Tag Archives: Upstate New York

Tattoo Conventions and (Boozy)Life on the Road

Paris Tattoo Convention

Paris Tattoo Convention

Tattoo Conventions are a huge business, and show numbers are growing exponentially worldwide. Promoters compete for the best weekends, and to host the biggest names in tattooing. Larger cities and markets often have the highest regarded shows- Paris and London are long running, premiere events that artists try to plan their schedules around. Serious tattoo collectors often follow favorite artists on social media, and travel hundreds of miles for a sitting with an artist they might not otherwise have access to. Sites like Facebook and Instagram help artists to gain exposure internationally, and connect first hand with potential clients. So, what happens at these things? Why would a tattoo artist go out of their comfort zone and hit the road?

NETWORKING- Conventions are a great place to expand your circle. The best of the best choose only particular shows- if you’re good enough to get in, you’re hanging with the top percentage of artists practicing the craft.

Tin Tin from Paris

Tin Tin from Paris

Meeting other artists and connecting on a personal level sets up future growth potential. ‘Guest spots’ are essentially invites to work at another shop for a small amount of time, which enable artists to learn from each other and work in a different space. Give and take to build and grow within the circle.

IMG_0804.JPGTATTOOING- YES, tattoo artists tattoo at tattoo conventions. Seems like common sense, right? Artists pay for a booth that has all of the necessities to work,- tables, chairs, electricity, and basic supplies are provided (paper towels, electricity, etc.). Artists vary in setup: some bring a banner and their equipment, others can enjoy more showmanship and decorate the booth with a bit more flare. Convention promoters for high end shows focus on safety, for clients as well as artists. If you want to get tattooed by a particular artist, it’s always a good idea to communicate with them first! Email usually works best,  and setting up an appoint will guarantee that you’re not left out of getting tattooed. Saturday is usually the busiest day of any show, so plan accordingly.

EXPOSURE- Getting out there builds a tattoo artist’s name as well as client base. The more people that see you on the road (artists and clients alike), the more familiar you become within the tattoo industry. Magazines and media cover larger shows, and now it’s pretty common to see TV cameras too. Nothing like a good freak show! 🙂

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Artists on the beach in Tofino, Vancouver Island

TRAVEL- If you had a job that allowed you to see the world, and it required your dedication and energy and study to continue to improve and grow? Would you? Tattoo artists take advantage of these opportunities, absorbing reference and details from touring like sponges. Artwork is a living process, and the work these artists produce is even more so. Seeing this great big world adds a level of a different consciousness, and a tie to the world history of tattooing.

20140314-162425.jpgLOCATIONS- So, where the hell are these tattoo conventions? Damn near everywhere!  If it’s a major city, there is at least one major show. If there are no shows near you, chances are you’re not living in a metropolitan area! Want to go to one? TRAVEL!! Drive, fly, however….don’t stagnate and wait for one of these shows to come to you in the stix. Make a weekend of it, spend a day at the show, and then enjoy the area you’re in! That’s where I came up with the BoozyLife–conventions are fun, but unless you’re getting tattooed CONVENTIONS ARE BORING AFTER A FEW HOURS. YOU CAN ONLY WALK SO MANY LAPS AROUND THE FLOOR BEFORE YOUR EYES GLAZE OVER. Head to a city, catch a convention, and see what that particular city has to offer! I focus on mostly wineries and booze, but tattoo artists LOVE to eat at the highest rated gourmet restaurants– also a tradition for Sunday night dinner at the wrap of the show. If you see a gang of heavily tattooed, usually slightly loud men and women headed into your restaurant after eight on a Sunday night? LET THEM IN. They will make it worth your while (servers LOVE these guys!)

In our booth

In our booth

Now that you have all that info, where is a show near you? Well, we landed in Ithaca because it’s rural, but about four hours central to several hubs we use a lot. (NYC, Toronto, Montreal). Rochester is now home to the Roc City Tattoo Expo, best upstate NY convention by far– this year May 1st-3rd! http://www.roccitytattooexpo.com

We also use the website http://www.worldtattooevents.com  This comprehensive calendar lists conventions in the US, Europe, Canada, and damn near everywhere else in the world. No matter where you are, Waldo….there’s a show (and probably a winery or two) worth checking out. Keep reading BOOZYLIFE to see where we end up next…catch you soon kids!Chardonnay vines in the snow

New York State Finger Lakes Bubbles To Ring In the New Year

Chardonnay vines in the snowAre you looking for some bubbles to bring in the new year, but, as always, you want to drink locally made NY booze? The Finger Lakes region is LOADED WITH local wineries that produce world-class sparkling wines (it’s only called Champagne when the booze is made in the Champagne province of Northern France, with certain grapes…your wine nerd moment for the day. The more you know, right?) Grape varieties vary from traditional Chardonnay to blends utilizing hybrids like Cayuga White, and styles range from dry and off dry to sweeter with crisp acidity. There is such a range of flavors, from fun and fruity to dry and slate stone–everyone can find something to drink happily.

