Posts in dpw

August 29th, 2014  |  Filed under Building BRC, Participate!

Cop Whispering: A call to unity

Working DPW and Gate at Burning Man has given many of us on staff our first taste of what it feels like to be an Enforcer. Of any type. In order to build and run a city out of thin air, sometimes a bunch of anti-authoritarians have to figure out how to tell other anti-authoritarians what to do, in the way we’d like to be told ourselves.

We workers are enforcers of necessary rules like: Don’t bring your guns or dogs here, don’t run towards the burning thing, and what if you’ve tried to stow away a hippie and now they’re suffocating underneath your bad plans.

Yes, it can be fun to role-play alpha tribe-protector out here, all fancy with a radio. Yes, the Stanford Prison Experiment was real, and we’re sure the lead Black Rock Rangers have had to pull some “excited fake cop” people off their Burning Man Ranger routes and take their radios away. That’s human nature. Working through it is what happens next.

For us regular blue-collar workers in Black Rock City, sometimes in this heat we get to feeling harsh, whether from a long work day, a few bad apples’ stupidity, or their mis-assumption of our stupidity. Worse yet, sometimes, as Enforcers, we harsh someone who doesn’t deserve it, because someone else tried to run and hitchhike through fast-moving intake lanes just a minute ago.

So the workers of Black Rock City have a heightened sense of empathy for Burning Man’s law enforcement. In Black Rock City, we have DPW who builds and stewards the town, we have Rangers who walk around and interact with the community, we have Emergency Services which provides medical and fire protection to anyone and everyone who needs it, and we have Gate and Perimeter as our internal “border security.” Together, these Burning Man departments handle all the regular, run-of-the-mill problems a society might have, such as power outages, dehydration, or domestic disputes.

Then the big guns are also here — the BLM and local law enforcement — whenever we need them.

We have always been glad they’re here. We workers have dealt with some scary shit, and while we talk a big tough game, DPW doesn’t know what to do with a transient one-armed man who’s wandered in from the desert during setup 2003, bleeding from his crazy-eyed head, talking about having just murdered a friend and his dog. Uhhhh, that’s beyond our scope of knowledge and ability.

We call the cops. We need cops. End of story. Read more »

September 30th, 2013  |  Filed under Environment

MOOP Map Live, Day 7: The Green Streak Ends

Greetings MOOP maniacs and line sweepers extraordinaire! Here in Gerlach, the Playa Restoration All-Star team is being blown across the sweeping expanse of the Black Rock Desert by winds that have gusted as high as 50mph.

Luckily for Black Rock City, these rockstar Restoration experts are sticking to the task at hand, grabbing every last bit of MOOP, and still managing to look great doing it.

Burning Man Playa Restoration 2013, Day 15.
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September 28th, 2013  |  Filed under Environment

MOOP Map Live, Day 6: The Outer Limits

Burning Man Playa Restoration 2013, Day 8.

Hello out there all you MOOP maniacs and line sweepers extraordinaire! Here in the Black Rock Desert, your Playa Restoration team is in the final rounds of what has been a truly epic season. With just days left before we head back to the real world, we have swept throughout the Black Rock City grid, throughout the inner playa and up through the Man to the Temple. The pace has been quick and efficient, and the Restoration moopers have covered an impressive amount of ground.
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September 26th, 2013  |  Filed under Environment

MOOP Map Live, Day 5: A Work In Progress

Burning Man Playa Restoration 2013, Day 6.

Greetings MOOP maniacs and line sweepers extraordinaire! The Hun here, typing with gloves on. Yes, winter has socked the Playa Restoration All-Star team a good one these past few days, with temperatures in the 30s and rude winds poking icy fingers under our collars and down our backs. Just a week ago, we were basking in bikinis. Today, we’re wearing all the clothes we own.

Burning Man Playa Restoration 2013, Day 8.

Playa Restoration ends next Wednesday with the BLM site inspection. Between now and then, the Resto All-Stars are braving the wind and weather to pick up all the MOOP we can find and return the playa surface to a pristine state.

Burning Man Playa Restoration 2013, Day 1.

