The Friday Follow-up

As promised yesterday, today’s follow-up is going to be a look at Misty’s (IAM:Southtownbaby) first scarification piece.  We first saw it back in April of last year, and then again in June for a 3 month follow-up post.

Here’s how it looked originally..

And here’s how it looks today, with some roses that Misty added recently.

This one really show how differently scars can heal on different people, and even how much scarification can differ on areas of the body.  You’ll notice more definition closer to the knee than there is at the top based entirely on the movement of the flesh in that area.  Looking back on the fresh photo you can see that the scarification was done evenly, that’s just how this person heals.  In any case, Misty did a great job for her first time out, and clearly the client is happy as he went back to her for the roses.

She’s got fans all over the world

It was just last April that we first saw Misty (IAM: Southtownbaby) appear on ModBlog for the first time as a scarification artistWe had seen plenty of her own scars, as well as her many suspensions, yet to appear as a scarification artist was a major accomplishment.  Since then her scars have been featured several times, and she’s even gone on tour to New Zealand.  This mehndi inspired fan scarification was done while she was visiting Absolution Tattoo and Body Piercing in Christchurch, NZ.

Make sure to come back tomorrow as you’ll get to see a follow-up of Misty’s first cutting.

The Friday Follow-up

As promised, today’s follow-up is from Misty (IAM: Southtownbaby).  I don’t have a time frame for these photos, but I’m sure she’ll show up and let us know.  With the healed scar as shiny as it is, I’d guess somewhere in the range of two months, but don’t quote me on that.

Help out the youngest member of the BME family. Get a limited edition 2012 BME Classic Logo t-shirt. Read all the details here.

ModBlog News of the Week: October 14th, 2011

Alright, we’re at the end of another week of ModBlog posts, which means its time for the news roundup.  To start I’ve got a bit of BME news for you.  The BME Shop is having a sale on EVERYTHING!  Just use the code 30offbme when you check out and it will be automatically applied.  The sale won’t last forever, so take advantage of it while you can!

Now for the lead story today I’m going to be turning to Misty from Hooklife as she’s already summed up a lot of this issue already.  Basically the Springfield, Missouri chapter of AGRO have suddenly found themselves in the middle of a media circus after holding a small suspension event in a member’s back yard.

AGRO Springfield had selected what they saw as a private location to hold their monthly meetings; the back yard of co-director Kristen Atkinson. Their team chose to hang tarps along the fence to help block the view of neighbors as they suspended, but those in bordering yards were still able to see into the area if they tried. One neighbor, whose wife and daughter were able to see the suspensions taking place, chose to contact local councilman Nick Ibarra, state representative Melissa Leach, and other state agencies with his complaint about what he viewed as an inappropriate act for his family to be exposed to.

From that original interview and news clip, the situation seems to have escalated very quickly; in the last two days almost every news outlet in Springfield has contacted the directors of AGRO Springfield for information, photos, and interviews. It doesn’t seem to have stopped with local news either, ABC News took them time to contact them as well about what is taking place. Luckily for all of us, the directors of AGRO Springfield, with guidance from Rick Pierceall, are attempting to remain level headed and calm throughout this ordeal. They are currently trying to learn more about what the city council members might plan to include in the draft of possible regulations to be written, as well as looking more into what they can do to have a positive impact on this situation. I would like to note that their team did nothing wrong to cause this situation. They had a regularly scheduled meet, in a member’s back yard, where people nearby witnessed body suspension; this very easily could have been any of our teams in that situation.

Here’s the news story that Misty referred to:

Shane Shields can’t tell you exactly why, but he gets a rush out of being pierced through the skin with thick hooks and hanging by ropes in the air – a fringe art known as body suspension. The 29-year-old body modification artist runs a licensed tattoo facility as a day job, but on weekends, he joins other body suspension enthusiasts in a Springfield, Mo., backyard.  But one neighbor insists that Shields and his fellow body artists are traumatizing his children and has pledged to ban the practice so young onlookers don’t have to hear the screams and see bodies drenched in blood.  Aaron King, whose North Main Avenue backyard overlooks the meetings, says that his children should not have to be unwittingly exposed to the practice.  He isn’t opposed to others doing it — he just thinks his two children should not have to witness it, especially his 9-year-old daughter.  “She saw blood dripping from a shoulder blade area and what she said looked like holes,” King told ABC affiliate KSPR. “I don’t know why their right to do this should extend to public open space and force me to keep my children inside.”

