Category Archives: Modcon

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.

Ready to wear: ModCon4

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During the planning stages of the fourth ModCon event I received a call from our patron, Shannon Larratt of BMEZINE, asking what I was thinking about for an event tshirt. By that point most of us had a closet full of black t-shirts from other events so I suggested we think about using navy blue to lighten things up a little bit but still keep it dark enough that we retained our gothy street cred. With that agreed on, and with it being the fourth Modcon, I also asked if we could politely borrow the iconic Fantastic Four logo from Marvel and mash it up with the iconic split penis that had been on all of the other Modcon tees.

In less than a day Shannon whipped something up that made us both laugh and remains one of my favorite event shirts.

Earlier today my old friend Janice posted this photo of her MC4 shirt on Instagram; I love seeing it cracked and worn down but still obviously very much loved.

 

Dennis Avner- Stalking Cat

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The first time I met Dennis Avner- Stalking Cat-  in person was at Pierson International Airport in Toronto the night before ModCon3. We picked him up in the huge passenger van that was rented for the weekend, offered him dinner which he politely refused and brought him to his hotel, which caused quite a stir with the reception staff who’d never seen a human tiger before.

He proved to be quite a character. In the years that I knew him I never saw his back and chest tattoos in person, so these photos were quite a find. Facial tattoos by Larry Hanks, 1985.

Dennis Avner August 27, 1958 – November 5, 2012.

Top photo features tattoo legend Bob Shaw, scanned from 4×6 print. 1980s photos scanned from 3×5 prints. ModCon photo of Philip Barbosa, Erik Sprague and Dennis Avner ©2001 Bme/ModCon.

DPBSPC: Scalpelled Tongue

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In the photo: Dustin, Phil, Blair.
Procedure: Scalpelled Tongue Piercing.
Artist: Blair.
Year: Unknown. 2001?
Source: spcOnline

Received some great news out of Canada today from my friend Philip, which makes this post perfectly timed. This photo originally ran in the early 2000s on the spcOnline website and features body piercer Dustin, photographer Philip (center) and modification artist Blair and was taken shortly after Philip’s large gauge tongue scalpelling by Blair. The jewelry, Phil tells me, was nylon and apparently was very prone to being stained by just about anything he ate.

“Dennis who used to make Jewellery at Stainless Studios (maybe he worked at newtribe too…) made it for me. At the time Denis was mostly making prince wands out of his loft under DMT or design machine technologies. Since it was only meant to last long enough for the initial healing it was made from nylon. At the time many many body modification practitioners where playing around with nylon jewellery and implants. The implants back then where not the fancy sculpted anatomy changing things you see today. Often it was some nylon rods inserted with needles and a push bar. You would see them if you pinched the skin. Teflon came along as a more common material for things like this a year after I had mine done.” – Philip

Philip was the photographer for all of the ModCon events as well as the first Scarwars. He’s wearing the event t-shirt from the second Modcon.

Congrats, Philip and Alie!

 

ModCon 3.5 t-shirt sample

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I can’t remember the situation that led Shannon Larratt and I to have to cancel the first iteration of the 4th ModCon event in 2003; I’ve looked at old emails and IAM entries and haven’t been able to jog my memory.

What I can recall is that an event was planned to coincide with a BMEFest/Toronto Suscon weekend but for whatever reason we cancelled with very little notice, leaving folks who had secured travel/hotels in a bit of a bind. 1

Then Maryland based Body Piercer Sean Philips and I quickly organized a partial event for attendees who had already booked travel; and with very little turnaround time we were able to do a truncated hotel event, calling it ModCon 3.5.

The list of procedures was considerable smaller than other events- A tongue splitting, some transdermal implants, a transcrotal and a glans splitting if I recall correctly- but we still had a good time.

Unlike previous ModCons- the tshirt went out to attendees a few weeks later, and featured the ModCon logo over the Borneo Rosette that I had been using for spcOnline image tags. The back of the shirt read “ModCon 3.5- Not a drop spilled” as a little barb to some of our cross contamination issues at MC3.

This sample was emailed to me for approval before the shirts were printed.

