The Great Nippulini Interview – Through the Modified Looking Glass


The Great Nippulini

“It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it.”

- Lena Horne


Two of the main focuses of my life and work are body modification and sideshow. I spend time every day researching online for new information, going over the books in my personal library, and generally contemplating and updating my information base on both these subjects. Thus, it surprises when I find out I have somehow missed or overlooked a major player in either of these communities. Nippulini stands out in both, but still I somehow managed to miss him for a number of years.

A little less than two years ago was the first time I ever heard of Nippulini — via online references and then his postings in an online sideshow discussion group. Since then I have gotten to meet and even share a stage with him at the 2ND annual Sideshow Gathering. He has made a serious dedication of himself to body modification and taken it to the stage with a rare passion.

Now, in his own words; The Great Nippulini!

THE LIZARDMAN:
Name, rank, and serial number — you know the drill. Give us the usual biographical data.

NIPPULINI:
I am the Great Nippulini, World’s Strongest Nipples. I am Philadelphia Licensed Body Artist #8,586, and have been piercing for over twelve years — over fifteen thousand piercings in my career. I live in the Philadelphia area, own a two hundred year old historical house, am currently in the middle of a divorce, have two dogs, three cats, seven reptiles, a blue faced Amazon parrot, and a Madagascar hissing cockroach who just had about twenty or thirty babies… yay!.

THE LIZARDMAN:
Describe your body modifications.

NIPPULINI:
I have fourteen piercings around my body (five in my ears, two in my nipples, a Madison, and five hafadas), a few tattoos here and there, some scarification, and nipple hair electrolysis. I used to have a frenum, but removed it a while ago. I took it out to an 8 gauge. It’s been years since I’ve had it, but I can still fit a 14 gauge through it.

THE LIZARDMAN:
What first got you started in body modification?

NIPPULINI:
Actually I got started in all this through my family’s business. In 1989 they started adding body piercing to supplement their retail clothing store. At first things were new, we had to learn a lot, but we grew and became the area’s largest high volume body piercing only shop. For promotions, I would go to local tattoo shops (at the time, no tattoo shop did piercing), and I got interested in getting inked. I also have had done some self scarification with a Dremel cut-off disc with excellent results. Electrolysis, by definition, is also a body mod I’ve gone through.

THE LIZARDMAN:
When did you first decide to start working at lifting and pulling with your piercings? Why the nipples?

NIPPULINI:
I first started to lift heavy stuff in the shops to freak out customers. I started off with a 7 pound towing spring, then gallon bottles of distilled water (for the autoclave) and so on. I chose the nipples as my piercings of choice for this because at the time I was at 6 gauge. This must have been around ’96-97. I was most impressed with Fakir Musafar’s nipples, and at first wanted to get them so I could put a finger through them — he was my main influence for increasing my nipple size. Now I am at 00 gauge and am quite happy.

THE LIZARDMAN:
How did you first train your nipples for weight and what regimen (if any) do you use to keep them ‘in shape’?

NIPPULINI:
Like I said, I started with 6 gauge, (when lifting… I actually started at 14 gauge in 1990) and comparatively small, light weights. As my nipple size increased, I would try out slightly heavier objects. Over the years I became able to do heavier and heavier items. As far as keeping them in shape, I can only say that I keep them moisturized and am very cautious when it comes to anything going near them.

THE LIZARDMAN:
You use some interesting custom jewelry — tell us the story behind that.

NIPPULINI:

I have a few different types of jewelry depending on my mood. For major shows and competition, I use 00 gauge 5/8” circular rings. They are basically circular barbells with only one bead, they lend the appearance of CBR’s. I use them because installing 00 gauge CBR’s onstage would be close to impossible.

For show and other things (heh heh) I use my custom shackles. These are pieces that I designed myself and had fabricated for me. They are comprised of 00 gauge solid bars that have 4 gauge ‘U’ shaped barbells that run through the main bar. For everyday wear, I use flat disc ended barbells or standard 00 gauge barbells. I also have custom hollow acrylic pieces I wear in case of things like surgery or when I get my occasional nipple hair electrolysis (that shit really hurts!).