“Why people do it differs,” said Shields, who co-founded the Springfield club. “For some it’s the spiritual sense and a kind of enlightenment and others just think it’s fun.”  But King thinks otherwise and has contacted his city counselors and several state agencies with his complaint.  City council member, Nick Ibarra said he agrees with King and told the Springfield News-Leader that he has asked the city’s legal department to draft an ordinance that addresses body suspension.  One child development expert said she stands firmly behind King.  “It’s the equivalent of taking a kid to an R-rated movie because of the violence,” said Dr. Ari Brown, an Austin, Texas, pediatrician and author of several books on child behavior. “But you don’t have a choice when it’s happening in your backyard.”  Young children might experience nightmares or anxiety after witnessing body suspension, according to Brown. “Kids have a little bit of trouble understanding this type of thing — it’s violent and painful and someone is going through something uncomfortable,” she said. “The visual leaves a lasting image in their memory and I don’t blame the parent for being disturbed.”

Now the scary thing about this situation is that it could happen anywhere.  All it takes is one overzealous parent and a politician to force suspension underground.  Keep an eye here on ModBlog as well as Hooklife for any further developments.

Alright, there’s more news to come after the break, including a couple of stories out of Houston, so Texas ModBlog readers, keep an eye out for them.

So next up is an editorial piece that I found in the SFWeekly.  It was published by a staff writer who credits the author as an anonymous tattoo artist in the San Francisco area.  The title is “Ten things your tattoo artist wants to set you straight on”.

Pregnant women will remain un-inked.
I know there are lot of hormones racing around around the body of your typical pregnant woman, but there are serious health concerns inherent in placing a tattoo on that glowing, expectant-mother skin. It’s bad for the baby. Yes, these women would sign a waiver, but we don’t have a waiver for that because we are caring human beings, not horrible, horrible animals.

We don’t sell tattoo equipment to amateurs.
You like tattoos, and you want to try out some Chinese numerals and smiley faces? Well, this isn’t Los Angeles, and we don’t sell to those not professionally trained. I’m not a jerk; I’m just a caring human being looking out for the future of you and your addle-minded friend’s epidermis.

No name-on-name action.
The first time you got “Richie” tattooed on your lower back was a bad idea. Getting “Pete”
tattooed over “Richie” is an absolutely terrible idea. That’s just two names on top of each other. What are you going to do when “Pete” bows out of the picture, and “Stan” steps in to take his place? I don’t even want to think about it.

No matter how many times you ask, your kid isn’t getting tattooed.
Your child is still prepubescent and wants a full back-tattoo of Mickey Mouse fighting Miley Cyrus. Too bad. It is punishable by prison sentence in the state of California to tattoo a minor, and as much as I’d like to lose my license, so your kid can have the Grateful Dead bear on his forearm, it ain’t going to happen. Even if you’re his dad. Even if I speak to your wife on your phone. I. Will. Not. Do. It.

You’ll have to read the article to see the remaining 6.

Although the list is only 10 points, there is an 11th one that should go without saying, but it seems some people need to be reminded.  If you don’t like the work the tattoo artist did on your girlfriend, don’t stab him!

A man stabbed a tattoo artist several times in the area of Columbus Avenue and Cedar Street Wednesday afternoon, then fled on a city bus, police said.

The victim said he did not know the man personally, but had done tattoo work for the man’s girlfriend. The man decided to stab the victim because the tattoo was no good, police said. The victim sought treatment for his injuries at Yale-New Haven Hospital.

Houstonites listen up, especially tattoo artists in and around Houston.  There’s been a rash of robberies taking place and the criminals are targeting tattoo shops specifically.

It’s not the cash resigters or even the electronics that are being targeted. It’s the pricey tattoo equipment. We’ve learned of several high-dollar bugarlies at Houston-area tattoo shops.  With a half a dozen artists now working for him, Rene Garcia, is living the American dream.  “I love the art,” Garcia said. “Open up your own business and try to survive.”  In January, he expanded Big City Tattoos to this space on the Gulf Freeway, and this past weekend, his dream was the source of disappointment.  “Having somebody take what you worked hard for, it bugs you, you know? It bugs you a lot,” Garcia said.  The burglar broke in early Sunday morning. Once inside, surveillance cameras caught his every move. When he can’t find the light switch, he grabs what’s close and carries it out. This time, he grabbed a tool box full of $3,000 worth of tattoo machines and supplies.

