Without a doubt, one of my favorite ‘personalities’ from the 1970s/80s era of the Western body modification revival was A. Viking Navaro; the “nom de kink” of a Southern California professor who’s appearance in an early issue of PFIQ, complete with photos by Fakir Musafar, was one of the earliest examples of a modern primitive.
You can see more of Viking Navaro here on Sacred Debris, and in the new SD print zine Nodal Points, available May 2019 from Hex Appeal.
I’ve spent the last few days reorganizing my archival storage; prints, polaroids, VHS tapes, 8mm tapes, DVC tapes, assorted ephemera and while it’s no means more efficient a filing system it’s at least more consolidated.
That doesn’t really mean much to anyone who doesn’t live with me, but my wife will be pretty happy to have more closet space, much of which has been taken up the tenure of our marriage by Rubbermaid bins full of pictures of naked people.
One of my favorite of said has always been Bud ‘Viking’ Navaro. Ever since seeing him in PFIQ I’ve been fascinated with him, so while I was sorting things I tried to set aside my favorite prints and polaroids of Bud for a project I’m hoping will be done by 2018’s APP Conference in Vegas. Fingers crossed.
I’m not sure if I ever posted the backside of the ‘manage a trois of horns’ photo that I turned into 2015’s Sacred Debris/APP post card- I need to get better about keeping track of uploads (or hire a personal assistant to keep track for me) so assuming that I haven’t-
Backside of image FH36A- Sailor Sid Diller, Jim Ward and Bud ‘Viking’ Navaro, February 1982 from the collection of Sailor Sid Diller/Jack Yount. Regular readers know that I never pass up a chance to post septum tusk photos, so I’m including the front side as well. Also, I like that shag carpeting.
The postcards were given away at APP2015 for first year attendees.
Over the last few years there’s been a rise in popularity of smart phone photo apps and filters that mimic, with mixed success, the imperfection of antiquated camera and processing anomalies; over exposure, light leaks and just enough distortion to make pictures that will likely never exist outside of the digital realm look like well aged prints.
It’s always a trip when I’ve got a photo in-hand where you can see the basis for those filters and gimmicks; like this polaroid positive of Viking Navaro’s black graphic phallus tattoos by Cliff Raven with really distinctive light spots that add tons of character to an already larger than life subject.
“Friend John says that it was in 1976 that I went to a private showing of the movie TATTOO. There I met Doug Malloy and John with his magnificent squid tattoo. And there were pictures shown of tattoos and some piercings. I can’t say that the latter took hold, but my interest in tattoos was reinforced.” Louis ‘Indy’ Rove 1
I got a text message the other day from a friend asking if I knew anything about a piercer working in their home town; was he any good, could I recommend him, any horror stories or caveats – most of us who’ve been around the industry for a year or three are probably pretty used to getting that message and over the years I’ve been able to help steer folks into some good shops to be worked on by some good people. But, increasingly, I’m in the position where there are (exponentially) more piercers out there that I don’t know than those that I do. That doesn’t speak to their skill level or their commitment to safe piercing, good tattooing or ethical body modifications- just that the community that turned into an industry is now bigger than our ability to keep up with it.
it wasn’t always that way, though, and as I dig deeper into my archives I’m seeing faces and names that are cross-referenced over the decades and miles connecting the pioneers of the ‘T&P’ community, revealing a tight knit group who were connected by very few degrees. Over the last few days I’ve scanned photos at random, spanning different years, original owners and disciplines (primarily tattooing and body piercing) but when I move to the research phase almost every one of these pioneers either knew each other or were separated by one or two mutual friends.
The photos I uploaded of Dr. John Lemes, for example- John was there when T&P Party member Indy Rove met Doug Malloy; introducing him to the Southern California scene and Jim Ward (who would go on to put several dozen piercings into his penis) and Fakir Musafar (who photographed him for PFIQ #17).
This photo- FH-21A22- was taken in Louis Rove’s (misspelled on the photograph as Louis Rave) Los Angeles home on 29th January 1982 and features my favorite early bodymod pioneer Bud ‘Viking Navaro’ H in all of his tusk’d glory.
We’ve reached a point in our community/industry’s timeline where there are so many options to get a safe modification performed, but there sure was something special about a smaller more intimate scene.
A few weeks ago I spotted an older Leather Daddy at my bar wearing an old-school septum tusk. The gent was dressed to the nines- Biker Cap, Jacket, Harness and all of the requisite attitude that comes with being a proper Leatherman. But the tusk!
Once I realized what I was seeing (we keep it fairly dark at the bar) I left my usual spot to go track him down, offer him a drink and comment on his choice of septum adornment, but as often happens he had slipped away before I could find him.
I’ll take one proper bone tusk over 20 hinged, jewel studded baubles. SD favorite “Viking Navaro” was certainly fond of them, even wearing one in his nipple piercing! This photograph is from 1983 and features Bud and a fellow T&P fan showing off. Bud was also vacuum pumping his penis & scrotum (full image here: http://sacreddebris.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/TITUSK.jpg) but I decided to go with a more (questionably) safe for work version of the photo.
I hope that the tusk’d Leatherman and I cross paths again!
Tattoo artist Cliff Raven- primarily known for his Japanese tattoo design- was also an early adapter of black ‘graphic’ tattoo art like the not so subtle penises he put on Bud Navaro’s legs in the early 1980s. Bud was also a stretching devotee, having stretched his scrotum, foreskin and nipples.
Model: Bud ‘Viking’ Navaro.
Format: Polaroid print.
Notes: Handwritten note on the back of the photograph- “Ring with weight in nose is alternate to bone jewelry” Excerpt from PFIQ #13