Piercing in Performance Walkthrough (pt1)

Over the last several years, one of the biggest highlights of the annual Association of Professional Piercers Conference and Exposition has been the exhibits curated by the Body Piercing Archive; while we’re blessed to have a seemingly limitless amount of virtual space for the preservation of material documenting body modification there is something to be said for the tangible experience of seeing these reliquaries in person.

For the 2018 Conference, the BPA 1 curated an exhibit on the intersection of body piercing and performance art featuring familiar names like Ron Athey, TSD, CoRE, Genesis P-Orridge, Bob Flanagan, Stelarc, Jon John and a host of others. Ron and collaborator Divinity P. Fudge were on hand as guest docents, joining BPA’s Paul King, TSD’s Allen Falkner, CoRE’s Steve Joyner, Dr. Dominic Johnson and Dr. Julian Carter on guided tours of the Perforated Body.

This clip features Ron Athey and Darryl Carlton (Divinity P. Fudge) on their first exhibit walkthrough.

2018 APP Conference exclusive BSTAV2

We’re working overtime to get the second print volume of Better Safe than Ari interviews ready for this year’s APP Conference and Expo in Las Vegas with a convention exclusive PURPLE AS ALL HELL edition that will be released a few weeks ahead of the standard version. The cover design isn’t finalized and is subject to change. But it will still be PURPLE AS ALL HELL.

The second volume features interviews with:

  • Mark Seitchik.
  • Mic Rawls.
  • Tom Brazda.
  • Scott Shatsky.
  • Sean McManus.
  • Ken Dean.
  • David Vidra.
  • Bethrah Szumski.
  • Curt Warren.

.. and if we get it ready in time a bonus interview.

The regular edition pre-order will be available in late July 2018. If you’re going to be attending this year’s APP Conference and would like a copy of the Vegas exclusive: click here.

APP Conference 2018 Highlight: In the beginning there was Gauntlet

On Tuesday July 17th body piercing pioneer Jim Ward will be presenting his IN THE BEGINNING THERE WAS GAUNTLET class to attendees of the annual APP Conference and Expo at the Bally’s hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Jim’s classes are living, breathing history and are a guaranteed good time. If you’re going to be attending this year’s Conference you can sign up for it here:

https://www.cvent.com/events/association-of-professional-piercers-23rd-annual-conference-and-exposition/registration-4e23c3b113ef482c9f136e5bf4850686.aspx?fqp=true

BSTA: Curt Warren

Curt Warren and Erin Figureoa, The Piercing Elf, APP 1999.

Curt – Let me tell you a little bit about my start, I know all your interviews start with that.  I grew up in Ogden, Utah, which is about forty miles outside Salt Lake City.  I started having ear piercings around middle school – I got influenced by heavy metal so I thought, “fuck, I gotta have my ears pierced now!”  After high school I moved to Maui, Hawaii, and while I was living over there a friend of mine got back after having spent the summer in New York.  We were having coffee and she was eating soup, and I kept hearing this clank!  I asked,  “what the hell is that noise?”  And she said, “oh, it’s my tongue piercing!”  This was around 1993, and she showed it to me, and I’d never seen one, or even considered it for that matter!  I became very fixated with it, fascinated by it, and decided I had to have one or else I couldn’t live anymore!  The closest place for me to get one was in Honolulu on Oahu.  This woman who called herself “The Piercing Elf” had a little piercing only studio there, so I flew out, rented a car, and failed to check her hours.  I spent a lot of money to fly out there and hang out and fly back to Maui without a tongue piercing.  So I saved up and a few months later I flew back out, made sure to check her hours first this time, and got it done.  The experience for me – not being involved with the industry, not having any tattoos and only having some ear piercings – I was rather intimidated by her.  She was sleeved and had a lot of piercings, but she had a great bedside manner, which made me feel comfortable.  My first professional piercing experience was a piercing only studio with good jewelry and good bedside manner. Continue reading

Uncovered: In the Flesh V1

Before the 1989 release of RE/Search Publications’ seminal book Modern Primitives, body piercing/modification documentation fell on the shoulders of a very small group of people. PFIQ,  Piercing World, BODY ART– by Jim Ward/Gauntlet, Pauline Clarke/PAUK and Henry Ferguson and Lynn Proctor, respectively- were niche periodicals for a niche subculture that had incredibly limited distribution. For better or for worse, you had to know you wanted it to find it.

