Portland’s Sanctuary Tattoo is turning 10. And reaching double-digit status is worthy of celebration — just ask any 9-year-old.

Sure, co-owners Chris Dingwell, Jennifer Moore and Wil Scherer could celebrate with a frosted cookie cake and gift bags filled with kazoos and finger traps. But the folks at Sanctuary crafted up something a little bit bigger.

“We like to party it’s our 10-year anniversary. We can’t not do it,” Dingwell said.

So, the Sanctuary Tattoo 10th Anniversary Blowout Bash will take over Port City Music Hall on Friday starting at 8 p.m.

Six bands will take the stage throughout the night: Manwich, gathering for what may be its last performance ever; Murcielago, bringing rock and blues; and Whitcomb rattling the amps.

Rock bands Peepshow and The Hot Tarts will also perform, along with the Middle Eastern ensemble Okbari.

Between bands, an array of offbeat performances will unfold like well-wrapped presents. Catch the socially aware performance art of Atomic Trash!, a theme-based piece of fetish performance art from Lord Byron and PV-Scene, and the naughty-with-a-wink burlesque of the Dirty Dishes Burlesque Revue.

Jessani of Naya’s Trance will send her hips swinging with belly dancing, and the hip-checking ladies of Maine Roller Derby will be doing some dance-floor derby, sans skates.

And while a 9-year-old might delight in a yee-hawing cowboy, Sanctuary Tattoo will bring in the Amazing Ariel sword swallower. With a tilt of her head and a gentle hold on the grip, entire blades will disappear down her throat. You won’t see any cowboy do that.

Ariel is also bringing a couple of friends along, but their performances are all hush-hush. “I don’t want to give too much away,” she said, “but I’ll tell you this much: We’ll be risking our soles to perform these feats!”

Surprises will abound throughout the evening, many of which Dingwell himself isn’t privy to.

“People should expect to have a good time. Everyone’s planning little surprises that are going on through the night,” he said.

The details are elusive, but freebies are likely part of it.

The blowout is more than a milestone brouhaha. It’s also a colorful “thank you” to the people of Portland.

“We’ve had such a great time being in this town. We’ve been so well supported,” said Dingwell. This event was Sanctuary’s way of giving back, he added.

Sanctuary has tattooed plenty of skin over the past decade. But the owners have also made a lot of friends — clients, fellow business owners, performers and local artists (whose work Sanctuary showcases in its monthly and bimonthly art shows).

Dingwell said gathering those friends only made sense. “If any one of us threw a party or had an opening, sure people would come out.”

But collectively, he said, they could create an experience that was “betterer, if I can say that.

“getting everyone else involved at the same time, we’re able to create an event that the whole town goes, ‘Hey, I wanna see that.’ “

Some of the local businesses roped into the party include Coast City Comics, Green Hand Bookshop, the International Museum of Cryptozoology, Kitty Witch Creations & The Flower Girls, and Tenderfoot Creations, among others.

Amigo’s and North Star Music Cafe, both of Portland, will supply the grub.

There’s no official cover charge for the event, but Sanctuary is hoping attendees will open their wallets in a small (or big) way to support Preble Street Resource Center. Donations at the door benefit the Portland agency for the needy, as do proceeds from event vendors.

Supporting Preble Street was the obvious choice, according to Dingwell. “We all really believe in what they do,” he said. “It’s one of those institutions that we cross paths with on a regular basis.”

Sanctuary made the decision to donate proceeds to Preble Street before news broke that the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland was cutting its funding over the organization’s stand last fall on the “No on 1” campaign supporting gay marriage. But now more than ever, Dingwell said, the community needs to step up and support the agency.

It’s that same sort of community support that has helped Sanctuary Tattoo thrive for 10 years. And thanks to folks who ink local, Portland gets a party.

Sure beats a finger trap. 

Staff Writer Shannon Bryan can be contacted at 822-4056 or at:

[email protected]

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