First Night Excludes TACOMA Artists, While Claiming to Be a Celebration of the TACOMA Arts Community

For those of you who have been asking.

I will not be performing in the midnight fire spectacle at First Night this year.

Neither will any other Tacoma fire performer.

Why… you might ask, would a TACOMA festival allegedly celebrating the TACOMA arts community exclude Tacoma performers who support, volunteer for and give to the community 365 days a year?

The answer is the out of town production company, EnJoy productions headed by Martha Enson which was given control over the outdoor portion of the event four years ago.

When she took over, she had already hired her friends from Seattle to headline the midnight fire spectacle, we were foisted on her (much to her annoyance) because it had already been announced that I was performing at First Night during the Le Diner En Blanc fundraiser (a performance which I spent hours choreographing mixing music and practicing for and did for FREE to SUPPORT the TACOMA Arts community and First Night) she completely blew off our first meeting, was late to our second meeting and was generally irritated that she had to deal with me/us.

I had to fight tooth and nail for the local performers to be anything but a fleeting opening act for her out of town friends. We local Tacoma people scrambled to find someone to do the flaming numbers after she fired the person who’d been doing it forever at the last minute and took on other organizational duties on behalf of First Night to make certain it was a success (she was in way over her head and it showed)

The following year, it was brought to my attention by other TACOMA fire performers, that she was advertising on the Seattle Burners lists looking for fire performers. She had not contacted any Tacoma fire performers. I was busy with a new job, grad school and needed more than two weeks advance notice to take the night off work, and didn’t have time to fight with an out of town entity who had no ties to nor love for TACOMA and only wanted to hire her Seattle friends.

Until I got Martha’s email, asking me to perform in the parade, for NO PAY.

I responded with a very polite, “I’m surprised to hear from you, given that you are advertising in Seattle for fire performers and have completely ignored the Tacoma fire performers”

That polite response led to increasingly nasty responses from her, to the point that I finally had to tell her to stop emailing me and that I didn’t care to perform that year (no way did I want to deal with her)

I contacted board members from First Night who were more concerned that what I was saying would hurt the organization than with her exclusion and treatment of TACOMA artists.

I backed off, for love of an event and organization that I thought was about TACOMA and it’s amazing art community.

The board never addressed her nepotism and favoring of her personal friends from Seattle over TACOMA performers. Thankfully, this did allow a handful of TACOMA fire dancers to perform in order to shut us and our supporters within the community up.

Last year, an extremely talented team from Tacoma put together a scaled down version of an extremely popular event (which I will not name, because their egregious mistreatment by Martha and First Night is not my story to tell) which included the fire dancers in the Midnight Spectacle. I was honored to be hired, not by Martha, not by First Night but by members of our TACOMA arts community who love and dedicate themselves to this city and community.

I thought everything was fine, until Martha started hassling the organizers (backstage at the very last minute, which is extremely unprofessional and counter productive) after everything was set, blocked and rehearsed with the band.

Despite Martha’s unprofessional behavior, last year was an amazing experience, and I thought First Night once again supported the TACOMA art community,

How wrong I was…

This year, I emailed Martha asking if the same person/people were organizing the fire spectacle this year, because it was such a great experience last year.

I (and other TACOMA fire performers) were notified by Martha that our services would not be needed because she again hired her Seattle friends. She did make the extremely “benevolent” offer to let us perform in the parade and maybe around the fire pits for NO PAY.

We politely declined.

Two years ago, instead of even pretending they gave a rat’s butt about TACOMA artists and performers, we were flat out ignored by the First Night Board (except one or two that asked us to be quiet about it)

Last year, we had hope that maybe it was going to be about TACOMA, that maybe TACOMA artists and organizers would be included, recognized and respected.


This year, we were completely excluded. Emails to First Night, including direct to the board president have been ignored.

As a few of us told our stories to friends, many of whom are also artists and performers, one common thing became clear. Well over 75% of any acts booked for First Night are Seattle performers (don’t get us wrong Seattle, we love you)

Story upon story upon story were told of TACOMA artists and performers who never got so much as a “thanks but no thanks” from First Night.

