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.

Rites of Passage

A couple of weeks back Rites of Passage held their annual gathering in the woods of Massachusetts.  The ROP BBQ is a weekend unlike any other.  All of the suspensions are held outdoors with some of the best scenery you can imagine.  This year Allen Falkner brought his camera along and made this short film that gives you a taste of what happened.  After watching the video, head on over to the ROP BBQ galleries to see photos from this year’s BBQ, as well as images from previous years.

BMXnet Conference 2011

Every year the gang at get together to hold their annual conference.  This year’s conference is being held in Essen, Germany the weekend of October 14th, with events starting on Thursday Oct 13th.  There are still a number of spots available, so if you’re able to attend, register as soon as you can.

The list of classes hasn’t been posted yet, but going by the speaker list, you can expect seminars from the likes of Allen Faulkner, Steve Haworth, Ron Garza, Dan Dringenberg, Havve and Christiane from Wings of Desire, Gabor Zagyvai, Swasi Dan, Paul King, and many many more.   This is a fantastic opportunity to learn from some of the world’s finest modification artists, at a reduced rate.  Because admission gets you into all of the classes, you’ll be able to see seminars that would normally cost quite a bit individually.  These seminars are all on top of the regular classes on everything from piercing techniques to anthropology, laser tattoo removal to store management, and so much more.  In addition all classes will be offered in both English and German.

In addition there will also be a large number of vendors and exhibitors, your food is included in the price, and you’ll get to stay at the wonderful Unperfekthaus, a former convent turned into an art project house.

Just click here to register, and start packing your bags for Germany.  Oh and while you’re waiting, check out some of the stories that have come from past BMXnet conferences.

The Secret Handshake

It’s been a couple weeks since the 2011 Dallas SusCon, and the photos are starting to trickle in.  Mark from Naked Lens Photography was on hand all weekend documenting every suspension.  But before any of the suspensions started a small business matter needed to be conducted.  Allen and the owner of the building needed to perform the secret handshake for the event to get under way.

What is the secret handshake you ask?

You might recognize the man with the massive transscrotal as Andrew from Swing Shift Side Show.  Later in the week he would go on to do the incredible facial suspension.

I know someone told me the exact size of his transscrotal on the weekend, but I can’t seem to recall it right now, so lets just leave it as, it’s freaking huge.

Dallas Suscon 2011 – Day 1/2

I’m spending the weekend in Dallas for this year’s annual SusCon.  For those that don’t know, SusCon is an annual event hosted by‘s Allen Falkner.  The point of the weekend is for suspension crews from all over to come together to learn from each other, and of course have a good time.  This weekend is very much a learning weekend as crews bring not only their most experienced members, but also new members who are learning the ropes.

This ended up being a bit wordy, so I’ll save some space on the main page by bumping it behind a click though. So just click the read more button to see the rest.

After an early flight out of Buffalo on Thursday, and a short layover in Atlanta, myself and members of iHung and IWasCured landed in Dallas only to be greeted by grey skies and rain.  Once we got settled into the hotel, we hopped in a cab and headed down to the SusCon space. This year’s location is the same as last year’s; an unassuming warehouse outside downtown Dallas.  To see it from the outside, you would never guess that inside was a bustle of activity.

Thursday isn’t officially a SusCon day, rather it is a day for volunteers to come and help clean and set up for the weekend.  With only 20 people around, the warehouse feels empty, yet the air is alive with anticipation.  Whether it was friends reuniting, or strangers meeting for the first time, there is an unspoken acknowledgment that something significant is on the horizon.  Introductions go by quick as it’s time for all hands on deck.  The space is a mess.  Trash from destroyed art is everywhere, light fixtures are on the ground, toilets have yet to be installed, and the kitchen is so full of junk the food is laying out on a bench in the main space.

Without anyone asking for help, everyone jumps into action.  As people slowly trickle in throughout the day the first order of business is to get dirty.  The kitchen team is hard at work prepping food for the weekend.  Last minute calls are being made to confirm deliveries.  Loud music is now pumping out of the speakers as this organized chaos moves about the room.  I get a chance to talk to people as we’re cleaning and with everyone the feeling is evident, they all want this weekend to be something they’re proud of.

