INK: Moving Pictures Studios Australia's tattoo history is traced through the life story of 65-year-old Bev Nicholas. In the '60s, a 19-year-old Nicholas (then Robinson) received four tattoos in a single night and toured the country as “Cindy Ray,” a pinup girl and sideshow attraction billed as “the classy lassie with the tattooed chassis.” Later, she married and stumbled into tattooing. “I really didn't have any choice,” she remembers. “My ex-husband had a tattoo shop on the waterfront and he got into a fi ght one night. He broke his hand and said, ‘Well, you can tattoo.' It's quite ironic, really.” She has been tattooing for 46 years and owned Melbourne's Moving Pictures Studios for 38. Over the years, Lyle Tuttle, Ed Hardy, and Ms. Mikki have all made the pilgrimage to see their friend. Kenny McPharlane, who bought the studio from Nicholas three years ago, decided to show his admiration for her with a large mural depicting her modeling days. Its artist, Mark Walsh, is now an apprentice, joining tattooist Adam Tibbitts. Nicholas, an animal lover, is passionate about tigers: “Every time somebody comes in and says they want a tiger, I run out and get the folder of them!” Nicholas is the fi rst to tell you she doesn't act her age, and at the party for her induction into Lyle Tuttle's Tattoo Art Museum's Tattoo Hall of Fame, at the St. Louis Old School Tattoo Expo 2006, Nicholas was dared to ride down a fi ve-story slide. “They said I wasn't game enough to do it, but I went off like a rocket in my ball gown,” she laughs.
STAY: Jasper Hotel, $170, jasperhotel.com.au
Flopping on friends' couches and fl oors is easy on the fi nances, but sometimes traveling in style is worth it, especially when you can afford it. Melbourne's Jasper Hotel is an affordable boutique hotel within walking distance of the city's best sites, such as the Queen Victoria Market, the largest open-air market in the southern hemisphere, and the National Gallery of Victoria. The Jasper is all about atmosphere; the corridor on each floor is saturated in a different color, while the rooms are done in relaxing neutral tones. Plus, the hotel's Jasper Kitchen serves better food than you'll fi nd in your friends' fridges.
SEE: Old Melbourne Gaol, $16, oldmelbournegaol.com.au
Victoria's oldest surviving prison was built between 1841 and 1864, closed in 1929, and now stands as one of Australia's most haunted sites and the scene of 136 hangings, including the country's most infamous outlaw, the bushranger Ned Kelly. Try the Crime and Justice Experience where you'll be arrested in a police station, put on trial, and walked down the road to the gallows. Later, view the hangman's box, and don't miss the death masks, which are used to predict criminal behavior based on the study of phrenology. Think you're tough? Test your constitution on an eerie candlelit night tour.
DRINK: Madame Brussels, madamebrussels.com
Madame Brussels is named after one of Melbourne's original and best-known brothel owners, a former sweetheart of the Duke of Edinburgh who opened her fi rst brothel in 1879 at the age of 28. Now a bar, Madame Brussels gives off a wacky British vibe, including lawn tennis and fruit punch among the fake indoor grass, little pathways, and a hedged bar. Hit the Grotto, a room just beyond the garden gate that boasts more than 20 of the world's fi nest rums. Host Miss Pearls oversees regular events including barbecues and garden parties, an Alice in Wonderland bash, and useful workshops, such as “How Not to Drink Wine Like a Wanker.”
Inkrat Tattoo : http://www.inkrattattoo.com/
James Samuela's Moorea Tattoo : http://www.mooreatattoo.com/
Tattoo Peter : http://www.tattoopeter.nl/
Hotel Arena : http://www.hotelarena.nl/
Bulldog Coffeeshop : http://www.bulldog.nl/