The tattoo magazines that ruled the mass market newsstand shelves may have occasionally featured photos of pierced tattoo collectors and artists, but they generally didn’t talk about the piercings themselves. Modern Primitives represents a pretty significant nodal point for the cultural shift of mainstreaming body piercing, suspension and even surgical modification; photos of New Zealand resident Carl Carrol’s bisected penis being available to anyone who walked into a Barnes and Noble marks a pretty major shift from the procedure’s “fringe within a fringe” past.

Inspired by the success of Modern Primitives, and no doubt an attempt to get ahead of the zeitgeist, OB Enterprises (the publishers of Outlaw Biker and Outlaw Biker Tattoo Revue 1) released the premiere issue of In the Flesh magazine in 1992. From the introduction:

A few years back Re/Search Publications printed a wonderful book entitled “Modern Primitives“. This magazine, In the Flesh, is meant to continue on where they left off. Each issue (provided you buy enough of this first issue to make it worth our while to do it all again) will explore ancient and modern body/mind modifications. Future issues will include articles on ritual and magic, Neo-Paganism, body building, strange food, cross dressing, gender bending, tattooing, scarification, virtual reality, subliminal learning, smart drugs and yes, more piercing info. Feel free to jump on in and send us your suggestions about other topics we should cover.

With gender bending, scarification, and a woman of color on the cover, the premiere issue of In the Flesh stood out among the other biker oriented tattoo magazines, no doubt as a result of editor Michelle Delio’s guidance.

The first issue featured midwest piercers (Mad)Jack and Anna Kaplan, Barbara Pierce and branding by Florice and an iconic interview with Cliff Cadaver. Further tying it to Modern Primitives, it also features an interview with, and content from, Jim Ward.

While Modern Primitives crossed over into pop culture/academic/kink territory (with a book being more highbrow, even for the lowbrow) In the Flesh had newsstand distribution and a much lower price point at $4.95 a copy, which no doubt had a democratizing affect. Ease of purchase, low cost- younger piercing fans had much quicker access to the material and among the middle school era of piercers is often mentioned as a direct influence.

Copies of In the Flesh occasionally show up on eBay close to their original cover price.

 

 

 

Notes:

  1. Though strangely, the premiere issue of In the Flesh had it presented by OB Enterprise’s Tattoos By Women.

The Road to Awe

I am grateful and honored beyond words to have known you-all of you who have been touched by my presence and followed my example-and the dizzying, fun, enlightening, and delightful experience of seeing so many embrace body piercing and body rituals. I never expected our passions and practices to grow to a global phenomenon-that my early visions of Modern Primitives would expand beyond my wildest dreams. Thank you for embracing, growing, and embodying our art, craft, and energetic ritual practices. They have changed the cultural landscape worldwide. May they serve you well in the future. – Fakir Musafar


If you read Sacred Debris often enough (and I sure hope you do) you’ve no doubt seen mentions of nodal points; points of data in a timeline that shine like beacons, who’s influence spreads out, branches and has an intrinsic impact on everything that comes after them.

I’ve also used the phrase “Major Arcana” while discussing luminaries in the body art community- people who’s presence and persona is impossible to separate from the fabric of our subculture.

These concepts intersect with Fakir Musafar; you could individually catalog every nodal point he’s left on the map of body art and each point would represent a major shift in the cultural landscape. You could talk about his early days of self documentation; his relationship with PFIQ/Gauntlet, his participation in the film Dances, Sacred & Profane, his friendship with Charles Gatewood, his connection with Modern Primitives (the book, of course, and the concept) and all of the piercers and body artists who went through the Fakir Intensives- any one of those would be an unimaginably important legacy.

Earlier today Fakir announced that he has been fighting stage four lung cancer since October of 2017 and that his time with us is coming to a close. In his farewell message, which can be read here, Fakir says that he has been honored to have known us. I think I can say with absolute certainly that the privilege has been all ours.

Photo from SPC, posted 1998.

 

 

 

Color Grading. (NSFW)

By the time I finally click upload on the video that’s currently in my editing queue- a video that will clock in with a runtime of somewhere around the eighteen minute range- I’ll have spent roughly ten hours on task time for the final edit. Most of that will be spent color grading the footage, which was shot on VHS tape at Sailor Sid Diller’s Florida home/studio in 1985. Continue reading

Ready to Wear: May the 4th

Happy May the 4th (be with you) everyone!
Georgia based artist Jason Craig was our go-to artist for event branding throughout the 2000s; in 2005 he designed this Star Wars/Liberty Bell Mashup t-shirt for the inaugural ScarWars event in Philadelphia. It was printed in two styles; on a black t-shirt and on a grey raglan t-shirt.

The shirts were available for pre-order and at the event, and never reprinted.

Scarwars event fixer Brian Sowden and host Shawn Porter, 2005