Modern Sideshow: Bebe the Circus Queen

bebe

From our friends at Wikipedia:
Bebe the Circus Queen (Beatrice Aschard) would perform a variety of stunts such as having a watermelon placed on her back and split with a sword, lying on a bed of nails while weights were placed on her chest… or the “Plastic Bag Of Death”, where she gets into a large plastic bag and one of the other performers sucks all of the air out with a vacuum cleaner. She would also employ an electric grinder in her act (for example, she would create a shower of sparks from a metal chastity belt covering her groin area).”

Taking classic acts from sideshow and vaudeville and translating them for modern audiences, the Jim Rose Circus Sideshow found themselves with ‘falling ovations’ daily, as people in the crowd would faint (no doubt aided by standing in the sun for hours, binge drinking and enjoyment of recreational party favors) as The Amazing Mr. Lifto performed his take on Rasmus Neilsen’s ‘pierced weight lifting’, upping the ante by including swinging heavy objects from his pierced penis. They’d cover their eyes as The Torture King skewered his cheeks and torso like B. A. Bryant had done decades before while touring with Barnum himself and laugh with relief when ThEnigma, tattooed from head to toe like a jigsaw puzzle did a tattooed clown act- that is until he started geeking live insects.

This was still when piercing culture trended older- 40s, 50s- and youth culture was just starting to discover expressing themselves with tattoos, body piercings, scarification and other avenues of modifying their bodies. Seeing stretched piercings swinging weights live on stage, with Eddie Vedder (or insert rockstar here) joining the cast to oooh and awww had a profound effect.

But the one member of the original troupe that didn’t get much attention was Rose’s partner, Bebe the Circus Queen. She didn’t have the dynamic motormouth of Jim, the pain proof skin of Tim “Torture King” Cridland, the stretched piercings of Joe Lifto… so she often got overlooked when it came to media write-ups of the show.

This may be an odd photo for a body modification history/culture blog in so much as it features no body modification, but without the Jim Rose show’s promotion of piercing/tattoo/modification culture during the transitional years of the early 1990s, things may have played out differently, and without Bebe, the Circus wouldn’t have been what it was.

That and I really liked the photo.

Late 1990s, 35mm print scan.

Radio on the Internet: Real Talk with Will and Nicholas

I met Nicholas Adams a few years ago in Las Vegas at the APP Conference and Expo. He was wearing a skin tight Fred Perry, had a Bill the Butcher gleam in his eye and called me a Geezer. Over the course of our friendship he’s been an occasional houseguest, an Uncle to my Italian Greyhound (who he calls Suzanne despite it being a male hound named Bailey) and even married one of my favorite people in the world.

He’s also the funniest person I’ve ever met.

My newer friend Will sat down with Nicholas on his “podcast” to discuss the trials and tribulations of being an on-the-road body piercer; if that sounds like your cup of tea you should check it out. From the show’s description:

In this weeks episode, we speak about a  topic that is gaining quite a bit of momentum in the industry. That topic is being a Traveling Body Piercer. As we see, the demand for a unique individual that can seamlessly cover days, or even weeks at high end studios. It is becoming clear that this is a  viable option for a body piercer.

That brings us to this weeks guest, the journeyman himself, Nicholas Adams. Nicholas has been exclusively traveling the country working in some of the most well-known studios across America. We take some time to discuss the pros and cons of traveling, what we both think is best for your social media and what it takes to be a rambling man in this industry.

You can listen to it here: Life on the Road. 

 

About Real Talk: A Piercing Podcast-

Real Talk is a podcast from the minds of piercing industry professionals on piercing and piercing culture. Each episode is centered on a common theme with a guest. We will discuss things such as piercing methods,industry topics, jewelry, and culture. Real Talk is hosted by professional body piercer Will VonDoome.

Better Safe than Ari: Sean Philips

Tell your MOM I said ‘Hey’- A backyard BBQ with Sean Philips.

Sean Philips is a bad motherfucker with a voice that sounds like an angel orgasming at a Lynyrd Skynyrd concert. For the last two decades he’s been helping shape the industry we have today – there’s hardly a major event or forum he hasn’t participated in. If you’ve ever asked a piercing question online, there’s a good chance he was on the other side answering it. From humble beginnings inside a piercing pagoda to running his own studio with his wife, Sean has seen and done it all. We got up early in the morning to talk about the pre-BME days, history, and why getting your heroes drunk will make your dreams come true.

Ari – Sean, go ahead and give us an introduction.

Sean – My name is Sean Philips and I’ve been piercing 20 years. I started in 1996, so my career will be of legal drinking age in October. I am currently in Round Rock, Texas, right outside Austin where I own and pierce out of Golden Goat Tattoo Company. Continue reading

Jack and Kristian

My earliest piercing experiences with Jack Yount taught me that he came from the bigger-is-better school; at a time when some piercers were starting with initial 14g jewelry, Jack was more prone to starting at 8g. Blake and Kristian at NOMAD SF certainly understood the appeal of large gauge piercings and jewelry, so when Jack visited their shop in 1994 he instantly warmed up to them both. This photo features Kristian and Jack-  if you’d like to read up on an often overlooked face from the early 1990s piercing scene, check out this BME interview conducted by Shannon Larratt: https://news.bme.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/pubring/people/A10101/krist.html

Sens and Sensibility: A romantic chat with Jim Sens



Jim Sens is one of the genuinely sweetest guys you’ll ever meet.  Like almost too sweet.  Suspiciously sweet.  Like, “Who the fuck is this guy?  Why is he so nice?  Who told him he could be so nice?”  Jim has been a notable figure on the scene for quite some time now, being a big proponent of the early surface bar movement, and also for his breakneck speed with a needle.  Jim has essentially taken the High Priestess Campus location to one of the most high volume shops in the country with his personality and skills.  We recently sat down to talk about the midwest, the surface bar, and picking glue out of his penis.Ari- Ok bud, so give ahead, give it a whirl, do the introduction.

Jim Sens- Hi, I’m Jim, I’ve been piercing for a bit over 18 years, and I’ve been working at High Priestess for the last 10.  I’ve worked at a variety of big name studios before that. I started out piercing at a studio in St Cloud, Minnesota, called Cloud 9 Tattoo.  Before that I worked counter at a studio that isn’t around anymore called The Dark Side in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Continue reading

El Camino

Trying to write anything aobut Pat Tidwell without resorting to superlatives is proving impossible. Respected body piercer is a given; when I asked a few mutual friends to describe Tid in one word I got back legend and iconic a few times- but I think I’m going to go with psychedelic sherpa and leave it at that.

This photo was taken in 2006 at the Southern California SCARWARS2 event- either by Atom Moore or Rachel Larratt. (It was in a folder labeled ‘lost disc’ so…)