This weekend I had the opportunity to work the Philadelphia tattoo convention. It's one of the biggest and best of its kind. Over 500 artists and vendors, live performances by Murphy's Law and others, strippers, a burlesque show, contests, raffles, a bikini slip n' slide and of course great art and artists from all over the country. It was a huge event and a really good time all-around, but here are the highlights *grabs blue cards*... 10. Tattooed hotties. From show artists and patrons to the group of Pin-Up models present, there was tattooed eye-candy everywhere you looked. Most dressed quite skankily. 9. Midgets. They're everywhere and a tattoo convention is no exception. But your standard midget is made even more amusing when you cover him in tattoos and give him a badass attitude. 8. Bartenders with bad toupees. The place was filled with bars. In addition to the hotel bars and the ones set up in the lobbies of the floors the convention occupied, the convention halls themselves each had at least a half dozen. With this many bars, you're guaranteed to encounter at least one aging 'tender who sports a fake tan and a bad hairpiece in an effort to appear more youthful and suave in hopes of generating more tips from the ladies. 7. Head Tattoos. You don't see that many out in the world, but you see a ton of 'em here. And if you're a lucky artist, you may just get to tattoo the logo of an old Hardcore band on some middle-aged rocker's mohawked melon. It doesn't get much better than this. 6. Drunken hewers. As closing time drew near each night, the drunkenness was wide-spread. Most was all in good fun and the convention-goers returned the next day in a normal state, with little more than a slight headache. But there's always THAT chick who is just fucking wasted the entire time. THIS was that chick. She was stealing beer, fucking dudes in the elevator, offering to show her tits for booze or tattoos, she even got in a fight and eventually got kicked out. She really DID have to go, but her stumbling, slurring, slutting antics were amusing while they lasted. 5. THIS guy. 4. The Old-School. Conventions are a great place to see authentic, traditional tattoo art and photographs; and meet (or even get worked on) by the old-heads who really got the industry started in a legitimate way back in the 50s and 60s. The art is simple, straightforward and timeless and so are the artists. You see a ton of young people running around the show in jewel-encrusted Ed Hardy gear, trying SO hard to "be the scene"... then you see the 60+ dudes in plain, black outfits with no style whatsoever and no interest in style/fashion, fads or any attempt at fitting into the "scene" ...but they're the ones who really ARE "it". 3. Tattooed Hotties- in various states of undress. Tattoo competitions, strip shows, pinup competitions and other activites make for lots of chicks running around in bikinis or even less. Some were clad in heels, tiny bottoms and tape or stickers on their nips. 2. Sticker-graffiti and general defacing of public property. Sure it's juvenile and disrespectful, but there's something just SO great about entering a fancy, pristine hotel on Friday, and on Sunday night leaving a hotel that's completely thrashed... stickers everywhere including ones that revolve on the escalator belts, mustaches drawn on people in posters, beer cans strategically placed in flower arrangements. I don't know what the hotel gets paid to have us there, but it MUST be a lot to be worth the clean-up that follows. and the NUMBER ONE REASON to attend your local tattoo convention... Creepy men in polka-dot thongs! This guy I recognized. He comes to all the conventions and I've even seen him around shops in my area. He's covered in random (mostly crappy) tattoos, all from women. He's short, chubby, bald and wears flannel. Looks innocent enough, but he's a total perv. He asked if I had time with a smarmy grin on his face. I said yea and gave him an outrageous quote which he eagerly accepted. I placed a folded towel in the back of his pants to protect them, drew on the rose he requested, had him sit down and lean forward and did the piece in about a half hour. When I finished and while he was still sitting, I pulled out the towel and voila! Polka-dot thong for all to see... and all did see. Everyone that surrounded the booth was giggling and taking pics, including myself. The ass tattoos are a nice touch as well.