I went on to host a full fledged ModCon 4 in 2004.

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Notes:

  1. Other 3.5 attendees have reminded me that with the BMEfest event moving to Tweed Ontario, it shook things up and facilitated the need to cancel the event.

ModCon CD-ROM 1999

Screen Shot 2014-12-05 at 4.22.32 PMBefore the first ModCon book, which covered the first and second events, there was a limited run ModCon 1999 Event CD available on CD-Rom. It was basic HTML formatted with three size gallery options for the photographs that included printable resolution images of Toronto’s Philip Barbosa amazing black and white portraits.

Other ModCon media includes two books, a vcd and a dvd of procedural footage.

 

 

The new renaissance

Patrick Bartholomew (and his cat, Dog)

Patrick Bartholomew (and his cat, Dog)

In 2001, Patrick Bartholomew wrote the back cover blurb for Shannon Larratt and Philip Barbosa’s long out of print ‘ModCon- the secret world of extreme body modification’. When Shannon circulated a .pdf version of the book, the back cover was curiously missing, so I’ve included it here along with Patrick’s contact information for those of you who would like to send him a little love.

Patrick was far too humble to include his own name in the pantheon of Body Mod heroes- a mistake that I’ll proudly correct.

Patrick’s paypal address is: [email protected]

ModCon- the secret world of underground body modification back cover text:

As the new millennium gets underway we are seeing the maturity of the second renaissance in the world of body modification and it’s offshoots.

The first renaissance started with the coming together of Doug Malloy and the first group of interested parties including Jim Ward, Viking Navarro, Sailor Sid Diller, Fakir Musafar, Jim A. and later Mr. Sebastian and Jack Yount and several others. It was the wealth of Doug Malloy that allowed the founding of this movement to get off the ground, and for the coming of the first professional body modification studio- Gauntlet– to start under Jim Ward. Fakir introduced the term ‘Modern Primitive’, and this was in turn given impetus by the publishing of the book with this title by Juno & Vale in the 1980s.

Flawed as the book Modern Primitives may have been, it was an electrifying start to the world of body modification for many, myself included. There were attempts to ban it around the world, many successful, which to a larger extent helped to publicize it, and consequently, the body modification movement. (I remember re-binding copies of the book in the covers of children’s books and shipping them successfully to friend behind the ‘moral curtain’ in some of the countries that banned them.)

The first great leap forward of the ‘mods’ we take for granted began back in the 60s and continued through the 80s. It was in the realms of the gay leather and SM secene that the true work began. There were other individuals with their own agenda who had also contributed but no doubt we will never know about, but those who did become known went into the folklore of this fast growing group who were lumped under this ‘Modern Primitive’ umbrella.

Next came the ‘scientists’ of the mod scene. We experimented and tried new methods and materials, and gained the experience that laid the groundwork for the next new renaissance.

This blossomed with the coming of the Internet. Early web site brought to people’s private worlds and the reality of what was going on out there, and helped them come to terms with their own ‘scary desires’. The general media publicity generated by Jean Paul Gualtier’s amazing clothing collection with it’s pierced navel models, the piercings of film stars and pop icons also went hand in hand to give the mainstream a push into the daring world of body modification.

But if was the coming of Body Modification Ezine (BME) that really established what we have today. Shannon Larratt- by his own admission- was the right person at the right place at the right time. He has engineered to bring the truth of body modification to all of us. It has cost him dearly over the years that he has been bringing us the images, the stories, the facts, the contacts and the ‘big picture’ as we have it now. This labor of love has at last begun to pay off, and with the publication of this new book he has certainly set himself amongst the great heroes of body modification history. I do not believe that any one person has done more than Shannon to popularize our scene. None of it could have been done though without the massive contributions of the BME readers with their input of experiences and photographs.

Like Doug Malloy before him, Shannon, through the amazing ModCons, has brought together the greats of the bodymod world. And from these meetings has emerged this book that I believe will rightfully take over where Juno & Vale’s left off. This book is not an end in its self, it rather marks the end of our beginning.

-Patrick Bartholomew London August 2001