Author Archives: Shawn Porter

Shawn Porter has spent the majority of his life in the modification world. As a body modification archivist and documentarian, he has one of the most extensive collections of documents relating to the early American body modification community outside of academia. He edited the SPC website from 1995 to 2005, co-founded ModCon, was the host of ModCons 3.5 and 4, and created and hosted The Scarwars Project from 2004-2007. In 2011 Shawn launched Occult Vibrations, a blog devoted to traditional American tattoos with a focus on the occult and esoteric. He currently resides in Philadelphia with his wife Julia and their creepy pets Mr. Bailey Papers and L. RonBenet Ramsey.

BUD LARSEN for Drummer

Bud Larsen cartoon

Illustrator Bud Larsen’s iconic black and white line drawings helped establish the visual aesthetic for the early issues of both PFIQ and DRUMMER magazine; like a kinky Al Hirschfeld his style was light on color/shading and heavy on technique, line weight, and overall badassedness. These illustrations from early Drummer 1  issues could easily go toe to toe with other more well-known 1970s magazines cartoonists like Bill Ward, Jack Davis, or Gahan Wilson.

Images © Bud Larsen/Drummer

Nodal Points Issue Three: Spanish Edition

One of the only downsides of moving content from the archives of Sacred Debris back into the world of print after two and a half decades is a lack of quick and easy translation; for the interviews we’ve posted online, for better or for worse, most modern web browsers allow readers all over the world to have access to the history we’re sharing. Sure the translations can be a little clunky (body piercer, it seems, can translate to body driller. Which sounds kind of badass, honestly) but at least they’re available.

The zines, however – up until now they’ve only been available in English. Thankfully, we have some pretty amazing friends, and with the assistance of Nahuel Burgos and a small team of multilingual proof-readers, we’re pleased as punch to be able to offer the latest issue of Nodal Points in a Spanish translated edition.

Better yet, we’ve decided to match Nahuel’s generosity by donating 100% of the gross monies collected between January 10th-January 31st for this edition to a charity to be determined – we’re leaning towards a charity that provides aid and services to families affected by the policies at the Southern US border.

These zines will be coming directly from the printer.

US Customers: https://www.blurb.com/bookstore/invited/8513806/c6f594e39b7c88403020e779e2b3bf7519e77283

UK/Europe: https://www.blurb.co.uk/bookstore/invited/8513806/c6f594e39b7c88403020e779e2b3bf7519e77283

(the English language edition can be found here: https://www.blurb.com/b/9773006-volume-3-nodal-points)

En este número de Nodal Points, Ari profundiza en la carrera y la influencia del perforador corporal retirado Vaughn. Hablando con el, antiguos empleados, clientes y amigos, indagamos en su carrera desde Modern Primitives hasta la apertura del estudio de perforación corporal más longevo del mundo. Con Vaughn, Joey y Melissa, Duncan Vann, Greg Kulz y Blake Perlingieri.

Knoxville 1986

For better or worse, tattoo conventions used to be a common meeting place for devotees of body piercing; while discretion was often necessary on the convention floor, 1 piercing fans would find community in the privacy of their convention hotel room; clothes coming off to reveal the piercings hidden from the more conservative tattoo crowd at large.

In 1986, at the Knoxville Tattoo Convention, a group of friends that included, among others, Jack Yount (not pictured), Sailor Sid Diller, T.R.A.S.H. publisher J.D., Silver Anchor’s Ed Fenster, Marv from Australia, and Emil G, did just that – enjoying each other’s company, shedding their clothes, and having a little fun. Continue reading

Notes:

  1. “Since Ed Hardy had brought the subject of piercings up at the I.T.A.A. Reno Convention in 1977 (he felt, as did the overwhelming majority of Artists there that piercing did not belong at a Tattoo convention and should not be linked to tattooing. I.T.A.A. Members voted there and then not to have piercing at future conventions) it was decided on (by the suggestion of Bob Shaw) not to allow facial tattoos or piercings at the National Tattoo Conventions. This was to be a Convention to promote Tattooing and only Tattooing.”  – Source: http://runningthegauntlet-book.com/BME/jimward/20050329.html. 

Dangerous Journey

 

To prepare for a recent presentation I gave for Death Party Philadelphia on the extraordinary life (and death) of Fakir Musafar, I cracked open my now thirty-plus year old copy of the seminal RE/SEARCH #12: Modern Primitives and re-read, for what was probably the first time in a few decades, what may be Vale and Juno’s most (body modification culture) nodally significant interview. Despite having been released over a decade after Fakir’s official ‘coming out’ at the 1977 Reno tattoo convention, Modern Primitives put Fakir, and his doctrine of body play, into chain bookstores, and more importantly, the hands of an audience who may have otherwise never found him.

