Category Archives: Piercers

The Boy From Nowhere: Traveling Nicholas The Geezer leaves Visions of Medway, MA

 

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February 1st, 2016

 

“If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you.” -America’s favorite Dirty Desert-Gypsy: Mr. Jesus Christ

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The view from seat 12A on United flight 203 is an introspective one. “Who am I?”, “What have I accomplished?”, “ What is my identity?”. Ya know, the usual line of questioning you barrage yourself with at 5:30 in the morning, on 45 minutes of restless sleep, as you embark on a life changing 6 month long body piercing tour across America, ending with a move to another country to live with your incredible, Canadian wife. Ya know, the usual. And then I remembered something a dear friend of mine said to me: “Not everybody has the guts to do what they want.”.
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NOMAD: Blake Perlingieri at the 2004 APP Conference

You don’t need 2″ ears and a full black bodysuit to do that. The origins of our art form is tribal so that really only need exist in your heart. And you have to honor the traditions of our collective human mythology by incorporating tribal consciousness as well as aesthetics into what we do. – Blake Perlingieri, 2004


bodyplay91When I first saw a photo of Blake Perlingieri in Fakir Musafar’s BODY PLAY in 1991 the majority of people I knew in the piercing scene were decades older than me. My piercing elders would gently caution me against stretching my earlobes (despite me having 1/2″ nipple piercings and a meatotomy) for fear of public exposure and most of the clients of Jack Yount I was introduced to assumed I was his grandson not his friend and mentee. Aside from my brother, Brian Skellie and a few others the idea of a young, heavily tattooed and pierced person was generally considered a novelty in my community. Blake was only a few years older than me. He had 2″ earlobes (at that point mine were probably a humble 1/2″ or so) and tattoos that weren’t off-the-wall flash jobs that were there to prove you could be tattooed while saying nothing about the person wearing them. His photos assured me that the cultural shift that Jack had been telling me about- the old guard making room for the new generation- was coming.

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The Middle School Era: Udo & Paul 1993

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©Greg Gorman. Courtesy of Paul King

We’ve gotten a lot of great responses to the year end/new year reader survey; I appreciate everyone who’s taken the time to fill it out (though I selfishly wish I would have made more of the questions mandatory- dang skippers) and share their thoughts about the past, present and future direction of the project.

The data is still coming in but looking at what’s currently available it seems that folks want to see the middle school era of modern body modification given a little more attention; the early-mid 1990s were a time of incredible growth and progress for the piercing and modification community and the artists that make up that phase- which I would argue was irrevocably changed in 1995- were a fascinating and influential group who have done as much to shape the future of the body piercing industry as the pioneers that came before them. We’re going to be selectively highlighting piercers who made an impact during the 1990s, as time, materials and resources permit, so let me know (via the survey, link above, or email [email protected]) who you may be interested in seeing featured on the blog.

We’ll start with Paul King.

Piercing since 1991, trained by Elayne Angel and a veteran of three Gauntlet locations before opening his own Piercing and Tattoo Studio 1  Paul was described as a ‘piercing nerd’ by BME’s Shannon Larratt in 2003 2 and has become a ‘can’t miss’ presenter at the annual APP Conference and Exposition, focusing on historic and contemporary body modification from an academic and community point of view.

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©1993 Greg Gorman

The photograph above, featuring cult actor Udo Kier and Paul, dates back to 1993 and was taken by noted celebrity photographer Greg Gorman 3 who contacted the L.A. Gauntlet looking for play piercing services for the photoshoot with Udo.

As Paul tells it, Greg thought that play piercing meant fake piercing, unaware that in the piercing community it meant temporary piercing with (usually) smaller gauge needles. Paul told told them “how embarrassing that would be…for street cred we should do real play piercing…bad ass Udo went for it! cheeks, eyebrows, the works!” and proceeded to actually pierce Udo for the photoshoot.

Again, thanks to everyone who’s shared their thoughts on the direction Sacred is going to take in the coming year, and if you haven’t completed the survey- Sacred Debris Content Survey 2015/2016.

Notes:

  1. Cold Steel San Francisco
  2. “definitely a guy who I’d call a “piercing nerd” — someone who can go on and on about it and is interested in every little silly piece of trivia on the subject. Given that’s how I’d also describe myself, and given that it’s so hard for any one person to get a real picture of this community (so much of it is still oral history), it was wonderful to be able to assimilate his stories…” Source: BME Encyclopedia Paul King Entry.
  3. Greg Gorman (b. 1949, Kansas City, Missouri) is a renowned portrait photographer, who has shot Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro, Michael Jackson and many others in his signature black-and-white. “For me a photograph is most successful when it doesn’t answer all the questions,” says Gorman, “but leaves something to the imagination”. Source: Sleek-art.net.

