Tag Archives: Suspension

Evolution of a subculture: CURED Tour/Uvatiarru

Pict0023-out copy
In 2003, a small crew sponsored by BMEZine founder Shannon Larratt started a North American tour to film Body Modification enthusiasts/practices for what promised to be a very unique documentary.

Shannon sent out DVC cameras to people not on the tour’s path who he felt could contribute something unique, equipped Jon Cobb with a camera for a tour of South East Asia and even managed to make a website and trailer for the film- Uvatiarru– that ultimately never got produced.

This image is from the first stop of the US Tour on 04 May 2003. While the tour allowed for the crew to go to the homes/studios of the people they were filming, some folks stepped it up and hosted parties and events when the tour came through their town.

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IAM.BME community members Lauren and Sam organized a suspension event in NYC for the first stop of the tour, which found CURED member (and ModCon/SCARwars photographer) Philip Barbosa suspending with an assist from ROP’s Emrys Yetz. A Cured crew member- Johnny- films in the background.

I’ve been told that these tapes still exist; they’re just waiting to be put together and celebrate a time/place that was very influential in the development of the Body Modification community worldwide.

Circus Convergence II: The Squid Shift Solution

tumblr_mjmrgsQrM51qc2oo7o1_500Philadelphia Area body mod fans may be interested in a performance by the Headmaster himself- Haave Fjell from Pain Solution (and friends) will be performing in Philadelphia on Wednesday 2nd April in South Philadelphia.

Press release:
https://www.facebook.com/events/1403997519864920/

Prepare to witness the freakiest group of death defying weirdos!! Join “The Squid Shift Solution” for a night of mind boggling sideshow stunts that will leave you in stitches one minute and your jaw on the floor the next.

Circus Convergence II brings Clowns and Fakirs from around the world together for a tour across the eastern half of the United States enroute to the Dallas Suspension Convention. In each performance these entertainers push the limits of the human body making the impossible possible, challenging their minds and the audience around them, night after night.

Andrew S. (Swing Shift Sideshow Las Vegas, NV) brings classic circus entertainment screaming into the 21st century. Andrew Specializes in ancient and deadly feats of skill, along with jaw dropping original stunts. He is able to control “involuntary” actions of his brain and body and is one of the most deadliest sword swallowers in the world.

The Head Master (Pain Solution Oslo, Norway) combines the art of the fakirs and physical theatre to create a ritual experience, generating a rush of adrenaline and pure energy for both the performers and the spectators. Every show will leave scars on the body and give the public a thrilling sensation never to be forgotten. And yes, there will be blood!

Matterz Squidling (Squidling Bros. Philadelphia, PA) puts a comic and dare-devilish spin on classic American Sideshow stunts of the early 20th century. Combining acts of the fakir, slap stick comedy and burlesque into a unique style of performance.

Jelly Boy The Clown (Squidling Bros. Philadelphia, PA) brings humor and intensity as a host and to his original and death defying acts. A master of “Unusual Sword Swallowing”, Jelly is a pioneer of the modern sideshow arts. Jelly uses science, burlesque and physical acts of the fakir
always creating new stunts that push the limits of the body and mind.

Dallas Suscon 2010 recut.

In April of 2010 I found myself on a Southwest Airlines flight heading back to Philadelphia, hunched over my macbook and quickly editing this video from the Dallas Suscon for my then partner’s ‘Body Art and Modification’ class at SUNY Purchase. The class, taught by Doctor William Peace, explored historical and contemporary body modification practices and their place in society and culture. We shot the film on two starter level HD video cameras (and an iphone) and I edited it quickly in iMovie. Not exactly the best job, but… it earned her an A.

Dallas Suscon 2010 Recut

I’ve recut the film to remove the opening/closing titles which were class specific and to increase the resolution to 1080. The songs were put in to mute out some of the background dialogue.

