It’s 4am, and I’m sitting in a hotel room. Videos are being uploaded to BME in the background, and I’m gathering my notes from today’s incredible events. Before I start, I want to share with you something Mekare wrote about what suspensions mean to her.
Suspension is a thing; a living, breathing thing but a thing all the same. As a thing suspension will never lie to me, betray me or break my heart. It will never lose interest in me or deny me what I need. Suspension returns every bit of the love and effort I give to it. It reminds me of the strength that resides inside me. It encourages me to learn more about myself, to challenge my boundaries, to test my limits. It teaches me to grow and to trust in myself. It allows me to be myself, in my purest, most unapologetic form. Suspension feeds my soul.
The reason I’m sharing this with you is that without Mekare, SusCon couldn’t have happened this year. She was the grease that kept the gears turning, and with the number of suspensions that occurred today she deserves recognition for all the hard work she did. So thank you, from myself, and all the other attendees.
So, enough with the thank yous, lets get on with today’s recap. Upon arriving at the site today I noticed that the energy was even more charged than it had been the days prior. With time running out, today was the day that anyone who was going to suspend needed to get their butts in gear and get some hooks in them. With 10 separate points to suspend, there was always something happening.
The first thing that caught my eye today was the triple tandem suspension hanging from the crane. Now, I have to mention that this was an extremely dangerous suspension, and wasn’t performed under ideal conditions so there are a number of safety elements missing. In particular, backup harnesses, and blood barriers between the suspendees. All the participants (including those on the ground underneath were aware of the risks, and worked with what materials were provided.
Participants in this suspension were Tricia on the top in a superman suspension, Raul in the middle with a coma, and Brandon on the bottom in a resurrection. Tricia in particular was a trooper as she was up there for a long time as the men below her were added.
There’s much more to come, including a suspension that affected every single person in attendance.
As I mentioned earlier the feeling of the day was that of a hurried energy. It’s not to say people were rushing, but more that nobody was inactive at any time. The piercing areas in particular was reminiscent of Grand Central Station, with teams moving in and out with precision. It may have appeared to be a hectic crowd, but with Kristina, Santos, and Jon keeping an eye on things, those crowds were moving exactly as they needed to.
The true test for this organization came early in the afternoon when it was time for the human mobile. 8 individuals, all suspended high in the air, on 4 spinning beams.
Shortly after this photo was taken, one of those people up on the beam came downwards right on top of photographer Mark (IAM: Naked Lens, who was kind enough to share all these photos today). A swift boot to the groin wasn’t even enough to get Mark to move, but when his camera was almost kicked, that’s when he got out of the way.
Now not everything today was about suspensions. It just so happened that it is also the birthday of RoP member Emrys!
Please note that the cake in front of Emrys is indeed a vegan cake. Unfortunately Emrys was just pulled off the BBQ, and had meat juice on his hands so he couldn’t use them to eat his cake, of course that didn’t stop him from diving right in face first.
Now the reason Emrys was cooking was because the SusCon chef Brad was feeling a little green.
It’s a little tricky to see, but the big frog up there was suspended by hooks in his back, arms and legs. He also had a bowl of melted chocolate hanging down by chains attached to his nipples and scrotum. To top everything off, pieces of pineapple were attached to wires which dangled down from his earlobes.
Over the course of the day there were so many incredible suspensions. Everything ranging from suicide spinning beams, crucifixions, car pulling, a daring cut down involving a bungee cable and a 5 foot free fall as a transition, and even an ass suspension. On top of these were the suspensions that took the breath from all those lucky enough to witness them. Loki’s resurrection, the first multi-generational tandem suspension, and so much more. At one point the Dallas Fire and Rescue showed up, not because of any problems, but simply because they wanted to see what was going on.
Now with this many suspensions, not everything can go perfectly. Yet it was how the attendees reacted to problems that really showed just how incredible SusCon is. A perfect example of this was during an indoor spinning beam. While two people were spinning incredibly fast, a bleed began which quickly splattered in a wide area all around the beam. The instant the bleed was noticed, the spin was stopped and the bleed controlled. Looking around the room it became aware that blood had contaminated a large area. Instantly everyone around burst into action. Those with blood on them remained still, others isolated drops on the ground, while the rest of the observers rushed to the medical supplies. Within minutes all of the blood was cleaned and the areas hit were sanitized. Once the all clear was given, the suspensions around the incident resumed.