These are some of the BoozyLife’s favorites, but there are LOTS to try now, so let me know if you loved one I didn’t mention. I’m always looking out for YOUR recommendations too! Click on the blue link for each winery–it’ll take you to their Sparkling Wines menus. You can also find MANY of these in your local wine shop. Ask around, and if they DON’T carry something you’d like, MENTION it to a manager! The Finger Lakes sections of our wine stores are growing, thanks to the interest and exposure of the area. Hey, if we’re good enough for the New York Times… 😉 Here are a few of my faves!

Dr. Frank Sparkling list. Traditional double fermentation in bottle- labor intensive process and delicate, beautiful bubbles.

Sweedish Hill Styles styles range from dry to sweeter, one of my very favorites is the Blanc de Blanc-crisp, off dry, with a light citrus and green apple nose.

Lamoreaux Landing Very traditional, standout sparkler. Only one style, and it is damn good. 2007 Blanc de Blanc still on shelves, made from 100% Chardonnay grapes-crisp acidity, mellow creamy finish.

Damiani Wine Cellars Traditional Sparkling Wine, as well as a fun Italian style Prosecco sparkler – 2012 Bollicini.

Red Tail Ridge Winery produce a few different styles of sparkling wine, including one of my faves, the Sparkling Teroldego-a sparkling red with jammy, juicy red fruit and black raspberry notes. Only 53 cases of the 2011 vintage produced, so grab it while the getting is good!

HAPPY 2015 to all of my new readers, as well as everyone that’s supported this venture along the way! I can’t wait to get this new year going, so many things in the BoozyLife works….Stay tuned!

Tattooing as an Artform, and the Stigma That Is Still Attached: Legitimate Business, or still just for Sailors and Whores?

The Bossman at work-- our business The Hand of Fate Tattoo in Ithaca, NY.

The Bossman at work– our business The Hand of Fate Tattoo in Ithaca, NY.

My husband Edward Molina is an artist. His chosen medium is often skin, but he is more than incredible on canvas, walls, and office envelopes. He is the ultimate in duality; a talented, committed artist, and a business owner that is also first and foremost a tattooer. I was raised by a woman that absolutely hated tattoos, as well as the craft. Draw on paper, please, just not on my daughter. Her mentality never changed, even though she loved my husband dearly. I understood her position, but I never let it change my stance, and eventual tattoo wife-dom. I’m relatively heavily tattooed at this point, and I’ve definitely noticed some changes in the way people tend to react to me at times. Love it or hate it, I’m a heavily tattooed woman, that is absolutely invested in being a collector of custom artwork created just for me.

Today, I was scrolling online and an article in the Democrat & Chronicle Rochester caught my attention. Have a read if you’d like, that is what started my line of thought that led to this post. Are tattoo studios ‘artists’ studios’? Pittsford says NO. Once I clicked on the link, I realized these are good friends of ours! Joseph ‘Jet’ DiProjetto is the owner of Love Hate Tattoo in Rochester, a VERY well established shop, AND the promoter for the Roc City Tattoo Expo, probably the best convention in upstate NY to date. It is the only convention that we attend in upstate NY, because it is by invitation only, and the artist roster is always spectacular talent from around the world. Now, what happens when this very respected businessman tries to open a satellite studio in the burbs for his clients? According to the article:

“The sticking point for the Planning and Zoning Board of Appeals was whether the men would work out of an “artists’ studio.”

Defining their workplace was crucial because village zoning regulations specify that artists doing business in the section of Pittsford where these men wanted to set up shop must work out of an “artists’ studio.”

After much back and forth, the board voted 4-to-1 to uphold a decision of the village building inspector that the workplace of Joseph DiProjetto and Ben Wight wouldn’t meet code.

You see, DiProjetto and Wight are tattoo artists and they’re covered in ink.”

