Halloween Shennanigans

Filed under: community,fire fans,fire performance,fire poi,fire tools,performance — WildfireWeaver @ 6:20 pm  

Ok, so October went by much faster than I thought! Luckily, it’s because it was a busy month and I’ve got quite a lot to catch up on. So apologies for being so quiet, but hopefully you’ll have caught at least one of my performances over the past month!

Not the least of which was the Big Daddy of them all: the Halsted Street Halloween Parade in Boystown. The parade is a long-standing institution, and for the past seven years, the Chicago fire spinners have been proud participants. This was my second year marching in the parade and it was even better than the first. Not only was there a stellar turnout by the fire spinning community, this year we even had a float – several spinners performed on top of the Cobra bus as it made its way down Halsted Street.

Following the parade was a choreographed performance on the mainstage with Solaire Fire. Now, these guys are amazing and I’m honored that I was given the opportunity to share the stage with them. The 16 minute set was comprised of 8 performance sets presented by 6 performers using palm torches, poi, staff, double staff, sword and fans. I’ve broken the video up into 2 parts since it’s so long, but it’s worth watching them both all the way through (and I’m not just saying that because I’m in them!).

Unfortunately, WordPress won’t let me upload files any larger than 7MB, so here are the YouTube links to the videos:

Boystown Halloween Mainstage with Solaire Part 1

Boystown Halloween Mainstage with Solaire Part 2

So that closes out the fire season in Chicago for 2010, and we certainly went out with a bang (it almost makes up for the soaking we all got during the October Full Moon Jam). For the most part, the bitter cold of the Chicago winter makes fire spinning a rare occasion, but if I hear of any, I’ll be sure to post it here!

A BIG thank you to my fellow performers – Andrea (palm torches & fans), Julia (palm torches & poi), Dietrich (double staff), Shorty (poi & hoop), and Jodie (poi & staff) – for inviting me to join you. Thanks to Zan Franzoni (also with Solaire) for organizing the fire community for the parade and setting up the performance. And last but not least, thanks to the parade organizers & Boystown community for allowing us to share fire with you during this fantastic neighborhood tradition.


Chicago Fire Jams make the national news scene

Wow, how time flies when you’re busy! My last post was weeks ago, but luckily it’s been due to being inundated with gigs and a hectic schedule and not my general lackadaisical nature. I’ll be posting about the gigs I had over the last several weeks separately, but the big news is: the Chicago Full Moon Fire Jams were profiled by an Associated Press reporter, Martha Irvine, and her video essay has appeared on multiple news sources nationwide!

Ms. Irvine attended the September FMJ and the footage she’s compiled is fantastic. It’s a great snapshot of what the FMJs are like and of the people involved. I’m so proud to say that I was able to recognize almost all of the faces in the video and can call many of them friends, including: Liz Campanella (one of the founders of the FMJ and Pyrotechniq troupe member) and her husband, Devin Breen (also from Pyrotechniq, doing staff); Mitch Davidovitz (Phoenix Underground); Ryan Brandoff (spinning poi in a fedora), AshleyPants (hooper extraordinaire), Andrea Matteson (of Solaire, doing fans and double staff), Michael Trahey (spinning poi), Lance Johnson (spinning poi) and Amy Willen (providing us all with fire).  And yes, there’s even a quick shot of me, lighting up my fire sword (I’ve nicknamed it “The Beast”).

The video was originally posted on the LA Times website as “Chicagoans spin fire by the full moonlight.” According to Ms. Irvine, after the video was posted, nationally, the video was among the Top 15 videos yesterday and continues to get hits today. It ran in several other news locations, including:

Doing a google search for “Chicagoans spire fire by the full moonlight” turns up A LOT of links to the video as well, so it looks like it’s getting a lot of traction, too. (Oddly enough, neither the Chicago Tribune nor the Chicago Sun-Times elected to run the video on their sites. I have no idea why, especially since it’s a report on something amazing going on in their own backyards.)

So thank you, Ms. Irvine, for putting together a wonderful portrait of our fire spinning family. We hope you come back again to join us at future jams.

I’m so thrilled that our community has been featured in such a fantastic light, and count myself as immensely lucky to be part of it all. Congratulations on the exposure, Chicago Fire Tribe! You look amazing and deserve recognition for all that you’ve done to bring the jams to where they are today!


August Full Moon Jam is here!

Come out tonight and enjoy the best kept secret in Chicago community entertainment.

When the sun goes down around 7:30pm, the gathering of Chicago and nearby Midwest area fire spinners will commence with music, dancing and of course – FIRE! Many of the performers are preparing to head west to Burning Man, so help us give them a fantastic send off on their journey to Black Rock City.

I just finished wrapping the hilt of my fire sword with gaffer’s tape to improve the grip. I can’t wait to break that bad boy out tonight!

The jam takes place in the park along the lakefront just SOUTH of Foster Ave (NOT Foster Ave Beach). There is parking along Simonds Drive or you can take the Red line/151 bus/146 bus to Argyle and walk EAST through the park and under Lake Shore Drive.

Bring friends, family, a picnic blanket and your camera. No alcohol, please. Remember, this is a Leave No Trace event – you pack it in, you pack it out, and if you see any trash on the field, please help out by throwing it away.

The jam will end promptly at 10:15pm. Please be aware that the police will hand out tickets if you are in the park after it closes at 11pm.

The jams are not sponsored by the City of Chicago. They are FREE events organized by the fire spinning community so that we can share our art and passion with others. Hope to see you there!


Reminder: August Full Moon Jam on Tuesday, Aug. 24

The final Full Moon Jam of the summer is coming up in two days.  If you’re free this Tuesday evening around sunset, come up to the lakefront park just south of Foster Ave. and east of Lake Shore Drive to see some amazing fire performances by Chicago and midwest area fire spinners. The jams are free to the community, family-friendly, Leave No Trace events. For full details of the jams, go here.

As always, I’ll be there with poi, fans, staff and the new fire sword. Come out and enjoy some of the finest community performance art Chicago has to offer. Hope to see you there!


Spotlighting fire spinning in Chicago

Chicago’s premiere fire troupe, Pyrotechniq, was featured on Chicago Revealed, a local cable network program. You can view Part 1 here and Part 2 here.

If you’re eagle-eyed, there’s a teeny tiny short clip of yours truly spinning poi at a Full Moon Jam around the 0.45 sec mark in Part 1, look for the blue & black bandana. Hey, it’s still a moment, however brief, of cable TV fame.

Congratulations on the exposure, Pyrotechniq!