A plant? In the middle of the desert? This shouldn't be happening here. ... And yet here it is. As a pal said, "What a freaky mutant misfit! ... On second thought, sounds like it is exactly in the right place." Right, Steph, this wacky beautiful hard-ass fits right in.

Hi, how’s you’re week  going? It’s been going fine out here, thanks! We’re making tons of progress getting things ready for you. Here’s a little collection of this and that, pics that fell through the cracks. … And hey, keep those cards and letters coming! BRC is kind of a lonely outpost right now, and when there’s an announcement at the morning meeting that “you’ve got mail!’ — the real kind, the kind you can touch and feel — well, it’s a pretty good thing. So make the people you’re missing feel good; send them a note or a lollipop or whatever. It’ll make their day.

Ok, here we go!

It all began with the fence, and it began before the sun came up.
Nine miles of tying, done in a day
Rolls of trash fence were dropped off around the playa.
Stakes waiting to be pounded into the playa stretched into the horizon.
Point One on the pentagram that makes up the perimeter of Black Rock City.
Pound pound pound in the morning light.
Braids and ropes. A look that works.


Kickin' out the jams (and the fence) across the desert floor.
One of the great things about Burning Man is getting here. It's the journey, not the destination, right? So even though you're going to be mad with anticipation to get here, take a little time to enjoy the view along the way. And oh! Don't forget! Especially if you're coming for the first time: Obey the speed limits! There are going to be places where it drops to 25 mph, and it's going to feel impossibly slow, but there will be police all over, just waiting to nab you. So relax, slow down, and enjoy!
You'll get the sense that you've entered a very different kind of place very soon after leaving I-80 past Reno.
Pyramid Lake is going to look very appealing on the way in, but resist the urge to pull over and jump in. It's off-limits.
There are rocks rocks and more rocks on the drive, textures and shades and colors that you don't see many places, at least on this planet.
This is Black Rock Saloon in Gerlach, a private club where the work crews hung out when they were still housed in town. But most everyone's on the playa now, so the clubhouse will stay shuttered for awhile.
Nico heads the Center Camp crew. He says, "If you're not having fun, you're not doing it right." Exactly. Remember that advice when you're trying to get your camp squared away in the blowing dust.
Clody's new to the Center Camp crew this year. A little later, she'll move over to the Decor team, where she's been volunteering for years.
One of the first things the Center Camp crews does is set up some shade. (Not long after comes the killer sound system.)
These are the "king" posts being lined up in Center Camp. They'll hold up the giant tent where you'll be able to get some relief from the heat and perhaps enjoy a refreshing beverage.
Center Camp is starting to take shape.
Austin's making sure the holes are deep enough to keep the tent supports from blowing in the wind.
Burning Man is a striding man this year. The scale model that the Man Base crew is using a guide shows the Man's new look this year.
Another striding man. You'll be casting long shadows in the desert light too, and very soon now.
Joe the Builder, waiting for the trucks to arrive in BRC.


About the author: John Curley

John Curley (that's me) has been Burning since the relatively late date of 2004, and in 2008 I spent the better part of a month on the playa, documenting the building and burning of Black Rock City in words and pictures. I loved it, and I've been doing it ever since. I was a newspaper person in a previous life, and I spent many years at the San Francisco Chronicle. At the time I left, in 2007, I was the deputy managing editor in charge of Page One and the news sections of the paper. Since then, I've turned a passion for photography into a second career. I shoot for editorial, commercial and private clients. I've also taught a little bit, including two years at UC Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism and a year at San Francisco State University. I live on the San Mateo coast, just south of San Francisco in California.

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