Moop Map 2015: Day Four and Our Fearless Leader

Hello you moop maniacs and line sweepers extraordinaire! I’ve got more map, including the rest of the Esplanade, for you today!

How did your camp score? How did your favorite party spot fare? How did your mooping efforts pay off this year? Tell me about it in the comments please!

This year, I sat down to interview a few of the many fascinating people that make up our Playa Restoration crew. If you haven’t read Major Buzzkill’s story, you should – it’s powerful. And today I’d like to share a new side of the guy who started it all: D.A., manager and mastermind of Resto.

Also, a badass.
Also, a badass.

DA is somebody I’ve grown close to over time. We’ve done good work together over the past decade. But I always wondered: how did he get here? What path led him to this role? What inspires him to keep coming back, year after year, to lead an ever-growing crew in erasing the traces of an ever-larger city?

So I asked him, and this is what he said.

When it’s all said and done, I think I’ll be the most proud of the people who came through DPW. I feel like they grew up out here – I feel like I grew up out here. This place, these challenges and this work have really taught me a lot about myself and how I collaborate with the world.

I feel like I’ve matured out here, like I’ve stepped into myself.

1998, with wings.
1998, with wings.

When I first started coming to Burning Man, I felt I could be another version of myself. That was the superhero version of me, that I aspired to be and that mostly existed at the Burn. It was my own personal mythology.

My wings burned in the fire of the Man every year, and I would make new ones. I did that in 1997, 1998, and I burned it for the last time in 1999. After that, I didn’t need to embody it like this any more. I always knew I was evolving – burning those wings was about not holding on to that persona either – I always felt that Burning Man was about evolving and being born again and continuing to evolve. It just kept changing.

I think when I was in my twenties, I felt like I could be somebody else, but really it was more about burning everything away to find the authentic me inside. I feel like that’s what my past 19 years as a burner and 16 years with DPW were about.

Dark Angel to me was in a lot of ways about fire, but I discovered that my journey has actually been about grounding. I actually hit rock bottom in my late twenties … I just exhausted myself, which I actually think was part of the process. I burned out. Then I had to understand what I had left to give, if anything.

2000, with Draka.
2000, with Draka.

I joined the cleanup crew in 2000, and for some reason I loved digging in the dirt, the nothing and the process of restoring the desert to nothing. Whatever was on the playa [after Burning Man was over], it all had to go. I really connected with that, and I didn’t completely understand why, but I also didn’t question it. I felt very much called to that role. The accepting of that call was part of what I had to do.

From the People Of Burning Man book
From the People Of Burning Man book (

I remember when I was first given a radio [note: in the DPW, people with responsibility also have radios to communicate with each other]. I remember trying to reject it. The gentleman who gave it to me was like, ‘DA, you have knowledge about this, you know what’s going on, people are looking to you for answers. Step up to it and understand that about yourself.’So I took the radio and I was like, ‘Shit, goddammit, fine.’ I was still a little bratty about it. Some of my friends teased me about getting a radio.

But you get over it. I started realizing that I did have information, and I did have insight on things, and people were looking to me for answers. I realized I needed to get over any blockages there. I had to learn to be comfortable with communicating and letting the information out – and also comfortable saying, ‘I don’t know the answer, let’s find out.’

The other day I had the whole crew together, and it was amazing. I had this swelling feeling of pride and awesome. I feel like I still have a lot more to give, but it felt good to know that the next generation is here now, and they can move forward on their own if they need to.

The Burning Man event itself is like one giant slow burning flash-mob where a city in the desert comes to life for a week and disappears without a trace. What the Burning Man community does, in the Black Rock Desert and globally, inspires positive changes in people’s lives. I consider it an honor to support that.

Thanks for everything you do, DA. And thanks to everyone who faces their life’s journey bravely and with honesty.

I’ve got some more interviews to share with you soon, but I won’t make you wait any longer:

What About the Map?

Dirt clod game: it's a good game.
Dirt clod game: it’s a good game.

Day Four was a scorcher, by Resto standards. Eight hours of walking on the hard-packed playa without access to shade except during breaks – it’s no joke when the sun shines bright and the breeze won’t blow. And yet, the intrepid Playa Restoration hotshots marched on, covering 30 of the city’s moopiest blocks and returning them to pure, if fluffy, dust.

