Category Archives: Periodicals

BSTA: Michael Mulcahy

Ari – I’m super excited for us to do this Michael. Thanks so much for speaking with me today.

Michael – This is tough because I feel like in general I’m a pretty private person, especially with this history and timeline. I don’t think, besides my spouse, there’s a single person I’ve ever talked my timeline over with because it just never seems relevant to my interaction with another person. You know what I mean? The whole, “hey, listen to me!” To me it’s a difficult process but we’ll get through this and hopefully it doesn’t feel like I’m talking too much.

Ari – I don’t really plan out these so we’ll just start with an introduction and let the conversation go organically. First I like to do a brief synopsis though – maybe some information about Marigold, where you started out, and anything else you’d like to include.

Michael – I’ve been piercing for twenty-six years- that has been a long pathway. I currently own Marigold with my wife Jessica, who pierces and tattoos. We have additional tattooers who are there as well as a nurse who does microblading. I’m there sometimes for certain piercings. I do all the genital piercings, the septum piercings, surface work, and anything in relation to difficult anatomy. Other than those few times throughout the week, I’m not there like on a scheduled basis – it’s really appointment only. I’m in school full-time and work other jobs besides Marigold, so I’m busy. I’m in school for biochemistry at Norwich University – which is actually the oldest military college in the United States – It’s the birthplace of ROTC. It’s an interesting environment to be in as a civilian. But as we talk about this timeline, I did sort of leave piercing for a while and do other stuff (while still piercing) including the military and a deployment to Afghanistan. It’s been a convoluted path! I work as a critical care paramedic for a level one trauma center teaching hospital. We live in Montpelier, Vermont – a tiny little town in beautiful Vermont, and it’s great to be in a little town with this shop we’ve created. We love it, it feels perfect, and it’s been twenty-six years between starting and now – it’s like a lifetime.

Ari – Seriously. That’s like twice the average career for a piercer. Continue reading

Small Town Shaman, Big City Pornstar

The 80’s were an interesting time for piercing. PFIQ was going out to more readers than ever, the Gauntlet was growing busier, and piercing was reaching a larger audience every day. Countercultures in general were coming together, sharing ideas, spaces, and people. Being weird and different was becoming welcomed. In the spring of 1982, two wonderful icons of their respected subcultures were getting ready to meet for the first time. After about a year of communication, letters and chats, the sweet, shamanistic Fakir Musafar and the avid, sexy Annie Sprinkle met. They spent a whirlwind week together in New York, one of Fakir’s first times in Manhattan. The midwest shaman got a warm welcome, with pedestrians and cabbies complimenting his septum jewelry (worn on behest of Annie, who found it handsome as could be). The two were determined to turn the city on its head, and they both found great joy showing off at parties and events as Annie lead Fakir about by hooks in his deep chest piercings, or stuck her entire finger through his nipples. They were the talk of the town, answering everyones questions about “if that hurt”. Even Annie went out and about bottomless, ready to show off the fresh addition to her labia. They hosted piercing parties, Fakir adding golden rings to a myriad of members of New York’s various social scenes.  Continue reading

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.

BSTA: Blake Perlingieri

Ari – Let’s start this off with your introduction to Fakir.

Blake – I got a hold of the ReSearch book in 1989 and it blew me away. Obviously it was the only cultural document at the time for an emerging subculture. There’s a lot of stuff in the book I was “meh” on but Fakir’s chapter really grabbed me. I was already piercing my friends in San Diego; people would go up to LA Gauntlet and buy a needle and barbell and I’d do them up in the park under a tree. My band had finally gotten signed and I came to this crossroad where I really wanted to do something meaningful and I knew I had a lot of learning to do so I quit the band and rolled up to San Francisco. The first time I went up there there was Body Manipulations – they were the first piercing studio in the area, they opened before Gauntlet. I went up and peeked at Body M and didn’t really know who they were but I recognized that the handsome guy out front leaning on his motorcycle having a cigarette was Vaughn. I knew he was the guy from the ReSearch book. I ended up making a couple of trips to San Francisco. My folks took me to the Gauntlet in the Castro and I went in, walked upstairs, and it was the first piercing shop I had ever been in. The term “piercer” didn’t exist yet – you were just a guy who did piercings at this time. I walked up and I said, “hey, my name is Blake and I am looking for Fakir and maybe some earrings!” I got the biggest attitude from the guy behind the counter. He didn’t even have visible piercings! He says “well we don’t have any jewelry in your size, honey.” I was like, “alright, fuck you,” and I started to walk out when I hear Fakir say “excuse me young man, I can help you!” I turn around and there he is with a porcupine quill in his septum. I just looked at him and told him he was the reason I came – but that I felt like this wasn’t a very welcoming place for me. At the time this was either summer or late 1990. Fakir took me to lunch. He put his arm around me and said, “well I have never seen the likes of you, young man., Tell me your story!” At the time I had 2” earlobes with huge dreadlocks- just a jungle kid from Southern California. How weird to walk into my first piercing shop to have some guy with no visible piercings be a dick to me. I was put off from the beginning. I didn’t consider myself professional at this time – I had only done genital and septum work. I had never done a nostril or navel. The stuff I was doing on my friends was all “Genesis P-Orridge” genitalia aesthetic. Fakir and I had an immediate connection and I told him I wanted to be a piercer. The first thing he said was, “well you sure don’t want to work at the Gauntlet, trust me.” I think we ate at Cafe Du Nord and it felt like I was coming home so to speak; he was just so welcoming. This is twenty-nine years ago. He literally says, “I think you’re doing something completely unique.” I didn’t understand his historical importance yet, I just intuitively knew he was the Granddaddy and if I was going to start a career I was going to go to the source. That’s a value that doesn’t exist anymore. There is a tattoo school is Vegas that cost $40,000 and guarantees you an internet following by the time you graduate, and you’ve only done like one tattoo. It shows you how ass backwards this culture is. The thing Fakir instilled in me in our first meeting – there were no personalities then, all I was was just a jungle kid, there was Gauntlet and Body M, that’s it for the whole US; there was no measure of what other people were doing. My experience at Gauntlet was very telling- Im sure they all had 00g PAs but they didn’t have the look I wanted to be a part of or was already doing, the things my grandmother introduced me to on her world travels. Continue reading

Atavist: Viking Navaro

Without a doubt, one of my favorite ‘personalities’ from the 1970s/80s era of the Western body modification revival was A. Viking Navaro; the “nom de kink” of a Southern California professor who’s appearance in an early issue of PFIQ, complete with photos by Fakir Musafar, was one of the earliest examples of a modern primitive.

