Northern Ink Exposure, on the Road in Toronto… Eh!
By John Niederkorn
Oh… Canada? The Northern Ink Exposure (NIX) ended a string of three successive tattoo conventions for me, which would explain this post’s extreme tardiness. It was my first time on Canadian soil and Kent had me super stressed about Canadian customs… Okay, lets get my story straight; “Hello, I’m here on ‘vacation’ and in no way will I be taking your crazy Monopoly money back to my country.” Luckily for us North By Northeast (NXNE) was the same weekend as NIX so I had a built in excuse…
This convention was double-duty for TAM, we also had our Music Editor and photographer extraordinaire (see, I know French) Rose Riot with me as well. The plan was for her to cover NXNE and for me to sling magazines all weekend, while mixing in video interviews and party-time. I think we accomplished our goals… well, we did something?
Friday was nuts… The convention was great, except the TAM booth was MIA! I saw Adam Hays and Jason Schroder right off the bat, so I thought I would chew the proverbial fat and kill some time with those guys until my booth magically appeared.
Four hours later I actually ended up back at their booth, but this time it was vacant! Weird. Time to unpack and I’ll figure out where they teleported to later, knowing Adam he probably had a thing to attend to in the Dagobah System. (This joke is courtesy of nerdiness)
The usual cast of convention characters, mixed in with some awesome shops from Canada showed up for NIX, Dan Smith, Aaron Bell, Mario Desa, Seven Crowns Tattoo, Chad Koeplinger and so-on-etcetra…
I left the convention on Saturday for about 45 minutes to go see Hot Water Music… again. I think these guys are following TAM? The show was great, and I had no clue Canadians could rock so hard! What’s that a-boot? (Okay, I promise that will be the only “a-boot”)
Saturday I decided it was time for Rose and I to party, Canadian-style… After the show I went to meet my Canadian sister-from-another-mother, Lizzie Renaud, at her shop Speakeasy Tattoo. Lizzie was gracious enough to tattoo me “after-hours” and big American thank-yous for being awesome!
Her shop is really cool and I would suggest visiting if you get the chance, and the part of town it’s located in reminded me of home. Lizzie threw down on my “second-coat” and added this Canadian Shark to my mystery arm. It’s totally bitchin’!
Afterwards Rose and I decided to hit the streets and get some Canadian food and beer in us. We ended up at Sneaky Dee’s, where they serve you a shot on a plate… very strange. I even asked for it without the plate, and both bartenders humbly refused to fill my request… Oh well, if you want me to start stack plates to the ceiling, don’t say I didn’t warn you!
Rose went completely Canadian on me and ordered the poutine, which actually tastes better than it sounds. It was like a heart-attack mountain. Sadly, Rose did not make it to the summit.
We spilled out into the NXNE chaos saw some Canadian boobs (sorry no pictures) and then a band rolled up and played out of the back of a moving truck. O’ Canada…
We cruised back to the Hilton where we were staying, and then I proceeded to almost get thrown out of said Hilton. I tagged the NIX message board in the lobby of the hotel and all hell broke loose! All of sudden I got Hilton militiamen ready to take me out for writing “Oh… Canada?” on the message board… Whoa… Seriously? Lighten up dudes… you’re Canadians! Crisis was averted, primarily because I probably look slightly crazy and scary after a night of drinking?
Sunday Rose went to shoot The Pharcyde (still jealous) and I packed up what was left and headed out to meet up with the Speakeasy crew to have a “real” dinner, not snacks and convention garbage. Dinner was awesome! Everyone at Speakeasy was really nice and made me feel at home and sometimes when you are strung out from doing three straight shows it’s comforting to find friends and people that make you feel at home. Thanks guys! And thanks to all my new Canadian peeps! You really are the friendly neighbors to the north.
I would especially like to thank Dave Allen from Tattooers for Japan. It was really nice meeting Dave in person and he gave me an awesome print that I will soon get framed. Look for Dave and TAM to be doing some things in the near future… Cheers!