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High Summer Sensations

Fire Sculpture and Moon, The Crucible
After a long week of intense work and play, I headed into the portal we call "37" on Saturday. 37 is a particularly significant number for me so I'm excited about what this coming year of age will bring to my life. It is with great thanks I recognize all the zest life has brought me this week and for my birthday weekend.

We went to the Crucible's 8th Annual Fire Arts Festival. An urban, mini-Burning Man and live art exhibit of fire-related spectacle only with clothing, traditional commerce, no obvious drugs, the West Oakland BART station hosting public transit as the festival backdrop. At left is "Healing Eye," by Pierre Riche. The waxing moon shows in the background. I've tried to attribute each artist where I could using the cool map they published, but perhaps in future there could be a cool way for each exhibit to be clearly labelled for the bloggingkindred? What say you Crucibilians?

The Crucible is an arts organization I've watched grow and prosper starting with my days working in the arts. The most notable difference between the event this year vs. when we attended 3 years ago was the sheer numbers of folks armed with digital and cell phone cameras. In fact, the Crucible deserves kudos: If you came with a camera that had a detachable lens, you were directed to a media table to sign a waver. A nice way to let people capture the spectacle and yet protect the art from commercial use. The BART train and moon show here in "Oscillation," by Ryon Gesink.

These "fire babes," were part of "Pswarm," by Department of Spontaneous Combustion, a whimsical rhythm and coordination (or lack thereof) of fire around a circle on art sculptures. This Old West carriage appealed to my equine sensibilities of late, but I have to be the uber snark to say, these chicks weren't hot enough to be up there. Oh how rude! Further around the circle, there was a worthy fire babe. Since I'd never be worthy either, it's fun to make up stories about the back room deals and relationships of "someone's girlfriend" that were made or mangled around the opportunity to stand there for 4 nights swiveling their hips being fire babealicious.

And speaking of relationships on the wax, I saw Jim attending the festival heading in himself with a babe on his arm. Good luck buddy! Don't let the fires burn too bright too quickly! A second chance at watching Jim was not to be. I myself got lost from my husband and bud Amy within the first 5 minutes of our wandering around. This festival is both a photographer's utopia and hell all in one amazing place.
The day began with a fear I've had since I started working with Pippi, the mule I sponsor. Heading into the arena where she'd been turned out for her morning roll, I walked over to her with halter and lead in hand. As she trotted away from me, one of her hind hooves socked me right in the stomach. I didn't fall over but the sound brought people out and it took 15 seconds before I was able to double over. Another minute later, I found the humor and said, "I'm still going to ride you today."

My thanks to all the powers around me that it was not my left arm, a rib, hip, ovary or skull she struck. As much as I love working with Pippi, I humbly accept the dangers of working with equines. The hoof shaped bruise is quite huge and colorful now. We had a pretty good session. She's getting better with cantering though we still have huge steering challenges sometimes because she gets it in her head to do the exact opposite of what I want.

I'm not sure the artist for the fire sculptures at left. If you are reading, speak up and I'll credit you and link back. But I loved the way this came out. In the background at left is the "Steampunk Tree House," by Sean Orlando. Apparently, they were only letting folks with detachable camera lens' up in there to look down on the festival.

Sculptures at left are by the Department of Spontaneous Combustion.

For dinner, we ventured to San Francisco's Kokkari. Impeccable, adventurous and fantastic Greek food. I've never been to a restaurant where the service shines as brightly as the food. It was a fascinating to watch and listen to how seductive and polished our waiter was. I was first struck how in taking my order, he put his arm broadly around the back of my chair. It became our collective fascination to watch as he moved through the stages of the meal and when he chose to touch my shoulder or personal space and not. A logical conclusion was that since the reservation specified me as the birthday girl, he was merely giving the adoration everyone should have on their birthday! LOL!

The experience reminded me of a blog I adore, Waiterrant, which is a sociological study in what's underneath all that polish. Kokkari's service and food is absolutely theater in grand style and dessert was even on the house. Wow! I asked my husband if he tipped as I would have and he teased back, "He touched you, that doesn't gain him money, that costs him. "

Here's who I thought was a hot enough Pswarm fire babe. More details about the fire babes shown here in the comments on this post- thanks anonymous!

Okay, your parting gift: a video of the festival's Fire Vortex. Very cool. The full set of festival pictures that meet my standards is now available- enjoy on my Flickr page.

As I publish this, Dave is making homemade ratatouille using fresh eggplant, tomatoes, zukes, basil, garlic and more from our farm box. The scent is incredible. I am holding my breath for the day when I can transmit that smell to you over the Web!

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