Jacks Valley family playing with fire | RecordCourier.com

Jacks Valley family playing with fire

Tami Matus in Reno with Controlled Burn
Eric Matus |


What: “Compression! Art and Fire”

When: 3-10 p.m. July 29

Where: RETRAC stage, just south of the Eldorado

Jacks Valley resident Tami Matus said she’s had a burning desire not only to watch the group Controlled Burn, but to join in their performances.

The fire art performance group is participating in this year’s ART Town in Reno, and the Matus family will transition from spectators to participants.

“Seeing Controlled Burn getting to perform at the Governor’s Mansion each Halloween was so mesmerizing,” Matus said. “Yet I have a healthy fear of fire and had no experience as a performer, but the opportunity arose in January 2016 to start attending their practices.”

The Matuses are regular participants in the Nevada Day Parade with the Burning Man category.

They created the PerVertical Playground art car from a former bus, but Matus said that’s too big for the annual parade.

“Controlled Burn is in the Nevada Day Parade grouped with a lot of art cars owned by our friends, so we would associate loosely that way,” she said. “I have been in awe of Controlled Burn and how bad ass it looks to play with fire for several years.”

Matus said that as a participant, she learned fire safety, and started working with her first tool in May 2016.

“The group needed another body to participate in a fire fans piece for Compression last year and that became my big jump into the ring,” she said. “As Controlled Burn is an all inclusive group, our kids, Alison, 14 and Walker, 11, also learned fire safety and volunteer as safeties for our group performances.”

Tami and husband Eric will be participating in “Compression! Art and Fire,” 3-10 p.m. July 29 on South Virginia Street as part of Reno’s Art Town.

Eric also conducts fire safety for the group and will be conducting a short performance during “Compression” as well.

Matus said the fire performance group has been accepted into the inner circle of fire while the man is set alight.

“This will be the first year that Eric and I will be in the inner circle performing with fire while the man burns,” she said. “We are pretty excited to be a part of something so big and so different. The group is always looking for new members and we are learning new choreography every year.”

Matus said she was photographed on fire by “ThisIsReno” during the opening parade for Artown on July 1.

“Compression! Art and Fire,” will feature art cars, musicians playa-style vendors and a workshop for aspiring fire art spinners, aerialists.

The event will also feature a playa wear contest with cash prizes, a fire art garden, Taiko drumjers and a fire art show at 7:30 p.m. on the RETRAC stage, just south of the Eldorado. The event is free to the public, made possible by sponsorship of Reno and Sparks businesses.