Category Archives: Piercing

Sandbox: A Safe Guide: Frenum

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I’m working on another episode of ‘A Safe Guide to Professional Piercing’ starring Jack Yount and filmed by Sailor Sid. This installment features him performing a frenum piercing with a captive bead ring that can be flipped up and used as an ad hoc cockring.

I’ve debated over how much Safe Guide footage is too much and I think the recent hafada episode is the last one that will be published for a while just to keep things from getting stale. so this video is a special treat for Sandbox supporters. I appreciate you folks and your contributions to the site.

If you have access to the Sandbox- the video is live now.

(If you’ve supported Sacred Debris and don’t have a Sandbox password, shoot me an email from the address you donated from and we’ll get you set up)

 

A Safe Guide: Prince Albert

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.

 

Starting Small

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It’s hard to argue ‘discrete modifications’ when Jack Yount had to have custom tailored pants made to accommodate his silicone enhanced penis and scrotum, but by and large his generation preferred to keep things out of the public eye.

Towards the end of his life- no doubt emboldened by the scores of visible modifications coming through his Zephyrhills Florida home- he became much more comfortable with work that clothes wouldn’t cover. He got tattooed above the collar (Kanji on his neck) and his nostril and labret pierced, and most surprisingly decided to stretch his earlobe.

This photo shows where he started; skipping the ‘give it time’ ethos and going right to a large (00g? Half Inch?) Silver Anchor tunnel from the get-go. It was taken in 1995.

Remembering Keith Alexander

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As I get older, nostalgia has become much more important to me. I didn’t get it as a kid; holidays with my parents and Uncles invariably led to annual recollections of since passed family and friends. By the time I was a teenager I could have told some of the stories verbatim; a collection of anecdotes about people who had passed away before I was born but who held a place in my Mother’s heart that was so special that stories were retold again and again for fear of losing them forever.

Eight 1 years ago today Keith Alexander passed away. Out for a bicycle ride on the Shore Road Path in Brooklyn a child cyclist riding ahead of him swerved, causing Keith to swerve quickly to compensate, his front tire hitting a pothole in the path causing him to ride full-speed into the guard rail.. The accident cost him his life. In the years that have passed I’ve found myself telling stories about him; sometimes to mutual friends who’ve heard them a million times, sometimes to people who never had the pleasure of meeting him but who listen intently as I share the “this one time” stories of one of the most dynamic human beings I’ve ever known.

When Keith was around I was always aware that I had to try harder. Not to impress him really; he never made any bones about being proud of me when it was warranted, offering me advice when I asked and kicking me in the butt when I needed it. I’m infamously critical of modern body piercers because piercers like Keith spoiled me. So many practitioners in our community consider themselves Shamans but offer nothing more than the promise of a straight piercing or a sterile suspension. They talk about Rites of Passage, but they’re not self aware enough to realize that it’s not the modification that’s the Rite- it’s the paths we walk. Keith saw the bigger picture, realizing the incredibly personal role a modification practitioner can have in the lives of his clients.

When I posted a teaser of this article on my Facebook page the other day, a friend responded that she didn’t know who Keith was. So. Let me tell you about my friend Keith.
Continue reading

Notes:

  1. July 11th 2014 marks nine years since Keith’s passing.

Do you remember your first: Nipple Piercings

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A few weeks ago I posted a picture of the first PA piercing performed by piercing pioneer Jim Ward. While getting everything together for an expanded version of the purple hanky article I came across this photo…

In the spirit of ‘do you remember your first one’…

This is Fernando. He was the infamous Leatherman who’s pierced nipples were the first that Jim saw in person. According to Jim’s invaluable book RUNNING THE GAUNTLET:

“At this point in my life I had never seen or heard of anyone with pierced nipples even in the pages of National Geographic. That was soon to change. One weekend night I went to the Village to hang out at the NYMBC. Standing shirtless by the bar was a hunk of a man. Even in the subdued light there was no missing the glint of gold on his muscular chest. His nipples were pierced. I learned that his name was Fernando and that he was something of a local legend. Though I was never fortunate enough to enjoy the intimate pleasure of his company, he at least let me know that once again I was not alone.”

