Red(head) in Tooth and Claw A night shmoozing with the sweetest hooker in the biz.
Dana and I actually talked about how nice Dana is. Renowned not just for his piercing and suspension work, but for being all around such a fucking nice guy. From his early come-ups in California to veering off into being one of the most notable suspension practitioners, taking his skills all over the world at suscons, Dana is truly one of those old heads that’s seen some dynamic shifts the industry has taken and rolled with the punches. We sat down to talk about his introduction to suspension, the ebb of ritual, and why age helps lock down the sweet spot of professionalism in the piercing room.
Ari – Let’s do the really generic usual intro, except I want you to do it for both piercing and suspension.
Dana – The beginning of my piercing career was pretty straightforward, I was able to start an apprenticeship and attend the Gauntlet beginning training seminars the second year I believe they were offered, 1993. I don’t remember if it was the second year or not. I took the Gauntlet seminars at 17. Sharrin was running the seminar, Sharrin from the NY Gauntlet, she was a real awesome old school Psychic TV head. I “never really finished my apprenticeship” according to Jerry Metzler (Shiva) but as far as all purposes were concerned I was piercing full time by myself, with Julian Ganesha in and out of the shop because he had another full time job to pay his bills. This was in Fresno at a shop called Spear of Shiva. In 1999 I made the move to San Diego to work at Superfly, and then got an offer to move up to Portland and I was there for a few years. My introduction to suspension started a little bit more in 1999/2000, when I got involved with the San Diego crew, and once I got to Portland it was really heavy, I moved to Portland, walked into doing performances once a month at Fetish Night for five or six years straight. Continue reading →
The folks at PS Media are running an Indiegogo campaign to assist in the publication of an updated version of the classic Stelarc book The Obsolete Body. Campaign perks include volume discounts on multiple copies, postcards, posters and other books released by PSM.
When PS Media approached Stelarc to suggest that we could run a new edition of Obsolete Body, his immediate response was that it would be more interesting to publish a new book that contains a complete presentation of his suspension performances, as well as new articles and a different selection of images. We agreed immediately! It is with great pride and joy that we can now announce that PS Media will publish Stelarc’s new book: Stretched Skin—Obsolete, Uncertain and Indifferent Body.
Stretched Skin will focus on Stelarc’s suspension performances—from the very first in 1976 to the most recent in in 2012, including the collaborations with Håvve Fjell and Wings of Desire in 2012 and 2013. The book will also contain some of Stelarc’s other performances; where they have direct relevance to, or lead up to, the suspension series.
Stretched Skin will be a work of art in itself. It is a book on art by an artist, with layout and design by our award winning team. PS Media takes great pride in publishing high quality books. Our choice of printer and materials is made with careful consideration to professional and ethical standards, so that our customers receive a high quality work that they will be proud to own and display in the years to come.
You can find out more here: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/stretched-skin-a-book-by-stelarc-photography-art#/
In 2014 the Sacred Debris project received a generous donation of 1990s/early 2000s video cassettes from influential piercer/scarification artist/suspension practitioner Ron Garza chronicling the early years of his career. In late 2016 we’re going to roll out a sponsorship campaign (an ‘adopt a cassette’ if you will) to help permanently preserve, archive and share Ron’s contributions.
This video from 1997 features Ron, Steve Joyner (who’s celebrating his 46th birthday today) and a host of other performers in a piece called NATIVE URGES. My intention was to cut it down to ‘best of’ clips but ultimately decided to publish it in it’s original run time.
His flesh was virtually white, his hairless head ritualistically scarred with deep grooves that ran both horizontally and vertically, at every intersection of which a nail had been hammered through the bloodless flesh and into his bone. Perhaps, at one time, the nails had gleamed, but the years had tarnished them. No matter, for the nails possessed a certain elegance, enhanced by the way the demon held his head, as though regarding the world with an air of weary condescension. What ever torments he had planned for these last victims— and his knowledge of pain and its mechanisms would have made the Inquisitors look like school- yard bullies—it would be worsened by orders of magnitude if any one of them dared utter that irreverent nickname Pinhead, the origins of which were long lost in claim and counterclaim. -Clive Barker, The Scarlet Gospels
The core value of Sacred Debris is to resurrect old mementos and put a new shine on them. Photographs, videos and body modification culture ephemera from the last few decades all polished and presented in a new context..