Allen is currently working hard on what may be the last (in it’s present format) Dallas Suscon; for more information in this year’s event, which includes a performance by Fakir Musafar and CoRE, check out Suspension.org.

1533775_440428339433945_1767188378_nThis year’s SUSCON will also feature an exclusive performance by Fakir Musafar and CoRE; tickets can be purchased at the Lakewood Theater. More information can be found at the event’s Facebook page: Flight to Spirit/Puja.

 

Evolution of a Subculture: ROP BBQ 2013

ROP BBQ 2013 way back when style.

ROP BBQ started about thirteen ago, when founding member of Rites of Passage Suspension Group Emrys Yetz had some friends come into his backyard at his aunt’s house where he lived in western MA and BBQ some food and do some suspensions off of the trees in the backyard.The next year we did it again, and some fellow BME freaks flew out and helped us and we had a lot of members of all of the best suspension groups at the time come and camp out and play with hooks.

Those were the early days. SO MANY people did their first suspensions in that yard, from those trees. Emrys and some of the boys (none of them active in ROP anymore) built this fucking tower that we were all so proud of. That tower has seen a lot of blood.

T_k87mdtjesNL3nvu9QVVDp3U4MexsZeZLz-_K4Kh1wWe continued doing ROP BBQs and campouts every year, they grew bigger and bigger, more and more people came from all over the world. They got so big eventually that we had to move them to a different location, which is how we all ended up on a state forest in berkshire county. We continued to have yearly events, which grew bigger and bigger. Lots of beautiful suspensions happened there as well. People who had been coming to our events continued to show up and for some of us, it was the only time in a year where we’d all be together. We used to bang out ALOT of suspensions in a day. It was always the same people working their asses off year after year, not eating pulling fourteen hour days, doing suspensions at night with the aid of headlamps. We had spots to hang over a beautiful pond, off in the woods very private, and a solid ground spot that we even managed to get a spinning beam rigged on.

Of course, it became a tradition, being that we’re in western MA in berkshire county in the mountains, that it would rain EVERY single year at some point. So, it became really important to Me to secure an indoor location. First it was My attic which was an AWESOME space and saw lots of great suspensions and first times too, then it was the copperworks, in Pittsfield, MA which has seen it’s share of blood and carnage and emotion and hooks, but then that got closed down.

60mSJNDXogfLx59HpnMlE4ZXEOJypGQ3X4HOHABI28E,jQyocdu8EBGnknphLM6jCbUyeyWL3hdkmQZ4LD0teN8During the years that we were at the state forest Emrys found another location close by that had a waterfall, and we started (for two years) taking a little sidetrip during the bbq to this location and everyone would swim, and we would hang people over the waterfall! The fascination to find new waterfalls to rig had begun.

A lot of shit went down over the years, people got married, people died, people had babies, Emrys moved away, the bbq was a lot of work, everyone had sort of drifted apart and one year we didn’t even have a bbq. Then Emrys moved back to western MA, we started working together again and doing suspensions and it was feeling awesome. Last year Emrys and I had Allen Falkner fly in and a small group of us went and had a very tiny mini event where we hung each other over a NEW waterfall that we had found in a completely different part of the county. I’ve had one of the best suspension experiences of My life over that waterfall, and some other people have as well! We decided to resurrect the ROP BBQ. To do it old skool style. Way back when style. We wanted those feelings back when everyone was family, when we did a few really great suspensions and everyone came from all over the world to just hang out and have a wonderful time. We were both SO excited to share this awesome waterfall location with everyone!
T
he techniques, equipment, knowledge has all changed so much in the last 13 years that we have the ability to rig even more advanced outdoor settings than ever before. And so : we planned the ROP BBQ 2013. We planned it NINE months in advance. I had forgotten how much work it is to plan a suspension event. Emrys and I did it all ourselves. Having him back here and working with him has been such a pleasure. Emrys, a pleasure to work with, imagine that! We get along like a well oiled machine, we can communicate without using words during suspensions and planning the BBQ went really smoothly. I wanted it to be as lax as possible for the crew so I was very intent on limiting the number of suspensions. I wanted it to be a bbq, and a campout, with some suspensions. I had invited all of My most favorite people from BBQs past and some new friends we had made in the last few years and new crews I had just begun exploring working with. Allen Falkner from TSD came in from TX, John and Dia from IWASCURED came in from Canada, Havve Fjell from Wings of Desire came in from Oslo, Jason Shaw from Ihung came in from Canada, Orb, Genne, Jeremy, and Mel from Anchors Aweigh came from NY, and of course we had ROP from just about every chapter of the suspension group represented: MA, NY, CT, RI, NJ, NY, TX we run deep!

