ModBlog News of the Week: Jan 21st, 2011

This week’s news round-up should be a bit interesting as I’m fighting off a fever and having 20 tabs open in my browser is starting to blur my vision.

Granted it appears I’m not the only person with a fever out there.  Take this California man who has an extreme case of Bieber fever.

Now with the recent announcement that the zodiac signs are all changing quite a number of people were scared their zodiac tattoos will need to be covered up or removed.  Well it turns out the good people at CNN have found out that your sign actually isn’t changing at all.  (Thanks to Chez for the link).

But before astrology fans scrape the ink from their arms because they think they’re now a Virgo instead of a Libra, they should consider this: If they adhered to the tropical zodiac – which, if they’re a Westerner, they probably did – absolutely nothing has changed for them.  That’s worth rephrasing: If you considered yourself a Cancer under the tropical zodiac last week, you’re still a Cancer under the same zodiac this week.

That’s because the tropical zodiac – which is fixed to seasons, and which Western astrology adheres to – differs from the sidereal zodiac – which is fixed to constellations and is followed more in the East, and is the type of zodiac to which the Star Tribune article ultimately refers.

Lots more news to come, including an old ModBlog regular making the jump into the limelight, and a publishing company offering free books to their fans.

Say you love a book so much you get a tattoo that is inspired by it.  This happens all the time.  Heck even I’m guilty of hiding a literary reference in my skin.  Well it turns out that if you’re a fan of the publications of Black Ocean, and you have a tattoo referencing one of their works, you’ll get a lifetime subscription for free!

Of course not everyone is as die hard a fan of poetry as others.  To some, loving their favorite football team is all the inspiration they need.

Not a sports fan?  That’s ok, you can show your dedication to something else you love.  Like your cell phone provider.  Wait, what?

The big question, of course, is why is he doing this? Carrion told IntoMobile that he’s “just a really, really big fan of Verizon Wireless,” and that the idea to put Big Red’s logo on his body (for life) came to him “while [he] was paying his monthly bill.” We gotta hand it to the guy for putting ideas into action so quickly.

When asked if he was looking to get publicity in some way or looking for any kind of compensation from Verizon by putting a the corporate logo tattoo on his hand and forehead, Carrion replied that “Verizon probably spends millions in advertising and marketing every year, I’m not doing this to get money, but sponsoring my tattoo would be a relatively cheap way to increase brand exposure, and I wouldn’t turn down any compensation.” He continued to explain that the forehead placement would ensure that “the logo will be in front of all my friends and anyone I run into on a daily basis.” It’s clear that this Big Red customer is seriously dedicated to the Verizon network.

Moving on, we’ve got news out of Atlanta about a tattoo artist who was arrested last week for not only tattooing underage children in his home, but also for creating a fake tattoo license.  While he is being charged for tattooing the minors, it seems the courts are pushing hard for a conviction on the forgery charges.

Heading north to Oshawa, ON, a number of people are being advised to contact the Durham region health department.  Basically anyone who visited a mobile tattoo and piercing studio may have been exposed to various diseases after the operation was found to be using non-sterilized equipment.

While the Oshawa health department is out inspecting studios, it seems that down in Wyoming a number of studios are pushing for state-wide regulations.

But in Wyoming, where Edwards now runs his business, customers aren’t likely to find that certificate of assurance saying the business has passed a public health inspection, or even met sterile practices considered paramount in the industry.  Wyoming’s lack of tattoo regulations places customers at risk, Edwards said, especially when they turn to so-called “scratch artists” working from their garages.  ”If there were regulations, those people would have to be certified,” Edwards said. “They would have to keep to the same standards as the artists who have worked their whole lives in the business.”  Edwards has an unlikely ally in Charles Jamieson, the Park County public health officer who’s pushing the state to regulate Wyoming’s tattoo industry.

The only problem I have with this article is the thought that a tattoo artist and a public health officer are unlikely allies.  I’m fairly certain the majority of clean studios are happy to meet regulations as they not only protect the clients, but also the artists.

