Since I spaced on writing something special for the twentieth anniversary of ModCon last month, I figured I’d at least celebrate the anniversary of this gentleman’s birth; one of the more memorable guests of the first MC event in Toronto, Erik Sprague (then Spidergod5, now the Lizard Man) was already on his way to lizarddom with implants, a split tongue, filed teeth, and the beginnings of his scale tattoo designs.
This photo, taken by ModCon (and Scarwars) photographer Philip Barbosa, appeared on the original Modcon CD-Rom.
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.
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.
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.
In the photo: Dustin, Phil, Blair.
Procedure: Scalpelled Tongue Piercing.
Year: Unknown. 2001?
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.
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.
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. ↩
Before 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.