x2l6XzQs7lcis1E3IuxLa6LC5l-KAi_Ma3sDWbYj9HcWe were under budget and ahead of schedule. I was so organized I was turning Myself on. We had been pretty vague and secretive about the exact location of the waterfall. I even made an old skool zine with ALL the information one could want about crew, food, hotels, schedule of suspensions, etc etc. I had a crew dinner planned for friday, Emrys was doing an advanced outdoor rigging class at noon, I had planned a yoga class for early saturday morning at the base of the mountain, I had crew dinner as a separate event for sunday and a day of suspensions JUST for crew, without a schedule so we could fuck around and do the crazy shit.

Really it was multiple events all rolled into about a four day period.
Of course tons of people waited til the very last minute and made My life more difficult, and I got stressed out to the absolute max and I took a lot of unpaid time off to do all the work which also stressed Me out. But the day came, we were on time, we had three locations at our new spot out in the woods rigged perfectly. People were excited to suspend, the first suspension was a girl for her first suicide for her bday and I had made cupcakes. Everyone was overjoyed!

And then a park ranger came, and asked what we were doing. We explained, I showed him a zine. He spoke to the man I had designated to be the liason if the cops came. His name is Jeff, aka BrutalMaster of www.brutalmaster.com he’s a paramedic and a rescue diver and a generally awesome amazing person to know. Let Me also add that Emrys and I had previously asked the authorities TWICE if we needed a permit to be on this land and if so what kind etc, and the general consensus was, we weren’t charging admission, it was public land and we weren’t hurting anything and had all safety bases covered and it was fine. Where we live here is a very tiny county, it’s a hilltown, everyone knows everyone. You best believe EVERYONE knows the guy with his face tattooed and the chick who makes porn and the fact that we were doing suspensions locally was not a secret, everyone has been cool with us and we have been respectful and cool to them. So anyway: the park ranger, he thinks what we are doing is cool, he just wants to check with his higher ups and make sure.

-pN49UzC7bTpGPveEpw9WFj18bBXVv72TYnUhqgromgThrough all of this I never had a bad feeling, no sense of impending doom no pit in My stomach. I was happy and positive. The park ranger comes back with his boss lady on the phone and she is right pissed. She’s saying we can’t be there we don’t have any insurance policy we don’t have any permit she’s sending the cops and we better leave right away. Jeff tries talking to her a bit but it was clear that she did NOT approve of what we were doing and was having no part in it.
SO: Months of planning, perfectly placed beautiful rigging, about 30 people and 20 more on their way..all of it was dissolving before our eyes. We had no choice, but to break everything down and come up with another plan……

Lucky for everyone I HAD a backup plan. Lesson Number One: always have a backup plan or worst case scenario!

We headed on over to a warehouse space that was being rented by a friend of the family, and Emrys and some other members of ROP had taken a lot of time to really clean up and get useable. But, it had 23 foot ceilings and we had had a lot of great suspension times in there as well, and it was also perfect for spinning beams. It was a crushing sadness because no one was going to be able to experience how fucking awesome that waterfall was or being able to jump off the top of it, or being able to be lowered right into the rushing water. A big part of why I stay in western MA is how beautiful it is outside, there’s mountains and waterfalls and forest all around you here. I almost never want to hang inside now, not when there’s all this nature around Me. I’m spoiled. I want to spoil other people too.
But, everyone was happy, they were just happy that they could hang from hooks and hang out with each other.

