Tag Archives: Gauntlet

BSTA: Mic Rawls


Mic Rawls is like a portal into one of the greatest times in history. Coming in through with extraordinary beginnings, he’s a shining example that you can enjoy a hearty tenure in piercing while still radiating positivity. Mic took time away from holding down the fort at one of the best shops in the country to talk about his time with Jon Cobb, what it takes to keep your love of piercing strong, and to reminisce on the early stages of the APP conference.


Ari – I always have everyone do the introduction, give us your name and how long you’ve been working in the industry for and where you’re currently at.

Mic – My name is Mic Rawls, I am currently at Cold Steel America in San Francisco, I’ve happily been here as manager for the last ten and senior piercer for the last 18 years at this shop.  I’ve been piercing 23 years this last month, which is rad, still loving it (most days of it!). Continue reading

BSTA: Mark Seitchik

Lauren Pine, Autumn Asbury, Mark, Denise Gianneta, Dug McDowel and Kieth Alexander. NYC 1994 photo courtesy of Mark Seitchik.

Masterpierce Theatre: Mark Seitchik

Mark is one of those piercers who I’d heard about for so long, and had been so curious about, but information always seemed relatively scarce. His years at Gauntlet are some of the most interesting times in our history, and he sat at the helm of both San Fransisco and New York studios, helping train and work alongside some of the most notable piercers in history. One of only five people ever bestowed the title of Master Piercer, his passion and humility brought him to the top of the piercing world in the early and mid 90s. Mark is an incredible person with a rich history in our community, and even decades after he’s left he is someone we need to respect, to remember, and to admire. Reading about someone and talking to them is like night and day; talking with Mark was one of the most humbling experiences in my career. I am thrilled to be able to share this. Continue reading

Experience Jim Ward

I can’t remember what the first question I ever asked Jim Ward was; I’m sure it was three in the morning and I was going through a stack of photos and needed to identify the subject in a print and saw that Jim was active online so I shot a quick message out (or any number of other “Jim, do you have a second?” scenarios that have come up since then) without really appreciating how blessed and privileged I- and we as a piercing community- was to be able to have Jim around to help bring the early years of our communal history to life.

I’m certainly appreciative of it now though. Jim is infinitely patient and engaging with those of us who are passionate about modern body piercing and it’s history. For years I’ve been an evangelist for his book RUNNING THE GAUNTLET, (which you can pick up here) because it allows folks who were too young to experience Jim’s era of piercing a window in; piercers who weren’t born when Jim hung up his needles and retired from being a professional body piercer. But the crew at 23rd Street Body Piercing have upped the ante, inviting Jim Ward to spend a few days in November at their shop, offering one on one visits with one of the most important figures in the history of body piercing. What’s more- you can also get pierced by Jim during your visit! Piercings would have to be pre-approved by Jim, but let me tell you this is an amazing opportunity. From 23rd Street Body Piercing:

 

“We are super excited to announce that Jim Ward will be doing a guest spot here at 23rd Street Body piercing this November! There are only 20 spots available. If you want to take advantage of this incredible opportunity to have 1-on-1 time with Jim you’ll be required to place a $500 non-refundable deposit all of which will go to Jim. This industry would not be what it is today without him, please show your support.
To book please click the link below. If you have any questions please email [email protected]
*The hour with Jim may be spent in what ever way you may seem fit. Your hour can be a rare chance for a good visit, and could also include getting pierced. Piercings performed in that hour must be pre-approved by Jim at the time of booking and included in the appointment notes section of the booking.”

This is a rarer than rare chance to pick Jim’s brain, maybe leave with something shiny, and show your support to a true pioneer!

BSTA: Paul King

Paul 1995 photo by Christine Kessler.

