Louisville Tattoo Arts Convention: On the Road in Kentucky
By Metal Allison
I feel like riding a really fast horse to get some chicken so I’m going to Louisville. Actually I am going to a convention, but there was always time for chicken!
I would describe the scenery on the ride in, however, my cab driver was driving so fast my face was smeared up against the window sliding from left to right with every jerk of the wheel. The only thing I could make out was billboard after billboard telling me to, “Ask Gary!” Whoever the hell this Gary dude was, he’s got the answers apparently.
I arrive at the hotel to the most quick and painless check in ever! “You mean I don’t have to call Crash, Kent and John in yet another frustrated panic that I will be sleeping in my booth or the hotel lobby?” My room was actually in my name and ready! Finally! I knew with patience I would one day experience this effortless check in I have heard about. I happily take my key and the elevator up to my room.
Seems a little odd to me that there was still a pile of towels and a room service tray outside of the door, but I’m sure housekeeping just got a little behind. Okay, so it also struck me as a little odd that my non-smoking room reeks of cigarette smoke, with the sound of something similar to a garbage disposal full of ill-tempered badgers coming from behind the door. I continued on, opened the door to a pitch-black room where I was greeted with a man yelling, “Who the hell is it?!” Oh come on! I knew that check in was too easy.
I was escorted to my booth by Troy Timpel, which happened to be next to Philadelphia Eddie’s booth. “She ain’t naked!” Eddie yells. “But she is pretty.” Chris responds “Ehhh! How many of these you need until you start taking your clothes off?” he said this while pointing to his bar set up in his booth of Malibu and orange juice and the ingredients to make buttery nipple shots.
He was the icing on the cake of colorful characters I encountered that weekend, including my new best friend for the weekend Captain Crazy Pants. He managed to visit my booth once and hour all weekend winking, blowing kisses, spouting out random nonsensical statements, doing little dances and at the end of the night he was sporting a light-up jester hat and American Flag sunglasses.
I also saw him taking line drawings from booths after people had packed up. When I told him that was stealing, he responded with, “I ain’t stealing if they leave it! It’s like finding a TV in the alley!” Christ!
Across from me was Tattoo Charlie’s with one of the sweetest banners I have ever seen. Wizards, babes, lightening, saber-toothed tiger whaaaaat! Next to this was Charlie’s Historic Tattoo museum booth, which held a ton of really cool stuff including a photo that Rollo took for Esquire magazine 30-plus years ago.
I did my usual rounds to see who all was there. Timeless Tattoo, Acme Tattoo and 5 Star Tattoo were there to name a few. I also had the chance to hang out with Hawk from Hawk’s Tattoo. He is one of my favorite people to talk to at conventions when I get to see him. He even brought me tacos one night!
My friends texted me to tell me they were coming to the convention and if I have any “recommendations” as far as who they should get tattooed by. “Yes, but it will costs you a nugget meal from Chick-fil-A!”
Once they arrived with my nuggets (per our agreement) I suggested he hit up Jay Fish from Acme Ink Tattoos or Dennis Pase from 5 Star Tattoo. They went and got tattooed while I enjoyed my nuggets. Everybody’s happy!
I attempted to experience the “nightlife” my first night there on 4th Street as suggested by the gift shop clerk. I figured this had to be good. I walked outside the hotel and I was hit by a closed off street similar to that of my home state Florida.
Tons of neon and over sized guitar, horrible radio-play music blaring, stacks of chain restaurants and groups of people in baseball hats, frosty lipstick and those neon tube necklaces yelling, “Dude, I’m so wasted!” I was back in my room in under 10 minutes. I did make it out the following night with my friends to Cohoot’s.
The bar was cool, and a lot like the bars I frequent back home in Chicago. I had a song sung to me about my butt. Oddly, this was not the first, or even the second time this has happened. I also hit the punching game and got “anemic” as my score. Whatever, you should see my choke slam!
On that note, “Watch yo-self Louisville!” Thanks for everything including that hibernating bear that yelled at me, that stupid guitar, the sweet song about my butt and those delicious little nugs.