That feeling- of not being alone- was very powerful in the early days of Body Modification, before finding others ‘like us’ was a mouse click away.

Do you remember the first time you saw someone who was pierced/tattooed/modified it it made you feel connected to something bigger? Share the story!

Farewell, Samy.

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In 2009 I shared a short clip with BME/News of an interview between Sailor Sid Diller and Tattoo Samy with the promise to eventually get the whole video digitized for archival. This blurb ran along with the video:

“Samy appeared in P.F.I.Q. #18 (1983) and #19 as the magazine’s first documented tongue piercing. This clip has audio and video glitches (that Roo was kind enough to clean up to the best of his ability) present in the original VHS; that’s why these are so important to share. Once the original masters degrade – this stuff could be lost forever. I hope you guys are enjoying these glimpses into our not so distant past!”

Tonight’s Sacred Debris “video Tuesday” was going to be the full video with a higher resolution capture.
It turns out that the 2009 post was all too prophetic- the cassette had degraded since the last time it was played to the point where the tape had snapped. All hope isn’t lost, as I’m going to be on the lookout for anyone with experience in splicing VHS tapes (which is probably a skill-set who’s days are limited) so we can permanently archive this footage; until then swing over to BME/News for the original clip:

http://news.bme.com/2009/04/02/sammy-sid/

If any of you techie folks can manage to extract that video file from the page, please get in touch. I’d like to make sure to have that copy on my backup drive just to be safe.

Taking a day off to rest..

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Tuesday is generally reserved for video updates, but today is going to be a day of rest here at Sacred Debris; a day to lay down in bed watching True Detective and smothering my pre’ance Julia with birthday kisses. Everyone needs a rest now and then- just ask Viking Navaro (pictured above.)

Bud has long been one of my favorite ‘old school’ modification figures; one of the original ‘Modern Primitives’ who had a very striking aesthetic for his generation. My collection contains quite a few photos (prints and polaroids) of him to be scanned.

But that can wait for another day.

Meet Merv C.


Tuesday is generally the day that I do new release videos on Sacred Debris, but I’m feeling kinda stuck on this one. I had planned to write a lot more about today’s video,  featuring a brief chat with Sailor Sid Diller and tattoo/piercing enthusiast Merv Chapman conducted by Jack Yount, but I think I’ll just let the video speak for itself.  Merv had extensively pierced nipples and genitals and was, as this clip shows, very concerned about the ‘bitches’ at airport security harassing him about his piercings; so much so that he painstakingly removes each and every piece of jewelry before flying. A pretty big undertaking considering how much jewelry he wears.

I had first seen Merv in Stefan Richter’s 1986 book TATTOO and later in prints in Jack Yount’s house. He later appeared in HIDDEN EXPOSURES 1 , most likely photographed during the visit he mentions with Stefan in this video. Hidden Exposures is long since out of print, but it’s a true gem for body modification book collectors, featuring Jack Yount, Mr. Sebastian, Merv, Isobel Varley, Genesis P-Orridge and many, many more wonderfully tattooed and pierced personalities.

Jack made these videos to be sent all over the world, connecting the body modification community no matter how remote or isolated; I’m pleased to be able to carry on Jack’s mission to keep these memories alive. In the oral tradition, I’ll share a story that Jack shared with me about Merv undergoing heart surgery. Apparently he was made aware by the surgeon that he’d have to have an incision in his chest, and he demanded that the surgeons perfectly line his tattoo back up during the suturing process or they might as well not cut him. He reckoned that he had gone through the pain of the tattoo and didn’t want to see the artist’s work disfigured!

Thanks to a donation to the Sacred Debris project of a 2tb backup drive, we’ve got quite a bit more room to capture new video and  I can start pulling over tapes now instead of relying on footage already captured. Seeing you folks get behind the project and support it really makes the worth worthwhile!

