Burning Man Stuff

Tomorrow is the official start of Burning Man and the blank canvas of a prehistoric lake bed will be infested with 50,000 people all desperately trying to party their asses off for seven days and not die in the process.

The media attention will start increasing as the event gets underway. Current TV will once-again be out in force at the event documenting their experience with "TV Free Burning Man." If Current wasnt so cool, this could easily be seen as propaganda.

Our recent article about Burning Man jumping the shark has caused quite a bit of backlash. Not surprised at this really, since I made it a point to shove the article into the faces of the people that are usually the most devout, fanatical followers of the event. What can I say, I've got masochistic tendencies.

Vanity Fair has created a "Festival Season Intelligence Report" that tries to analyze the differences between various summer festivals. They pit Burning Man against Cannes, Bonnaroo, Coachella and the Michigan Womyns Music Festival. Have the idiots at Vanity Fair even GONE to Burning Man, or are they just reading all the other articles about it and making accusations? This is pure linkbait if I ever saw it.

Meanwhile, the folks that build the city, the Department of Public Works, or DPW, are hard at work building the infrastructure that the rest of the city sometimes takes for granted. From lighting towers (actually tall stands that lanterns hang from) to all the communal shade structures, the center camp facility and the man itself, these guys are absolute rock stars. They look like roadies: part carnival freak, part street urchin, part mechanical engineer. The only difference is that these DPW people are the hardest working freaks I have ever met. Hands down.

For example, they set up the fence that establishes the temporary city's perimeter. The fence is designed to keep the non-paying folks out and the trash (and the hippies) in one place. John Curly has been blogging about the prep work of the city and describes the process:

Here’s how it works: A big trailer full of t-stakes starts out at slow speed along the fence line that was dragged out in perfect straightness by chain the day before. Four people in the back of the trailer hand off t-stakes to a guy on the ground who counts out footsteps and lays a t-stake perpendicular to the line every 20 feet or so. A mob of pounders follows. In teams of two, they wield custom-made t-stake pounders and beat the t-stakes into submission. One after another, for [nine] miles.

After 5 & Jack RabbitEach stake takes a Herculean effort. One person sets it in place, and the other person raises the pounder and slams it down, repeatedly. They take turns pounding. (Editor’s note: once the pounding starts, if you’re the holder get out of the way.) In some cases, the team of two will operate the pounder simultaneously. Doyle In some cases, you’re six feet six and built like a lumberjack in a recruitment ad for lumberjacks. You show up on fence day after driving all night, and you pound in 144.5 t-stakes by yourself. The pounding is loud, really loud. The DPW is louder. Everyone’s yelling and singing and egging each other on.

As someone who has participated in this t-stake driving, I know just how much fun the first one is, and how exhausting that 100th one can be. These guys drove t-stakes and set up fencing for nine miles and they did the whole thing in two days. That is damn impressive.

I may write a few more things about the event as I sit here and do other things. Then again I may not. It depends on how I feel and how much Mrs. Media Morgue adds to my "honey-do" list.

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