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Old 09-03-05, 12:41 AM   #1
le pire
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Default Waterloo

My second year (in a row) there... Great fun, GREAT lineup of performers, and great hats. Second year in a row that Saturday got washed out (SUCKS)... did you guys get rained out in Toronto too?

I'm working on another masters degree, this time in documentary film, so I had a cameraman there and we shot approximately 22 hours of footage. I'm still sorting through it all, but I'll put some clips up on the web soon-- including a painful but hilarious one of Conrad from Trip Inc. taking one for the team at the washed-out late nite show.

I have LOADS of still pics, too, so I'll try to get some of them up as well.

We had a record hat at the Vaudville fundraiser show. Kudos to Brant of All Star Skate Board Show, Scot Free, Jim of the Chairmen, Aaron Gregg & Co., & yours truly.

My personal favourite act of the festival was Flyin' Bob & Jim O'Shea's new show- The Chairmen. It was a pleasure & a privilage to work alongside you guys!


etienne

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Old 09-05-05, 03:57 PM   #2
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Etienne, perhaps you'd care to address something that occurred in that Vaudeville show you tout - one of the most ill-conceived and poorly safetied fire performances I've ever witnessed.

For those of you who didn't have the benefit of a front-row seat, let me paint the picture thus:

Aaron Gregg, with flaming hoop balanced upon chin, takes a low position on stage so that his sometimes partner Roshan can run and dive through it.

At least on paper.

In real time, Roshan hit the hoop as he passed through it, causing it to spin out into the crowd about 15 feet away from the stage, burning one young lady on the arm on the way down, and landing at the feet of about a dozen shocked spectators, many of whom were children.

Gentlemen, you were one gauze skirt away from a case of audience immolation.

If that young lady chooses to sue, and I believe she has every right to, it means significant, impactful, and long-lasting changes for performers and producers alike. There will be changes, regardless of any suit, at any responsible gig.

Aaron, I strongly recommend you consider never doing this again without the following:

1) a safety tether (I understand one had been attempted earlier at Waterloo that proved unwieldy? That bit should never have hit the stage without some working solution);
2) at least 15 feet perimeter of audience clearance, with 20-25 feet downline of Roshan's approach;
3) a working fire extinguisher, staffed by someone who knows how to use it, standing by.

Additionally, a fire blanket would be a welcome addition to your street show.

I know the folks at Waterloo as very well-experienced technicians and stage managers. I can only believe that they were not given information as to how this piece was structured - otherwise I can't possibly see any of those responsible people allowing this to happen in the manner it did.

This incident was horrifying in it's potential, magnified by the knowledge that it could have been so easily averted.

And Etienne, your addressing the subject later in the evening in a "Dude! Where's my fire?" attitude was be-fucking-ond believing.

You sir, are an ass.
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Old 09-05-05, 11:18 PM   #3
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No need for name calling, Lynn. I don't understand why you are coming down on me, because I didn't have anything to do with the accident. I was safely off stage watching with abject horror as the who thing went down.

I didn't mention it before because I didn't think it my place to spread this story on an internet forum that could have very serious consequenses for another performer's career. Yes, there was an accident, but NO ONE WAS HURT.

I've got the wholeshow on video from two different angles, including a shoulder harnessed cam that followed the wheel into the crowd.

As for this:

And Etienne, your addressing the subject later in the evening in a "Dude! Where's my fire?" attitude

What the hell are you talking about?

I was the MC of the show and Aaron was the closing act. Yes, he and Rochen fucked up, and at the time of the incident-- staff ran into the crowd and IMMEDIATELY made sure everyone was OK. I have on VIDEO how the crowd parted like the red sea when that thing went flyng. I also have on video that it went near no one because everyone JUMPED. I'd be MORE THAN HAPPY to show you the tape.


Aaron and Roshen finished their set, and maybe you didn't like that I didn't dwell on the incident at the end of the show, but I saw no point as it had already been addressed and I was trying to bring the crowd mood back around and "save" the show from total disaster. Considering we had a record hat, I think I succeeded.

Like you, I was HORRIFIED when I saw the wheel go into the crowd, but as a performer I wasn't about to let that horror show. Maybe if you were a performer, you would understand that you can't always show the crowd what you truly feel at any given moment. Maybe if you understood this, then you would not flame away on the internet so often.

Also...

