Hey Kids! It’s a Fire Show!


“The time to hesitate is through. Theres no time to wallow in the mire. Try now we can only lose. And our love become a funeral pyre. Come on baby light my fire. Come on baby light, light my fire!”

Or so the saying goes. Saturday night Fetching and I hopped in the Buick and headed down to Monster par… er… 3Com par… er Candlestick Park to see the Fire Arts Exposition going on all weekend. The festival was brought to you by the Burning Man folks and was a great time. Saturday night was definitely the night to go. Not only was there a break in the rain perfectly timed for the exhibition but for some freaky reason it was actually warm down at Candlestick. I brought a sweater and jacket both and quickly ditched them for the comfortable t-shirt. And good thing too, because some of those exhibits get h-o-t!

The hottest exhibit? Well I’d have to say that (at least for me) that honor would have to go to Nate Smith’s Fire Vortex. That puppy really heats up. For a while there I was a little worried about the lens on my camera being that it is glass and all. Another hit of the night was Therm’s “Thermo Kraken” and Tesla coil. “Thermo Kraken” is this big metal sculpture that drips and shoots fire and next to it was this giant Telsa coil firing huge colorful volts into the Kraken and the air around it. A remarkable display. And speaking of Tesla Coils check out this guy’s thing on Flickr. WTF?

I also enjoyed tending to Wally Glenn’s Zen Garden. Something about running your hands through lit sand (with fire gloves on of course) feels pretty cool. The Crucible folks were also there letting people push the button attached to their fire truck which would shoot a large blast of fire high into the sky.

Of all the things there though I’d have to say that my favorite was the beauty of the Carpetbag Brigade. That shot up at the top of this story is of a woman performing as part of that. There is something so elegant about a group of decorated fire participants walking around the festival on stilts. It’s really hard to describe it. You have to see it for yourself. They’re walking, but there is something more to their movement. It’s really more dance than anything I guess but the fluid with which they slowly turn and shift and pose is remarkable.

The other thing I really loved about the exhibition was just the people there walking around. Not the participants per se, but the crowd. I love shooting people (with my camera of course). And there is so much character and color at these fire type shows. People get all dressed up, are out having a good time. Seem comfortable with the cameras around and just do their thing. And there is something about the glow of a fire that adds so much for me to a nice portrait of someone.

I got lots of great shots of the event and have a set up on Flickr of the entire thing. Flickr pals John Curley and Deborah Lattimore were there and taking a few shots as well. Deborah got this nice shot of John, Fetching and I.

A lot of the folks who were at The Crucible last year were there (I saw and shot that too). The event was put on to raise money for the Black Rock Arts Foundation, a non-profit that is looking to raise more money for large scale temporary public art. Cool, er I mean hot.

From the event’s website here are a list of the artists that were supposed to be there: Xeno, Vau De Vire Society, Therm, The Flaming Lotus Girls, Nate Smith, Jack Schroll, Christopher Schardt, SaDa Fuego, Pyro Spectaculars!, Pyronauts, Primal Fire, Meghan Pike, Nocturnal Sunshine, The Nekyia, Los Sueños del Fuego, Roger Lai, Laird, Marisa Lenhardt, Karl Nettmann, mN8Fx, Alan Macy, Loyd Family Players, Robert Kilpatrick, Scot Jenerik, InterKonnected, Hunter, Bob Hofmann, Flame Gypsy & Sexy Bitch, Justin Gray, Wally Glenn, Gamelan X, Charlie Gadeken, Orion Fredericks, Liquid Fire, Richard Friedberg, Fire Arts Collective, The Crucible, Coven Fire Troupe, Marque Cornblatt, Controlled Burn, Bill Codding, Paul Cesewski, Vance Cearley, BomTribe, Bad Kitties, members of the Burning Man Fire Conclave.

CNET has a pretty cool video of the festival here. Daniel Terdiman from CNET also has a good write up here.

All in all it was a fantastic event. Fire, night, heat, laughter, and all the craziness that comes along with it. And remember, the next time you catch little Johnny playing with matches? Don’t be too hard on the little guy. He may just be a budding fire artist after all.

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  1. torbak says:

    thanks for so much great info and pics, thomas

    this must’ve been an amazing event and to see the shots from it are a real delight

  2. Dataguy says:

    Thomas I have a small bone to pick with you:

    “Light My Fire” is not a saying, it’s a song lyric. I would have thought you would at least acknowledge it as by Doors or to be more precise, note that it was written by Robby Krieger and Jim Morrison.

  3. Thomas Hawk says:

    Dataguy. Yeah, probably would have been best to reference that. Was being a little sarcastic with the “saying” instead of “song lyric.” Thought the lyrics were popular enough in the broader culture that people woudln’t need the cite. Kind of like titling a post Blowing in the Wind or something without needing to cite Dylan as the artist.

    For me, at a certain point the world’s most popular art can move beyond itself and become more firmly identified with it’s creator(s) in the realm of popular culture and the need to cite diminishes. In my opinion of course.

    I do borrow liberally all the time. Perhaps more than I should.

  4. Jen says:

    This is my first visit to your site….it’s fantastic. The images are unreal!

  5. dataguy says:

    Thomas, I agree with you that a song as popular as “Light My Fire” most likely doesn’t need to be cited (though I’m not an expert in such matters). There was just something about referring to the song as a saying that struck me as “not quite right”.

    Overall I enjoy your blog very much and usually visit once a day. Hope the feedback was useful and hope I didn’t hijack the direction of your comments thread.