PAINful Comedy, Classic Edition: Dylan Brody’s Chronological Disorder

by Austin L. Ray

More than once during Chronological Disorder‘s hour-and-a-quarter-plus runtime does Dylan Brody make reference to a nebulous time “many, many years ago” when he was but an Everyman, heavy-duty road comic, trafficking in a laugh every 15 seconds (many brought about by dick jokes and the lowbrow like), back before he traded them for things like cufflinks and “insightful observations about the human condition.” Clearly this now-in-his-late-40s man has changed his act a bit since he first started comedy the summer after completing high school. And, for that matter, this is far from a traditional stand-up album.

Listening to his well-paced, dramatically told, supremely interesting stories, it will surprise no one to find that Brody’s website describes him as a “Purveyor of Fine Words and Phrases,” a “playwright, humorist and thrice published author,” “regular contributor to The Huffington Post,” “radio raconteur,” “artful anecdotalist,” “prolific writer and novelist” and “one of America’s fastest rising storytellers.” The word “comedy” doesn’t even enter his biography until the second paragraph.

Brody introduces “An Ancient Zen Parable That I Wrote a Few Weeks Ago” – Chronological Disorder‘s fifth track and the first following the Prerambles, which occurs nearly 20 minutes in – as “this piece, with which I would like to start tonight’s performance.” Joke or not, this is when he enters the real meat of the record: four lengthy tales, each put together phenomenally well and carried by Brody’s dramatic delivery that hits…important points…using pauses in between…much like an experienced reader…one who regularly gigs at coffee shops…and bookstores. Most involve his wife, touch on mammoth topics and will likely induce tears at one point or another. It’s a pretty astounding thing to behold.

Though Brody doesn’t self-identify as a political comic, he obviously keeps up with politics and they inform some of his strongest bits. “National Sense of Irony” begins in a Trader Joe’s parking lot just after 9/11, where he gets physically threatened by a hateful, jingoistic citizen attaching tiny American flags to every car in sight. He goes on to cover marijuana legalization, Barack Obama, Dick Cheney, the Christian Coalition, Crips and Bloods, and flashes back to his old self (at a time when he regularly smoked weed) and back to the present (where he only purchases it for friends as a favor), and the whole thing is seamless. One finds oneself wondering later, when the details are fuzzier, how in the hell he pulled it off. The answer, of course, is to listen and get knocked over once more.

Chronological Disorder isn’t perfect. The crowd is a little tough to handle, sounding less like a theater or small club and more like eight of Brody’s close friends gathered tightly in a living room, where their laughs—epic, unnecessary laughs, oftentimes—overwhelm the sound equipment and ruin the mood of some of his most pensive moments. Brody is David Foster Wallace-esque in his aptitude for live storytelling and could similarly use a footnote here and there, allowing the narrative to flow smoothly and the listener to keep up. The material itself is wildly solid throughout, with just one exception: the album-closing “Big Scary Finish!” Brody is no songwriter, yet he makes an attempt with an acoustic guitar. Using his father’s writing, which he’s found both tremendous and scary – “He’s been doing it longer and will probably die sooner.” – and a conversation with the man as a modus operandi of sorts, he admits, “I don’t feel that I’m actually doing my job properly unless at some point in every show I scare the living crap out of myself…So I’m gonna sing.” Sing he does, and though it’s nothing particularly noteworthy, it’s hard to argue with the lesson learned.

Which all points to an even larger takeaway: Unlike other aging performers, Brody pushes the envelope of what is considered stand-up comedy 20 or so years into a career that will clearly ripen and evolve further into his golden years. “Anyone who tells you you cannot change the world has a vested interest in maintaining the status quo,” he says in one of the Preramble tracks. It’s just one epic idea scattered amongst many on an album serving as Brody’s small way of changing the world.


Name? — Aarika, AKA “Beetlejuice,” AKA “Beju”

Shop name? — Tattoo Obscura/Traveler

Location?– Anywhere, but mostly Janesville, Wisconsin.

