BrazilJS conference and a very interesting night in Brazil

I’m currently in Porto Alege in South Brazil, to speak at the BrazilJS conference. It’s an excellent event, and speaking in a cinema to almost 1000 persons is very inspiring!

The conference organizers put together a great video of the first day of the conference, to give you a feeling of what it was like:

And then came last night. Wow… After the conference, all of the speakers and a good number of the conference attendees were taken to a barbecue place, abundant with meat. All good!

However… On stage there were local dancers performing, and a number of the male people – gaúchos, if you will – did fast dancing but also a trick with metal balls/weights spinning on a line. The main performer would best be described as Mel Gibson on crack.

My “friend” Fábio convinced them to take me up on stage, blindfold me and spin this wire with the balls around me. For each time it spun around it was so close it was touching my beard, almost getting tangled. At one point it got so close it knocked the blindfold right off my head!

Then the performer moved on to putting a cigarette in my mouth, knocking piece by piece off it. Eventually there was only a small piece left, and he instructed me to pout with my lips, while he also blindfolded himself as well. He spun, I heard it getting closer and closer, and finally it knocked the cigarette stump out of my mouth.

According to people watching, it looked terrifying as hell. For me, initially when you realized how close it was, it was a bit intimidating but it wasn’t that bad once I got used to it. I actually had full trust in the performer (I had too, right?). It was more about not understanding what they were saying, only speaking a few words of English, that was more worrying. You know, not knowing what was going to happen.

Once I got off the stage, though, that’s when my pulse went up. When I realized what had been going on, and when I saw the pictures and videos of it. It’s an interesting human way of handling things – once you’re in it, you’re so focused on getting through it. It’s not till afterwards when you start reflecting that it really hits you.

A friend in the audience also said she was afraid I’d be upset with the performer and the risk, and to stand my ground and refuse. I explained that, being Swedish, that wouldn’t be my approach. The Swedish way would rather be:

Sorry my face hit your metal ball

All in all, though, it was a great new experience and memory!

Thanks to Leonardo Balter for the video and Josh Holmes for the great pictures. And “thanks” to Fabio for making it happen.

Updated: Here’s a full video of the last part of the show, shot by Giovanni Keppelen Dos Santos:


  • skierpage says:

    Heh, that reminds me of an indoor archery demonstration/talk I attended before the Olympics. After showing the equipment and describing the insane accuracy of world-class competitors, the athlete invited a volunteer onstage to recreate William Tell shooting the apple off his kid’s head. Since he competes at 70m, there’s no way he could miss at 9m. “Let me take a warm-up shot first”, so he put an apple on a foam head for wigs, aimed, let fly, … and shot straight through the dummy’s eyeball. Gasps and screams.

  • Awesome awesomeness 🙂

    mycket trevligt att träffa dig sir!

  • Robert Nyman says:


    I’m glad I got to hear that after my participation here. 🙂



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