Now, this next article is probably going to generate some discussion, and I went to multiple sites to confirm that this was a legitimate study before posting it.  According to researchers, stainless steel tongue studs are more likely to cause infections than any other type of jewelry, including plastic.

Physician Ines Kapferer of the Innsbruck Medical University in Austria and colleagues identified 68 women and 12 men, average age 23, who had tongue piercings with studs inserted. The researchers examined tooth and gum health in each volunteer and removed the studs. The volunteers were then randomly assigned to get a new stud made of stainless steel, titanium, polypropylene (a plastic polymer) or polytetrafluorethylene (Teflon). After two weeks, the scientists removed those studs and took swabs of the tongue, the piercing canal and each stud itself.

Tests for 80 bacteria linked to illness or infection showed that 67 of the 80 species had accumulated substantially more on the stainless steel studs than on the polymers, and 28 of the bacteria showed up more on titanium than on the polymers.

Now the problem I have with this study is that while in the limited scope of the testing the stainless steel posts accumulated more bacteria, they don’t mention sterility issues when the piercing actually occurs.  This of course could lead to a slew of shops being able to claim that acrylic jewelry is safer to piece with than sterilized stainless surgical steel.  Any thoughts from the piercers that read ModBlog on how this study could impact their business?

Moving on, there is some sad news to report this week.  Jack Dracula, former Coney Island tattoo artist and circus performer passed away at the age of 75.

His name was Jack Dracula or Jack Martin or Barcelona Jack, the Marked Man but he was born on Christmas day, 1935 as Jack Baker. After a short stint in the Navy, Jack got his start tattooing after he entered a shop on Coney Island owned by Brooklyn Blackie, when he was tossed a gun and told to do it himself. Jack did a piece on his thigh and never stopped. Over time he did work and received work in various shops, tattooing his his face, cheeks, chin. forehead and all around his eyes. Most prominent were the images of Bella Lugosi/Dracula and Boris Karloff/Frankenstein on his stomach. All in total the Marked Man had over 400 tattoos.

Jack spent the last of his days in West Philadelphia’s Park Pleasant Nursing Home his legs amputated from the knees down due to complications with diabetes developed in the 90′s.  At the age of 75, our beloved Jack Dracula died today at 5:30pm, after a meal of chocolate ice cream and a long, interesting life, reportedly due to a heart attack.

Rest in Peace Jack.

–Kevin Dalton

Down under things are still looking tough for the people affected by the massive flooding that has affected a large portion of the population.  For some Queensland tattoo studios, the flooding has washed away almost everything.

“I am covered for a sonic boom, can you believe that? But not a flood, a sonic boom,” said the 35-year-old business owner and mum to three boys.  She’s been knee-deep in mud in the clean-up of her flood-affected salon called Body Bare in the main street of Ipswich.  ”I was scouring my insurance policy’s PDS (product disclosure document) on Monday night and they won’t be paying anything out for a flood,” said Ms Hill, who has owned the business for five years.

Around the corner on Brisbane Street, Janelle Roberts, owner of the Ultimate Image Tattooing, wants to move out.  ”I can’t stay here. I want to get to a higher location but I have three years left on my lease,” she said.  ”Do I have to keep paying rent if my shop is ruined? We’ve easily lost $50,000 just in art work and equipment and will be shut for who know’s how long. My building’s just not safe right now. It’s old and the wiring is shot.”

On a much lighter note, the international press is buzzing due to the revelation that Germany’s first lady has a tattoo.  Not just any tattoo mind you, a decently sized tribal piece on her shoulder.

Ever since we heard that Germany’s First Lady Bettina Wulff has a tribal tattoo on her right shoulder, we’ve been waiting for her to wear a sleeveless gown and show off her ink. So far, no dice!  But last Friday night, she stepped out to the Semper Opera Ball in Dresden wearing a lacy, black dress and we can totally make out her tat. While we think it’s a pretty cool accessory, we can also see how it might be considered un-First-Ladylike.