The break-in sounds very familiar to Cynthia Courtney. The shop she owned on the East Freeway with her mother and sister was hit in July. The loss was so great that their beloved business now has a for rent sign outside.  “If I had to add it up, $18,000 maybe, total,” Courtney said.  They were forced to close.  “We had no other choice, we had nothing left,” she said.  At least one other shop on Westheimer was burglarized this past weekend. A surveillance camera captured a car that looks a lot like the one seen during the Big City Tattoos burglary.  In all three burglaries, specialized tattoo equipment was stolen, leading Garcia to a conclusion.  “It has to be a tattoo artist,” he said.  With the video, he hopes he’s stopped.  “The tattoo game is really small in Houston and everybody know everyone in the tattoo game,” Garcia said. “People are going to recognize his face.”

Another story out of Houston this week involves a new program for juvenile offenders.  In the past we’ve seen programs offering free tattoo removal for gang members, mostly in California, however this program is targeting young offenders specifically.

As Preston walked away with bandages on his arms and leg, a contagious smile was visible. The bandages covered the 11 tattoos he started the process of removing Thursday afternoon, making him the first student from the Montgomery County Juvenile Probation Department to take advantage of free tattoo and scar removal services offered by Body Restore in The Woodlands.  Preston’s last name is not being used in this story because he is part of the Montgomery County Juvenile Probation Department.  “I’m sort of glad I got on probation so I got the opportunity to do this,” the 16-year-old said. “Otherwise, I’d be stuck with these my whole life.”  At age 13, Preston got his first tattoo “because my brother got one and I thought it was cool.”

“This is a tremendous opportunity for these young folks,” said County Court-at-Law 5 Judge Keith Stewart, who oversees Montgomery County’s Juvenile Court. “I’ve seen in the last couple of years many kids come through who have made a decision that impacts them the rest of their lives. Unfortunately they made these decisions at ages 13, 14 or 15, with gang-related tattoos on their bodies. Without a program like this, most would not have the opportunity to get rid of them. Some kids have wanted to have them removed and couldn’t afford it. The fact that Tracie is willing to do this is a huge favor to our society.”  “It’s a way of me giving back,” Mann said. “These are young kids. They make decisions based on a picture they have at that time and that picture changes over time. We’re trying to help them make better lives for themselves.”  Mann, who’s been on her own since age 14, also offers free burn and scar removal to soldiers returning from war, abused children and human trafficking victims.  “I had a real hard life growing up,” she said. “I don’t want any other child to feel that. … People look at you differently depending on the type of tattoo you have.”

To finish off this week’s news we’ve got a couple of stories of people being offended by tattoos.  In the first story it actually led to an arrest of the tattooed individual.

According to reports, Colombian winger Juan Pablo Pino was arrested by the Saudi moral police when fellow shoppers in a Riyadh mall complained about the exposed tattoos on his arms, which include the face of Jesus and other religious symbols. Pino joined Saudi club Al Nassr on loan from Galatasaray at the end of August and apparently was not aware that showing his tattoos by wearing a sleeveless shirt in public would cause him any problems.

Gulf News reports that a Saudi Football Federation official “sent a circular to all clubs asking them to advise their professionals and players to respect Saudi traditions and not show their religious symbols in a way disregarding Saudi customs and traditions” after a cross tattoo on the arm of a Romanian player for Al Hilal caused controversy last year.  It’s unclear whether Al Nassr informed Pino of this in his short time with the club, but he’ll probably be investing in some long-sleeve shirts now.

The article goes on to state that Pino was released from police custody after a team delegate discussed the matter with the police.

The other story about offending tattoos is from the U.S. where parents are upset over the newest Barbie doll.

Parents in the US are furious over fashion doll Barbie’s latest reinvention, which sees her covered in tattoos.  The new “Totally Stylin’ Tattoos Barbie” comes with a set of body art stickers to be placed anywhere on her body.  The set also comes with a tattoo gun so kids can stamp designs on themselves.  Manufacturer Mattel says the tattoos for children are temporary and wash off.  But some parents believe the toy is not appropriate for young children and would not buy the doll.

Jenn Alcayaga, a parent from Sacramento, California, is against the message the new Barbie could send to young girls.   “It’s attracting kids too young to want to expose parts of their body to show off tattoos,” she said.

