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Riskee Ball + the Charcade win Kickstarter!

S3FA Blog RB Funded

We’re thrilled to announce that Riskee Ball and the Charcade reached our fundraising goal of $10,000 on Kickstarter. We are overwhelmed by all of your support and kind words. We seriously can’t wait to show you the Charcade in all its fiery glory! Special thanks to all of our incredible backers (in no particular order) who pitched in to help make incredible fire art happen. We couldn’t have done it without you.

Joel Greenwood, patrapp, Nicole Butera, Whitney Moses, Bob B, Kolawole Tokeaux Jeremy Day, Thomas Shafer, syber, Linda Malloy, Darren Torpey, Amanda Eberhard, Jonathan Stray, Kris Coward, Adina Bogert-O’Brien, andrea alexis-james, Kosta, Rachel Boyce, Eric Damon Walters, Sharrianna Rice Florer, Franklin Call, Kevin Fitzpatrick, J Gingold, John Ehringer, Doug McKay, nick, Beth Fisher, John C McKay, Samuel Bearg, Dustin Smith, kim martin, Mikael Gustafsson, Rocketkitten (lesa), Matt Brooks, Matt, Daniel Cooper, Tal Rotbart, Frankie Myers, Ben Joeng, Jacob Botden, Chris Lum, Patricia McKay, Celina, Cianna Stewart, Tony Culverwell, Jeff Sweetman, Reed Kennedy, Neil Girling, Alan Wong, Aaron Muszalski, Jeffery Wescott, Sarah Tappon, Brittnee Jones, Ike Feitler, NovySan, Jeffery Radcliffe, Rich Macchi, Courtney Brown, Christopher J. Pilkington, Alexander Orchard, Carolyn and Marshall, Daniel Garcia, James Madison, Ray Thro, Jenna M, Alice Neels, Meg Young, Vilius Zigmantas, Nelz, jason sylvester, Eve Pogoda, Christopher, Ar[sonic] Creations LLC, Teresa Allan, Nick Ingolia, Marc Gorcey, lynda pinder, Jeremy Funke, Jesse C, Michael Dewberry, Jonathan Pirro, Scott Ashkenaz, Michael Raasch, Jessi “Sprocket” Janusee, Laura Dittmann, Ryan O’Horo, Mike Dodds, Drew Van Zandt, Fee Gunn, Michael Minecki, Dominic Bortolussi, Christina ‘Riv’ Hawkes, Greg Scott, Mary Wiseman, Kitchen God Dave, Renee Furr, Stephen Sullivan, Douglas Armour, Paul McGaughlin, g-dubbz, David Dennis, Elizabeth Pickles, Sylvain Durocher, Penrose Triangle, Nina, Tiffaney Lee Benson, Jody McIntyre, Josh Smith, KC, David Glasser, benjamin lowy, Dennis Lambe, Dani Cullimore, Alexandra MacDonald, Sage Kochavi, Stephanie Smith, Matt Joyce, Kasey Smith, Maureen Gail Vinten, Daniel C. Silverstein, Mojgan Khodadoust & Brendan Coffey, Seanna Watson, Sebastien Bastard, Mikhail St-Denis, Peter Kropf, Sandy, David Heroux, Tess Lee, Nicole Aptekar, Jared Grippe, Michael Iversen, max reed, Brian Otto, Ferdinand, Suzanne and Charles Vannatter, Kathryn Nikkanen, Mason Donahue, Callum Hay, Nadya Lev, Peter Zawadzkas, djcapelis, Ed Hunsinger, jackie Saskatchewan RC, Andre Lowy, Jen Hill, Kevin Ells, Rachael, Jodi Sharp, john peck, Tom Bennett, Jessica Marcus, Jay Ould, Alex Leitch, The Life Cube, Suzanne Dennis, Lia Fioroni, Corey M Monteiro, jonathan isaac mitchell, Alex Lowy, Jonathan Lin, Tracy Kendrick, Paul Walker, Lauren A., Andrew Welburn, Johan Oskarsson, Jacki Moonves, Adam Phelps, Neeley Beaton, Rob Sandberg, Nifer Kilakila, Sean German, Morley John, Zack Sheppard, Amber Freeman, M. Elizabeth Scott, Randall Bollig, Ian Baker, Matthew Sigal, Matisse Enzer, Sarah Nason, Chriz Miller, Carrie Smith, Wren S, Rod Fitzsimmons Frey, Michael Everson, Sara Vinten, and Kate.

