“In all societies, the man or woman who is not decorated in some way – changed from their natural state – is, in a sense, decoratively inarticulate…body decoration is a type of language or code, which is spoken through hairstyles, mutilations (pierced ears), tattooing or painting (makeup). In the West, because of our obsession with clothing for almost all parts of the body…we have restricted the amount of skin available to be used as a cosmetic language. Most of us have forgotten that perhaps the first works of art dedicated to the combination of form and color were carried out on the skin.” – Mary Jane Haake
Another VHS tape sent in for archival by the fine folks at Yellow Beak Press, The World’s Greatest Tattoo Fan is a 1989 documentary on legendary tattoo fan Elizabeth Weinzirl. I’d write something up about Elizabeth and her friendship with Bert Grimm and her connection to the tattoo world, but that’s all covered in the documentary. Instead, I’ll encourage you to read the Wiki page on director/tattoo artist Mary Jane Haake to find out more about a very under documented tattoo culture personality.
A very generous OV reader has lent me a copy of the 1990 Michael O. Stearns documentary “Philly gets Inked” for digital conversion. I was expecting more interviews like Stearns other films, but this is more a straight up ‘virtual convention’ film. There are lots of familiar 1990s tattoo culture faces in the hour running time; Bernie Luther, Guy Aitchison, Steve Tiberi, Philadelphia Eddie, Paul Jefferies, Shotsie Gorman, Elizabeth Weinzirl, and a surprise appearance from my mentor Jack Yount. I totally didn’t expect to see Jack’s smiling face.
I started the conversion last night and I’m hoping to start cleaning it up tomorrow. Check back for updates!
I love finding this kind of stuff floating around on the internet. I think it was Liorcifer who posted it over on Last Sparrow; filmed at a tattoo convention in St Paul Minnesota in 1978, featuring Elizabeth Weinzzirl, Spider Webb, Bob Raven (I think? Hairdresser who worked on the Strip with extensive Cliff Raven tattoos) Vyvyn Lazonga and more.
The old guy with the pencil thin mustache steals the show. Anyone have any idea who he is?
The rain has started and allegedly Hurricane Irene is on her way. My creepy little dog is sitting by my side as I convert more aging VHS video over to digital files and listen to the storm.
Today’s video is another excerpt from the horribly titled ‘Colored People Invade San Diego’ featuring the legendary Elizabeth Weinzirl (June 2, 1902 – September 8, 1993) being interviewed by Crazy Ace Daniels. Elizabeth talks about her introduction to being a ‘tattooed lady’ and shows off some really great old tattoos; Bert Grim work recolored by Don Nolan no less.
I have some Lyle Tuttle footage captured and being processed now. Should Irene not kill me, it’ll go up soon.