You weren't around for the all the discussions backstage and back at the dorm discussing what had happened, why it was preventable, and what can be done to make sure it NEVER happens again. We watched the video frame by frame and watched Roshen's legs hook the hoop with such force that it ripped the saftey tether right out of Aaron's hand. Yes it was bad, yes he knows it. Yes I know it. WE ALL FRACKING KNOW IT.



etienne
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Old 09-06-05, 05:52 AM   #4
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So the rest of us can assume it won't happen again then?
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Old 09-06-05, 06:28 AM   #5
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Hey Aaron, didn't we have the fire-blanket discussion in Singapore!
Every fire performer should carry one and leave it visible onstage so even if you don't react, someone else can. They cost bugger all, take up no space in your kit and are the best thing to put out fire on humans. If you don't have one or say "I don't need one" "It'll never happen to me" then you're a D*CK!

On a different note, sorry to hear about the mistake - it's always scary when something like that goes wrong. Well done on the hat.

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Old 09-06-05, 09:17 AM   #6
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Wow llyne, what's up with the public spanking? you had plenty of chances to address your concerns with Aaron and Roch, and give your safety suggestions, in person.
I know how I felt after a near miss, and I wouldn't want to be reminded about it publicly. These guys are my good friends, yes they made a mistake and I know they already felt bad and embarassed about it.
still the fact is that nobody got hurt except maybe now.
I think the concerns and the story could and maybe should be told but with out naming names.
Also, there was no mention of the incident from the Festival Staff during all the thank-you clapping and cheering at the wrap party when we were told we pulled a record hat for that show.
jeff

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Old 09-06-05, 10:17 AM   #7
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Easy.

The public spanking grew as a response from the public horn blowing about the "success" of the event, from someone in the audience who has sat in the producer's chair in former years, and who ran a tight, smooth ship.
Nothing wrong with calling it as you see it.
As a compulsive reader here, I know Lynne is much more a peacemaker than most others. Etienne, your response was cooking along nicely, but you lost me at accusing her of frequent flaming. It might have been a poor choice to brag about this one.
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Old 09-06-05, 10:29 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by Mr.Taxi Trix
It might have been a poor choice to brag about this one.
yeah, no kidding.

As far as frequent flaming... If I actually cared I would go through Pnet & find all the times she has flown off the handle over nothing.
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Old 09-06-05, 10:41 AM   #9
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To be honest with you, I can see both sides of the story.

I've know both Aaron and Etienne, whereas the other gentleman who was performing with Aaron I do not know. But I have seen their acts, and they are both very safety conscious.

I also know that this wasn't either of their individual shows, it was a group effort, probably formulated that weekend or even that day, and in the heat of the moment, it's easy to lose sight of the potential dangers we all face in our shows every day. From Lynne's administrative point of view, I can understand her grave concern for festival attendees safety. I can also relate to Aaron and his partner and probably just about everyone in the show, having had a near miss many years ago when I was still in a formative stage.

While I wasn't there, and I've read two different accounts of the story, I just wanted to know how everything turned out. Did someone run into the crowd to recover the hoop or did a brave audience member grab it and return it? The important thing is that everyone was okay-- Minus the girl who had the burn(?) if she in fact did, and even that was minor.

However, it doesn't excuse the fact that a flaming hoop rolled into the audience, at no one's fault really. I'm sure neither of the performers WANTED that to happen, but it did, and now I hope everyone's a little more conscious about potential dangers in their shows. I have seen some very dangerous fire shows performed and it makes me shudder... Fuel being kept in glass bottles, hippies with waist length dreads splaying everywhere (NOT tied back) fire eating and breathing with white gas, fuel spills, people dumping gas into sewers...

This should serve as a quick reminder to us all... Just because we've done it a thousand times doesn't mean they will go perfectly on the thousand and first.
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Old 09-07-05, 04:09 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by J-P
If you don't have one or say "I don't need one" "It'll never happen to me" then you're a D*CK!
Mr. Pot, Mr. Kettle. Mr. Kettle, Mr. Pot.

Rock on,

-----Spike

P.S. Aaron is awsome.
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Old 09-07-05, 11:36 AM   #11
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Default Wea culpa

Daniel, thank-you. You have expressed a more even-toned summation than I managed to do.

Etienne, you are very right about at least one thing. I mistakenly extrapolated from the one later-night conversation I witnessed, and implied that that was your only response to the event. I clearly was not present for any greenroom rehashing and video replay, nor witness to your reactions earlier in the evening. Please accept my apology for mischaracterizing what I saw.

I would, indeed, love to see a copy of the footage.

As for your responsibility in this, hereís how I see it. One, I thought it a little disingenuous of you to post how the show was such a resounding success. And two, you were asked to MC/direct the show, were you not? In my experience with such shows, the director typically gathers information from participating artists as to what piece they intend to perform, whatís needed tech/props/staging etc, and then assembles that information into a running order and show structure. Different fests have differing degrees of management support in that process, but I know Waterloo operates with full tech support and stage management of long experience and unequalled skill. At some point, you need to have liaised with that support structure, sound and tech-checked, given them a run-down of what was required and what was to occur on their stage, no? Somewhere in that chain of information a link was broken, so that proper perimeter and other safety measures were not taken.

