Category Archives: Body Piercing

BSTA: Vaughn

Since it’s 1989 release, RE/Search Publications’ seminal issue #12 – Modern Primitives – has become one of, if not the most, nodally significant cultural studies of western body modification ever printed. The pantheon of influential body art figures interviewed includes Fakir Musafar, Jim Ward, Ed Hardy, Raelyn Gallina, Lyle Tuttle, Hanky Panky, Leo Zulueta – you could easily get lost following the ripples of influence from any one of them. But Modern Primitives also featured some younger personalities just getting their start in the world of body art; mostly notably Greg Kulz (a pioneer of black graphic industrial tattooing) and Bay Area piercer/tattooist Vaughn, who at the time of publication was trying to make a name in the industry. Thirty years later, and Vaughn’s legacy – the opening of Body Manipulations and the shift to a more diverse clientele – is easily worthy of inclusion with the best of the industry.

In honor of his his birthday, BSTA’s Ari Pimsler interviewed Vaughn, along with friends, former employees, and clients for the new issue of our print project NODAL POINTS. The supporting interviews – Melissa & Joey from Body M’s, Greg Kulz, Duncan Van Luyt, and Blake Perlingieri – are available exclusively in the zine, which can be pre-ordered here:

https://www.blurb.com/b/9578140-nodal-points-volume-3

-SP

(special thanks to Bobby Neel Adams for the amazing outtake photos from his Modern Primitives shoot with Vaughn! http://bobbyneeladams.com)


 

Ari – For an introduction let’s start with where you started piercing, be it business or just experimentation

Vaughn – Probably about 1985. I moved to San Francisco in 1984. What I wanted to do was pierce my lip and I couldn’t find any outlet to do that. I had been pierced down in LA by Jim Ward at The Gauntlet originally because I was living down there. When I got up to San Francisco there was really no one there doing anything. I wanted to pierce my lip, couldn’t find anybody to do it, so eventually I did it myself. But as far as taking on clients I would say, 1986? I just printed up business cards that said, “Vaughn” and had my phone number on it. That was it. If I saw people who had their own piercings I’d approach them like, “hey I can do noses, I can do navels, I can do this kinda deal.” I would have people over to my apartment and pierce them there. I also would set up a little portable kit and go over to peoples houses pierce people in their homes or businesses or wherever. I did that for a couple of years. I can’t remember exactly when I met Esther but she was a big influence as far as pushing me to make it happen as a business. One of the driving forces behind that was we had heard a rumor that Gauntlet was going to try and open up in San Francisco and I wanted to break away from the stigma that Gauntlet had. That stigma was very much in the West Hollywood gay community. I wanted to see piercing move out more into the underground, like the punk scene and the music scenes. That was my main drive. Esther was kind of in the same mindset that drove me – she wasn’t really oriented on the sexual aspect of it but rather the aesthetic orientation. For about three or four years I just pierced privately and did in-home visits and portable visits. In 1989 I ended up getting a little bit of inheritance. I opened Body Manipulations with seven thousand dollars. Rent on the space was like $300 a month – it was super cheap. That all worked out because I knew the tattoo people who were in the space originally – Erno tattoo. They moved upstairs and then I rented from Erno because he still had a lease on the space for a short time. We just sublet it from Erno and turned it into a piercing studio.

Continue reading

HappyAppy

 

My search for a video of a rare dolphin piercing from BRAVO’s Mike Natali has been unsuccessful, but I’ve been finding lots of great video shot at his Brandon Florida shop in the mid/late 1990s so it’s been a fair tradeoff.

This apadravya was performed on a friend after an intense SM session where the client’s friends comforted and reassured him during the piercing; not standard piercing practice in 2017 but at the time it wasn’t that unusual for ‘enhancing’ piercings to be performed in a ritualized sexual context.

This video is presented for archival purposes only and should not be considered a how-to.

