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Xtreme Air: Supreme aerial wizardry

March 08, 2001|By JASON ZARA, Staff Writer

If you're looking for entertainment that's a bit over the top, Xtreme Air is for you.

Five professional stuntpeople put on an aerial display unlike any other, culminating with a perilous plummet from more than 70 feet in the air.

And the show is free at the California Mid-Winter Fair & Fiesta on the grandstand stage.

While attendance was sparse Wednesday for the first night's performances, the performers didn't let that dampen their enthusiasm.

The small but lively crowd cheered "higher" and "jump," and they got just what they were looking for. Much of the show included flips and jumps on a pair of trampolines, but the highlights were the Russian swing, propelling the stuntpeople 30 feet into the air to be caught by a safety net, and the tower, from which they plunged more than 70 feet to land on a cushioned pad.

"It was great," said Tom DeRosier of Imperial. "It's a shame more people couldn't come out. It was good."

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Added Beverly DeRosier: "It was very impressive. They're nuts."

The show had a comedic side, with the antics of Rufus, a "stage hand" who insisted on trying to jump on the trampoline from the swing and who eventually plummeted backwards from the top rung of the tower. Rufus is Brian Collins of Anaheim, a member of Xtreme Air.

Collins said the group has been together about five years, and all of the group members either do stunt work for television and movies or have in the past.

"It loses its thrill after a while, but it still requires caution," he said of the high-flying performances. "We watch out for each other in what we're doing."

Natalie Landeros of Calipatria said Rufus was the best part of the show.

"It was really good," she said.

The Russian swing is a large metal platform that can generate up to four Gs of force. The performers launch themselves from the swing at the top of its arc, giving them incredible lift.

One of the trampolines is 50-feet long and Xtreme Air performed maneuvers similar to a gymnastics floor show but with more spring. Two performers even did a synchronized route of flips.

Xtreme Air performs again at 5, 7 and 8:30 tonight.

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Hypnotist Susy Haner puts on a free show at the fair twice a night, and her show is mesmerizing.

Haner tells the audience the truth about hypnotism — that it can't work on an unwilling subject — and then fills the stage with quite willing subjects. She combines her hypnotism with humor and on Wednesday she kept a crowd of about 100 laughing throughout the performance.

"People think when you are hypnotized you have no control and you are absolutely unconscious. That's not true," Haner said, adding if she had that kind of control over people she would have men cleaning her kitchen and washing her car.

What she can do is get her subjects to sit back, relax and do what she says. On Wednesday, Haner's subjects fell into a deep sleep, (so deep that she was able to rearrange them), jumped up and down every time they heard music and performed other acts at her direction.

Cheryl Lackey of Brawley said she has liked hypnotism shows ever since she saw her brother being hypnotized .

"It's great," Lackey said. "She's great. I've never seen a woman hypnotist."

Haner is the namesake and lead singer of "Suzy & the Knockouts." She performs twice each night throughout the fair, which ends Sunday.

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