The number of DPWers in attendance seemed to have dwindled, though. It might have been due to the game of full-contact duck duck goose the night before, but there’s no way of knowing for sure.
Things were blazing after breakfast. Over in Center Camp, they had already finished putting in the 20-foot king posts and the 12-foot outer posts, and they had moved on to the rigging. That’s 12 king posts and 48 posts in the outer ring all set and secure.
It’s not glamorous work. It’s tedious and hot. But when you’re enjoying the shade and the camaraderie and the community of the Center Cafe during the event, you can think back to the second week of August when a lot of the heavy lifting was done.
There are 12 people on the Center Camp crew, which is called Oculus now. They used to be called the Aftermath crew, but that was back when Heavy Equipment did the Cafe build. They’d run the heavy machinery all day, and in their spare time construct the big tent that serves as the central meeting place at Burning Man. Three years ago, the members of Aftermath who had moved on to other tasks decided they wanted their name back, so they took it. That left the Cafe crew nameless, and they decided upon Oculus. If you stand in the center of the Cafe structure and look up, you’ll see a beautiful opening to the sky above, framed by support wires. That’s where the name comes from, and it fits perfectly.
The whole crew was slaving away yesterday, Jamie and Austin and running the scissor lifts, Goat and Peaches and Tennessee and Bible Thumper and all the others pulling the cables, tightening the bolts and stringing the barrel wrap that the shade panels will hang on.
The rigging seems to be going up faster than it ever has, which is amazing, given the heat. But the wind has calmed, and that should make hanging the shade a lot easier. The crew seems to get better at the tasks every year, which is a common theme around here.