Sunday, July 18, 2010

HEAT: A Fire Cabaret

Back in May I attended the Bay Area Maker Faire in San Mateo. There were plenty of fascinating displays of artwork and projects and I spent all day wandering around without getting to see even half of it.

Somewhere in the middle of it all was a series of booths where volunteers from the Crucible were demonstrating a variety of fire arts ranging from glassblowing to blacksmithing. The Crucible is a non-profit training center that offers classes in fine and industrial arts. So if you're interested in learning how to work with metal and glass, you really ought to check it out.

Among the many things they had on display at the Maker Faire there was also a scattering of flyers for one of their fundraising events entitled "HEAT: a Fire Cabaret." The flyer was pretty eye-catching:

So, a couple of months later, finding myself with a free Saturday night, I decided to grab my friend Trevor and make the trip down to Oakland. I'll admit that I had no idea what to expect, but once we had our tickets and walked inside, I knew it was going to be an interesting night.

The first thing to notice inside was that everywhere you looked there was something on fire or an dancing girl or (more often than not) both:

They even had women dangling from the ceiling:
Suspended Dancer

And the ceiling was not low:
Suspended Dancer1

It took a while to get our bearings after the first few minutes of unabashed gawking:
Dancer Sparks

Crucible Poledancer

Among the various fire acts, was a very talented girl twirling a flaming hula hoop:
Flaming Hula Hoop

I can't make a normal hula hoop work, so I can only imagine the carnage if I tried one of these:
Flaming Hula Hoop1

Spread throughout the facility were a variety of artists and artisans demonstrating various industrial arts. I spent quite a while watching this character bending glass:

The blacksmith shop was pretty fascinating, but I was a bit overdressed for the heat:

There were also various artists creations on display:
Copper Fish
Crucible Fountain

Crucible decor
Glass Ladies
V8 Lightning Engine

With the mass of the crowd pressed up to the main stage, I didn't get any pictures of the jazz vocalist, the band, or the burlesque show on the main stage. I did manage to get plenty of pictures of the side shows though:
Fire Fan Dance

These two girls were doing a variation of a fan dance, but their fans were made of steel frames with flame pots on the tips:
HEAT crucible fire cabaret 025
At some point I spent a few minutes chatting with one of the performers:

She turned out to be a very talented belly dancer. You can see more of her at her website: or by scrolling down:


According to her website, she's also a classically-trained violinist. I snapped a pic of her doing a duet with the glassworking guy (with the neon violin mock-up):

Towards the end of the evening I was finally able to see part of one of the main stage acts, Scarlett & Axelrod:
Gravity Plays Favorites 2
Gravity Plays Favorites 1
Gravity Plays Favorites

Still, every time I turned a corner there was more hot stuff:

So after a thoroughly entertaining evening with an intriguing crowd, it was time to head for the exit:

The rest of the night is another story...

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