Hi all! I’m Dave LeClair but you can call me by my playa name, Rabbitt! I’ve been burning for five years and I take thousands of photos when I go, mostly while perched atop my bicycle. Hopefully I can show you something you missed! This is my first blog post for Burners.me, and I’ll begin by sharing what I captured a few days before Burning Man 2014 officially began on Sunday, August 24th.
This was my first view of The Man on Thursday morning, August 21st. The Alien Siege Machine can also be seen. Along with Embrace and the Temple, these were some of the only big pieces of art standing at the time.
Here’s Embrace on Thursday morning.
The Man didn’t have a head until Friday morning.
This bicycle was near Center Camp.
Thunderdome being erected.
So yeah, although a couple thousand burners arrived before me, the playa was still pretty empty.
Does anyone want to guess what this became?
Mount Infinity being assembled.
Opulent Temple’s stage before it was a stage.
DMV registration line
The Souk was the “marketplace” of tents surrounding The Man. Souks were run by about two dozen different regions around the world. I volunteered for Seattle’s “Rat City Social Club”, which is the orange tent awaiting setup.
The Souk faced a lot of delays during setup. Souk workers like myself would stop by The Man often to find out when things would be ready. Eventually someone put this spinner up.
I loved seeing this. I don’t think it’s complete in this photo. Unfortunately I never stopped back here to see it again.
Skinny Kitty Teahouse going up.
Lending a hand on a Seattle project.
…and things are almost ready! This was shortly before opening processions at The Man.
Huge thanks to Burners.me for giving me the opportunity to write this guest blog post. If you enjoyed this post, please let me know and I’ll be back with more. Happy December, burners everywhere!
Wow you must have gotten so much important building accomplished while you were not at your camp and out being a fucking tourist. You know early entry is reserved for people who actually WORK, right?
Hi, I got my early entry from the Souk. The Souk was supposed to be ready to work on by Friday, but it was delayed until Sunday (see my story and the comments here for more details). Anyway, I still spent the bulk of my EA time helping out a theme camp. And taking these photos didn’t take me more than a few minutes. I use a Canon S95 that fits in my pocket.
Hey, thats me in the souk picture… Right in the middle! I was with the crew that built the actual souk… Was my first time with early entrance… Very special indeed! And yes we had a lot of delays, but that was mainly due to the building of the man itself that suffered quite some delays…
Thanks for sharing, Rabbitt!
Ah, yes, early entry. The old way used to be to fake a theme camp application – fake it all the way up to several early entry passes to share with your friends and placement. Oh sure, friends would frown on it a bit when you had your own corner 50×50 spot for 3 people but I call that radical self-reliance – gaming the system.
The easier way now that theme camp applications are so fucking stupid, is to fake an art installation application. Usually that comes with placement, but probably not a corner lot.
When you arrive early you see how little DPW does to build-da-city. The playa is virtually empty until the suckers arrive to produce the spectacle that BMorg sells.
Do you even know what you’re talking about?
The “old way” was just to drive on in, there was no early access pass. Nobody cared. Once BLM restrictions started to get togher, the next way was to bribe Gate, until that got shut down. Now, you just have to do something useful. Being a jackass and scamming EA’s via a theme camp app or art installation is a very easy way to scream “I’m a jackass!” and a surefire way
And there’s a ton more work that goes in to building the city that is more than blinky art and building camps. DPW works 16+ hour days for weeks on end.
I’m talking about early entry passes. The actual ‘old way’ was to ride your dinosaur out there.
I am a jackass. Imagine, jackasses at Burning Man… Holy shit! Ban jackasses now!
Just because DPW allows itself to be used and abused by BMorg, doesn’t mean they build the city. They build structures for staff and camps like Cafe Village, they’re grunts. It doesn’t matter if they work 25 hours a day, they don’t build the city. They put up the trash fence and take it down. They pick up the trash after the event. They’re basically trashmen.
Oh you are so right. I mean DPW doesn’t survey the land, build the roads, the street signs, the vital infrastructure for your ice, your center camp, power for your projects/camps, the Man, various art projects, and they certainly don’t tear it all down, clean up and make sure we pass inspection so we can even have Burning Man the following year.
Also, nice to see some guest posts here! More please! Variety = spice of life.
Anyone is welcome to write one. Easier way to get to a large audience of Burners than starting your own site.
After all this commodification camp bullshit it is nice to be reminded of just how truly awesome Burning Man is, and the level of creative force that is put into it by participants. I has written off 2015 after a lacklustre response from the Borg on concierge camps but this has me climbing back up onto the fence.
Great post, Rabbitt! I am a “process” junkie so I love and appreciate the before imagery. I can only guess the anticipation of watching it come together is fascinating!
What is the point of this post? “Oh, look at me!” :/
Did your gofundme campaign get you access to EA? Or was that just to keep you out of mom’s basement to continue burning? So much for radical self reliance.
Don’t be a meanie. The Internet is life.
Early access is some of the strangest time on Playa. It really gives you a feeling for how connected, powerful, optimistic, and plainly ridiculous some Burning Man folk are.
I got in pretty early this year, before most of the big art started popping up. It was a lot of work, but it was worth it to go to sleep every night and wake up with a few hundred more people living on Playa. It’s a lot more friendly during the early times, I feel. You can usually ride up to anyone and have a great extended conversation, or start working on something if you don’t have something to do at that moment.
One of my favorite things is the transition from around Wednesday pre-event to Friday pre-event… you see a lot of construction and a lot of half-built things on Wednesday, but suddenly by around Friday it begins to look a lot like Burning Man. And then, on Saturday, it’s pretty much Burning Man… lots of people are out doing thing, because many camps/art projects have finished up. It’s a great time to be on playa. Lots of excitement in the air.
If you want to get in early, start working now… on a camp, a project, or even fill out a volunteer form, but most departments won’t let you volunteer to get in early your first year.
Thanks for the photos. I really need to make it out for early entry some day. It seems more energetic and more optimistic then Monday with the celebration over and everything being taken apart.
Welcome Rabbitt! Great post, thank you
Great Photos Dave!!!