Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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The Illustrated Contortionist

Because we can all touch our toes...
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It must be tough making a living as a contortionist. There just aren’t as many circuses as there used to be, and it seems like everyone and their dog is attending Yoga classes these days. Walking on your hands with your legs wrapped around your neck just won’t draw in the crowds anymore. In these entertainment-saturated times, you gotta have a gimmick.

So here’s what you do – rent yourself a projector and the services of an artistically-minded mate for an afternoon. Spend the afternoon going through your entire repertoire of limb-bending brilliance as your friend casts various images on you through the projector. As you hold the pose, he dashes up to you and quickly traces the projections being cast over your body, following the lines as they spill from shin to forearm to left nipple. At the end of that exhausting afternoon, retire to the pub for a couple of hours, where you consume alcohol and funny looks in equal measures. Not only do you deserve a drink, you’ll also need a few for the next stage in the plan.

Once suitably anaesthetized: get thee to an all-night tattooist. Most big cities have them – just follow the drunken sailors. Get him to make all the seemingly abstract sweeping curves and fractured lines that now adorn your body permanent. If your friend has done his job properly, he won’t just have drawn the lines, but he’ll also have marked each area with a particular number, denoting a specific image or colour that should be used. Making your body like a giant paint-by numbers canvas for the (inevitably) bemused tattooist.

After waiting a couple of days (for the swelling to go down and the hangover to abate), you’ll find yourself the most wanted contortionist on the circuit. Although there may be a few sniggers when you walk out into the ring at the beginning of your act, those laughs will soon be replaced by gasps of awe as you twist yourself into your first pose and a single spotlight shows a hidden dragon suddenly leaping from your skin. You shift again, and the crowd applauds as a crouching tiger takes shape before their very eyes. And, at the very end of your act, they roar with ironic approval as your final contortion reveals a large heart with an arrow through it and a scroll beneath which simply reads “Mum”.

lostdog, Mar 27 2003

(?) Tattooed Lady of Song http://www.whyaduck...es/scenes/lydia.htm
No contortions, but some mention of moving pictures [Canuck, Oct 05 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Holbein: The Ambassadors (1533) http://www.dodedans...Full/ambassador.jpg
[jutta, Oct 05 2004, last modified Oct 17 2004]

Tatoos http://tatoos-tattos.com/
MAD esque folding tatoo [bonkers777, Feb 16 2009]

[link]






       I love it. A few notes. Your summary makes an unfair assumption, you really shouldn't drink before getting tattooed, and you spelled "Mom" wrong ;-)
Worldgineer, Mar 27 2003
  

       Why shouldn't you drink before getting tattooed? I had thought that was the done thing. After all, it's not like the booze leaks out through all the little pinholes...   

       As regards the misspelling - a simple flick of the wrist might be enough to add a curve to the top of the "U" for Translatlantic performances.
lostdog, Mar 27 2003
  

       The booze _does_ leak out of the pinholes, in a way. Even a small amount of alcohol thins the blood. I remember a time I had myself mutilated in Australia. Round the corner was a famous bar featured in a popular Aussie series, so we just had to have a few schooners. After a few drinks and a few games of pool a friend noticed the blood seeping through my shirt. A lot of blood. One thing you don't want to see when you've been drinking is a large amount of your life-goo pouring out of your arm. *shivers* Good idea though. +.
sambwiches, Mar 27 2003
  

       I stand corrected (and also slightly sickened).
lostdog, Mar 27 2003
  

       I did actually think of a tattoo based around an alignment which the contortionist can't actually reach - kind of an aspirational tatt. "After years of trying, the artiste finally achieved the semi-mythical 'scary hedgehog' pose, which marked the pinnacle of their acheivements - unfortunately, the attainment of this seemingly impossible position was also marked by a loud popping sound and a subsequent change of career..."
lostdog, Mar 27 2003
  

       Bliss's note opens up a whole new realm: Designated halfbakers, (like in baseball). Halfbakery image consultants for hire. (Perhaps lostdog is actually a whole think-tank group devoted to mad science). Under-the-table contracts for 3 good ideas per week; the buying and selling of the most popular usernames. Futures trading, the Dough Jones Report...
RayfordSteele, Mar 27 2003
  

       I think [lostdog] is really Leonard da Quirm.
sambwiches, Mar 27 2003
  

       I really like this one!
FarmerJohn, Mar 28 2003
  

       <aloud>Very, very, very, very good</aloud>
thumbwax, Mar 28 2003
  

       Nice - if I understand it right, you'd have bits of a picture drawn all over your body so that the picture on your back is only completed when you bend your foot round there.
hippo, Mar 28 2003
  

       This would be even better, and more difficult, if the uncontorted tattoos also made sense. Like MAD magazine's folding page?
FarmerJohn, Mar 28 2003
  

       This is the greatest idea ever, EVER. (+)
Mr Risk, Mar 28 2003
  

       all I can say is ouch. And also, mum is english for mom. duh. or should I say doh?
mks100, Mar 28 2003
  

       More ideas like this, please.   

