Breath of Fire
April 6, 2004 11:38 AM   Subscribe

Firebreathing has become trendy -- even Xena did it. Of course, its also very dangerous - don't try this at home.
posted by anastasiav (16 comments total)
Where's the video of someone screwing it up?
posted by Witty at 11:49 AM on April 6, 2004

Get the top notch coverage. Imagine being stuck in a public hospital ward surrounded by other ghastly burns victims - not exactly a barrel of laughs, is it. You want your own room with a nice view and no mirror.

No mirror please.
posted by tomplus2 at 12:09 PM on April 6, 2004

I know someone who set their face on fire doing this. No permanent disfiguration, just looked like he had a bad sun-burn or skin rash for several months.

Moral of the story: always remember to wipe your face off with a clean cloth every time, not one that has fuel on it.
posted by falconred at 1:00 PM on April 6, 2004

Ahhh, yes, I remember my first time firebreathing fondly. Somewhat fondly anyway. We were using lantern oil, and after the first gout of flame I swallowed what was left in my mouth instead of spit. I spent the next 16 hours burping up the taste of kerosene.
posted by TungstenChef at 1:04 PM on April 6, 2004

Get the top notch coverage.

Do ordinary insurance policies cover firebreathing? Or do insurance companies have special policies for this kind of thing? One would imagine they would be pretty expensive. I remember having all sorts of problems with insurance when I did skydiving a few years ago.
posted by Triplanetary at 1:07 PM on April 6, 2004

Now I take the time to explain all of this to you in such detail because I think it's more fascinating to think of someone poisoning themselves to death slowly on stage than merely burning themselves, and after all, we're here to entertain you.
posted by infidelpants at 1:26 PM on April 6, 2004

[warning: self link]
All manner of fire performing has been trendy for the last five years or so. I wrote an article for The Seattle Weekly (rag that it is) about the over-exposure of fire performers in 2002 — Douse It: The exhausted art of fire dancing. People didn't much like the article, but whatever. After the 500th time of watching a hipster blow/spin/swallow/eat/finger/etc fire, I reached my limit.
posted by arielmeadow at 1:32 PM on April 6, 2004

I was about to say "geez, are they ever behind the times; fire stuff went mainstream years ago", until I noticed this at the bottom of the article:

From the August 22-29, 2001 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

I remember that article, arielmeadow. My impression is that the fad has largely subsided in the last year or two. The folks who are left seem to be the ones who are serious about performance, and the ones who just like to play with fire (and don't pretend they are doing anything more than playing).

falconred: one of my friends did that a year or two ago; apparently someone handed him the wrong bottle during a show and he ended up blowing a fireball using white gas instead of lamp oil. Ouch.
posted by Mars Saxman at 2:36 PM on April 6, 2004

Better yet, just don't try it, period. One friend of mine wound up in the ICU for two months with a burned lung from blowback; another wound up hospitalized twice, not because of burns but because of chemical pneumonia from inhaling the fuel--and he's a fire-safety inspector for his day job.
posted by adamrice at 2:45 PM on April 6, 2004

Back in the day, heard of a flatulent sailor who wound up in sick bay for a few weeks after an unfortunate incident involving Dance of the Flaming Asshole (dancing nude atop bar w/ length of toilet paper, alight, clenched btwn cheeks) and a tragically mistimed fart.
posted by alumshubby at 3:00 PM on April 6, 2004

alumshubby, which one was the flaming asshole, the guy himself or his ass on fire? Its too hard to tell from your quick description.
posted by fenriq at 3:48 PM on April 6, 2004

I'm not sure what's worse: The there's such an event called "Dance of the Flaming Asshole" or that someone (supposedly, anyways) tried it. How do you explain that to the doctor?
posted by Ufez Jones at 5:03 PM on April 6, 2004

You can actually do fire breathing with just a bunch of cornstarch. It's not quite as spectacular, probably, but it's fun.
posted by weston at 10:53 PM on April 6, 2004

I thought the 'Dance of the Flaming Arsehole" was supposed to be done with a rolled-up newspaper?

Watching people do tricks with fire is great, but being on fire yourself is not a great deal of fun (I know this from personal experience). All the warnings on those sites saying "don't try this"? Listen to them.
posted by dg at 11:35 PM on April 6, 2004

If you're going to firebreathe, don't use a liquid with a high burn point like Kerosene. Something like Parrafin burns at a much lower temperature, and if you fuck up somehow, you're not going to hurt yourself nearly as badly.

(Also another good sign that Parrafin and similar liquids are good to use -- you can dunk a burning torch into a jug of Parrafin and pull it out again, without anything interesting happening. If you can't do that with your fuel, you shouldn't blow it out of your mouth.)
posted by Jairus at 12:26 AM on April 7, 2004

I actually put a friend's face out after an ill-advised attempt at fire-breathing. Remember, kids: don't try fire-breathing when you're too drunk to read the label on the can of fuel.

Or, you know, at all.
posted by Coda at 6:35 PM on April 7, 2004

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