Posts in burning man

October 4th, 2005  |  Filed under Building BRC

What City?

The Green T-Stake ceremony marks the end of DPW’s work

As they say in the biz, it’s a wrap. Today, the cleanup crew swung the last rake, picked up the last traffic cone, chased the last piece of runaway moop. Black Rock City is gone, leaving no trace…


It was a good day all around; in fact, it felt a lot like the last day of school. Line Sweeps meandered through the outer edges of the city, then took a walk down Gate Road. There was so little moop that we ended up taking a few unscheduled breaks, just sitting around on the playa and chatting.


Breaktime, more

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October 2nd, 2005  |  Filed under Building BRC

DPW Talent Nite

Yes, it was as scary as it sounds.

Mayfield was really excited about having a talent show. He kept announcing it at the morning meetings, almost ad nauseam. It sounded like a pretty dorky idea at first, but Mayfield has a knack for convincing people – and besides, he kept reminding us that we could do it DPW-style.

He was right, too. He had wrangled up a big group of volunteers for the weekend; the Black Rock Social Club was packed to the gills for the best talent show this little blogger has ever seen.

Click any small photo to enlarge it. And please excuse the dust on my camera lens!

The show was hosted by Tremain Calm and Sleep Dep. Pandragon and Tom each performed spoken word (which was excellent, despite Mayfield’s repeated warnings that anyone reciting poetry would be fed to Lazlo). Next up was a very disturbing clown act by Fitz in Your Mouth.

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September 30th, 2005  |  Filed under Building BRC

How GroundScore Got His Name

All photos by Cloe

It was just another day on the playa. Line Sweeps crew was walking around, noses to the ground, mooping the Temple site. Bobtuse was driving through the major sand dunes, dragging a metal square to flatten them and expose any litter. Special Forces were roaming the city, going from one orange cone to the next to clean up the worst spots.

On Line Sweeps, we were taking an early morale break when DA called over the radio: Special Forces had found a bad hot spot, and could use some backup. “Finish your break,” he said, “and moop your way over here.” Easy enough.

Coyote was the first to arrive at the spot, where he found Special Forces raking up debris – and Super Dave on site, pretty worked up. Look at all this rebar they’d pulled out of the ground! Look how bad this site was! It was the sort of thing that the BLM would be very unhappy to see – the sort of thing that could get the event canceled. And then, he lifted one of the orange cones to expose the worst part of all:

The head of Blackbeard Matt, who was buried up to his neck in playa.

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September 28th, 2005  |  Filed under Building BRC

Chew ‘Em Up Lions

The Gerlach high school challenges DPW to volleyball

The Gerlach Lady Lions

This is a small town, and it would be impossible for the locals to ignore all these DPW kids roaming around with strange haircuts and black clothes. In truth, I think we provide them a little entertainment, you know?

A week or two ago, it was announced at our morning meeting that the Gerlach High volleyball team – the girls’ volleyball team – had challenged us to a tournament.

Needless to say, we took the challenge as seriously as we possibly could. We planned extensively: what are we going to wear? Who has zombie makeup? What cars should we drive into the high school parking lot in order to create as much disruption as possible?

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September 23rd, 2005  |  Filed under Building BRC


Fifty people, lost in the desert

The morning was cold but clear. I wore shorts, expecting it to be a hot day. We all did.

Around 10:00, Deanna looked up at the sky and exclaimed, “hey guys, look at that cloud!” It looked like some sort of spaceship: round, dark gray, with multiple layers. We dubbed it “the Mothership” and went back to work, pulling little tiny bits of green wax out of the playa. Wax! Why? It took us over an hour to unearth that particular scar, and our noses were in the dirt the whole time.

The next time we looked up, it was noon and the crew was gathering for lunch. The Mothership had stretched and grown, and started producing offspring. Then, the winds came.

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September 21st, 2005  |  Filed under Building BRC

How To Make an Awesome MOOP Bucket

(and how to use it: Line Sweeps are here!)

Everyone needs their own mooper scooper. Here’s how to make one in four easy steps!

1. Find a water jug (one- or two-gallon will do nicely)

2. Locate your knife

3. Cut hole in jug

4. Fill with tiny pieces of trash (pictured is one day’s spoils).

…So you wanna be hardcore? Try doing line sweeps for two weeks, kid. I’ve only made it through two days, and my brain is already fried.

DPW Cleanup Crew is getting grungier and grungier, and every day things seem just a little more absurd. People’s work clothes are slowly turning into bizarre costumes, and attitudes get brasher and surlier as we all inch our way toward mass insanity.

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September 18th, 2005  |  Filed under Building BRC

Fence Down

The demise of Black Rock City 2005

It was good while it lasted, our little town. We had ourselves a good time, didn’t we?

But anything this good is destined to end; sometimes I even think it’s better that way. And whatever this social experiment-cum-art festival was in 2005, it will never be the same again. Am I right?

The fence came down today, not with a bang, but with a cloud of dust and lots of idle chatter.

It was a lot easier to get the fence down than it was to set the thing up, but it’s still an all-hands job. We split into three teams; each team had rope cutters, t-stake pullers, fence rollers and the all-important moopers. Coyote circled from team to team, gathering up bits of junk fence and telling dirty jokes…

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September 17th, 2005  |  Filed under Building BRC

The Ancestors

I met the Ancestors tonight, saw them rise up full with power.

I felt so small. I had walked through dust devils, congratulated myself for my bravery. Now, seeing the Ancestors’ proud march, I realized those devils had just been flirtations, caprices, a flick of the wrist -

We were driven from the playa in the mid-afternoon, forced to leave by a massive bloom of dust that infiltrated every crack and cut off our vision in every direction except out. We left obediently, and I saw black clouds looming over the mountains, and the wind turned cold, cold.

In town, trees began to whip and scold, tossing leaves and branches into the road. Rain flew in bunches at the tired dust, beating it into submission. I, for one reason or another, soon found myself speeding along the highway overlooking the playa. I think maybe they were calling to me: I had just written of them, misnamed them, appointed their title to mere dust devils. Insulted their pride, and they wanted to humble me.

Driving along beside that great procession, I felt tiny, miniscule. The road seemed to buck beneath me, the ground tossing with laughter. The air crackled with excitement and joy; the horizon brimmed with lightning. The clouds broke. The wind had reversed its direction. The Ancestors were marching to reclaim the playa.

Kingly regal, leading the procession, a great plume of dust rose hundreds of feet in the air. He did not twist or turn; he simply forged ahead from out of the deep playa, leading an offensive on the defenseless town of Gerlach. His feet were brown where they drew from the soil; his hair was white and wavy, flicking long trails upward into the sky. Behind him streamed hundreds of his subjects, servants, nobles, all with arms reaching upward to throw the earth into the sky. Along the edges of the procession, mischievous devils hovered along the highway, skipped along streambeds, danced from dune to dune, swirling in the sage and jumping to disappear in the air. As my car approached, they ducked away into the turmoil, tails whipping behind.

The moon rose, low and yellow over the mountain, and the clouds reached down with the last of the sunlight to catch the dust from the Ancestors’ arms. The sky turned a livid pink. Behind me, one last flicker of lightning -

and then, a rainbow as bright as neon flashed from horizon to horizon. The clouds curdled and melted away behind the mountains’ sharp edges. The Ancestors had finished their march, leaving a wall of white dust to protect their city. Gerlach lay squalid, flattened, humbled in their wake. And I, smaller than a bug, thought of the dust I clean from my skin, nose, ears, hair. The earth I have shoveled and raked, written my name in. One month from now, the playa will show no sign that I was ever here. It will have no memory of me.

I, however, will not forget.