You can see more of Viking Navaro here on Sacred Debris, and in the new SD print zine Nodal Points, available May 2019 from Hex Appeal.

Uncovered: PFIQ 12

Annie Sprinkle documented her side of Fakir Musafar’s 1982 visit to NYC in Velvet Talks magazine, with Fakir’s story to be published in issue #12 of PFIQ. With a cover provided by illustrator Bud Larsen, Fakir’s article and photographs join the first appearance of The Incredible Til of Cardiff and the Pierce with a Pro: Clitoris tutorial in issue 12.

PFIQ is © Gauntlet Enterprises.
Issue 12 can sometimes be found on eBay.

Uncovered: Velvet Talks June 1982

The Golden Age of adult cinema 1 (and it’s siblings, adult magazines) was, despite it’s often lurid and prurient content, conservative. It traded in archetype- the perky blonde, the intense brunette, the fiery redhead-all American good looks and not much in the way of self-expression. When you did see a tattoo, it was small or discrete. Performers with large tattoos were anomalous, 2 with producers fearing that it would ruin the “girl next door” fantasy that their 8mm loops (the VHS tapes) promised.

Being tattooed or pierced was subversive in a subversive genre. Continue reading

Notes:

  1. The Golden Age of Porn: 1969-1984. Wikipedia
  2. Stephanie Green, aka Viper.

Uncovered: In the Flesh V1

Before the 1989 release of RE/Search Publications’ seminal book Modern Primitives, body piercing/modification documentation fell on the shoulders of a very small group of people. PFIQ,  Piercing World, BODY ART– by Jim Ward/Gauntlet, Pauline Clarke/PAUK and Henry Ferguson and Lynn Proctor, respectively- were niche periodicals for a niche subculture that had incredibly limited distribution. For better or for worse, you had to know you wanted it to find it.

The tattoo magazines that ruled the mass market newsstand shelves may have occasionally featured photos of pierced tattoo collectors and artists, but they generally didn’t talk about the piercings themselves. Modern Primitives represents a pretty significant nodal point for the cultural shift of mainstreaming body piercing, suspension and even surgical modification; photos of New Zealand resident Carl Carrol’s bisected penis being available to anyone who walked into a Barnes and Noble marks a pretty major shift from the procedure’s “fringe within a fringe” past.

Inspired by the success of Modern Primitives, and no doubt an attempt to get ahead of the zeitgeist, OB Enterprises (the publishers of Outlaw Biker and Outlaw Biker Tattoo Revue 1) released the premiere issue of In the Flesh magazine in 1992. From the introduction:

A few years back Re/Search Publications printed a wonderful book entitled “Modern Primitives“. This magazine, In the Flesh, is meant to continue on where they left off. Each issue (provided you buy enough of this first issue to make it worth our while to do it all again) will explore ancient and modern body/mind modifications. Future issues will include articles on ritual and magic, Neo-Paganism, body building, strange food, cross dressing, gender bending, tattooing, scarification, virtual reality, subliminal learning, smart drugs and yes, more piercing info. Feel free to jump on in and send us your suggestions about other topics we should cover.

With gender bending, scarification, and a woman of color on the cover, the premiere issue of In the Flesh stood out among the other biker oriented tattoo magazines, no doubt as a result of editor Michelle Delio’s guidance.

The first issue featured midwest piercers (Mad)Jack and Anna Kaplan, Barbara Pierce and branding by Florice and an iconic interview with Cliff Cadaver. Further tying it to Modern Primitives, it also features an interview with, and content from, Jim Ward.

While Modern Primitives crossed over into pop culture/academic/kink territory (with a book being more highbrow, even for the lowbrow) In the Flesh had newsstand distribution and a much lower price point at $4.95 a copy, which no doubt had a democratizing affect. Ease of purchase, low cost- younger piercing fans had much quicker access to the material and among the middle school era of piercers is often mentioned as a direct influence.

Copies of In the Flesh occasionally show up on eBay close to their original cover price.

 

 

 

Notes:

  1. Though strangely, the premiere issue of In the Flesh had it presented by OB Enterprise’s Tattoos By Women.

Queen of Hearts

I first saw photos of Cathy- dubbed Queen of Hearts- in Fakir Musafar’s seminal Body Play & Modern Primitives Quarterly 1At the time of the article her laced measurements were an astounding 39″- 15″- 39″ putting her on par with the legendary Ethel Granger with her progress; in fact she would appear in that issue photographed in one of Ethel’s 15″ corsets.

She began lacing in 1959 and by by the time of publication was wearing a corset or training belt day and night without breaks.

While attending the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party tattoo event in the late 1990s I ran into Cathy and asked her if I could take a few photographs for BME; none of which came out especially well, but hey, Mapplethorpe I’m not.

Notes:

  1. Body Play and Modern Primitives Quarterly, Volume 1 Number 3, 1992. Insight Books, Menlo Park, California. http://bodyplay.com