Years tattooing? — 11

– – – – – – – – – – – – –

Describe your tattoo style in five words or less.

Animated, Nerdy, Illustrative, cartoony, colorful.

At what age did you begin pursuing art?

About the time I could hold a pencil.

What/who were your earliest influences?

A LOT of video games, anime, animals, and Sunday comics.

When and how did human skin become your canvas of choice?

I always found myself drawing on people in school—and getting in trouble for it (LOL). Then, one day tattooing took a chance on me and I haven’t stopped.

You began your career in a biker shop. What was it like as a young, female tattoo apprentice to work in that environment?

Oof, was it a doozy! I wouldn’t say it broke me but I definitely had to rebuild myself. It was an experience and I wouldn’t have changed for the world, though! You gotta have thick skin, for sure.

The style you’ve developed runs doesn’t seem like it would fit in a biker studio. Did you get any backlash?

Not backlash for my style because I could only tattoo flash, but I for sure got it for trying new techniques too early in my apprenticeship. One time, my machines got thrown away. I eventually had to move on to find the right clients for the style and subject matter I like to do now.

You’ve credited tattooing with pulling you out of drug addiction. How did tattooing do that for you?

I was rippin’ and runnin’ for almost 10 years. Eventually, it caught up with me, but I didn’t notice it until I saw it on skin. I’ve always believed in the saying, “You’re only as good as your last tattoo,” so I knew I had a to make a change.

As a young tattoo artist, where do you think we should draw the line between respect for the traditions of the trade and helping to push its evolution?

There is no line of division. Only a starting point. The starting point that made tattooing what it is now is traditional tattooing. Other than that, the only line that needs to be drawn is on paper. Art is a living, breathing thing and each artist puts their own little quirks, life experiences and interpretation on the gold standard (traditional tattooing), which then becomes the new normal.  Besides if we didn’t put our own spin on things would we be artists or just copy machines?

Favorite part of your job?

Making those smiles flow, baby! 🙂

Least favorite part of your job?

My own nitpicking

Why BeetleJuice?

I’m the ghost with the most!

Any parting words?

BEJU: coming to a town near you. It’s showtime!

FB @BejuTattoo
IG @BejuTatoo

CBD: Volume 1

CBD. Those three letters, when strung together in that order, make up the hottest buzz-term in holistic healing this side of the 21st century. Since Sanjay Gupta’s 2012 CNN documentary, Weed first aired, the market for the THC’s more straight-laced sibling has virtually exploded. “Flooded” might be a better word. Thousands of companies specializing in the compound have popped up, with more showing up every day, offering CBD in almost any form imaginable; gummies, tinctures, e-liquids, even in treats for your pets.

It was only a matter of time the stuff would start showing up in tattoo aftercare products. In fact, it’s almost surprising it took as long as it did. But not everyone is convinced of its application here—and that even holds true of many among us who partake of the good herb.

“I say it’s hype!” responded one prominent tattoo artist. “I recommend the old-fashioned way: keep it clean and dry out for two days and then start with unscented lotions. No oily stuff or anything of that nature.”

“We have not used any CBD products officially in the studio,” another artist replied, this one a shop owner out of Spokane. “I have used CBD gummies when getting tattooed once but didn’t really notice it being more effective than Advil.”

Interestingly enough, both artists quoted here are self-described believers in cannabis, be it medical or recreational. Yet, neither are rushing to jump on the CBD bandwagon. Pragmatically speaking, it’s probably a wise choice, at least initially. There’s always a trial and error period when a new product comes to market, even for prescription meds.(1) Besides, why roll the dice on new healing methods when you’re a seasoned veteran who already has the process on lockdown? Ain’t broke, don’t fix it. But if this is our conclusion, are we missing out on something?

