The South Florida Tattoo Expo, which just celebrated its 23rd year in 2018, is a three day weekend affair (Friday-Sunday) that was held yet again at the Coral Springs Marriott Hotel, Golf Club & Convention Center. It not only features the best tattoo artists in all of South Florida (and beyond) but a truckload of live bands, a burlesque show, hot body contest, car show, local vendors, and human suspension (the act of suspending a human body from hooks that have been put through the skin!). And here’s the best part: all proceeds benefit the Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital; and it’s been that way since year one. Good people doing good things.
I’ve been a Coral Springs resident for 15 years since arriving in South Florida from NYC back in 2003; but it hasn’t been until the last few years that I’ve realized that this city has more to offer than I would have originally thought. It started a little over a year ago when Mrs. Perez and I popped into the Coral Springs Art Walk #UNPLUGGED event, then the Coral Springs Festival of the Arts in 2017 and again this year. Last month I spent the weekend at the South Florida Tattoo Expo which was held at the Coral Springs Marriott and this past weekend, Mrs. Perez and I dropped in on Bites-N-Sips in Downtown Coral Springs.
Let’s just say that I’ve finally realized what many of its residents probably already knew – the city of Coral Springs is a pretty damn cool city.
Bites-N-Sips brings a variety of food trucks, adult beverages and live music to Coral Springs City Hall. This year’s live music was provided by none other than popular Latin/funk/jazz outfit Spam Allstars. The best part was (as usual) parking was plentiful and FREE (let’s see Miami do that!). I was there with my camera and a few good lenses, check out the pics. Oh, and mark your calendars for the next Bites-N-Sips on November 16 – see you there…
FOOD (TRUCKS) & DRINK
Food trucks of all sorts were parked around the perimeter of City Hall…
Oh, and then there was the “World’s Largest Ice Cream Truck” (not sure how official that ranking is but it was pretty big!)
FUN TIMES FOR ALL AGES
Remember to mark your calendars for the next Bites-N-Sips on November 16, and visit www.coralsprings.org to check out other upcoming events in this pretty cool city…
If you’ve been following my blog (and why wouldn’t you be?) you know I stopped by the 23rd Annual South Florida Tattoo Expo a few weeks ago and brought along my camera and a few good lenses with the intention of creating a promotional video (you can now watch the video HERE. My first post can be found HERE as well as images of the Expo’s entertainment (numerous live bands and a few hot bodies) but I saved the best for last. Well, at least it’s the most interesting – human suspension (and if you’re the squeamish type, you might want to move on to another post).
What is it exactly? It’s the act of suspending a human body from hooks that have been put through the skin. Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? I mean, what sort of person would pierce their skin with large-gauge hooks and hang in the air? Must be a new thing these kids are doing, right? Wrong.
The oldest recorded acts of human suspension date back approximately 5,000 years and originated among devout Hindus in India. It was deemed by practitioners to be an act of penance that would prove one’s ever-growing devotion to the Hindu gods if they engaged in progressively more intense suspension sessions. Human suspension has also been a tradition among certain North American Indian tribes going back centuries. Most notably, the Mandan Tribe who lived along the banks of the Missouri River. The ceremonies were first formally documented by George Catlin, a member of the Louis and Clark expeditions who described the ceremonies (called “Okipa”) as four-day-long events that required extensive preparation and self-sacrifice by all participants.
Modern suspension has been largely shaped by Fakir Musafar, a man who was born on an Indian reservation in South Dakota in 1930 with the name Roland Loomis, who is widely regarded as the “father of the Modern Primitives.” What he has pioneered since 1944 – tribal tattoos, nose rings, ear lobe enlargements, small-waist corsetry, human suspension and more – were once practices in an underground subculture. For Musafar, and many others after him, body modification is a form of self-expression and spiritual exploration, a way to move beyond the body into a higher spiritual plane. He died earlier this month at 87 years old.
Many who practice human suspension describe it as cathartic. It’s rather shocking to the rest of us but that feeling of shock is what many who suspend are looking for – the rush of endorphins, serotonin, and other chemicals that results in a sort of high. Some see it as a spiritual experience. Others find it exhilarating. A subset of those who practice suspension do it as a type of performance art, choreographing lurid and shocking spectacles that are performed in front of audiences.
What I saw at the South Florida Tattoo Expo were a group of people really enjoying being suspended. It was quite the sight. The ringleaders of the group were Manda Rexx and Chadillac of Rexx Body Modification of Davenport, Iowa. And before you judge, remember: there are people out there who think that Van Halen made better records with Sammy Hagar than with David Lee Roth. If we can coexist with those people, who are we to judge a group of people who want to hang from hooks, right? Right.
