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We’re in the third week of construction, and despite continued difficult weather, recruiting new volunteer team members, and having to relearn everything we used to be able to do with our eyes closed, Black Rock is taking shape very well, according to city director Tony” Coyote,” Perez said.
His keyword of the year is “clumsy”. “Everything is taking a long time to get going due to ongoing supply chain issues. It’s been three years since someone did this…everything is shut down,” Tony said. Even the gas cap requires a vice handle to open. Here we are heading towards the gates that will open next weekend, when 80,000 participants are expected to come to the city. They’re coming, so we better get ready. “Every object that is stationary tends to remain stationary, and it takes a long time for those objects to move again after three years.”

But Coyote is also enthusiastic about the new energy that all recruits bring. Coyote says it’s a bit like the old days, “We had to face a lot of things and work our way through, but here we are, we’re doing it. It’s done and it feels good.” The man got up, just like he Usually the same on Saturday night before the gates open.

This year’s men are green, the color of hope and the color of rebirth. It’s part of a four-year color cycle envisioned by Nick Raddell (aka Smoke Daddy) following Burning Man founder Larry Harvey’s death in 2018. That year, the man was blue, the color of mourning. The next year he’s purple, with blue and gold accents, beaten colors, and as Smoke Daddy puts it, “there’s something to look forward to, even in the most desperate of circumstances.” This year, men will also have Gold accents to symbolize the light of rebirth and renewal. He is flashing a green light of hope and rebirth outside, no less than the green light at the end of Daisy’s Pier in The Great Gatsby, symbolizing hope and longing, and participants may bring no less than Jay Gates than desire.

As for us, we don’t yet know if our reach is beyond our grasp. We don’t know if this will push us forward in the recovery process, or set us back.


All photos courtesy of John Curley

About the Author: John Curley

John Curley (That’s me) has been burning since a relatively late date in 2004, and in 2008 I spent the better part of a month on the beach documenting the construction and burning of Black Rock with words and pictures. I love it and I’ve been doing it ever since. I was a newspaperman in a previous life and worked for the San Francisco Chronicle for many years. When I left in 2007, I was the deputy editor in charge of the first page and the newspaper’s news section. I have since turned my passion for photography into a second career. I shoot for editorial, commercial and private clients. I also taught a little, including two years at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and one year at San Francisco State University. I live on the San Mateo coast south of San Francisco, CA.

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