Category Archives: 1970s

Rochester Rufus

Jim Ward piercing a client's nipples, 1970s

Late 1970s- Jim Ward performs a vertical nipple piercing on Rochester’s Rufus Dreyer. Rufus appears occasionally in photos in my archives- his appearance distinct with a full body of dense tattooing, a grey Van Dyke beard and flipped up septum tusk- but I’ve not been able to find out anything about him other than his name.

Jim can be seen using a thimble to push assist in pushing the needle though the tissue; the needles available at the time weren’t as sharp as our modern options and every little bit helped.

(Thanks to Jim for helping me identify Rufus)

For the man who has everything…

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One of these days I’ll finish up the article I started on the Gay Leather roots of the modern body piercing community; like a lot of things I work on it’s a quarter finished, sitting in a notepad waiting for me dive back into it, but until then…

Every time I flip though old issues Drummer Magazine I come across so much amazing content. This ad from a 1975/6 issue reminds us that there has always been a market for people wanting blinged-out TIT STUDS.

Muir

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It’s been interesting to see how the archetypes popular in the 1960s/1970s Gay Leather scene have been appropriated and assimilated into modern pop culture- from the in your face aesthetics of Oslo’s Turbonegro (“We aren’t really gay but we like that people might think we are. And if it helps some gay kid come out of the closet, then that’s cool. Or if it helps some guy that hates queer rethink his position, then that’s great too.” 1) to the tragically hip “flagging” hankies 2 in their back pockets and wearing leather armbands and a Muir cap, the classic look of a still present subculture has, like it or not, lost some of it’s cultural exclusivity.

Still, for my money, I like living in a world where we all borrow from each other.

This photo from Sailor Sid Diller’s 1978 trip to London features Sid (left) and Alan ‘Mr. Sebastian’ Oversby (right) looking very much the part of 1970s body piercers.

 

Aries- Bud Larsen (NSFW)

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I’m still working on transcribing the 2001 sit-down I did with PFIQ/Drummer Magazine artist Bud Larsen; I’ve mentioned before that it’s less of an interview and more a free form oral history and as such I’m not sure how much will be relevant to SD readers, but the same can’t be said for examples of his artwork, which is always impressive and of interest to folks interested in body modification history.

This ARIES illustration was used in Drummer Magazine 1 (ed note: cite issue number/date) and features the God of War himself, tattooed and collared and impeccably inked by Bud. I don’t know much about astrology, but it would seem that Tennessee Williams, Bill Shatner and “The Night Porter” actor Dirk Bogarde are all Aries- and according to the Internet that means that they’re:

EnterprisingIncisive, Spontaneous, Daring, Active, Courageous and Energetic, the Aries are the proverbial infants, guileless and optimistic to the fault. However, they also are impatient, impetuous, vain, proud and egoistic. (source: http://www.ganeshaspeaks.com/aries/aries-facts.action)

That seems fairly dead on for Shatner, so maybe there’s something to it?

Notes:

  1. Drummer Magazine was launched in 1975 by John H. Embry and Jeanne Barney, catering to gay men into the Leather subculture. It ran until April of 1999. Over it’s tenure it was considered highly influential in the gay/leather community.

Ampallang by Sailor Sid Diller (NSFW)


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I’m sure it’s just because of the ‘no nudity’ restrictions of Instagram/Facebook but it’s still a little strange to see hundreds of piercings a day on my social networking streams and have the great majority of them be above the neck. Now that I’m in my forties I’ve earned the right to constantly remind people that yes, back in my day we had to walk uphill, in the snow, with no shoes on to have our guiches pierced, with externally threaded jewelry and we liked it.

All of this curmudgeonly rambling is a reminder that genital piercings used to be a piercer’s bread & butter and the ‘king pin’ of male genital piercings was the ampallang. Once thought to be potentially fatal if performed incorrectly (the urban legend went that piercing into the corpus cavernosum would cause uncontrollable bleeding that could result in exsanguination) the ampallang is generally considered to be the heaviest male genital piercing as far as healing time and sensation.

Back in the 1970s when these photos were taken- featuring Sailor Sid Diller performing the ampallang- some piercers felt that the pain factor of certain piercings was ‘brutal’ or ‘barbaric’ and, already on the fringes of subculture, would use injectable anesthetics to make the process easier on their clients. We touched on this in April of 2014 with the editorial A lesser ritual with some comment section dialogue on the concept of “earning” a piercing in tow…

My opinions on the subject are fairly predictable; I’m for the client’s right to not experience the pain of a piercing as much as I’m for a piercers right to refuse to use legally or notsolegally obtained anesthetics. Once the ampallang is pierced there can still be a period (days, weeks) of pain, discomfort and bleeding so to anyone who keeps the piercing (my own was abandoned) has, in my book, earned it.

