Piercing History and Political History Intersection

Check out this interesting tidbit of piercing history crossing over with much larger world political history in this article by Yard[D]og, and then please come back here to comment or share your own stories. Click the picture to jump to the article.

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About Shannon Larratt

Shannon Larratt is the founder of BME (1994) and its former editor and publisher. After a four year hiatus between 2008 and 2012, Shannon is back adding his commentary to ModBlog. It should be noted that any comments in these entries are the opinion of Shannon Larratt and may or may not be shared by BMEzine.com LLC or the other staff or members of BME. Entry text Copyright © Shannon Larratt. Reproduced under license by BMEzine.com LLC. Pictures may be copyright to their respective owners. You can also find Shannon at Zentastic or on Facebook.

74 thoughts on “Piercing History and Political History Intersection

  1. Good story. Makes me wonder about the millions of stories that are being repressed by mainstream outlets…

  2. Karl Rove’s father…. Dick Cheney’s daughter… I’m unsure on whether or not there are any homosexual Bush’s out there. I just find it so interesting that all of these Neo-con’s (or Death Eaters as I like to call them) have these (only to themselves and fellow party members) skeletons in their closets.

  3. Truly unbelievable. I know we all hear a lot of stories regarding parents “shunning” or “disowning” children due to sexual orientation, body modification, etc. but this perspective is one that doesn’t get too much publicity. It’s unfortunate that such a great man spawned such a bloodthirsty asshole.

  4. Since this is being read by non-BME people as well, one thing I think I should mention as well is that Louie wasn’t just a pierced guy. He was a HEAVILY pierced guy in the early days that was influential in the piercing scene as an elder and helped promote it when it was just coming out of the closet… In a way, you could argue that he was an architect of one of the larger cultural movements in Western culture (the piercing/body modification scene). It’s a fascinating parallel to his son’s similar achievements.

  5. I read the shorter version on his page as well as this…
    Id like to say they were wonderfully written and easy to digest…

  6. To me, if anything, this really helps to explain Rove’s whole persona.

    Isn’t rebelling against one’s parents fairly common? A rite of passage, even? Well, when your mother commits suicide and your father is a iconic gay piercing fetishist (who, judging by this article, was maybe not the most stable character, positive traits aside), doesn’t Rove’s personality make a whole lot more sense?

  7. brilliant, this is why i love this community..haha, seems very real , nobodys perfect, were all just geting by, a hero in one world is a demon in another..great write up.

  8. BTW, from the wikipedia entry on Rove:
    ‘Rove has expressed great love and admiration for his adoptive father and for “how selfless” his love had been.’

  9. While I was reading this, I realized that Louie was the guy known in PFIQ as “Indy”. I remember the issue that he was in. I even met him once at a piercing video showing at EZTV in West Hollywood. He was a nice guy, and he was very interested in my tattoos, since he said that despite his major piercings, he’d never quite managed to get up the nerve to be tattooed, due to the permanence of it.

    The connection to Karl Rove at the end made me fall out of my chair. Yow.

  10. Wonderful article!
    I really enjoyed reading it.
    Thank you to Yard[Dog], Shannon and the Late Louie Rove.

  11. damn. Just….damn. I know a fellow piercer who pierced a guy’s guiche that was a pretty high up guy in government… and his very young dominatrix/top/master was with him, talking shit to him the entire time. goes to show you that the weirdest are the ones no one would suspect.

  12. wow i always thought that rove was the spawn of satan. turns out the truth is more interesting and supprising. great story.

  13. That is the most fascinating thing I have read in a long time, was not expecting the connection at the end.
    By the way, the article has been boinged, so things should get even more interesting shortly.

  14. I can’t find my copy of that issue of PFIQ where he’s on the cover — if anyone has it, please post a scan and some excerpts if you have the time? It’s funny because Louie’s picture was one of the most commonly submitted fake “this is me” pictures in the early days of BME because it was so popular…

    As another point of trivia, a few years back I interviewed a (Republican) US state Governor about his heavy genital mods and interest in CBT… Seriously, there are no class borders when it comes to this particular interest.

  15. What a great story, thankyou for sharing it with us. It warmed my heart to hear that you still have his gold ring, its a pity about his son’s attitude. This little piece of history was a wonderful read, thankyou very much.

  16. What a great story. Too bad Karl Rove had to ruin it by being an evil douche bag.

    As soon as I heard Karl Rove was retiring my first thought was “uh-oh, I bet the shit is about to hit the fan and he’s getting out before it does”. I was expecting something more catastrophic though.

  17. Tattooed Princess, something indictment-worthy would be lovely, but this is funny, which is even better.

  18. I hope this encourages others who want to wear body modifications to go with their convictions. Thank you for this article. I believe the message needs to be shared.

  19. *shrugs* this is hardly news. Everyone’s known about Rove’s openly gay father for some time now.

  20. Erica – You knew that Karl Rove’s father was an influential architect of the modern body piercing movement? I don’t think that was common knowledge…

  21. Things like this reaffirm my “You Never Know” tattoo. I always wonder where the degrees of separation are in my relationships and what I am not aware of.

