Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Tattoosday's Brush with Greatness: Joan Jett in Union Square

"Timing is everything," goes one saying, and "it's the little things" is also a phrase true to my heart.

Before we venture on a little diversion, let's remind ourselves that Tattoosday is about "meeting and appreciating body art (okay, tattoos) in the New York City area". Unless I go on the road, of course.

There are numerous sites that can give you a road map to celebrity tattoos, for example, but I generally don't encounter star ink, so it rarely graces this site.

Yet yesterday found me down by Union Square, seeking out a copy of Ina Saltz's Body Type 2, which I hope to bring with me tomorrow night to the Upper West Side where Ms. Saltz will be discussing the book.

On the way back to the subway, I had the pleasure of running into a cluster of people milling about a tattooed individual who is a genuine rock star: the lovely Joan Jett.

I was going to just gawk and move on, like a polite New Yorker, but Ms. Jett was there for a reason, she sported a black tank with an "I ♥ PeTA" slogan and she was talking to folks about a cause near and dear to her, vegetarianism.

Unbeknown to me, this was a bit of public relations, as indicated by a PeTA press release.

At some point, I thought, well maybe I could get Ms. Jett to talk about one of her tattoos, in exchange for some publicity on Tattoosday.

Good idea, and even the PeTA people seemed to think so, but I only managed to squeeze in a mutual "hi" and eye contact, as I competed with fans with much more passion than me. But more on them later.

I took these shots of one of her tattoos as I stood nearby:

I even took the obligatory self-portrait of myself with Ms. Jett being interviewed in the background, just to see how dorky I could make myself appear in public:

I had a great post formulated about the piece, but found myself a little late to the party, based on this great entry by Marisa over at Needles and Sins, which includes links to discussion about the meanings of her tattoos.

But, remember, here on Tattoosday, it's often as much about the encounter as it is about the tattoos.

Remember the fans I mentioned before? I met Danielle, who sports a black heart tattoo (similar to one worn by Victor here), but had just shown Ms. Jett this cool Runaways piece in the center of her back:

Danielle co-hosts a web show on the Hunter College radio station called Activity Grrrls' Radio Revolution on Tuesdays at 2:00pm here (, "where to go for your weekly dose of rock n roll".

She was thrilled at meeting Ms. Jett and loved that it was in conjunction with a PeTA promotion. Danielle is a vegan and the tattoo artist in New Jersey used vegan ink for the tattoo.

Danielle updated me with the following information:
I got the tattoo done in Lola's Tattoo Shop in New Jersey, the artist's name is Charlie. He's also vegan. I told him I wanted a tattoo of the words 'The Runaways' through two cherries and he came up with a design.
So it was quite a productive lunch for me. I got my book, ran into Joan Jett, took a picture of her tattoo, and then got a photo of a piece inspired by her first band, The Runaways.

Thanks to Joan, Danielle, and the folks at PeTA for helping make this post possible here on Tattoosday!

If you're interested in Joan Jett's testimonial about her commitment to the vegetarian cause, check it out below:

You can order a FREE 'Vegetarian Starter Kit' at

More vegetarian testimonials here.

And here's a link to the PeTA Vegetarian Starter Kit which Ms. Jett was distributing.

And finally, here's a link to a news brief on the event with some video in which I do not appear.

Full disclosure: I am married to a vegetarian, but I am not one myself. I possess not the willpower to commit to such a cause, but I support and commend those that do.

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