If there is anything good about this pandemic shut down of 2020 it’s this: to-go craft beer take out. I had noticed that a few select specialty beer bars were still open, like the Tap Room on Garnet Avenue in Pacific beach. It has a sun canopy set up now on the sidewalk in front of the front door so you don’t have to walk inside (they wont let you) and they have some bar table set up between you, when you walk up, and whoever works the window there, so you don’t have too get too close and you can order a “growler” filled up to take home. A growler is a jug. This is new… I think this is totally new in the whole state of California. Being able to fill up your own bottle or jug or whatever in a bar and take it outside used to be totally illegal. I know that for a fact. I remember 20 years ago being scolded about it, about even considering asking if I could take a drink outside. According to the guy at the Tap Room on Garnet all this changed in California when the pandemic shut down came into effect. The laws and regulations changed BAM! so you can now get an order of some fine to-go beer, craft beer, like this Pliny The Elder 8% heavenly concoction that I have in my thermos, all citrusy and pine. Mmmm. Yeah. So maybe something good will come out of this pandemic after all…
Tap Tattooing at Big City Tattoo: Polynesian Skin Art Interview
The Legend, Sua Suluape Angela
Video interview by Reviewer Rob
Six years ago, in 2014, Reviewer TV visited Angela at Big City Tattoo (San Diego and possibly California’s finest female tattoo artist/shopkeeper) and she described the proper technique for applying the ancient Polynesian skin art. Watch and be amazed! With your host, Reviewer Rob. Note: we recently transcribed the video to allow readers to see it in print. However, if you like to avoid reading, the video file is embedded at the bottom of this post. ~Editor
Rob: This is reviewer magazine we are here with Angela at Big City Tattoo on University in San Diego, and she is doing the drawing part of the tattoo that she is doing on somebody. This is going to be a Polynesian style tap tattooing – right?
Angela – Hand tap style tattoo. With Samoan it’s, ah…I was traditionally schooled in Samoan style, we are actually doing a blend of Samoan and Tahitian and uh, on Marty here. Hold on..
Rob: That looks like that would be a drawing of some kind of weave or something, I guess..being Polynesian they probably weaved something when it comes to you know, their housing or something, like bamboo.. Er, not bamboo, but whatever.
Angela: This is a flower and this is a representation of the beauty in life and this is actually for his wife. And um, we are going to do some shading in this, and uh, up here is actually um “weaving of the ancestors”.
Rob: Again, so ancestral worship?
Rob: Okay. So I was going to ask if those were masks or something, but those are representations of ancestors?
Angela: Those are his actually the..Yes, but Tiki is tohu, the tattoo god of Tahiti.. So the tiki faces you can see, they are actually holding hands because this is his wife and his sister.
Rob: Ah! Where did you learn this, Angela?
Angela: Um. I had an opportunity in 2000 to uh, when I was in Tahiti, to study many of the Tahitian styles.. and I met at that time..ah, Sua Suadalupe Ale’avaapatello from Western Samoan. Who after a period of time, asked me to become his student to learn the Samoan style, to become the first woman. We taught the traditional Samoan tattoo and um, so I went to Western Samoan, I lived there for about a year and a half studying the traditional tattoo styles and then I applied what I learned in Tahiti and what I learned in New Zealand.. I still have a lot to learn, though. And uh, I also learned many patterns while I was in Hawaii studying under my teacher there and then, um, recently I’ve been brought into a group that has taught me quite a bit in the Filipino styles as well, the ancient Filipino tattooing that they’ve only recently found mummies in the mountains of the Philippines covered in tattoos.
Rob: Oh, wow! Hey, is there any way we could maybe – just, turn down the music just a little bit? Because I don’t know how much the background noise, er the background music is gonna affect the sound pick up.
Jennifer: Yeah, sure.
Angela: And just to let you know, my name is Suadalupe Angela. I’m actually Samoan chief and when the title was bestowed upon me, it was told to me, my family, and everybody that was there that “Angela” no longer became my first name, it actually became my second name, and Suadalupe became my first name.
Rob: Okay, so to be proper, people should address you as Suadalape or Suadalape Angela.
Rob: Okay. Remember that folks!
Rob: And uh – and the name of your mentor, of your teacher, what was his name again?