First, let’s go ahead and establish that within this discussion, cannabis as viable medicine is a foregone conclusion. Even cannabis-derived topicals are nothing new, and while the scientific community has largely ignored the potential therein, the success of these applications is well documented, with patients hailing its efficacy for anything from a minor scrape or burn to full-blown melanoma. That sounds crazy, but the testimonials are out there, and science is quickly catching up. Combine these with the thousands more who have successfully used the plant to cure a myriad of internal afflictions and it’s hard to deny that there’s more to cannabis than munchies and a better concert experience.

But the question we’re asking here isn’t about whether cannabis can be medicine. It’s specifically about whether hemp-derived CBD products work, a question still being debated in the most die-hard of pro-cannabis circles. We’re not doctors, so we can’t give you hard-fast medical advice here. But we can sift through the information out there and maybe help clear the haze on some of it.

Does it work? Here’s what we know:

“CBD or whole plant salve, is hands-down the best use for tattoos,” says Sharon Letts, a research writer and cannabis advocate of over three decades. Sharon is not a doctor, but her knowledge on cannabis as medicine is practically unrivaled in the space. She’s been studying and advising on the subject for longer than many of us have been alive, often under the advisement of scientists and health professionals. She also once cured herself of breast cancer through a regimen of cannabis leaves and an extract made through an alcohol reduction process (AKA, Rick Simpson Oil.)

“When I suggest using a cannabis salve for cuts, infections, et al.,” she continues, “I say it replaces Neosporin or any other anti-bacterial or steroidal creams much more efficiently, as the healing compounds in cannabis, or just CBD, not only quell inflammation and infection, it actually regenerates tissue growth, promoting faster and more efficient healing.”

Though she’s been touting this for roughly thirty years, the scientific community has only recently caught up, relatively speaking. One major breakthrough came in 2009 when a formal study was released on the presence of the Endocannabinoid System in the epidermal layer. The ECS was first discovered in the 90s and is credited with the reason the human body responds so positively to the plant. More than just a couple receptors in the brain that allow us to get high, it’s an essential regulatory system with implications for the entire body, responsible for a litany of bodily functions, from maintaining bone density to regulating fertility, pregnancy, appetite, pain-sensation, mood—the list could fill up the entire publication—to naturally preventing diabetes. With the ECS now officially recognized as also existing in the skin, we have the science to back up the anecdotes that have been pouring in for years.

So, generically speaking, yes, CBD salves have been shown to have amazing healing and protective qualities on the skin. The compound’s natural antiseptic qualities work on the surface, but it also penetrates and interacts on a cellular level to promote quicker healing and regeneration. Ultimately, this should hold true, whether you’re discussing derivatives of marijuana or hemp as they are essentially the same thing. Per the Farm Bill of 2018, the only legal designation between the two is the level of THC (under 0.3% is defined as hemp and is therefore legal.) Now, there is a massive amount of variation in the quality of the extract as well as the grade of hemp being sourced. Not to mention, there’s still a high degree of legal ambiguity on the subject, and finding a reliable manufacturer can be an overwhelming task to say the least. We’ll get into all of that in the next issue.

(1) In the past year alone, the FDA has recalled 86 prescription medications.

24th Annual Motor City Tattoo Expo

March 1-3, 2019
Detroit, Michigan

The Motor City Tattoo Expo has become an alternative culture mainstay — not only was it one of Detroit’s earliest tattoo conventions, but it was also one of the first in the U.S. That being said, it’s NOT one of the biggest of its kind, but rather, as one of the organizers, Michelle Cooke, describes it; it’s like “fine wine” — a tasting of top talent, all of whom are selected for their depth of talent and skill.

“If you get a tattoo from somebody here, you’re going to get a premium tattoo,” Cooke says.

Motor City draws some 300 artists from around the planet, as far away as Spain, Netherlands, Germany and China, and rather than adding more booths to the already 30,000 square foot ballroom at the Detroit Marriott Renaissance Center, organizers keep the focus on quality over quantity. Many of the artists return each year and plan their schedules around this one show — having a booth in Detroit is considered a real honor. For those wanting to join this select club, be sure and get in line now as there’s a lengthy waiting list.

