Category Archives: Events

BSTA: Mic Rawls


Mic Rawls is like a portal into one of the greatest times in history. Coming in through with extraordinary beginnings, he’s a shining example that you can enjoy a hearty tenure in piercing while still radiating positivity. Mic took time away from holding down the fort at one of the best shops in the country to talk about his time with Jon Cobb, what it takes to keep your love of piercing strong, and to reminisce on the early stages of the APP conference.


Ari – I always have everyone do the introduction, give us your name and how long you’ve been working in the industry for and where you’re currently at.

Mic – My name is Mic Rawls, I am currently at Cold Steel America in San Francisco, I’ve happily been here as manager for the last ten and senior piercer for the last 18 years at this shop.  I’ve been piercing 23 years this last month, which is rad, still loving it (most days of it!). Continue reading

Blair and Philip ModCon4

Phil Barbosa was the event photographer for all of the ModCon (and the first Scarwars) events; shooting on analog film he captured modified subjects in a studio atmosphere right in the heart of the chaos that was an underground surgical convention.

Occasionally he’d step in front of the camera in between documenting the goings on. Here he is alongside Blair at ModCon 4, 2003. Images from MC4 never appeared in the books or media associated with the events, so this is a rare glimpse inside the penultimate Toronto modification gathering.

Not so erotic tattooing and body piercing.

Charles Gatewood, iconic photographer and counterculture anthropologist, released somewhere in the neighborhood of 200 documentary films through his boutique FLASH VIDEO label. Films that ranged from profound to prurient with titles like Fangs of Steel, Messy Girls and the Erotic Tattooing and Body Piercing series, the Flash Videos were niche content at it’s most niche. When I spoke to Charles about production runs in 2015, he told me that the average title started with a run of 50 units, with more being duplicated if needed. Twenty five years later it’s no surprise that an entire generation of body artists and admirers have come up that have never seen the Gatewood films.

The good news is that the Body Piercing Archive- the archival wing of the Association of Professional Piercers- was gifted the rights to the archive and plans are in place to capture and preserve these lost treasures; something I’ve been doing as well with my personal copies.

For my money, the best of Flash was the fifth volume of the Erotic Tattooing and Body Piercing series; released in 1992 or 93 and filmed at the Meadowlands Tattoo Convention, #5 features Jack Yount, Emil, Mr. X and a host of other luminaries. The photos taken of Jack that day are among my favorite images of him and he often spoke of being photographed by Charles. This brief clip, filmed the same day as his photoshoot in 1992, was shot on Jack’s 8mm camcorder, with a show and tell with a client of Fred Corbin’s. This is the first time this footage has been seen in 25 years.

BMEFEST 2005, La Paz Mexico. ©Sacred Debris

The Todfather: A night of gently touching tips with Tod Almighty

Tod Almighty is hands down one of the most magnetic personalities in piercing. Forthcoming, charming, hilarious – it’s easy to get lost in the seduction rather then realize that he’s been a force to be reckoned with for over two decades. Coming in under the tutelage of Allen Falkner, working his way through California, teaching with the Fakir intensives, being one of the mainstays at Anatometal -that’s some serious shit right there. So we got high and decided to talk about his roots in piercing, how multi-faceted our industry has become, and why one day we might all have to wear a suit and tie. Oh, and there’s a story in here that proves Tod’s balls are bigger then any of ours. Don’t believe me? Read it for yourself.

Ari – Alright Tod, give us a little introduction

Tod – I’m Tod Almighty, and I’ve been with Anatometal for 14 years now. I started piercing in 1992 after I apprenticed under Allen Falkner in Dallas, Texas. I’ve worked out of Santa Barbara, LA, San Jose, and Dallas, a lot of places I suppose. I’ve been an instructor with the Fakir Intensives since 1997, so twenty years now – I do both basic and advanced courses with them. I took them in 1992 as well. I like long walks on the beach, I’m a dog person not a cat person, I prefer length to girth, and I have no gag reflex! Continue reading

Victor 2007

The night before the third and final Scarwars event- October of 2007- we booked a local South Philly restaurant to host a pre-party for the attending artists and special guest. The venue told me we’d be responsible for having a doorman, so I put the word out that we needed someone who would have no problem telling folks who weren’t on the guest list that they need to hit the road.

Victor was kind enough to take the assignment, gleefully telling an increasingly agitated stream of locals that they weren’t allowed in until after 10pm.

On the second day of the event he had Australia’s Wayde Dunn and Canada’s Jesse Villemaire collaborate on a flesh removal project on the backs of his legs.

Vic passed away in 2014 at far too young an age. Today when I was out running errands I saw a young man who’s resemblance to him was so strong that it took my breath away; I headed home, plugged in the SCARWARS hard drive and dug out some photos to share. Rest easy, Vic Vile.

Studio photo by Atom Moore for Scarwars.

El Camino

Trying to write anything aobut Pat Tidwell without resorting to superlatives is proving impossible. Respected body piercer is a given; when I asked a few mutual friends to describe Tid in one word I got back legend and iconic a few times- but I think I’m going to go with psychedelic sherpa and leave it at that.

This photo was taken in 2006 at the Southern California SCARWARS2 event- either by Atom Moore or Rachel Larratt. (It was in a folder labeled ‘lost disc’ so…)

APP 2017: XXX History of Piercing

My social media streams have started to fill up with status updates and scores of photos from friends attending the 2017 APP Conference and Exposition in Las Vegas, Nevada. While the majority of activities won’t kick off until Monday, June 12th it seems like a lot of folks headed to Vegas early with over 1000 registered guests slated for this year’s event, which I’m told may be a record. I had planned on sitting out again this year, but the prospect of piercer/anthropologist Paul King’s 2017 offering encouraged me to book a trip out west for what promises to be a class that was made specifically with me in mind.

If you’re attending the Conference this year make sure to stop me and say hello!