New parlor hooks customers

Sep 142004
Authors: James Baetke

There is a new parlor in town.

Perhaps the newest concept the parlor Almost Famous brings to

Fort Collins is the art of body suspension (in addition to

scarification and branding).

Nathan and Jasmine Smith are owners of Almost Famous, 246 N.

College Ave. The lobby is spacious, the ceiling high and the walls

framed with examples of prospective tattoos for customers.

The Smiths are from Las Vegas, and they are aiming to make their

business a popular demand here in Fort Collins. Nathan Smith hopes

his ink-blotted body canvas, 13 piercings, star-shaped horns, split

tongue and extreme body suspension techniques will make people

notice his shop.

Body suspension is also referred to as hanging; an individual is

pierced, six to eight times, on average, through skin on his or her

back. This is called rigging.

Attached to the pierced rings are hooks that hang from a

high-hung piece of metal. A steel apparatus hangs from the

ceiling’s high support bars. The air-conditioning in the room sways

the clump of metal made up of rings, chains and other metal


The body is then slowly levitated and left to hang only by the

piercing. The skin is stretched, and the body is left dangling.

“It is not like coming in and saying I want my belly-button

pierced,” Smith said.

Smith said he must gain a relationship with a client before he

administers a hanging on someone. He does not charge clients for

the suspension, but he encourages donations, he said. He has been

in the body modification and suspension business for 10 years.

“The professional and ethical way in doing this is always

safety,” Smith said. “If it is done in an appropriate way, the

risks are minimal.”

A close friend of Smith’s watches over every hanging as a

licensed emergency medical technician, he said.

Subjects are usually not hurt or injured, but they may

experience minor tearing in the skin. Although Smith said he uses

very sanitary methods in his shop, no specifications or laws

mandate body suspension.

Doloris McCue, an administrative assistant at the Colorado

Department of Public Health and Environment, said no laws or

restrictions exist on the books with this type of activity.

“Unfortunately, we have nothing on (body suspension),” McCue

said. “(People doing body suspension) must be on drugs.”

Cindy Parmenter, director of communications for the CDPHE, was

not aware of body suspension.

“Sometimes new things come up that we do not know about and as a

result may not have anything to regulate,” Parmenter said. “This is

something people need to use their best judgment about.”

Around 10 p.m. on most Sunday evenings, Smith conducts a hanging

in front of approximately 100 people, he said. Positions include

the “lotus position” and “superman.”

The reasons volunteers agree to be suspended vary with each

case. Some are curious, some find a spiritual euphoria and some may

find it a sexual experience.

According to Smith, many do it to either have fun or to gain

some type of euphoria.

“The reason people go up is because it’s good times,” Smith


Smith feels there is other aspects of his profession people need

to consider.

“The American people, in general, need to learn to stop staring

and making fun of people,” Smith said.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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