Every year the tattoo community puts together a tattoo convention to advertise services, make connects, and bring the tattoo community together. They hold it at the Holiday Inn in Allentown. I can only imagine the regular guests showing up to check in and seeing hundreds of people with tattoos, piercings, body mod, etc...Must be a hoot. Over the years tattooing has become well establish in our culture. It is almost accepted now in all aspects of society. As long as you don't have "IDIOT" tattooed across your face you're pretty safe. Some jobs make you cover them but it's not much of a hassle for most. If you believe strongly enough in tattooing yourself then covering them up to work shouldn't be a too much to ask. It was your choice, of course, and you knew that while most of society accepts them there are still a few old fashioned hold outs.If you can't deal, don't get inked.
It was nice that Skindustry put a note of memoriam in the brochure to Joel:
"This year the Lehigh Valley lost a very active member of the local art scene. Joey "Seyone" Santa, tattooer, graffiti artist, father and husband. All of us would like you to remember him and his family. Rest in Peace Joel."
So Justin and I found ourselves sitting in the hotel bar that evening. We had a nice little people watching session. I was surprised just how good Justin is at picking out people and knowing their story. One gentleman walked by us. He had tattoos to his wrist and very, very shiny boots. "He's military," Justin remarked. Lo and behold, not moments later he walks up to his buddy wearing a U.S. Navy baseball cap. It was nice to exercise my brain a bit working out stories about the patrons. "Look at those shoes she's wearing. She's a business woman. No one wears shoes like that with jeans." I asked Justin to come up with my story. I was wearing a polka dot skirt, black spaghetti string top, black platform heels and a black sweater (it was really rainy and cold).
"You look like a teacher who's at a tattoo convention."
Yay. I think I might have lost my edge.
I felt vindicated when we went for a late, late, LATE dinner. We stopped at the Ham Fam diner. It was utterly devoid of teenagers. We asked the waitress where they were. For a Saturday night it was dead. She said the whole weekend was dead. It was probably the rain. Then she asked if I was one of the "girls" that used to hang out at The West End Diner about 15+ years ago with Mike Hill, Matt Vassallo and the gang. Later I remembered her name was Cheryl and was our nightly waitress. We reminisced a little. "Look at me," I said, "All grow'd up." I might have lost my edge but we were the innovators and it's nice to remember that. All these little punk kids at Hot Topic? We paved the way for them. We used home made tattoo guns and pierced our noses with needles and potatoes. We saved our money and bought our Doc Martens on South Street in Philly. We couldn't order them online and they weren't made in Singapore. We were part of the early Goth movement which has now, sigh, become trendy. All you little ones out there who think retro bands like the Sex Pistols, Blondie, The Clash, The Ramones, The Cure, The Smiths, Dead Kennedys, Dead Milkmen, Circle Jerks, SOD, MOD, Social Distortion etc...are way cool should remember that we were the ones out there pan handling outside the clubs for money to get in and see them live. (Well, the Sex Pistols were before my time...)
A lot of the people there were dressed in rockabilly style with a bit of punk flair. It's all the rage. There was a gorgeous Betty Page look alike, Betty Crocker dresses with platform heels. Justin looked fabulous. I looked like, well, a teacher. ;) The Ultra Kings played last night. They were fabulous. I can't tell you the last time I sat in a bar and enjoyed a band. They're usually a cover band or some metal band that tries to make feedback sound like songs. We found their website and they play a lot of sets in the Valley. We're going to see them again. I can guarantee that. I wish I could dance to that kind of music. Maybe I'll take some lessons. You feet just start to move and you just want to jump on the dance floor. There is nothing better than hearing the bass thumping in your ear and moving the beer glass on the bar.