Monday, April 05, 2010

Bad Day Update

Two years ago this month, I did a post called The Difference Between a Good Day and a Bad Day, regarding Lee Barden doing a martial arts demo using flaming nunchaku. The point of the post was to offer two things: One, the difference between a successful demo and a disaster can be very small; two, the danger in such demos might not be worth the risk.

A couple days ago, Barden belatedly came across the post and spoke to it.

(In the responses, another poster at the time made mention of having seen a similar demo by Bong Jornales, and I allowed as how I used to do a demo involving a kitchen knife, but that I wouldn't do so now.)

Since I don't expect most of the readers who drop by here necessarily scan the archives for a couple of years back, I thought it only fair to offer up Barden's comments as he sets the record straight.

"leebarden said...

Wow, if you people knew what you were talking about, you could almost be taken seriously. It wasn't gasoline, it was lantern fluid. I didn't kick the pan, it was kicked on me. I created Fire chux and have done hundreds of shows without incident. My normal set up crew was in this particular show and not doing the setup. Important details were left to people that did not know what they were doing. My fault and mine alone. Bong Jornales does not do fire Chux and if he does, I can't seem find it anywhere. I will keep looking, but it has nothing to do with me being safe or not, just curious to see who it was you were comparing me to. You assume too much. I was the creator of Fire Chux and take full safety precautions. Sometimes, things just go wrong. My 15 minutes of Flame may never stop. :-)


Justin said...

A fellow pro-wrestler buddy of mine, who liked to dabble in "hard-core" matches (barbed wire, thumbtacks, etc.), used to tell me: "Fire doesn't know how to 'work.'" It's true.

That said, my favorite band, GWAR, used to employ a very talented lady who made flames dance. I saw her blow 20-foot fireballs over a capacity crowd. She would also pour some powder onto her torches and make them jump to 6-foot fire walls. On stage. I saw her do it a good 20 times, and thankfully nothing ever went wrong.

Here's good video representation, though the smaller stage limited her activities.

Bobbe Edmonds said...

To: Mr. Lee Barden
cc: Steve Perry, the interwebs

I can't blame you for being a touch snippy - No one likes to have the one time they forgot to zip their pants up repeatedly thrown in their face - But it's STILL your fault. This just happened to be a painful lesson in the learning, caught on camera.

I give you kudos for having the stones to ADMIT the responsibility was yours, but at this point, ignoring such reviews would really have been the better bet. If you knew the dangers, then you should have insured your team was covering you - I don't trust my safety and well being to complete strangers.

Trying to belittle comment posters on what they clearly witnessed as a major on-screen fuckup won't earn you any points here.

Steve's review of this episode wasn't the worst I've seen either. I'd have been a bit more grateful that he didn't crucify me, if I were in his shoes.

Believe me, Mr. Barden, Steve Perry can indeed take off the kid gloves. And we DON'T assume too much: Whether you used lantern fluid, gasoline or the freshly drawn blood of a sacrificial virgin, YOU SET YOURSELF ON FIRE IN FRONT OF A TV CAMERA. In this age of youtube and the memory of the internet, you were fortunate to get away as cleanly as you did.

I've watched some of your videos, and you are indeed an impressive nunchakun handler. I hope that these "15 Minutes of Flame" pass into history, and you are remembered for greater things than your human torch impression.

Steve said...

I asked my Grandfather what the difference was between a good day and a bad day. He said "ON a good day, I get up in the morning, relieve my bladder and take a big dump!". Well gosh Grandpa, what's a bad day? "Oh the same things, just not in that order"

steve-vh said...

That was my comment on the orginal post and I'll still stand by it (unless it was another guy who got burned up the same way, I didn't recall the name from the show).
I made a simple statement that simply by the result rang true.

Bong doesn't use lantern fluid, he researched and mixes his own. Something he learned from spitting fire. You don't want to be putting that stuff in your mouth, cancerous. Straight chemicals can be bad.
"Important details were left to people that did not know what they were doing" Gee, you think?
Did you have a fire blanket nearby?
I'm miles from an expert but I know just enough to know I wouldn't apprentice with you if I wanted to learn.

And Lee, you're not looking very hard. Load Bong Jornales into youtube. Gee, it's the very first hit you get, his demo from several years ago. He's been doing various fire twirling since I've known him 20+ years. Just not as much publicity as other I suppose.

steve-vh said...

"I was the creator of Fire Chux and take full safety precautions"

Never said you weren't. Who created them wasn't relevant.

jks9199 said...

Let's see...

You're doing a VERY dangerous demo.

You're using inexperienced or unknown people in your set up crew.

You're doing said demo within a few feet of what appears to be a 360 degree audience.

And you're surprised when something goes wrong, like some yahoo on the edges bumps your pan of flammable liquid over, and it soaks onto your costume.

Ever pay attention to how the fire blowers in street fairs and carnivals do it? They have absolute control of that bottle of flammable liquid... I can't speak for luaus from personal experience -- but every video or set of pics I've seen of them, I've never seen a pan of fuel in the area.

I learned three aspects of safety that apply to almost anything you do: Safety to yourself; Safety to your mates or those around you; Safety to your weapons/equipment. Fire Chuks kind of fails on all three, without very careful planning and staging.

Things don't just go wrong in a stunt like this; they go wrong because of failures in planning, staging, or execution. He's lucky he wasn't badly injured, and that he didn't (and apparently has yet to) badly injure someone else. Note, please, that I am not saying the man is not skilled with the nunchaku.

James said...

Never let anyone else rig your 'chute. Never.