“Most of these people we’re going to know who they are even before they submit their art,” Cooke says. “It kind of become a who’s-who list from the tattoo and piercing communities.”

Big names draw big crowds — as many as 10,000 body art enthusiasts, not only from Detroit, but Grand Rapids, Chicago and even Canada. It’s not just to look — athe majority of artists are booked with clients way in advance, so the buzz of the machines is non-stop over the three days.

“It’s almost like celebrity spotting, at the Oscars,” as one person puts it. Among the amazing and well-known artists were Bob Tyrrell, Robert Hernandez, Halo, Liz Cook, James Vaughn, Kelly Doty, Dan Henk, Ruben Avila, Big Ceeze and of course, no tattoo show would be totally legit without the one and only legendary Jack Rudy.

Matt Hockaday, owner/artist of Tribute Tattoo Parlor, in Waterford MI, swept the awards with six trophies including the top three places in best portrait, which is his signature style. Eternal Ink team member Trixey earned Black & Grey Best of the Show and Rember Orellana, from Bark Ages Tattoo, in Denton, Texas, earn Best of Show Color.

Like most tattoo sconventions, Motor City parades out the pinup models, hosts a live art fusion exposition and even stages a best beard competition — but the focus here is truly on the artists.

“Motor City is pure tattoo,” says Cooke.

Even the vendors at Motor City represent the top in the industry — among them, Mario Rosenali with Stencil Stuff, Mario Barth of Intenze Tattoo Ink and Durb Morrison inventor of True Tubes.

Motor City is put on by Terry “Tramp” Welker, Gina Babyak and Brian Everett of Eternal Tattoo Supply, so it was only fitting that they used the occasion to launch a new line of their popular tattoo ink in connection with one of the event’s attending artists, Big Gus. As part of Spike TV’s ‘Tattoo Nightmares,’ Big Gus brought tattoo salvation weekly to tattoo victims. Working with Eternal Ink, Big Gus’ expertise in cover-up and tattoo art guided the creation of eight new concentrated tattoo pigments. Every artist at the show received a sample set to take home.

“If you want to go to the Hall of Fame of what’s alive and kicking, come to Motor City,” Babyak says. “It just keeps getting bigger and badder.”

3 Wishes

3 Wishes Tattoo
Tucson, Arizona

The number three has quite a legacy. There’s the tale of the three bears, the adage that the third time’s the charm and for those that have partied a little too much, they might be labeled as being three sheets to the wind. In Tucson, Arizona, the most recognizable relationship to this magical digit is 3 Wishes Tattoo —- the partnership of tattooers David Morgan and Adrian Enchinas, along with David’s wife Stacey Green, who worked to have their wish to open their own tattoo shop come true.

3 Wishes Tattoo opened in June of 2018 with tattooers Jonathan Black, Josh Daffron and Darius Thompson joining the talented crew. Davis and Adrian previously worked together at another local shop and their idea was to build a family oriented studio where artists are encouraged to share and learn and evolve their craft.

David, who also works as a fiber optics engineer to help pay the bills, is the “color guy” who excels at small, tight, colorful tattoos. Flowers are one of his favorite subjects. Adrian is a black & gray artist as is Darius. Johnathan has been doing art his entire life and was fortunate to have a mother who put him in art classes at an early age. If there’s a style he leans towards its photorealism. Josh is the “workhorse who’s really good at what he does —- and he does it all.”

All together, there’s more than half a century of experience happening inside 3 Wishes. The open layout of the studio makes for an atmosphere of constant evolution.

David got into tattooing by the DIY route over a decade ago — ordering a tattoo kit out of a magazine, watching instructional videos and practicing at home on whoever would sit for him. He only had a couple tattoos himself, but to find out what other tattooers were doing, he got more ink and watched closely to pick up on new techniques.

