Today marks the anniversary of the death of Shannon Larratt, someone hugely important and influential in My life. I published this memorial piece really shortly after his death in 2013. Really shortly like, within maybe the week that he died, I remember writing this through literal tears and sad phone calls and pushing Myself to get it out for a quick deadline. This was originally published on fleshbot.com and then also republished on CrashPad series Blog.
I have been resharing them yearly since 2013 on the anniversary but today I realized both links were not active anymore! So, I am sharing this piece with you here on VendettaVerse, where it will live.
Editor’s note: This piece is republished with permission and written by Bella Vendetta. CrashPadSeries.com has donated towards an upcoming fundraiser. While it’s tickets are now sold out, Bella adds that people can contribute would be to purchase this shirt from BME, as proceeds are direct. We extend our condolences to Bella and everyone who knew and will miss Shannon. His work lives on. *shirt link is inactive
On March 15th 2013, Shannon Larratt took his own life after years of battling a chronic condition that put him in so much pain he didn’t think it feasible to go on. You might not know who Shannon Larratt is -– like many innovators he is not a household name–but every single alt porn site, publisher of extreme pornography and kinky sex, and tattooed adult performer owes him a huge debt. He is considered an icon to thousands of people literally worldwide for his groundbreaking work in education and unification of body modification artists and practitioners of extreme kink.
Shannon is the creator of BMEzine.com, the largest and most comprehensive body modification website to date. Shannon started the site as an outlet for his love of body modification and invited others to share their stories and pictures. Believe it or not, before the times of Instagram, Facebook, Myspace, and even digital cameras, people were scanning in images of their mods to become a part of this community and converse with other like-minded folks. In addition to the education and information provided on the website, Shannon also created a social network, IAM BME, and over the next two decades IAM morphed into real life friendships, parties, events around the world and new innovations in body modification.
Naturally, people from the underground BDSM scene found BMEzine.com and tons of content from real couples and people practicing extreme kinks came pouring in from around the world: blood play with sex, genital modification, nipple removal, voluntary castration, corset training, gay leather daddies fisting each other, leather dykes with stretched nipples, pierced pussies and cocks, and even gender fluid people who were submitting photos of their bodies as they underwent reassignment surgery. BMEhard and BMEextreme were born; you had to send photos of your own modifications to gain access to the content and a community of like-minded freaks was brought together. At the time (and even largely still now) other sites that were featuring heavily modified people and strange sex acts were doing so in a “Hey, look at this freak with a tattooed pussy who can fit a pumpkin inside her!” way, and then that would be followed by threads of more vanilla people slinging insults about how this person must be so fucked up. BMEzine was a place where heavy modifications and the strange were not fetishized, but celebrated and educated and shared.
Before Suicide Girls, there was the modified porn forum on IAM BME. Eventually, as alt porn became a thing, I watched as so many of the beautiful women I had known from BME began modeling professionally. When I began my own site, BellaVendetta.com, I wanted to take my love for the strange and unusual and modified folks a step further than other alt porn sites. I dealt with struggle after struggle when trying to find a billing company that would accept a site that depicted flesh hook suspension sex, necro-porn, menstrual porn, blood play, and rituals. Every time I began to think it was just too risky legally, too much work for so little a reward, Shannon was the one who consistently convinced me how important my website was, how it was so much more than a porn site, it was an expression of sexual freedom. He and lots of the other crew from BME were my support system in finding billing company after billing company. I know I am not the only indie pornographer that asked the folks at BME for help in finding billing companies that would take extreme content. Fellow pornographer Furry Girl actually wrote a nice piece about how publishers of extreme images owe him a debt. On the day of his death, alt porn punk rock princess Joanna Angel tweeted at me: he is the reason people with tattoos are on the internet. Shannon’s work was always just this side of legal, and he always got flak for posting such extreme content. His work and his website are directly responsible for bringing together some of the biggest players in the industry today. Before there was alt porn, queer porn, or feminist porn, there was BMEzine.com. Real content uploaded by real people: men, women, bi, straight, kinky, transgender, genderfluid, and even some people who made themselves into cats or lizards.
Shannon Larratt was not a pornographer, he was a defender of freedom and a believer in the notion that people should be able to do whatever they want with their own bodies. It’s because of his courage and support that I became the pornographer I am so proud to be today. Thank you, Shannon Larrat, for pushing me to share my perversions with the world. I’m proud to say that I am truly BME4LIFE! You might even catch a glimpse of my BME logo tattoos in one of my porn films, because I really like having guys cum in my armpits.
If you want to learn more about Shannon, his ideas and philosophies visit his blog: Zentastic. You can also read some lovely memorial pieces about him by a few of my favorite people here: Stay Calm: Remembering Shannon Larratt and RIP Shannon Larratt (1973-2013).
Bella Vendetta is a professional and lifestyle Domme, kink educator, flesh hook suspension practitioner, internationally published fetish model, award-winning adult film star, burlesque performer, B movie starlet, and pornographer from western MA. She has appeared on Playboy TV, National Geographic Channel, MTV, and even the Russian news. BellaVendetta.com is currently defunct due to legal and billing issues with the content, but you can still find a long list of projects websites she appears on and links at the same address.