The Story of Colorado’s DIY Skater Tattoo Parlor
No Class is a DIY tattoo parlor run by skater Jesse Brocato from his living room in Fairplay, Colorado. Every tattoo from No Class is free, provided you’re at least halfway tanked when you start laying the ink on yourself. Which I think explains why the place is starting to pick up some steam among the skating community.
On a recent skate trip to Colorado, I visited No Class and had a chat with Brocato.
VICE: How did you guys get started?
Jesse Brocato: It all started one night when we found out that our friend Shane had a tattoo gun. We told him to bring it over, and he thought he was going to tattoo us, but we were like, “Fuck, give us that,” and we started tattooing ourselves.
That night I fell in love. I was like, “I’m never paying for a tattoo again.” Everyone pays thousands of bucks to get these fancy tattoos. The idea behind No Class is, why would you want a fancy tattoo when you could have a shitty ghetto tattoo?
And it took off from there?
Well, I used to make moonshine, so we’d get drunk on moonshine and then just start tattooing ourselves. Then we started buying more equipment online. Now we have three set-ups. People see our work, and they want a shitty tattoo too. I tell them they have to do it themselves. That’s what No Class is all about.
Is it hard to get the hang of it?
It took us a little while. In the beginning, we’d have the needle set way too far out, like a quarter inch, and I was going so deep it stopped the machine like a lawnmower in thick grass. It just destroyed the bone and took forever to heal. You start digging and it ends up looking like hamburger meat. You lay in all that ink, and then it heals up scarred and white.
Anything else you had to learn?
Pick the cat hair off the needle.
Does that “sterilize” it?
I mean, maybe I would have to read a little on bacteria and all that, but whatever, what we do is just hook it up and do it. We don’t share needles or anything like that. I mean, it’s happened, but you really shouldn’t do that. You think you’re clean, but you never know what you have. Somebody that actually tattoos would probably freak out if they came up here, but that’s part of it, part of the “fuck it” attitude of No Class. None of us has swelled up yet.
I Used Roach Killer to Cure My Yeast Infection
Editors note: You probably shouldn’t try this at home.
Vulvovaginal candidiasis, commonly known as a “yeast infection,” is experienced by at least 75 percent of women in their adult lives. Most people treat their yeast infections with over-the-counter creams like Vagisil that use an applicator to insert into your vagina overnight. As many women know, this usually leads to the cream leaking out into a massive, irritating mess.
Alternatively, there’s the oral medication Diflucan, which is supposed to cure a yeast infection in 24 hours, but requires a prescription. These treatments are effective for a lot of women. However, none of these medications work for all women, and for a large minority of women, none of them work at all. Women with chronic yeast infections are forced to take the same medications over and over as they continue to suffer from this uncomfortable condition, while most doctors tell them there’s no other choice.
I have had chronic yeast infections since the age of 12, when I spent almost a year feeling too ashamed and scared to even tell my mom. I tried everything. The over-the-counter and prescription medications available would only help temporarily, if at all. I’ve found ways to deal with it over the years, but sometimes a bad one still comes along and I’m flung right back where I started, with no idea how to proceed.
Last year, during a particularly disabling infection, I went to see a new gynocologist, an old Indian woman in the East Village. She had a curt and strange bedside manner and stuck things in me without warning, barely talking to me. Feeling somewhat violated, I left with a few prescriptions, vowing to never go back. Then I went to an alternative pharmacy the next day to pick up the boric acid suppositories she’d prescribed me.
I used them for a few days and WHAM: no more yeast infection. I was floored. Nothing I’d ever used had worked as well as that.
A Womb of Her Own: DIY Abortion and Birth Control After Hobby Lobby
On Tuesday, I was wandering around the internet and fell into a random binder full of women, which it turns out is a great place to meet badass genius revolutionaries. Jane Doe is adoula and an underground abortion provider. She writes romance novels, dreams of expatriation, and makes the best sea-salt caramels you’ve ever had. She’s spoken at statehouses and chased down riot cops. In the wake of the US Supreme Court’s decision that corporations like Hobby Lobby are people with important religious beliefs about contraception (and that men need Viagra but women don’t need birth control), she released a DIY guide to the basics of abortion, birth control, emergency contraception, and more. We got together in a hidden pocket of the binder so I could ask her for the details.
