This month, Oklahoma City residents found themselves in the center of a cultural hub.
Merging in the city in one weekend were the Ink Life Tour, IAO’s Biting the Apple Erotic Art Festival, the Steampunk Expo, a Redhawks game, Bedlam baseball games and the Oklahoma City Thunder’s first playoff game.
“We are getting more culturally diverse,” said Clint Stone, executive director of the Individual Artists of Oklahoma Gallery. “The people in our city have decided that they want more culture in their lives, and it’s because of that that all these organizations are providing that.”
The Ink Life Tattoo Convention at the Cox Convention Center brought body art lovers together for a weekend of live music, tattooing, piercing and even “human suspension.” The event featured celebrity tattoo artist Amy Nicoletto from “LA Ink” and various vendors selling tattoo and piercing supplies and accessories. Hundreds of Oklahoma body art enthusiasts flocked to the first-ever Oklahoma City stop for the three-day convention.
Nicoletto thinks shows such as “LA Ink” bring tattooing more into the mainstream than before, especially in states such as Oklahoma where tattooing has relatively recently been legalized. George Galindo, one of the Ink Life Tour’s operating managers, agrees.
“TV shows brought it into people’s living rooms who were curious before,” Galindo said. He owns House of Pain Tattoos in El Paso, Texas. “Take an inventory of people you work with. who has tattoos? You see that the scales have actually tilted over to the side of people having tattoos. It’s not a big deal to have a tattoo anymore.”
The Steampunk Expo at the Clarion Hotel was another stop on many avant-garde Oklahomans’ weekend agenda. a combination of sci-fi and Victorian styles, Steampunk is a genre that includes fashion, art, electronics and music.
Biting the Apple was another huge event that lured hundreds of Oklahomans to the IAO Gallery. Stone said the event was a huge success despite some challenging weather Friday.
“What I was most taken by was how kind everybody was to each other and how open everybody was to each other,” he said. “It was really beautiful seeing people interact so openly with each other.”
The event featured erotic art, pole dancers and burlesque dancers. The theme of the show was “Gallery de Grindhouse,” and patrons dressed in ’40s pinup and burlesque style outfits, many of which were handmade. Singles, couples and groups posed for boudoir photos in one area of the event. On the outside stage, burlesque dancers and other performers including an Elvis impersonator performed. and inside, pole dancers, experienced as well as beginners, took their turns dancing on and around a large pole.
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