Here’s the second post from my three days spent at the 23rd Annual South Florida Tattoo Expo. How I got here was covered in the previous post (check out the story and photographs HERE) but what really mattered is that this event, which was held at the Coral Springs Marriott not only featured the best tattoo artists in all of South Florida but a truckload of live bands, a burlesque show, hot body contest, car show, local vendors, and human suspension (the act of suspending a human body from hooks that have been put through the skin!). And here’s the best part: all proceeds benefitted the Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital; and it’s been that way since year one. Yeah, that’s right, these “nefarious” tattoo artists are actually doing good. Who woulda thunk it?
So here are several photographs that highlight some of the South Florida Tattoo Expo’s entertainment. Live bands, burlesque show, a few hot bodies and a group of people hanging several feet off the ground by hooks through their flesh. Enjoy…
South Florida’s own Carnivalle kicked classic heavy metal ass all over the joint. Puerto Rican singer Atlantica was Rob Halford and Ronnie James Dio rolled into female form. Catch them if you can…
What tattoo expo would be complete without a Hot Body Contest and a panel of distinguished judges?
Entertainment for people with questionable taste, 20 Penny Circus
Alice Cooper tribute band The Lipstick Killers just killed it…
Oh yeah, and then there was this guy.
The oldest recorded acts of human suspension date back approximately 5,000 years and originated among devout Hindus in India. It was deemed by practitioners to be an act of penance that would prove one’s ever-growing devotion to the Hindu gods if they engaged in progressively more intense suspension sessions. Human suspension has also been a tradition among certain North American Indian tribes going back centuries. Most notably, the Mandan Tribe who lived along the banks of the Missouri River. The ceremonies were first formally documented by George Catlin, a member of the Louis and Clark expeditions who described the ceremonies (called “Okipa”) as four-day-long events that required extensive preparation and self-sacrifice by all participants.
Modern suspension has been largely shaped by Fakir Musafar, a man who was born on an Indian reservation in South Dakota in 1930 with the name Roland Loomis, who is widely regarded as the “father of the Modern Primitives.” What he has pioneered since 1944 – tribal tattoos, nose rings, ear lobe enlargements, small-waist corsetry, human suspension and more – were once practices in an underground subculture. For Musafar, and many others after him, body modification is a form of self-expression and spiritual exploration, a way to move beyond the body into a higher spiritual plane. He died earlier this month at 87 years old.
As crazy as it might sound, these guys really seemed to enjoy having meat hooks run through their flesh and being suspended several feet off the ground. It was quite the sight. And before you judge, remember: there are people out there who think that Van Halen made better records with Sammy Hagar than with David Lee Roth. If we can coexist with those people, who are we to judge a group of people who want to hang from hooks, right? Right.
What’s the final word? The South Florida Tattoo Expo offers something for everyone, regardless of whether you even have a tattoo or not. Don’t miss it next year. Oh, and these are just a few of the many photographs I snapped – so if you want to see more