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Have you ever heard the sound of 100 tattoo needles all buzzing at once?  The sound gently vibrates the room and creates an intoxicating white noise that permeated the 2010 Philadelphia Tattoo Convention.  It’s audible from the minute you hit the third floor escalator that hosted hundreds of the best tattoo artists from all over the country. Strewn on every table in any position you could imagine, the masses lined up to get new ink.

Speaking of those masses, although intimidating to many, the convention crowd could not have been more easy going and trouble-free.  From the muscle-bound there to paint their pecs, to the goth kids, to the hipsters, to the old folks, all the way to the total newb there to cover it for myphl17 (me)…everyone just got along. (Although I did hear more than one tattoo lifer gently lament the new breed of trendy types that now flood the shops. I quickly dubbed them “tat2.0” kids and got some not so gentle puzzled looks in return!)   Even into the wee hours, the convention was an ink/love fest of tattoo art and culture, sideshows, burlesque shows, and all the $3.00 Pabst Blue Ribbon you could drink.

The Philadelphia Tattoo Convention 2010, hosted by the Philadelphia Sheraton, broke down into several parts.  The second floor was dedicated to merchandise.  Several vendors sold books, t-shirts and tattoo inspired art and jewelry.

The third floor was where things got really interesting.   The main part of the third floor was filled with tattoo artists and patrons.  Some getting quick tattoos, others getting elaborate pieces that took hours.  Some grimaced in pain, some sat quietly, one even surfed the web on her Mac while her tattoo was completed.  Any body part you could imagine found ink because this was a chance for people to meet great artists from outside the Philadelphia region.   Although the Philadelphia area was well represented by some of the following; Northside Tattoos , Paradox Tattoo , Never Surrender , Gamble Tattoos & Piercings, Bonedaddy’s Tattoo , Luck of the Draw Tattoo, Lucky Strike Tattoo , Blue Velvet Tattooing , Underworld Tattoo , Tattoo Bomber ,Wizard’s World of Tattoos ,Gemini Tattoo , Intimate Body Arts Studios, Timeless Tat2, Heart and Soul Tattoo , Sink the Ink, Cohwen’s Ink Emporium ,Twisted Visions & Mike Sedges, 12 OZ Studios, Monster Tattoo ,Beneath The Skin Tattoo , Tough Luck Tattoo ,Sick Ink Studios , Altered Art Tattoo, G Spot Tattoos , Shane O’Neill’s Infamous Tattoo , Black Diamond Studio , Flying Monkey Tattoo Studio , Empire Tattoo , Northern Lights Tattoos , Kadillac Tattoo Deuce , Fyre Body Arts and Deep Six.

The second floor was also the scene of a Sideshow, Suspension Show, and Burlesque Show that rounded out the evening.  The sideshow featured members of the Show Devils Side Show, Olde City Sideshow and some “special guests” that included Penguin Boy.   They all performed mesmerizing feats of death defying strength and agility all while wearing almost no clothes!  Don’t miss the sideshow photo gallery and the suspension photo gallery, but be warned;  THESE CONTAIN DISTURBING GRAPHIC IMAGES NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART!

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Sorry we did not include any images from the Burlesque portion of the evening.  After we photoshopped out all the things we could not show in a PG-13 setting?  There was nothing left!

See you next year…

By Tony Romeo

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