Continue reading

Uncovered: Partner DEC1980

“Dian Bailey is a maso! I can hear you all saying it, just as my horrified sister did when she saw my swollen, three day fresh navel piercing. As I endeavored to reassure her, I will you, I did not get my flesh pierced or lie on that bed of nails or that couch of meat cleavers, for that matter, for a love of carbon steel penetration. Some pain did accompany all three performances, despite his holiness, The Fakir Musafar’s, denials. But pain is just a weewee stop on the road to knowledge, as his holiness might put it, and I was anesthetized for my piercing by the vision of my perfect navel sporting a jewel that would never get lost when the Crazy Glue failed. As for the nails and cleavers, the Fakir’s to blame for making it look so easy. Fakir is a noted mystic and PARTNER’s Religion Editor, so it is easy for him. Those spikes were sharp, but I could never pass on a double-dare. Musafar claims it’s necessary to lie at least six hours on the spikes to reach nirvana, a state of unconscious bliss. I know for sure you don’t reach that state after two minutes, though the cleavers’ll make you pray for it. The true answer to maso or not, I fell, is whether, having experienced it once, you’ll climb on again. I’ll stick to old-fashioned penetrants, flesh and blood pokers and lots of spit, please.” Continue reading

Sailor Sid in San Francisco

I don’t have much information on this image other than that it was sourced from a newly acquired Kodachrome slide that dates back to the late 1970s and features Sailor Sid Diller at an unnamed San Francisco tattoo show. Photographer, event organizer, (convention? show? his name tag turns to a blur when the image is enlarged) and all other relevant data may be lost to the ages, but at least the image, some forty plus years old now, survives.

Early tattoo conventions were an integral part of the tattoo community developing and expanding before the rise and eventual decline of the tattoo magazine and  the ubiquity of the internet, but they often ostracized attendees who were also in the emerging body piercing scene. Still, they provided a space where devotees could meet at local (often gay leather) bars near the convention or in hotel suites to share their passions,  and slowly but surely the two subcultures merged and became part of a bigger community.

FLASH VIDEO

While Charles Gatewood is primarily known as a photographer, his contributions as an anthropologist/sociologist and cultural engineer shouldn’t be overlooked. For every iconic image he captured on 35mm film (and printed, fetishistically, in silver gelatin) there was a story behind it, and with his FLASH VIDEO boutique label of films he was able to chronicle the behind the scenes experience as well as create an unprecedented time capsule of the subcultures he documented in print.

I asked him once how many copies he’d produce of his Flash titles; “Hey! I used to run 50 VHS and more if necessary. WEIRD THAILAND was my best-seller and the PAINLESS STEEL series sold a few hundred of each title” – which is mind-blowing; particularly the, “more if necessary” as it could mean that certain titles sold fifty or less units/had less than fifty sets of eyes on them in their prime, much less thirty years after their release.  The amount of passion it took to have created these films for such a niche audience is commendable.

The last message I got from Charles, in December of 2015, sums it up nicely: “Some people laughed at my strange documentaries. Who’s laughing now?”

Annie Sprinkle’s HERSTORY of Body Piercing, May 2019

Annie Sprinkle’s photo documentation of communities that weren’t paid attention to by the mainstream media – most notably the 42nd Street scene of the 1970s, the world of adult cinema, and the early western body piercing revival – falls very much in line with my view that subcultures should be documented internally; that participants are best suited to chronicle their own movements w/o the academic gaze.

At the 2019 Association of Professional Piercers Conference and Expo, Annie, joined by her long time friend and collaborator Veronica Vera, presented a class on her Herstory of Body Piercing and it’s intersection with early luminaries Fakir Musafar, Charles Gatewood, and Spider Webb.Annie and Veronica were as charming as could be despite the blissfully raw content they were presenting; in a class given by Jim Ward earlier that day it was pointed out that the piercing world has evolved into something that Jim (piercing as a sexual exploration) and Fakir (piercing as a spiritual conduit) could have never imagined, so Annie’s Herstory and it’s sex positive bent was a welcome return to the roots of piercing to the longer tenured piercers in attendance.Unfortunately I was only able to film for a few minutes, but I hope it’s enough to give you folks an insight into when piercing was a much different (and I’m biased in saying so) and more fun pursuit of fringe players.

Nodal Points #1

We launched our new print zine project at this year’s APP Conference and Expo with issue #1 of NODAL POINTS; 100 pages of body modification history and culture culled from twenty five years of archival that includes:

  • A. Viking Navaro polaroids/prints.
  • Evolution of a subculture: Modcon 1.
  • Subtracting. (Voluntary Amputation)
  • Rudy Inhelder.
  • BSTA: Blake Perlingieri.
  • Correspondence with Bud Larsen.
  • Annie Sprinkle/Fakir Musafar.

Ari and I are hard at work on Issue #3 1 but for folks who didn’t get a chance to grab a copy in Las Vegas- we’re stocked up at Hex Appeal.

Nodal Points #1, now shipping.

Notes:

  1. An incredibly small print run of a BSTAxNodal Points zine was produced for gifts at the 2019 APP Conference; spine #2 for Nodal Points.