OBMF: Remembering Josh Burdette

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“i had a dream a while back. in it, i met myself. the me that i met greeted the dream me in a way that i often greet people, with hands raised together as if in prayer, a sign of coming in peace. in this dream, the other me had scars shaped like arrows on the heels of his hands. one pointing up, one pointing down. i woke from the dream with this image burned into my mind. over time, the symbolism became clear to me…

as above, so below. the sacred and the profane. heaven and earth. good and evil. black and white. brain and body. what goes up, must come down. there are a million examples and ways to describe the idea, but it all comes back to balance. none of these things would exist without the other. they may occupy opposite ends of a spectrum, but they are inextricably linked to each other. my goal is to maintain that balance in my life. to have one foot in each world. these scars will remind me of that.” – Josh Burdette, Scarwars.net

(I wrote this before noticing that my old friend Sean Philips also wrote a memorial for Josh; forgive us for double posting, but Josh is worth reading both)

The first thing most people thought when they met Josh Burdette was usually “that’s one big mother fucker.” OBMF. That’s how I first got to known Josh, back in the glory days of the late 1990s Body Modification scene of rec. arts.bodyart and the IAM.BME community site. Josh was a larger than life presence all around- a fixture in the D.C. Music scene as the Manager and head of security of the 9:30 Club since 1997, he stood as the WALL OF BEARD at countless shows. An imposing figure, Josh could have relied on his size to intimidate people, instead, in 2006 he had this to say about ‘bouncing’ to the Washington Post:

“A bouncer is looking to bounce people. It’s a reactive way of doing things. We’re the face of the club, and we have to do our best to be as friendly, polite and accessible as we can. Some of us look big and scary, but we’re just people, too. We’re just working our jobs.”

I saw him, not too long ago, at the Stay Calm memorial we held here in Philadelphia for Shannon Larratt; we hugged like we always do, gave some colorful commentary on the state of the world and the Body Modification community, and finally getting to the point of why we had all come together that day as a community- remembering our friend- he laughingly told me that we were going to have a moratorium on any of our friends dying till at least 2015, to spread the word to the people we love that they’re to stick around for a while.

I wish Josh would have been able to keep up the pact.

Josh Burdette passed away in Washington DC on Sunday September 1st. He was 36 years old. I’ll miss running into him backstage at LUCERO shows, chatting about our lives instead of watching the opening acts. I’ll miss bitching about ‘these kids today’ with him, reading his latest ‘Wall of Beard’ comic strip adventure and getting one of his epic bear hugs. I’ll miss Josh.

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SPC: Rest in Peace, Bud Larsen

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I wish that this story had a happy ending, and I apologize that the majority of my Modblog articles turn out to be memorials, but as a community archivist it’s part of the job.

I had just turned sixteen when I lied about my age and ordered every issue of PFIQ that Gauntlet had in stock. I had seen images from them in the seminal RE/Search Publication MODERN PRIMITIVES, but getting them all was a piercing nerd’s dream.

The first fourteen issues featured stunning illustrated covers by gay erotic artist BUD. They were iconic; primarily line art featuring subject matter ranging from pierced Leather Daddies (Bud also worked with DRUMMER magazine) and femme fatals, fantasy creature/human hybrids and more. Bud’s art was integral to the brand identity of those first  dozen plus issues and even after Jim switched to photo covers Bud still occasionally lent his skills to provide spot illustrations.

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Bud Viking Navarro’s backpiece by Cliff Raven, drawn by Bud Larsen

I spent years trying to track him down with no success; he had lost touch with the piercing world (his only real connection being the PFIQ covers) and was seemingly unfindable. I had stopped searching when I happened upon an envelope featuring his artwork, thumbtacked to a cork board in a cubicle in my office.

I risked writing him an introduction letter, asking if he’d be willing to talk to me about the ‘old days’. Not only did he consent, but I was shocked to find that his next door neighbor was a good friend of mine!  We corresponded back and forth for a while, discussing him doing a t-shirt design for SPCOnline and the possibility of meeting in person.

