They who smelt it, dealt it

Halloween Iron Pour sports all-star cast
By SHAULA CLARK  |  October 30, 2008

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CORRECTION:
 In this week’s print version of the Boston Phoenix and in an earlier version of this article published online, the Mass Art Iron Corps was incorrectly identified as the Iron Guild, a separate group of former Mass Art students who are no longer at the school. The Iron Corps and the Iron Guild are not affiliated, and the Iron Guild has its own Iron Pour scheduled for Friday, October 31 at the Steel Yard in Providence, Rhode Island. Also, the author misattributed a quote to the Iron Guild’s Matt Stone, who was not present at the event. The actual speaker was Iron Corps member Matthew Hincman, and the reporter neglected to mention that Hincman did in fact ask the audience to step back when the Iron Corps poured hot metal on the wet stump.

I used to picture the Iron Corps as troupe of ruddy blacksmiths, the kind you’d find forging horseshoes at a Renaissance fair. But last Friday’s Iron Pour — a festival of fire and metal — felt more like a giddy lab experiment cooked up by 12-year-old pyromaniacs who spent a week watching The Wicker Man on repeat. 

By the time I arrived in the Mass Art courtyard, members of the Iron Corps were already busy lugging around enormous ladles of golden glowing liquid metal. They reminded me of beekeepers, and their furnace — belching out a five-foot-tall column of flame and swarms of sparks — of a very fearsome hive.

In the background, an assortment of bands provided a moody soundtrack of darkwave, goth rock, and demented ambient dronage. Someone on stage started yowling about the Apocalypse — a perfect accompaniment to the fiery carnage before us. The guild spent the evening immolating weird artifacts (among them a wooden dragon, a trio of button-eyed stuffed babies astride tiny rocking horses, a pumpkin-headed scarecrow, and something that resembled a huge dreadlock) and pouring squiggles of molten metal into the ground, where they lay flickering like hellish mouths.

Although the phrase “wet stump” might not conjure excitement, it turned out to be a crucial ingredient for the Iron Corps' grand finale. As he doused the wood with a garden hose, IC member Matthew Hincman yelled, “Back it up! It’s spark-shower time!” Then the IC drizzled molten ore all over the soggy stump, sending an explosion of embers corkscrewing out at the audience. One errant spark singed a hole in my tights. “It’s like being inside a firework!” squealed the girl next to me.

The next day, I returned to the scene of the crime, to be greeted by a deserted courtyard, a spent furnace sporting clots of congealed iron, huge divots in the ground containing metal shards, and a stump scabbed over with beads of hardened iron. Two guys passing through the courtyard stopped to survey the bizarre wreckage. “Looks like a pagan ritual,” said one, shrugging. If he only knew the half of it.

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  Topics: Live Reviews , Matt Stone, HALLOWEEN, Shaula Clark,  More more >
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