As a kid I had a fascination with fire. Participating in Burning Man the past few years was all I needed to push me toward fire play. On the last night of the Burn there is a LOT of fire play. Hoops, whips, staffs, balls, you name it, if it can be lit on fire and manipulated manually there's a good chance you'll see it there.
For the better part of 2011 and 2012 I was teaching myself to juggle. One of the things I was learning were meteors. They come from a Chinese performance tradition. Originally there were bowls placed on the ends of rope. The object for the advanced practitioner was to spin them about their heads without spilling a drop. I like them because they can be used as two independent fire poi or they can be used together as a staff like object when spun fast enough.
I made my meteors by cannibalizing a pair of fire poi I bought on eBay. The poi came with two pieces 18" swivel chain, and two 3" kevlar monkeys fists. the chains had leather grip tabs on the ends opposite the monkey's fists. I removed the tabs and replaced it with a 33" piece of 3/4" nylon rope. Feels great on the hands but the chains provide a nice barrier against singeing.
I've been in Prospect Park for months with a practice set that have rubber balls on the ends, so when you whack yourself in the head (and you will whack yourself in the head). it deosn't hurt... as much.
When we were out of the city for the holidays I finally had enough practice and found a place where I could light them up without getting arrested by the NYPD. I can't begin to tell you how exhilarating it was!
I used butane as I couldn't find any white gas that wasn't in a pressurized canister. The butane burns with a lot less smoke than white gas, but it doesn't burn nearly as long, and it's a bit on the expensive side.
I'm convinced there must be a fire spinning community here in New York, one of my New Year's resolutions might be to find them.