Category Archives: Historical Figures

Wild Bill Krebs Documentary excerpt

It’s hard not to romanticize the time period that made up my entry into the body piercing/modification world; there were far fewer folks piercing/making jewelry and true eccentrics like Bill Krebs, owner/piercer of New Jersey’s Pleasurable Piercing, really made an impression. He appeared (along with my mentor Jack Yount) in Charle’s Gatewood’s Erotic Tattooing and Body Piercing V as well as a line of instructional videos that PP released back in the 1990s and always stood out in a crowd.

The last time I saw Bill was in Ybor City, Florida; we closed a bar after a night of excess and martinis garnished with smoked octopus and, with a hug, parted ways. When I heard that he had passed, that was the memory that stuck with me.

Will from Pleasurable uploaded this snippet from an unfinished documentary on Bill earlier tonight; if you didn’t know Bill you missed out on a hell of a guy.

#fakirforever

I was chatting with Blake Perlingieri about Fakir and his impact on the body modification community; Blake is someone who very much embodies the spirit of Fakir’s Modern Primitives and we’re excited that he’s going to be spending some time with Ari for a BSTA interview soon. With that in mind, to celebrate what would have been Fakir’s 88th birthday, I thought this photo of the two of them, borrowed from Nomad’s Instagram account, would be a nice way to remember him.

We tried to do a lot of cleaning up on this video that a friend of Blake’s shot at the APP Conference in Las Vegas a few years back, but the sound just didn’t want to cooperate. Still, it’s worth checking out for those of us who want to soak up as much of our history as possible.

Enjoy, and happy birthday, Fakir.

 

Fakir Musafar August 10, 1930 – August 1, 2018

Strange, is it not? that of the myriads who
Before us pass’d the door of Darkness through
Not one returns to tell us of the Road,
Which to discover we must travel too.

-Omar Khayyam

 

Fakir Musafar passed away on August, 1st. There are so many things I could write about him and the lives he touched over the course of his extraordinary career, but right now all I can say is that it was my pleasure to have known him and that I’ll miss him very much.

Journey well, Fakir.

 

Photo Source: Cleo Dubios.

APP Conference 2018 Highlight: In the beginning there was Gauntlet

On Tuesday July 17th body piercing pioneer Jim Ward will be presenting his IN THE BEGINNING THERE WAS GAUNTLET class to attendees of the annual APP Conference and Expo at the Bally’s hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Jim’s classes are living, breathing history and are a guaranteed good time. If you’re going to be attending this year’s Conference you can sign up for it here:

https://www.cvent.com/events/association-of-professional-piercers-23rd-annual-conference-and-exposition/registration-4e23c3b113ef482c9f136e5bf4850686.aspx?fqp=true

Uncovered: In the Flesh V1

Before the 1989 release of RE/Search Publications’ seminal book Modern Primitives, body piercing/modification documentation fell on the shoulders of a very small group of people. PFIQ,  Piercing World, BODY ART– by Jim Ward/Gauntlet, Pauline Clarke/PAUK and Henry Ferguson and Lynn Proctor, respectively- were niche periodicals for a niche subculture that had incredibly limited distribution. For better or for worse, you had to know you wanted it to find it.

The tattoo magazines that ruled the mass market newsstand shelves may have occasionally featured photos of pierced tattoo collectors and artists, but they generally didn’t talk about the piercings themselves. Modern Primitives represents a pretty significant nodal point for the cultural shift of mainstreaming body piercing, suspension and even surgical modification; photos of New Zealand resident Carl Carrol’s bisected penis being available to anyone who walked into a Barnes and Noble marks a pretty major shift from the procedure’s “fringe within a fringe” past.

Inspired by the success of Modern Primitives, and no doubt an attempt to get ahead of the zeitgeist, OB Enterprises (the publishers of Outlaw Biker and Outlaw Biker Tattoo Revue 1) released the premiere issue of In the Flesh magazine in 1992. From the introduction:

A few years back Re/Search Publications printed a wonderful book entitled “Modern Primitives“. This magazine, In the Flesh, is meant to continue on where they left off. Each issue (provided you buy enough of this first issue to make it worth our while to do it all again) will explore ancient and modern body/mind modifications. Future issues will include articles on ritual and magic, Neo-Paganism, body building, strange food, cross dressing, gender bending, tattooing, scarification, virtual reality, subliminal learning, smart drugs and yes, more piercing info. Feel free to jump on in and send us your suggestions about other topics we should cover.

With gender bending, scarification, and a woman of color on the cover, the premiere issue of In the Flesh stood out among the other biker oriented tattoo magazines, no doubt as a result of editor Michelle Delio’s guidance.

The first issue featured midwest piercers (Mad)Jack and Anna Kaplan, Barbara Pierce and branding by Florice and an iconic interview with Cliff Cadaver. Further tying it to Modern Primitives, it also features an interview with, and content from, Jim Ward.

While Modern Primitives crossed over into pop culture/academic/kink territory (with a book being more highbrow, even for the lowbrow) In the Flesh had newsstand distribution and a much lower price point at $4.95 a copy, which no doubt had a democratizing affect. Ease of purchase, low cost- younger piercing fans had much quicker access to the material and among the middle school era of piercers is often mentioned as a direct influence.

Copies of In the Flesh occasionally show up on eBay close to their original cover price.

 

 

 

Notes:

  1. Though strangely, the premiere issue of In the Flesh had it presented by OB Enterprise’s Tattoos By Women.

The Road to Awe

I am grateful and honored beyond words to have known you-all of you who have been touched by my presence and followed my example-and the dizzying, fun, enlightening, and delightful experience of seeing so many embrace body piercing and body rituals. I never expected our passions and practices to grow to a global phenomenon-that my early visions of Modern Primitives would expand beyond my wildest dreams. Thank you for embracing, growing, and embodying our art, craft, and energetic ritual practices. They have changed the cultural landscape worldwide. May they serve you well in the future. – Fakir Musafar


If you read Sacred Debris often enough (and I sure hope you do) you’ve no doubt seen mentions of nodal points; points of data in a timeline that shine like beacons, who’s influence spreads out, branches and has an intrinsic impact on everything that comes after them.

I’ve also used the phrase “Major Arcana” while discussing luminaries in the body art community- people who’s presence and persona is impossible to separate from the fabric of our subculture.

These concepts intersect with Fakir Musafar; you could individually catalog every nodal point he’s left on the map of body art and each point would represent a major shift in the cultural landscape. You could talk about his early days of self documentation; his relationship with PFIQ/Gauntlet, his participation in the film Dances, Sacred & Profane, his friendship with Charles Gatewood, his connection with Modern Primitives (the book, of course, and the concept) and all of the piercers and body artists who went through the Fakir Intensives- any one of those would be an unimaginably important legacy.

Earlier today Fakir announced that he has been fighting stage four lung cancer since October of 2017 and that his time with us is coming to a close. In his farewell message, which can be read here, Fakir says that he has been honored to have known us. I think I can say with absolute certainly that the privilege has been all ours.

Photo from SPC, posted 1998.

 

 

 

Color Grading. (NSFW)

By the time I finally click upload on the video that’s currently in my editing queue- a video that will clock in with a runtime of somewhere around the eighteen minute range- I’ll have spent roughly ten hours on task time for the final edit. Most of that will be spent color grading the footage, which was shot on VHS tape at Sailor Sid Diller’s Florida home/studio in 1985. Continue reading