Have History, Will Travel

11921686_10206980148369671_5434394000941234447_nIt must have been about 1991 when I first met Mike Natali; two decades later and we’ve taken to calling our first meeting ‘guiche day’ as both of us were at Jack Yount’s Zephyrhills Florida house to have ours pierced when were introduced and became fast friends, with Mike becoming an older brother/uncle figure to my brother and I. Under his leadership, Ed Fenster’s SILVER ANCHOR body jewelry company experienced massive growth and his own Bravo! Body Jewelry set a high bar for the companies that followed.

In late August I traveled down to Tampa to reconnect with Mike and to record an oral history with him about his introduction to Jack and Ed Fenster, his time at SA and Bravo and his career as a body piercer. The videos need to be edited and a transcript made, but it was really great to spend the afternoon with him and get his story told.

11908940_10206966581150499_3631926898293254402_oWhile in Florida I was also lucky enough to spend the afternoon with retired tattoo artist and legendary gay porn author JD, who proved to be a really nice gent who was full of stories which he was gracious enough to allow me to record. JD was a friend of Sailor Sid Diller and would often tattoo at Sid’s South Florida shop. I archived video a few months back and put a call out for SD/OV readers to help me identify the artist in the tape. Through my new friend Brian I found out that  the tattooer was none other than John Daigon, who was not only still around, but was willing to talk to us body modification nerds about the glory days. The audio on that recording is pretty beat due to some technical/location issues, but once I get Mike’s history transcribed I’ll put the footage into Final Cut and see if I can clean it up enough to make a transcript.

Late summer 2015 has been super busy for me and I’ve been ignoring Sacred and OV but as fall approaches I have some really amazing content for you folks. Thanks to everyone who’s supported the site and restorations over the last few months- you’re keeping the wheels moving and I appreciate it.

 

(photo of Mike and I ©2015 Jay Nolan)

 

The roots of freehand piercing

Another APP Conference and Expo has come and gone; after a long week in Vegas my Wife and I are finally home and trying to collect our thoughts about all of the good, the bad and the ugly that is the APP experience.

This being the 20th Anniversary of the APP there was an amazing focus on history this year with Fakir Musafar, Jim Ward, Blake Perlingieri and Paul King offering comprehensive presentations on the history of the western body piercing movement and guest docents offering interactive walkthroughs of the APP 20th Anniversary timeline exhibit.

I volunteered in the Mentor program, helping acclimate a group of first year attendees to the chaos of Conference and was able to introduce my Wife to some of my oldest friends. A few snags and slags aside, we had a great time.

One of the highlights for me was the ELDERLORE class hosted by Blake Perlingieri- It was absolutely not what I was expecting with Blake going with a stream of consciousness presentation filled with saltiness and some great old school bitching.

I recorded a short excerpt of Blake discussing the roots of freehand piercing technique. It was shot on a cellphone, so the quality is so-so, but it gives you a hint of the zingers Blake was unleashing. As someone who does their best to provide literally one of a kind content to SD readers without much feedback I could absolutely relate to Blake’s frustration that his youtube video of he and Fakir doing a walkthrough of the Nomad (Jewelry) Collection at the Portland Art Museum had only been viewed (as of this writing) 335 times in four years versus the 20k+ views on videos of hack piercers doing hack work on uneducated piercing clients.

I think I’m taking a few years off from Conference, so this was the perfect year to close that book for a while. New friends were made, old friends were hugged and stories were told. Can’t do much better than that!

If you would like to know more about the Association of Professional Piercers, visit http://www.safepiercing.org

A Safe Guide: Hafadas

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I’m not really getting much feedback positive or negative on the ‘Safe Guide to Professional Piercing’ series, so I think this will be the last one that goes up for a while. This installment features Sailor Sid Diller piercing Jack Yount’s scrotum in the traditional ‘hafada’ placement. Unlike previous Safe Guide videos, Hafadas finds Sid wearing gloves during the piercing. The videos provide no off-camera context as to why they wore gloves for some procedures and not others, but I’m sure they had their reasons. It’s hard to say.

A Safe Guide: The Navel

Before the 1993 release of the Aerosmith video for their song ‘Cryin’ 1 the navel piercing wasn’t one of the more commonly requested piercings due in part to the “if it protrudes, pierce it” credo that most piercers followed at the time. The first time I remember Jack Yount talking about navel piercings he called them “risky” because of the chances of migration or rejection and while he could be talked into performing the piercing would do his best to steer the client towards something a little more practical.

This excerpt from the 1984 tape ‘A Safe Guide to Practical Piercing’ features Jack doing a navel piercing on Sailor Sid Diller at Sid’s Silver Anchor Tattoo Studio.

Like our other archival videos, this clip features piercing and sterility techniques that are no longer considered safe practice and is presented solely for preservation and discussion. It should not be considered a how-to.