Angela: Sua Suadalupe Ale’avaapatello
Rob: Okay, so you kind of took on a variation of his name? So like, a familial thing
Angela: It is..it is a family title, yes, the Suadalupe title and it’s also a surname. So it’s both. So like, officially, my teacher would be Sua Suadalupe Ale’avaapatello Suadalupe
Rob: Wow! That’s a mouthful
Rob: You know, so when I was a kid, I first was learning about Hawaiian culture because I surfed, you know, and there was a lot of articles about Duke Kuhanamoko and um, people would always add, you know, smile when you say that, after you Duke Kuhanahanamoko..I still can’t stay that!
Rob: Duke Kuhanahanahamoko
Angela: It took awhile, yeah!
Rob: But um,it being kind of a uh, a warrior society, was that sort of a sign of distinction in honor, the more tattoos you had?
Angela: Excuse me, pardon me… *answers call* Mom, how can I help you? Hi Mom, yes.
Angela: I’m being filmed right now, Mom, how can I help you?
Rob: We’re doing a documentary!
Angela: *in background* Okay, because we were going to come by and talk to um Dave, to come by and do that. Okay? Talk to you later. Okay, then don’t do it – do it later. I love you.
Rob: Have we introduced everybody here? Ooh, well do you want to…well, what’s your name?
-Camera turns right-
Marybeth: My name is Marybeth.
Marybeth: Yes, I am Angela’s key stretcher, I’ve been, uh, helping her for eight years.
Rob: Stretcher? What do you stretch?
Marybeth: Ah, stretch the skin. Um, it’s Jen and my job to hold the skin.
Jennifer: Should we even go into nicknames?
*Marybeth and Jennifer laugh*
Marybeth: To hold the skin taught
Rob: Okay, like a canvas?
Rob: Like a canvas has to be tight
Marybeth: Yeah, so that the comb can go in and out of the skin…can go in and out of the skin without getting caught or..
Rob: The what? The cone?
Rob: Okay, got it.
Marybeth: ..that she will be tattooing with, that she puts the ink into. Or, you know, that she dips into the ink.
Rob: Okay. Is that a hard thing – to hold the skin?
Marybeth: Uh, it changes
Jennifer: It can be, yeah, it definitely can be. It can be a little trying. *waves* My name is Jennifer. Um, and it can definitely be a little difficult at times, because we have to hold the stretch and its really.. kind of important not to move because then it can affect the mark that the tool makes..
Jennifer: Because, you know, there’s really no eraser in tattooing.
Rob: Right, right. So you get one shot, huh?
Jennifer: Exactly. So it’s very important that we know how to stretch and that we hold the stretch properly and Angela has taught us very well. I’ve been with her for a year less than Marybeth has.
Angela: It’s not just like anybody can just jump in and start stretching.. I mean, if you have an experienced stretcher you may be able to, you know, use somebody if you needed another stretcher and maybe show them a few things, but not for big pieces, not for the really important things. A good stretch is very important to the tattoo. If you don’t have a good stretch, you know and it’s also important in machine tattooing, because when a machine artist.. they’re actually stretching the skin as well, with both of their hands while they’re tattooing. So stretch is important in all the tattoo. Otherwise, you’re just hitting them as hard as you can until you get them into the..get the material that’s in the.. You know, the invasive part, into the skin. Without a good stretch, you can get a lot of problems, and I’ve been very lucky to have two girls that will actually care as much about the tattoo as I do and do a really great job stretching.
Rob: Has there been any recent advancements in the industry when it comes to color? Because I know that used to be kind of a thing, people would lose color in their tattoos after, say, a few years.
Angela: I don’t know if – are you talking about tattoo in general, or about the traditional style?
Rob: You’re right, that isn’t specific to traditional, just in general.
Angela: In general, yes.
Rob: Ya know, in Portland, they’ve got.. the tattooists there use a lot more color than down here. At least that’s what I’ve heard.
Angela: In…pigments have advanced, I mean they, but it was also more – not just the pigments advanced in the tattooing industry, but it’s also the technique that’s being applied. I mean, what they used to use is a single – they even actually used to use a single needle tattooing, which is hardly even used anymore because you get it pretty tight and it’s about the same as a single needle, but so it’s how it’s applied, the way it’s applied, and how much it goes into it. And I did an actual proper five year apprenticeship underneath my husband who’s a tattoo master. And there’s people out there who have been tattooing like, six months, and then go out there and start tattooing people and they wonder why the tattoos don’t look as good as somebody who has been doing it for like, fifteen years. It really comes down to the experience, how they were taught, who taught them, and what they were taught. Just because you spent six months under somebody does not mean you’ve learned everything that person can teach you. And the same thing with both modern tattooing and traditional tattooing.
