At long last! Here is my interview with the lovely and talented Firefox, Georgina Armendariz-Ramirez
LB.Wldfyre: Why did you go to go to Burning Man?
Firefox: Burning Man is essentially a huge arts festival. I went to kind of rest, and get refreshed: To basically have a reset of consciousness and energy. I also love to go just to get re-connected with and re-visit the ideas of a real sense of community, a giving community, culture and art, the “leave no trace” community and mentality. Basically, to further instill BM’s 10 principles.
I also went to learn. There are so many workshops, and I basically went with the mentalitiy of putting myself back in the beginner’s seat. I went to a beginner lyra workshop and a poi workshop, because even though I know these tools, there are always different perspectives and I wanted to kind of “start agian”, like saying, I don’t know this tool let me go as “a beginner”. You build your knowledge more that way than by saying “I already know this”. I wanted to invest in my skill set and build my flow art. Attending these workshops also enhanced my skill set as a teacher, in my teaching of the flow arts. We can all learn from other teachers.
L.B.: What is Conclave? How do you get to be a part of Conclave?
Firefox: Conclave is the ceremony preceding the burning of the man on the second to last night. Basically this year there were 59 groups that auditioned for a spot out of the 32 spots available in Conlcave. These groups have to audition and be accepted to be a piece of the pie that encirlces the man. Combined, the 32 groups contain over 1,000 fire performers who burn in front of and around the man and the rest of the 67,000 BM citizens watch the simultaneous shows.
L.B.: Didn’t part of you go to Burning Man for the Black Rock City Fire Competition?
Firefox: Actually I didn’t even know about the competition until a couple hours before! It was just one of the many events scheduled. Cesear (Redwolf) was actually the one to initiate and push us to join. I am so glad he did because Jesse and I had just got off our 3 hour camp-shift (we were working for the official Black Rock YearBook) and competing was not something we were thinking of at the end of our three hours in the sun.
So Cesar got us pumped to compete. Once I realized that there were 5 trophies, and there were four of us competing, I was like “Okay guys, we are going home with four of them!” It ended up being Cesar (RedWolf), Jesse (Weaponize), Brooke (Frolic) and I (FireFox) who participated in the competition.
L.B.: You knew about the competition just a couple hours before? How do you prepare for that?
Firefox: Well I had been out in the sun for about three hours so I just grabed a redbull, ate something… I am not even sure what it was, and layed down for like less than 30 minutes.. so yeah, basically, prepare? what do you mean? There was no time, it was just like, we can do this, so let’s do this!
L.B.: This was your second competition at Burning Man correct? Was this your second time competing in the same event?
Firefox: No the first competition was three years ago in 2011 when it was my first year to visit the playa and Jesse’s first time back in like 10 years. That event was called “Fire Idol” and was hosted by Trick Concepts in the Thunder-Dome.The Thunder-Dome is inspired by Mad Max and is a 30ft structure. It is part of the playa art and usually hosts fights where people are up on swings swinging at each other with foam bats.
This year’s Black Rock City Fire Competition was held in a residential camp and was hosted by The HellFire Society. There were roughly 16 competetors and each competetor put on one performance in front of a panel of scoring judges. It basically was a great introduction to, or a “Who’s who” of the fire world at BM – that’s for sure. There is a chance for stipends and scholarship, burner support that kind of thing. Which, let face it, is a rare thing, so it was kind of a big deal, at least for me.
The judges are prop- makers and performers themselves (to my understanding). They were looking for performer’s technical ability, but also for your sense of flow and use of fire as an art form. Everyone there knew fire very well, so it was not just a performance, or a show just for a “wow” factor. In fact, I think that’s why Cesar didn’t place. He performed with the Zombie Slayer (a dual recreational flame-thrower). The Zombie Slayer has plenty of wow, but it is difficult to dance or create flow art with hand-cannons.
L.B.: How many Burning Man trophies does OL have now?
Firefox: Three and proud of it! Jesse got second place at the 2011 “Fire Idol”, Brooke brought home fourth place this year, and I was so happy to recieve first place!
L.B.: What tool did you perform with?
Firefox: I started with my Chi-ball contortion act and moved onto a single hoop with some acrobatics. I think that is what secured my taking home first place. The judges, from The Hellfire Society, were impresssed by my use of flexibility, contortion and balancing stunts while dancing with fire. I had good flow and technique, but the contortion/ acrobatic movement gave me an edge, my own flair, which they appreciated. What they didn’t know was how nervous I was!
L.B.: Were there any other memorable performances at the competition? Who got second place?
Firefox: Well these performers are from all over the world, with different backgrounds and influences. The guy who won second place Ben Prince (performer name “B”) was from New Zealand and his performance was very innovative. He performed with three fire staves in juggling contact form. It had a very native-american, hoop-dance like flow, but he really was not performing to an audience. His use of the contact staves was memorable though, definitely not something I had seen before.
As always, Burning Man fills its citizens with creative vision and sparks new dreams for the future. The immeadiacey mentality of BM; to get up, go and try, inspires many burners to re-evaluate what they want in their life, and to create change. OL came back with some new dreams. Vegas perhaps? Maybe visiting Key West for street performances or arriving in New York to teach flow-festivals. Wherever they are they will be sure to give you one hell of a show; full of wow, flow-dance, art, and of course FUEGO!