VICE: Why did you write this guide?
Jane Doe: That’s a complicated question. About ten years ago, I wrote a guide to surgical abortions after South Dakota banned all abortions in that state. Since that time, I’ve learned a lot, and I’ve been receiving—at least once a month or so—emails from desperate women who find my surgical abortion how-to and want to abort their pregnancies. For a long time, I didn’t know what to tell them, and then I found out more about medical abortion—how safe it is (especially compared to birth), how women are undergoing medical abortions at home, in privacy, and how there’s a law that lets anyone in the United States import up to 90 days of any non-scheduled prescription drug.
From there, I started actually giving away the pills to women who emailed me—a proposition that became both expensive and incredibly (legally) risky.
Then I started sending them URLs to websites that sold the pills—which is when I thought, Wait, what am I doing? I could be letting people know all of this information, everything I know about how to find these medications, how to use them, what to do if something goes wrong.
I think this information belongs to women. It’s ours. And now it’s out there. Once it’s on the Internet, it’s hard to scrub.
Were you inspired by the Supreme Court decision or was the timing purely coincidental?
I’d been working on A Womb of One’s Own for about six months in total, and like many writers tend to do, I found myself procrastinating toward the end of the project. When the Hobby Lobby decision came down, and I realized the Supreme Court wasn’t actually saying that all religious expression was protected—just things pertaining to women’s health—I dropped everything else on my plate and finished the pamphlet that day.
"I’m not sure Polish people understand what pro wrestling is. Their history is full of wars; they were always engaged in a battle with someone—so the very idea of fighting, even for sport, is a very serious deal to them. In general, as a nation, they are very serious. Americans can chill out a bit. We understand that this is just entertainment. It’s still a sport, as everything that happens in the ring hurts quite a lot, but it’s strictly for the enjoyment of the audience."
—The Pitfalls of Setting Up Poland’s First Pro Wrestling Federation
Crass’s Penny Rimbaud Doesn’t Care About Urban Outfitters Profiting Off His Band’s Name
A few weeks ago, Urban Outfitters, your cool little sister’s favorite clothing store, started selling a “vintage men’s punk leather jacket” for $375. The jacket had a bunch of crappy hand-painted logos of some of the most notable punk bands of the 70s: the Clash, the Sex Pistols, and Crass. That the company already peddles Joy Division and Sex Pistolsshirts to angsty teens of all ages is a given, and the commodification of punk rock has been going on basically since the invention of the phrase punk rock. But selling a jacket featuring the name of the most famous anarcho-punk band of all time at a price no upstanding anticapitalist could afford seemed, at least, a little problematic. (The jacket was the only one of its kind, and someone bought it.)
Hoping for an angry tirade, I called up Penny Rimbaud, one of the founding members of Crass, at his home in England. Instead he took the opportunity to tell me how much he dislikes the current crop of DIY punks.
VICE: Did you already know about this jacket before I told you about it?
Penny Rimbaud: I hadn’t actually seen the jacket in question, but yeah, I’d heard about it. I personally don’t have any troubles with it. I mean it amused me that Crass is sort of the main feature on it and the Sex Pistols and the Clash dropped down to the bottom. But they haven’t actually used the symbol so it’s not really an unacceptable use; it’s more of a naff artwork than an attempt to sell a Crass jacket.
As far as I’m concerned, if the wealthy want to spend $400 on a rather naff leather jacket and go to book launches and gallery shows and all the things that those literati and glitterati do, then that’s great because it means that we’re getting the name floated around in areas where it’s very difficult for us to penetrate. I actually quite like it when people like Angelina Jolie and David Beckham wear Crass T-shirts.
Do you think Crass fans might be pissed off, at least?
I know that a lot of the DIY punks and the anarcho punks are going, “Oh, bloody rip-off!” Well, they’re not being ripped off. The anarcho punks have been ripping us off since the beginning of time, doing rather pale reproductions of both our music and our art. So as far as I’m concerned they’re just in for what they can get, and that’s laissez-faire [economics] at its most extreme.