I’m just waiting for the day the US has a president with full sleeves.  I can only imagine the poutrage at that.

Of course, the week wouldn’t be complete without a look at the people we all love to hate.

Jesse James and Kat Von D are still in the news this week with rumors floating about that they’re now engaged.  The article has a fantastic photo of what a happy couple may look like.

Now when rapper Gucci Mane was finally released from a mental institution recently, he did what any newly certified sane person would do:  get an ice cream cone tattooed on his face.

Rapper Gucci Mane has had a large tattoo of a triple-scoop ice cream cone inked onto his face just days after he was released from a mental health facility.  Mane, real name Radric Davis, appeared in court on January 3 claiming mental incompetence and saying he was unable to ‘intelligently participate in the probation revocation hearing’.  The 30-year-old was sent to a mental health facility to be evaluated.

It is unclear why he has since been released and how it affects his probation status.  When he was released he got the ice cream facial tattoo complete with the word, ‘Brrr’ on the cone and red lightning strikes coming out of it.

Now, I’m not posting this to mock his tattoo, because frankly, it’s his skin and he can choose to do whatever he wants to do with it.  However, when a person walks out of a mental institution, especially one with an entourage and handlers, you’d think it’d be a good idea to steer them clear of a tattoo studio, just in case their judgement is still impaired.  But given that he already has neck and facial tattoos, who’s to say he wasn’t planning it for a while.

A few months back I posted a story describing how Rooney Mara, the actress to take on the role of Lisbeth Salandar in the American adaptation of “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”, had undergone a pretty radical transformation, including multiple piercings.  This week the studio released a few photos of Rooney, and you can see that she really has given herself over to the role.

From what I can see the list of piercings include multiple ear piercings, a lip ring, a single nostril, and according to other news sources, both of her nipples.  Who knows, maybe the remake won’t be a complete waste of time.

In today’s final story, we’ve got someone who should look pretty familiar to ModBlog readers.  Zombie Boy, aka Rick Genest first popped up on ModBlog back in 2006.  Since then, this young man has appeared several times on ModBlog, as well as in other publications all around the world.  Well this week he’s been thrust into the media spotlight thanks to Nicola Formichetti, stylist to Lady Gaga and Thierry Mulger’s new creative director.

This week, Nicola Formichetti was in Montreal photographing a young man named Rick Genest, whom he found on Facebook and is known as Rico. Mr. Genest had his body tattooed to resemble a skeleton, with blackened eye sockets and ghoulishly large dentiture on his lips. “Rico is my muse,” Mr. Formichetti, who styles Lady Gaga, wrote in an e-mail.

Of course, with Mulger introducing a new clothing line, and Gaga about to release a new album, the time was right for Formichetti to unleash his muse upon the world via this video that Lady Gaga released yesterday.

So I guess all those people who said he’d never amount to anything with tattoos like that should be eating their words right now.

So that’s it for this week’s news.  If you come across a story that you think should be included in the round up, just send it in.

23 thoughts on “ModBlog News of the Week: Jan 21st, 2011

  1. I’m curious about the quality of the metals used in the study about materials that could cause infections. I read the article, but it didn’t mention if it was just regular stainless steel and titanium used in the barbells or if they were implant-grade quality. I feel that the quality of the metal might make a substantial difference in the results.

  2. I literally gasped at one part of the video of Rico, where the swathe of black cloth was fluttering back from his face. Positively surreal. His modifications are fascinating. LOVE it!

  3. Wow, I never thought I’d see Zombie Boy in a video like that…it’s actually really captivating!

  4. I would really like to see this paper and have only been able to get minimal info and abstracts (without paying), but what the hell ..

    First off. The most important part : “The low bacterial counts from piercing channels suggest that having a tongue pierced would not contribute to an increased risk for oral infection.”

    “A total of 85 subjects with tongue piercings participated in this study.”
    That is a very small sample size.

    “After a baseline dental examination, sterile piercings of four different materials were randomly allocated to the study subjects. After 2 weeks, microbiologic samples were collected….”
    Samples would need to be tested multiple times over a longer period for this to carry any weight.