We hear you loud and clear First Night. You don’t care, you don’t value those who have given our blood, sweat, tears, time and money to TACOMA and to First Night.

First Night is about the “bottom line” and out of town producers hiring their out of town friends.

I for one, will not waste any more time, energy nor tears on an organization that has turned its back on Tacoma and those who create and nurture the community First Night falsely claims to celebrate.

If any of you are interested in also being ignored and disrespected you can make your feelings known:

on their Facebook page

their Facebook event page

by emailing them from their web page

by emailing the board president directly

Oh, and if you are interested in some fiery, TACOMA fun for NYE, reach out to one of your LOCAL TACOMA fire people (you know who we are). We just may have something in the works…




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It’s Almost Time…

It is almost time for the technical run through of tonight’s midnight fire spectacle.

I know I’ll see many (oooh, about 20,000 or so) of you at First Night Tacoma Pierce County tonight to help ring in the new year with music, art, fun and community.

For those I don’t see, I wish you a happy, healthy, safe and totally fabulous New Years Eve!

My plans for 2015 include a lot more quality time with friends, loved ones and chosen family.

More music (making it)

More dance (performance, class and recreational)

More writing

More time spent on positive endeavors and with positive people.

More gratitude.

More game nights (Cards Against Humanity and Cowgirls Ride the Trail of Truth anyone?)

More hiking, backpacking, cycling, kayaking, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, and other outdoorsey stuff.

Getting back to healthy eating and more exercise.

Being kinder to myself.


Bring it!

2014 fire

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Fire Dancing

I finished up the summer season by preforming at one of my favorite events/venues, a large annual luau held in Puyallup.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that performance season is over (Halloween, Equinox, Solstice, First Night all fabulous fire opportunities), this was just the last hurrah of summer (and so much fun).


Photo below is courtesy of Sharon Uhlig of Third Eye Imaging… (I love how she captured the ring of fire)

photo by Sharon Uhlig Third Eye Imaging

I’ve added a couple of new toys tools to the mix, one of my favorites being the windfire rings (I just love something that I can toss into the air on fire 😉

Mickie Smith got some good video, so I was able to update my promo video. I still need to get someone to shoot video of the palm torch and levi wand and would like some video with the staff and hoop taken when it’s darker out (big thanks to Zach Ouellette for the video of those that I do have)

If anyone wants to give my YouTube video some love by watching it on the site and/or providing a link so that it moves up in the search engine rankings, that would be awesome.

And of course, if someone wants to hire me, all the info you need is available by clicking here – Fire Dancing by Wild Celtic Rose

~ L

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A Firey New Year!

The year has been off to a fiery start despite less than perfect weather and two surgeries.

The first of course was First Night where we rang in the new year by burning the old year in effigy “burn bunny burn” and lighting up the new year.

Several of us fire danced including my good friend and mentor Deanna Riley, Jodie Smalley and David Roman who breathed some amazing plumes of fire.

Camera Roll-246

Last Saturday night, I was honored to have been asked to perform at the Tacoma Glass Blowing Studio to help celebrate their 5 year anniversary. It was a great crowd and a wonderful event.

I received an invitation for a private audition for America’s Got Talent when they came to Seattle. I was still down from surgery so it was out of the question. While being honored to have been sought out and invited, talent shows really aren’t my thing so I wasn’t disappointed; luckily Deanna was there to represent Tacoma and I’m sure she did us proud.

Since I keep adding new fire toys (errr.. make that tools) to my repertoire, I put together a new promo video with the video clips I had. (a sad lot consisting of: me not being in costume, off my game, camera folks trying to get artsy with bad angles) Oddly enough, a lot of what ended up being useable was cell phone video.

I’m making a point this summer to have folks at performances with real video cameras and to stage some video shoots in costume, but for now, this is an improvement over the last one.

