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tropicalpenguin
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I saw a special on the Discovery Channel about sideshows called the Coney Island Sideshow. Fire eating caught my eye as being a good opener. Specifically, I'm looking at the more fast-paced tricks, i.e. blowing the fire from one torch to another, seemingly moving the fire from one end of the torch to the other. Any pointers to some of the basics?
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tiptophat
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If you feel you have to do this, learn from an EXPERIENCED pro. I learned the art of fire eating 30 years ago and it was from someone who had been doing it for 45 years. LEARN from their mistakes, it can be dangerous. The making of your torches, type of fuel and how you handle it are all an art to themselves.
DavidEscapes
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Hi

The below is reprinted from The Sideshow and Escapes forum:

Quote:
Last year I was working a fair here in Western New York. I did the first of *many* (in retrospect probably too many) installments of my fire show. The wind was moderate to low and blowing easterly all day. I paid attention, I gauged it and I did one of my fire breaths.

Actually, the plume itself was nice, good color and height.

However, the wind shifted at last moment and the aspirated fuel which had not ignited was blown right up my nose as I had stepped back and started to inhale.

My greatest analogy is when you see the guy get a full body punch/kick to the chest in a kung fu movie, that is what it felt like to me, coupled with a burning sensation. Shortness of breath was instantaneous, the vomiting began after I left the stage. Luckily, since it was early on opening day, there was only a few around to see it, so no one was terribly traumatized.

I went to the local hospital. They told me there was no damage and nothing wrong. I should have known that would be the reaction from a country hospital. I told them to keep me. Poison control told them to keep me for observations. They informed me that security was going to escort me out if I did not leave peacefully.

Needless to say I was back early the next day with a fever of 108 and illness abound. I woke up 3 weeks later in the intensive care unit at Strong Hospital in Rochester, with a tracheotomy (I still have a keloid scar) and a drainage tube going between my ribs through my back and directly into my right lung. It seems that no one really knew how to treat this accident, so they just gave me moist oxygen. This lack of treatment developed into Lipid Pnuemonia (a form of chemical pnuemonia) and Pancreatitis. I had to learn to breathe again properly, as my body was so accustomed to machines that it "forgot" to do so naturally. And I had to learn to swallow again properly, to swallow hard enough to bypass my trachea.

I was released after a total of 5 weeks in the hospital. Then I embarked on several months of rigid recovery. I returned to very light small event/showcase performing in February, 7 months after my accident, and that was mostly sword/snake bellydance with fire eating/trailing and poi.

Anything more rigorous than that wiped me out.

I have taken the past year to develop my shows, heal and get back on my feet. Now I am ready to stop doing small local shows and enter back into the world.

I wrote an article for two online info spots. If anyone is interested in reading it, I would be happy to post a link or email it to you.

Consequently, I would like to add as a side note, I am well informed of patient rights (they couldn't have made me leave the hospital), and I have the proper procedures for treating such things (and more) written out. I carry this with me to all shows.

And...I have not fire breathed since, mainly because I was told to give my lungs (and tracheotomy) one year to fully heal. That meant no scuba diving, no fire breathing and a lot of respiratory exercises.

Kindest Regards,

Pele

The whole thread is at:

Click Here!

Take care!

David Straitjacket
David Victor - The artist formally (and still occasionally) known as David Straitjacket.

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Slim Price
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The only thing Krista will not teach is fire-breathing, because I have had some very bad experiences, as above.

We do teach all other aspects of fire-eating including some uncommon moves. We teach all of the other acts as well, plus some "forgotten" Fakir effects...

Slim Price
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tropicalpenguin
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I know the dangers of the breath. I WILL NOT put fuel in my mouth. Looks cool but is just stupid. I'm talking about the stuff like simple eating and more as a segue into a normal magic routine. Any tips?
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jennieprice
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Try looking here.

Scroll down through the post, or do a search. There's a lot of good information there.

jennieprice Smile
Dr_Stephen_Midnight
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I concur with the hazards.

I did fire eating for years, but stayed clear of the Fountain of Fire (aka Human Volcano).

Aspirated fuel fumes catching can blow a hole in a lung. A mouthful of gas catching has a nasty result too.

A safer, but equally showy bit is to roll a torch on the tongue to leave a brief, burning residue of fuel on the tongue, and light the other torch off the tongue.

I recommend Coleman fuel for fire eating, as it burns cooler than gasoline.

Steve
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Mike: "No."
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Missing_Link
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Quote:
On 2004-06-21 09:43, Dr_Stephen_Midnight wrote:


I recommend Coleman fuel for fire eating, as it burns cooler than gasoline.