    The only (possibly) surprising part of this is : “The finding of Staphylococci on steel and _titanium_ studs may suggest an elevated risk for complication if the piercing channel is infected.”

    Let’s assume that all of the small sample took equal care with the piercing, dental hygiene and that the jewelry was all of high quality but the metals were more likey to have a biofilm (bacterial colony).
    In my opinion, it would be down to the manufacture process of the jewelry rather than the material. There are also known problems with using other materials like PTFE. Namely, constantly having to change it.

  5. I hope said “California Man” will soon grace us with a post illustrating his leg amputation.

  6. that justin bieber dude is seriously gonna regret that tattoo … justin bieber = hate !!

  7. I’m beyond happy that Zombie Boy’s getting attention, he deserves it!! He is beyond beautiful.

  8. Haha. I’ll be waiting for that bieber tattoo to make a cameo appearance in an episode of it’s always sunny in Philadelphia

  9. really loved the video. wonder how it would look like when he smiles.
    i could look at Rick for hours..

  10. I love that Rooney Mara has totally given herself to the roll even though her tats are fake, they were designed by a real tat artist and the piercings she got done all in one day, which is pretty intense if you ask me for someone like her whom appears to not have any prior mods besides maybe pierced ears.

  11. Hell yes, I hope the naysayers are eating their words! Rick is so freaking gorgeous! I’m glad he’s getting all of this good attention! I love the video!

  12. As far as legislating tattoos goes, I support that decision somewhat. I am very certain that if it were left up to city officials they would screw all tattooers over with some rediculous liscences and god knows what else, so that a tattoo artist is working with them is a good thing. There is talk of legislation forming in Miami (and I’m assuming Florida) soon, and my good neighbors, the first tattoo shop in miami, Tattoo’s By Lou, are working with the health department to set up some sort of moderation and licensing. I found out recently and would like to poke my nose in there and see if anyone cares what I have to say. I do have documented proof of infections and serious disfigurement by scratcher shops. Specifically, Silvaback (they operate 9 shops in the Miami area I believe, and were recently on the news as they had all been operating without a piercing license. They are untrained and unprofessional individuals who are a risk to their hundreds of customers getting $20 tattoos regularly.)

    My two cents :)

  13. So the Americans want to ruin Stieg Larssons and Niels Arden Oplevs brilliant work, with a Hollywood-version of the Millennium Trilogy… Good luck with that.

  14. I’m not a huge Gaga fan, but I really like that video. She sounds better in German (I think its German?) and Rick Genest looks extra sexy.

  15. I’d be curious to know if that study went one step further and actually ran stats tests to find out which material is most/least dangerous not just based on quantity of bacteria but also based on which bacteria are of highest risk. Because seriously, there are so many different kinds of bacteria (good, bad and neutral) that sheer quantity means nothing.

  16. man, i never get tired of looking at Mugler. that dude looks all sorts of badass and i’m completely envious of the aesthetic he has created for himself

  17. Rooney looks amazing, and massive kudos to her for getting the piercings. If her dedication is any marker of what the film will be like, I can’t wait to see it.

    And re zombie boy – I’m so pleased someone so heavily modified has been introduced to the mainstream. Although I wonder how many people who watch that vid will think his ink is fake?

  18. as already stated, i’d really like to see another study done on piercing materials, one with more subjects, multiple weekly tests, more materials, etc. plus, there is also the problem that not everyone takes care of piercings the same, not everyone eats the same, not everyone has the same amount of bacteria on the tongue (halitosis, etc), not everyone smokes, etc. so many factors could be contributing to this. i think the study should be done on a multitude of piercings: ears, navels, noses, lip…. to REALLY test materials accurately. what about niobium, acrylic? i think it’d be an extremely interesting and informative study and would be of great benefit to the body modification community.

  19. Zombie Boy is also in Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” music video. They dance together. Gaga’s wearing makeup to make her face similar to his. The video can be found on youtube.

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