The Department of Public Works!

Photos By: Evrim D. Cakir (AKA Madonna)

Your mouth becomes a mini jack hammer even saying it.

You remember those guys even when you were a little kid, don’t you. They were the ones climbing up out of man holes and busting up the streets. I’d watch them from the back seat of my Mom’s Buick as she passed, and marvel at the big burly dirty work. My favorite toys were always the Tonka trucks and bulldozers.

Workin’ on the highway, all day long, you don’t stop,
Workin’ on the highway, blasting through the bedrock,
Workin’ on the highway, layin’ down the black top,
Workin’ on the highway, workin’ on the highway!

-Bruce Springsteen

Speaking of working on the railroad, My god, I have never seen anything like it in my whole crazy life!! Solid truths lie in peoples actions, and the truth of the matter is that we have the slickest powerhouse of a DPW ever. Period.

Many know that Black Rock City is packaged it a seven and a half mile orange trash fence, and many should know that under the direction of fence manager, Asraiya Deyo, aka “Outlaw”, it is the single largest task of the DPW. It involves pounding in over 3000 t-stake fence posts, and twine tying endless rolls of orange mesh to it. Well, glorious was the day on Aug. 8th, when the stipulations of our permit to operate BRC issued by the BLM, at last allowed us to stick a fence onto federal land and claim over four square miles of it for our modest little community. What a powerhouse attitude of hot geyser enthusiasm we felt, as close to thirty of our boys and girls alike, marched down the first fence line carrying a full asortment of truck-bumper sized twenty pound mad max pole pounders (custom built by the very clever metal shop), and slammed the poles in one by one.

Last years records where obliterated! We popped in the full seven and a half miles in one day. At the end of that day, I was having trouble even lifting my beer.

7.5 miles.
3000 t-steaks.
One day.
Beyond Belief.


– Where you swing out of bed at 6:00 am without even trying.
– Where dents and dirt, bruised cut and ripped shirt is the reward.
– A place where a 90 pound little fire cracker woman named DiMilitia runs a metal and welding shop.

– A place where a bashed out, doorless, windowless, ex-cop car, junker can be a chick magnet.
– A place where dust is served with every meal.
– A place where money is fake, and friendships are real.

I love my home on the range.

Big Daddy’s desert beer tip of the week:

Fresh out on the playa with all your buddies, and nothing but hot cans of beer?

You need Big Daddy’s two minute “quick chill” method. Just simply let you fingers do the walking, and twirl the can, or bottle on some ice for only two minuets and you got a cold one, dude!

He also cranked out a big ol’ pot of venison chili for about a hundred the other night. Awesome at dinner time – hard core the next morning.

By the way, every year someone always informs me of pneumatic machines that pound in t-steaks for you. Well, this fence crew wouldn’t change things for the world, and I’m thinking that by the end of the day, when the work is done, we’d probably still be reading the machine manual. It’s the old “John Henry” story, after all.

About the author: Tony “Coyote” Perez-Banuet

Tony “Coyote” Perez-Banuet

Tony “Coyote” Perez-Banuet has been coming to the desert to build and strike Black Rock City since 1996. A professional musician for over twenty years, Burning Man culture was an easy shift for him. He co-founded the Department of Public Works of BRC in 1998 and has been the City Superintendent ever since. Known as the “Bard of the Desert”, telling stories around the campfire is among the things he does best. He has been blogging under the moniker of “Coyote Nose” for many years, and he is Burning Man’s first Storytelling Fellow.

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