crew off the playa Wednesday morning, then turned into a day-long rain. The playa turned to mud, and the entire Restoration operation was grounded Thursday and Friday.

After three days on the sidelines, we are all raring to go. Your Playa Restoration hotshots really love their job, folks, and can’t wait to get back out there and finish the job before Burning Man’s site inspection with the BLM. As a matter of fact, we’re planning to work through the weekend and right up until the moment our BLM representatives arrive.

If you ever felt like cheering on the Resto crew, now is the moment! Let them know you’re rooting for them. Send a prayer on the wind. Whatever good mojo you’ve got, send it toward the playa – we’ll take it!

Red Nose (purr)Rahna
Red Nose (purr)Rahna

So About the Red Thing

So listen, I want to answer a question that’s been popping up in the comments ever since Day One:

What’s that red spot right in the middle of the Moop Map?

Would you believe it’s Burning Man’s clown nose?

Moop Map 2015: Day Four and Our Fearless Leader

Hello you moop maniacs and line sweepers extraordinaire! I’ve got more map, including the rest of the Esplanade, for you today!

How did your camp score? How did your favorite party spot fare? How did your mooping efforts pay off this year? Tell me about it in the comments please!

This year, I sat down to interview a few of the many fascinating people that make up our Playa Restoration crew. If you haven’t read Major Buzzkill’s story, you should – it’s powerful. And today I’d like to share a new side of the guy who started it all: D.A., manager and mastermind of Resto.

Also, a badass.
Also, a badass.

DA is somebody I’ve grown close to over time. We’ve done good work together over the past decade. But I always wondered: how did he get here? What path led him to this role? What inspires him to keep coming back, year after year, to lead an ever-growing crew in erasing the traces of an ever-larger city?

Moop Map 2015: Day Three – and have you seen this flaming flying piano?

Hello out there, you moop maniacs and line sweepers extraordinaire! I’m back with the information you’ve all been waiting for: the results of Day 3’s mad march through the streets of BRC, and the first glimpse of this year’s ESPLANADE scores.

But first! A flying piano!

If you were lucky enough to be in just the right place at just the right time this year, you saw a very rare spectacle: the DPW’s infamous trebuchet, being cocked, loaded, lit and LOOSED with a flaming piano flying through the air and smashing into smithereens onto the playa.

Photo by Andrew at
Photo by Andrew at

“WHAT!!??” I can hear all of you screaming in unison. “BUT WHAT ABOUT THE MOOP??”

Moop Map 2015: Day Two, and a Buzzkill

That’s Cat, always bringing joy no matter what the job.

Why hello there, all you moop maniacs and line sweepers extraordinaire –

I’ve got a whole bunch of goodies for you today, so go ahead and get excited. It’s gonna be a good day.

The autumn days here in the Black Rock have been sunny and calm, a bit on the warm side maybe. The pre-season bugs have not returned, the dust storms haven’t been battering our skin, eyes and lungs … heck, it isn’t even too cold in the mornings.

With calm and clear conditions, the Playa Restoration line sweepers are making good progress. On Day 2, they marched through 54 city blocks, along the back ‘burbs of Black Rock City. What they found was a mixed bag, if we’re being honest here. Again, the vast majority of the territory was impressively vacant of moop. However, a couple of spots got a little out of control. Want to see? Of course you do!


Moop Map 2015: Day One Results!

Yes, we still observe Onesie Wednesday out here!
Yes, we still observe Onesie Wednesday out here! Just with more dumpsters.

Hello out there, my moop maniacs and line sweepers extraordinaire! It is my very great pleasure to kick off the official Moop Map results for 2015.

It’s time, Black Rock City, to find out how we all fared in our Leave No Trace efforts. Are you ready? Of course you are! This is the moment you’ve been waiting for!


Moop Map 2015: This is what participation looks like


SHOUT OUT to Playa Mike, who posted this inspiring album from Burn Night 2015. Mike says:

Every year on Burn Night my friends and I walk around the playa collecting as much MOOP as we can find and attach it to a caution tape tail of mine.





That’s the spirit, Playa Mike (and crew). You made mooping fun. Thank you for leaving no trace, and for picking up more than you dropped. The Playa Restoration crew salutes you!

I’d like to take this moment to remind us all of what moop is [it’s Matter Out Of Place] and why we pick it up [because Burning Man is a Leave No Trace event, and keeping that incredible commitment requires everyone’s participation].

Here’s a nice summary of it, from this year’s Survival Guide:

Burning Man is the largest Leave No Trace (LNT) event in the world — LNT is one of our core principles — it is up to all of us to remove all Matter Out of Place (MOOP) from Black Rock City. There is no garbage collection service in BRC — we are all responsible for properly removing all trash. Everything you bring might become trash: tent stakes, bottle caps, ashes, wood debris, orange peels, cigarette butts, pistachio shells, rope fibers, sequins —even abandoned bikes. According to our permit with the BLM, we have a very short window of time to restore the playa to its original condition. We can only satisfy BLM stipulations and pass inspection if ALL citizens share in the responsibility to line-sweep their camps and the city.