       And less, please, like the flood of mediocrity or worse that has me rethinking the wisdom of investing time here at the halfbakery.
beauxeault, Mar 28 2003
  

       sambwiches - when I first read your anno I thought it said "Leonardo Da Quinci". 15th Century artist and inventor by day, 1960's beagle-faced forensic pathologist by night...
lostdog, Mar 28 2003
  

       It's good that you can admit your mistakes, [lostdog]. Right now that seems to be your only fault. Bravo :-) I just wish I had another croissant for this idea, but alas, I have only a very small oven, and can only bake one every so often. Still, here is an imaginary second serving. +.
sambwiches, Mar 28 2003
  

       I agree with beauxeault - quality before quantity
thumbwax, Mar 28 2003
  

       Cool, i like this. If you've ever read MAD magazine, they do something like this with foldable pages.
igirl, Mar 28 2003
  

       All the while I'm liking this, there's whispers from dank corners of my mind of this being halfbaked in a cartoon. A muscle mary has an abstract tattoo which, when he clenches - or releases, I can't remember - becomes a face. Is it a face? I can't remember.
So, on the basis that (a) I think this is a good idea and (b) I can't actually substantiate the lingering doubts I have as to the originality (not as to the originality to the poster, but in 'originality' a more global, absolute sense), I award a tattooed croissant.
my face your, Mar 28 2003
  

       That's it! Thank you ravenswood.
my face your, Mar 30 2003
  

       Love the idea, and the annos actually made me squirm and grimace thrice. A neatly twisted croissant for you.
absterge, Apr 01 2003
  

       This idea brought to mind a Groucho Marx song - see link.   

       The Illustrated Man meets Cirque Du Soleil. That deserves a whole pastry. The only problem I can see is in our "entertainment-saturated times" this act would become old quite quickly. I mean how many times can you watch someone bend and fold themselves to reveal the likenesses of Dubya kissing Saddam? I suggest the use of body paint. This would allow for new and fresh performances on a regular basis, and be a whole lot less painful than the applying and subsequent removal of tattoos.   

       As for this ghost-baker idea, I would never, ever stoop to such a level! <whispers - I'll contact you via email> Harumph!
Canuck, Apr 02 2003
  

       There is a painting, called "the ambassadors" done by Hans Hoblein, or holblein -I'm not shure - that shows two standing figures and a very odd gray oblicual stain beween them, in the floor. You get the idea of what is if you see the canvas from near the edge. It is a skull. I can´t remember the meaning of that, but the concept of a hidden item is, to me, kinda scary. (This was painted in the 1500´s)   

       Ehem... well, I guess we all can sleep better now.
noyola, Jul 10 2003
  

       I think it's called a "memento mori", noyola - basically, a happy reminder of the fact that death's gonna claim us all in the end. Holbein was a big fan of them...   

       And on a completely unrelated note - I only recently realised that the skull on the back of the moth on the cover of the video of Silence of the Lambs (in the UK edition at least) is actually formed by cleverly positioned naked bodies.   

       I have far too much time on my hands.
lostdog, Jul 12 2003
  

       you spend far, far too much time in that video shop. I have to go now and look for the skull, nevermind the naked bodies..
po, Oct 17 2003
  

       I like this a lost.

  

       Clever colour choices and a skilled lighting technician with appropriate gear could greatly expand the total number of figures.
Good dog!
methinksnot, Jan 25 2007
  

       Bun! Only because I stopped reading after I saw the words "Left Nipple" and started getting some ideas of my own. Now I am off to rent a projector!
Jscotty, Jan 26 2007
  

       //All the while I'm liking this, there's whispers from dank corners of my mind of this being halfbaked in a cartoon.//   

       From the Simpsons, when Marge goes to prison. One of the inmates has a MAD-esque folding tattoo on her back.
Aq_Bi, Jan 27 2007
  
      
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