Rob: When did you start tattooing?
Angela: Oh! Oh my god. I started machine tattooing, I believe, in late 2001, almost 2002, and then I started hand tapping in late 2002. It took me longer for the hand tap because uh, I actually could not use the boar’s tusk tools in which I was taught with, that my husband took him about a year and a half to create the surgical stainless steel tools in which I use today. So, that’s the main difference of what I do versus what my teacher does is the surgical stainless steel single use auto-cleavable tools. And then people don’t have to worry about getting a.. Something wrong with their tattoo, like an infection or disease. Unfortunately, with bone tools, you still run that risk, even though..
Rob: Bone tools, is that with uh, the traditional style of Polynesian?
Angela: Yeah, the boar’s tusk tools bone in the Samoan styles are very traditional. I was a person, that when I went to Samoa, I did bring with me the education that I had with blood borne pathogen awareness and I got, uh was very.. er, that’s what I taught to them was keeping it a clean and sanitary environment through my family’s, the people who tattoo over there, other artists who are doing it – I can’t guarantee that because I don’t know how they treat their tools.
Rob: So you contributed a little bit of learning for them. In teaching them a little bit, it sounds like.
Angela: I had to.
Rob: Didn’t Pamela Anderson… didn’t she get uh..
Jennifer: I’ve heard about that, I, I think she..
Marybeth: Japanese style, didn’t she?
Jennifer: No, it was just a, it was just..
Angela: No, I’m sorry, that’s a misnomer. And I have to put my cents in.. You cannot. She supposedly got Hepatitis C through tattoo. I have to put this down right now, I taught the awareness and prevention of blood borne pathogen diseases and in order to catch the H-C, the Hepatitis C virus, you have to swallow a tablespoon of somebody’s blood to get it.
Jennifer: And her tattoo was on her ring finger…
Angela: Her tattoo was this tiny little thing, and no professional artist would re-use the needle twice, that is disgusting and we-
Jennifer: Even with a married couple.
Angela: Even with a married couple, that does not matter.
Jennifer: It does not matter.
Angela: And if she was going to get Hepatitis C, she would have gotten it from other things.
Rob: So, she got it in Tahiti though.
Angela: It doesn’t matter. You have to be able to… the only one you can actually catch readily is the Hepatitis B virus – which is the most contagious disease out there that you can get just by going into water that’s bad with an open wound on your body
Rob: Yeah, I heard you can get it surfing.
Angela: You can get Hep A and Hep B, but Hep B takes .03 cc’s of blood to get into an open wound or orifice on your body, which is your nose, your eyes, your mouth. Hepatitis C takes a tablespoon! A physical tablespoon of somebody’s blood to get it, or through a blood transfusion.
Rob: Hm. So, you heard it here, folks!
Angela: And so that, that is one of the biggest misnomers that upsets the tattoo community.
Jennifer: And you can get vaccinated for A and B, and we are all vaccinated for A and B.
Angela: And all of our children are mandatorily vaccinated for A and B, so all of those adults out there who haven’t had it, you should just go down and get it. It’s just a good idea.
Rob: There’s a lot of good vaccines out there that they are just not really pushing and should, probably.
Angela: So, the only thing you’re going to have a problem with in the Hep B vaccine is if you happen to be one of those rare people that is allergic to eggs, because that’s how they incubate the vaccine.
Angela: Yeah, that Pamela Anderson thing sure did make the tattoo industry in a little bit of a tither.
Angela: Oh Yeah.
Jennifer: Didn’t they think she got it because they shared the needle between Tommy and her?
Angela: They shared the needle and at first it wasn’t ..
Jennifer: Wasn’t that it?
Angela: Yes, and at first entirely..
Jennifer: But if you have unprotected sex, you can get it through sexual contact as well, can’t you?
Angela: Exactly, you can get it through sexual contact.
Rob: Tommy and her were sharing a needle?