In the early afternoon the skies begin to lighten and the dust being swept out into the courtyard catches the rays of sunshine peeking through the clouds.  With the sun comes the heat, and you can see everyone slowing down.  Thankfully with everyone helping, most of the work is finished.  The trash is cleared, the lights are on, and the toilets are flushing.  The music has become quiet and voices are now echoing throughout the hall.  You can hear the satisfaction in those voices, knowing that in a few short hours this place will be filled with people who all share the same passions that they do.

By the end of the first day there are well over 50 people who have shown up early to help.  From California to Canada, from Norway to New Zealand, one thing is on everyone’s mind: SusCon has begun.

I get up late on Friday, and after finishing the news of the week I head over to the warehouse.  By the time I arrive the event is in full swing.  I get my registration paperwork filled out and are lead on a tour by Jason from iHung.  While I was sleeping back at the hotel, the had taken the first shuttle bus over and set up all of the necessary stations.  What was once an empty room with no lights, was now the suture station, with all the necessary equipment and supplies.  All the suspension points had been selected, and there were already people in the air.  The tour concludes with a peek at the outdoor points, including a return of “The Dome”, a massive PVC pipe structure.

I’m not there for 15 minutes when the call goes out for the team leaders to gather for the first official meeting of SusCon.  Allen welcomes everyone, and dives right into business.  This meeting isn’t about telling the crews what to do, it is an opportunity for voices to be heard.  The agenda is simple, “How can we improve from last year”.  One by one the suggestions come flying in. One of the key points made is that this weekend is a learning weekend.  Each team has a number of members who are considered trainees, so all teams are being encouraged to step up and involve their trainees in every step, from prep to clean-up, piercing to bleed-out.

As Friday is registration day not much is left to do.  The only thing left on the agenda for the day is the welcome party at Dallas’ Lizard Lounge.

I’m kicking myself for not bringing my camera, as the show itself was something to be experienced.  Southtownbaby kicked off the show with a beautiful crucifixion suspension high above the crowd.  Following the suspension, Mosh took the stage.  The entire room was transfixed on her while she performed a classical burlesque routine.  Finally Swing Shift Side Show took the stage and as usual blew the roof off.  After a short intermission, everyone returned for a second performance, and were joined by Genne Laasko, modeling her line of incredible jewelry (which I featured a few weeks back).  Of course I would be remiss without mentioning the fantastic job Havve did hosting the night’s festivities.  Interweaving parts of his own act into the time between tonight’s guests made it a non-stop roller coaster of blood, sweat and whiskey.

Now you’re probably wondering where the photos are.  Well it seems that in my rush out the door I grabbed the wrong USB cord, so all of the photos from the past two days are sitting on my camera.  Hopefully I’ll find someone today who has a compatible cord as Saturday is the biggest day of SusCon. I’ll check back in tomorrow, hopefully with some pictures.

It’s about that time again…

The 2011 Dallas Suspension Practitioners Convention just opened up it’s registration a bit over a week ago, and it’s filling up fast! If you are unaware of what it is exactly, or if you are interested in signing up, check out the official website.

The video below was made from footage from last years event and it really does a great job of capturing the spirit of the event and letting everyone know what it’s all about.

You know something is painful when…

Allen makes this face.

This is Allen's O(uch) face

Wondering what could possibly be happening that would cause so much pain?  Keep on reading to find out.

Well, I got a message a couple of days ago from Allen telling me about what he recently went through.  Here’s what he had to say.

A month ago, while at a show, I tripped and fell into the stage.  As I fell forward I put my hand out to catch myself.  I’m not sure what it was, but something on one of the stage monitors was sticking up that went right between my nail and my finger.  When I pulled my hand back I realized that that nail was completely loose from the nail bed.  Yes it hurt a lot.  Well, as the night progressed I kept messing with it and eventually I decided to pull the nail off.  This was a mistake because the exposed nail bed was WAY more painful.  It felt like one giant exposed nerve.  (I do not recommend doing that)  It took over a month to finally get all the scabs to peel off.  Also, I had to file it down a bit too because it never really healed like smooth skin.  There was still a hard callused area on top.  As for the tattooing.  Yes, it hurt bad.  The pain is hard to compare, but it felt like he was drilling into the bone.