Steve



Never, ever, ever, ever use gasoline for any fire arts. It's far too volatile. (I know Steve wasn't recommending using gasoline, but I want to make sure that people don't even consider it as an alternative).

Coleman fuel isn't necessarily safe either. Don't be fooled into thinking that it is cooler. It will still burn. I know. I've been through a lot of pain doing this. Pro fire artists that I've met use either Coleman or Parafin. But it's still hugely dangerous and you will get burned.

ML
rsummer27
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Penguin,
How old are you? I hate to say this but you look too young to really understand all of the implications of doing the things you suggested. I'm not insulting you. Mearly expressing a deep concern. You have a long life ahead of you. You can't possibly imagine how horrible it is to harm yourself. I do fireeating myself. I was much older when I started though. That still didn't make it any safer. I just had a better understanding of what I was doing.
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jennieprice
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The only thing that I'd add to this is just keep in mind that no matter how long you've been doing it, you WILL get burned eventualy. It only takes one moments lack of concentration, or a sudden change in wind, that's it.
If all you want is the audience going wow, don't bother. 1 second is all it lasts, and you can do a great fire act without the blast. Lose the idea before it you begin.

Jennieprice
Matthew the Magnificent
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Hmmm, as someone literally 'brand new' here, I am a bit surprised. I saw in the 'guidelines' that ANY posts regarding Fire Eating, and ESPECIALLY fuels used would be automatically deleted!

Well, that said, look, I have many years of Fire Eating experience and can add a lot here. The bottom line is that anyone considering doing this IS much better off finding someone to TEACH him.

For one, I ONLY like to use GASOLINE. White Gas---which is all but impossible to find now days (COLEMAN is ESSENTIALLY white gas, but they add a 'rust inhibitor' to it)---is horrible stuff. If you have ever 'tasted' pure white gas, you immediately know and can appreciate the difference... plus, gas is bad enough physically for you and your body. That rust inhibitor adds another layer of toxicity.

I know some alternative fuels that others use or HAVE used (stressing PAST tense, there), but, again, it seems like a violation of this Forum's rules to go into that.

Also, among many other issues that I feel tempted to address, there are basically three distinctions to be drawn on this subject: Fire-Eating, Fire-Spitting, and Fire-Breathing. They are NOT the same thing.

At least for now, the last thing that I want to contribute is that a friend of mine performed the 'Human Volcano' (Fire SPITTING) as he had for 'ages', and had the wind suddenly turn on him. His mouth literally BLEW OUT. At least the other fellow who is quoted above 'recovered' and apparently continues to perform fire effects.

It makes me wonder about his wisdom, but my friend will never go near that act, ever again. Reconstructive surgery has only gone so far to make him semi-presentable. Sigh. No amount of warnings can ever really suffice, I fear.
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DavidEscapes
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Personally, fire is the one thing in my act I am really not comfortable with. I intend to quit using it within the next 12 to 18 months, except perhaps on a few very limited occasions.

It is highly dangerous, and even if you never have an accident in your entire career (HIGHLY UNLIKELY!), you will probably end up suffering, and perhaps even dying from the toxicity effects at some point. Also, it seems that every one and his mother can eat/breath fire these days. I just don't feel that the risk is worth the reaction anymore.

That said, in the next few days I will eat fire, body burn (drawing the flame along the skin) and perform mouth and retentions at six separate shows. I will probably perform the volcano at least five times and will dive through a 24-inch (about two inches wider than me) hoop of fire (pretty *** intense fire too!) five or six 6 times, too.

The hoop is set six feet off the ground. It is very, very easy to screw that stunt up. I once near broke my arm and messed my neck up pretty bad, hitting the unlit hoop while training. That was bad enough, with the flame, deadly. If you want to see what the stunt looks like (done right) go to:

http://www.straitjacketcircus.co.uk/carnival.html

Take care.

David
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Matthew the Magnificent
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Quote:
On 2004-07-07 20:36, Straitjacket Guy wrote:
It is highly dangerous, and even if you never have an accident in your entire career (HIGHLY UNLIKELY!) you will probably end up suffering, and perhaps even dying from the toxicity effects at some point.


David, I would go a bit farther and say that it is IMPOSSIBLE to not get burned. During learning and rehearsal it is INESCAPABLE. You learn 'the hard way' what does and what doesn't work. Accidents will DEFINITELY happen, given any amount of time and/or performances involved.