Jennifer: I think there’s a video on that, as well! I believe so.
Rob: Yeah, yeah, we have proof of that, there’s a video on it.
Angela: But it was first said that she got it out of a shop in Los Angeles. And then it was said she went out from..
Rob: Wait, so the celebrity that was saying she got it out of Tahiti, then that was..
Angela: Tahiti or Thailand?
Rob: No, it wasn’t Tahiti and wasn’t it.. Um.. Wasn’t it.. Uh, she was married to Brad Pitt.
Marybeth: Angelina Jolie?
Rob: Right! Right, that’s the one.
Angela: They said she has Hep C now?
Rob: Yeah, because it turns out that Brad Pitt got sick after they being married to her for a few months..
Jennifer: Oh, no!
Rob: And he might have gotten, and then there was conjecture that she had it and..
Angela: Well that’s interesting, because according to the doctors that I’ve spoken to- it’s very, very difficult to actually get the H-C virus even sexually.
Rob: Yeah, cause I mean she loves tattoos. She’s got tattoos all over, right?
Angela: Some of her tattoos are beautiful.
Marybeth: Yeah, normally Hep C is from a blood transfusion or uh, like from using IV drug use. Not sharing needles.
Angela: Yeah, the H-C virus is very hard to get, so unless she mis-talked about it and it’s actually Hep B, then that makes more sense…but, not Hep C, that doesn’t make any sense.
Rob: Cause all the, all the tattoo artists, parlors and salons that I’ve been to in San Diego, they all look like doctor’s offices. I mean, I’ve been in doctor’s offices that didn’t have as much sterilization equipment.
Angela: Well, we have a very strong sterilization procedure everything that happens for a , the way we clean down surfaces, surface wipes and everything. It’s very regulated, if you go to a professional – professional being key word there, tattoo shop. We are regulated, we do yearly blood borne pathogen courses, it’s not like something we do once in awhile, it’s actually done every year. And its um, it’s something that is very important to our industry. I’ve been been to the dentists where I’ve made them stop and change their gloves!
Rob: Oh, wow.
Angela: ..because they were going to be touching the trash can and then trying to attempt to come to my mouth, after touching the trash can with those gloves, and I’m like, “Um, excuse me, would you please change those gloves? ‘Cause you’re not touching me with those” *laughs*
Rob: Those were San Diego dentists?
Angela: Oh yeah.
Angela: *laughs* I mean, lots of them..any, unless, I mean I have seen it and it’s one of those things that once I’ve said it, now watch your dentist.. and its, sometimes it’s the nurses, it’s not even the dentists, but they just don’t think about that. “Oh, it’s just a clean trash can..” No, it’s not. Nothing’s clean.
Rob: Alright, so I’m going to clip this now so it’s Youtube length.
Rex Edhlund (Danger Factory, Industry Showroom, Hypno, Kulture Magazine) Responds To An Enemy Well-Wisher
Rex Edhlund, a public post [This is a reprint from his Facebook. Check out Rex Edhlund’s newest project, SuperLiterateProgect.org. ~Editor]
Got a weird email from a person a zillion years ago. I suppose it’s cool to get me remembering things for a possible memoir.
“Ha ha. You are my enemy of long ago, who slung the N-word at me in negative anger. No ass kicking at the time, you got a pass on that one, pal. Still got nothing good to say about you, but on the other hand. It’s good to see that you are alive and well. ”
I responded –
I think you got the wrong guy dude. I don’t think I have ever called someone the N-word.
But if you were my enemy, it must have been because you were fucking up. If you have nothing good to say about me… you never knew me.
He came back with-
No, I got the right guy… Rex from the Circle of Friends loft in S.D. I am Gerald, the one who had Dread locks, the same one that your boy Shifty dissed my God father, and both of you dissed my Friend from D.C. Dave Holliman. (Who helped you shoot a video project and Green Jelly Studios).
I was also the guy who talked up for you when you were to Chicken Sh*t to face Brother Kieth from The N.O.I. over some T-shirts that they paid you for, and you never made for them? Yeah, my last encounter with you was when you kicked me out there and said from a distance away, and I quote “I getting tired of that N-word hanging around her giving tours”.
The day you said that, I was there with Check signer’s son, Joe Cheatem. His father Chuck was about go half with my God father, Roland Beanum and invest 300k in that. place. After that incident, I never went back there. Even after I was invited back a few weeks later by Mushured, and another guy who worked for for Hypno.
