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The top three tattoos of all time, in ascending order of bossness, are: any dragon, a black panther and the anchor. Your list is different? Too bad. You like the matching swallows on the shoulder? What are you, that Sugar Ray guy? C’mon -- anchor. It’s a classic. Get it on your forearm and you feel like Popeye; put it on your chest, and you feel like a Marine.

All right, then let’s just agree to disagree, Mom. It’s your body -- if you want the dagger through the flaming heart, get it. That’s the joy of getting a tattoo: No one has to like it but you. Sure, there’s the history and the artistry and the balls-out style that’s inherent in a great tattoo, but above all, there’s the personal statement that means something special to you. Me, I’m an anchor. Solid. Weighty. Part sailor. Part cartoon character. But you, you’re your own person; get what you like. And that’s where the St. Louis Old School Tattoo Expo comes in. For three days, the City Museum (701 North 15th Street; 314-231-2489 or www.oldschooltattooexpo.com) becomes Tattoo City as hordes of the world’s top artists put their skills on display. You can flip through literally hundreds of portfolios and find the perfect piece, or just admire the work. You can sit in on the tattoo contests and see the work other people have had done. And if you show up early enough and make an appointment, you can be tattooed right there at the expo. Might I suggest...an anchor? Kidding (not really). The expo is open from 2 to 11 p.m. Friday, noon to 11 p.m. Saturday and noon to 8 p.m. Sunday (November 9 through 11). Admission is $20 per day or $50 for a three-day pass.
Nov. 9-11, 2007

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