With tattooers being more respected for their artistic abilities, clients are asking for more involved pieces. David sees portraits being more and more commonly requested for the simple reason that people trust that the tattoo artists can make the finished piece actually look like the person in the photos.

“A lot of times now, people will come in and ask us what we want to do and what we have drawn up,” David says. “More people are understanding these days, thanks to stuff they see on TV, what we can and can’t do with a tattoo.”

The artists at 3 Wishes work from a large pallet of Fusion, Eternal and Infiniti Pro colors and Dynamic for blacks. When it comes to machines, David relies on a Hawk rotary, Adrian uses a coil machine and LACEnano magnetic drive brushless rotary, and Darius and Jonathan work with the Bishop Magi direct drive rotary.

One thing you won’t find at 3 Wishes is an autoclave — they take no chances where sterility and preventing cross-contamination are concerned and go completely with disposable tubes and grips.

Running out of supplies isn’t an issue. 3 Wishes isn’t just a tattoo shop — they also have a tattoo supply side to the business that sell everything from inks and machines to medical supplies and transfer sheets.

Fusion is one of the brands of inks that 3 Wishes Tattoo Supply sells — it’s something they’ve come to trust because of its consistency from one batch to the next. They also promote and sell True Cartridge needles which David points out take the guesswork out of machine set up and tattooing.

Many of the old school tattooers have been working exclusively with the same inks and machines forever. It’s a case of if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. But David has seen newer artists more willing to experiment with different equipment and supplies as the quality improves. Cartridge systems are one example, inks are another as more unknown brands are entering the market.

“Different companies will send us samples of their products and we’ll try them out in the shop; if they work well and we like them, we’ll definitely promote them,” David says. “We only sell products that we trust in ourselves.”

“We’re getting better equipment and better inks, more artists are entering the business and the techniques are becoming so much evolved,” David adds. “It’s a really cool time to be part of the tattoo industry.”

Vertical Clitoral Hood (VCH) Piercings

Last month’s article discussed triangle piercings with a focus on suitable anatomy and proper placement. While writing it, I was reminded of the extraordinary amount of consultations I do for unfortunate women who have received VCH piercings that are improperly placed—sometimes disastrously so. Therefore, I’ve decided to address VCH piercings in this issue.

Disclaimer: This is not intended to teach anyone how to do a VCH piercing! Guidance under a qualified mentor is indispensable.

The vertical clitoral hood (VCH)i is by far the most popular piercing I do. I actually had a day in my career that was nothing but VCH piercings—22 of them, I believe! They can be extremely simple to perform, which is why it is even more upsetting to see so many women needlessly injured and scarred by inept practitioners.

The VCH is an attractive piercing in which the jewelry frames the clitoral hood and contacts the sensitive glans underneath it. This can result in more direct clitoral stimulation during sexual activities. Most women are anatomically suited to this placement, and since vulvas are shaped vertically, the piercing rests aligned with the body.


The primary anatomical consideration for the VCH piercing is sufficient depth to the hood, which is shaped like a small one-ended tunnel. A simple way to check this is the “Q-tip testii.” If you can fit the end of a de-fluffed, lubricated swab beneath the hood, then a piercing can be placed far enough from the edge for safety and viability.

Many women with shallower builds have flexible tissue that can be manually drawn down to “cheat” the piercing to be far enough from the edge of the hood. There must be at least 5/16” (8mm) of natural overhang present, and it is necessary to avoid excessive force or distortion while doing this manipulation.

Some women, especially those with a large or heavy pubic mound, may not have sufficient space for a threaded end to fit. Too much pressure on the jewelry can result in pain, scar tissue formation, and/or embedding of the top gem or ball. If there are any concerns, I suggest a 6mm medical-grade silicone disc be worn on the post, under the threaded end. If there’s no room for jewelry, you must decline. You must also refuse if you find a vein located in center of the hood that cannot be avoided—or choose an alternate placement, such as Princess Diana piercing(s)iii on the side(s) of the hood.

