It was just a little 18-gauge needle, but when you have steel butting coolly against your cheek and forehead, clear across the bridge of your nose and millimeters from the crook of your eye, it tends to evoke a moment of clarity. I was sitting on a studio chair with my head cocked back and that satisfying rush of blood to my face on a warm fall afternoon back in November of 2005 when I should have been in a lit theory class, but wasn't because sometimes putting a hole in your face makes more sense than acknowledging the vain disaffection of your early 20s. It wasn't my first piercing, nor would it be my last, but, the little stud they placed in my nostril that day remains my favorite. And, I never drive by Tigger's Body Art without a delicate twinge of nostalgia.
Mark "Tigger" Liddell opened that shop in 1989, and though he sold it in 1996 -- long before I made it to the "big city" -- it remains emblematic of Deep Ellum's heyday, circa 1990, and the man whose name it bears. Liddell passed away on March 11, a biker and an "outlaw," who, with three bachelor's degrees in fields as diverse as teleproduction and hydrodynamics, enriched and enlivened a city too often defined by soulless materialism and cookie-cutter conservatism. A board member of the Big Texas Toy Run, a yearly biker event delivering Christmas toys to children in need, and active in ensuring that Dallas body art studios held high healthcare standards, Liddell was a renaissance man, whose vintage style and sensibilities left screaming eagles from Main Street to Northwest Highway.
Pay your respects and humble tribute to a Deep Ellum legend at Tigger's Life Celebration, a memorial at 3025 Main St. starting at 3 p.m. Saturday and lasting well until the late night hours. Stay for live music, drink specials, raffles and more. All proceeds will benefit Tigger's family -- organizers just ask you give what you can. Donate at the door and online here.
Got some Tigger under your skin? Send us a pic or link to it in the comments below.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to the Observer's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Dallas's stories with no paywalls.