Without a doubt, one of my favorite ‘personalities’ from the 1970s/80s era of the Western body modification revival was A. Viking Navaro; the “nom de kink” of a Southern California professor who’s appearance in an early issue of PFIQ, complete with photos by Fakir Musafar, was one of the earliest examples of a modern primitive.
You can see more of Viking Navaro here on Sacred Debris, and in the new SD print zine Nodal Points, available May 2019 from Hex Appeal.
We arrived at Heathrow on Tuesday, March 7th for a week in London prior to moving on to the Continent. Our main reason for this lengthy stay was in order to spend some quality time with Alan Oversby, better know in piercing and tattoo circles as Mr. Sebastian. We also wanted to meet as many other British piercing enthusiasts as possible. -Jim Ward. 1
Among the piercing enthusiasts present during Jim Ward, Sailor Sid and Elizabeth Weinzirl’s 1978 visit to London, England was this gentleman. His septum was pierced but wasn’t stretched; this bone was a gaff. You can read more about Jim’s trip to London in Running the Gauntlet, available here.
During the mid 1990s I was occasionally contracted to attend tattoo conventions on behalf of bmezine.com; while content was being contributed to the website, BME’s editor Shannon Larratt figured that targeted content- particularly the kind that was often photographed in hotel rooms on a more discrete section of the modification community- would be worth the cost of plane tickets, hotel rooms and an incredibly humble per diem.
This being the age before digital cameras were in common usage, all he asked was that I try to get at least two rolls of film per event. Forty-eight images. Before it was a community driven site (a process which started with the password wall on BME/extreme and took hold with the creation of IAM.BME in 2000) the acquisition of content was king at BME; if people didn’t have dynamic images to view, they’d move along. Having strong photos to hook viewers into sticking around long enough to encourage them to share their own was a major focus of the boom-years of the site.
This photo was taken on one of those sponsored trips, on the convention floor at the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party in Portland, Maine. At the time, facial tattoos and body piercing were frowned upon at some conventions, so a gentleman like this was a welcome sight.
Late 1970s- Jim Ward performs a vertical nipple piercing on Rochester’s Rufus Dreyer. Rufus appears occasionally in photos in my archives- his appearance distinct with a full body of dense tattooing, a grey Van Dyke beard and flipped up septum tusk- but I’ve not been able to find out anything about him other than his name.
Jim can be seen using a thimble to push assist in pushing the needle though the tissue; the needles available at the time weren’t as sharp as our modern options and every little bit helped.
“40 years ago today Gauntlet came into existence. It’s sometimes hard to believe all that has transpired in the world of body mod in that time.”- Jim Ward, 11.17.2015
Happy anniversary to Jim Ward and The Gauntlet!
“When I opened Gauntlet in 1975, virtually no one but hardcore fetishists and sadomasochism (S/M) enthusiasts were piercing themselves below the neck. People in the mundane world failed to realize that a little piece of metal strategically inserted in certain locations of the body can significantly amplify erotic sensations in those areas and make sex even more enjoyable. It seemed so clear to me that this was something that could benefit anyone. Why should piercing be limited to a select few? With that in mind, it became my mission to let the world at large in on this amazing secret and to let it know I had the ability to make it a reality.”
Jim has been an amazing resource for piercing fans for the last four decades; The Gauntlet, PFIQ, his APP classes- read the uncensored history of the roots of the modern body piercing revival in his memoir Running the Gauntlet available here: http://www.runningthegauntlet-book.com/
Living up to my promise to always post septum tusk photos when I come across them-
This photograph features Sailor Sid Diller (right) and friend from one of Sid’s UK visits. It was taken at Alan “Mr. Sebastian” Oversby’s apartment. There was no code on the back of the print, so this could have come from Sid’s late 1970s visit or a later trip.
A few weeks ago I spotted an older Leather Daddy at my bar wearing an old-school septum tusk. The gent was dressed to the nines- Biker Cap, Jacket, Harness and all of the requisite attitude that comes with being a proper Leatherman. But the tusk!
Once I realized what I was seeing (we keep it fairly dark at the bar) I left my usual spot to go track him down, offer him a drink and comment on his choice of septum adornment, but as often happens he had slipped away before I could find him.
I’ll take one proper bone tusk over 20 hinged, jewel studded baubles. SD favorite “Viking Navaro” was certainly fond of them, even wearing one in his nipple piercing! This photograph is from 1983 and features Bud and a fellow T&P fan showing off. Bud was also vacuum pumping his penis & scrotum (full image here: https://sacreddebris.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/TITUSK.jpg) but I decided to go with a more (questionably) safe for work version of the photo.
I hope that the tusk’d Leatherman and I cross paths again!
Model: Bud ‘Viking’ Navaro modeling his septum tusk and ear & nostril piercings.
I’ve posted a few of Viking Navaro’s polaroid pictures on the SD Tumblr, quick cellphone snapshots taken while I’m assigning catalog numbers and putting them in the scan queue but since I’ve been on a septum tusk kick lately, 019 skipped to the head of the line and got a full resolution scan. This is the original scan with no correction or restoration. Very few scuffs/scratches for a 35 year old print.
Consider this as the safe for work counterpart to the recent NSFW T&P Parties post; a few friends sitting around, showing off their tattoos and body piercings when polite society was a little less welcoming to that sort of thing. Tattoos were generally kept below the collar and above the wrist and piercings were easily hidden or removed, like the two piece septum tusks that Sid and the fellow on the far left are wearing.
This scan is from the water damaged photograph pile.