And THEN, along the lines of what you say, I have known many Fire Eaters, and we all had at least one other thing in common: GUM DISEASE! Some had it much worse than others, including ORAL CANCERS.

Say, anyone care to make a poll here? I would like to know how many of the Fire Eaters here have had, or haven't had, any 'long term' effects, which means that relative exposure (how much TOTAL time exposed, and on how many occasions) is a factor to be mentioned.
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Slim Price
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Over many years (about 50) I have been burned several times, a couple seriously. My skin, clothing, and beard have paid a price much greater than the rewards.

I will not ever blow fire. In the final analysis, it's no more than spitting on a stick. Real fire eating can be graceful, creative, shocking and even artistic.

Currently, I'm framing an act doing all the moves in my fingers, without using torches.

Slim Price, get a teacher!
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"The people who were dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music"
Matthew the Magnificent
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Quote:
On 2004-07-07 21:50, sanscan wrote:
Over many years (about 50) I have been burned several times, a couple seriously. My skin, clothing, and beard ...


Yes! And, matter of fact, I USED to be known as The World's First Bearded Fire Eater back in the late 60's. Just curious, your 50 years MIGHT mean that you preceded me for that distinction.
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wol
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I have been fire performing for about four years. I have swallowed more fluid than I care to remember, and I have had a backdraft in my throat because I coughed while teething the torch.

I now only perform when I want to, just for friends or family. This year I have done it twice. I like the reaction it gets but having done it all last year for a regular show, I quickly lost the enthusiasm for it!

If you must try it, find and experienced performer and ask him to help! Better safe than barbecue!
Keep passing the open windows!
darkp0is3n
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I have only been burned 1 time. Somehow a huge amount of kerosene got on my hand, and gave me a pretty soar burn on the wrinkle of my index finger, but I haven't been fire breathing for very long ither.
pikacrd
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Wow some great advice in this forum for someone that is thinking about getting into the art of fire eating, and yes it is an art.

Tropicalpenguin, these people are giving you a ton of info please take the time to listen to it and really decide if you want to get into this.

I myself have been eating fire for 14 years and have been featured at some of the largest festivals, theme parks, and special events in the country, but know one here would recognize my real name. What does that mean well several 2nd degree burns Tooth, Gum and Throat problems and I am virtually unknown in this realm of magic. It is very hard to become a famous fire eater. I have worked with Johnny Meah, Troy Milligan and others who are some of the best ever. I have notes from OGEE the White Hindu and have studied the art probably more than anyone that I know other than the names mentioned above. I am not posting this to blow my own horn but more of a very sincere caution to young fire eaters or people who think that this is no big deal. You can get hurt and that is a big deal. But if you insist on learning this and if I can pass along anything I would pass along this: Water, Water, and more Water. You should only use water to practice any of the stunts and you should practice with water until you can do it without dripping one drop of water off of your torches out of your mouth or on your body. Then you should go out and pay someone to kick you between your legs while you have your mouth full of water if you drink one drop or spit one drop start over. With all kidding aside think of it like this what would your mom say if she came home to find you dead? This is no joke it has happened to too many performers live on stage one second dead the next. And after all of that if you still want to learn God Bless you go out and pay a real professional to teach you and make sure that they have the credentials to back up whatever that they say.

Good luck, God Bless and please don’t hurt yourself.
“Indubitably, Magic is one of the subtlest and most difficult of the sciences and arts. There is more opportunity for errors of comprehension, judgment and practice than in any other branch of physics”. William S. Burroughs 1914-1997 American Writer
darkp0is3n
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I am completely comftorable doing fire breathing, as long as I have people around me waiting to help if anything happens to go wrong, I have only been burned 1 time, that is only finger. I know I will get burned more, but fire breathing is so beutifal to me, seeing and hearing the flames erupt right before it is almost enough to make me cream my pants at times. I don't' do it very much, but when I do, I don't' have a doubt in my mind that anything is going to go wrong, but it is still lingering there and I am very careful in what I do. I am only 14, I started to get into sideshows before I knew it at 13...but that is far off subject. I am going to keep most of my acts pretty simple until I am out of school and able to train with an expereinced sideshow performer.
Slim Price
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The moment of the burn looks brief, but the recovery can take months. Many fire eaters have had devestating problems with pneumonia and even worse permanent effects.
Personally, I have cancer...Make sure your fees are high enough to possibly pay for years of medical care, and disfigurement.
Slim
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"I will never bitter be, as long as I can laugh at me!"



"The people who were dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music"
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