Posts in burning man

August 17th, 2008  |  Filed under Building BRC

time to burn a man or two

The Man burned last night. Three of them, in fact. And I feel like I’ve been to Burning Man, circa 1993.

Here’s what happened: Read more »

August 16th, 2008  |  Filed under Building BRC

center camp so far

In the beginning, there was nothing but flags

In the beginning, there was nothing but flags ...

So I thought it would be a good time to take a look at how things are shaping up so far. First up is Center Camp. The shade screens are still going up (which involves the tedious and difficult task of attaching ties to each and every grommet that attaches to the cables), but already the shade is significant.

Do me a favor: When you get here, lavish the work crew with every gift and kindness that’s in your power to provide. Read more »

August 15th, 2008  |  Filed under Building BRC

ok, ok, it’s not all work out here

Magellan and his dad ... er, mom for the night, kind of had matching outfits

Magellan and his dad ... er, mom for the night, kind of had matching outfits

Felony and Joe, whose high heels put him at a whole new altitude

Felony and Joe, whose high heels put him at a whole new altitude

Thursday night was ladies’ night at the Commissary.

Men had to dress like women to get into the party. There was an inspection at the door. If you didn’t look feminine enough, you didn’t get in, simple as that. Your correspondent barely passed the test; he had borrowed a skirt that was semi-flattering because it covered up a lot, but he only had a man’s white formal shirt for a top. Once Lexy tied it up around his sternum, thus exposing plenty of midsection flesh, he could take his place inside. Read more »

August 15th, 2008  |  Filed under Building BRC

look, ma, a city …

Center Camp is going up fast. Really fast.

Center Camp is going up fast. Really fast.

First, an admission.

I was off the playa for most of two days. The details are boring; just mark it down to the demands of the default world.

Still, you can tell the people who’ve been out of the dust and the sun for even a little while. Their eyes aren’t as red, their clothes aren’t as dirty and their mental state isn’t quite as blasted as those who’ve been out in it each and every day.

So I’ve become one of “those” people now, and it’s not a happy thing.

Everything got bigger when I was away. Three of the platforms for The Man were constructed, and one of them was even hoisted on top of another one, creating a second level. Eventually, there will be three levels, each of them 16 feet high. And there’ll be spiral staircases inside that you’ll be able to walk up  when the the construction is finished.

The platforms for the base of the Man have been assembled

The platforms for the base of the Man have been assembled

“It’s like an obelisk,” said Brian as he squinted into the sun and worked to make the fittings just right. “You know, like the Washington Monument. Or a big prick.”

Oh yes. A mighty big prick.

Center Camp is also taking shape fast. The headers are in place, and the crew even finished the cabling by Wednesday. By Thursday, the netting was going up for shade. Believe me, you will appreciate the shade. And you simply have to marvel at the work ethic of the Center Camp crew. They are just unstoppable. “Everyone on the crew is trying to impress me,” Joe the Builder said. Whatever the reason, things are  ahead of schedule.

Out a little further at the Temple, more of the pieces have arrived. Huge wooden poles will support giant walkways are lying prone in the dust, waiting for a three-crane lift later in the week. There will also be a “double-helix” circular staircase in the middle, the handiwork of Brandon, who’s got years of experience building stairways and took a lot of that knowledge with him out to the desert. Read more »

August 12th, 2008  |  Filed under Building BRC

flag day

Flags are everywhere.

Posts, beams, cables, spikes … eventually, all these flags will have something put in the ground where there are only flags now.

Surveyors have been out walking, consulting maps, stepping off distances, trying to make sure that drawings and plans become actual facts on the ground.

the orange flag marked the very center of where Center Camp is being constructed

the orange flag marked the very center of where Center Camp is being constructed

Yesterday, Monique and Danny were working their way around the rim of Center Camp, repeating the same process over and over and over again: Go to the pink and green flag, put a stake on the digging machine, slowly rotate it into the ground,  adjust the sheath, put it in a little further, adjust the sheath again, then sink it so that only a  loop of steel was peeking out of the dust.

Later, cables will be attached to keep the shade sturdy.

Danny is very much like a lot of people out here: He’s got another life in the default word, but more and more the Burner life and the default world are intersecting.

Earlier this year, he went to Peru in the wake of the earthquake there to help put devastated villages back together again. He’s got a variety of skills — plumbing, electricity, carpentry — so he brings a lot to the party. He planned on spending a week helping out, then he’d spend a couple of weeks traveling around. “Two months later, I was still there,” he said.

Danny adjusts the sheath

Danny adjusts the sheath

The villagers were accustomed to having water for only an hour a day, and that was before the earthquake.  “But they were happy,” Danny said. “They’d just say, hey, it’s Peru.”  So he and the other Burners Without Borders were building concrete tanks that would gather water, so the villagers would have water when they needed it, not just when it was running.

So how does a guy find it possible to go helping people out around the world? “I sold a software company at the right time,” Danny said.

Monique in the cab

... and just because we've declared this flag day, and because of this year's theme, here's one that seemed appropriate ...

... and because we declared this flag day, here's one that seemed appropriate.

August 10th, 2008  |  Filed under Building BRC

king posts

how we began the night

how we began the night

I’m told the raising of the “king posts” used to be a pretty big deal.

The king posts are the 11 big beams that hold up much of the rest of Center Camp. The whole shebang is really a stationary sail, Devo told me, and he oughta know. He’s not only been working on the Build for years, but he also knows his way around boats. (He’ll be teaching disadvantaged children the joys of sailing when the Burning Man event his finished.)

So last night, after the big barbecue at the Saloon hosted by Camp Q (and oh god was it good: ribs, chicken, steak, mashed potatoes … completely fantastic. Absolutely delicious. And  they worked liked dogs for four hours to  feed the DPW crew after another back-breaking, sun-baking day of labor. The lines for the food sucked, but hey, even the liquor was free, and what’s wrong with that? Nothing.)

laying them out

laying them out

So after the big feast, we went back out to the playa in the gathering gloom. The sun was already down, and the big big sky had all those shades of pink and purple and blue that make a light show even before the first generator is fired up.

There was a time, Joe the Builder and Niko were telling me, that the raising of the beams was a pretty major deal. Everyone would be partying, and after each post was laid in the ground, it’d be time for another round. That didn’t sound too bad, honestly. Read more »

August 9th, 2008  |  Filed under Building BRC

hot and dusty

building the fence

October 5th, 2005  |  Filed under Building BRC

BLM Inspection

(and this blogger’s final wrap-up)

Coyote (Photo by Cloe)

Coyote (Photo by Cloe)

Coyote (Tony Perez) is our Clean-Up Manager. He’s also in charge of surveying (and superintending) Black Rock City, serving on the DPW Council, and telling bad jokes the whole time.



He drives around in a big yellow truck with delineator cones and empty beer cans in the bed, usually accompanied by a cute girl or two in the cab. He conducts the Golden Spike ceremony and the Green T-Stake ceremony, and the 4:20 Spire ceremony – then he goes back into town and tends bar at the Black Rock. Oh, and occasionally he’ll cook up a gourmet meal or two, while espousing common-sense philosophy and stories about Burning Man in years past.

This is exactly the sort of person you want in charge of things out here. It’s no joke when he tells you that the event hinges on him doing his job right. If he doesn’t run Clean-Up smoothly – if we fail that inspection – then the event doesn’t happen.

Read more »