Yup, Jeff, you have every right to take me to task for not speaking directly to Aaron and Roshan Ė for that I apologize as well. In my defense, I did not have ample opportunity as the fest ended immediately after the event and I was not a party to the wrap activities. That is usually my style Ė better to rip that bandaid right off, and let the healing begin.

Etienne, I realize you donít know me from Eve. I have the benefit of having experienced your work to inform my experience of you through p.net. You have never experienced my work, and have only my p.net persona to go on. First, thereís no need to lecture me about stage presence (ďnot letting the audience see the horrorĒ was I think how you phrased it Ė Iím writing this offline). I was a performer before you were toilet trained. Second, I do know exactly that heart-stopping response to a close call. In twenty years of involvement in festivals, Iíve collected my share of accidents, near-misses and lawsuits. Thank Dog and sonny Jebus that thereís never been a serious injury or fatality. Hereís taste of a few of the things that have each given me a clutch of grey hairs:

-Being hopelessly tethered to a wired comm pack and watching while an indoor pyro misfired, causing a massive burn into the wood of a brand-new Univ. gym floor to the tune of $60,000 damages. Ab-so-freakin-lutely unimportant when put next to the fact that the room filled with choking smoke, when there were 2700+ occupants crowded onto the floor, and TWO exits were blocked with TV cabling. Wanna bet I learned a little about fire safety that day?
-Trying to account for nearly 100 children between the ages of 12 and 21 as a tornado ripped into our practice field, and listening from the relative safety of a school basement shelter while the tornado caused the loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars in instruments and equipment one week before world championships.
-Evacuating complete festival sites on separate occasions due to flooding, tornadoes, massive hail, and on one occasion a wind-whipped grass fire.
-Having a support staff roll a heavy-duty golf cart driving on an inclined surface such that the vehicle landed on top of her, fortunately being able to reach her radio button to give a mayday call with her unpinned and unbroken arm.
-Coordinating emergency and police response to a reported gun sighting in a crowd of several thousand, without aid of radio communications that might spark a panic.
-Watching as untold artists were blown off ladders, tables, poles by high winds, or on one very memorable occasion, as a fire truck in full steam raced through an intersection where an artist was seconds before atop a slack wire.

Iíve been fortunate. But I could go on and on with examples. Iím not trying to play a game of ďtopperĒ. Iím trying to point out that each and every one of these close calls is a gift from the universe Ė a chance to explore from every angle what happened, and how to prevent it from ever happening again. There is no perfect system, no way to prevent all accidents. But damn, we have to prevent the ones we can foresee.

I hear you say Iíve been unmitigatedly flaming people. Iíll grant that Iíve had more cranky posts lately than usual. Thereís been a lot to be cranky about. I will soon have collected enough points to win my ďBatty Olí DameĒ membership card. But I think on the main Iíve been a force for good on p.net. Iíve tried to jump in when Iíve seen ignorance born of not knowing that can be addressed by providing accurate information. And Iíve admittedly jumped in when Iíve seen willful ignorance born of not wanting to know, thatís been addressed with information overlaid with *tone* and a soupcon of derision. Occasionally, Iíve put in a cent here or there in the service of the Gawd of Comedy, or out of sheer boredom.

Hereís my offer to you, to any p.net denizen, because I want to put my money where my mouth is (and balance my p.net chi): I will present a seminar/retreat/workshop of some sort on fire and fuel safety in street shows before 2006 expires. I want to hear who/how many might be interested in participating. I have a few candidates in mind as presenters Ė fire artists whose work I know and respect as the latest and best in fire safety. Iíll happily add a segment on liability reduction and planning. (Iíve taught in the subject of special event management at the post-secondary level for three years, wrote a textbook I think is still in use, and occasionally still guest-lecture on liability issues.)

Interested?
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Old 09-07-05, 01:31 PM   #12
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Default Wow!

I would like to nominate this as the most entertaining thread since the "Live aid" thingie!
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Old 09-07-05, 02:11 PM   #13
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Default Well, um, where to start...

Now that I've returned from a lovely few days away from anything work related I will comment.

1. The Stunt: It was a new stunt that weekend, and was not thought through properly (obviously). Never again will it be done with a round hoop as they can roll, and I don't want to trust a safety line again. If it is ever done again it will be done with a square "hoop" and a properly attached safety line.

