Collexodus wants YOU

Exodus photo by Danger Ranger

You know how every year when you leave Burning Man after partying your butt off, interacting with amazing art, seeing your friends and making new ones, and wandering around an amazing city unlike any you’ve ever encountered that magically rises up out of a prehistoric lakebed; you go home and take a shower and maybe have a beer and think about how great that was? Well, there are people still out in those dust storms and that searing heat making sure everything is torn down, stowed and shipped and any little bits of trash you possibly, accidentally were inconsiderate about not taking home with you are being all picked up so we can throw this little event again next year.

DA and crew, photo by fling93

I was talking with DA who runs the Playa Restoration (or Resto) Crew and he told me how when the event is over they spend weeks tearing down Black Rock City’s structures and then walking miles each day in the sun over grids, making sure to pick up every last bit of trash that may have made it to the playa floor. The goal is to leave the playa as clean as it was before the event and it is hard, grueling work. They start early in the morning and DA tells me that around 3:15 in the afternoon someone will invariably yell “Morale!” and the crew will stop, go to the shade and drink a couple cold beers and eat some snacks. This makes the remaining two hours go by faster.

That beer and snacks are donated by you, kind citizen of Black Rock City.

DPW photo by Cameragirl

We wanted to get this to you before you leave to meet us out here to let you know that as you’re packing up to come out to Black Rock City, it would be real nice for you to bring something to gift these hard working folks on your way out this year. You‘ll see signs at Greeters and Gate as you’re leaving and those are the official places to drop stuff. There have been scoundrels in years past who’ve set up along Exodus to shake people down for gifts, but they aren’t donating to the DPW.

Today I had lunch with Ms. Nipps who tells me that Collexodus wants unopened things like: beer, liquor, mixers, fruit cups, electrolyte drinks, beef jerky and any salty snacks. They do not want anything that’s opened, including liquor, nor do they want the two gallon water containers (small single water bottles only) mostly because the big waters can be wasted. They would appreciate no perishables, like the veggies or meat you brought with you but forgot to eat, and obviously, no garbage. Pack that stuff out with you.

Fluffers photo by Nightshade

Ms. Nipps has run the Fluffer crew since 2006. Fluffing is an idea that happened organically and she first came out and delivered ice and water to the survey crew who were out on the playa when there was no infrastructure at all. She’s got a spirit that cares about the people out here and she knows how hard they work. As time went on, she got to know other crew leads in the DPW and started bringing them necessities also and eventually Burning Man outfitted her with some vehicles and a crew. The Fluffers are pretty awesome, and Ms. Nipps told me they are all about the “Health, happiness and making people secure. We can be moms, cheerleaders, counselors.” Once other non DPW crews saw what she and her people were doing they got jealous and Fluffers now exist for everyone who sets up the city she told me with a large smile. Fluffers are by nature, friendly and full of goodness.

Black Rock Saloon, photo by Arthur Tucker

Work out here begins long before the event, with crews staging in Gerlach. Campers are moved out for the first line of builders to live in and the timeline both on and off the playa can be;  from pre event to the end of Playa Restoration, approximately the end of June to the end of October. That’s a long time to be out here in this punishing environment. There’s a place in Gerlach called the Black Rock Saloon that caters exclusively to the DPW when work begins and all the liquor, beer and mixers there comes from Collexodus. Additionally, Ms. Nipps says they appreciate you leaving things for personal hygiene at Collexodus like shampoos, soaps, medical supplies and even pillows and blankets. Anything you would bring with you to Burning Man (other than things on the NOT list) is something Collexodus could use.

So this year YOU KNOW what you can do before you’ve left. Bring them something good and let these insane workers know you appreciate all they’ve been doing and will do post event. They deserve it and if everyone who attends just remembers to save one thing and gives a little, we should keep those DPW and Restoration folks in good shape for the entire season.


About the author: Moze


John Mosbaugh aka Moze is a SF Bay Area heretic and writer who's been hauling himself out to Black Rock City since the Nebulous Entity first beckoned him to check out this phenomenon known as Burning Man. Moze is a "Life Collector" who scribbles down encounters with you to share on the blog. He enjoys the hyper reality of that week in the desert enough to keep coming back. He's been on the Burning Man web team since aught two and has written for Piss Clear and the YEP (Yahoo Education Project). He doesn't speak for the org and he finds you fascinating. He celebrates you and loves it when you take away ideas from Burning Man and share them with the rest of the world. He likes to make grilled cheese on Burn Night afternoon and gift it to you because you're probably hungry. Moze is a big fan of fire, art, freedom and community.

7 Comments on “Collexodus wants YOU

  • kiki enfuego says:

    Thanks for posting this! Much easier to set aside the DPW stash while you’re packing up instead of hunting for stuff when you see the drop off point. The past few years we’ve started to include a ‘leave with DPW’ factor in our shopping. As in ‘let’s get three cases instead of two to have some left for the cleanup crew’.

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  • jinny says:

    a few years ago i dropped off all of my extra alcohol for DPW on the way out. there was an undercover female cop there dressed ‘DPW like’. she was posing as if she was managing the drop off station. she asked if i had anything to smoke and i gave her a cigarette. she then asked if i had anything ELSE to smoke. i said, sorry i don’t have any pot. she said that’s good because i would have arrested you.

    the next year, i was planning again to drop off my extra alcohol to DPW, but during the DPW parade a bunch of them raided my camp and took half of everything we had and threw my boyfriend down to the ground when he tried to stop them. demanding where more beer was, they flipped over a table and dumped out two of our coolers.

    we reported it to a BRC ranger, and he said, well you know they built the city, right? and then walked off.

    that was the last year i attended and i’ll never go back there again because of it, after 10 years of attendance.

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  • Just Dust says:

    I, too, had a negative experience with DPW during the DPW parade. It was one with an all day white out & I was sick of baking in my tent. I finally decided to venture out in the dust where it was at least cooler. The DPW parade came by & I foolishly thought why not ride along. It worked for a short while until they recognized the stowaway and insulted & threw me off. To be expected, for sure, but a negative capper to a shitty day. Bummed out, I left BRC early. Another year I had my bike stolen early in the week which mostly sucked because of lack of transport for the rest of the week. I remember reading a comment by a fellow DPWer a few years back that one of the old time DPW guys got caught stashing stolen bikes in a van and he was drummed out, but apparently had been getting away with it for years. Not to dwell on the negative, but BM is just like life, some years good, some not so… Overall for me though it’s just way too good to not keep coming.

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  • Porcelain says:

    Jinny, I’m sorry to hear about your negative experience with some DPW members of the past. In recent years there has been a big push to encourage a kinder gentler DPW. There have been some unfortunate characters in the past, but the crew I work with now is amazing. I’ve been working DPW since 2007, and they are some of the best folk I know. Just remember to try and avoid painting an entire community of people the same color by the regrettable actions of a few.

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  • Jinny says:


    “In recent years there has been a big push to encourage a kinder gentler DPW”

    DPW has been saying that since 2003 when they did a purge of the certifiable psychotics who were beating citizens up for fun.

    Although I witnessed some incredibly bad behavior by DPW since then, I was willing to accept it as a few bad apples. That why I started donating my alcohol, in a show of support because at least DPW stopped sending citizens to the hospital.

    But after what happened in my last year, I’m not buying the ‘kinder gentler DPW’ BS at all. Fool me once…

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  • Porcelain says:

    Well Jinny, as your presence at the event is non existent I’m sorry that your opinion can’t be altered. I’d love to be able to show you a side of us that’s exceptionally positive.

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  • MikePike says:

    Word has it they are having an epic collexodus year. Good work for getting the word out Moze.

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