Changes to the MOOP Map

As I’ve mentioned before, the MOOP Map you see on this blog is a record of our progress — but it’s a living document, not the final map. Once we record all the data, we cross-check it thoroughly and make changes where appropriate. Today’s map may look very slightly different, so have another look at your spot!
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September 25th, 2013  |  Filed under Environment

Restoration Honors the Temple of Whollyness

Greetings MOOP maniacs and line sweepers extraordinaire! I’m here in Gerlach with 120 members of your DPW Playa Restoration home team. They are preparing to enter the damp, sticky and frigid playa — armed only with MOOP sticks, shovels and magnet rakes — to eradicate the final traces of Burning Man 2013.

Burning Man Playa Restoration 2013, Day 8.

Burning Man Playa Restoration 2013, Day 8.

The season is skidding to a close as we dodge rainstorms and near-freezing temperatures; we may even get a little snow this evening. Summer is officially a dusty memory, but still the MOOP lines march on.

Burning Man Playa Restoration 2013, Day 8.

As many of you have remarked, the line sweeps are covering a lot of ground this year, and in record time. On Day 4, 45 city blocks disappeared under the moopers’ feet. And yes, the Playa Restoration All-Star team is one hell of a crew — but the line sweeps’ pace ultimately depends on YOU, and how well Black Rock City practices Leaving No Trace. When the city blocks are green and MOOP-free, the Resto line sweepers move at a fast clip. And this year, we’ve encountered a whole lot of green blocks.

In fact, we’re seeing green this year in all sorts of places. So while Playa Restoration continues marching through the city grid, let’s take a moment and turn our eyes elsewhere: far out in the deep playa, where the Temple of Whollyness once stood.

Photo by Curious Josh / curiousjosh.com

Photo by Curious Josh / curiousjosh.com

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September 24th, 2013  |  Filed under Environment

MOOP Map Live, Day 4: How to Get the GREEN

Greetings MOOP maniacs and line sweepers extraordinaire! It’s time for another installment of the Burning Man 2013 MOOP Map, our faithful record of how Black Rock City upheld its commitment to Leave No Trace on the playa.

Photo by Phoenix Firestarter!

Photo by Phoenix Firestarter!

Your Playa Restoration All-Star moopers are hard at work this very moment, braving extreme weather and mounting grumpiness on the frigid, wintry Black Rock Desert. Let’s get a big hurrah for the home team!

Photo by Phoenix Firestarter!

Photo by Phoenix Firestarter!

Today, though, I have the privilege to share some stories from just a few of the theme camps that make our city so vibrant and unique. Because let’s face it: Without the massive amount of love, time, effort and cash that goes into creating each Burning Man theme camp, our city would be a very different place. What theme camps bring to Black Rock City is absolutely irreplaceable.

Not only that, but if theme camps didn’t bust their butts to Leave No Trace, we would have a LOT more trouble passing the annual BLM site inspection. Theme camps are about the biggest gifts I can imagine, so this year I’ve asked some of them to share their own stories of Leaving No Trace.

Robot Heart participants doing a line sweep after a mobile party in the open playa

Robot Heart participants doing a line sweep after a mobile party in the open playa

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September 22nd, 2013  |  Filed under Environment

MOOP Map Live, Day 3: State of the Playa

Burning Man Playa Restoration 2013, Day 1.

Hello MOOP maniacs and line sweepers extraordinaire! The Hun here, reporting from Gerlach where the Black Rock Desert is putting on its winter coat. Yes, the weather is here — in fact, 2013 has been a particularly weathery year.

As if rebelling against the warm, dry winter that preceded it, this summer has surprised us with monsoon rains and flash floods. You probably remember the storm that stranded 160 DPW on the playa in August. That event was one in a series of showers, a weather pattern that is far from ordinary in this dry, sun-baked country.

Burning Man Playa Restoration 2013, Day 6.

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September 19th, 2013  |  Filed under Environment

MOOP Map Live, Day 2: The Going Gets Tough

BurningMan_PlayaRestoration2013_JessicaReeder-0775

Greetings MOOP maniacs and line sweepers extraordinaire! I’m here on the drifted shores of the Black Rock Desert, where your Playa Restoration All-Star moopers are hard at work removing every last trace of Burning Man. Our home team is hell-bent for victory — but let me tell you, Day Two was no cakewalk.

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