His fiancée, Pixie Della Fiamma, a veteran belly dancer on the regional festival circuit, actually got into the fire arts first. She dances -- undulates, might be a better word -- with props lit with fire.
"I'd already worked with silk fans as a belly dancer," Pixie said. "So, it was kind of a natural transition. It was scary the first time -- the amount of heat was sort of surprising."
The two of them are part of a performance troupe known as the Po' Folks Cabaret. Adding fire arts to the cabaret's lineup was a natural succession for a troupe that harkens back to the long tradition of traveling performers, Vaudeville, circus crews and other acts on the fringe.
"We like to tell people we're two steps up from being carnies," Pixie said.
Fire has long been used to fascinate and lure audiences, she said.
"Barnum and Bailey had many, many different fire performers. It's always been a big draw -- if you look at the World Fair in the early 1900s, there were fire-eaters and fire jugglers there. So, it has always been sort of a fringe theme."
Davi, who was born in New Orleans, home to many an offbeat performer, did most of his growing up in Clay and Putnam counties. He later attended Glenville State and then got a degree from Marshall University. "Not in firebreathing," he helpfully noted. "I have a bachelor's in religious studies from Marshall."
Coupled with a minor in music, his plan at the time was to pursue graduate study in ethno-musicology. Sometimes roads diverge rather differently from plans. So, this Saturday, he'll be going for the gold, fire-wise, while trying to retain what remains of his strategically cropped facial hair.
"It's performance art, so we certainly don't want to burn the place down. But we want to push the envelope for performance," Della Fiamma said. "It's fire, and everybody can relate to that -- everybody's been burnt. It's more about creating the illusion of danger than actually being in danger through using the right techniques."
Like, for instance, when was the last time you set your fingers on fire -- deliberately?
"When people see me lighting my fingers on fire and blowing fireballs and things like that, they can relate to being burnt," he said, "but the trick is doing it without getting hurt."
A note to the weather gods -- Della Fiamma would like to put in a request for no wind about the time that 600lbs of Sin flips on its amps. He is confident he is a world record contender, but, please, no strong puffs of wind.
"It's stuff I'm pretty sure I can do, given the right conditions," he said. "We're doing it outside, so wind is going to be a real factor. Any real wind will mess things up for me."
Reach Douglas Imbrogno at doug...@cnpapers.com or 304-348-3017.