A 20 DOLLAR TATTOO??!!
Midnight was fast approaching, and the line wrapped around the building. I had never seen a line like this in Warrensburg: I saw Whites, I saw Blacks, I saw college kids, I saw rednecks—I even noticed an NRA hat and a throwback high–top fade haircut. I spotted a few familiar faces from on campus, but most of the people in line were strangers to me.
I arrived early and snagged a spot up front. The clock struck midnight, September 20th became September 21st, and patrons were let in. No, this wasn’t a premiere of some stupid, bullshit Harry Potter or Twilight movie. It was the kick off of a 24 hour tattoo marathon at the Dublin Social Club tattoo shop, which opened last December and is owned and operated by award winning tattooist Tony Madrid.
I found out about the event a month beforehand, and waiting for it felt like a kid waiting for X-Mas Eve , probably because of the 20 dollar tattoos available that night.
Normally, if someone offered me a 20 dollar tattoo, I would have to decline. I was once told not to budget shop for tattoos. But this time would be an exception. Madrid and his staff are known for quality and professionalism, so I knew I would be getting top-notch ink at a discount price. One stipulation added to the excitement of the event—The 20 dollar tattoos wouldn’t be unveiled until the night of the marathon.
My plan was to scope out what was available and find something that would complement the ink I already have.
The first wave of people in front of me herded into the shop, and as I passed through the doorway, I got a glimpse of the flash sheet on a countertop. From a distance, I saw a brass knuckles design, but I was too far away to make out anything else. I made my way to the counter to get a better view of the flash sheet, and the words “Fighting Irish” were inscribed around the knuckles.
That’s a no go. … I’ve downed my fair share of Guinness, but you’ll find no red hair or freckles on this guy, and I haven’t thrown hands with anybody in about 10 years.
Another design stood out:“Dirty Burg” with cross-out lines through the words accompanied by bugs around it. I have nothing but contempt for this town, and I do plan on one day graduating, but I wouldn’t want to take symbols of this wretched hell–hole with me.
Then, one design jumped out at me, a skull and cross bones topped off with a green bowler hat with a small shamrock in the brim. BINGO! That would fit perfectly with the good luck/bad luck/duality theme on my left arm.
I signed the consent form, flashed my i.d, grabbed a sandwich, (the event was catered) and took a seat. My wait was less than 10 minutes, and I heard my name called. I hopped into the booth of tattooist Kody Miller, and we were off. Before starting, I requested that he make the color of the hat black instead of green. ( more A Clockwork Orange, and a little less leprechaun)
As I laid back and felt the needle enter my outer bicep, I heard the familiar ZZZZT, ZZZZT sound, which I hadn’t heard up close in years, and a needle going into your skin feels just like what you would expect, but after awhile, the pain becomes dulled and replaced by a sense of euphoria, which is probably the result of the release of endorphins.
Anyone who has gotten tattooed is familiar with the after-tattoo high, a feeling that is comparable to a combination of X-Mas morning and the time when I was 15 and took an entire bottle of NoDoz in one night. I’m usually up until the wee hours of the morning after a tattoo session.
I looked around the room while getting tattooed and realized the magnitude and impact of the D.S.C. marathon. Every booth had a tattooist working in it, the walls in front of the booths were lined with people waiting and watching, and customers were still packing into the entranceway.
The sight was surreal– I had never seen a tattoo shop swamped like that. I was one of the first customers being tattooed that night/early morning, so I had an audience of curious onlookers waiting for their turn. One patron said the skull looked good with the rest of my tattoos. After what seemed like 30 minutes, I had a new tattoo, and I made my way out the door a little bit past one a.m. I had to get some rest—because I would be back later on in the day.
The plan was to get together with another student to record footage for a show I’m trying to develop for the UCM Media Network.( I’ve since submitted a proposal that was rejected , but for me, that just means back to the drawing board and submit another)
I met up with Dion, my cameraman for the day, at 10:00 a.m. We gathered the equipment and made our way to the Dublin Social Club.
The place wasn’t packed, but a steady stream of customers still flowed in. Walking in, I was greeted by the familiar ZZZZT, ZZZZT sound. The buzzing of the tattoo gun mixed with an eclectic blend of sounds coming from the shop’s sound system.
I can’t recall the last time I was in a tattoo shop, or anywhere else, and heard songs by Suicidal Tendencies, the Smiths, Dropkick Murphy’s, Bad Religion, Agnostic Front, Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, and Ice Cube floating through the air, one after another. It sounded as if someone with a wicked diverse musical taste put an iPod on shuffle.
Dion and I filmed for about two hours, and then we were out of there. Initially, I wanted to film the start, mid-way point, and close of the marathon, but you can’t win ’em all. (Even though, I was happy with the footage we did get)
I think you could call this one a win for the Dublin Social Club. As the marathon, reached its end, Madrid put up a status on Facebook announcing that the estimated total of tattoos done in the 24 hours was around 200.
When I interviewed Madrid last December, for a Digital Burg article http://digitalburg.com/?p=4273 (later printed in the Muleskinner, UCM’s campus newspaper) about the opening of the D.S.C., he told me he has gained a solid clientele in the area despite a lack of tattoo culture in Warrensburg ( tattoo culture meaning those who revere tattooing as an actual art form) With the big turnout for the marathon, I had to wonder if the event signifies the forging of a stronger tattoo culture in the area. It sure looked that way.