BME Swag Anyone?

I have good news. While it’s not the full shop, we have reopened BME Shop with some clothing and accessories. We’re still working out details about other products for the shop and we’ll see if we can get some of the other old designs back so do keep checking back. There’s even a gift card option.

Calm Logo Shirt

Go have a look, tell your friends, buy some swag!

Check out BME Shop.

And feel free to share photos with us of yourself in your new BME Gear!

Rachel Larratt 1980 – 2022

Rachel

It is with a broken heart that I must make this announcement. On June 24th, 2022, Rachel passed away in her sleep. What can I possibly say? Rachel was a force and a light in the world. She had a passion and a love for the body modification community. She did so much for so many and without looking for any praise. In addition to our BME community, Rachel was well known in the car racing community and had just returned from the Gold Rush Rally, where, I’m told, she had the time of her life.

Right now, we are broken. We are deeply grieving this magnificent person whose life was cut far too short. Please keep her fiancee Marks and her daughter Ari in your thoughts and please respect theirs (and my) privacy at this time, while we try to come to terms with the unimaginable. Rachel leaves behind countless friends and loved ones who mourn her.

Rachel’s good friend Jimbo posted a video that can be seen, here.

We’ll miss you, Rachel. Your memory will remain a blessing for all who knew and loved you.

1973/2013

shannon2It’s very easy to objectify someone who’s contributions to the world were as immeasurable as those of my friend Shannon Larratt’s. To forgive his flaws or to focus to heavily on them would do him a great disservice. I sit here on what would be his 40th birthday, staring at pictures of him taken throughout the tenure of our nearly two decade friendship and find myself missing him for the strangest reasons; remembering the silly times over serious body modification, the arguments where we’d not talk to each other for weeks as well as the times when we’d talk all day about some obscure film we had just watched or who we thought would be the first Body Mod practitioner to kill a client. (the bet is still on….)

I visited Toronto a few weeks ago to catch a movie at the TIFF (coincidentally featuring  a director that both Shannon and I were huge fans of) and I found myself almost unconsciously wandering up Bathurst street to walk by his old house; memories flooding back to me of parties in the snow, my first suspension, bme event planning sessions and late night vinegar drinking marathons. Thinking back to some of the best years of my life and the role that Shannon played in them. Thinking back to some of the worst years of my life, and the role that Shannon played in them. It was a nice way to finally say goodbye; the STAY CALM event was an amazing family celebration of his life; a way for us as a community to say our respects. But  standing in front of a place filled with so many personal memories of just he and I was the closure I needed.

My friendship with him wasn’t perfect. He wasn’t perfect and neither was I. But the path that we walked together, while occasionally diverging from each other and in time meeting back up, will always have a place in my heart. Good and bad so will he.

I really wish that I were saying happy birthday to him instead of writing about him on a blog that he started. I wish we could argue tomorrow about something silly and go months not speaking because that would mean that the eventual email would come from one of us that made us forget why we were mad in the first place. I wish you folks who never got the chance to meet him knew the Shannon I knew and not his ‘persona’.

Most of all, I wish that I could give Ari and Rachel a hug right now and say something more profound than “I’m so sorry for your loss”.

So today, tell someone who’s made a difference in your life ‘Thank you’.
While saying ‘Happy Birthday’ to Shannon is a nice gesture, make sure someone out there knows that the good things they’ve done for you mattered and in turn, try to be there for someone else. I think that’s a fitting tribute to the spirit of the BME Community and the man who started it, don’t you?

 

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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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Happy Birthday Jim Ward!

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It’s impossible to think of the world of body piercing without thinking of Jim Ward. His contributions to our community are legendary; opening the first retail body piercing shop (Gauntlet) in the 1970s, editing and publishing the first piercing only magazine (PFIQ) and helping to form the APP, Ward has been one of the biggest driving forces in the popularization of piercing as more than just a sexual curiosity.

Today is Jim’s birthday. I was lucky enough to have been at the APP Conference Banquent a few years back to celebrate his birthday which is where the photo above originates. Ever the pioneer, Jim took the traditional birthday spanking and made it something much more…

Well.

Special.

Happy birthday Jim; you’re an inspiration to us all!
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SPC: APP 2013 Roll call!

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Hey Folks!
I’ll be heading out early Monday morning for the annual APP Conference in sunny Las Vegas Nevada!

Conference is always a good time; learning, checking out new jewelry from our favorite companies, lazing in the sun and meeting up every night at the ‘splash bar’..  this year I’m going to be covering it live for you good folks who read modblog with ‘instant updates’ as well as shooting video interviews with anyone who’d like to sit down and talk.

So if you’re going to be in Vegas, look me up and you could end up here on Modblog!

 

Stay Calm is coming soon!

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Hey folks;
Jen has been kind enough to post on our behalf about the upcoming STAY CALM: Celebrating the life of Shannon Larratt memorial here in Philadelphia, but since I’m going to be posting on ModBlog when the whim strikes (mostly history content. There’s no school like the Old School) I figured now would be as good a time as any to post my first post and what better subject than the event that’s coming up soon!

Here’s the basic rundown:
The Philadelphia area IAM community- known for the last 13 years as ‘the Weirdos’- were always one of the most active IAM groups and when our friend passed away, we decided to throw a small get together to say our respects and our goodbyes. We figured that we’d get around thirty of our old friends, kick back at a bar and tell some stories and raise our glasses.

It’s sort of grown beyond thirty people; to date there are slightly over 200 folks making the trek to Philly by car, bus and plane. The Stay Calm planners have arranged a full day of fun- a family friendly park visit on the morning of 27th April leading into a wild night at Philadelphia’s only Leather Bar (which is owned by IAM members) that’ll feature raffles, drinks (both virgin and alcoholic) and a whole lot of fun.

Once we saw how many people were coming, I reached out to our amazing friends and asked for goodies that we could raffle off- with 100% of the profits going directly to Ari Larratt. They responded generously.

Our sponsors include:
Jimmy Buddha/Diablo Organics
Maya
Anatometal
Bishop Organics
Scylla Body Designs & Corsetiere
Gorilla Glass
Luis Garcia @ No Ka Oi
Diabolik DVD
Bella Vendetta
Rites of Passage
A ‘glider heart’ implant + procedure by Brian Decker
Scarification by John Joyce, Efix Roy and Ryan Ouellette
Jewelry (multiple manufacturers) courtesy of John Joyce/Scarab
Original Painting by Twitch
Tattoo gift cards from Off the Map Tattoo
Glider Heart Pendant by Jeremy Smith
… and more!

We’ve also got an AMAZING 18×24 hand screened print (printed in Philadelphia by Awesome Dudes Printing) by legendary poster artist Johnny Thief (pictured above) for sale, and again- 100% of profits go directly into Ari Larratt’s savings account.

If you’ve never been to a BMEfest, Bowling with Weirdos, East Coast BBQ- the events that helped shaped the IAM community- we’d love it if you could make it out and see what all the fuss is about. If you haven’t been to one in years… now’s the best time to come back home.

We have a Facebook RSVP page here that has up to date information on room and ride shares, local Philly tourist information and more as well as our event specific Stay Calm blog.

Thanks for having me here on ModBlog, and I’ll be seeing you all real soon!

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!