Pele
BRONZE Member since Dec 2000

Pele

the henna lady
Location: WNY, USA

Total posts: 6193
Posted:In another thread it was brought up about accidents happening to professionals, let alone novices, and how things as such are not really discussed.

In fact, I know of one accident that I was asked to keep quiet about. I am still not sure why...

Here is the thing...we all know that playing with fire (even poi and staff), and even the whips, the swords, the beamers, etc.. is dangerous. We all know people get hurt, however, the only injuries really discussed are the smaller ones. That is usually with a bit of embarrassment and a laugh.

I mentioned that I wrote about my accident because people asked me to, because they wanted to know about it.
That was a huge leap of faith for me professionally, even though it was cathartic personally. I can see where making the details of all that happened could seriously effect my career. I know that I technically did everything I could safety wise during that show, but do others see it that way?

By making such an accident public, a performer risks his/her reputation. They suddenly become scrutinized by their fellow performers, and sometimes get treated as the "bottom feeders", or are concidered irresponsible.
There is a fear that by making such things public that no gigs will come in and that you are viewed as a liability.

I do not regret my choice to be vocal for one moment (though I am really talkative so, it's hard to not be vocal! )

But here is my question, does it ruin my credibility? Do I start over to gain respect as a professional and would you hire me knowing that I have *never* injured an audience member or venue, but had this one accident myself?

Honest answers please as this is something that has been really getting to me over time.
Thanks in advance


Pele
Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir
"Oooh look! A pub!" -exclaimed after recovering from a stupid fall
"And for the decadence of art, nothing beats a roaring fire." -TMK

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Josphin


member
Location: Calgary

Total posts: 18
Posted:i just recently met a guy who used to spin with a friend of mine, and one night we were spinning and this guy shows up (guyA, fold friend of guyB)....guyA was going on how they used to perform together, and it was going to blow guyB's mind when he saw guyA, the whole night guyA was a pretty big jackass, super ego, not good with personally space(i'd be spinning and he's try and get into the area i'm spinning to watch, i had to back up not to hit him)...none of the regular spinners were too comfortable wtih his presence, then guyB shows up, that greet each other and whatnot, at one point guyB pulls me over and says "thats the guy who a few years back didn't follow some code for a show in a bar, and went ahead and firebreathed and had an accidient and got flashback and thats the reason it's next to impossible to get gigs where you can fire breath inside a bar in Calgary"[although i only know one person in Calgary who breaths, and he's the head of a freakshow troupe]...although this did do a lot to ruin this guyA's credibilty in my eyes(plus the fact that i have a lot of respect for guyBand know he wouldn't make some sort of bullshit up and play stupid games like that) it was more guyA's over the top super ego and cockiness that really ruined his credibilty for me, and after guyB told me this story, i could really see the recklessness behind guyA's actions....so i think that word of an accident does have the possibilty of weighing you down when it comes to getting gigs and keeping the respect of other performers and what not, but i think it also has a big part to do with the persons atitidude and how they handle their performances and how in control of thier movements they are at the time of the accident, and also in retro spective of how much respect they have for the fire and their own safety as well as others....throughout this night, guyA's actions and atitidude did a very good job of ruining his credibilty, but the story told by guyB just solidfied the feelings i had about guyA

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onewheeldave
GOLD Member since Aug 2002

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: sheffield, United Kingdom

Total posts: 3252
Posted:quote:Originally posted by Pele:

But here is my question, does it ruin my credibility? Do I start over to gain respect as a professional and would you hire me knowing that I have *never* injured an audience member or venue, but had this one accident myself?

Interesting question.

My main knowledge of you to now has been through your posts, particularly the safety stuff and article on your fire breathing accident, and I feel that in talking about the accident you've made a huge contribution to the future safety of fire users.

I've met a lot of people who are wary of breathing mainly cos they read your article.

As for damaging your career, I can see what you mean, but as far as I'm concerned if I was in the position of booking a fire breather (which I wouldn't do, but just supposing..) I would far rather book you than some random breather cos you know what you're doing, know the dangers first hand and come across as a responsible individual.


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!

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Prometheus


Prometheus

Diamond In The Rough
Location: Richmond, Virginia

Total posts: 459
Posted:This might just be my knee-jerk response, but I've always thought it was very professional of you to acknowldge your accident, and both the causes and the ramifications of it.
Firstly, you showed that you were not scared off, you have a dream, and you are willing to follow it. You acknowledge that your art is dangerous and you accept the risk.
It also teaches others, by your unfortunate example, that what you do really is not something to be 'laughed off.' It seems to me that ignoring the danger would be implying there is none.