Everything was going so well. What could possibly go wrong?

Well, I’ve been on this earth long enough to know that if something CAN go wrong, it will eventually.
And so it did. We had put up a beautiful resurrection and were preparing to do a spinning beam with some old friends who hadn’t hung with ROP in many years. The lady who owned the warehouse building came in like a tornado screeching and hollering about what the fuck did we think we were doing and what if someone gets hurt and who gave us permission and wheres some money and she’s called the police and they were on their way. Apparently we had gotten permission to be there from the wrong person. So the police showed up, everyone broke down equipment in record time and retreated back to their cars and waited for Me to tell them what to do next.

At the time My head was a mess, and I tried to just stay calm, a lot of people were relying on Me to have a magical plan, which brings us to lesson number 2: Have a backup backup and backup plan. I had about three backup backup plans swirling around My brain. But, Emry’s Aunt Lisa is the one who saved the day. She agreed to let us all go in her backyard and throw the bbq. Way way way back when style. It was like looking at the yard with new eyes. Some of the trees we used to hang from had been cut down. A decade ago we weren’t doing tree to tree rigging and tension lines, we suddenly had new options, and a bunch of top notch riggers to make it happen. In the end we had three spots, two tension lines and the old
skool tower.

t0F70G06a0iRSkQbq4-6JvBmeiuUt3tIqK6_C5snUaIEverything had come full circle. So many of us had hung in that backyard for their first time twelve years ago, ten years ago, over a decade ago. And here we were again all together, on private property. Fuck yes. The group suddenly seemed smaller than it did before. Maybe some people got scared off by the cops, a lot of people said they were coming and then didn’t make it, and despite our best efforts at keeping everyone up to date about the location changing, some folks got lost and ended up not making it because they didn’t know where the fuck we were. But it was just perfect, a really old skool bme vibe that I loved. And even though there were enough new folks from around the world (literally) who had never been to one of our events, everyone just fit in perfect. Like family. The exact mentality that I was going for. Hugs and love and hooks and blood all around.

I think this year showed Me that in our efforts for bigger better faster more, as more and more people become involved with and have an interest in suspension, we’re losing some of the parts that made Me love it so much. The intimacy, the family, the bonds. There’s so many big huge suscon events around the world now, it’s ok to keep the ROP BBQ small and intimate. A nice relaxing vacation for the heads of some of the best teams in the entire suspension community to come and relax and try new things.

To NOT work so hard.

Speaking of working so hard, since I was the organizer of course I worked too hard and was running around like a maniac sort of stressed out and dealing with cops and food issues and locations and rides and places to stay and supplies and the list just went on and on. So I sort of had a chip on My shoulder the days after the BBQ, so much awesome stuff had happened and I didn’t get to be a part of it or even get My hands too dirty because I was doing the behind the scenes work. But then, as the photos started to emerge from the suspensions that happened over the weekend, carrying over into monday and even tuesday when crew was still hanging and there was only a few of us left…..Damn did I feel good. Even if I didn’t get to have My hand in every suspension, I still did all the hard work to pull of an event that had to run from the cops…twice. That thought gets Me almost as high as doing a suspension Myself.

If you are interested in booking a suspension with ROP please email Bella: [email protected]
visit our facebook page for more info:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Rites-of-Passage-Suspension-Group/95121426704?ref=hl


1013254_202957883197958_1616095856_nBella Vendetta is a founding member of Rites of Passage suspension group and an active member for the last 13 years. She is also a professional Dominatrix, international fetish model, award winning adult film star, B movie starlet, burlesque performer and sex educator. Sometimes She even moonlights as a rock and metal journalist as well as interviewing tattoo artists, UFC fighters, pornstars and writers for websites and magazines. Aside from all that She is also currently the head of Rites of Passage Massachusetts chapter.