Notes:

  1. Cryin was released in October of 1993 as a single from their April 1993 LP Get a Grip. The video, directed by Marty Callner, starred Alicia Silverstone, Stephen Dorf and Josh Holloway, went on to be a massive hit for the band, spending twelve consecutive weeks at #1 on the Billboard Charts and earning the Video of the Year award at the 1994 MTV Video Music Awards. In the video Silverstone’s character has her navel pierced by an influential West Coast body piercer- the influence of the video created an instant trend worldwide.

A lucky or auspicious object

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During it’s two decades in print, P.F.I.Q. magazine featured the work of an impressive lineup of photographers; the work of Jim Ward, Fakir Musafar, Diane Mansfield, Mark I. Chester, Michael Rosen, Charles Gatewood and Efrain John Gonzalez (alongside the wonderful submitted content) helped capture a scene when it was much smaller and more intimate.

I’m fairly sure II first met Efrain in May of 2000 at the NYC Tattoo Convention at the Roseland Ballroom, which is when this photograph was taken. On honest-to-god 35mm film. I found him to be incredibly sweet, welcoming and mischievous and over the years when our paths have crossed he’s always been armed with a smile and a camera.

I figure most readers of Sacred Debris are familiar with both of these gents- Manwoman (seated) and Jon Cobb.

Jon’s legacy in the piercing scene is as one of it’s greatest agent provocateurs and technicians, he originated (or popularized) a small handful of piercings that, though still fairly uncommon, changed the industry in ways that are still being felt. His ability to defend his techniques and placement- freehand piercing, nape piercing- set him apart from someone who just threw caution to the wind and did something new for the sake of ego.

Manwoman (February 2, 1938- November 13, 2012) was a Canadian artist, writer and musician who came to greater attention after his appearance in RE/Search Publication’s Modern Primitives in 1989. His book The Gentle Swastika documented his life’s work- The rehabilitation of the Swastika through his artwork and collection of pre-WW2 memorabilia.

I’ve been hesitant to post any Swastika related content up till now; it comes with the pretty heavy tariff of having to field complaint emails- usually from irate, uninformed and downright hostile folks who don’t know about anything other than it’s usage by the National Socialist Party or from those who feel that it’s just a tad too controversial to even bother trying to explain otherwise.

We’ll see how it goes.

You can see more of Efrain’s photos at http://hellfirepress.com

APP2015: ELDERLORE w/ Blake Perlingieri

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Kristian White, Jack Yount and Blake Perlingieri at Nomad Body Piercing, early 1990s.

We’re only a few months away from the 2015 APP Conference and Exposition.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the first APP expo and they’re going to be offering some amazing history/anthro classes that we’ll be highlighting on SD over the next few weeks. First up is a class that only has 80 spots still available as of today- so if you’re interested in attending make sure you get in before it’s sold out.

For more information about registering for this year’s APP Conference, visit www.safepiercing.org‘s registration portal.


Elderlore:
Concepts and Trends in the Early Industry Days by Blake Perlingieri

Blake will discuss EARLY revolutionary piercing procedures and techniques including “large gauge” and “freehand” and narrate their pre-Nomad origins, as well their incorporation into the early industry. Also discussed will be the development of the “NOMAD tribal aesthetic”, which raised the bar for what piercers could do with their own bodies as well as clients. Detailed and narration/power point will include archival, never before seen photos dating back 25 years

Blake began his professional career in San Francisco in 1990 at Body Manipulations. In 1993, Blake and his former partner, Kristian founded Nomad, the first tribal studio in the industry. In 1994 Nomad, Gauntlet, Body M and a few others formed the APP. In 2004, Blake presented the APP keynote/anthropology lecture, and simultaneously released his book “A Brief History of the Evolution of Body Adornment” with Fakir and his book, “Spirit and Flesh.” In 2005 Blake released his double DVD of freehand technique and genital procedures which was a BME bestseller. In 2006 Blake presented the “anthropology lecture” to the FIRST Mexico/APP. In 2010, Blake was the assistant curator at the Portland Art Museum for a major exhibit of Pre-Colombian and antique jewelry, and donated much of his collection to the museum and presented a series of lectures there. Blake has three children of his own and continues to preach the “tribal gospel” at Nomad. Nomad is the oldest continuously owner operated piercing studio in the industry at 22 years.

Eye on Tampa Bay

In the early 1990s, Master Piercer Jack Yount appeared on a local Tampa talkshow called ‘Eye on Tampa Bay’ with host Kathy Fountain. He was joined by piercers Mike Natali of Bravo! and Silver Anchor and Vincent Weiner and Tasha Berg who hosted the Pinns and Needles events with a small group of piercing fans (myself included) in the audience to help balance out the retirees and elementary school students.

It’s hard to imagine a time when this was considered shocking to daytime TV watchers- but despite us all feeling like animals at the zoo, Jack handled it with his usual wit and charm.