May 2018: A Farewell Message From Fakir
Fakir Musafar is known worldwide for his fifty years of research and personal exploration of primitive body decoration and rituals. Fakir introduced concepts and practices for the "body-first" approach to explore spirituality in art, body modifications, SM and what he called "body play". Fakir's practices have been shown and his views expressed in the 1985 film Dances Sacred & Profane, , in the 2013 film Body Of God, and in RE/Search publications 1986 book Modern Primitives (a term Fakir coined in 1979 to describe himself and a few kindred spirits).
Fakir's interviews and writings have been included in many anthologies and scholarly works like: Bodies Under Siege, Self-mutilation and Body Modification in Culture and Psychiatry (1996 by Armando Favazza, M.D., a psychiatric text published by John Hopkins University Press); Mark Thompson's Leatherfolk; Freedom Press' Voices From The Edge; Random House's Villard Books edition of Different Loving; Valerie Steele's 1996 Oxford University Press book Fetish. He has been labeled by various media as the "Father of the Modern Primitive Movement". For nine years he published his own photo magazine, Body Play & Modern Primitives, for those in our culture "who hear the sound of a different drummer."
As a Shaman, Artist, Master Piercer, and Body Modifier, Fakir played a significant part in the revival of body piercing, body sculpting, branding and other body-related practices for personal expression, spiritual exploration, rites-of-passage, healing and reclaiming. He co-developed many of the modern body piercing techniques in general use today. He was also Director of the Fakir Body Piercing & Branding Intensives, the only courses of instruction of their kind in the world.
Born in 1930 on what was then an Indian Reservation, Fakir was a depression baby from Aberdeen, South Dakota. He studied electrical engineering and held a B.S.E. degree from Northern State University (South Dakota) plus an M.A. degree in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University. For many years he held executive positions in San Francisco advertising agencies and operated his own ad agency in Silicon Valley. Fakir has had, over the years, a very checkered career path that included such odd occupations as Instructor in Demolitions & Explosives (U.S. Army 1952-54) and teacher of ballroom dancing at Arthur Murray's. All the while, he was privately practicing what his inner spirit revealed to him as a valid but non-sanctioned way (in this culture) to reach spirit through the body. In 1977, he made his first public coming out at the first International Tattoo Convention in Reno Nevada.
Fakir's life work includes writing, speaking, and teaching others what he experienced and learned through body play. In the early 1990's Fakir appeared on many mass media shows like NBC's Faith Daniels Show, CBS's People Are Talking, CNN's Earth Matters, and Discovery Channel (Beyond Bizarre). In 1998 Fakir made in-depth documentary segments for London Weekend Television's Southbank Show and Playboy Television's "Sexcetera" (Body Mod Squad). In 1999 he was the subject of a documentary film (Fakir Musafar:Profile) made by CANAL+ of France for their short film series "La Nuit du Cyclone". In 2000, 2001, and 2003 he appeared in documentaries for The Learning Channel (Human Canvas Part I and Part II), TBS, FX Channel and Discovery Channel, plus a major appearance in the 2001 documentary film "Modern Tribalism".
Fakir was a popular speaker at universities and colleges along with new age gatherings and other special interest groups. He contributed original material and photos to contemporary publications like Theater Journal (performance art), John Willie's Bizarre magazine (fetish and SM exploration) Skin Two and PFIQ (Piercing Fan International Quarterly). He lectured and performed at international art festivals like ICA in London (Institute of Contemporary Art, Rapture Series, 1995) and the International Seminar on Body:Ritual-Manipulation in Copenhagen (1995). In 1997 he lectured and performed body rituals at the Festival Atlantico in Lisbon, Portugal. In February 1999 he was invited to address the annual conference of the American College of Psychiatrists on body modification and shamanism (My Reality, Your Reality, Reality of Those you Treat). His performance group appeared at the 1999 Los Angeles Fetish Ball in Metamorphosis—and at the Annie Sprinkle Benefit Show at the Cowell Theater in San Francisco.
In 2007, Fakir toured the U.K. to resounding success. All six events sold out and drew visitors and participants from Denmark, Norway, France, Germany, Italy and South Africa. He was delighted by the buzz the Fakir Tour created in Europe. Video from Fakir's U.K. Torture Garden performance is available on YouTube.
Fakir Audio Interview on Boing Boing.
Fakir was a photographic fine artist who recorded his own rituals, adornments, and modifications, and those of others for over 50 years. His images are a beautiful and powerful record of contemporary history; they capture the spirit and beauty of the human body in transition. A collection of Fakir's images titled SPIRIT + FLESH have been published by Arena Editions, and his photographic art has been exhibited at the Fahey/Klein Gallery in Los Angeles.
In a November, 2013 KMVT television conversation, Fakir and Alan Ross Hugenot, author of The Death Experience, exchange thoughts about the nature of life in and out of the body.
2014 talk and ritual performance at SUSCON (Suspension Convention) in Dallas. Fakir's 40-minute lecture on Suspensions & Pulls: Flight to Spirit.
Amazing 30-minute PUJA performance/ritual collaboration between CoRE and Fakir at the Lakewood Theater on Easter Weekend 2014.
In two 30-minute KMVT interview from 2010 Fakir had a chance to speak about the modern primitive movement and our body/spirit connection. Interview #1 and Interview #2 are available on YouTube.
For a graphic visual profile of Fakir's bodyplay and life's work made by French producers and Canal+ click here.