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Random Updatey Goodness and Website Redesign

This update is so random, I’m not even tagging it “tacoma” to show up on

I’ve been terribly remiss about blogging and sending email updates to my non-blog reading friends; it’s not that I haven’t been doing anything, it’s that I’ve been so stinking busy, I haven’t had time to update. [BAD Lisa]

I’ve been busy with the day job, the magazine gig and of course, the fire spinning.

I’m performing on Friday night for what promises to be a very fun all girl 50th Birthday party where I’ll get to spin fire on the beach and enjoy the company of very cool women, good food and cocktails.

I realized that I didn’t have any business cards that didn’t have outdated contact info and didn’t have time to print any new ones up, so after I ordered some which now include photography, writing and fire spinning (which won’t arrive in time for Friday) I just edited an image, added some text and got them printed up as wallet size photos.

*dear stalkers-don’t get excited; this is a googlevoice number that does NOT ring to my phone and on which I can block you.

I also updated my website; you can check it out here at

I’ve been having a BLAST spinning fire, and have some great mentors, Deanna, Becki, Cathy and Tabitha. It’s going to be an amazing summer performing.

Becki has taken some very cool photos…

You should check out her other work at Stardragon Photography

Obligatory Fire Spinning Video…

if the video does not embed properly in you reader or browser you can view it by making with the clicky clicky here

The garden is doing well, although I’m not certain when I’ll be able to take my peppers out of the greenhouse. If it wasn’t for having heat mats and grow lights in the basement, a greenhouse and wall-o-water insulators, I would not have tomatoes this year.

Here is the Juliet tomato (parent to the grape tomato) I started from seed in the basement.

Garden - Rainy Day in May 006

I’m super excited about the asparagus bed. Anyone who has ever been over here in the summer, knows how much I like to grill salmon and asparagus. I have to leave the plants alone this year to let them establish. Since they are already two year old crowns, I can start harvesting next year. It is taking all the self control I have not to snap off some tasty spears.

Garden - Rainy Day in May 003

The Liberty and Braeburn apple trees are blooming (if the SummerRed doesn’t bloom soon, I’d best hope for a neighbor growing a pollinator-wouldn’t a late summer bearing variety bloom before the varieties that ripen later?)

Garden - Rainy Day in May 008

It looks to be a good year for blueberries

Garden - Rainy Day in May 004

The cold wet winter and spring seem to have been good for the cherries. (note to self, get bird netting)

Garden - Rainy Day in May 009

Speaking of cherries, the Kwanzan flowering cherries I planted in the front yard are blooming.

Garden - Rainy Day in May 016

The hard work I put in planting 704 flower bulbs sure paid off, as soon as the daffodils were done, the tulips took over.

Garden - Rainy Day in May 020

A VERY special treat have been the stunning parrot tulips I planted in honor of my dear friend Karen who lost her brave battle with cancer last December.

Garden - Rainy Day in May 010

The chickens are fat, sassy and naughty. As you can see, MaryAnn has gotten into the garden area.

Garden - Rainy Day in May 007

As you can see from the following video, the chicken round ups are becoming rather routine.

if the video doesn’t embed properly in your reader/browser, you can view it by making with the clicky clicky here

One week from today will be the one year anniversary of escrow closing on this old house.

I shall be hosting a houseiversary celebration soon (well as soon as we get a decent day for a BBQ)




Fire Junkies Invade the Streets of Tacoma

Saturday night, Cathy hosted a “Food and Fire” event at her home and the fireflies descended with food, beer, glow toys and fire toys.

The safest place at her home was on the nice wide, concrete front walkway. It was nice to not be on grass or other unleveled surfaces.

Here is Cathy playing with Becki’s LED glow hoop

Fire Spin April 9 2011 013

and Becki with her fire fans (I find it very humorous that Tacoma General Hospital and Group Health are in the background of my video and a lot of the photos)

Fire Spin April 9 2011 016

Michelle had her staff

Fire Spin April 9 2011 023

This guy was totally channeling a Maori Warrior with his poi.