Mattel isn’t planning on removing the doll, despite the complaints.  Now I may be showing my age, but I could have sworn I saw a commercial for a tattooed barbie back when I was a kid, with the same hearts and flowers tattoos.  Anyway, it just goes to show that no matter what you do, someone, somewhere, will be offended.

That’s it for this week’s news post.  Keep sending in those articles, they’re a huge part of what gets included in the weekly updates.

Challenge Accepted!

The gang over at Hooklife have thrown down the gauntlet to suspension teams around the world.  Today they announced a guerrilla suspension challenge.  Here’s some of the details:

We are challenging the suspension community to dream up, create, produce and photograph the most amazing Guerrilla Suspension.  Before anyone goes crazy we need to make one thing very clear.  Hook Life, and our affiliates DO NOT condone any illegal or dangerous activities! Now with that said here’s how it will work.

Please submit ONE photo.  You can submit as many different entries as you like, but please only one per suspension/location.  By submitting a photo you are giving and Hook Life permission to use the photo on this site and possibly on other sites to promote this competition.

Photos will be judged and scored accordingly:

  • 20% – Location – Based on visual appeal, complexity and higher public visibility
  • 20% – Suspension – More complex suspensions gain higher marks
  • 20% – Photography – Image quality and getting the perfect shot is part of the challenge
  • 40% – Creativity – Overall score based on judges opinions
  • Safety – Unsafe rigging and/or dangerous suspension practices will have points deducted

Grand Prize – A one of a kind “trophy” rig designed and donated by Skin Mechanics Steelworks.  The grand prize will be awarded at the 2012 Dallas Suscon.
Other Prizes – As the competition progresses we may adding more prizes.  Companies/Individuals interesting in donating prizes please contact Hook Life.


  • Allen Falkner – Administrator of
  • Misty “Southtownbaby” Forsberg – Head Writer for Hook Life
  • Mark “” Kaplan – Official Dallas Suscon Photographer
  • Stewart “S2B” Stephens – Certified Entertainment Production Rigger
  • Erik “Lizardman” Sprague – International Performer

Submissions will be accepted until December 31st, 2011.  After that date the judges top picks will be posted.  Good luck everyone.  We are looking forward to seeing your entries.

The full details as well as the contest entry form can be found at this link.

Now remember, only entries submitted to HookLife will be counted.  That said, knowing some of the fantastic suspension teams that are out there, there are going to be more than one photo of each suspension.  BME is inviting those teams that participate to submit any additional photos to the suspension galleries.  I’m going to be keeping my eye out for these submissions over the next couple of months, and I’m hoping to feature as many as possible.  So if you plan on entering the challenge, remember to send your extra photos to BME, and send me an e-mail with the story behind them (don’t e-mail me your photos).

While we’re on the subject of suspension, here’s my counterpart at HookLife, Misty, doing a tandem 6pt resurrection, 4pt rebirth suspension.  Misty is the one on top.

Curling up with Misty

We’ve seen Misty on ModBlog a couple of times.  Whether it’s the scars she has, the ones she’s done, or her suspensions, ModBlog is always proud to show her off.  I had the pleasure of meeting her a few months back, and she’s just an incredible person inside and out.  Members of the suspension community know her from Hooklife, the equivalent of ModBlog, where she manages to keep her finger on the pulse of the suspension community.  In the past she’s helped me out with a couple of suspension related stories, and I can’t thank her enough for what she’s done.  Recently Big Mike from Hooked Suspension wrote a guest article on Misty, sharing his thoughts about this wonderful person.  Here’s a bit of what Mike had to say…

From an outsiders prospective it’s easy to see how busy she is and how hard it must be for her to keep up. She fills her days as a body piercer and from what I’ve seen an outstanding scarification artist at Southtown Tattoo & Body Piercing in Fort Smith Arkansas. She is also plays a major role in the running of her suspension team, Hanging City Suspensions. Theirs is one of the most friendly groups I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with and anybody else who has had the experience I’m sure would say the same. They did an amazing suspension show at the Freaks & Fetish, Dallas SusCon opening party that had Misty herself suspending TWICE in the same evening. It was beautiful and amazing to watch. I also had the pleasure to work with her team frequently throughout SusCon weekend and these guys are great at what they do and seem willing to always keep learning new things.

And here’s Misty at her most recent suspension with Hanging City Suspensions

She looks so serene, embraced by nature, not burdened by anything, including gravity.