Finally, of course, you must be able to access the area to accomplish the procedure. Even if the hood is very recessed, when there’s satisfactory depth and space for jewelry, the piercing usually heals successfully.


I pierce a minimum of 3/8” (10mm) from the edge. If the piercing is shallower than that, there is a greater risk of migration and rejection/accidental splitting. You must not place a VCH beyond the natural fold line at the juncture where the hood meets the pubic mound, even if the “tunnel” goes deeper. The underside should be at the “apex” of the hood: the deepest point beneath.

Configurations in this region have tremendous variation, so it is important to perform a thorough assessment. To properly evaluate each build for optimal placement, view the hood in its natural resting position and with knees wide apart. Spread and release the hood tissue several times on malleable builds, as the topography sometimes changes. Check for a midline groove or ridge, and any extra folds or asymmetry. Note that whether the build is raised, flat, or recessed, the “midline” might not be in the center of the hood. If it is very pronounced, I may pierce in an off-center “midline.”

It is not uncommon that the tissue resting in the center between the outer labia is actually the left or right side of the hood itself, which only becomes apparent under close scrutiny. In these cases, sometimes it is best to pierce so that the upper ball or gem sits in this “negative space.” Otherwise the top end might not be visible or comfortable, and it would rest pressed up against one labium. In general, I attempt to make the piercing geometrically vertical, or for the top to be centered, when possible—but each client must be marked on an individual basis. It is vital to provide a mirror, show the proposed placement, and explain any issues before piercing.

Placement Errors

One frequent problem is piercings that are too superficial—close to the edge of the hood. These won’t be as stimulating because less of the jewelry contacts the clitoris. And, importantly, shallow piercings have greater risk of migration and rejection or tearing out. Conversely, piercings that are too deep carry an elevated risk of excessive swelling and bleeding, puncturing vital anatomy, and nerve damage.

Surface piercings, in which the jewelry does not go under the hood are also rampant. They pass through much more skin than a properly placed VCH, have a longer healing time and a tendency toward migration, rejection, and scarring. Plus, they don’t touch the clitoris to add sensation.

The worst is when a receiving tube is placed under the clitoris instead of the hood, resulting in an unintentional glans piercing in which the hood is pierced to the clitoris. During consults, I see this agonizing blunder regularly!


I use lots of 14 and 12 gauge, depending on the inventory of the studio where I’m guest piercing. They both heal just fine, but 12 is superior for anyone who is rough on the area. I often use 3/16” balls or gems on the top, and 7/32” on the bottom. If the lower barbell end is overly large, (bigger than ¼”) this can cause pulling and discomfort, or even embedding.

Initial jewelry should be sized so that most or all of the bottom end shows at the opening of the hood. There is no need to add extra post length beyond this comfortable, aesthetic fit. Since only a small amount of tissue is pierced, plenty of the bar should simply be resting under the hood. A curved post conforms nicely to the area and has a bit of extra room without added length. Bezel- or ball-set gems are fine, but prong set pieces are not appropriate for this area.


I lift the hood and slide a small needle receiving tube to the deepest spot underneath. A tube that is overly large will be pushed back from the apex, and the piercing can end up too shallow. I favor an extremely secure three-finger hold around the end of the tube: the index and thumb of my receiving-tube hand, plus the pinkie of my piercing hand. On many women this tissue is so thin, you can see right through the hood to the tube beneath. I pierce through the mark into the tube, then follow with the jewelry in the same direction (or use a taper to insert a jeweled navel curve from the bottom).

Certain female genital piercings are located very close to the most concentrated collection of nerves on the human body and there is potential for a missed opportunity for enhancement, or a life-altering disaster. If you are unclear about exactly where a VCH, HCHiv, or triangle piercingv should go, then please do not pick up the needle.






May 2019