The Chicago Full Moon Jam began in 2004 with a group of friends coming together on the lakefront to celebrate a birthday with some fire spinning and drumming. Since then, it has grown into a time-honored celebration, bringing together a diverse community of performers, musicians and spectators from around the world. In 2016, the FMJ became an official partner of the Chicago Parks District, and are part of the Night Out in the Park series.
The Full Moon Jams are a volunteer-run, not-for-profit, free-to-attend performance gathering that takes place once a month throughout the summer between sunset and 10pm. The Jam brings together artists and dancers by providing a space for fire performers and drummers to gather and share their creative gifts on the beautiful shores of Lake Michigan. Set to the percussive beats of local musicians under a full moon, this unique theatrical event is truly a marvel to behold.
As always, the Jams are family-friendly and there is no alcohol, illegal substances, open flames, fireworks, flash photography, lasers or drones permitted per Chicago Park District laws.
FULL MOON JAM FOUNDATION
The Full Moon Jam Foundation is an Illinois non-profit 501(c)(3) founded in 2016. The Foundation is a charitable arts advocacy organization, with a focus on creating communities of interest, education, and creating space for performance opportunities in the object manipulation and flow movement arts. The main outreach for the Foundation is through the Full Moon Jam event, which is a fully permitted event through the Chicago Parks District and Chicago Fire Department and is part of the Night Out in the Parks event series.
The Chicago Full Moon Jam has become one of the largest ongoing gatherings of fire dancing in the world. The Full Moon Jam also participates from time to time in various community-based events, such as the Chicago Cultural Mile’s Halloween Gathering, Figment Art Festival, and Halsted Halloween Parade.
Mike "Hoodie" LaHood
Michael LaHood, aka Hoodie, is an interdisciplinary artist whose work focuses on the connections between people. While the forms vary – tokens of appreciation, heartbeat reactive sculptures, immersive video – his topics converge on the dynamics of human connectivity.
The Full Moon Jam was the very first event Hoodie found in Chicago, and it immediately made him feel at home. He first picked up a set of poi in 2001, and has since produced numerous instructional videos for a variety of props through Vulcan DVDs, is a co-producer of the Flow Show Chicago and an event director for the Flow Arts Institute and Kinetic Fire Festival.
Devin Sebastian Bean
Event Lead / Foundation Secretary
Devin has been a FMJ organizer and a Lakes of Fire Fire Arts Safety Team Lead since 2013. His past projects include Art Night Chicago, Night Magic Designs and FIGMENT Chicago’s Imagine series. In 2016, he lead the crew that built GARDON! The Great and Terrible – a giant 30 foot climbable, interactive, fire-breathing dragon that met its doom in a fiery blaze of glory. In 2017, he joined the Flow Arts Institute crew as a Fire Safety Lead at Kinetic Fire in Ohio, became a Day-of-Show Producer at the Old Town School of Folk Music and a Board Member and Event Lead for the Full Moon Jam Foundation.
Devin once looked into the eyes of a buffalo and didn’t blink. He lit his first fire staff on New Years Eve, 2012 and has since picked up double staves, swords, dragon staff, poi, rope dart and fire fans. In addition to the flow arts, he also enjoys playing lap steel guitar, drawing, painting, camping, tacos, juggling, photography, game design, reading, writing, learning about the cosmos, sci-fi and other such nerdly activities. He strives to foster community, share stories, experiences and knowledge with others and encourage mindfulness and the love of art wherever he goes.
Photo by Neale Zingle
Event Lead / Foundation Treasurer
A photographer, husband, motorcycle enthusiast, and FMJ organizer, Ryan first discovered flow arts eight years ago and it has been a growing passion and hobby ever since. Ryan’s first exposure to the Chicago FMJ was very much like that of everyone else; first as an attendee, then a performer, then a volunteer, then an organizer, and now up to now the Board of Directors. His props include poi, staff and double staff.