There we were, hunched over soldering irons, inside of a yurt, in the middle of Black Rock desert, all the while chatting with the fine folks at Gizmodo about Super Street Fire. Later that night, they took to the stage to experience what it’s all about. Read on to see what they had to say about the project right here.

As if being on Gizmodo wasn’t awesome enough for a bunch of tech nerds, we also made our way onto Cracked’s list of 6 Insane Real-Life Versions of Video Games! Who knows where we’ll end up next.

We did it!

Yesterday Super Street Fire was successfully funded on Kickstarter! Many thanks to the 126 people who backed us. Not only did we manage to meet our goal of $5000, but surpass it by $649! Nail-biting moments aside, it’s pretty incredible seeing this go from an idea to a full-fledged interactive art installation. We really couldn’t have done it without your support and well wishes. Thank you to the following backers (in no particular order) for being so awesome:

Nadja Haldimann, Lisa Scheinkopf, Derek Quenneville, Eugene Johnson, squishelle, Laura, dougie freessh, Drew Baillie, Paul Fegan, Dominic Jalsevac, Shayne Beausoleil, Richard Lecours, Danaus Chang, kyle clements, Haley F, Sean Stevens, Jesse Silver, Joshua Jabbour, Kamin Andresen, Cheryl Shepherd, Katie Foster, Kevin Ells, Jacob Botden, Stephen Coleman, Kate Guay, Sagan Yee, Chriz Miller, Darren Keyes, kim martin, Elizabeth Mast Priestman, Stephanie Smith, Andrew, Anastasia, Jessica, Jimmy Williams, Andrew McCallum, Dan Muirhead, Shannon Freud, Keith “Flipit” Privett, Matt Witt, Trisha Pancio Mead, Stacey MsGuyver, Cory MacDonald, Matthew Andrews, Mikhail St-Denis, Eric Logan, sage kochavi, Benjamin Huxley, Maggie, Jason Paul, Montira, Rebecca, Eve Pogoda, Daniel Gerichter, Arnon Clark, Miguel Sternberg, Wolfgang Webb, Ike Feitler, Nancy Robinson, Matthew Fabb, Sarah, Jon Stern aka Wee Heavy, carrie smith, kiki enfuego, Suzanne Dennis, Peter Zawadzkas, maxsg, Gil, Trevor Frazer, Gemma, Vykinta Kligyte, Frank Gerratana, Terry, Wayne Guard, Clarinda, Marc A Gorcey, Gearhead Liz, Matt McCann, Morgan, paula myrick, Jason Bellengerm, David Heroux, jonathan isaac mitchell, g_dubbz, Kitchen God Dave, Jay Ould, Stephan Tanguay, Tony Culverwell, daruba, Peter Brewer, Marc Leglise, Jody McIntyre, Tom Pischel, Fahad Fatani, Kate, LEON, jackie Saskatchewan RC, Micah Daigle, Lauren A., Jonathan G., mufflon, jaymztay, Callum Hay, Sara Vinten, Sheila Smith, Buff Sanitized & E-Lo G, wildthought, Modmischief, GatorALLin, Larry Coker, Gabriel Sikora, Alan Van Arden, Kirk Benttinen, Meghan McGill, pete beatty, Charles Goddard, Emmanuel Mota, Seth Nickinson, Paul Walker, Melody, Megan Liley, Jennifer Rashotte, Brendan Hulse, Sheila Sage, Rick Innis


Mastering the Game

Super Street Fire is designed to be more than just an awesomely fun game. Part of our goal in designing this interactive installation is to create a thrilling spectacle to entrance the denizens of Black Rock City. Fire performers will dazzle the crowd with performances every night, and overseeing the madness will be the evening’s Master of Games (MG). Equipped with a tablet and gloves which control the ring’s flame effects, the MG will officiate the matches and provide commentary as the show unfolds. Here’s a pic of me as Master of Games with an early Super Street Fire prototype at Firefly 2011:

Aspiring MGs will be meeting for a series of workshops between now and the Burn for training. On the technical side, we’ll be learning how to use the tablet to oversee each fight and to make flames with the brush of a fingertip, and how to use the gloves to accent our gestures with fire. On the performance side, we’ll be working on character development and stage presence and how to create a carnival-like atmosphere which captures the thrill of the classic game. We’re lucky enough to have the talented Dave McKay, Toronto’s infamous Sketchy the Clown, helping us with the performance aspect of the workshops.

61 days ’till the Man burns. See you soon

More Thoughts from the Project Manager

Things I have learned so far working on the Super Street Fire project:

First of all, coffee is important. It’s 2nd after oxygen, and before safety equipment. If you can combine safety equipment and coffee, say by creating safety goggles with cold coffee inside them, then you will become wealthy and loved.

Secondly, I am middle aged but challenged in fulfilling the gender roles that The Greatest Generation prescribed for us. I can’t maintain my own car, or even install Windows Updates in a timely fashion so I have some issues to work out. My grandfather owned his own workshop complete with tools. I imagine that he’s looking down at me shaking his head when he sees young women working circles around me on this project. Then again, he’s probably jealous that I get to hang around so many young women.

Thirdly, Home Depot is not a thing to be feared. To a real Super Street Fire volunteer of good heart and strong disposition, the orange sign looks like a Horn of Plenty.  As for me, I’m still afraid that I will be asked to leave when I go in there.

Fourth, the Home Depot at Keele / St. Clair plays excellent music on their high fidelity system including “Whenever I Call You Friend” by Stevie Nicks and Kenny Loggins. I was singing along with it until a female SSF staffer lightly scolded me.

Fifth, minivans are actually made of some kind of miracle stretch material and can be stuffed with an unlimited quantity of pipes.

Sixth, when you’re fitting pipe for the first time, don’t get excited when the pipe assemblers tell you they’re getting the dope.

Much, much more to learn…


Thoughts from the Project Manager

In Project Management school, they always taught us that as good PMs, we CAN manage any project, but… we shouldn’t. That is, if you’re completely new to the subject matter, you’re at a distinct disadvantage.

This is why I would be ill advised to manage a high fashion shoe show, a tractor pull, or building a giant death ray to repel an alien invasion. I’m not an expert in those areas.

With Super Street Fire, I sort of had some experience in the subject matter… sort of… in that I had managed software projects before, although they were not [awesome] real-time motion detecting games, and I was asked politely with a geniune smile by the project sponsor, so I jumped in.

The result has been a thrill akin to the type you feel when you’re in the last car of the roller coaster and you fall out as it’s climbing the first hill, and have to hang on the back with your bare hands the whole time.

Hyperbolic similies aside, it has been exciting to work with wearable electronics designers, builders of every sort, and software designers who seem cooler than most. It’s been a learning experience, but more than that it’s been great to see that the special spirit of enterprise that is BurningMan has found new adherents and a new army of makers to keep the dream going, and to make it bigger.

I want to take this time to heartily thank the Super Street Fire team for continuing to support me (i.e. carry me) and to keep pushing the project to be bigger and better.



Safety third, kind of

If you have ever attend a burner related event you likely have heard someone utter the phrase “safety third”, typically in conjunction with some type of a crash, death defying act or unexpectedly large ball of flame. Yes, going to the desert and lighting things on fire is an inherently dangerous activity but the organizers take participant’s safety very seriously. If safety were truly third Burning Man likely would not have grown to what it is today.

Below is an excerpt from a flame effect workshop courtesy of Flux Foundation about “Safety Third” that was brought to my attention by our friend and fellow artist Rawhide:

Safety is critically important and we take it very seriously. However, it is not our only concern.

