This is a note from Joe Amato to let the suspension community know about two concepts he has been working with.

Hello Hookers,
I would like to show you some pictures and video from two recent shows where we got to field test some fresh ideas. The bandaged Gilson Hook, and the “art rig”. These are both ideas that have been drawn and redrawn in notebooks of mine, and finally come to fruition. These ideas have come a long way, and have a long way to go.  So, I am excited to see what the rest of the community will do with them, and how they will evolve.

The Bandaged Gilson
So here is the idea, cover and seal a Gilson hook up so that you can suspend, over a crowd, or in an unusual costume, with peace of mind that you are not going to make a bio mess of everything .

The first time we tried it was at Green Room/Revolution in Fort Lauderdale.  When we got to the venue we couldn’t rig over the stage, and the only other place to rig that day was over a crowd. To top it off, we extended his hang time from 5-10 minutes to 30-60 minutes, and he would now be wearing a helmet that would rest on his hooks.  The bandaged Gilson solved all the issues of Containing/protecting the hook holes, and with a 2 part piercing setup, you can leave certain parts of the hooks clean. Then, do a scrub down after bandaging (to prevent cross contamination of the helmet), and finish the hook assembly; if you want you can scrub down again. It also gave the promoter peace of mind, we could now safely suspend, and we had a great show.

He hung over the crowd for about a half hour, dancing in his squirrel head.

Here is a shot of them after the show. The pin holes held well.

Here are pictures of the Tegaderms and the gauze we used.

The second time was august 19th at the same venue. This time we were doing a pinata costume, that would have bags full of candy attached to the pants, and a piñata “art rig” that had almost 10lbs of candy inside of it. The bandaged Gilson was perfect for this.

The performance was only around ten minutes this time, but way more intense than Raymond’s squirrel dance. I did quite a few back flips and maneuvered around while upside down, which puts tons of strain on the hooks in every direction. I also did 3 balcony drops towards the end. The bandages held, I didn’t bleed all over the place and spoil all fun.

This video is a clip of the performance and shows a great example of what the bandaged Gilson Hooks endured for the pinata suspension. It was definitely an energetic show, but the bandages held up well through it.

We ended up using regular gauze under the bandage, which I don’t think I will do again. They were too bulky, and not as absorbent.  We used the same bandages too, just more of them.  Instead of using 3 small tegaderms  on each side (around the big one) we  used  8 on one side and 9 on the other.  We also learned that next time, we will put more tegaderm over the pin hole itself, and maybe go down to 6 around the edges.

Here are some after shots of the bandages:

I think there are some good ideas here to develop further. I think it is important to mention that I don’t think that the bandaged Gilson is right for every suspension, or anything where tearing is a concern. But it does have its place, and I hope people safely use the bandaged Gilson.

The “Art Rig” Concept

The “art rig” concept, the idea of having a rig that is structural hidden inside something that is not.
We have done this before with my drop rigs, and 1000’ of 550 cord. Here are some pictures:

What you’re seeing here is, my mega tambourine drop rig, with my tambourine drop rig hung underneath it with webbing. The weight is being loaded on a piece of webbing, and all the 550 is just for decoration; which we call “the basket”. The cool part about this one was when you started spinning, “the basket” starts to widen and changes shape, like your dancing with it from below.

The pinata was the same idea, just a little more polished.

I cut the head off it to make my helmet, and put the rig and candy in through there. We put one piece of folded cardboard on each side of the knuckles to keep them centered, and then we filled it with about 10lbs if candy and sealed it up. This really pulled the whole image and the act together. There were actually people in the crowd that thought I was just hanging from a pinata, until I kicked it open and you could see the rig.

Thanks so much for keeping us up to date with what you have been working on Joe. I can’t wait to see where everyone takes it from here, as well as the ideas that this will lead to. For those of you interested in these ideas, feel free to chime in here or send Joe a message. I’m sure he’d love to hear what these concepts inspire for other teams and individuals, as well as getting some feedback on them.