 

 

VIDEO: Behind the glans ampallang

 

While ampallangs are normally pierced through the glans, some people place the piercing immediately behind the glans, or through the body of the shaft itself. A shaft ampallang placed immediately behind the glans is treated pretty much the same as a regular ampallang, but one through the body of the shaft is quite different. Experience has shown that ideally the piercing should be done while the penis is erect — since if it’s done while flaccid, it pinches when erect. This is an extremely rare piercing. 1

Piercer Mike Natali performed this ampallang piercing, placed behind the glans, in 1993 or 1994. Initially pierced with an 8g needle, the piercing was immediately stretched to 6g. While the client was happy with the placement, he removed the piercing shortly after and asked to be repierced for the sensation.

As with most of the archival videos presented on Sacred Debris, this footage contains techniques that aren’t consistent with modern standards and is being made available in an effort to document and archive body modification history.

Stay tuned to the end of the clip for a special message.

Notes:

  1. BMEZINE.COM Encyclopedia: Shaft Ampallang Piercing.

30/50

I received these Polaroids in the mid 1990s from a gentleman I met through Ken Schein’s UNIQUE contact group; at the time I was considering a frenum piercing with the intention of settling on a larger gauge. It would take me almost another decade to finally go ahead with it, an initial 2g frenum performed by piercer Sean Philips, but that paled in comparison to my pen pal’s astonishingly enlarged piercing.

The 7/16″ x 8″ bolt mentioned in the annotation  is being used as an ad hoc urethral sound.

Banner Men NSFW

According to my end of year (2015) poll, the majority of Sacred Debris readers work in some capacity at piercing or tattoo shops. So I’m not sure that a NOT SAFE FOR WORK tag is entirely necessary (if you work at a piercing shop that has issues with you looking at photos of Jack and Sid, you should probably find a new job) but tellingly enough when I use it I get greater reach on the post. Continue reading

Throbbing Gristle

[KGVID width=”640″ height=”360″]http://sacreddebris.com/wp-content/uploads/VIDEO/topy.flv[/KGVID]

Excerpt from Painless Steel featuring Mr. Sebastian (Alan Oversby) performing an Ampallang piercing on Genesis P-Orridge of Throbbing Gristle/TOPY/Psychic TV.

Last year I wrote an article for a magazine called Best Intentions that, among other things, discussed the ephemeral nature of magnetic video tape; it’s limitations and my constant surprise when a VHS cassette that’s been stored in a rubbermaid bin for a few decades still has a little bit of life left in it.

12359976_10207516741944175_5416436787275285089_nCharles Gatewood’s FLASH VIDEOS never made it into the digital age and during the last conversation we had, Charles told me that some of the volumes in the Flash collection had production runs as low as 50 units. It’s incredibly humbling when you realize the impact his documentaries had on the Body Modification community despite the relative difficulty of getting those tapes out in the days before uploads and shares and likes.

My Flash collection is far from complete and some of the tapes have, regrettably, become unwatchable, but I’m making progress converting and archiving as much footage as possible. This clip, while short, features influential UK body piercer/tattooist Alan Oversby (Mr. Sebastian) performing an ampallang piercing on cultural engineer Genesis Breyer P-Orridge. Alan’s voice appeared on the song Message from the Temple on the 1982 Psychic TV album Force the Hand of Chance.

Flash Video Content © Charles Gatewood.

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)

Some might call it degeneracy

Filmed in 1968 by noted photographer Robert Mapplethorpe’s friend and neighbor Sandy Daley and featuring an original score by his (by then former) girlfriend Patti Smith, Robert Having His Nipple Pierced was an experimental short film that finds Mapplethorpe- tripping on acid- having his nipple pierced by the Chelsea Hotel’s house physician Herb Krohn.

“[Mapplethorpe]…enlisted the aid of Dr. Herb Krohn, the Chelsea’s resident physician, who, after warning him that he felt uncomfortable puncturing “cancer-prone” tissue, reluctantly agreed to perform the procedure. “It was an unusual request,” Krohn said, “but I’d lived at the Chelsea long enough so that nothing really surprised me.” Morrisroe, P.86 1

A feature length documentary on Mapplethorpe- “Look at the Pictures” is currently streaming on HBOGo.

Notes:

  1. “Mapplethorpe: A Biography” by Patricia Morrisroe [1997].