Ryan works as a professional photographer with a focus on weddings, portraiture, events, fashion, and of course fire performances. You can usually find Ryan walking in and around the Great Circle at the jam with camera in hand. He is extremely enthusiastic about the community with an emphasis toward self-expression and individuality. As a member of the Board of Directors, Ryan’s vision for the FMJ is that of grandeur. He hopes that the jam will remain organic and pure in the best way possible. Not fearful of change, Ryan optimistically welcomes new ideas and practices that push the community forward in not only practicality, but safety and enjoyment.
Event Lead / Foundation Member
Betsy Bowman (Beacon) is an actor and fire performer originally from St. Louis, MO. They have loved performing for as long as they can remember and felt drawn to acting, specifically because of its unique ability to cultivate empathy and facilitate important conversations. They are the Community Engagement Director for Vagabond School of the Arts where they manage the Community, Wellness, and Volunteerism pillars of the school. They believe that taking care of the artist’s body and soul is just as important as the continued study of the craft - each thriving when the other is fed.
They are thankful to have discovered the beautiful flow arts community here in Chicago and honored to perform in the Full Moon Jam’s production “The Moonlight Parade,” which they co-directed alongside Devin Sebastian Bean. They're passionate about community building with the arts in order to facilitate human connection and is excited to continue doing so with the Full Moon Jam.
Brian K. Ellison, has been involved in the Burning Man community since 2003 and was one of the attendees of the first Full Moon Jam.
Ellison is academically trained as an architect and practiced real estate development for close to 20 years. In 2006 he started BKE Designs, a custom furniture design and fabrication company. During his transition to the furniture design industry, he relocated to Amsterdam, The Netherlands from 2006 – 2008. Ellison also appeared in 8 out of 10 episodes of “FRAMEWORK”, a SPIKE TV single season furniture design based reality competition. His work can be seen in the homes of art collectors, restaurants, showrooms, and historic buildings around Chicago.
Photo by Petr Mesi
Liz Campenella Breen
Foundation Founder & Emeritus
One of the thirteen friends who gathered on the lakefront in 2004 to celebrate a birthday with fire dancing and drumming, Liz has carried the embers of that fire and celebration for all these years. That night inspired a personal mission to spread that love of fire and community to the City of Chicago through the Full Moon Jams.
Outside of the Full Moon Jams, Liz is also one of the founders of Pyrotechniq as well as a founder and board member of CHIditarod. You will often find her at the jams sitting beside the Great Circle enjoying the fruits of her labor.
Foundation Founder & Emeritus
Michi has been a speaker/panelist at C2E2, the Chicago Humanities Festival, and the University of Chicago. As the Editor-in-Chief for the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Michi is a four-time Hugo Award winner and the first Filipina to win the award. She is also a Past President of the Chicago Nerd Social Club’s Board of Organizers and member of the fire + bellydance troupe Raks Geek. A nerd to her core, Michi is determined to someday show up at a jam with Klingon fire bat’leths from Star Trek.
Photo by Anne Petersen
The jam organizers wish to thank 48th Ward Alderman Harry Osterman, the Chicago Parks District, the Chicago Fire Department, the Chicago Police Department’s 20th District, and former 48th ward Alderman Mary Ann Smith and Peep Insurance Agency (peepinsurance.com) for their support of the Full Moon Jams. We also wish to thank FMJ Founders & Emeritus - Devin Breen and Ashley Bertling for their ongoing contributions to the founding and development of the Full Moon Jams, as well as the Burning Man Chicago Rangers for helping to keep the jams fun and safe for everyone involved. Last but not least, thank you to all the FMJ volunteers, performers and spectators, without whom this amazing event couldn’t exist.
The Chicago Full Moon Jam is an independent, not-for-profit event. Attendance at the jams is not to be construed as an admission of liability or acceptance of responsibility by the jam organizers. Participants are individually responsible for their conduct.