January 14th through 17th 1999, the 4th annual Marked For Life Tattoo Convention, hosted by Deana Lippens, was held in Orlando Florida. Geoffrey and I decided to go, as we'd heard it was generally a fun time, and more laid back and casual than many have become.
So, we got ourselves over to the airport on the 13th of January, planning on getting there a day early.
It turned out, we'd made a good decision. Snow was beginning to stick on the runways at Logan Airport as we boarded the plane. The wings were de-iced before we took off. But we did take off, and landed safely in Orlando a few hours later.
Not everyone was as lucky. As we were going to our room Wednesday night, we ran into Casey Exton on the elevator, who bemoaned the fact that he had a photographer stuck in NY. Later we saw Cynthia DeMichele, whose husband Bill, also a photographer (see www.proteuspress.com), was also snowed in. He'd planned on driving down with most of Cynthia's books and magazines in a van (she's the very beautiful and friendly, tall long-haired blonde woman you see often at tattoo conventions sitting at a booth selling tattoo-oriented publications), was delayed, so then planned on flying down. The weather in Albany decided not to cooperate however, so after a couple of abortive attempts at just leaving his driveway, he decided to give up, and asked Cynthia to ask Geoffrey and Patty Kelley to take some for him.
So this is really just a long-winded explanation for why I have no pictures from a tattoo convention where I actually took first place in a competition. Bummer, huh? The silver lining: Bill DeMichele (who said that the photos Geoffrey and Patty took had some problems, but Billy Tinney didn't comment about them, so he guessed they were ok) told me that when he got them back from the magazine, he'd send me along a couple, just so that I'd have something to show :) At some point, I'll get also get a photograph of the trophies - I won first for Best Overall - not Best Overall Female, but Best Overall! and Geoffrey won second for Best Overall, First for Best Backpiece and Second for Best Sleeve. So we have a little collection going. It's funny - in the years I competed in horse shows and won - and these were New England Regional Class AA shows, mind you - I never once got a real trophy, always some silly silver plated dish or a candy jar or something like that. So this was a treat!
For those looking for photos: you'll have to buy the Tattoo Revue special issue for Marked For Life. They interviewed us, too. We saw Casey Exton at Philadelphia Eddies show, and he said the photos came out pretty good. I think the title of the article has something to do with tattoos, love and psychopaths...
The show itself was a lot of fun. Seeing that many talented and reknowned female tattoo artists, all in one room, was exhilarating. Besides Deana Lippens, present and tattooing were: Suzanne Fauser, Pat Sinatra,Feather Russell, Jacci Gresham, and Patty Kelley, among many others. There were even present some well-known figures who just came for the party: Ian of Reading and Philadelphia Eddy Funk, to name a couple.
Elayne Angel was there to provide piercings for those of us so inclined. I did finally get a few - I'd been holding out until I had a chance to get them from someone of Elayne's reputation. We got some pictures of Elayne with Geoffrey, and with Geoffrey and I, thanks to Elayne's assistant, Heidi. The mermaid on Geoffrey's backpiece has scales exactly like those tattooed on Elayne's legs, so Geoffrey laid down on the floor and Elayne draped her legs across his back. The coloring is identical - very cool. I can't put those photos on this page, but I can put this photo - click on the link to see it.
On the last day of the show, we met Shawn Porter, his lovely Deid, and his brother Robert. I'd thought Shawn was Shawn but wasn't positive, and spent much of the time when I'd glimpse him trying to see his leg tattoos to verify his identity. Have you any idea how hard it is to get a good look at someones leg as it walks by you in a crowd? Anyway, it took his being with Deid, who is (to quote Shawn here) "a little cutie" to finally settle it for me - I recognized her, so it had to be Shawn....
We stayed an extra day to wind down a bit, and just before leaving walked out to the poolside, to see who was lounging around outside. Pat Sinatra, Suzanne Fauser, and Penny Funk were draped across the lounge chairs, enjoying the sun for a bit longer. We had a chat, and then everyone decided to get pictures. Once more, I didn't think to grab the camera from Geoffrey so that he could be in some with these very cool women (I just don't feel natural with a camera in my hands, and it never occurs to me to take it out of his. Sorry, honey.) But, he did get some cool pictures of us girls. First, Pat and Penny; then Pat, Penny and Suzanne; finally I got in the picture - twice.