  22. Shannon – most people have no idea that there even is any history of the contemporary body piercing movement. I think the fact that the movement grew out of the gay BDSM subculture has a quite a bit to do with the lack of public interest in it as a historical subject.

  23. This is an interesting article but it forces me to reflect on the relationship of a public vs a private life. As much of an asshole as Karl Rove is I still think he deserves the same rights as anybody else in any case let alone his private relationship amongst family members. What is the point of this article anyways…What is it really trying to dig at? Furthermore who gives a fuck ifhis Dad was a gay piercing enthusiast? What does it matter? If you feel some need to get a Freudian about it and try and explain why Karl Rove is a giant dickhead I’ll save you some time. Karl Rove is a giant dickhead because he made a choice to be a giant dickhead…not because of his father’s homosexuality or any other bullshit Freudian nonsense. He made a choice to become what he is in terms of his political life.

  24. I don’t think that anyone is trying to make a case that Karl Rove is a dickhead or that there’s any kind of negative impact of having had a gay father with (or without) an interest in genital piercing. If anything the article is further evidence as to how common and normal genital modification is, and that there’s nothing abnormal about it. It’s just an interesting story related to the life of a notable public figure – not an elaborate and constructed argument regarding the origin of Karl Rove’s career path.

  25. It would have been nice to invite his father’s friends to the service (if there was one). That would’ve taken a big man.

  26. socialcoma, I don’t think the point of this article was to give a reason for why Rove is how he is. I think it was just to share an interesting and warm story and to show how the background you come from will never predict the kind of person you will become.

  27. Hey, if you really want this on Wiki and have it stay up, just make a page for Louie. Then when Louie is referenced in Karl’s page, then you can link to Louie’s site. They can’t delete his dad’s info.

  28. socialcoma – If someone goes out of their way to destroy the personal lives of other people, I don’t see the harm in taking a peek at what makes them tick personally as well.

  29. no doubt if Louie was alive he’d be quite happy that this story is out there embarrassing this very evil callous man.

  30. Shannon, Marshall, Fliss – Thanks for your insights and attitudes towards this topic. I appreciate them and take them into consideration as different views of this article.

    I think I’m going to get a pa tomarrow

  31. I bet BushCo would be surprised that there is a eunuch that can play 6 degrees of separation and get to Bush himself through only one other person.

  32. As to the wikipedia issue, Louie isn’t notable enough to merit his own wikipedia page – The reason that the information was removed from the Karl Rove page is that it isn’t necesarily notable, and Jim Ward’s edit constitutes “original research” which is a big no-no. Jim’s personal connection to the subjects father actually makes it a conflict of interest for him to edit the page at all.

    This post could serve as a primary source for a Wikipedia edit, but as it is blog derived, it’s going to have a very high bar to jump through, especially on a commonly vandalised page like the Karl Rove one.

  33. Great article, Yarddog! I’ll look forward to reading more from you in the future. Very very good point on the six degrees of separation, an instance of which I was faced with two weeks ago. It further underlined the fact that a lot of people probably have (gay) skeletons in their closets. While I agree that Rove is entitled to privacy, it’s well-known that his father was gay, and he was well-known in the body modification community. The fact that the communities didn’t meet in the middle doesn’t give him immunity from being exposed for the fraud he is.

  34. Excellent, well written article. So now I know who that person was that filled my mind with wonder in my early days of getting pierced! Shannon, I have all issues of PFIQ and will scan and send what I can find about Louie. Thanks for the great article Yard(D)og.

  35. I read the original on Yarddog’s IAM page, and I just have to say, this is an amazing story. It’s sad to see someone disowned by their own family members.

    I wish this were the reason Karl Rove was retiring.

  36. realy loved the artical. a great insight to a great man (and no i don’t mean the son)

  37. Unbelievable article, this was truly fascinating.
    It makes me proud to share the same name as that man :-)
    Shannon, you probably live the most interesting life ever, I love it.

  38. The only Rove I know is the comedian on Aussie TV, so the political crap is lost on me… From reading comments however I gather he’s not popular.
    I find it sad that homosexuality and mods have to be ‘skeletons’, I practise both and my heart sinks at the thought that my family consider me as something to hide.
    I pray the day never comes when we, as a community, are ashamed of our families for being mainstream.
    OwenBrown, fathers and sons take very different paths each day. The only difference in this is celebrity.

  39. What a wonderful, beautifully-written story. Louie would be so pround of you! (I’m a middle-aged, straight white-bread mother, and the article brought a tear to my eye – and not because of the piercings!) Good on you.

  40. It has been a new and interesting experience reading what folks write about something I have written. I will continue to follow the train.

    However I want to add something to my story.

    With regard to the information on other sites … I am sad that they have picked this up and played on the “graphic” side. It was never supposed anything other than a personal experience.

    Secondly, I have since found out indirectly from “the family” that there was a private “family service” for Louie. I can respect a family’s intentions, but from a gay perspective, it is so typical for families who want “hide” a persons sexual orientation to keep a funeral private away from long-time friends. AIDS deaths are clutter with “private” family services.

    It was also suggest to me that the family may have know about Louie’s body modifications. It is not an absolute that the family would have known about them. Louie told me and others (see above), that he never wanted a tattoo because it was permanent; you can take out a piercing. And Louie was well into giving things away before he died. He gave me a collection of photographs for instance. Again, that is typical of single, older gay men. More than once I have been asked to “clean out a closet”…

    Thanks to the folks who have contacted me or Shannon about Louie with information. And bits and pieces of his life and the times will help the historical record.

    This last week I have been developing a question. It has to do with the father and son relationship. There is a part of me that wonders why Karl would NOT want it to be seem as “distancing himself from his father” (Karl says they were close) … But his father is gay, why not distance himself?

    Karl on one hand is not distancing himself from his father but on the other hand is developing a political strategy based on inflaming an anti-gay political base!

    Where they as close as you or I may think “close” is? Or was/is the son “using” the father on their trips to Santa Fe to help him (Karl) develop that strategy at some level? God knows, maybe they went off together and developed that strategy ! A kind of father son bonding?

    Whatever the case, Louie was gay; people knew it then and now. Perhaps not gay like a 20 year old is today, but just the same he was. What I don’t understand is why/how the son could do something that had the possibility to hurt the father one way or another. Why would Karl do that? Could you do that to your son? To your father?

  41. The end… woah. Life really is strange and the only thing stranger is how long it actually takes to get accustomed to that idea. Stories like this help remind me of the boundlessness of reality. This feels like it was written with a lot of compassion so thanks for sharing it.

  42. Don’t be too critical of Wikipedia. It’s interesting, but it’s original research by Wikipedia’s definition. Wikipedia does not act as a primary source of information but always (theoretically) relies on previously-published sources that are known to be reliable. Also, it is frequently burned with libel suits, so it has to be extremely careful about stuff like this.

  43. Pingback: ModBlog - Jim Ward Audio Interview - Body modification and ritual blog sponsored by BMEzine.com

  44. I lived in Los Angeles from November 1982 to Sept 1991, and went to Louie’s home for piercing parties. He had a house in the Wilshire District, a few blocks west of La Brea Ave and in the block south of Wilshire Blvd. Jim Ward pierced my nipples and my genitals. He did two didos on me, and the actual piercing hurt like hell. I live in Vancouver, WA now. Perhaps one of these days we will meet. I know Bugs. I have met him at several tattoo conventions. He bought Dottie M’s old studio on Venice Blvd. Best wishes. InkManLarry

  45. I lived in LA (Pasadena) during the eighties, and was heavily involved in the gay tattooing scene, and leather and motorcycle clubs. I lived in SF fours years prior to moving to LA. I was a member of the Recon Motorcycle Club and the Warlocks MC Club. Both were heavily involved in the South of Market (SOMA) scene. Very enjoyable. I wanted to get my nipples pierced in SF, but couldn’t find any one to trust to do it. I moved to LA in Nov. 1982, and had Jim Ward pierce my nipples within a couple of weeks of the move. He did it at the Gauntlet in West Hollywood. I had a ladder of about 8 piercings in my penis. I also had a Prince Albert and two didos. All done by Jim Ward at the West Hollywood Gauntlet.

    Anyway, I was more heavily active in the Gay tattooing scene, what little there was of it. I was one of the original founding members of the Illustrated Men. We had private pool parties, bar meets, and some runs to the motel clubs in Palm Springs.

    Bud, the artist who did the covers of PFIQ designed the tattoo on my back. Robert Benedetting of Sunset Strip Tattoo had Bud design the piece. It was completed in April, 1985, just in time to be shown at the National Tattoo Convention in Seattle. My IAM page is inkmanlarry.

    I was no where near as heavily involved in the piercing scene as you were, but I did live in Southern California during that era, and knew many of the individuals you talk of. I lived in LA near Grifith Park Blvd, and Los Feliz. I belive it is the Hyperion District. I moved to Pasadena in 1985, and lived at 72 S. Greenwood Ave., until Sept. 1991, where I accepted a transfer to Portland, OR. I lived 1/2 block South of Colorado Blvd, and two blocks east of Allen.

    When I lived in Southern California, I got major work from Cliff Ravern, Robert Benedette (Sunset Strip Tattoo), and Bob Roberts (Spotlight Tattoo on Melrose Ave.).

    One of these days, it would be great to meet you and spend some time talking about the good old days. I may be in the LA area in February or June of next year. I would come down as part of a trip to a tattoo convention.

    If you ever want to talk, my e-mial address is [email protected]. My home phone is 360-882-1173, and my cell is 360-904-9270. I only keep my cell phone on when I am out of the house. My name is Larry Happ.

    Best wishes, InkManLarry

  46. Just a correction to comment 71. I lived in the Silverlake District, not the Hyperion District, when I lived in LA during the early 80′s. InkManLarry

  47. Just some additional comments. I went to several piercing parties at Louie Rove’s home in the Wilshire District. He had a beautiful home in the Wilshire District, just south of Wilshire Blvd., between La Brea Ave., and Gardener.

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