I've heard of professionals or actors discussing their career mishaps, and they can be divided into two groups: the unlucky and the unthinking.

The Unluckys are people who knew what they were doing, took the necessary precautions, and had an accident anyway. They understood what they were getting into, and carefully weighed certain risks. Harrison Ford talked about stunts in his earlier days, and how he liked to do his own. (Of course, as the years catch up with you, there's less you can do physically) These were his 'Indiana Jones' days, I think. He was in a situation where he wanted to be in white-water rapids. He had a life-vest under his aviator's jacket, safety lines, and they had rescue crews nearby. The raft flipped end over end and he bumped his head on a rock. He said if he had hidden that accident, it would not only take away from the dangerous reality of doing your own stunts, but it would be akin to lying. You cannot ignore or shuffle off an incident like that. If anything, I think it lessens your credibility as a performer.

Now, there are the Unthinking...Evel Knievel is a prime example: "Let's strap a rocket to my motorcycle and try to jump the grand canyon." As much as I respect his bravery, I don't care for his stupidity. Yes, he accomplished some great things, but broke every bone in his body at least six times and caught fire twice.

Jackie Chan falls somewhere in the middle of all that, not sure where...


Dance like it hurts; Love like you need money; Work like someone is watching.

Never criticize someone until you've walked a mile in their shoes. That way, when you DO criticize them, you are a mile away, and you have their shoes.

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bec
BRONZE Member since Jan 2001

bec

member
Location: Brisbane, Queensland, Australi...

Total posts: 521
Posted:I agree, I think the answer to your question all depends on the person, their general attitude and what you know of them...

In your case Pele, we have a much fuller understanding of what you do, how you feel about things, your high level of professionalism, how you minimise risks of accidents happening than someone we have never met,(for example, "guyA")... This solid grounding means that we loose no respect when we read about your experience, we just learn more about the nature of what can happen even in a highly controlled situation...
honestly, if I was hiring and knew nothing else about you it might be different...

But for peers... One would hope that most fire performers never feel so overly confident that they think nothing could *ever* happen - even if they have eliminated all the possible hazards/risks that they can conceive... freak things still happen - we are dealing with something very unpredictable in nature. If we don't learn from one another's experiences then there is a chance we would have to learn these lessons directly ourselves...

However, we all know that people do stupid things with fire, without nearly enough regard for themselves, other people or property... that's a completely different case and I think most people are discerning enough to know the difference.

Honestly, though, to throw in another slant... if anything ever did happen while we were performing, I don't know how I'd feel, about who I'd be talking to about it. Perhaps I would, but I just don't know...

so I think now I understand why you ask the question - say, for example, (very very hypothetically) I somehow was in the position of having to choose between you & someone else to perform... To keep it simple we'll say they are your double in every aspect of performance except that the other "you" hasn't had (or perhaps just hasn't told me about) the accident.
I would not presume you were the less safe/ less professional/ less appropriate performer... I would think that you have lots of experience with something potentially very dangerous and you have a deep & intimate understanding of that danger...
I wouldn't choose you over the other person because of it (they may have just as much experience/attitude with just the good luck ? for it not to have happened to them), but I wouldn't choose the other performer over you because you revealed to me what happened - particularly knowing that you talked about it for other people's benefit...


but Pele, I'm interested to know how you feel..
...do you think you would you treat someone differently if you were on the outside of this situation? I would guess that perhaps you might since you asked the question originally...? but am interested to know.

and do you think the fact that you have "never injured an audience member or venue" is different to having had an accident yourself? I know the result is very different, but if you have technically done everything to avoid an accident isn't it just as possible that a frek accident could happen in a different way that may affect audience or venue?
Perhaps you only mentioned that neither of these things had happened to you to illustrate that you haven't had multiple incidents, but would those kind of accidents/experiences be different if you were hiring?


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Cerberus


member
Location: Canada, NS

Total posts: 23
Posted:I don't know about your particular accident Pele but I think its good that you told people how fire actually CAN go wrong even if you are the most fire safty person on the planet. Fire is not something that you can control, and people should realize that no one can be 100% certain that nothing will go wrong.

The only problem I can see you having in getting a job would be that some people aren't very educated on how to go about hiring fire breathers. Most people go for breathers that have never had an accendent which I think is not the best way to go at it, people who have had accidents are more likely to know how to deal with the problem with a level head rather than panicing... I know I would panic if I tried fire breathing right now O.o even if nothing went wrong.

I still say its a good thing that you voiced your accident it will show people that think they are invicible that even professionals can get hurt so they can too.


