Tattoo City Underground
Sept. 17, Primo Banquet Center, Plainfield
Walking into the Primo Banquet Center in Plainfield was like entering a different world, one filled with lots of people, men and women, with next to nothing on in the way of clothing. But prudes need not have feared: They were covered in ink — incredible ink.
Bill Levin, director of entertainment for the event, floated around the room, easy to recognize with his wispy white hair and distinguished stature. He gave hugs, made newcomers feel welcome. “Isn’t this great?! This is just great!” He was convincing.
This event was about the art, though, and there was plenty to look at. One room was full of framed art, and a tent just next to the building rocked with various bands. Even though it was a perfect, almost-autumn Saturday night when I stopped by, the music tent seemed fairly sparse for a set by JJ Pearson and the Insignificant Others. They were eventually followed by one of the bigger names at the event, first-wave hardcore band D.O.A., which brought some more attention to the tent.
Overall, though, people seemed pretty thrilled just to be walking around: comparing recent work, talking about the contests and sharing stories about past tattoo experiences. There was a lot of plastic wrap — denoting people proud that they endured the machine in order to walk away with new art.
Rupert Boneham (of Survivor fame, and founder of Rupert’s Kids) was by far the star of the evening. His organization is dedicated to serving kids too old for youth services and not old enough for adult social services. A small crowd sort of flocked around him, asking for pictures and autographs, many of them with children. “Thank you so much, man, we’ve got your book and everything,” someone said. Rupert grinned and shook a hand.
As Saturday evening pushed on, people lined up for some of the tattoo competitions. One woman winced a little as she explained that she “just got it finished in time for tattoo of the day.” The buzz of the machines filled the center, even above the music tent — it became background to what was going on in the main room.
Tattoo work by Dan Stewart (Slideshow)
One of the featured artists in this weekend's Tattoo City Underground is Muncie-based Dan Stewart.