Until pretty recently, my tattoos were easy to keep covered. Once I jumped to the ‘dark side’, the reactions I get in the professional forum vary, from interest to disdain, and most folks are happy to tell me what they think without prompting. I understand this is an article that covers a zoning disagreement, but it’s so much more from a tattoo shop owners’ standpoint. I worked in the über corporate Walt Disney World Orlando, and then for EIS Kodak as a location manager in New York City. While most corporations still call for employees to cover their artwork, there is a movement towards a less strict body art policy. When I was the photo manager at Top of the Rock (yes, the big NYC observation deck was one of our multiple million dollar accounts, and yes, a tattoo collector was running the place), I was also dating my now husband. I saw how New York City tattoo shops operated. Trust me, a tattoo shop IS A BUSINESS. Again, quoting from the D&C article-

“Village zoning regulations permit upward of 30 types of businesses there, from jewelers and opticians to supermarkets and drug stores, as well as “other retail businesses and service uses of similar character.”

Ok, there it is–of a ‘similar character’ to already existing businesses. I help run a business that bought us a house, pays for our existence, and keeps kibble in bowls. Compared to my TOTR gig, it’s definitely more of a relaxed environment day to day. In leu of that, I deal with much of the same day to day business goings on that I used to. Advertising, marketing, budgets, customer service, banking–all of this goes into daily operations. It’s a business, it’s an artist studio, and it’s a WAY OF LIFE, not just a job.

What it comes down to? The narrow minded, anti tattoo folks trying to keep the deviants out of their awesome little hamlet. No worries, we go where we are appreciated. Something similar happened recently in our little College Town area as well, so the hill isn’t any better in our seemingly liberal little town–make no mistake. Some individuals still hold true that tattoos are for sailors, whores, and pirates. I kind of dig that, actually. As Jet himself put it-

“It comes down to Pittsford not wanting tattooed people in their town doing business,” said DiProjetto. “It’s okay if a tattooed person is pumping your gas, but a tattooed person opening a business in Mayberry won’t fly.”

What do you think? I’d love to hear your responses below!

New York Apples and the Hard Cider Revolution (and how BoozyLife was ahead of the curve)

Harvest season

Harvest season

Last week, the New York Times posted an article that really caught my attention. Article link: Sips from a Cider Spree in New York State. The local hard cider scene has been jumping since we moved to the Ithaca area eight years ago-what’s different is that people are more open minded and willing to taste local creations.

Local hard ciders have a special place in my heart. Personal boozy story: On a visit home to the upstate NY area almost ten years ago, my mom wanted to take me to a new winery that had opened relatively close to our neck of the woods. Black Bear Winery is a spot off of the beaten path and ‘wine trails proper’, but they specialize in hard ciders, meads, and fruit wines. After a tasting, I concluded that I liked the ciders, and particularly the Cracklin’ Maple Hard Cider was delicious. Hard apple cider, blended with house made maple syrup. Tart, mellow, slight sweetness, autumn in a glass. I bought a couple of refillable growlers, and have refilled them several times since. Black Bear has grown from a by appointment and event farm rental spot, to open year round and quite successful! At least five years after that first tasting at Black Bear, I married my husband at the end of September, here in Ithaca. We served Black Bear’s Cracklin’ Maple Hard Cider for the toast at our wedding, instead of the traditional champagne. The cider had more meaning, and it was so reminiscent of the fall in upstate NY that I wanted our guests from all over the world to experience that flavor; champagne was too formal for our outdoor waterfall ceremony, and the cider was truly a hit!

Cracklin' Maple Hard Cider from Black Bear for our toast

Cracklin’ Maple Hard Cider from Black Bear for our toast

In the NY Time’s article I mentioned, the author Freda Moon tours the Upstate NY Apple growing areas about five hours from NYC. She hit several local cider stops, and even gave a quick run down of her time spent in Ithaca:

“Ithaca was a decadent couple of days in which cider seemed to appear in every possible form. We had a cider flight with dinner at the too-popular Just a Taste tapas restaurant, where our wait was over an hour. The next day, at Maxie’s Supper Club and Oyster Bar, I ordered a Cider Sidecar of Maker’s Mark, Cointreau, a Finger Lakes Distilling’s Maplejack liqueur and an unspecified local cider before a spectacular three-course cider pairing dinner at Hazelnut Kitchen in Trumansburg.”

The guys at Finger Lakes Distilling are also making some incredible products, and I was glad to see she sampled some of their wares at Maxie’s Supper Club, one of our favorite spots in Ithaca. The Cider Sidecar is a drink that is an anxiously awaited seasonal cocktail, signaling that fall has officially arrived. Sweet and tart, with a mellow maple kick, sitting in Maxie’s listening to live music on the outdoor deck, watching the world go by. I love living here in fall.

October in the Finger Lakes – Grape Harvest 2014

Cayuga Lake from Goose Watch Winery

Cayuga Lake from Goose Watch Winery

Fall in the Finger Lakes area of Upstate Ny is magic. Leaves change colors against perfect blue skies, fall harvests of grapes, apples, and pumpkins showcase the bounty of the area, and the vintners can be found along with crews in the rows of grapevines.