~Cerberus~+Something simple+

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bluecat


bluecat

geek, level 1
Location: everywhere

Total posts: 5300
Posted:no loss of respect at all...

or i would not book two of my colleagues ever... both of whom have had chemical pneumonia.

you act and sound proffessioonal. unlike many who say: yes we can do anything anywhere....


at irresponsibles who make life difficult for those who respect the danger of their work....


R


Holistic Spinner (I hope)

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Pele
BRONZE Member since Dec 2000

Pele

the henna lady
Location: WNY, USA

Total posts: 6193
Posted:quote:Originally posted by bec:
but Pele, I'm interested to know how you feel..
...do you think you would you treat someone differently if you were on the outside of this situation? I would guess that perhaps you might since you asked the question originally...? but am interested to know.I have known people who have had accidents, before I did, and I never lost respect. For example, Mephisto is really a reat performer. He will always have my respect, and he has had his share of accidents.
Dangerboy is my other example. I adore him, always have and always will. I applaud him for performing again and have a tremendous amount of respect for him.
There have been several performers whom I have admired over the years who have been injured, all with different acts but still side show in nature, and I completely respect and admire them to this day.

To me what makes the difference is intelligence of it.

Ignorance is going into something unaware of the exact dangers or reprocussions, but knowing it might have some and doing it anyway.

Stupid are the people who know all the dangers, research, spend time learning and then make an educated decision to go ahead with what they are doing.

I have far more respect for Stupidity than I do for Ignorance in any form of fire stuff.

quote:and do you think the fact that you have "never injured an audience member or venue" is different to having had an accident yourself? I know the result is very different, but if you have technically done everything to avoid an accident isn't it just as possible that a frek accident could happen in a different way that may affect audience or venue?
Perhaps you only mentioned that neither of these things had happened to you to illustrate that you haven't had multiple incidents, but would those kind of accidents/experiences be different if you were hiring? They would be different, truth be told. Most certainly accidents can happen but as a promoter there is a difference between a performer injuring his/herself and a performer taking out my patron or my business.
As a performer my audience and venue is more important than me. It is a much bigger risk, to take other people's passions and lives into our hands, and while it might not seem that way in the routines we get in, we do. As a promoter I would definately look at what the accident was.

For example, an act accidentally burns a table top vs. burning the place down. Big difference.
Small is an accident that would let us keep on going, lesson learned and the wiser, and I would hope that would be brought into my venue. A large accident, I wouldn't hire.

If an audience member gets hurt, to me that goes two ways...did they walk into my torch and ignite their head or did my wick fling into the audience and land in a lap?
With both of them, as a performer, I am to have control over. However, there is a responsibility of the audience and the venue as well that is missing if someone is injured during a walk around vs. a stage show. Does that makes sense?
While the performer is to provide some form of watchful care, people on a walk around can not always be controlled. Sure that is hirable.
If a wick flew off and landed near someone. No problem, it happens. Someone gets burned due to something wrong...no fire act gets hired.

However, if I were a promoter and heard about audience/venue accidents, I would prolly think twice about hiring fire shows, to be perfectly honest. And this is what happened after the Rhode Island club fire back in Feb. Everyone became wary of fire performers and pyrotechnicians and suddenly work was limited, understandably. Things have smoothed out from that but not before now regulations were put in place in many areas.

However, I am not a promoter (yet) so I can only answer from my personal perspective.
Do I lose respect for the performer? Depends on the accident. If a cable/chain breaks in some unforeseen twist of fate and flies off, well, then there is little that could have been done.
If it was due to gross neglegence then there is a loss of respect. As long as all proper precautions are taken, then, in my eyes as a peer, it is completely understandable.

Thanks Bec for making me think. I hope I answered your questions.
Thanks to everyone for helping me on this...I appreciate it so much! It gives me lots to think about!


Pele
Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir
"Oooh look! A pub!" -exclaimed after recovering from a stupid fall
"And for the decadence of art, nothing beats a roaring fire." -TMK

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Puk
SILVER Member since Aug 2002

Puk

Sweet talented nutter
Location: Brisbane Oz, Australia

Total posts: 2615
Posted:Pele i know of a certain person who is on hop that did loose a lot of respect that i had for "buzz".

Cause of how "buzz" acted and showed total disrespect for other's. "Buzz" didn't go with what the plan was and wanted to do "buzz's" own thing .

But i alway's thought there was something wrong with "buzz" performance wise.

What im trying to say you have a very professional attitude that what makes the difference sure things still happen
(Buzz doesn't)


that shrewd and knavish sprite

Called Robin Good Fellow ; are you not he that is frighten of the maidens of the villagery - fairy

I am the merry wander of the night -puk

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Fire By Riz tm


member
Location: tampa fl usa

Total posts: 212
Posted:Pele
I read your article when it was 1st put up.
great write on a even better topic.I am sure you know my favorite saying when it comes to fire
" No matter how good you are you will make a mistake" The pros are the ones who are ready for that mistake. unlike our friends in the band great white.

