After all the malls closed and the Black Friday sales were over, the city of Delray Beach packed into the cozy quarters of Dada for some Sailor Jerry rum, live music, and seriously tattooed babes. Hosted by tattoo artist and former Ink Master competitor, Lea Vendetta, the party was in celebration of the release of her 2013 calendar, featuring, well, her and her tattoos.
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As someone who loves tattoos, and has been getting work done for over a decade, I was asked to be on the panel of judges. Although a daunting task, I was more than to delighted to make the trek up to Dada to spend the evening celebrating the beauty that is tattooed women.
Kicking the night off was the once Miami-based band the State Of. With drummer Nabedi Osorio out in L.A., it's a rare treat to see the ladies live again. There wasn't a member in the audience standing still as the duo performed a selection of danceable hits. Even random passersby couldn't help but to stop and take a listen at what was happening in the Dada courtyard. Toward the end of the set, the ladies invited a guitarist friend of theirs on stage to do a dancy rendition of "White Wedding". But, the real excitement came when they closed things out with the Cure's "Just Like Heaven".
Seated in the front row -- and a bit too close for comfort at times -- we, the judges, took our places and waited for the judging... I mean, fun, to begin. One by one each of the tattooed beauties sauntered across the stage, some heavily inked and others baring only a back piece or a half-sleeve. But, it was more about quality than quantity, as the winning beauty would be receiving a national campaign ad for a tattoo aftercare company.
No competitor could be confused, as each brought something unique to the stage, whether it was telling a story of their tattoos or just showing off their sparkling personality. All left an impression on us and the audience in their own special way. Serena Lynn showed off her colorful skin, proudly holding Gandalf's staff. But, she didn't let her small stature fool the audience when she even engaged the MC in a serious thumb wrestling session.
Looking totally a Back to the Future 1950s, Rod Stewart enthusiast Lindsay Pecorino had the crowd chanting her name. Valerie Vixen, a glitzy and fiery red head spoke about her love for Bette Midler and Miss Loyalty almost had us in tears as she talked about being a tattooed lady in society, and how much inspiration Lea Vendetta has provided.
Following the sensory overload of seeing nearly 20 ladies show off their stuff, we spent a good chunk of time deliberating over who to select for the winner. It was nothing short of difficult since each woman was so different and stood out in their own way. While the crowd and beauties anxiously awaited our decision, local supergroup the Ferocious Stones held their attention inside the warm front bar. And after what seemed like a century, the MC once again took the stage to crown the tattooed beauty.
Seven finalists were announced and brought back on stage for the reveal of the final three ladies. Third place went to Kristyn Bat, a tattoo artist from Miami, Second to Lindsay Pecorino, a hairstylist and lover of all things Rod, and the winner of the night was Mrs. Fancy Face, an adorable Midwestern girl and mother whose tattoos and charm won the judges over.
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