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South Florida Tattoo Expo: Ninja Turtles, T.I., and a Wheel of Fortune

16th Annual South Florida Tattoo Expo
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Coral Springs Marriott Convention Center
Saturday, August 13, 2011

The heavily tattooed masses descended upon the quiet neighborhood in Coral Springs like a heavy-metal alien spaceship crashing into your backyard. 


All of the promotional materials suggested hula-themed attire, but most ignored the memo in favor of faded black T-shirts and torn jeans. The hallways were lined with vendors selling everything from beef jerky to jewelry and clothing.


One of the more original concepts was a website called inkfreakz.com. Owner Jeff Glasser is a disabled Army vet who started his own business. "I found myself with a lot of time on my hands, so I decided to create a social network for artists, designers, and others to connect."
In the main room, artists were live tattooing in their booths, needles buzzing and clients twisted in awkward positions to get their ink fix. Coral Springs resident Andrew Bader was getting an epic Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles action scene tattooed on his right leg. He'd been sitting for eight hours and got the piece "just because they were my favorite growing up."
Definitely random, but not as random as the story from Mike E. Cheese of Gauntlet Tattoo. When asked for the strangest thing he's ever tattooed, he answered: "I once tattooed a picture of a penis onto a woman's butthole." 

Critic's Notebook:

Random detail: Tattooed people dig their reptiles and amphibians. There was a live alligator at the front of the venue and several men carrying snakes in various sizes. 

The fashion: After spotting several guys and gals with dreadlocks, a tally was started. Final count? Twenty-one. More dreads than I've seen in one place since 1995. 

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