This post and the FULL IMAGE GALLERY can now be seen over at danperezphotography.com
Here’s the second of three photography posts from my weekend spent at the 23rd Annual South Florida Tattoo Expo. This annual event, which was held at the Coral Springs Marriott not only featured the best tattoo artists in all of South Florida but a truckload of live bands, a burlesque show, hot body contest, car show, local vendors, and human suspension (the act of suspending a human body from hooks that have been put through the skin!). And here’s the best part: all proceeds benefitted the Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital; and it’s been that way since year one. Yeah, that’s right, these “nefarious” tattoo artists are actually doing good. Who woulda thunk it?
This post and the FULL IMAGE GALLERY can now be seen over at danperezphotography.com
No, I don’t have any tattoos on my body. Just wanted to put that out there before I go any further. Why? Well, I’m just way too indecisive to settle on an image that I would want on a part of my body for the rest of my life. First of all, I would spend hours/days/months (sleepless nights!) obsessing over which image would be the perfect one for me. Then, if I were to actually decide on one (which is highly unlikely), I’ll probably come up with another image that I should have gotten about a week after my tattoo healed and would be kicking myself for not realizing it. Next thing you know, I’d be covered up to my neck with tattoos, out a few thousand dollars and in need of therapy. Why put Mrs. Perez through that sort of hell? Nuff said about that.
Now, just because I don’t have any tattoos doesn’t mean that I’m not intrigued by them. I mean, it’s an art form, a very unique art form – and as a collector of art and lover of street art and art museums, tattoo art and its artists have always been a curiosity to me. So with the South Florida Tattoo Expo being held last week right here in my backyard of Coral Springs, it was time to satisfy that curiosity. Somewhat.
I’ve known about the expo for several years and have wanted to drop in and check it out ever since but for whatever reason, I never did. That all changed this year after I reached out to Lisa Brodeur-Quinter, who along with her husband Joey, are the event directors of this event. I told her I’d like to document the event and create a short promo video (at no cost to them). She agreed and threw in several free weekend passes for me and my “crew” (my daughter and Mrs. Perez) and I was finally on my way.
You can view the recap video I shot and edited HERE
View the FULL GALLERY of images at my photography site danperezphotography.com
The city of Coral Springs (our home for the past 15 years since we moved to Florida from NYC) might not be the first place you think of for the arts in South Florida but that would be an egregious oversight. I mean, the city is home to the Coral Springs Museum of Art AND the Coral Springs Center for the Arts, an expansive cultural center that offers music, theater, comedy and dance. Oh, and the Coral Springs Festival of the Arts just celebrated its 14th year this past weekend. So there’s that.
Sadly, after living here for 15 years, we attended our very first Festival just last year (Mrs. Perez and I clearly don’t get out all that much) but we marked our calendar for this year and like the year before, the Coral Springs Festival of the Arts did not disappoint. The two-day celebration of arts and culture featured a fine art show, contemporary craft festival, theatrical performances, Urban Art Paintout, and full line-up of live music. Oh, and I got the photographs to prove it. Behold…
The festival. which attracts 30,000-40,000 people from all over the South Florida area, takes place at The Walk on University Drive, the ultimate social sanctuary to gather with family and friends…
Nigerian artist Rahmon Olugunna
Photographer Nancy Ney
Wisconsin artist Nick Ringelstetter aka Atomic7
The PTSA of Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School and the Coral Spring Police Department were in attendance reminding us they stand #MSDStrong
Activities for kids? Yeah, there were plenty of those as well…
Plenty of food and drinks…
Funky cast iron mailboxes? Yeah, that too.
Cuban artist Raul Hernandez
Beautiful Art Deco from the imagination of Steven Penafiel
The young girls from the Kelly Academy of Irish Dance put on a show on Saint Patrick’s Day
Cachet Band got the crowd off their feet on Saturday afternoon…
The Gold Coast Banjo Band proved that you can rock a party at any age…
Orquesta Nostalgia brought the classic sounds of the Mambo to Coral Springs on Sunday
The gang from the Ronin Taiko Academy tore the proverbial roof off the place with their Japanese drumming aka “wadaiko”
Mariachi Los Monarcas brought Mexico’s rich cultural heritage to Coral Springs
What arts festival would be complete without an Urban Art Paintout?
The Coral Springs Festival of the Arts has something for everyone, regardless of age. This was my second time attending (one day with Mrs. Perez and the other with my daughter) and I can assure you, we will be back in 2019. See you there…
The 13th annual Coral Springs Festival of the Arts was held this past weekend at “The Walk” on University Drive. The two-day festival, which also featured entertainment from all of the arts (music, dance, theatre and literary performances), redefines Coral Springs (that’s right, Coral Springs!) as a cultural destination.
