August 11th: Day Two on the Playa

Thirst quenchersYou might be wondering what the DPW subsists on during long hot days on the open playa while they toil away pounding t-stakes, tying fence and erecting huge structures. You probably figure that they know what their doing, and maybe you could learn a thing or two from their years of experience. Well, they eat whatever’s around, and here’s what they drink:

I told you they were different.

Coyote & George Bush The fence crew split into two groups this morning. One group started tying fence along the fourth side, and the other started tying fence in the opposite direction along the fifth side. We met in the middle at mid-day and tied off the last post to a thunderous cheer and inspiring words of from George Bush and Coyote. The perimeter fence was officially done. The celebration was short-lived as the fence crew moved on to the gate road. That’s the road you take from the highway to the point where your ticket is taken and your vehicle searched, and then on to the Greeter station. Along this two-mile stretch, t-stakes have to be pounded and flag tape tied.

Man base Most of the DPW returned to their regular crew today. So much is going on, people have to focus on deadlines now. There’s been a lot of progress on the Man base already, including the survey and trenching. Me on a Hyster The huge trees were delivered yesterday from Chaos’ property near Truckee, California. I don’t know how much they weigh, but they required two giant flatbed trailers to deliver them and a Hyster to unload them. I didn’t get to operate it, but I got to hang out and look super cool on one.


LudyIt’s hard for me to imagine the planning and execution required for the Man base, so it’ll be really interesting to watch it go up. The photo shows what the Man base looks like now. Big Stick engineered the project, and Ludy is in charge of construction. Here’s Ludy:

Porta-pottiesGood news! The porta-potties were delivered today. All 1,000 of them. It’s funny, they’re lined up just like they will be during the event, along all the radius streets, just as I’ve seen them for years. But now they’re out there all by themselves. Like toilet sentinels. Guarding the playa against pee and poop.

I went with Dixie to visit Dan Das Mann and Karen Cusolito’s art installation today. They’re back this year with Crude Awakenings out in the deep playa between the Temple and 2:00. It sounds like one of the most ambitious art projects ever at Burning Man, and Dan’s crew is already hard at work. His camp sounds pretty amazing too, The Devil’s Workshop and Day Spa, where you can use tools you need and then get a massage. I’ll be keeping you posted on this project, so stay tuned.

Bean and DA I went over to help with the commissary tent later in the afternoon, but it was too windy to put up. The tent is huge, and Bean is in charge of installation. It requires about 40 people to erect. Here’s Fuego pounding in gigantic tent stakes and Noah organizing logistics. They got the whole thing laid out, stakes in, and ropes on, but the wind kicked up just as they were getting ready to put it up. Noah Fuego They need at least an hour window with almost no wind to make a go of it.

We’re going to try again after dinner, but it will likely have to wait until tomorrow. The delay puts a lot of people in a bind. The commissary team is waiting for the tent to go up so they can get everything ready to serve the first playa meal to about 200 Burning Man employees and volunteers Monday morning. That’s ovens, refrigerators, sinks, electricity, water, tables, chairs, dishes, food, drink, trash, and food prep within the next 36 hours. Sounds nearly impossible. But it’s Burning Man, so it probably isn’t.

-Wanda Power

About the author: Marnee Benson

Marnee Benson

Marnee joined Black Rock Solar in 2009 as an environmental journalist and project manager who had recently organized a worldwide sailing expedition and global warming lecture series. While growing up in New Mexico, Marnee played tennis in the high-desert sun, ripped it up at local ski resorts, and rode bikes with her friends. She’s lived in Reno for more than ten years, after stops in Jackson Hole and southern California– where she played beach volleyball and studied math at San Diego State University. Marnee traded in her tennis racket and bikinis for carabiners and climbing shoes when she hit the Sierra Nevada, and she recently graduated from UNR with two master’s degrees in Environmental Science and Environmental Policy. She organized the Tour de Nez bike race for three years and sailed with Greenpeace International before turning her attention full-time to Black Rock Solar. In her spare time, Marnee counts her lucky stars for being able to work with the Holland Project and March Fourth Marching Band.