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Photograph by Mike Thue
How did you become interested in fire art?
I have always been a bit of a pyromaniac and this is a healthy way to channel those interests. I really got interested in fire performing [after] going out to Burning Man. I came back and found some folks locally who were doing it and started from there.
What kinds of venues are there for a fire artist in Minneapolis?
We perform everywhere from house parties to rock concerts to church picnics to street fairs.
Do you have a signature tool?
The thing I am most known for are giant fire props on stilts. When you are on the ground there is a limit to how big you can make the fire props because you end up hitting the ground with them. When you elevate yourself on stilts, you can make the props bigger. I’ve got giant fire snakes, which are pois that coil up. I have a giant fire staff and a couple of other interesting things.
In the dating world, when you say you are a fire artist, what kind of response do you get?
Generally pretty positive. I have met a number of partners through fire performing and I get a lot of interest because I am a fire performer. It’s exciting and dangerous. It definitely attracts a certain kind of personality. And if you are doing a fire performance everyone is looking at you; you’re the center of attention, so by default you get more people interested in you.
What’s the best reason to date a fire artist?
There's nothing sexier than the smell of burnt hair and petroleum.
Photograph by Mattheas D.G.
“I am a performance artist in a small city. I keep dating people in the arts scene because that is who I am around and who I connect with. After three years here, I can’t go to an event without getting nasty or lusty looks from half the room. Should I stop dating artists? They’re the only people around here I have anything in common with!”
Maybe you should start dating people on the other half of the room. Even in a large city, art scenes tend to be small and tight-knit, and people love to gossip. People are talking about you because you are interesting. Take it as a compliment, and then ignore those people. If half the room isn't leering or scowling at you, pay attention to those people. Chances are there are at least a few of them who will be interested in you for who you are, and not for your reputation. If not, consider moving.
“I dated a woman for two months before she told me she is active in our city's fetish scene. She apparently goes to ‘play parties’ where she gets undressed and lets men tie her up and spank her, though there is no sex involved. She still wants to go to these events. I don't want to go and I don't want her to go either. I'll try anything she asks in the bedroom but I think our sex life should be private. She says as long as she doesn’t have sex, I should be OK with her participating. Who is right?”
No one is right. People are entitled to their own sexual boundaries and to be in a relationship with someone who shares those boundaries. The boundaries of your relationship are whatever the two of you agree they are. If you can't agree, you probably aren't well matched. If you can't live with her going to "play parties" and she can't be in a relationship with someone who is not OK with her going to them, you're at an impasse — not because one of you is right and the other is wrong, but because you want different things. Fortunately for both of you, there are plenty of people in the world with all kinds of sexual boundaries.
That said, I'd challenge you to go to a "play party." Let her know what she can do to make you more comfortable. Maybe you could go and she could not participate or only get spanked by you. With sexuality, often things that seem unappealing at first end up being the most gratifying. Or maybe you'll hate it; at least you can say you gave it an honest try (but if you go, you really do have to give it an honest try).
"I am getting married. My dad is a hardcore Christian but my future husband and I are agnostic. We’ve decided to have a nonreligious wedding officiated by a Justice of the Peace. My dad refuses to give us any money for it and isn’t even coming because we’re not "really getting married," though he said he will go to the reception. How do I explain his absence to the other guests? Should I even invite him to the reception?"
You don't have to explain anything. Likely, no one will be forward enough to ask. If they do, you can tell them the truth (which will almost certainly shut them up), avoid the question or make something up. Try these: "He chose not to come." "He couldn't make it to the ceremony, but he'll be at the reception." "He's on a top secret mission to … I've said too much." Or just put on a horrified look and say, "What? He's not here?" It's your day. Do what you want to do.
Same goes for the reception. Invite him if you want him there. Don't if you don't. Everyone's family is complicated. No one has any room to judge you because you have a conflict with your father about your wedding. Good luck with your dad. I hope he comes around. And congratulations on your wedding. If you need some entertainment for the reception, I may know some people…