 If safety was exclusively first, we would be without many of the tools, toys and adventures that make life worth living. There would be no progress, no learning and no growth. We would lose the joy of discovering or creating something new, joyous or useful.

 While we will not needlessly put ourselves at risk, ‘Safety Third’ affirms that creativity, curiosity and experimentation will forever guide our continued growth and evolution.

This is one of the most meaningful perspectives I have seen on the subject and believe it is spot on. Just because you are making some cool flame effect or grinding a weld on an out-of-this-world sculpture, there is no reason why you cannot wear safety glasses. You can be an expressive and spontaneous artist and have a clean studio free of obstructions.

Safety is the new sexy.


Flux Foundation-

My love affair with power tools

My name is Sara and I love wood. I want to run around yelling it at the top of my lungs, but it might not go over very well, or worse it might go over too well.

Until a week ago, my knowledge of woodworking was limited to hand sawing firewood, sharpening pencils, and whittling marshmallow twigs with a pathetically dull blade. Aside from my great appreciation of finely crafted wood stuffs, I had no idea this love even existed. All it took was one afternoon working on the Super Street Fire stage build and I was hooked.

After a thorough safety tutorial with 4Ward, complete with tips, tricks and a short vocabulary lesson, it was time to start. My first task? Cut some 2x4s down to the right size and chamfer the edges for a clean and über-professional finish. I set to work on the sliding mitre saw, hesitant at first to have so much power at my fingertips, and my fingertips so close to that much power. It was like cutting butter and it was ridiculously satisfying. I wanted to cut butter all day. That is, until I was smitten with the handheld chamfering tool.

With every cut, tool and technique, I could see my confidence grow. It didn’t take long before each tool became an extension of myself—the superior cybernetic limbs I kind of wish I had. I was so floored that I barely noticed how chilly it was outside, and even if I had, it wouldn’t have mattered.

Over that first weekend and the one that followed, I learned how to set up and create pocket holes, mastered the handheld chamfering tool, helped build two sets of steps and turned a ton of raw wood into a functional, sturdy and admittedly good-looking set of stages. Not bad for a newb.

I can now honestly say, “I love wood” and mean it… in every possible sense of the phrase.


Super Street Fire Earns Honourarium

Howdy, everyone! It’s Ben here, just looking to share my excitement about another Canadian large scale flame effects project, Super Street Fire, receiving honourarium status from the Burning Man Art Grants Committee!

Every year, Burning Man allocates a percentage of its revenue from ticket sales to funding select art projects that are collaborative, community-oriented, and interactive. They do this in order to support the Burning Man art community, and to facilitate the creation of outstanding art for Black Rock City. Every year, the Art Grants Committee receives hundreds of applications from artists all over the world looking to share their vision and creativity with the citizens of Black Rock City. This year, a record of almost 350 applications were submitted, for a total requested amount of almost five million dollars. With that in mind, it’s especially exciting that we’ve received the thumbs-up from the dedicated folks with the Art Grants Committee!

First of all, this is a big vote of confidence from the Burning Man organizers. This is their way of saying to us, “We like what you’re doing, we want to help you make it happen, ‘caus this is f***ing awesome.” which has done a lot to boost the confidence and enthusiasm of the amazing group of people that’s come together to work on this project. Since receiving honourarium status, we’ve been re-energized in a big way, and are chugging forward at full tilt to confront the challenges that lie between us and getting this project down to the Playa. Secondly, the partial financial support being offered along with the honourarium will free us up to worry a bit less about how we’re going to pay for this project and spend more of our time and energy working on just making this as awesome as we can muster. That being said, we hope for your help and donations to complete the project, transport it down to Black Rock City and ship it back home to Toronto. We’re really excited to be bringing the heat to Burning Man this year, and we hope that y’all are excited to see us coming.

More news to come as things develop! We’re currently working on building the player platforms and finalizing the design for the effect heads.

See you in the Dust!


Anatomy of a Jab in Super Street Fire

1. Two players face each other on the stage.


2. Player 1 jabs with a left. Ball of flame advances on “up stage rail”.


3. Flame shoots towards Player 2.


4. Flame hits Player 2. Point to Player 1.