Nerd Culture

Tit for Tats at the Hell City Tattoo Festival

Tattoos have come a long way, baby! Once reserved for sailors and burly bikers with Grizzly Adams beards and leather chaps, tats have slowly slithered their way onto college students, cubicle workers and yes, even geeks. While some of our geeky brethren were busy roleplaying or getting first editions signed at the Discworld convention this past weekend, a few were baring their souls -- and their flesh -- at the Hell City 8: Tattoo Vacation festival at the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa.

You do NOT expect to spot Mom, Dad or Grandma Sally.

​This year's convention had an old-timey circus theme, with posters of Lobster Man and wooden cutouts of The Tattooed Lady and The Tattooed Man you could stick your head through should you come with untouched, virginal flesh. There was the constant buzz of tattoo guns, and the air in the convention center was thick with the scent of A&D ointment.

Saturday's entertainment lineup was geek pleasing, with girl-on-girl boxing courtesy of the Arisona Derby Dames, an art experiment where tattooists collaborated on charcoal pieces and a performance from Guinness World Record holder Daniel Browning Smith, aka "Rubberboy." We even spotted a few geeks among the famed Suicide Girls -- thumbing through their book, we found one whose most prized possession is her X-Box. Aww...a girl after our own heart, even if PS3 does have a kickass Blu-Ray player.

We caught up with a few celebs getting inked, including Don "Hollywood" Yates, aka "Wolf" of American Gladiators fame. He's a sweetie in person, but we'll take the pain of a tattoo needle over five minutes in the ring with him any day!  

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Wynter Holden
Contact: Wynter Holden