I’m quite sure some people who follow us will be pissed off. But they’re not looking at the bigger picture. The sort of people who will be pissed off are the sort of people that are very happy to be working on a very small, almost ghetto existence within a particular genre of thought, a particular genre of action, a particular genre of behavior, and particularly a predictable set of political ideas. Well, the world’s changed a lot in 30 years and I think we’ve got to get hip to that. I want to get out into a bigger outreach because that’s what I’m here for. My business is information and getting it out there. My job is to look for the best outlets, the best opportunities to promote ideas.
How to Work Hard and Not Pay Taxes
An undocumented Mexican immigrant who came to America when he was two, Wuilber has been in and out of both trouble and jail, but never convicted. After splitting a disc in his back working out five years ago, he could no longer continue working at the warehouse where he was on payroll with phony papers. Then, after slipping into a meth addiction, he lost his job as an oil lube technician. Now he’s out pushing an ice cream cart up to nine hours straight. He makes $50 on a good day.
"I just need money, and this is the way I earn it. Money goes, money comes," he says. "Transportation, food, sunblock… I wear a lot of sunblock. Shoes… This job, the bad thing about it is people get warts under their feet, so I spend every two weeks at least $20 worth of wart killers. Dr. Scholl’s for the cushions under the feet, they wear out. Hopefully I’ll just stick to this and not do drugs and alcohol. I’ll be sober. I’ll live sober. Because I do really want a house, a wife, and kids and stuff."
Steven, 23, costumed Batman, $10-$30/day
A couple months ago, Steven moved to Los Angeles from the Bay Area looking to break into film. He lives in Lake View Terrace with his aunt, who works at Warner Brothers. He’s got hopes to start acting, writing, directing, and producing. He says he can “do it all.”
Having spent just a couple of weeks on the Hollywood Boulevard Walk of Fame, Steven says “Between me and the other Batmans out here, it’s like mine is a Halloween store costume versus their Comic Con-quality costumes. There’s no competition… It’s really all in the way you approach people.”
Ana, 50, Tita, 44, bottle collectors, $20/day
A couple of days a week Ana and Tita collect bottles from the recycling bins that are brought out to the curbs around their neighborhood for city pickup. Respectively Mexican and El Salvadorian immigrants, they say it only takes about an hour and brings in a little extra income.
It’s not easy or glamorous though. Says Ana, “There’s bacteria and broken bottles that will cut you.”
An Interview with the Woman Who Drilled a Hole in Her Head to Open Up Her Mind
There are plenty of ways to achieve a higher state of consciousness. Most of them involve ingesting some kind of psychoactive substance, or getting in a white tank filled with water, or sitting in front of a flashing light while listening to trance music. But as far as I know, only one requires you to drill a hole into your forehead.
Trepanation, a procedure where a small hole is drilled into the skull and left to heal naturally, can reportedly produce a prolonged positive effect on the trepanned individual’s mood and overall state of well-being. There’s little hard scientific evidence that doing this has any tangible benefits, but people have been doing it for tens of thousands of years, so there has to be a reason they keep coming back to the tried and true method of inserting pieces of metal into the front of their skulls.
Amanda Feilding is the director of the Beckley Foundation, an organization that for over a decade has been carrying out research into consciousness. Her work spans the entire mind-altering spectrum, from cannabis and LSD to Buddhist meditation, and she’s been looking into the physiological effects of trepanation for a long time. In the early 1970s, Amanda trepanned herself when she couldn’t find a doctor to do it for her, and has since become somewhat of an authority on the practice.
I visited Amanda’s home on the outskirts of Oxford, England, to talk about trepanation and how she carried out the operation on herself.
Amanda in 2012.
VICE: So Amanda, can you give me a short history of trepanation?
Amanda Feilding: Trepanation is the oldest surgical operation in the world, dating back to at least 10,000 BC, and has been carried out by independent civilizations in nearly every continent on the planet. From South America to Neolithic Europe, the practice has a rich and diverse history. Shiva, the Hindu god of altered consciousness, was trepanned; it was done by monks in Tibet and up to the modern day in Africa.
What do you mean by “modern day”?
The 20th century. I knew someone from Nigeria in the 60s who said that, when he was 13, the “hip” boys of the village went out with the shaman and got trepanned.