Masterpierce Theatre: Paul King

Paul King is so handsome it takes a continued effort not to rip the skin off my own face.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s be frank; Paul is a motherfucking national treasure. I honestly don’t know if I can write a proper introduction without it slipping into something so masturbatory that becomes unreadable, so I’ll just say that he is one of the most revered and respected people in this industry, and deserving of every bit of that. We spoke about Paul’s introduction to body piercing, some of the Master Piercers, cultural appropriation, and the Body Piercing Archives. Don’t forget after all of this to reach out and thank Paul for being who he is, saying what he says, and doing what he does. Also, while you’re at it, thank him for being really, really hot.

Ari- I always have everyone do the standard introductions, so tell us your name and how long you’ve been piercing and where you’re currently at.

Paul- My name is Paul King and I’ve been a professional body piercer since 1991. I was inspired and trained at a company called the Gauntlet; it was the first piercing shop in the Western world. I served a one-and-a-half-year apprenticeship under Elayne Angel. I then went on to manage Gauntlet Los Angeles, worked in the San Francisco store, and also managed Gauntlet New York. Gauntlet closed in 1998. In 1999, Grant Dempsey and I (Dempsey of Cold Steel International in London), opened up two tattooing and piercing shops in San Francisco called Cold Steel America (www.coldsteelpiercing.com). One was in the old San Francisco Gauntlet location, the other was in the upper Haight. We briefly attempted to do wholesale and decided to open in 2001. You can imagine how well that went. Wholesale didn’t last so long. So after that we parted ways in 2008. He was moving to Australia with his family and I was heading back to school. We let go of the Market street location, and I now have one shop on Haight street in the old Haight-Ashbury district. Continue reading

FEB79JIMA: Guiche Gauntlet (NSFW)

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Model: Jim A.
Piercer: Jim Ward.
Piercing: Guiche, Scrotum.
Year: February 1979.

A few weeks ago I went off on a (good natured) rant about the recent trend in the piercing community to have custom gold threaded jewelry made, often at considerable expense, in designs as varied as slices of pizza, Harry Potter iconography and Jersey shore tattoo classics like infinity symbols, feathers and Playboy bunnies.

Since there’s really nothing new under the sun, I instantly thought of early piercing personality Jim A. (who’s been featured on SD several times) and his amazing guiche weight that was made to resemble Gauntlet’s iconic logo. In the early days of western piercing the guiche weight was a fairly popular item, but as far as originality and style goes- no one really beat Jim.

Edit: Jim Ward shared this: “Thank you for the kind words. Jim Anderson was a great guy who died too early probably from AIDS. I personally sculpted that fist weight. It was cast in silver, not gold.”

Jim may be inclined to recast these weights if there’s an interest- and there should be!

 

Mail Call

10346362_10205313162736072_1248252913514474697_nToday wasn’t quite the horrific Snow Day that local meteorologists called for, but with 1/8″ of snow on the ground I used it as motivation to do a little cleaning around the house, starting with unsorted boxes in my closet. Years of correspondence were lost in one of my moves (from Florida to Philadelphia, I’d bet) but there are still a few boxes of mail that were saved from that fate so after a trip to Target to buy more Rubbermaid bins I took to the task of sorting twenty year old letters and hopefully making headway with the creating of a filing system.

Some of the highlights so far:

A letter from the editor of ‘Epidermal Intrusions’ which was intended to be to Modification what PFIQ was to Body Piercing. My name had been given to the editor (Rhalan) by Steve Haworth, who I wouldn’t meet in person for another year. We exchanged a few letters before the project eventually lost steam and was canceled before ever going to print.

Keith Alexander’s followup letter to the APP after sending in his membership application (circa 1995/6) with detailed counterpoints to issues raised by the fledgling organization with typical K.A. passive aggressive charm.

Open Letter to 1996 APP Conference (Orlando) attendees, possibly from Keith. It’s unsigned.

5″x7″ original print of Jack Yount from  photographer Stefan Richter.

Postcard from Jack Yount from a vacation to Southern California.