Shannon of BME noticed the story on my IAM page and asked me if I’d like to fly out to Arizona to interview Bud for BME and a few days later I was on a plane to meet him. We chatted for a little over an hour, with me recording the interview and snapping pictures of Bud and his artwork, having him sign a few PFIQs I brought with me and listening to stories about the old days; doing art for PFIQ, Drummer and other erotic magazines.

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6byd7ik5I wish I could share that with you folks, but in an epic comedy of errors my film (this was pre digital camera) was exposed and ruined by airport security and I lost the cassette with the interview somewhere in Arizona. I always planned to go back out there and re-interview him, but these things slip away and before you know it, it’s too late.

I was contacted this morning by my friend Jennifer (Bud’s neighbor) with the news that he had passed away. He leaves behind a legacy of art that captured the imaginations of the subcultures he worked in.

Rest in peace, Bud.

You can check out some of Bud’s erotic illustrations here.
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SPC: ModCon One (1999)

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How do you write an article about an event so private, so secretive, that it’s guests were made to sign nondisclosure agreements? Easy. Just be one of the ones who didn’t sign. Over the last fourteen years, the ModCon events have been shrouded in mystery. Fight Club jokes aplenty- the first rule of Modcon is that you don’t talk about ModCon and so on.

But today, we’re going to do just that. In a continuing series of articles on my life in the modern Body Modification community I’ve decided to shed a little light on ModCon; where the idea first came from, the 1998 event that never happened and more.

Obviously there will be a lot left out for the sake of discretion (as well as keeping some of the mystery) but if you’re a geek for this sort of thing…  read on. Continue reading

Dotwork Scarification

I shared this tattoo when I posted a gallery of Iestyn Flye’s work on ModBlog (click here if you don’t remember — it is in regards to the scarification seminar he and Ron Garza are hosting that you don’t want to miss if you’re a London-area professional in the field), but I also wanted I’ll just share this wider shot of Dom here, because I also really like her dotwork scars. I can imagine an entire body done in these, and have seen such things in Africa of course, but not as often in a “modern” context. Beautiful work.

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PS. Ignore the “smartphone” on the picture, it is only of use if you’re trying to track her down on Facebook!

Support BME: Update

Thanks to your support BME has surpassed the voting threshold needed to be considered for the small business grant!

It will be a while before we know if we won the grant, but we just wanted to extend a huge thank-you to everyone who voted.  There are still 2 days left, and more votes won’t hurt, so if you haven’t yet taken a moment to vote for BME, you can do so by simply visiting www.missionsmallbusiness.com.  On the bottom right you’ll see a button labeled “Log in & Support”.  The site will link to your facebook, so you don’t need to create a profile of any kind.  Once you’ve signed in, search for “BME” and click the “VOTE” button for BME.com.  That’s it!

So again, from all of us here at BME, thank you so much for your continued support.

p.s. The t-shirts from the fundraiser for Ari are being printed right now and should be back from the printers in the first week of July.  So expect to see them in your mailbox sometime after that.

Mission: Support BME

As many of you know, BME is a small business.  With only 5 employees, BME still manages to be the world’s largest online tattoo, piercing and body modification community, historical archive and educational resource.  While there have been some changes over the years, most notably the gallery redesign, and the upgrades to IAM, not to mention staff changes, BME is still up and running.  For those that have been paying attention to Rachel’s IAM page, you’ll recall that the site redesign took about 3 years longer than was predicted, and cost a lot more than was estimated.  We’ve since gotten rid of the company that was screwing us over and brought in a new programmer that has been working day and night to address as many issues as possible.  Now with us having such a small staff, it’s obviously a lot harder for us to keep up with the changes that you’ve come to expect from your social networking sites. Now if BME were to receive a large sum of cash, we’d be able to bring in more programmers and get the features that you want to you a lot sooner.

So what can you do to help?  Well, we’re not asking for your money, but we are asking you to support us as we’ve applied for a small business grant.  Showing your support is extremely simple.