Click to see it bigger, but not full size, because we're still working on it!
Click to see it bigger, but not full size, because we’re still working on it!

Folks, the 2:00 side of the Esplanade looks a lot like the 10:00 side: busy. Lots happened here, including lots of effort to Leave No Trace. Did it turn out perfect? No. Did those camps throw big parties in the middle of dust storms and cold nights, and still manage to clean up and leave the playa in a very short period of time? Yes.

Resto loves and supports our Esplanade camps in everything they do – and we love when the community supports them too. So the next time you’re ragin’ ’til the break of dawn at a big sound camp, remember to Leave No Trace of your good time!

That’s all for today, folks, but I’ll have more for you soon. Stay tuned!

Follow along with the Playa Restoration team:

The Hun is on Facebook, TwitterInstagram and Flickr, and Summer Burkes is on Twitter too!

About the author: The Hun

The Hun

The Hun, also known as J.H. Fearless, has been blogging for Burning Man (and many other outlets) since 2005, which is also the year she joined the BRC DPW on a whim that turned out to be a ten-year commitment. Since then she's won some awards for blogging, built her own creative business, and produced some of the Burning Blog's most popular stories and series. She co-created a grant-funded art piece, "Refoliation," in 2007, and stood next to it watching the Man burn on Monday night during a full lunar eclipse. She considers that, in many ways, to have been the symbolic end of Burning Man that was. The Hun lives in Reno with DPW Shade King, Quiet Earp. You may address her as "The Hun" or "Hun". If you call her "Honey" she reserves the right to cut you.

16 Comments on “Moop Map 2015: Day Four and Our Fearless Leader

  • BoingBoing says:

    Who is that gorgeous hunk of Beardsley in the above photo? Man crushing hard….

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  • aF says:

    Awesome interview. Inspiring. Much respect for him and all the rest! <3 #industwetrust

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  • wheeze says:

    booo! there is a red dot in the middle of our camp, and we really did do our best to pick up all the MOOP. thanks so much for all you do! we spent just a morning in the hot sun, without any wind to speak of, raking for MOOP and it was hot, and i don’t mean sexy hot, so i can only imagine days of this. again, thanks so much for the effort of the playa restoration team. you are awesome! <3

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  • Otter says:

    I’m so sad – the map looks so red and yellow. I had neighbors who either left items they thought someone else would want (and assumed they had the space to take) or were just plain careless. We have to try harder, all of us.

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  • Brad says:

    We to did an inch by inch rack of our 150×100 lot at 2:15A. I can’t understand how we got yellow. We all left Monday at 10am so what happens after everyone leaves who knows. Have photos and videos of us all racking the area. Looking forward to hearing why the bad score.

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    • Kevin says:

      Yeah we did the same… 4:45 and Esplanade. In fact some of our camp stayed until later in the week to help out mooping other areas of the playa… we did a line sweep of our whole camp and have photos too of our cam from TUESDAY after the event and we got a big yellow patch that makes no sense at all as well… AND 2 red dots where nothing was there when the last of our camp departed. It does happen. Other camps have complained about this before… and undoubtedly will again… you just can’t control what happens after you leave. The best you can do, (correct me if I’m wrong), is check in with your placer after the Moop Map is complete and then try to see what you can do better next time if it is something you left.

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  • DPW Tomcat says:

    I first really met DA my first DPW year in 2005 Monday of the event because he was pounding t-stakes and tying a trash fence around the sparse blink and you’d miss it DPW ghetto. In a solid whiteout. He was wearing googles. Alone. I remember him saying something about him doing it because it has to be done, we’re DPW. I didn’t understand at the time, I was so new on the crew. But DA is as genuine as they come.

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  • IFellFromTheSky says:

    Bet he’s fearing the rains right about NOW…lol

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  • Justin Case says:

    OMG Did anyone not notice the big RED Blob in the center of the MAP???? Burning Man is RED MOOPED!!!! I bet they all hauled ass to Reno to party after the temple burn….. Wow… well looks like the man lost his placement next year… wonder who will take its place….
    This sux!!!! Looks like the “man” is going to be in placed in open camping next year…fuck. ;-p

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  • Bruce says:

    That big red blotch just below J between 6:00 and 5:45? I have a pic if you want it. They were our back door neighbors. Turnkey camp combined with some folks who obviously didn’t give a #%*+. Grrrr, I say, grrrr!

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