Sad news out of Texas- influential body piercer and suspension practitioner Daryl “Bear” Belmares has passed away. A mentor to some of the best piercers to come out of the 1990s Texas scene, Bear appeared in the documentaries Modify and Written on the Body and had what may be the largest documented set of stretched ear lobes at 5.5″
He will be missed.
July 10, 1956 – December 18, 2018
(excerpt from the 1990s documentary film Written on the Body)
By the time I finally click upload on the video that’s currently in my editing queue- a video that will clock in with a runtime of somewhere around the eighteen minute range- I’ll have spent roughly ten hours on task time for the final edit. Most of that will be spent color grading the footage, which was shot on VHS tape at Sailor Sid Diller’s Florida home/studio in 1985. Continue reading →
Earlier tonight we put up a pre-order page for volume one of the collected Better Safe than Ariinterviews; while there’s been a major push in the last few years for analog books to go digital we figured we’d be contrarians and take our digital interviews to print. So if that’s your sort of thing, please check out the Hex Appeal store for more information.
These days it’s pretty rare to find piercing/modification related physical media, but back in the 1990s there were plenty of options to chose from. PFIQ from Gauntlet enterprises, Body Art and Piercing World out of the UK, In the Flesh- if you knew where to look you had some pretty great piercing publications to collect.
P.A.U.K.’s Piercing World was a favorite of Jack Yount’s, who was thrilled to appear on the cover of issue #10.
Charles Gatewood, iconic photographer and counterculture anthropologist, released somewhere in the neighborhood of 200 documentary films through his boutique FLASH VIDEO label. Films that ranged from profound to prurient with titles like Fangs of Steel, Messy Girls and the Erotic Tattooing and Body Piercing series, the Flash Videos were niche content at it’s most niche. When I spoke to Charles about production runs in 2015, he told me that the average title started with a run of 50 units, with more being duplicated if needed. Twenty five years later it’s no surprise that an entire generation of body artists and admirers have come up that have never seen the Gatewood films.
The good news is that the Body Piercing Archive- the archival wing of the Association of Professional Piercers- was gifted the rights to the archive and plans are in place to capture and preserve these lost treasures; something I’ve been doing as well with my personal copies.
For my money, the best of Flash was the fifth volume of the Erotic Tattooing and Body Piercing series; released in 1992 or 93 and filmed at the Meadowlands Tattoo Convention, #5 features Jack Yount, Emil, Mr. X and a host of other luminaries. The photos taken of Jack that day are among my favorite images of him and he often spoke of being photographed by Charles. This brief clip, filmed the same day as his photoshoot in 1992, was shot on Jack’s 8mm camcorder, with a show and tell with a client of Fred Corbin’s. This is the first time this footage has been seen in 25 years.
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
When I’m scanning vintage prints or flipping through digital files on a backup drive, I’m almost always drawn to candid photos over more graphic or procedural ones. Earlier tonight I transferred a 40gb video of Jack having silicone injections over to digital storage and while I’m sure it would be much more of interest to a lot of our readers, I kept going back to this photo of Jack, legs kicked up reading for tonight’s update. It’s been 21 years since I’ve seen him and while our modification experiences certainly helped define what I’m trying to accomplish with Sacred Debris I can honestly say that just spending time with Jack relaxing in his living room talking about nothing special is what I miss the most.
If you look at the BME Encyclopedia on it’s founder Shannon Larratt 1 under the subcategory of “Personal Body Modifications” it lists his blackwork forearm tattoos as the result of a dare. While I know the stories behind quite a few of his tattoos (coverup of matching symbols, a love of homoerotic S/M iconography) I can’t say I was privy to the story of being dared to get heavy blackwork half sleeves.
Shannon sent this 4×6 print to me sometime in the 1990s to be published on my spcOnline site.