The Cenobite

Cenobite Performance – Head Kavadi – The Orbit Room – Dallas TX – 1995

When Clive Barker was in town back in the early 90s he was doing a book signing right across the street from the shop I owned at the time- Obscurities in Dallas, Texas. I went over to meet him and show photos of some of the suspensions I had done; at the time I guess he’d never seen suspension before. So he referred to me as a living Cenobite. Of course I took it as a huge compliment and starting use the term in different things from websites, to internet handles, and of course the name of that performance.

The show was supposed to be an adaptation of a kavadi, but just for the head. It was in my early days and I was a lot more experimental back then. I knew very little about shows or even entertainment for that matter. There was really no end planned out for the show- it was just sort of stick shit in my face and it’s a show. I believe we were going to end it with a blackout, but it never happened. As I remember one of the crew was supposed to smash the lights with a hammer; but I guess there was a communication error.

You can see at one point I lean over. What you can’t see was a mouth full of saliva that I had been building during the performance. I leaned over, let it run out of my mouth and I expected the lights to go out. That never happened and everyone thought I was passing out.

As for pain, it was all virtually painless. The tiny needles in the eyebrows was really the worst part. The spears in the head actually felt more like a deep message. Some parts of the video are a little rough, but we decided to keep it intact for presentation.


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Allen Falkner is an innovator in the Body Suspension community, a founding member of TSD: Traumatic Stress Discipline and a former Body Piercer from Dallas Texas. He has organized several Dallas Suscons as well as traveling globally to share his skills and to learn from others. He is an advisor to the newly formed ISA: International Suspension Alliance and operates FADE FAST, a laser tattoo removal business in Dallas.


2014 Dallas Suscon

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When some folks host suspension events emphasis is often placed on how many suspension they can cram into a three day period. They pride themselves on pushing the envelope with what can be done with rigging and occasionally if not often devolve into one-upmanship, trying to see if you can hang from one 16g hook in your scrotum long enough to get a photo to post on their tumblr accounts*. 

Allen Falkner and his team do things a little differently. This year’s DALLAS Suscon features  a class schedule that could rival the annual APP Conference in Vegas. Bedside manner, gender roles in the suspension community, how music choices tie in with ritual, invaluable technique classes that cover everything from basic/advanced knot tying to suturing should the situation call for it.  There are also classes by Paul King and Fakir Musfar that promise to justify the price of admission.

Registration is open.
http://suspension.org/DallasSuscon2014.htm

 

One month later…

Silver Anchor, Zephyrhills Florida 1980s

Silver Anchor, Zephyrhills Florida 1980s

Consider a piece of body jewelry.
Not some piece of mass produced low quality mall kiosk belly button ring with vibrating dolphin charm, but a beautiful handmade piece of wearable art made by an artisan company that takes pride in producing the finest jewelry available. Each piece takes time to be realized, created and quality checked before it moves to the next step in the chain- the folks who pack it up with care and send it to you knowing that you’re sitting around your mailbox counting the seconds until it arrives.

It’s a process with a lot of moving parts that works well in harmony and leaves both ends of the transaction happy.

Consider Sacred Debris.
Today is our one month anniversary. In that time, we’ve had almost 10,000 visitors. The most popular post for unique page views was Evolution of a Subculture: ModCon, the most traffic from a referring link was from Luis Garcia’s tumblr and we’ve had contributions from myself, Allen Falkner, Ron Garza and Luna Duran. During our first month I think we’ve managed to set a tone for what you can expect in the coming weeks.

