To officially become the best fire-breather in the world, try three things.
Develop a 20-year relationship with fire - one built on trust - so you can wear your long, flowing hair down, even when the flames are licking at your face.
Practice every day for two months, ingesting so much lamp oil that you get sick and scare your mother, who thinks it's not good to put petroleum products in your mouth.
Also, blow up 30 clown balloons a day until you can inflate each with a single breath. The 3-foot-long clown balloons are by their nature the hardest balloons in the world to blow up. The effort will strengthen your lungs and you will be able to spit lamp oil so high in the air that your name will go down in record books.
This was the path local Antonio Restivo, 42, followed on his way to breaking the world record for "Highest Flame Breathed by a Fire Breather." You can see his entry in the newest edition of the "Guinness World Records" book, which comes out today.
In a Las Vegas warehouse on a cold day in January 2011, he breathed a flame 26 feet, 5 inches high. That measurement is from the ground up and includes his 6-foot-2-inch frame. Still, holding the record is his greatest life accomplishment. For now.
Restivo, a New York native, was 8 when he discovered an affinity for fire. He played with matches in a friend's backyard and burned down six acres of property.
"I was always a pyro. I was the kid with the magnifying glass trying to catch things on fire," he says. "I needed to figure out how to make a career out of it or I was going to wind up in jail."
Luckily, he learned how to spin fire chains and entertain crowds in the 1990s. Fire breathing came in 2002. Restivo worked on his spitting skills in the shower for weeks before he dared to put liquid paraffin in his mouth and ignite the spray.
Fire breathing, he says, is one of the most dangerous things you can do. Fire is always chasing fuel. If something happens, if the flame follows the fuel into your mouth, the best you can do is hope someone in the audience can perform a tracheotomy on you. Restivo, who has caught his head on fire only three times, accepts this reality.
In 2003, Restivo settled down in Las Vegas. He lives on a street called Fire Island with his Rottweiler, Bella, and his brother. He has played the bad guy in Excalibur's "Tournament of Kings" for the past seven years. With his long, dark tresses and medieval facial hair, he looks the part. Though he does all kinds of fire tricks in the show, he does not breathe fire. That he saves for private parties and practice in his backyard.
But now that he's set the world record, Restivo finds himself at a turning point in his career. What more is left to do once you spit the highest flame in recorded history?
Retirement is not an option. Restivo loves the energy, the smell, the feel of fire too much to set it aside.
"I don't think I'm done yet," he says. "I would like to get into doing body burns and go after that record. That's my next thing."
Contact reporter Sonya Padgett at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-380-4564. Follow @StripSonya on Twitter.