I went to work with WorldBeat, and a few other orgs, before going back into raising money for music & films productions. Since then, I have been investing in, and consulting land deals. You also called me a pathological liar back then too. Wow, well this pathological liar is holding more than 200k in his bank acct, and has his own fund. I can say some good things about you, I respect you for doing Hypno & Sin mags, you seemed to be a pretty straight up dude, and good/person person, that is before Shiela & Blair sunk thear hooks into you.
Don’t mean no ill towards you, but that’s the way it went down, Bro. Maybe you’ve changed since then, but the way I see it, we were once friends, but parted was as enemies. But, I never wish bad on anyone. It’s good to see that you’re still around. No apologies were ever issued from you after those incidents listed in the above, but just to let you know. I forgive you for all that f*cked up sh*t. You be good to yourself, and good rest of your journey. FIN.
So, after THAT blindside. I wrote this.
Okay, you’ve been stewing on this for 25 years, so I will level with you.
I remember you. I still don’t believe I said N. I would be more of a “Motherfucker” kind of guy. I am 99.9999 percent sure you heard someone else and attributed it to me. It has happened a few times, that a memory gets stretched to villainize me. It sucks to be in charge. Anyhow, I have always hated racial shit and it would be a far stretch for me to stoop that low. That being said, if I was under some kind of fury and madness, and DID say it… it was a psychotic fluke that I regret and will never recreate. If you are correct, I apologize for that horrible discretion with all that I have. That would have been a person I would have hated to be.
Now, for you to discover how you were perceived.
While you had your free reign of the space I paid for, Gravedigger (RIP recently) watched you and called you out repeatedly as a liar. I gave you the benefit of the doubt but then caught you in a half dozen lies. You weren’t a straight shooter then. You embellished the FUCK out of everything. It got troubling. Very.
You were also treating the loft like some kind of dot com money making scheme. That wasn’t interesting.
This was a project that didn’t owe anyone a hall pass. It wasn’t funded. It was a recession! I worked my ass off and gave every penny I had accumulated to creating a mad punk art space for mind expansion, creative exploration, media, and collaboration. Unfortunately, humanity has far more users than contributors, so it was not possible. My Utopian delusions were unrealistic. There were too many unnecessary complications, I sadly gave up and decided to step away from the incessant arguments that disrupted what could have been a creative process. Disruptions that you participated frequently in and often interrupted the business of the magazine. Which I remind you- PAID ALL THE FUCKING BILLS!!!! For everyone!!! And made the space free for everyone. A color-free, class-free, creative meritocracy with all walks of life participating. I am biased, but only towards creativity. You can be whatever color or belief, it’s the core that I care about. I’m surprised that wasn’t obvious. But I had given it a 3 year fight, and left it to die under its own weight or thrive without me as I went on to other projects. It collapsed not long after I left.
Shifty? He dissed everyone, then went on to fuck EVERYONE. He wasn’t my partner by choice. I inherited him. So, no surprise or defense there. He was nuts. I did my best to harness him.
Don’t know what I was overwhelmed with regarding Brother Kieth, but I printed a ton of stuff cheap for him before my shop was burglarized and ransacked. I had nowhere to go but the magazine. I might have been on a deadline or something. There was shit tons of stress and I was the SOLE person who had accepted responsibility for rent and the safety of ALL the equipment at the loft. I must have been sideswiped that day. I’m sure I could have ultimately handled it, and it could only have been a difference of a couple dozen shirts. That’s all he ever did. It’s a different story, but The Store That Cannot Be Named was another creative hub attempt that was broken into and robbed of pretty much everything. I am an early punk rock kid with no family or support system just doing my scrappy ass best in San Diego, so it killed me. I had a yard sale and put it all into starting the loft in order to take the job as Editor of SIN Magazine. A job that was only possible if we all jammed into the loft at 6th and Broadway.
The rest, about investment schemes and that shit… there should NEVER have been any investors in the loft. Ever. Your family was saved. It was an art experiment that took everything I had. Plenty of good came from it. The magazine paid ALL THE BILLS, Circle of Friends just brought the toys and chaos. I had to deal with running a mag on a shoestring AND deal with a million wild cats screaming around what I had intended to be a communal creation space. You made it weird and you had to go. You were but one of dozens of people I had to remove. Nobody else ever fucking stepped up, they just murmured in the background and then I had to fucking do it. It sucked. But it had to be done, so, there I was, my life depending on it. I did what needed doing.