Of all the things I’ve seen in the BME galleries.  The first picture below is the one that probably makes me feel the most uncomfortable just looking at it.  If you can get past the first one, you’ll see how the healing process went, a good look at the tattoo while it was being done, and the finished product.


The man responsible for the tattoo is Mike Tidwell.

With all the work Allen has done for the world of suspension, it’s only fitting that when his nail grows back in, he’ll always have a hook inside him.

BMXnet conference, 1 week away

If you’re in Europe next week, and can make it over to Berlin, you’ll have the opportunity to check out the BMXnet conference that’s happening from the 16th to the 19th.  You can get the details about the conference at the BMXnet website.  There you’ll find out the times and locations of all the lectures and workshops taking place over the course of the weekend.

bmxnet 2010

BMXnet Conference 2010

Open for up to 500 Attendees / 6 Classrooms / huge Expo space!!!

Thu. 16th Sep. 2010 : Half- / Full-Day Classes and Workshops
Fri. 17th Sep. 2010 : 10:00am start Conference 2010
Sat. 18th Sep. 2010 : full day Conference 2010
Sun. 19th Sep. 2010 : 08:00pm end Conference 2010

Location:  Congress Hotel Holiday Inn – Berlin Schoenefeld

Skin deep

I was going to hold off on this article until later in the week, but then I realized that I’d be depriving people of a really special treat.

So I was going through the newsfeed submissions when I found this article on an exhibit currently going on at the Wellcome Collection in London.  The exhibit is titled “Skin” and it showcases the significance different cultures have placed on skin over the centuries.  It includes images of early anatomical lessons, as well as skin samples preserved to showcase the tattoos on the donor.

A black and white photograph of a patient in a Parisian hospital is the first piece in the exhibition. Running the length of the patient’s back is a giant scar.

“This photograph sums up a lot of the underlying themes in the exhibition, first and foremost the exploration of skin as a physical and metaphorical frontier between the inside and outside of the body,” co-curator of the exhibition Lucy Shanahan told Reuters.

Pieces of tattooed human skin from the 19th century are on display beside a case devoted to the Maori tradition of tattooing.

Now I know what you’re thinking, “That’s it Rob?  An art gallery?  What kind of treat is that?”.  Well, I have a simple answer to that.  Keep reading.

Now after reading about the exhibit, I thought to myself, “Self, what can I post that would go well with a story about the historical study of skin?”.  Well, I started to look around when I heard the familiar chime of an e-mail hitting my inbox.  I switch windows to find an e-mail from Jen.  In it contained something that some of you may have seen before, but I’m guessing a lot of people haven’t.

The following is a video from a 1995 documentary on a very young Allen Falkner.  In it Alan talks about the importance of skin and flesh, and the significance he puts on working with it.  I could go on, but I’ll let Allen take it from here.

It’s interesting to look back 15 years, or 1500 years, and see just how much the modification of skin has played an important role in our cultural development.  While techniques and procedures have changed over the years, the importance we as humans put on identifying ourselves through our skin is still present.  In the video Allen has captured the essence of realizing that the skin is much more than just a simple organ covering our bodies.  The skin can serve as a doorway to both spiritual enlightenment and personal satisfaction.  Through modifications such as suspensions, one can not only learn about themselves, but also how they wish to become through whatever transformative act they choose.

If you don’t have time right at this moment to watch the video, I encourage you to come back to ModBlog when you can and watch it in its entirety.  This is our version of a historical document, one that will one day be added to a historical exhibit such as the one going on at the Wellcome Gallery now.

Happy birthday Chuck!

If you have ever suspended, watched a suspension, thought about suspending or even just enjoyed a photo of a suspension, you should probably go wish this old fart a happy birthday.


This picture took place at the recent Dallas Suspension Practitioners Convention. What this photo doesn’t show well is the fact Allen and Samar are gracefully balanced and rotating on a spinning beam. Photo credit goes to Rolf, who took dozens of awesome pictures of the event.