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!


Safety tip: Don’t use superglue with fire tools

Filed under: community,fire tools,gear repair,safety — Tags: , , , — WildfireWeaver @ 4:43 pm  

Everyone needs to repair the wicked portions of their fire gear at some point. Maybe your snakes are fraying or the heads of your staff are getting a little loose. But when you reach into your repair kit, leave the superglue alone. Aside from releasing fumes that could irritate the eyes, nose and throat, the flames will cause a nasty chemical reaction in the glue that can damage your gear, turning a simple fix into an expensive replacement.

Instead, use wood glue (such as Elmer’s) when making repairs to your fire gear. Exposure to flame will cure the glue and get it to seal all the right spots securely. Just apply the glue, let it dry, then dip the wick into your fuel, light the wick for a few minutes and extinguish.

Remember, spin safely to protect yourself and protect the community!

This safety tip has been brought to you by the folks at Pyrotechniq.