THE LIZARDMAN:
When you say ‘competition’ do you mean impromptu contests with people you meet or is there an underground nipple fight club?

NIPPULINI:
Heh heh, I wish! When I say ‘competition’ I mean for the hardcore weight. The shackles are nice, but when large amounts (over thirty pounds) are applied, they tend to pull from one side or the other being that the main bar is straight. For thirty pounds and up, I prefer to use the circular barbells because they are safer and hold the weight better.

THE LIZARDMAN:
You are well versed in the historical aspects of your act. Besides simply continuing the tradition, what do you see as your contribution or development to the act?

NIPPULINI:

The various stunts that I do with my nipples I have seen before, and whatever I create are basically hybrid acts or just way out there type of stuff (the cup crusher, iron grinder, and so on).

I started using anvils as a tribute to Rasmus Nielsen, one of the forefathers of pierced weightlifting. I have also come up with these creative nipple acts so that maybe someday in the future will be replicated by someone when I’m not around to do this anymore.

THE LIZARDMAN:
How important is it to you that acts like yours are remembered in the future and that people continue to do them? Why?

NIPPULINI:
Being remembered for strongest nipples is the most important thing for future generations to reference. It’s more important than fame or money. Everyone dies eventually — we are born dying. This in some small way is my immortality. As I have been inspired by Rasmus and the like, I would hope to do the same for someone hundreds of years from now. My current goal at the moment is to break a buck (100 pounds) in a lift. I can’t really explain why, it’s just something inside of me that I want to do.

THE LIZARDMAN:
Are your nipples your primary focus for your show or do you plan on expanding to other piercings or even other acts?

NIPPULINI:

I do use my ear piercings for my “Bowling” stunt, and have played with the idea of using my hafadas in the act. I just don’t know how comfortable I’d feel displaying my genitals onstage… yet. I am waiting for my Madison (frontal neck piercing) to heal so I can have some fun with that. I got that from Rasmus too. I believe he pulled wooden carts with people or sledgehammers in them with his Madison (I’m sure they didn’t call it a Madison back in then). Other than that, I prefer to have my nipples to be the main focus of what I do. It helps me stick out in people’s minds.

I get asked a lot why I don’t perform other sideshow stunts. Mainly it’s because this is what I am best at, and if I started doing other things it would detract from the seriousness of the nipples. Plus, I am not too good at other types of stunts… I know how to do them, just not well enough for me to feel comfortable doing them onstage.

THE LIZARDMAN:
What does the word ‘freak’ mean to you?

NIPPULINI:
Freak? Michael Jackson? Seriously though, in the sideshow definition of the word, it means born freaks or oddities. In modern slang, freak is used to describe someone “offbeat”, “alternative”, what have you. I believe everyone is a freak, and that freakdom is a part of human nature. Those of us who embrace this part of ourselves are the ones who have the courage to admit it. The guys in their three-piece suits and the housewives who all think they are ‘normal’ are too afraid to be in touch with that part of themselves and it’s their loss.

THE LIZARDMAN:
Shout out time — say anything you want:

NIPPULINI:
Pierced weightlifting is something not to be taken for granted. I’ve seen many people toy around with it and hurt themselves. I have spent the past eight years taking myself to the point where I can lift 55 pounds, or tow 2,000 pound cars with them… this isn’t just something you can “jump into” like blockhead or bed of nails. Don’t try this — if you do you’ll see what “it’s a great stunt, but I can only do it once” means.



Be sure to check out Nippulini’s website at: http://www.greatnippulini.com/





Erik Sprague

because the world NEEDS freaks…

Former doctoral candidate and philosophy degree holder Erik Sprague, the Lizardman (iam), is known around the world for his amazing transformation from man to lizard as well as his modern sideshow performance art. Need I say more?

Copyright © 2004 BMEzine.com LLC. Requests to republish must be confirmed in writing. For bibliographical purposes this article was first published April 26th, 2004 by BMEzine.com LLC in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.



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