“[The artist] speaks to our capacity for delight and wonder, to the sense of mystery surrounding our lives; to our sense of pity, and beauty, and pain; to the latent feeling of fellowship with all creation–and to the subtle but invincible conviction of solidarity in dreams, in joy, in sorrow, in aspirations, in illusions, in hope, in fear…which binds together all humanity–the dead to the living and the living to the unborn.”–Joseph Conrad
We’ve recently returned home from Burning Man, in Northwest Nevada. We had a wonderful time there, along with forty thousand others.
Some of the highlights include, watching the gradual construction of the mammoth artwork called “Uchronia,” also known as “A Message Out of the Future,” or “The Belgian Waffle,” created by a team of 60 artists from Belgium. This piece was made
out of 2X3 planks of wood, practically 5,000 feet of lumber, nailed together into an arching structure that was more than 50 feet tall, with a floor span of nearly 200 feet. Yes, on the last night, they burned it, and it was, by far, the biggest and brightest fire we’ve ever seen.
Another particularly interesting piece was the Serpent Mother. This astounding piece of art was created by the Flaming Lotus Girls, and according the Girls, “is a highly kinetic participant controlled installation.” The space that is created by the Serpent around her egg encourages participants to connect and interact with one another, turn inward for reflection or activate her fiery spirit. One can chose to make the serpent’s head and neck move or make the jaws open and close. An individual can initiate 10 different sequenced patterns for the 31 poofers, activate each poofer via buttons or proximity sensors, or operate buttons, which activate the liquid fuel bursts of the egg. The LEDs illuminating the body are also be interactive changing based on a participant’s heartbeat. The freestanding ribs of the serpent can be moved by the participants’ interaction with them.”
Being able to control the fire shooting out of the serpent’s spine was absolutely incredible. The fireworks display on Friday night, which happened all around and above the sculpture was unlike anything I’ve ever seen before.
There was so much to see, and so much to do. It’s hard to put it all into words and images…. We spent several hours each day working with a film crew on Jeff’s newest project, “McBride’s Magic and Mystery Tour.” We got to film our special blend of magic all over the festival, from making cigarettes disappear at the Death Guild, to levitating in the middle of the playa, to my personal favorite, escaping from a straitjacket in the middle of Center Camp. Jeff will be going to finish up the new project with Louis at L&L Publishing. Look for it soon!
One of the highlights was performing as part of the Fire Conclave. This involved 500+ of the most talented fire artists in the world all working together as part of the main event! If you want to see great footage of the Burning Man event, click on the following link. When you get to the web page, click on the 9.02 screen (this is the night of the burn). About two minutes into the footage, the scrolling
screen credits at the bottom will say “dance dance immolation.” At that frame, you will see Jeff shooting the biggest fire balls of the night up into the sky, flanked by our friends Johnny D and Lieve, inside the spinning fire cube costumes. Amazing!
In the meantime, the day after we got home, Jeff took off for Magic in the Rockies, where he did a fast and furious round of teaching, lecturing, and performing. He got home on Monday, ready to work with several private students here at the House of Magic and Mystery, and then we’re gearing up for more magic in the fall!
Until we see you again, we send you magical inspiration and excitement!
Abbi & Jeff
A quick note from Tobias:
Registrations are going well for both “Magic for Medical Professionals” and the “Master Class for Mentalists – but we still have a few spots available.
Also: Jeff and Abbi will be performing their newest show, “Magic at the Edge” at the Edgewater Resort in Laughlin, NV from November 3-22nd. Let us know if you’ll be there, so we can make a point of seeing you after the show!