The Molina’s made it! From SLO in California to Quebec City with a one day travel turn around…yikes, but with all these great artists and friends here, there’s plenty of good energy to go around! Last minute, I also get to add to my tattoo collection this trip–the talented Kaija Heitland! Have a look at her work on Instagram @tattoosbymisskaija 😊More soon! BoozyLife on the road again….or still…
The Roc City Tattoo Expo is Upstate NY’s only high end tattoo convention, drawing an impressive roster of international artists each year to our beautiful area.
2016 saw the 8th annual Roc City Expo in a different venue, the addition of more local artists and vendors, and a focus on artwork as opposed to entertainment and contests.
The Hand of Fate has attended every one of these eight years of shows, starting with the first event right after we had opened our business, and relocated to the Finger Lakes. Jet and his crew at Love Hate Tattoo have always focused on bringing the best artists in tattooing, to an area that is often overlooked for larger markets and cities.
Rochester is a fantastic town, larger scale than Ithaca, with an artsy, young, downtown crowd and a flourishing dining and entertainment scene. Due to local Finger Lakes wine trails, breweries, and distilleries being less than an hour away, the locavore movement is strong here, and local vintners and brewers are represented along side menu items, sourced from area farms.
Iron Smoke Whiskey, a small batch distillery located close to home in Fairport, NY, saw the opportunity to join in on the Roc City Expo fun! FINALLY, a local booze producer that saw the potential marketing frenzy that a tattoo convention crowd offers: exposure to an absolute rainbow selection of adults, from all walks of life, that enjoy quality luxuries. A whiskey tasting at a tattoo convention? YES. SO MUCH YES.
Let me say, the whiskey tasting was VERY well received, pouring staff were knowledgeable and answering questions, and I’m sure three days of sales reflected that!
Iron Smoke also seem to have a growing distribution to bars and restaurants in the Upstate area, so make sure to keep your eyes open, or request it by name at your favorite watering hole. Iron Smoke Distillery is run by a contact that goes by the name of Skully, and their labeling and merchandise feature a distinguished skeleton, in a suit, smoking a pipe. Very well suited to a tattoo crowd, to say the least. Lots of teeshirts went out the door with that whiskey….
Back to the actual whiskey tasting and my own impressions. Iron Smoke brought two products with them- Iron Smoke small batch Apple Wood Smoked Whiskey, and their Rattlesnake Rosie’s Apple Pie Whiskey. Both were surprising, and I was shocked that as a local booze hound I had never had the pleasure! Jet and the Roc City crew must have known I was coming, and planned the whiskey accordingly. 🙂
Iron Smoke Apple Wood Smoked Whiskey: small batch, locally sourced grain is mashed and smoked with an apple wood smoking process, before distillation and aging for years in charred, American white oak barrels. With a hint of sweetness on the nose, this smooth amber colored whiskey has a light, smoky, vanilla and apple flavor with a nicely rounded, deep oak finish. Lovely small batch spirit.
Rattlesnake Rosie’s Apple Pie Whiskey: Forbidden Apple Pie recipe of small batch house distilled corn whiskey, blended with all natural upstate NY apple cider, brown sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon. Slightly sweet, with the tang of fresh apple cider and a bite of corn whiskey, this potion is delicious on its own, or as a mixer for some beautiful cocktails. Slightly sweet, bright, and luscious long finish. According to their Iron Smoke website, Apple Pie was the winner in the San Fransisco World Spirits Competition–for those of you that follow the medals and events scene!
Once again, huge thank you’s go out to Jet and the entire Love Hate Tattoo Rochester crew for all of the hard work and hoop jumping it takes to have such a great show turnout in this area! Hand of Fate has enjoyed the journey since the beginning, and there is always something surprising to enjoy, along with world class tattooing and artwork. This year, BoozyLife felt especially loved! Want to buy your own bottles of Iron Smoke Whiskey? Check out their website here : Iron Smoke Whiskey website –there are awesome cocktail recipes for your newly aquired local whiskey!
Living in the Finger Lakes, I have the advantage of being close to the action. I’ve been around enough crews of our local FLX winemakers to understand what drives so many of them to work the crazy hours, blast through times of backbreaking labor, and essentially do whatever they have to do. Passion, and maybe a little bit of good crazy, seem to be common threads.
Winemakers and tattoo artists are similar animals; they are artists working with a living palette, creatives, and once they have mastered the foundation rules, they might just knowingly and happily bend them. Sometimes, that’s when fun things happen, and I get involved whenever and wherever I can!
Barry Family Cellars is a family affair, with winemakers (and brothers) Ian and Brian establishing as one of the first micro-wineries in New York State, according to their BFC website. The focus is on minimally invasive, small batch wines, sometimes unfiltered and unrefined-which are turning out to be some of my favorite styles!
While creeping the interwebs today, I saw that Ian was in the process of bottling what he was calling ‘weird wine’-a SPARKLING, light cherry colored Cabernet Franc blend! I was running around Ithaca getting husband ready for a tattoo trip, and happily Ian and his assistant kiddo Declan were also in our neck of the woods! They were nice enough to swing by Hand of Fate with a bottle of the goods for me to try out. WHOOP!!
A Sparkling Cabernet blend is what happens when two winemaker brothers are sitting, tasting their goods…and one says he’s “not sure what to do with it” (Ian talking about this lighter, almost fruity Cab Franc they had) and in response, (Brian) “This might sound crazy, but….sparkling?” And there we have it!
