BY LEAH MAURER
Some venues in the city of Portland do have permitting to hold amazing events like Ecstatic Fire.
The upcoming show is the fourth showcase and, according to co-creator Tyler Spades “by far our most intricate one yet!” Ecstatic Fire combines extremely technical and intricate fire spinning with theatrics and comedy.
According to Spades and co-creatorErika Ryn, the theme for the show is what truly makes each showcase unique. This edition brings you on a “space cowboy adventure.”
Rob McCorkle, owner of the Bossanova Ballroom, said, “These performances are very theatrical and always tell a story. They have been great to work with and always put on a very well produced show.”
In our interview, Spades added, “We feel that fire performance is an integral part of Portland and we are passionate about bringing it to audiences of all ages.”
Attendees are even encouraged to dress up as either a cowboy or an alien and enter a costume contest to win prizes.
Ecstatic Fire: Space Cowboy takes place at the Bossanova Ballroom on November 5, 2016. There is an all-ages show starting at 7:00pm and a 21+ show starting at 11:00pm. You are encouraged to get tickets early as this show typically sells out fast.
What is Ecstatic Fire?
Ecstatic Fire, created by Tyler Spades and Erika Ryn, showcases the amazing amount of fire performance talent we have here in the Northwest.
“Portland is a mecca for fire spinners, but there aren’t very many chances for the public community to experience it because most of our performances are for private events,” said Spades of the event. “One of our major goals of Ecstatic Fire is to share our passion with a broader audience.”
The first Ecstatic Fire show took place on February 21, 2015. It’s success inspired Spades and Ryn to produce the show bi-annually and move from Dante’s to the Bossanova Ballroom, a larger venue that also allows them to host audience members of all ages.
As producers of the event, Spades and Ryn see a thriving “flow arts” community here in Portland and they will be showcasing many local performers in the show.
“Flow arts” is a blanket term covering all types of object manipulation, such as staff spinning, hula hooping, poi spinning, juggling and much more (whether on fire or not).
Unfortunately, all fire spinning “flow arts” have been outlawed in public spaces without complicated permits. Several years ago the laws regulating fire performances in Portland changed leaving dozens of venues unable to host fire shows.
Many professional performers moved to different states to continue their work. But the fire spinning community remained alive and even grew significantly in the last few years.
Today there are only two venues in Portland that can legally host fire performances: Dante’s and the Bossanova Ballroom. Because of this public shows are rare, and this one is shaping up to be pretty amazing.
I can’t help but draw a small analogy here between the fire performance laws and the cannabis laws in Oregon, since I fought so hard to get the laws regarding cannabis changed here when I volunteered for the Measure 91 campaign.
When asked about their views on cannabis, Spades replied, “We are proud that we live in a progressive state that promotes open-mindedness. The prohibition of cannabis has definitely done more harm than good and perpetuated misinformation.”
“It has always been strange that statistically dangerous substances like alcohol and tobacco are legal, yet cannabis which is much more benign is outlawed, so we are happy to see this changing.”
“Legalization of any substance brings about the opportunity for more research and better understanding.”
I would agree whole-heartedly.
Or check Ecstatic Fire on Facebook.
Photo courtesy of Bossanova Ballroom.