“A regular contributor to the magazine was a local gay artist who went by the name of Bud. His work occupied thirteen of the first fourteen covers and after we went to color appeared regularly inside. I had seen his work in the gay S/M magazine Drummer. How we actually met and connected, I’ve forgotten. I do remember that he did some tattoo designs for some clients of Cliff Raven, a T&P group regular. Bud’s imaginative pen and ink drawings show the strong influence of both comic and early fantasy and sci-fi art.”
-Jim Ward. 1
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
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
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 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.
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.
- An incredibly small print run of a BSTAxNodal Points zine was produced for gifts at the 2019 APP Conference; spine #2 for Nodal Points. ↩
Finding ‘new’ artwork by iconic gay erotic illustrator BUD is always a treat; despite his connection with subculture defining periodicals 1 in the 1970s, Bud never found the kind of audience that Tom, Rex or the Hun enjoyed. Back in 1999, he submitted a six page story to Atomic Love #4 by Sina Shamsavari that featured his trademark crisp lines (before printing; zines were DIY and notoriously suffered poor production values) and erotic fantasy/sci-fi imagery.
We’re working on finding more of Sina’s collaborations with Bud and will share if located!
- Bud provided cover art for the first issues of both PFIQ and Drummer. ↩
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.
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
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.
- Though strangely, the premiere issue of In the Flesh had it presented by OB Enterprise’s Tattoos By Women. ↩