No matter how big and crazy our temporary city gets, it’s always going to be a community. And it’s always going to attract awesome people who find their own ways to participate. Including mooping their way through BRC with a tail made of caution tape.

Did YOU pick up moop in a creative, photogenic way this year? Tweet me your photos @jhfearless. I’ll totally RT.

And hey guys, I’ve seen Day One of the Moop Map results and I can say for sure that you’re going to see them too, very soon. Tomorrow maybe?

MOOP Map 2015 is a GO GO GO!

HELLO out there, all you MOOP maniacs and line sweepers extraordinaire! Step right up as we kick off the final show of 2015: the magical, miraculous, totally mind-bending escapades of the DPW Playa Restoration hotshots.

The MOOP line stretches across a near-vacant city. Where are those 70,000 Burners now?
The MOOP line stretches across a near-vacant city. Where are those 70,000 Burners now?

Can it really be only two weeks since you bid the playa adieu, people of Black Rock City? In that achingly short time, the city vanished back into the dust, leaving behind only a few faint traces. And now, the Resto MOOP lines are erasing even those.

As always, it’s a race against time: as the winds bluster their way through the vacant heart of the Wild West, as the clouds lower and the Bureau of Land Management prepares its inspection of our desert home, everything hangs on this one question:

Will the MOOP lines make it through the city in time?

And as always, ladies and gentlemen, the answer to that question is in your hearts and in your hands. Did you make your very best effort to Leave No Trace on the playa? Did you pack it out like you packed it in? People of the Black Rock, did you MOOP as if the future of your city depended on it?

It’s time to find out.

D.A., Playa Restoration's fearless leader, kicks off the first day with a crew meeting and a blank Moop Map. Time to color it in!
D.A., Playa Restoration’s fearless leader, kicks off the first day with a crew meeting and a blank Moop Map. Time to color it in!
It helps to become one with the dust
It helps to become one with the dust

If you’re unfamiliar: Playa Restoration, now in its tenth year, is a hotshot crew of 140 diehards and blowhards, who brave the heat, the cold, the dust, the boredom, and the biting flies as they walk every single block of Black Rock City, picking up every last bit of MOOP, so we can pass our annual site inspection with the BLM. A successful inspection means Burning Man happens next year, if you want it to. A failed inspection … well, let’s try not to go there.

After the citizens of Black Rock City (that’s you!) pack up every bit of the carnival and take it back, in tattered, dusty pieces, to the real world, the Resto crew comes in to restore the playa. We walk the city, picking up every last piece of MOOP we see. As we do, we track everything we find and report it back to you in the form of a Moop Map. This is our collective report card, a record of how well Burning Man erased its tracks. It’s a shared effort that involves every one of us, and with every year that passes, we get better and better at leaving our site clean and green.

Over the next two weeks, I and my fellow blogger Summer Burkes will be giving you the real stories of Restoration, and oh yes, we’ll be unveiling the 2015 Moop Map as fast as the Resto crew can fill it in. 2014 was overwhelmingly green. Can we repeat that victory in 2015?

We’re about to find out. Stay tuned…

Follow along with the Playa Restoration team: The Hun is on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Flickr, and Summer Burkes is on Twitter too!

Behind the Scenes with the Mazu Temple Builders

Sarah Kihls fabricates a steel dragon, one of several that will perch on Mazu's roofline.
Sarah Kihls fabricates a steel dragon, one of eight that will perch on Mazu’s roofline.

For nearly a full year now, an international crew of artists, craftspeople, designers, builders, engineers (and at least one poet) have been working nonstop to create a temple for Mazu, Goddess of the Empty Sea — a piece you’ll soon be able to experience and interact with on playa. What’s more, they’ve turned this project into a new arts collective that could keep them working on similar projects for years to come.

Photographer Aleksey Bochkovsky has documented many a workday with this crew. Here’s a look at what they’re doing, and more about what makes Mazu’s temple, and its crew, unique. All photos by Aleksey.

Charlie Nguyen paints the roof outside The Generator in Reno, Mazu's US build site.
Charlie Nguyen paints the roof outside The Generator in Reno, Mazu’s US build site.
John Julius Little assembles the 108 lanterns, provided by Texas artists Dave and Marrilee Archer, to light the temple perimeter.
John Julius Little assembles the 108 lanterns, provided by Texas artists Dave and Marrilee Archer, to light the temple perimeter.
Nathan Parker, project manager.
Nathan Parker, project manager.

“We’re raising the bar for craftsmanship, detail and interactivity,” says project leader Nathan Parker, who previously worked for several years as an electrician for the Black Rock City Department of Public Works.

“Most of the art that people create to be burned has a temporary feel,” he continues.

“We want this to feel real and permanent. We want people to say, ‘Why are you going to burn that? Don’t burn that!’”

But it will burn. The Mazu temple’s laser-cut panels; its hand-painted, sanded, stained woodwork; its arching 40-foot-high lotus flower will all go away. In the process, they’ll reveal the underlying steel structure: a self-standing sculpture that will one day be installed permanently in a public space. (more…)