First, visit www.missionsmallbusiness.com.  On the bottom right you’ll see a button labeled “Log in & Support”.  The site will link to your facebook, so you don’t need to create a profile of any kind.  Once you’ve signed in, search for “BME” and click the “VOTE” button for BME.com.  That’s it!

We need at least 250 votes to be in consideration for the grant, so be sure to ask your friends to vote as well.  The more votes we get, the better our chances of winning.  If BME receives the grant, you can expect a lot of the changes that we’ve been working on happening considerably faster.  So put this on your IAM pages, your Facebook wall, and your Twitter feeds!  Get the word out, and help support BME!  Voting ends June 30th, so vote today!

“2012 Classic Logo T-Shirt” Fundraiser for Ari Larratt

Hey Modbloggers, a member of the BME Family is ill and needs our help.

Ari Larratt is living with her mom, Rachel, in the US and has come down with some kind of illness that is making it hard for her body to digest food.  As it stands right now, she’s going through a lot of tests to find out what is wrong, and the medical bills are already starting to pile up.  Now because Ari is living in the US, everything is coming out of pocket from both Rachel and Shannon.  The bills are already approaching $7000 and they still have yet to get a diagnosis.

So, to help raise funds for Ari, Shannon has designed a brand-new BME logo shirt.  It’s going to be sold in the BMEShop for a limited time, with all proceeds going to Ari’s medical bills.  The design itself is basically an updated take of Scott Fox’s original BME logo, mixed with the Calm logo, and incorporates modifications that weren’t around when the designs were originally created.

You can order the shirt right here.  We’ve set the price of the shirt at $20, with the option to donate more if you wish.  We’ll also be sending along a bunch of BME stickers in addition to your shirt, depending on how much you are able to give.  But even if you aren’t able to give any extra, just getting one shirt will go to help a sick little girl get better.

Also, if anyone has any information on health insurance plans for children only, please get in contact with Rachel via the BMEShop e-mail address (shop@bme.com).  Her insurance won’t cover Ari, so she’s looking for a plan that is just for children.

Moving Sale!

So the BMEShop is packing up and relocating at the end of June.  This means that we’re putting almost everything on sale so we don’t have to carry as much.  What does this mean for you?  It means that from today on, you’ll be able to get 30% off everything (except t-shirts and anesthetics).  Every piece of jewelry, all the tools, and even the books and dvds are all 30% off!  Just use the coupon code “movingsale” (without the quotes)

You’ll be able to get items like Horiyoshi III’s “One Points”

How about some Carved Amber from Reign Custom Design

Or maybe you’re running low on play piercing needles

In order to recieve the discount, just type in the coupon code “movingsale” (without the quotes) when you check out, and you’ll automatically get 30% off all eligible items.

Diablo Organics Jewelry – On Sale Now!

That’s right, we’re having another sale on Diablo Organics Ornate Jewelry, this time everything is 20% OFF!!!  That means all of the Diablo Organics Ornate Buffalo Horn, Ornate Wood, Feather, and Brass Patina Jewelry is now 20% off!  In order to get the discount simply type in the code: 20offdiablo when you go to check out.  It’s that simple.  Take a look at some of the items on sale now.

The sale ends March 22nd, so get yours today!

Because you asked for it..

The BMEShop gets requests for items all the time.  Sometimes we can fulfill those requests, sometimes we can’t.  So when Rachel started getting requests for the jewelry featured in this post last year, she set out to make it happen.  Well, it took a bit of time, but the waiting paid off, you can now get these hearts from the BMEShop!

We have 2 types of hearts, 18ga bendable niobium hearts, and 14/16ga stainless steel bendable hearts.  The niobium ones come in a variety of colours, including Ice Blue, Green, Pink, Yellow, Light Blue, Purple, Dark Blue, Teal, Dream Blue, Rainbow, and High Polish.  Here’s the pink one..

And here are a couple more colours.

The larger gauge ones only come in stainless steel, as you can see in this picture.

So head on over to the BMEShop now to get your own hearts!

Oh, and don’t forget to check out the t-shirt section while you’re there.  Rachel just added MORE DESIGNS over the weekend, including the ever popular “Always Wear Lube“.