Well- here I am trying to be discovered. All the do is undress me and then they faint. Such is fame. Went to the Gauntlet this A.M., Sorry but it didn’t do a lot for me. Poor rep by people I talked to in the shop. Was in Mexico, San Fran and now L.A. Will be back next week. Tell the family I said “High”. -Jack

 

Letters from ‘Toecutter’ written in his typical ‘stream of consciousness’ style.

UNIQUE contact list mailings.

Photos of Tom Brazda doing ‘lo-bretts’ on Shannon Larratt, mailed from Stainless Studios.

While it’s made me sad that I’ve lost so much correspondence over the years I was pleased by how much was still around; I’m going to start scanning the letters and postcards tomorrow so they’ll never be lost again.

 

PFIQ #31 Cover

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I was putting a bunch of material together for an academic research request on ‘women in early western body modification’ this week which included this scan from PFIQ#31 (1988) featuring side art by the late Bud Larsen.

The demographics in the 70s/80s skewed towards males (primarily gay males) but going back through the old PFIQs while gathering up information, I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of female representation included. Issue 31 was almost 50/50 with female and male piercing content including a wonderful photoshoot featuring Krystine Kolorful by legendary photographer Diane Mansfield.

As I told the researcher (who I’ll ask to share her final project with SD readers) the early days were much more dialed into sexuality than aesthetics, so most of the representation was (pleasantly celebrating) sex positive which made the older issues a lot more fun than the later ones in my opinion.

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.

The Art of Pierced Penises and Decorative Tattoos Part 2

When Doug Malloy’s “Adventures of a Piercing Freak” was published by Calston Industries 1 under the title “The Art of Pierced Penises and Decorative Tattoos” it had to, by extension, contain tattoo content. This chapter was most likely not written by Doug and contains ‘stock’ images of tattooed men, including photos of Mr. Sebastian, among others. One of the photos features a meatotomy, making it one of the earliest examples of western genital cutting I’ve seen in print.

 

TATTOOING AS AN ART

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Mr. Sebastian, 1982

As readers of this book have no doubt noticed, most of the illustrations in this book show models who, in addition to being pierced, are also extensively tattooed. The art of tattooing is almost as old as piercing and the two seem to go naturally together. In modern days, tattooing has attained great popularity among both sexes with modern transistorized tattoo machines, not only is it almost painless, much more intricate designs can be achieved.

Many artists, who work also and other artistic mediums, have taken at the art of tattooing in recent years, which adds to the artistic designs that can be applied to the body. Not too many years ago, the only extensive tattoo designs that could be seen were on freaks in circus sideshows,  many of whom often had their entire body is covered with tattoo designs .Today in addition to the type of tattoos seen in these page,s many people choose to have small tattoos placed on strategic or intimate parts of their bodies. Gay men have been known to have small ‘flying’ cocks for the back of thighs with the head pointed to the anus.  Women often have small flowers or other more feminine designs placed on the breasts or near their vaginal openings.

Tattoos are no longer considered only for the butch men or masculine women. People from all walks of life now have tattoos as part of their permanent bodily adornment.

The only real problem with tattoos is that they are permanent. Only plastic surgery can remove them, and even that process leaves a visible scar. So if you decide, as so many others have to have a tattoo put on your body, think long and hard before you go ahead. It is something that will be with you for the rest of your life. Make sure that the design is one that will always please you, and as an added precaution have a placed somewhere on your body so that it will not always be visible.

A tattoo in an unexpected place can be both a surprise and a sexual turn-on to your selected partner. But a word of warning is also an order: tattoos can also be a turnoff to many people. The choice, of course, is yours and we suggest only that if you are considering a tattoo, that you think long and hard about it and choose not only the design but the tattoo artist carefully.

It can be an expensive decision as well as a lasting decision, depending on the intricacy of the design you choose and the number of colors that are needed.

Don’t, as many people have, make your decision on the spur the moment and head for the nearest tattoo parlor. Make your decision in the cold light of day and with a sober and clear mind shop around. Visit several tattoo artists, watch them at work if possible and ask your friends who they consider to be the best in the business.

Notes:

  1. Calston Industries, Sherman Oaks ,California