As readers, you folks have left 214 comments on the 21 posts we’ve created. One of my main worries in starting a new project (with SPCOnline and Scarwars.net under my belt) was that it would be a one sided thing. Our team (which is mostly me right now) doing all of the work and having nothing to show for it in the end. I’ve been pleased to see that level of interaction- of community- with the Sacred Debris project. It may seem to be an afterthought, but discussing the articles really does make a difference. It shows us that the content is being read and appreciated, that there’s a market for something as incredibly niche as Body Modification history. The reblogs on tumblr, twitter and Facebook are also incredibly helpful in bringing visibility to what we’re doing, so keep that up. We’re going to be doing random contests for comments and reblogs- tshirts, original photographs from the SPC archive, posters- so there’s going to be some fun stuff coming (starting tonight with the ‘Do you remember your first PA’ contest) so stay tuned.

That brings us to the little button beneath this post. DONATE. Both sides- reader and editors- working together.
We’re never going to do a ‘hard sell’ on donations; this is not a paid site (our PG rated videos come with google ads and we may accept paid ads from reputable shops/jewelry in the future, but there will never be a fee to view content) but the site does cost money to create and maintain. At the moment, our server space and bandwidth is being donated but we have no escrow account if that were to ever change. Given the explicit content of our site we can’t run on WordPress.com’s servers, so should we lose our server we lose our site.

wd-cloudThen there’s the hardware.
To date, most of the videos I’ve added- of Body Modification icons like Jack Yount, Ed Fenster and Til of Cardiff- has been content I’ve previously captured for other projects- videos that were sitting on DVDrs unedited. Capturing new content means needing storage space. Capturing an hour long video (such as Sailor Sid’s Guide to Safe Piercing) at full resolution for archival clocks in somewhere around 30-60gb depending on the settings. When they’re uploaded they’re considerably smaller, but to preserve these tapes for future generations requires storage- more storage than I have.

We also need to purchase- or arrange donations- for a variety of media players including mini-dv and 8mm, as well as negative scanners for old analog 35mm print archival.

Last but certainly not least is time. With my current setup, adding a 10 minute video to Sacred Debris takes as much as ten hours to get online. Sorting the tapes that are often unlabeled. Scanning them from start to finish to make sure that all the content on the tape is accounted for. Importing it into my macbook. Cleaning up or removing audio, editing it down into a usable movie when then has to render and get uploaded before I sit down to write the article that accompanies it.

As a reader, you then sit down, watch a five-ten minute video, possibly leave a comment, share on social media and wait for the next update.

My hope is that the folks who care about this kind of content will want to see the project continue and will throw a few bucks into the hat to keep it going. If every viewer who checked us out in the first month would have dropped $1 into the pot- we’d have a workable budget for years to come.

So. I’m asking you folks for a little help.

The donation button is here in this entry as well as on the sidebar of the main site. If you see an update you really love and think it’s worth a buck or two… please feel free. Trust me, every little bit helps.

Thank you all so much for a great first month, and here’s hoping for more where that came from!

oi8iul-g

 

 




 

 

Night of 1000 Scars and the birth of Spinning Beam Suspension

In 1998, Keith Alexander 1 organized an after party for the release of Dee Snider’s Strangeland 2 at NYC’s Webster Hall. Called Night of 1000 Scars, Keith arranged for a variety of performances including a 3 person ‘human mobile’ style suspension by Dallas  collective TSD (Traumatic Stress Discipline) 3 to tie in with the film’s theme of ritual body art.

Due to a technical error, the beams were rigged too low allowing the suspendees (Allen Falkner, Xeon and Pat Tidwell) to be able to make contact with the floor while spinning, unintentionally creating the spinning beam suspension. Other performers that night included Essie and Spidergod5, who went on to become The Lizardman who had this to say about the event:

In alot of ways, this event was a pivotal point in the current era of my life – it was after this event that I cemented my decision to leave my doctoral program and devote myself entirely to performing as both my career and way of life. This was also where I first met and became friends with TSD. – Erik Sprague

While the film ultimately had very little long term impact (Rotten Tomatoes rates it at 6%)  Night of 1000 Scars remains a turning point in the visibility of suspension in the traditional media as well as creating one of it’s most loved styles.

Video footage courtesy of Allen Falkner.