As always, I encourage you folks to share your thoughts in the comments section.

(this post was written and it’s photographs edited at Disney World)

Hard at Work

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We’re supposed to get some sort of ‘mega-storm’ here on the East Coast of the US tonight; feet of snow, chaos, Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together… mass hysteria!

Me? I’m skeptical of the predictions but, should I wake up tomorrow morning to find a Winter Wonderland outside I’ve got tons of video I could be importing, photos I could be scanning and sorting or abandoned articles removed from the back burner and finished up.

If only there were more frequent natural disasters you folks may get more frequent updates from me.

One thing I can promise is- should the mega-storm actually hit and I find myself chained to my desk all day.. I’ll take a cue from Sailor Sid and adopt a casual workplace attire.

Scanned from a 3×5 print, circa early 1980s.

Kinsey’s Ampallang 1979 (NSFW)

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Two years ago tonight I was sitting in front of this same laptop, staring at a similar WordPress window, watching the clock as I fussed over what was to be the inaugural post of the soon to launch Sacred Debris blog, checking for spelling mistakes and making sure the flow was right. It’s been a good run so far, and as I look into the third year of the project I’m still not sure what the future is going to bring and which direction I’m going to take it. That’s not a bad thing, really, and if you can’t reflect on that sort of thing as a new year starts, when can you?

I think we featured some really amazing content in 2015; resurrecting my 1998 meeting with Shannon Larratt was a highlight for me, having not seen the footage I shot since the 1990s brought back a lot of great nostalgia from when things were different in the community. Not better, just different. Talking to him about people with tongue splittings being in the single to lower double digits is really a nodal point for how much things have changed in the last decade and a half-ish. We could have never dreamed that body modification would become so casual and something you take for granted that people just have.

I was elated to discover a long thought lost 8mm video conversation I recorded with PFIQ/Drummer artist Bud Larsen. It’s been one of my big regrets, losing the media from my visit to meet him in 2001 and finding the tape in a mislabeled case was a blessing and while I wasn’t the best interviewer in the world represents what may be Bud’s only formal interview.

I also recorded new content for the blog this year, with a still to be edited oral history with Jack Yount’s apprentice and former Silver Anchor General Manager and Bravo! Body Jewelry owner Mike Natali and a shorter oral history with retired tattoo artist and gay erotic writer/editor J.D. I have a lot to learn about recording oral histories, but I really hope to do more of it in the year(s) to come.

I want to thank everyone who’s supported the blog for their kind words, tips and reassurance that it’s worth it to keep my head in the past. Without you folks all of these photos and videos would just be data; your support and interest breathes life into it and keeps me going.

For our last post of 2015- The Ampallang. It’s a serious piercing that even the most devoted piercing fan has to think twice about. My own ampallang lasted less than two weeks; long enough for me to endure the unique sensation of having a barbell going through the glans of my penis and long enough for me to realize it just wasn’t for me.

These photos date back to 1979 and feature Kinsey M. having his ampallang pieced by an unknown piercer. Jim Ward suspects it may have ben performed by Jim Anderson, but without a clear face shot it’s hard to tell. Notice the bandaid on the piercer’s finger; it was likely there to provide a little cushion on the fingertip to help the needles- which weren’t nearly as sharp as the ones we use today- go through the tissue a little easier.

Happy New Year, everyone!

Doug Malloy London 1978 (NSFW)

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I sometimes wonder if people into piercing today have any deep appreciation of the tremendous impact Doug Malloy has had on their lives. Certainly he had predecessors and contemporaries equally as passionate about piercing as he, but what was it that made him the center from which the whole modern piercing movement sprang? ~ Jim Ward, Running the Gauntlet.

Piercing existed before Doug Malloy. We humans have a need to adorn ourselves regardless of our country of origin, devotion to a specific God or Gods or our tribes chosen or born into. The Dyak ampallang, the nathori favored by the Banjara people of India or a suburban parent taking their child to the mall for ear piercings, 1 the need is the same even if the motivation isn’t.

Look into the recent past of the western body piercing revival- 1900 on- and you’ll find examples of piercings that were performed and healed years before “we” ever thought of them. Rasmus Neilsen’s (approximately) 00g Madison piercing was  displayed forty years before Madison Stone 2 was born; Jack Yount was piercing nipples in the 1950s and in South Dakota a young body ritual devotee who went on to be known as Fakir Musafar was pushing his body to the limits with piercings and ritual modifications.