I have read your posts since your accident .some of them showed the pain others showed the healing . Because you made a mistake
does that make you less of a fire performer. Or hack who desrves no respect.this is just my never humble opinon HELL No I think it makes you a better fire performer.In another thread I stated
I ask a fire performer if they can do a set without setting them selves or the venue on fire.
this is the perfect time to explain why i do that.I tend to find the performers that have been on fire once tend to make better performers much safer with everything they do much more thought out even to the point of being anal about safety

Pele if it matters you have my respect I would share a stage with you anytime .
I am sure you have replayied that day in your mind a thousand times thinking "what if what if "I am willing to bet you found at least 10 things you could do that are safer than how you did them before that day. am also willing to bet
you have already set some of those saftey changes into action.

I thought I was pretty safe til i had a fire two years ago we were lucky no one was hurt.
but I ran the "what if" game through my head.
and eneded up changing just about my whole saftey protocol. I still keep that fuel jug that burnt I have it hanging up over my work bench as a reminder. I even went as far as to break it out and tell the story in the saftey part of my video as part of things not to do .


I have been cursed with the imagination to envision it all

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Pele
BRONZE Member since Dec 2000

Pele

the henna lady
Location: WNY, USA

Total posts: 6193
Posted:I'd share a stage with you too Riz (so long as I could be clothed! ). Actually, I hadn't thought about it but the question makes alot of sense if you put it in that perspective. I like it.

Can I put to you the same question that Bec put to me? Does the severity/nature of the accident matter? Performer injury versus audience member versus venue?

Puk, that is interesting as well. I know that for me professionalism means so much, and sometimes I take for granted that the professional attitude is not the same, or even exsisting in everyone.

Thank you all so much. There is alot of tasty food for thought here!


Pele
Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir
"Oooh look! A pub!" -exclaimed after recovering from a stupid fall
"And for the decadence of art, nothing beats a roaring fire." -TMK

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frostypaw


Great balls of fire
Location: Tunbridge Wells, Kent

Total posts: 643
Posted:Actually it was reading that which stopped me thinking of you as amateur in ANY way...

Hope that doesn't sound insulting at all - just that most of the folk on here are at most determined/obsessive hobbyists, some making money from it - and the difference in between them and Real professionals was a kinda blurry distinction

But then I read about your accident, how you dealt with it and your thoughts since - and, well, since then I wouldn't question your proffessionalism for a second and give every word the upmost respect.


I can SEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

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pozee
BRONZE Member since Jul 2001

old hand
Location: san diego, USA

Total posts: 886
Posted:i miss my beautiful pele lady...

anyone got a light?

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Oaken


member
Location: Canada

Total posts: 34
Posted:Hey kids.... I read the said thread about pele's accident, and first off, i figure any twirler who hasnt screwed up and hurt him/herself needs to eat an extra bowl of wheaties tomorrow morning and head straight out in the yard and give it yourself a stellar whack! what I mean is that when you are working with a pole or a chain with fire on the end of it, or breathing straight fuel the odds of you hurting yourself are raised dramaticly as opposed to never doing it. It's par for the course and I think hurting yourself develops a necessary respect that is a very important part of learning. Respect the fire! I myself am a street performer and I use a 6 ft staff, 4 inch wicks and Ive never wieghed it but it's heavy. heavy enough to take off a crowd members head no doubt.. (or my own.. trust me I know)... I ask the crowd before hand to give me lots of space and if that's not possible (confined space, really busy night) then I'll keep my twirls mellow.. im getting off track though... I actually tell the crowd before hand that "yes, i have been at this a long time and know what I am doing, BUT... I am human. I could very well screw up at any time so keep a good distance and if you see my stick flying towards you, get out of the way...(happened once, sucked, ) I realize telling a bar owner this would be different but like someone else said in this thread, the owner did hire a FIRE act... we're not talkin balloon animals here. (no disrespect meant to ballooners) I'm not sure about insurance thingys and stuff but he should be aware of the risk factor as well, no? Pele... your human... dont let it get to you man, and besides, i know that word of mouth is powerful but does your promo read:
PELE... WORLD CLASS FIRE BREATHER
AVAILABLE FOR HIRE AT "YOUR" PARTY
HAD FIRE ACCIDENT LAST WEEK
PRETTY NASTY STUFF>>>>>
i dont think so.... so live and learn my friend and dont sweat the inevitable..
dont forget kids.... one love....


One Love, Dont forget.

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