Hundreds Get Inked Brooklyn Pop-Up Tattoo Parlor To Support Planned Parenthood
Early in the afternoon on February 8, a line of two hundred or so people wrapped around the block in front of Magick City in Greenpoint. The popup tattoo shop wouldn’t officially open its doors until 2pm, but those chatting and basking in sunlight on the sidewalk didn’t seem to mind. The atmosphere was anticipatory, the kind of vibe you might expect would arise amid several hundred people all waiting to get high-quality and inexpensive tattoos (this being extremely unusual; as any good tattoo artist will tell you, cheap work ain’t good and good work ain’t cheap) and contribute to a timely cause in the process. Volunteer Jon Headlee described attendees’ attitudes well: “You didn’t need to beg people to donate or give extensive reasons to get involved. Everyone who showed up understands PP’s value and actively wants it to succeed in this time of uncertainty for progressives.”
The four artists hailing from Magic Cobra Tattoo Society volunteered their time and equipment to ink feminist flash tattoos for $40 a pop – which, along with raffle ticket sales, temporary tattoo sales, and donations, raised approximately $4,203 for Planned Parenthood NYC Votes, which works to hold elected officials accountable for their positions on sexual and reproductive rights and health.
Incredibly, the collaborative behind the event, Party to Protect, put together Tattoo to Protect in less than two weeks. And it wasn’t just a tattoo salon. Musical artists Mic Raygun and Panama Papers both performed and seven different prizes were raffled off. Tattoo to Protect was the brainchild of Sarah Hanson, one of the four founders of the collaborative, and Magic Cobra Tattoo Society’s Adam Korothy, and although it generated the interest of over 8,000 people online it was actually conceived as a side event – the main event being Party to Protect Your Parts, which went down at Saint Vitus metal bar around the corner that very same night. Sarah Hanson and Laura Matthei were the initial organizers, soon joined by Ilana Sztaimberg and Danielle Hengge, and the whole thing stemmed from a discussion between Hanson and Matthei after Hanson posted on Facebook in November about her desire to realize some kind of fundraiser in reaction – not opposition, necessarily – to the results of the election. In fact, Party to Protect wants to make it very clear that the collaborative is about positivity rather than negativity. Sarah wrote me in an email, “This isn’t a political group in any way. We just want to make a difference for causes that we greatly care about.”
The two events were slated to run pretty much back-to-back, with the tattoo salon going from 2-7pm and Party to Protect to go from 6:30-11:30pm. The crowd had mostly filtered over to Saint Vitus from Magick City by around 7pm, but the artists from Magic Cobra Tattoo Society kept inking until nearly midnight. Meanwhile, Saint Vitus played host to five bands – with the Netherlands headlining – and two burlesque performances. More prizes were raffled off, including a session with dominatrices Domina Dynasty and Lucy Sweetkill of La Maison du Rouge – the both of whom who als0 made appearances at the event. Volunteers worked the wall-to-wall crowd selling last-minute raffle and drink tickets, and guest host The Vagilante painted personalized vulva portraits while rocking a giant vagina costume. Tickets were sold out for the party.
Hanson was surprised by the caliber of the artists she was able to bring in, but if the attitude of big-name band The Giraffes is any indication, performers were eager to jump on board. Recalled manager Tim Kent, “The Giraffes were told about the event through a mutual acquaintance of the band… and Sarah Hanson… And what a great event! For us, as I’m sure for most people, it’s not a question of the event being appealing, it’s a question of doing one’s part to help our fellow citizens. The Party to Protect Your Parts was a great way of helping and we were all extremely glad it was such a success. When is the ACLU or environmental benefit?”
Overall, the entire day of music, art, and activism raised over $10,000 for PPNYC Votes.
“The best part for me was collaborating with everyone,” said Laura. “From the venues, to the bands, dancers, raffle sponsors, and of course our lovely, perfect, and amazing volunteers. We could not have done this without a great team.” Sarah cited the “complete and utter generosity of every single person involved” as the most rewarding part of the whole affair.