 

Notes:

  1. DE VAAR BV 1994. ISBN 90-75201-01-X

One month later…

Silver Anchor, Zephyrhills Florida 1980s

Silver Anchor, Zephyrhills Florida 1980s

Consider a piece of body jewelry.
Not some piece of mass produced low quality mall kiosk belly button ring with vibrating dolphin charm, but a beautiful handmade piece of wearable art made by an artisan company that takes pride in producing the finest jewelry available. Each piece takes time to be realized, created and quality checked before it moves to the next step in the chain- the folks who pack it up with care and send it to you knowing that you’re sitting around your mailbox counting the seconds until it arrives.

It’s a process with a lot of moving parts that works well in harmony and leaves both ends of the transaction happy.

Consider Sacred Debris.
Today is our one month anniversary. In that time, we’ve had almost 10,000 visitors. The most popular post for unique page views was Evolution of a Subculture: ModCon, the most traffic from a referring link was from Luis Garcia’s tumblr and we’ve had contributions from myself, Allen Falkner, Ron Garza and Luna Duran. During our first month I think we’ve managed to set a tone for what you can expect in the coming weeks.

As readers, you folks have left 214 comments on the 21 posts we’ve created. One of my main worries in starting a new project (with SPCOnline and Scarwars.net under my belt) was that it would be a one sided thing. Our team (which is mostly me right now) doing all of the work and having nothing to show for it in the end. I’ve been pleased to see that level of interaction- of community- with the Sacred Debris project. It may seem to be an afterthought, but discussing the articles really does make a difference. It shows us that the content is being read and appreciated, that there’s a market for something as incredibly niche as Body Modification history. The reblogs on tumblr, twitter and Facebook are also incredibly helpful in bringing visibility to what we’re doing, so keep that up. We’re going to be doing random contests for comments and reblogs- tshirts, original photographs from the SPC archive, posters- so there’s going to be some fun stuff coming (starting tonight with the ‘Do you remember your first PA’ contest) so stay tuned.

That brings us to the little button beneath this post. DONATE. Both sides- reader and editors- working together.
We’re never going to do a ‘hard sell’ on donations; this is not a paid site (our PG rated videos come with google ads and we may accept paid ads from reputable shops/jewelry in the future, but there will never be a fee to view content) but the site does cost money to create and maintain. At the moment, our server space and bandwidth is being donated but we have no escrow account if that were to ever change. Given the explicit content of our site we can’t run on WordPress.com’s servers, so should we lose our server we lose our site.

wd-cloudThen there’s the hardware.
To date, most of the videos I’ve added- of Body Modification icons like Jack Yount, Ed Fenster and Til of Cardiff- has been content I’ve previously captured for other projects- videos that were sitting on DVDrs unedited. Capturing new content means needing storage space. Capturing an hour long video (such as Sailor Sid’s Guide to Safe Piercing) at full resolution for archival clocks in somewhere around 30-60gb depending on the settings. When they’re uploaded they’re considerably smaller, but to preserve these tapes for future generations requires storage- more storage than I have.

We also need to purchase- or arrange donations- for a variety of media players including mini-dv and 8mm, as well as negative scanners for old analog 35mm print archival.

Last but certainly not least is time. With my current setup, adding a 10 minute video to Sacred Debris takes as much as ten hours to get online. Sorting the tapes that are often unlabeled. Scanning them from start to finish to make sure that all the content on the tape is accounted for. Importing it into my macbook. Cleaning up or removing audio, editing it down into a usable movie when then has to render and get uploaded before I sit down to write the article that accompanies it.

As a reader, you then sit down, watch a five-ten minute video, possibly leave a comment, share on social media and wait for the next update.

My hope is that the folks who care about this kind of content will want to see the project continue and will throw a few bucks into the hat to keep it going. If every viewer who checked us out in the first month would have dropped $1 into the pot- we’d have a workable budget for years to come.

So. I’m asking you folks for a little help.

The donation button is here in this entry as well as on the sidebar of the main site. If you see an update you really love and think it’s worth a buck or two… please feel free. Trust me, every little bit helps.

Thank you all so much for a great first month, and here’s hoping for more where that came from!

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