Fire Spin April 9 2011 021

I have a few more photos at the end of my Stupid Poi Tricks photo album on Flickr, you can view the album by making with the clicky clicky here

For some really hot photos (pun intended) check out Becki’s professional photos (you’ll need to be logged into a Facebook account) you can view that album by making with the clicky clicky here

I did my second burn. I got braver this time and included the buzz saw (requires a wrap around the hands to avoid hitting the face) and even spun a butterfly behind my head) I was also finally confident enough to do a weave turns with fire. Now I need to learn a new trick or two and to work on choreography for my next burn.

If the video doesn’t display properly in your broswer/reader, you can view it by making with the clicky clicky here

I also did a 2nd burn just for fun and to play around. I hit myself a couple of times but since Ted our fuel guy had done such a good job squeezing the excess fuel out of my poi, there was no concern about lighting my cotton clothing on fire.

Special thanks also go to Jon our safety guy without whom I would not have felt comfortable attempting a move behind my head for the first time.

And for the comedy relief portion of the evening, I actually hit myself in the crotch with one of the flaming poi.

Let the bad jokes begin.

I can’t wait for next time.


Mood: Happy


A Fire Virgin No More

Saturday night was the “Super” (Perigee) Full Moon and was an Ostara (Spring Equinox) celebration hosted by some friends.

It was also the night that I decided to pop my fire cherry and light up the cathedral fire poi.

It had only been 31 days since my first time ever spinning poi. That may sound like a lot of days, but when you consider that the weather was horrid (deep freezes, snow, wind storms, hail, freezing rain) there were virtually no days to practice outdoors (ceilings, doorways and furniture are quite limiting to free artistic expression) so I was a bit nervous about scheduling something so soon. My fire mentors assured me that they thought I would do fine as long as I stuck to moves I was very comfortable with. (I had no intention of any behind the head moves 😉

We had an awesome safety crew including Michelle’s husband Jon and Becki’s son Marshall. We had wet towels, a fire blanket, an extinguisher and wet towels. There were also well defined fueling and performance/lighting areas and lots of spotters all the way around the spinners at all times to alert them if they caught on fire. Two folks did catch fire, but the spotters were on it and they were able to pat themselves out without even stopping their performances. (the safety team was at the ready if need be, but they weren’t needed) I’m quite pleased to say that I did not catch myself on fire.

So I covered up head to toe in cotton because it doesn’t ignite like synthetic fabrics which also melt, adhere to your skin and cause really nasty burns. (sexy eh?) and volunteered to go first.

Here I am about ready to “get lit”

Ostara Fire Spin 001

and away… we go…

Grabbed Frame 1

For little poi, they flamed up pretty big

Grabbed Frame 15

Here’s the Video of my first “burn” for those who haven’t seen it.

If the video doesn’t display properly in your browser/reader you can view it by making with the clicky clicky here

And yes, I made a bunch of mistakes and even hit myself once (but since the excess fuel had been squeezed out of them and I was wearing cotton, my shirt did not ignite) but it sure was a lot better than this… my first ever attempt… (when I beat the crap out of myself the whole time and actually hit myself in the face)

If the video doesn’t display properly in your browser/reader you can view it by making with the clicky clicky here

So I’m feeling pretty good about how far I’ve come in a short time (and really happy I didn’t burn myself)

I was not the only “virgin” that night, Jason totally rocked it with his fire staff; he was doing behind the back and under the leg stuff, totally amazing.

Becki broke out her fire fans for the first time and did a very sexy dance for us.

Ostara Fire Spin 014

and Deanna brought her hoop which was really amazing to watch.

Ostara Fire Spin 020

Ostara Fire Spin 021

My friend Becki took some AMAZING photos of all of us, if you have a Facebook account, you can view them by clicking here

Here are a couple nice ones that she got of me.

I can’t wait to do it again… and with BIGGER fire. I just ordered Monkey Fists.


Mood: Excited