Friday, November 17, 2006

Step right up and save the marvelous Mr. Sideshow.

In beginning my studies of the tattoo community and tattoo history, local artist Permanent Mark (who did the triskell behind my ear) told me about the man in the photo above.

That man is Captain Don Leslie, a living legend in both the tattoo and sideshow communities. The Captain worked in the sideshow for 42 years. He is a tattooed man, a sword swallower, an artist, a firebreather and a true performer.

Permanent Mark has a painting in his shop that the Captain made for him. It features PM as a sideshow performer, like Leslie was. It is designed like the old sideshow promotional banners that the Captain lived so many years under.

Leslie's own writings and interviews with the writers I'm studying have been incredibly helpful in my research. Had I the means to get to Chico and the time to do so, PM would have helped me interview Leslie myself.

But it seems that, at this juncture, that will be impossible.

Captain Don Leslie was diagnosed in August with terminal cancer of the mouth and throat. He was given 6 months to live. At times, he cannot speak. This, I feel, would be absolute agony.

Madame Chinchilla and Mr. G at Triange Tattoo & Museum in Humboldt county have set up donation fund for the Captain to make his final days more bearable. You all can read about that here. Donate if you can, if you're interested in helping someone who has lead such an incredible and full life.

The Captain is one of the last remaining vestiges of a performance tradition that pushed the human body to its limits. The fact that his marvelous body is now failing him is really the irony of show business.

He is an amazing man--and I hope that Chinchilla and Mr. G will receive enough donations to help his final days be as good as they can be.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


NYC to Change ID Rules for Transgendered

I came across that AP article this morning on Yahoo! News, and all I can say is that this is why New York is fantastic. As the body is a site of conflict that I am particularly interested in--says the girl writing an English department thesis on tattoos--I can only smile with the hope that a number of other progressive cities will realize that the flesh we are in does not define our gender identity, and that in this culture of plastic surgery and body modification, making our exterior packaging reflect the internal should be a standard. If its culturally acceptable to fix your nose, why shouldn't it be so easy to fix your genitals?

This is an incredible stride for the transgender community. I expect my home metro hub of San Francisco to follow suit. After all, we were all about equalizing the queer community with the straight community by allowing same-sex marriages. We should be next in line to take the transgender community out of the margin by giving them birth certificates that match their reassigned bodies.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Double plus ungood.

I am amazed at the logic here. It's as though they don't realize the irony, despite the fact that the father had to literally read the entire book to cite which phrases and passages he found objectionable.

Friday, November 03, 2006

My wedding, my dowry.

Discussing the cost of my wedding with my parents went far better than I expected, especially considering the fact that the conversation began with the cost of their wedding, back in 1980.

(a slightly fictionalized version of last night's conversation with my parents*)
Me: How much did you wedding cost, Mom?
Mom: Oh, well, hon, you know, we had it at on the base in the military chapel and we only had about 50 people there so, I don't know, um, $500 to $700.
Me: What? What the fuck? Mom! Mom! That cannot be the cost of your wedding. That is unfuckingfathomably low!
Mom: Well, hon, it was over 20 years ago. Money is different now.
Dad (yelling, in the background): Hell, our cars were only $2,000!
Me (stammering): But, how? What? I don't understand! Plane tickets to Ireland are $500! How much was your dress? My god! It had full sleeves! How much!
Mom: Oh, Grandma made it. And she did our flowers, too.
Me: Gah! What? $500?!!

I then inform them that my wedding will be at least $9,000. To which my mom goes, "Gah! What? $9,000!"

Initially, that figure was unspeakably high for me, but it includes a 5 hour sit-down dinner for about 100 people with a choice of 2 entrees, an open bar, cake cutting and coffee services, 5 different kinds of butler passed hors d'ouevres, free champagne and a free suite for me and Marcus for the evening. I also get chair covers and centerpieces.

When I discussed this figure with my father, he said, "Are you sure its not missing a zero somewhere or there isn't a one in front of that nine?" and then "And that price is with an open bar? And they'll let us bring our own wine without a corkage fee? That is pretty damn good."

I love my dad. Paying to help Marcus' parents get rid of their son in such a manner is basically my dowry.

"For my daughter, you get a 3 course meal and all the booze you want!" I can imagine my father actually saying this. But anyone who marries me gets free booze for life anyway. When the intial parental introductions were made, Marcus' father wanted to know if livestock would be exchanged, but the faux dowry of wine won out over the faux dowry of camels. Because my dad has wine. My dad does not have camels.

I feel like this is an excellent choice for us. I (theoretically) only get married once, and it may as well be goddamned opulent. I will never get to have a party so exquisite again in my life . . . unless I become unspeakably wealthy. I may as well have my wedding be the epitome of 1930's Hollywood glamour.

Now its just a matter of getting in touch with the wedding sales manager at the hotel and booking this place.

*The slightly fictional parts are the parts where I swear a lot. Even now, I still don't say fuck around my parents. Unless it's really well deserved. Or if I stub my toe on something.

Fishy fishy fishy fish . . .

This is the most awesome photo ever. I found this while stumbling around blogs. Here's the link to the whole photoset.