Suspension and Carnival show at Pegasus Niteclub
A window into the body mod world.
I like shooting the edge. Rainbows and sunsets are nice, but everyone does that. It's not shooting for shock value, it’s shooting for something different. Participating in a recent challenge to shoot the Tampa Bay area happenings in 24 hours, I got permission to photograph the Suspension and Carnival show at Pegasus Niteclub on Florida Avenue. Henry Paniccia with Protage, Inc. was the promoter and cool enough to let me in. What a great night.
I’ve shot body suspension before, like at the Tampa Tattoo Convention, but still don’t really understand it. In case you don't know, according to Wikipedia, Body suspension is the act of suspending a human body from hooks that have been put through the skin. The piercings are temporary and are performed just prior to the actual suspension. It is just one part of the entire body modification scene. To an outsider it might look sort of gory but there’s something about the community that is inviting and accepting. They are friendly and welcoming even to this shorthaired non-tattooed reporter.
I am invited back to watch the piercings as they happen. It’s a pretty cool scene. There is great caution taken in being precise and sterile. The room where the piercings took place was packed with medical supplies. Folks doing the piercing wear gloves, masks, and proceed with the precision of a surgeon.
According to a couple of participants, the piercing is the most painful part. Indeed, one newcomer winced a little bit as the hooks are inserted. Once they are in she is glad that process is over and is ready to be suspended for the first time. That's her flying in the top photograph.
Anyone can try it. It cost $100 to have the hooks implanted. For $150 you get the piercing and can keep the hooks. There were four newbies that participated this night. Me? Nope. But what an outstanding experience to photograph!
“Carnival” performers include two stilt walkers, a sword swallower/juggler, and a fire breather. The show also includes a couple of burlesque performers who, uniquely enough, lay on a bed of nails. Sexy but ouch!