As the skies got dark, and the rain began to pelt down, the suspensions moved inside. One suspension in particular stands out around this time. While the suspension itself wasn’t technically challenging, Hillary made it a suspension to remember. As she stepped into the air, she opened her mouth, and instead of crying out, she began to sing. For the next few minutes the entire warehouse was filled with her powerful voice, belting out opera as I’ve never heard it before. Opera itself is a very emotion driven musical style, and to combine it with an activity that reaches into a person on a primal level, allowed Hillary to create a piece of music that resonated within the very souls of all who heard her.
As the day went on, word got out that Andrew from Swing Shift Side Show was preparing to attempt a suspension that has only ever been done once before.
I’m going to stop right here for a brief moment to give a quick warning. The suspension Andrew was attempting is extremely dangerous. In fact it is so dangerous that for pretty much everyone it would result in certain injury or death. This suspension was supervised by some of the best practitioners in the world, and even with them present, there was no knowing exactly what the outcome would be.
Now then, where was I, oh yes. Andrew has spent the past few years preparing for a facial suspension. You read that right, I said years. You see, not only does a facial suspension put unbelievable stress on the face, the most dangerous factor is that it is very easy to break one’s neck. As a professional performer, Andrew has spent years conditioning his neck to potentially withstand the forces exerted by this suspension.
Well, with the sky darkened, and the warehouse in perfect silence, Andrew stepped out of the piercing area with seven hooks pierced throughout his face. With the support of Havve, he knelt down, raised his face to the sky and began to rise. With a quick movement of his hand, his choice of music began to play throughout the hall. We were all transfixed as this man we had spent the past two days getting to know was now putting his life on the line for his passion. He began to sway, slowly at first, then faster, pulling on the strings that were now raising the hooks, pulling the flesh away from his face. His feet were now pointed, his weight spread between his toes and the hooks, and then it happened.
The silence of the crowd was deafening. All of us held our breath, eyes unblinking. Then came the release. The cheer shook the foundations of the very ground we stood upon. The ground that Andrew was no longer bound to.
We stared as this figure floated above, his eyes held upward by the metal and rope that had allowed him to do the impossible. Time seemed to stop for all of us as all that mattered was Andrew. I looked around and saw that this moment had touched not only me, but all those around me.
With a motion of his hand, Andrew gave the signal to be lowered. Havve stepped forward to support his friend, yet it was Andrew that was doing the supporting. Andrew was lowered to his knees, and Havve followed, bowing down before him. Andrew, unable to look downward reached forward, placing his hand on his companion’s head. With that Havve rose, embracing Andrew. It was then the rope began to raise again. Without any one seeing, Andrew had gestured to be raised again. This time, confident in his strength, he gave one final embrace to Havve, and rose again. This time, fearless. He began to gyrate, testing the very limits of his mortal shell. It was then the crowd erupted again. This time as a release. Our pain, our turmoil, was gone; beneath us. If Andrew could force himself through the pain of this challenge, then we could could rid ourselves from our own burdens.
When Andrew finally descended, Havve spoke to the crowd; “Now everyone go get busy. Hang some people. It’s getting late!”. For you see, while Andrew’s suspension may be over, there were still a number of people who were waiting to suspend. It was their turn now to take to the air and have their own experiences.
In fact, suspensions carried on for quite a few more hours. While the shared experience of the facial suspension touched us all, for every single suspension that followed, nothing was taken away from them. EmilyLikeWhoaa in particular had an incredible suspension where she started hanging by her elbows and knees, transitioned to her knees, then swung completely around into a suicide.
At the end of the night, Allen and I spoke briefly and candidly about this year’s SusCon. For all the hard work that he puts into it, and all the frustration, the good has managed to outweigh the bad as it always manages to do.
As for me. I can personally say that this experience was an incredible one. Over the course of the weekend I was able to sit down and talk one-on-one with a number of people, and over the coming weeks I’ll be sharing those interviews with you, as well as more photos from this year’s Dallas SusCon. But for now, I’ve got to catch a plane in a couple of hours.
P.S. – Check the video galleries. Sometime today BME.com will be publishing the entire video of Andrew’s facial suspension.