I did have a very good safety record, 8 years and the worst thing was a rubber diabolo lost in the audience that didn't hit anyone. I don't ride a uni near people, use coleman fuel, or use a flaming diabolo all because I want to be safe. Then I go and do a stunt without thinking it through and taking proper precautions.

2: Etienne: If someone believes he was responsible for the safety of the show content then I guess you can hold him partly responsible (but I sure as hell don't) for what happened. I'm not entirely clear on the comments about his attitude but I didn't see him downplay it (except on stage where it should have been downplayed).

3: Closing remarks: Thanks for the support everyone, and I consider myself very lucky that no one was seriously hurt. Never again will I let the pressures of a busy weekend cloud my understanding that the most important thing is that no one gets sued. Okay J-P, you win.

-Aaron
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Old 09-08-05, 06:22 AM   #14
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Thanks Aaron. The idea is for everyone to win and this to become a safer industry. There are so many simple things performers can do to reduce risks and I'd love to come to a fire safety/risk management workshop with you Lynn if I'm near the area.

To Spike :

What are you on about?

Aaron and I had a discussion a year ago about fire-blankets and yes I think he's 'awsome' too. What the hell does your comment mean. I'm black, you're black, the audience will be black if we don't take care. Accidents happen - the idea is to reduce the chances and risks

Let me rephrase: If anyone uses fire on the street without safety gear (fire blanket being the easiest to use and carry) then they're an idiot!
If they say they don't need it then they're F****D.

Which are you?
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Old 09-09-05, 04:08 AM   #15
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Aaron, the last line of your last post was a joke, eh?

You nearly had me there.


Lynne, if it's possible, I too would be into your workshop.

Not, of course, from a performer's perspective but from that of an occasional director and producer.
Perhaps it could be held as a one day thing at several fests for performers and others. Shelley would be interested for sure.

I quite like beautiful fire events but know that much of the beauty is in the planning.

So far so good but I can always learn something new, especially from other's mistakes.





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Old 09-12-05, 11:33 PM   #16
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Lynn,

Thanks for your reply. I really appreciated your sharing of horror stories and your experiences with us here on pnet. You're right, I don't know you from Eve, and I wish I had had the opportunity to speak with you at Waterloo.

As far as my responsibilities as MC / organizer-- I did everything you mentioned. I put together the acts, found out what they were going to do, and created the line up (Aaron was the closer because he and Roshen were going to do the biggest dazzling stunt) & made sure everyone was there on time. I informed them all about tech (microphones & staging) and asked them all if they had any special needs. Everyone gave me the same answer: no. No requests for fire extinguishers, or blankets or additional barriers or requiring a specified distance between audience and the stage. Maybe I was remiss in that I did not ask Aaron the $6,000,000 question: is your saftey tether 200% secure?

However, I had seen his act and gathered from conversations that he is a very safety-minded performer. He gave me no reason to believe that he had not taken the necessary precautions. I trusted Aaron- I still trust him and would absolutely trust him in the future. He's a first class performer.

One of the best attributes of a professional, international busker festival-level street performer is their self reliance. We're a pretty independent, if-there's-a-problem-I'll-fix-it, do-it-yourself, kind of people. There are exceptions of course, but the kind of performer you see on the international festival circuit knows their act from every angle and takes the necessary precautions. I was as shocked as everyone when the accident happened-- that's exactly what it was, an accident.

It wasn't like no safety measures were taken-- the problem arrose when the precautions taken proved to be insufficient. And, as it has been stated- it will never happen again.

I just received an email from the committee at Waterloo which confirmed that NO ONE WAS HURT IN ANY WAY AND NO CLAIMS HAVE BEEN FILED.

Also, thank you for keeping me in check about overstating a success. I was trying to "accentuate the positive" which was not appropriate in this case.

As for flaming... well, I've typed my fair share rants on these forums, so I'm probably not one to go pointing a finger at someone else.

Anyway, thanks again and let me buy you a drink at the next festival.


etienne


p.s. I'm now performing at the King Richard's Renaissance Faire and I organized a fund raiser for the New Orleans Disaster that brought in $1250 (usd). And there where no accidents or mishaps. Phew!
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Old 09-13-05, 12:35 AM   #17
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Jeheesus you tryed to burn down Waterloo etienne? All I tryed to do is sell a little porn in Edmonton this year. I thought I was bad? You tryed to do a damned Bin ladden out there!
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Old 09-13-05, 05:57 AM   #18
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Etienne, I don't understand.

You did your homework and knew performers were going to use fire and you asked about extinguishers and blankets but when the show happened........???

Just glad no-one was seriously hurt.
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