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Photograph by Phyllis B. Dooney
How did you get turned on to fire art?
I first saw fire spinning at Burning Man, but never particularly thought I wanted to do it until later that year. I went to see some people practicing in a park, and someone handed me their practice poi and I was hooked by the sensation. Once I tried it, I didn't want to put it down. People don't realize how fun spinning is. I added hoop into the mix, and slowly started exploring other props, from stilts to fans to wearable fire.
You teach a class in Williamsburg. Is it mostly people who have a performance background or people with regular jobs doing it in their free time?
It’s more b. There is a few people who are trained and are doing it on its own. There are also a few who are performers of other types who want to add fire into their repertoire. But most are people who have heard about it and they want to give it a try. So I have everybody from students to lawyers.
You’ve performed in front of Miranda Kerr, Michael Bloomberg and Jay-Z. Which was the most memorable?
Performing for Jay-Z was awesome. He threw a carnival for his Shawn Carter Foundation at Pier 54, and the whole pier was filled with rides, performers, little people, contortionists — a whole circus. Jay was always surrounded by a crowd of folks, but I'm pretty sure I caught his eye at one point!
What’s the best reason to date a fire artist?
You’ll be dating someone passionate, adventurous and spirited. You’ll be inspired to pursue your own unconventional dreams. And even if you have a really boring job, you can gloss right over that at parties and talk about your smokin’ hot babe’s wild and crazy life as a fire spinner!
Photograph by Phyllis B. Dooney
“I am a traveling circus performer. My boyfriend and I have a look-the-other-way rule for the six months when I am on tour (which goes for him as well). He wants to rescind it next season. He says we are too old and need to get serious. I love my boyfriend but a big part of the reason why I love him is the freedom he gave me to hook up with circus groupies. I might break up with him. Does that make me a floozy or a bad person?”
If one of the main reasons you’re together is that you get to be with other people half the year, what is the point of being together in the first place? Just to not be alone for the six months you’re home? If that’s the case, then, yes, you need to examine this relationship. While you’re at it, you might ponder what making more notches on your belt each season really does for you. Is it the adulation of the fans? The simple scratching of an itch? When you dig to the bottom of it, see if it’s really worth giving up someone who cares enough about you to make a commitment. If it is, then go for it; it’s your life and there’s no need to label yourself or feel bad about it — although floozy is kind of a fun word.
“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?"
Right and wrong are perspectives we adopt, so there’s no one answer that will satisfy you. But relationships thrive on flexibility, not rigidity, so ask yourself what it’s worth to you to keep exploring this one. See if she’ll take you with her with you as the only partner she interacts with. At best you’ll gain the insight to deepen your relationship both in the bedroom and out. At worst you’ll have a ridiculous story about “this one time I wore ass-less chaps with a straight face.”
“My girlfriend is skilled at blowjobs and loves giving them. She knows right when I am ready to finish and then slows down to stretch out the process for as long as 45 minutes. While this is heaven on a Sunday morning, she gets insulted when I pass on oral sex on a weeknight because I just don’t have the time. She says I don’t appreciate her skill and dedication. How do I explain that some nights I just can’t sit around and get blown for as long as it takes to listen to Dark Side of the Moon?”
Tell her that you like variety and sometimes a quickie is a nice surprise. Challenge her by playing “Kashmir” and saying how hot it would be to finish as the song culminates. Work your way down to “Paperback Writer” and she’ll really have skills to be proud of.
“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 (even though he pitched in when my pious sister got married) 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 all the other guests? Should I even invite him to the reception?”
Although you may think it’s unfair, it’s your dad’s prerogative to spend his money as he chooses, and it really doesn’t serve you to gripe about it. Learning to gracefully accept the consequences of your own choices will make you a lot happier in the long run.
As for your wedding, let the joy of this occasion spill over and wash out the hurt of your dad not being there. You don’t need to explain his absence unless someone asks. Your acceptance of the matter will set the tone for others to do the same. If you’re not up for all of that, then just have your DJ play a varied selection of maudlin daddy and/or wedding songs. Your guests will fill in the blank.