So, my preview bottle! Dry, tart, yet fruity for a Cabernet Franc-lighter, pretty cherry red color and of course, bubbles. Lots of cherry, pomegranate, strawberry-think jammy, but not weighty or heavy. I put a light chill on the bottle, and we had a very quaffable, different, fun and enjoyable style of red! Husband mused it almost reminded him of a dry hard cider from the long finish.
It would be a fantastic warm weather (think picnic) wine, easily pairing with pizza, appetizers, especially delicious with chocolate. Elegant but unassuming. When you want something with a little more ‘oomph’ and heft than a rosé, this would do the tric nicely!
I believe Ian said BFC will be releasing this bad boy in May, so keep checking their website link above for updates…small batch wineries are a jewel of the Finger Lakes, but you can’t sleep on it when new releases appear! Those in the know, know…and good wine in small batches sells fast.
Thank you for meeting up, Ian! The wine, and the visit, were a pleasure as always…stop by the tattoo shop, anytime. 🙂
Paris is a magical city. The lights, the people, the wine…the art. The energy is unlike anywhere else, a joy for life and an appreciation for the beautiful things that borders on hedonism. Quality tattoos and tattoo culture are revered and celebrated here, possibly more than any other location. One of the largest and best international tattoo conventions, Mondial du Tatouage, took place the first weekend in March.
Last year in 2015, I was lucky enough to attend with my husband as well, to really get a taste of the insanity and the crowds. The Paris tattoo convention was completely unlike anything I had ever seen–Fender Guitars and MTV sponsor, lines that wrap around the convention hall for several city blocks the entire weekend, a well orchestrated madness of entertainment and artwork.
This year, due to business and life not lining up the way we had hoped, Lefty and I had to miss Paris for March 2016 . It’s such an incredible event, that there was no way I wanted to skip a post– so I asked a couple of friends and fellow tattoo wives to send me some photos from this year. One of the things that I absolutely love about being in this tattoo community, is the sharing and support that we often find! Thank you, ladies!! You rock. Truly.
Dawn Danroth, wife to veteran tattoo artist Clint Danroth and owners of Craftsman Tattoo Parlour, BC, kept me updated on what stood out to her-for her first time at the show! Dawn’s highlights were GOOD red wine in food courts (!!), excellent red wine EVERYWHERE, a gift of Pinot Gris from Alsace and Steph at Octopus Tattoo, and reportedly some of the best French Onion soup she had ever tasted at a café on St. Denis!
The lovely Ellen Chaboya also ran a booth with her multi-talented tattoo artist husband Nick Chaboya ( Nick Chaboya private studio, San Fran Bay Area) and sent me some awesome photos of the crowd, the custom Mondial Nissan Juke by Tin Tin, as well as shots of the Fender guitar Nick customized especially for the show! We spent a bit of time together last year, and it’s always a blast.
Until next year, Mondial du Tatouage 2017….
In an effort to be even MORE connected, you can now shoot me an email—–> firstname.lastname@example.org!
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Aaaaand, soon to be on Patreon 😁🍷
This past weekend was one of the best tattoo shows on earth, Mondial du Tatouage 2015, and I was lucky enough to be a part of the excitement! Thank you to Tin-Tin and his incredible crew and production staff for putting on one of the busiest, craziest, and best shows I have ever witnessed. I’ll have a full wrap up soon, but there was so much to see and do, I’m still a bit overwhelmed (and I’m in Paris playing tourist, so blogging happens whenever the carnival stops for a minute)…much, much more coming up! Until then, here are a few shots from the show – as for the selfie with artist Titine Leu of the Leu Family Iron, that was her idea. I swear. 😉
High end tattoo artists, as a community, are the most well traveled people in the world. Premiere conventions are located world wide, and more appear every year. Milan, London, NYC, Paris, Amsterdam, Montreal…all have an annual tattoo convention, and reputable artists are often extended an invitation to travel. Networking, recognition, and reputation are all created and maintained through working select shows.
Tattoo Conventions are often a three day event, spanning a Friday-Sunday weekend. Artists flood into town, set up at the venue, tattoo for three days, and tear down. The marathon of work often ends with a celebratory Sunday night steak dinner; a chance for artists and their significant others to socialize, imbibe, and talk shop. And now, a view from the table:
*Tattoo artists will wear black tee shirts and cargo shorts to any restaurant. They might get disapproving looks from other guests. They will not care. Three eighteen hour days have all lead up to the meal ahead. Stare if you would like, just feed us.
*We sit late, so be prepared to stay. Some of us only see each other once a year, so this time together is precious and short. If you’re our server, you’re in for the long haul…BUT WE GUARANTEE THE TIP WILL BE WORTH IT. Have fun with us, you can tell the stories to fellow servers for months. There WILL be stories. Promise.
*Tattooers at this level love to enjoy the finer things, especially in food and drink. WE KNOW WHAT WE’RE TALKING ABOUT. Don’t let the body art fool you, most of our crew have
pretty refined palates. Most would rather drink an Argentinian Malbec with dinner, than do tequila shots off a party girl at the bar. Not that that doesn’t happen occasionally, but it’s time and place appropriate…of course.
*We’re loud. Not rowdy, flip the table and punch someone in the face loud, but jovial. There will be laughter, calls between tables, and musical chairs so everyone gets a chance for very valuable face time. Sorry again to the servers, if you bring food we’ll figure out where it goes. Again, worth the hassle. Promise.
What I’ve learned in my few short years with my tattooer husband? Don’t judge a book by its cover, artists are comfortable everywhere and anywhere, and the best compliment to fine dining is enjoying the company of those you’re with.