So what was it about Doug that brought together the assorted leather men, modern ascetics & primitives, swingers and eccentrics that formed what became the roots of the modern piercing community? His passion and enthusiasm? His seemingly unlimited funds which allowed travel and the free time to meet the piercing devotees who were scattered all over the United States and Europe? Being at the right place at the right time and seeing the potential in the generation that came after him with people like Jim Ward and Fakir Musafar?

Every time I crack open Jim’s Running the Gauntlet I find something that inspires me to dig a little deeper, connect with younger piercing fans to remind them of the contributions of people like Doug and Jim and Jack, connect with older folks who were around during the good old days and to do my part to keep the memories alive.

You can order Jim’s book here: http://www.runningthegauntlet-book.com

So why did you get pierced? Was there a defining moment where you thought this is for me? PFIQ, Modern Primitives, In the Flesh, BME, SPC? Who was your Doug Malloy?

 

Notes:

  1. Do not get your child’s ears pierced at the mall.
  2. Madison Stone is an American tattoo artist and former adult performer who was known for her distinctive appearance which at the time included having body piercings- something the adult industry looked down on until the 2000s. A surface  piercing at the base of the throat became known as a Madison due to the visibility her profession was able to offer it. https://www.instagram.com/madisontattoos

Where the action is (NSFW)

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I’ve almost completed archiving the 1978 Sailor Sid London album; some of the highlights have been posted here on Sacred with others in queue for future updates- but this one caught my eye so I bumped it to the head of the line. Sid (left), unknown (middle) and Alan Oversby (right) standing under a sign reading ‘where the action is’ connected via nipple and genital piercings.

tumblr_n7ecfcHJMh1town8so1_1280Take note of the pubic wing tattoos on Alan and client- In ancient Roman culture the fascinus (winged phallus) was an avatar of the divine penis. it was no wonder that the early T&P Community, which was primarily (but not exclusively) made up of gay males, adopted the symbol as a popular tattoo design. Visually it exoticized the pubic area, and when designed correctly made the wearers penis to appear longer. Typically it was brightly colored bird wings, but as the wings got more popular variations such as bat and dragon wings would occasionally show up. Alan  was a driving force in the upswing in Fascinus tattoos.

The Tattooists and Dr. Lemes

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In 1977, eccentric copyright lawyer and chastity belt collector Albert Morse released the self-published “The Tattooists” 1, a 127 page book featuring interviews with 50 respected names in the tattoo community including Bob Shaw, Bob Oslon, Doc Webb, Vyvn Lazonga, Lyle Tuttle, and Ed Hardy and photographed other notable artists who were fighting the ‘badboys and bikers’ stereotypes associated with tattooing in the latter half of the 1970s. The book was ahead of it’s time in presenting tattooists as artists and their clients as collectors not degenerates;  publishing houses told him that there were no interest in tattoos so he published the book himself, an embodiment of Morse’s stubbornness and resolve.

While working with cartoonists, he noticed a similarity in their art with that of tattoo artists. Mr. Morse had been collecting postcards, posters and photographs of carnival folks and circus freaks for years, so he decided to photograph and write a book about them. He found tattoos both fascinating and appalling, Valenza said.
At the time, tattoos were still mostly found only on bikers, sailors and the like. Publishing houses told him there was no mainstream interest in tattoos, so in 1977 Mr. Morse published “The Tattooists” himself. The photographs were also displayed in the Oakland Museum and at the Pompidou Center in Paris. 2 -Mary Constantinou

Featured on the cover was a Doctor working in Internal Medicine named Andrew John Lemes; the majority of his body covered by a large (and purposely phallic) squid by then rising tattoo star Don Ed Hardy; his back, abdomen, legs and arms adorned with writing tentacles and crashing waves. Piercer and Modification practitioner Jack Yount would cite Lemes’s squid as an influence on his considerably less subtle ‘cock head squid’ tattoo by Orlando’s Bud Pierson, which he was having worked on the day I met him.

Sacred’s tattoo site- Occult Vibrations- has previously featured Dr. John having his squid tattoo applied: https://occultvibrations..com/2011/08/12/dr-johns-squid/

Notes:

  1. The Tattooists; Morse, Albert. ISBN-10 0918320011
  2. Albert Morse– lawyer, collector, self-publisher by Chronicle Staff Writer Mary Constantinou: http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Albert-Morse-lawyer-collector-self-publisher-2505743.php