After attending UNplugged, a free outdoor art/food/music event last month, Mrs. Perez and I returned to “The Walk” for the Festival and spent a few hours there on Saturday (we weren’t able to make it on Sunday) and had a lovely time. Plenty of art, culture, and crafts to peruse and purchase. I brought along my camera and snapped a few photographs.
Oh, and while you’re waiting for next year’s festival, visit “The Walk” on Wednesdays as they feature live music (set up right in front of the large fountain) from 6-9pm. You can keep abreast of all things Coral Springs right here > www.coralsprings.org
Oh, and it just happened to be an absolutely beautiful day…
The fountain at “The Walk”
Plenty of treats, crafts, and art for sale…
We enjoyed the young boys and girls of Club Libertad Filial Florida “difundiendo el baile Nacional del Perú”
Country/Western act The Rodeo Clowns
The South Florida Cloggers doing what they do…
Plenty of activities for kids, too…
“Trash People” sculpture, life-sized human depictions created from trash collected around Coral Springs road ways courtesy of the ‘Keep Coral Springs Beautiful Adopt-A-Street’ program. It’s part of the ‘Love Where You Live’ Anti-Litter Campaign that encourages individuals and the community to “Keep it off the grass, throw it in the trash!”
See you next year!
So, my wife and I decided to stop by the Coral Springs Art Walk this past Saturday to check out UNplugged, a free outdoor event that featured live music, life-size games, craft beer from Funky Buddha Brewery, as well as wine, food trucks and live art. Just a few minutes drive from our home, I can tell you that I really wasn’t expecting anything great (I mean, it’s Coral Springs, not Miami, right?) but let me tell you something – we were very pleasantly surprised by how much we enjoyed ourselves.
First of all, parking was plentiful and free (when was the last time you went to an event in Miami that had plentiful free parking?). There were an assortment of great food trucks all over, plenty of seating and tables, and some terrific live music (we caught the set by The Gravel Kings and really enjoyed them). There was also plenty of live art and a friendly family vibe that’s really what Coral Springs is all about.
All in all, a good time was had by me and Mrs. Perez and we will be back next time. I snapped a few photographs as evidence, check them out below. And if you’re able to make it to this event next month, get there – you won’t be sorry. Promise.
Artists at work…
Magicians, vendors, live games and a few furry friends…
“Trash People” sculptures, life-sized human depictions created from trash collected around Coral Springs road ways courtesy of the ‘Keep Coral Springs Beautiful Adopt-A-Street’ program. It’s part of the ‘Love Where You Live’ Anti-Litter Campaign that encourages individuals and the community to “Keep it off the grass, throw it in the trash!”
The Cover Ups performing…
The Gravity Kings closed out the night…and a good time was had by all. See you next month.
For more information on upcoming events in the “maybe not as cool as Miami but still pretty darn cool” city of Coral Springs, visit www.coralsprings.org
Ever since buying our mischievous pug Buddy a new memory foam doggy bed this past Christmas, he does little else but nap all day. He drags his feet when he hears the jingle of his leash (he used to come running) and only seems to get off his bed when he hears the refrigerator door open. So we decided it was time to get Buddy out of the house for reasons beyond merely peeing and pooping.
In the neighboring city of Parkland in South Florida, there’s a dog park named Barkland which opened back in 2012. Barkland Dog Park is just over two acres in size and has separate areas for large (over 25 pounds) and small (under 25 pounds) dogs, a dog washing station, water fountains for pets and their owners, covered pavilions, walking trails, benches and picnic tables. Seemed like a good place for Buddy to stretch his legs a bit (and maybe make a new friend or two).
This past weekend, my daughter and I took Buddy to Barkland…with mixed results. The park was spacious, clean and very well maintained but Buddy didn’t appear all that interested in making new friends (he sniffed a butt or two but ultimately seemed disinterested in developing new relationships) and instead of fully utilizing the park’s ample acreage, he seemed to prefer doing what he does here at home – lying down.
I brought along my Panasonic GH2 and shot a few pics of Buddy in “action”…enjoy.
On our way to Barkland…
We arrive at the park, Buddy seems excited…
“Hi, I’m Buddy (yawn), when’s nap time?”
Barkland offered ample space for dogs and their owners…
Some of Buddy’s new “friends”…
Buddy doing what he does best…
Buddy and his best friend…
Time to head back home but we’ll be back…
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