Ari – Where did you first meet Ron (Athey)?
Divinity – I met Ron at Cuffs – it was the premier leather spot, a dark little place but not very big. It was very macho and leather, and I was drawn to that masculinity. I was just hanging out and Terry, my drag mother, it’s where he went out, so one night I went with him, and then after a while I went on my own. One night Ron came in and we met each other and started talking. We were both reading Dennis Cooper at the time.
Ari – Can you tell us about Dennis Cooper?
Divinity – Dennis Cooper was a gay writer- he did a lot of writing about being gay and how to maneuver in society and being true to yourself. He did a lot of really cool exposé on gay life. He was from California and that was interesting to me because for some strange reason I’d always found the idea of going to California really attractive. Something was always telling me to go there but I didn’t know what it was. Once I got there I realized what it was; it was a place I needed to be. All the places I’d been before like New Orleans and Michigan were conservative and moving out to California was really freeing for me. It was like, “oh, possibilities are endless out here!” It was a lot of good reading for me. I read a lot of Brion Gysin as well. A lot of people were like, “you’re black, why are you reading that?” I was like “I don’t know!” It was just really interesting to me. Continue reading “BSTA: Darryl Carlton (Divinity P. Fudge)”
In late August, 2018, I presented a multimedia discussion for the members of Death Party Philadelphia with the catchy title of “Where do we go when we die?” The group, some three years old now, hosts monthly events relating to death positivity and death adjacent subject matter so I worked my particular niche (the presentation may have alluded to me being a one trick pony) into it by discussing human taxidermy of tattooed skin and the fluid concept of “forever” when it comes to the human body. The central focus of the discussion were photographs and video from museums and institutions that house and exhibit preserved, tattooed, human skin- the Wellcome Collection, the Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle (MNHN), Philadelphia’s Mütter Museum and Japan’s famous Medical Pathology Museum at Tokyo University were represented alongside pop culture ephemera and some deep dives into the semiotics of tattoo culture. Continue reading “Where do we go when we die?”
I was chatting with Blake Perlingieri about Fakir and his impact on the body modification community; Blake is someone who very much embodies the spirit of Fakir’s Modern Primitives and we’re excited that he’s going to be spending some time with Ari for a BSTA interview soon. With that in mind, to celebrate what would have been Fakir’s 88th birthday, I thought this photo of the two of them, borrowed from Nomad’s Instagram account, would be a nice way to remember him.
We tried to do a lot of cleaning up on this video that a friend of Blake’s shot at the APP Conference in Las Vegas a few years back, but the sound just didn’t want to cooperate. Still, it’s worth checking out for those of us who want to soak up as much of our history as possible.
Enjoy, and happy birthday, Fakir.
GoPro cameras are not designed to use them like I tried to use them at this year’s APP Conference. Too shaky, audio is terrible but at least Ron Athey is ever-charming. Ron discusses the work of artist Jon John in this second clip from his walkthrough of the Body Piercing Archive’s 2018 exhibit on the intersection of Body Piercing and Performance Art.
Strange, is it not? that of the myriads who
Before us pass’d the door of Darkness through
Not one returns to tell us of the Road,
Which to discover we must travel too.
Fakir Musafar passed away on August, 1st. There are so many things I could write about him and the lives he touched over the course of his extraordinary career, but right now all I can say is that it was my pleasure to have known him and that I’ll miss him very much.
Journey well, Fakir.
Photo Source: Cleo Dubios.
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 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.
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.
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: