Treasures, Hidden in Plain Sight

An old friend reintroduces himself and dives into his closet.

Thirteen years ago, I wrote a memorial piece for my friend and mentor, Jack Yount — my first article for BME. It is with extreme humility that I confess, nearly a decade and a half later, my writing skills haven’t really improved. Sometimes I get distracted. Sometimes, if we can be honest with each other, it will take me months to follow up on articles branded “coming soon.”

That said, intermittent though they may be, I’m back on board writing my particular (peculiar?) brand of babble for the fine folk at BME. I’ve written several different “comeback” pieces, mostly self indulgent puff-pieces where I mention how amazing I am (those will come later) and why you should love me. But, after careful consideration, I’ve decided to reintroduce myself with this …

While cleaning the house one afternoon a couple weeks back, I found a few cardboard poster tubes in the back corner of the hallway closet. There was a small cluster of them — unlabeled, like most of the things I stash away — and a few with multiple posters tucked inside. Signed prints from Alex Gray and Pushead; some show posters and one sheets for forgotten horror films all hidden away with the best intentions; and one that, to be quite honest, I didn’t even know I owned.

The tube offered no clues as to how this treasure ended up in my hands — the return address was one I didn’t recognize, and there was no note inside. But, sure enough, as I unrolled the posted I saw Fakir Musafar, more than twenty years younger than when I finally met him face to face at the APP Conference in Las Vegas earlier this year, sitting comfortably in a Kavadi rig.

In my dainty, girly hands, I was holding a poster for the movie Dances Sacred and Profane, the classic documentary featuring Fakir Musafar and Jim Ward, two friends who shared an amazing experience together; Charles Gatewood, the photographer whose iconic images from that weekend were featured in Modern Primitives, the book that launched 1,000 tribals; and was directed by brothers Dan and Mark Jury.

And right there, clear as day: “Best Wishes, Fakir Musafar,” scribbled in silver ink across the front. A signed copy of the poster for such an amazing film, lost in the back of my closet — another treasured relic from our community just waiting to be rediscovered.

As I carefully rolled the poster up and slid it back into its tube (until I could get it framed), I remembered E-mails back and forth between Dan Jury and I a few years back. I then remembered getting that tube in the mail with a T-shirt rolled up inside and a note from Dan wishing me well.

I went right down to my entertainment room, popped in Dances and sat back to watch it for the hundredth time — this time not on Gorgon Video’s crackly VHS (which I do own), but the DVD that Dan sent, stretched across a 42-inch HD screen.

I watched the film with fresh eyes. It was difficult to see the love and trust that Jim and Fakir had for each other knowing how their friendship was to end up.

But that film … caught in time and forever young, two friends put absolute faith in each other, and lost themselves in capital-R Ritual. No suspensions at nightclubs for drunken townies or “look at me” freak shows. Just two men in the desert, relying on each other and the elements to find something deep within themselves that we’ve lost.

In recent years, Fakir and Jim have “mended the fence,” at least publicly, appearing together at the annual APP conference. While they’re likely never to be the best of friends, it’s a testament to how fragile we are — our bodies and our relationships — and a reminder to cherish each moment, each friend, each ritual like it could be your last.

“There is a risk that you might die. We’re going to be 70 miles from the nearest civilization so if anything goes wrong we’re in a bad way.”- Fakir Musafar.

As I sat down to write this article, I had to move a bag of Keith Alexander’s hair that I’ve set aside to make a mourning bracelet with. Sitting next to it was a photo album I dug up that documents the removal process of a specimen I have in my toy cabinet (more on this in another column). Beside me sit a dozen videotapes from 1978-1985 featuring body modification pioneers Sailor Sid Diller, Cliff Raven, Jack Yount, Til of Cardiff and a host of others — these little treasures, each with their own history, all waiting to be shared with people who still care about where we came from.

We place so much emphasis on the future of body modification that we risk forgetting our roots. It may be strange to think of a time when one-inch nostrils weren’t common, or when a pierced ear on a man signaled something to his peers and which side it was on did matter.

While I can’t promise any consistency, I can promise that as we move forward with my articles, I’ll do my best to help keep the flame alive.

Please consider buying a membership to BME so we can continue
bringing you articles like this one.

12 thoughts on “Treasures, Hidden in Plain Sight

  1. Who’s Til of Cardiff? I don’t recognize the name…any chance of a little exposition before that column comes out?

  2. Til of Cardiff was first “exposed” in P.F.I.Q. in the late 1970s or early 1980s. (I’ll fact check before the article comes out)

    He had subinciced and superincised (top and bottom) his penis leaving a piece of connective tissue so he could ‘invert’ his penis, turning it inside out.

  3. Thanks for satisfying my curiosity!
    I’ll save you from more questions until the column comes out. :-)

  4. so happy am i that you are back… bringing real shit to the masses. fuck 1″ nostrils and crazy shit ass sideshows… no one seems to care that ear piercings really are looked upon with a certain kind of skepticism… that tongue rings are more than something to pay the bills, or everyday things… kids under 30 with sleevs just because hot topic endorses is… i welcome the return of someone real… someone who is likely to bash me, but love me at the same time… i welcome back the roots of this… i look forward to more

  5. ur writting is annoying to read to ME
    U use the word we.we.we….u make a allot of whole encommpising aasumptions and catagorizing do me a favor iether stop writing or dont include me in ur We and his shamless plug to sell sum video’s blows#7

  6. We think you’re an active, or a formerly active member of IAM/BME.
    While we’re amused that you consistently type that poorly when we know you’re smarter than this, we have less respect for you for not just admitting who you are.

  7. i understand if u turn the W upsaide down u have ME….my mom didnt wamt me when I was born but i talked her into keeping me… that gig lasted about- 9 years besdides my points are Valid to WE…hahahahahahahhahahahahahahahahahahaha losser

  8. Inspiration may infuse your day today as you find yourself moved, perhaps by the wisdom of great thinkers and their writings. As you grasp the truth of their words, you may find yourself understanding enlightenment. Though many great thinkers have shared their ideas throughout history, we have no reason to limit ourselves to their writings for inspiration. The universe sends us messages through many channels, so we may be moved by an article in a magazine or a television program, a song we hear or a book by a new author. Whatever your source of inspiration, today you may be able to pierce the veil of illusion to touch the truth at the heart of existence, even if for only a moment.That’s ME

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>