PEX Summer Fest

Wow. My last post was in June. Where has the time gone? I’d love to say I spent the summer traveling and was just never near my computer, but that wasn’t the case. Sadly, I think it was mostly work. Which is funny to say, coming from a freelancer. But now that the upstairs second bedroom is my office, if I’m not booked for a client, work is just a step away all the time. Working on a feature length documentary requires a slow and steady progress. I guess I did get away a few times, though. We had a great show at PEX Summer Fest, one of our best- for Thursday night anyway. We had some technical difficulties for the Friday night show but the overall reaction was amazing. This was the first year I actually had FUN at PEX, too! Camping with the Luxie ladies made a huge difference, and I ended up wrangled into helping in various ways- including being a safety for the conclave right before the burn. Wow, did I get some good practice putting out huge flaming props.

Beachy Skeleton!

Lets see, what else? We had one brief vacation, to Rehoboth beach. Good people, but terribly humid and hot weather. Lots of swimming. We also went to Boston, which was a lot of fun. We rented kayaks and hung out with Chris’ sister, and then drove all the way home. Long day. My sister came to visit from Seattle for quite a whirl-wind trip.

Performing in AC

Performing in AC

Lux Arati had an on-going gig in Atlantic City over the summer that started out a little crazy, but turned out to be a ton of fun. I was rather anxious about going, not sure what I would do to entertain the crowd for 2 hours without fire (the venue found out that they needed to have a fire marshal on scene the whole time if we preformed with fire, which was out of the budget for the event). I bought some long veil fans, practiced with my sword and dug out my silk veil that I think I’d used once previously. It was awesome. The gig included 3 dancers a night from 9 to 11 on every other Friday and Saturday night for about 6 weeks. We rotated the schedule, filling in around everyone’s availability. I think it was pretty well received. We had everything from glow hooping to feather fans and belly dance. Fun fun!

And now? Fall is upon us. Everything moves along, working some days on location, some days at home, trying to practice with my sword and my fans and maybe even through the staff in there. Working on my cable-full sweater is progressing slowly, and I have another monster in the queue…. everything keeps going.

Monster! The family I gave him to named him Scaramino Mingo

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The Flower of Fire

The Flower of Fire

fire fingers and fans

Still waiting on the video, not sure who has it or what state its in, but Will Connelly got some great shots of our performance… I hope he doesn’t mind if I post them here. (Follow the links! Check out his work! He’s rather good!) If you get to this page, Will, and want me to take them down, just let me know.

I have to be honest, I sort of cringe when I look at these… not because I’m in them, but because I see all the little bits that are kinda off that I’d like to fix. Photos of performances always do that to me. Once I see the video I usually realize that all the little things I nitpick aren’t really that noticeable, but till I see that proof…. ugh, I agonize over the detail I barely remember. Its funny how a performance is over so quickly. We spend so much time preparing, practicing, making costumes…. and it is over in under 4 minutes.

The PEX life

The temple burn. Or effigy... still not sure which it was

Oh PEX. It’s that time again- hot sticky summer, which means time for the PEX summer fest! Time to hang out at a campsite in Maryland, trying to stay as cool as possible during the day and wandering around watching the sites at night. The big change this year was that we made a great tent-town shade structure. Three tents, joined by a shade canopy, with cloth draperies tied to the walls for extra shade coverage. It made definitely made the daytime much more bearable. I don’t know how these people do it. The music is 24-7, and people are always out there dancing. I can’t keep that pace. I like wandering around at night, finding the interesting art exhibits. This group is all about LED lights and fire, so there is some pretty cool stuff. My favorite was a “24-7 rainbow” that was a big wooden packing crate, painted black on the inside with tons of little prisms hanging in perfectly cut holes and a spotlight aimed through them. (I tried to take a picture, but my camera is pretty bad in low-light.) Frank’s Kitchens put together a whole bunch of fire installations, including a huge propane tank fire jet thing…. I don’t know what to call it exactly, but its in the video at the bottom of this post. I remember there being more spontaneous fire spinning last year, perhaps I just wasn’t looking in the right places. There was more¬†aerial dance this time- they moved the big forklift around the campsite and set up at various points in the night. That one was easy to spot though- the contraption is huge.

RRVS sign by Xtina

This was my second year at PEX. I go to perform in the fire show that Jexi (of Iconic Fire) and her collaborators put on. This year the show was called the Russian Roulette Variety show, and consisted of 5 acts- a piece by HulaGraphix (fire hoop and programmable LED hoop), a burlesque number by The Penny Treats, partner poi, fire-breathing and fan solo by Iconic Fire, contact meteor by Jerome¬†Dmenza and Lux Arti’s bellydance/fan piece. I think it went over well. The audience seemed to enjoy it anyway. The whole thing felt like it was over before it started, quite a blur. Can’t wait to see photos and video of it. I wanted to get some shots of the other acts, particularly the awesome contact-meteor spinner Jerome, but since I had my fire fingers on, I couldn’t really work a camera. Those things are a pain in the neck to do anything except dance with. Hope they looked good at least!

one of the many amazing acts

Wow. This weekend was the first full run-through rehearsal, and it was awesome to see everything come together. The girls did a really great job. Everything from opera singers to fire hoopers to ex-Russian Circus performers…. I’ll just say that its going to be quite a performance. The show is called “Scorch” and is one of the acts performing at the PEX summer fest. (I’m filling in for a girl who couldn’t make it for the bellydance section.) I think that my excursion to Pennsic may have prepared me a bit for the camping/festival weekend (though hopefully we don’t have quite the floods at PEX!) and I’m looking forward to the workshops (silk fabric aerials!!) and swimming… But really I just can’t wait to see the performance in its full form!