Fall in the vineyard

Fall in the vineyard

It was a tough winter, with well below average temperatures, a late and chilly spring, a few freak hail storms in late summer, and now one of the sunniest and warmest September grape ripening seasons ever. Insane but inspiring: The 2014 grape harvest might be light due to damages along the way, but what DID make it through looks to be pretty damn spectacular!

October looks to be busy at BoozyLife, so keep checking in-lots of harvest info, talks with a few vintners, tours of a few press pads, and a trip down to the Hudson Valley for Taste Camp 2014 (NY Cork Report) . THIS is why I love living in the Finger Lakes…

Colors of fall in the Finger Lakes-my favorite ti

Colors of fall in the Finger Lakes-my favorite time of year, in one of my favorite places

Repost from Democrat&Chronicle – ‘A lesson in Rieslings — and the power of food pairings’

Boundary Breaks Rieslings are gaining in popularity here in the FLX

Boundary Breaks Rieslings are gaining in popularity here in the FLX

Yet again, our friends at Boundary Breaks were highlighted in the press-this time at the annual Wine Symposium of the Finger Lakes. Writer Thomas Pellechia of Rochester Magazine attended the event, and was happily surprised by the food and wine pairing element of the symposium. He goes on to describe his Boundary Breaks Riesling experience —

“The true highlight of the event was the wine and food-pairing seminar. First was Boundary Breaks 2012 Finger Lakes Riesling (Single Clone #239; $20) paired with poached shrimp with Vietnamese dressing, peanuts and mint. Tasted alone, a fruit sugar sweetness came through from the Riesling, and the slight sweetness of the shrimp was a perfect foil for the light nuttiness and mint freshness. Tasted together, the balance between nuttiness and freshness, finished off with snappy Riesling acidity, relegated any sweetness to a backseat — a complex delight.”

Wine and food are MEANT to be presented together. Riesling is a great wine to serve with ‘difficult to pair’ meals- spicy Thai food, German Brats, even Thanksgiving. Dry and off dry Rieslings usually has a lovely acidity in addition to seafood, and a sweetness that will pair with appetizers and lighter munchies. I have a pretty stocked white wine fridge, holding many bottles of my favorite Rieslings to serve to out of town guests at a moments notice. I can drop names and tell you the legend Boog Star LOVED Finger Lakes Rieslings, especially when served with fresh, local (and husband caught) fish!

Six Mile Creek Vineyard creates a locally distilled, Gold Medal Gin!

20130406-143235.jpgSix Mile Creek Vineyard is an often overlooked boutique winery & distillery, located close to downtown Ithaca on Route 79. Beautiful grounds reveal over six acres of white grapes on gently sloping fields, backed up to the Six Mile Creek Gorge. I will say, first off, that I worked at SMC for years, and it is a place close to my heart. The Spirits by Battistella line of production expanded in my time there, and I admit my (now) husband had to retrieve me after a few nights of Gin sample tests. Celler Master and all around awesome wine maker Paul King was most often the caralyst for my blind tastings, and I thoroughly enjoyed the process of highlight and elimination.

Gin by Battistella is made with finished Chardonnay wine as the distillate base. The wine is processed through a small copper pot still, creating a small yield of a very high alcohol product. The pot still method is historical, laborious, and allows for complete quality control by the distiller. A little mini-still is displayed in the tasting room below.
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This high proof base is then infused with a carefully selected recipe of ingredients, ranging from traditional juniper berries to Italian herbs and botanicals. I have had afternoons of working in the winery, with the scent of that Gin wafting up from the cellar below. It’s a clean nose, with hint of citrus, a touch of violet. I miss those afternoons….

Recently, The Fifty Best held a blind tasting of 36 International gins. Battistella was in one of the three flights, of seven gins, each round. I attached the link below so you can investigate as you would like…Six Mile Creek Gin by Battistella was awarded a Gold Medal! Congrats to our local Ithaca boutique distillery!

Gin by Battistella was reviewed by the site as having a palate of “lemongrass, citrus, orange blossom” but also “butterscotch and creamy vanilla.” The use of a finished Chardonnay creates this buttery vanilla character with citrus notes. It is a rare and elegant gin.

Does it sound like you need to try this delicious treat? It’s only sold out of the SMC tasting room, with very little distribution locally. These small batches of gin are produced in a very labor intensive and time consuming process, creating a small amount of product each run. Local distilleries are springing up all over, and even more wineries are starting to invest in running a tandem distillery. Have you tried any locally produced spirits? What are YOUR favorites?

Check out the full Gin Tasting HERE: The Fifty Best-gin