So clearly it's been two months now since I sent my last newsletter out--my apologies, my travels kept me much busier than I had hoped but I will try and be better about staying in touch from here on out! Here's what's new in my world:
This morning, I’ve seen a whole lot of my friends linking to this article about the amount of money that YouTube stars make. The general consensus has been that many of them are in the wrong line of work and that riches and stardom are simply a clever YouTube channel away.
Six months ago I started up a little experiment, trying to crowdfund resources from the community to assist me in making my many video projects. Between tech blogs, tutorials, double staff tech blogs and tutorials, Profiles in Poi, The Month in Flow, Slow Mo Monday, and Stop Drop and Spins, I spend a whole lot of my time creating these video projects for the wider world.
Something a little different...I've had a pretty rough winter and wanted to put it into movement. This is a piece I choreographed back in January.
Sadly, YouTube has become an absolute shit-show if you're using any kind of music at all in your videos, so the original audio for this song was blocked on it. Fortunately, I can put whatever audio I want behind video on my own site, so enjoy! :)
For two years now, FLAME Festival has offered a unique experience inside the flow/fire festival world in that we allow our attendees to help us determine our lineup. Last year was our first time trying out this experiment and we learned a lot from doing it--a lot of what worked and a lot of what didn’t work. This year, in an effort to improve upon the system we created last year we set out to take many of those lessons learned and apply them to voting and teacher selection to do our best to assemble the best festival the Southeastern United States has ever seen.
These have been a long-time coming! Three years ago, my friend Memory suggested I put some of the poi patterns I'd been creating in my simulators on a t-shirt. At one point, I nearly put one design out but found the printing quality wasn't up to my standards. Then, last month I put out four images that I quite enjoyed on both my Facebook and my Instagram, asking my followers to vote on their favorites.
In the past couple months I've been posting extended versions of my Profiles in Poi interviews through the DrexFactor store. These have included longer versions of the interviews as well as the uncut b-roll of each artist spinning that I edit in to each interview. Today I've added the extras for Justin Warren and Christina Koller, so that each and every interview I did in 2014 is available for download.
I hope those of you who live in the Northern states have been keeping warm this winter--the cold weather definitely puts a cramp in practicing and rehearsing. With Spring hopefully around the corner, thoughts will be turning toward fire festivals and good times with friends. Here are some highlights of this month as we look to the next!
Two weeks ago marked a very auspicious anniversary for me--I filmed and published my 400th tech blog! When I published my very first tech blog on September 8, 2008, I could scarcely have imagined that six years and some change later that it would have grown into the institution that it has. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that despite offering a host of other content and trying to experiment with the form that my tech blog was and still is the cornerstone of my offerings to the poi world.
It’s a brand new year and I’m trying to keep better in touch with my customers as well as people in the broader flow community, so I’m launching this monthly newsletter to keep you in the loop on the things I’m working on as well as opportunities to connect with the wider flow arts world. This month I’ve got an exciting new resource, an inspiring interview, and information on which festivals you can find me at.
This year 11 people made the top 10 favorites video due to a tie. I've been asked to put together a comprehensive breakdown of how the votes came out this year as well as comparing them to the votes from last year. So first and foremost, let's see who made the list this year:
Four months ago, Jon Alvarez asked a seemingly innocuous question on the Poi Chat forum on Facebook that led me to one of the most mammoth undertakings of my adult life: has anybody set down definitions of all the poi moves in one place? The answer is sadly no, but it got me thinking about why that answer was no...beyond whether someone had set up a dictionary or encyclopedia, to the very heart of how we define poi tricks and discuss them online.
So this year we tried something a bit different at FLAME Festival. Rather than decide amongst ourselves as organizers whom we wanted to come and teach at the festival, we put it in the hands of our community. The germ of this idea came from a conversation Ky, Justin, and I had immediately after Pacific Fire last year. All three of us wanted to find a way to pay our instructors, but we were at a loss as to how to do so in a fair and equitable way.
The 2014 Fire Festival Season will begin in 2 months! Here is a calendar of every Fire Festival that's declared dates in 2014 along with a link to the website for each festival. Please check back on occasion as I'll be posting more festivals as their dates become available.
Last week I got tagged in what turned out to be an incredibly badass and informative post by Cory Oliver from Florida. He’d discovered that Amazon has added a feature wherein they will donate .5% of your purchase to the charity of your choice. Currently all the charities they have listed to donate to are those that appear on Guidestar, so regrettably some of my favorites are not there.
A couple days ago, I posted a message on Facebook asking for suggestions on who I could do a future "Profiles in Poi" video on and Rob "Bluecat" Thorburn replied with a very intriguing breakdown. Rob cited a number of spinners whom he classified as old, middle, and new school poi spinners. I dug the idea, but thought a division into four instead of three groups made more sense.
So the wonderful folks at Flowtoys have asked me for my flow story, and like most things I do what I'm going to give them is going to be a little unconventional. It's not necessarily my flow story, but the story of five people who whether they realize it or not are directly responsible for the artist that I am today. We'll call this a thank you to all of them for actions big and small to push my journey forward :)
Last week I flew down to Florida for a couple days and had the opportunity to test out a theory I've held for a long time about travel with fire tools. Years ago when I was flying home from Burning Man, a pair of my fire staves was confiscated from me as I boarded my flight at the Reno airport to come home. I'd checked in late and as such, my bag was being manually taken to the plane rather than going through the usual steps and by the time it arrived at the aircraft, they'd taken the staves off of it.
A couple months ago I was sent a request for more intermediate-level tutorials via Facebook and I had kind of mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, I knew I could provide the content, but I also knew that I considered intermediate spinning to have slightly different qualities than the person requesting the tutorials may have had in mind. To me, intermediates begin seeing poi as being composed of smaller and more fundamental pieces of movement.
Everybody knows a performer when they see one: performers are loud and outgoing, friendly and confident. They reach right out to you and draw you into their world, promising a good time with someone who makes you feel totally at ease. I’ve never done a poll, but I’d suspect that the ideal performer to most of us is somebody that fits the rough definition Carl Jung laid out in the 1920s of an extrovert: a person who is sociable, takes charge, is outgoing, and is at their best in a crowd of people.