You would think in a city the size of Gotham there would be fang-smiths situated in various nooks and crannies. According to the fang-smith I met last Wednesday night, there are only two residing in Gotham; although several others come into town during busy times of the year such as Halloween – or Samhain as I prefer calling it.
The one I met, Tommy Misfit, has a shop in the East Village, the over-popularized and trendy-tired East Village. It’s located several blocks from where I live. The shop is easy to miss unless you know what you are looking for. And if hadn’t the slightest interest, would think it just weird. The name is Flame Job.
I made the appointment that night over the phone for 11:15 P.M. I had also decided to have a pair of fangs made for myself. I know fangs don’t validate one as a vampire/vampyre but I thought, ‘why not?’ My mate had suggested I invest in a pair for a while, and it would be a good way to add a more visceral aspect to the interview.
Tommy promptly arrives at 11:15; a good characteristic for a person who provides a people service in Gotham, especially in sweltering 99 degree heat. Tommy’s a handsome guy who looks like he lifts weights, and he does. When he tells you he wrestles you can see that possibility. He greets me as he hurriedly unlocks the door.
The shop is small and rather how can I say it?… a bit goth, a bit industrial and just a touch of very discreet fetish… the main attraction is the worn dentist chair.
‘Thanks Tommy for coming out on a night like this’.
“No problem Griffin. I don’t keep shop hours and people Usually contact me through Face Book or by phone. It’s through appointment only; no rush jobs so they can have an enjoyable experience. I like to explain to a person what I’m doing as I work.”
Tommy went on to say he caters to the fetish crowd and then the doors are locked. At other times, anyone can come in and set up an appointment.
‘How long have you been making fangs, Tommy?’
“I started out as a makeup artist and about 15 years ago started working with several well-known fang smiths, one of whom was studying dentistry at the time. This was their business so I was basically stuck as a apprentice. I watched
real close how they worked and well I’m mostly self taught. I struck out on my own in 2000.”
‘Who are your clientele? ‘
“Mostly nine to fivers…and yes, all age groups.”
‘Do you ever make fangs for teen-agers? And do they need parental consent?’
“Yes and if they are under the age of 17 they must have consent of mom and dad. Often parents have no problem with their kids getting a pair of fangs because vampires are so popular right now. If the parents come with them I make it a point to befriend the parents and to be strict with kids. That way it is
a reminder that mom and dad are paying for this.”
I have one more question before we get started on making my own fangs.. ‘how do you describe what you are?’
“Shape shifter… a bit of the comedian of the Vampire Community. Independent … if a scene is too pretentious I’ll just go to the bar next door!” He laughs.
OK it’s time for me to get my fangs. First I get to chose a little plastic box to keep them in. There’s a wide variety of colors to chose from; I chose red with a little silver bat on top.
Tommy explains people will often put their fangs in a pocket and end up sitting on them or losing one… that proverbial orphan. Next I pick out the fang shape I want and there are at least ten variations to chose from; dainty canines to full frontal. I then get on the antique but comfy dental chair. Tommy takes my chosen mold, places it on my teeth to get an idea of how to fit them. I have chosen the canines; typical right? Not the easiest since one of mine is slightly more forward than the other.
Next step is putting dental acrylic paste; the actual stuff, in the fang mold. Fang with paste is immediately placed firmly on my own and held for several seconds. The molds are then removed and presto… the hardened material is removed from the molds and placed back on my teeth to get a perfect fit. Tommy then takes a dental tool, after the molds are removed and starts to smooth the rough edges. This process of placing back on teeth and smoothing happens about 6 to 7 times. It’s not a hap-hazard job.
As he works I ask him why there are not a lot of fang-smiths in Gotham.
“Not enough business. Plus in the old days you had people not knowing what they were doing. People ended up with fangs stuck that had to be removed surgically or actually losing a tooth.”
‘Do you make fangs for those who don’t have access to coming here?’
‘If they send me a dental, usually plaster mold, I can do it. But I must have a likeness of the actual teeth. If not I can’t do it.”
Tommy talks a little more about finally embracing his desire to play music and his band Skeletal Life. He talks about playing back-up for The Misfits. And of course he has one of the most varied selections of rock to listen to, even vintage Elvis.
So the teeth are done and look quite nice I must admit. Do they make me look younger? hm…maybe. Well that’s the illusion of this right? I’m instructed not to eat, drink or etc (fill in the blanks) with them on or my fangs… MY fangs will loose their luster. I’m given a nice little scroll with instructions on how to take care of them. It states :
REMEMBER. Do not bite any person or consume animal flesh with your custom fangs. You could spread germs, viruses and deseases by doing so. You don’t want a zombie epidemic happening…. no I think not…
The cost: $100 (U.S. currency) . And where else, as the clock strikes midnight are you going to get this kind of service? An E.R. room, or maybe a bar and that can be hit or miss.
A Dark Fare Thee Well,