Which is sort of what I’ve done with the site’s layout. I was never (even remotely) in love with the WordPress theme we’ve been using since launching the blog in 2014 and, frustrated, I made the move tonight to aesthetically merge Sacreddebris.com and it’s tattoo sister-site Occultvibrations.com to add some consistency to my two history sites. They’re remaining their own unique entities (with the occasional shared post) but will look like one cohesive site.
It may be confusing, but I assure you it’s for the greater good. Or at least my own satisfaction.
More memories from Allen Falkner’s 2009 Dallas Suscon, this time featuring a ‘suicide’ suspension from Mr. Ho, suspending from the dome that was, I believe, supplied by Ohio’s Ihung Suspension group.
During his suspension he decided to flip himself upside down, resembling the X11 card of the Tarot, the Hanged Man. Thankfully no one decided to ‘name’ the suspension, instead focusing on how rad Ho looked while pulling it off and supporting him as Allen used him as a punching bag.
Orb and Anchors Aweigh recently announced the second installation in their SKIN series; the dates are set for April 15th and 16th in Philadelphia. Not structured like a traditional (if there is such a thing) ‘Suscon’, the Skin events present suspension (and the people who perform it) as a means of performance and ritual.
The official press release follows:
SKIN:PHILADELPHIA In New York we explored community and life; we brought together practitioners from around the world, to prototype body suspension as a conceptual medium, through which we communicated forms of archetyping. In Philadelphia, we will be delving into the concept of dimension: we will expand the rigging surrounding bodies, to reflect the mental expansion we experience during the act of body suspension.
This installation will be more intimate, and will shift our focus to the concept of expanding dimensions. It is the next logical step on our path in the Skin series (the next one being Skin:LA, in 2017). As with our previous event in NYC, we will be opening this installation up to the public. This is not a SusCon format event; it is purely an art exhibition, as the two nights of Skin:NYC were. There is no registration, only ticket sales, starting in February.
Thanks to some generous donations over the last month we’ve been able to purchase a new-old media player that will help in capturing hundreds of hours of 8mm body modification films shot by Jack Yount from the late 1980s to the mid 1990s, as well as donated hard drive space to preserve the content at full resolution for future archival. It’s been a rough process; buying aging “vintage” tech always comes with problems and frustrations so it’s been a waiting game of returning a defective unit, shopping for a new one, waiting for it to arrive and all of that nonsense, but I’m beyond touched by the support we’ve received- I still want SD to be a Community Garden (where one day I’m not the only gardener) where we all help keep it afloat and the support we’ve had in the last few weeks has really lifted my spirits and made me super geeked to get back to the import/archival grind.
I’m on hiatus until the tech arrives and the eventual and often frustrating learning curve of any new system is worked out, so in the meantime…
In 2008 we hosted the third and final Scarwars event in Philadelphia; our event manager rented a 35mega-pixel medium format digital camera for staff photographer Atom Moore, who was responsible for the portrait photography at the event. He captured this very serious photograph of Wings of Desire/Pain Solution’s Håvve Fjell showing off fresh cuttings by Christiane Pinpoint of Norway. Håvve is in the fundraising phase of WoD’s newest book, TOO BLEED OR NOT TO BLEED, which covers Pain Solution performances from 2003-2015.
Out of the five and a half ModCon events held between 1999 and 2004, ModCon3 holds the title for most guests invited and most modifications performed. When we finally closed the doors on the last day our practitioners and staff were exhausted and in need of some down-time, so we headed to Shannon Larratt’s Bathurst Street house for a night of tellin’ stories and last minute suspension.
I did my first that night, along with my friends Sean and Andy who is seen here getting pierced by Blair Mclean and Steve Haworth. I’ve been to a lot of suspension events since that night but the simplicity of a bunch of friends goofing around in that back yard after a hellish, stressful weekend sticks with me as one of the best.
The first time I watched my friend Neeko suspend it was out by a campfire in the woods of Vermont. The fire only provided so much light, so we parked a Jeep up the hill and used it’s headlights to illuminate the area.
That was in August of 2003 in Burlington, VT.
In June of 2013, Neeko invited me to join him for another suspension; this time found us, along with Orb of Anchors Aweigh and Mike Coons of Hooked, driving into the Nevada desert in the wee hours of the morning, racing against time to get everything set up for the Morning Sun to rise along with Neeko who would also be branding himself with the Sun’s rays.
Neeko is one of the few people who could have convinced me, on no sleep, to head out into Bat Country at four in the morning with nothing but a pocket knife and the flashlight on my cellphone, but by the time I made a mad dash to the airport several hours later I was glad to have spent the morning with him, Orb, Mike and the rest of the crew.