Lauren Pine, Autumn Asbury, Mark, Denise Gianneta, Dug McDowel and Kieth Alexander. NYC 1994 photo courtesy of Mark Seitchik.
Masterpierce Theatre: Mark Seitchik
Mark is one of those piercers who I’d heard about for so long, and had been so curious about, but information always seemed relatively scarce. His years at Gauntlet are some of the most interesting times in our history, and he sat at the helm of both San Fransisco and New York studios, helping train and work alongside some of the most notable piercers in history. One of only five people ever bestowed the title of Master Piercer, his passion and humility brought him to the top of the piercing world in the early and mid 90s. Mark is an incredible person with a rich history in our community, and even decades after he’s left he is someone we need to respect, to remember, and to admire. Reading about someone and talking to them is like night and day; talking with Mark was one of the most humbling experiences in my career. I am thrilled to be able to share this. Continue reading →
I met Star as the tattooed lady at a San Mateo carnival 10-in-1 show back in 1975. She was also the magician’s girl in the sword box. We connected then and were friends for some 15 years afterward. We did a few shows together and also took pictures in my garage studio with my bed of nails. Stars was a “biker’s girl” and later moved to Florida. I pierced her genitals and she appears in early Gauntlet photo shoots. ~ Fakir Musafar
My buddy Scott recently discovered a few vintage photos of Fakir Musafar and his friend Star in the collection of Bob Hanson and was kind enough to send them over to Sacred Debris.
Star appeared on the cover of the inaugural color issue of PFIQ 1 photographed by Fakir.
PFIQ #15. The previous fourteen issues featured illustrated cover art, primarily by Bud Larsen. Issue #15 also contained a tribute to Ethel Granger by Fakir and an article on Carl Carroll who’s bisected penis appeared in Modern Primitives. ↩
In March of 2001 I visited erotic artist Bud Larsen in Phoenix Arizona to talk about his work with PFIQ and Drummer magazine; his art helped define the early aesthetic of both periodicals- crisp black lines like a pornographic Al Hirschfeld featuring ultra masculine pinups, dangerous femme fatals and mindbending scifi and fantasy creatures with exaggeratedly large genitals which were more often than not pierced or otherwise decorated.
The entire affair was a disaster of exposed film, lost video/audio tapes and only memories and a few signed PFIQs as a souvenir of the trip. For fourteen years I’ve thought the tapes lost. SD recently received funding to restore 8mm video cassettes and during the sorting/cataloguing I discovered that a video backup of the interview wasn’t lost, just misfiled. This backup was intended to be a safety-net in case something happened to the mini-cassette recorder that we used for the interview was lost, which prophetically did happen, and was never intended to be a “on camera” interview. The handycam was set up to catch the audio and is just haphazardly pointed at Bud and I, and without a lapel mic the audio at times is difficult to hear, but given how woefully under-documented Bud’s career is, it was an amazing find.
This short clip features Bud and I discussing his process for creating a drawing. The audio is muddy, and I still need to scan the PFIQ issue the images we’re discussing come from- there’s a lot more work to do on this tape (hopefully a transcript and better audio) but for now- enjoy a chat with Bud (and my epic bad haircut) and make sure to say thanks to the patrons who sponsored the import/archival of the 8mm collection of the SPC.
In 2001 I traveled to Phoenix, Az to meet and record an oral history with PFIQ/Drummer artist Bud Larsen. The experience was doomed to failure and for the last 14 years I’ve considered the tape containing the history to be lost.
Late last week, while sorting and organizing tapes from that period I discovered that it wasn’t lost, just misfiled. The tape represents a very rare conversation with Bud and has been put to the head of the queue for archival and preservation. It was shot as a backup so the camera is not set up ‘interview’ style, but the content will hopefully make up for the lack of video when it’s finally ready.
Thirty-one years ago, before the piercing scene evolved into the piercing industry the term piercer had a much looser definition than it does today. Over time it's come to represent someone who's served a formal apprenticeship and has spent years honing their craft; who's taken advanced learning opportunities like Intensives and technique classes at the annual APP Conference and Expo, someone who can discuss sterility at a level that would humble a physician, and who can absorb knowledge from their peers as freely and easily as they share it with the generation of piercers who’ve come after them.
When this video was filmed, being a piercer meant you poked people with needles so they'd have shiny nipples and genitals, and tried to do it as safely as possible.
Finding a professional piercer back then was easy, since there were only a small handful in the world. But unless you lived in California (where the Gauntlet was located) or were part of a group like the Leather/SM culture, having easy access to a true professional piercer simply wasn't an option. So sometimes you had to make do.
Today's piercers would be horrified to find photo illustrated step by step instructions for an ampallang or clitoris piercing- but 30 years ago they were made readily available in PFIQ- who's PIERCE WITH A PRO feature covered almost every basic (and some advanced) piercing imaginable and went on to spawn several instructional videos.
Some knowledge was deemed to be better than none. So was the case with 'A Safe Guide to Professional Piercing' featuring piercing by Jack Yount (then going by Mr. J) and filmed by Sailor Sid Diller. Out of context this video looks like anything but professional piercing- highly sexualized, a lack of sterility and technique that will make you cringe- but one has to consider the time (gloves weren't commonly worn in 1984) it was filmed and the community that both Jack and Sid were part of (the highly sexual gay leather scene) to fully contextualize the footage.
The tape was distributed to piercers on Sid's correspondence list who were primarily working in leather shops or home studios.
As with all of our archival content, this video contains outdated piercing and aseptic technique and should not be considered a how-to.
I was putting a bunch of material together for an academic research request on ‘women in early western body modification’ this week which included this scan from PFIQ#31 (1988) featuring side art by the late Bud Larsen.
The demographics in the 70s/80s skewed towards males (primarily gay males) but going back through the old PFIQs while gathering up information, I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of female representation included. Issue 31 was almost 50/50 with female and male piercing content including a wonderful photoshoot featuring Krystine Kolorful by legendary photographer Diane Mansfield.
As I told the researcher (who I’ll ask to share her final project with SD readers) the early days were much more dialed into sexuality than aesthetics, so most of the representation was (pleasantly celebrating) sex positive which made the older issues a lot more fun than the later ones in my opinion.
When the modification world was much smaller and technology not yet a common tool for instantaneous global communication, trading video tapes through the mail was one of the easiest ways to keep in touch with your modified friends. For the price of a camcorder (which in the 1980s could be as much as $900) you retained a higher level of anonymity and safety; there are some of us who still get chills up our spines thinking about taking a roll of film containing a bloody subincision or castration procedure into the local drug store, having to find a connection to develop the film for fear of exposure or worse.
They brought to life- with color and sound- the modified wonders that had appeared in magazines like PFIQ, Piercing World and Body Art and allowed a community that felt alone, spread all over the world, to feel connected.
Jack Yount and Sailor Sid Diller were both passionate about corresponding with other body modification devotees, keeping their friends the world over up to date with what was going on in the scene. These tapes were snapshots of a very specific part of the early piercing community.
This one features Jack- in a rare PG rated appearance, talking about Pauline Clarke’s newly launched Piercing World Magazine, the current issue of PFIQ and a funny conversation with some South Florida auto-mechanics.