You going on to make money is not what would impress me. In fact, every pathological liar I have ever met went on to make plenty of money, particularly in real estate. To share situations, I am similarly successful. I am happily retired from the results of endeavors, and moving into more, but the most important thing is that after the loft I went on to create more projects that shared and helped nurture success for not just me but for everyone. D-Town, Industry Showroom, the Bohemian Market, Danger Factory, it goes on. Now, finally realizing that the rising tide of those around me is what makes me most fulfilled, I am working primarily in the nonprofit world to help kids that were as fucked up as I was. Fucked up but with a desire to be good, great even. Even if no one ever knows. Even if those that got tossed off the free ride will try to demonize.
Sorry it stuck with you so hard. I hope you learned from it. You weren’t being one of the good guys back then. You were trying to turn an art project into an investment scheme. It would not have worked and it would have negatively affected all parties involved. It couldn’t have been allowed.
If that is somehow wrong, then the lesson is to see how you were perceived.
You better find a better enemy. I just don’t fit the bill.
Although Halloween today appears more of a holiday for kids young and old it had a very practical reason for existing in ancient times. None the least being that it is a reminder that you’re still alive and able to party and not six feet under, yet.
‘…adults participate in the fun of Halloween on the night of October 31st, few will be aware of its ancient Celtic roots in the Samhain (Samain) festival. In Celtic Ireland about 2,000 years ago, Samhain was the division of the year between the lighter half (summer) and the darker half (winter). At Samhain the division between this world and the otherworld was at its thinnest, allowing spirits to pass through.
‘The family’s ancestors were honoured and invited home whilst harmful spirits were warded off. People wore costumes and masks to disguise themselves as harmful spirits and thus avoid harm. Bonfires and food played a large part in the festivities. The bones of slaughtered livestock were cast into a communal fire, household fires were extinguished and started again from the bonfire. Food was prepared for the living and the dead, food for the ancestors who were in no position it eat it, was ritually shared with the less well off.
‘Christianity incorporated the honouring of the dead into the Christian calendar with All Saints (All Hallows) on November 1st, followed by All Souls on November 2nd. The wearing of costumes and masks to ward off harmful spirits survived as Halloween customs. The Irish emigrated to America in great numbers during the 19th century especially around the time of famine in Ireland during the 1840’s. The Irish carried their Halloween traditions to America, where today it is one of the major holidays of the year. Through time other traditions have blended into Halloween, for example the American harvest time tradition of carving pumpkins.’
[The two top pics below are from after the band Forest Grove played night before last at The Black Cat bar in San Diego.]
Will the Trump-era prove harmful to landlords? Having sympathy for the wealthy, while pushing their real estate schemes in a downward direction.
According to this article in the UT, under a new San Diego city council action, Airbnb short-term rentals of whole homes there will be limited to “one’s primary residence only for up to six months out of the year. While there had been a move afoot to consider exempting the Mission Beach rentals that had been paying required transient occupancy taxes to the city, the council majority was unwilling to legislate any waivers.”
Many landlords are worried that this will diminish profits to the point where they would have to consider selling.
So sad. Let us pity the wealthy. It would be tragic if they had to sell their investment properties at a loss and then the new owners reduced the rents to a market rate that re-attracted artists and other working class people who had the time then to be creative and have and actual life instead of working to pay a rent that was more than fifty percent of their monthly take-home pay.
If this new ordinance does what it sounds like it’ll do, that is, regulate in a downward direction the growing AirB&B trend in San Diego and especially the beach areas, then GREAT. Anything to slow and possibly REVERSE the rising rents in that sunny Southern Californian community. The great and political collusion among the landlord classes there is stunning and unabated.
Perhaps it’s too much to ask that, nationwide, the municipal zoning laws return with the form of rent control seen in the post-New Deal era that led to cold-water flats in New York City being rented out to working class off-broadway actors for $28 per-month that persisted under the radar until this past March. But if it does then all the better. The arts are dying because of the rental economy. It’s time for the wrestling match to see a reversal.