Service set for local tattoo legend

On the right side, a carousel horse — vibrant and vivid, dancing off her chest. On the left, a Bengal tiger crawling sinuously toward her heart. Ed Hardy put it there; the carousel horse, too.

Between them, a red rose.

“She was a rose,” said Pam Davison, her former apprentice. “A thorny rose. She had to be. Tattooing is a pretty tough world.”

Jane Nemhauser knew it. More than 35 years as a tattoo artist, apprenticeships with legends, herself a legend in Colorado tattooing — she knew it wasn’t an easy road. But then, most people knew her as Calamity Jane.

She died Nov. 26. She took her own life. She was 60.

A memorial for her is scheduled at 5 p.m. Sunday at Planet Earth and the 4 Directions Gallery, 524 Colorado Ave. Bring the memories, bring the ink.

“She was interested in it for the art,” said her older brother, Glenn Nemhauser. “These people that she apprenticed with were the first to come out with a full color palette. They were developing special multi-needle technique. They were the innovators.”

She was their student. Growing up in New York City, she was a student of the multi-ethnic neighborhood where she grew up. She studied at Friends Seminary, a Quaker school she graduated from in 1970, followed by time at New York University.

But life was the thing: She studied life.

“As a young adult, she was interested in camping and outdoor stuff,” Glenn Nemhauser said, “and she traveled and camped all over the United States, Alaska, Mexico, New England, Florida. She was a real outdoorsperson.”

Landing in the San Francisco Bay Area, studying at the Oakland College of Arts and Crafts, she was drawn to the world of tattooing, which at that time and in that area was enjoying a renaissance of innovation and exploration. She learned from Dean Dennis, Bob Shaw, Ed Hardy, Mike Malone — a who’s who of tattooing royalty.

“In tattooing, especially with the old guard, you can trace your lineage, who you apprenticed with, who they apprenticed with,” explained Aaron LeGore, who worked with Jane at her Grand Junction shop, Calamity Jane’s Tattoo.

She moved to Colorado in 1980, after visiting her brother here and falling in love with it, and had shops in Glenwood Springs, Carbondale and Meeker before opening her Grand Junction shop.

“Back in the day, tattooing was a man’s world, and it still can be,” Davison said. “So, she had to be tough. But her work backed her up. She had a great portfolio, she was top of the line.”

She rued what the industry has become, said people who knew her. Last year, she commented on Facebook, “TV is now brainwashing that any tattoo is a good tattoo or worse yet: Doesn’t matter if it’s good or bad ... it’s just ‘I got a tattoo.’ It’s killing most of my peer group’s life commitment/our job.”

She felt obsolete, passed by. Tattooing these days can favor youth, LeGore said.

She had her demons, Glenn Nemhauser said. She had her sorrows. Her beloved, 15-year-old bulldog, Louise, died recently, and it hit her hard. The economic downturn devastated her business. Who knows the tangles in her heart?

“But I just want to say to anyone who feels that way, please get help,” he said. “Suicide is not the answer. Many people loved Jane. She was loved.”

Clinton absent from Kerry nomination

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama nominated Massachusetts Sen. John Forbes Kerry as the next secretary of state Friday, turning to the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and one of his earliest political allies to guide American diplomacy in an “uncertain world” during the next four years.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who contracted a stomach virus in early December, became dehydrated, fainted, fell and hit her head, according to aides and doctors. She was diagnosed with a concussion on Dec. 13 and hasn’t been seen in public since as she follows orders to rest and recover.

That has meant, among other things, canceling an overseas trip, not attending congressional hearings on the deadly Sept. 11 attack on a diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, and on Friday, not standing with Obama as he nominated Kerry to replace her.

President Obama, in nominating Kerry, noted Clinton’s absence. “She continues to recuperate,” he said. “She’s in good spirits.”

Booker studies bid for U.S. Senate


Despite pressure from party leaders, Mayor Cory A. Booker of Newark will not challenge Gov. Chris Christie for re-election next year in New Jersey, deciding instead to focus on making a bid for a Senate seat in two years.

“Let there be no doubt, I will complete my full second term as mayor,” Booker wrote on his website. “As for my political future, I will explore the possibility of running for the United States Senate in 2014.”

Booker, seen by many as a rising political star, was considered by Democrats to be their best hope to unseat Christie, a Republican. Christie’s popularity, however, has surged since Hurricane Sandy, and Booker, who has faced growing criticism in his second term that he has been more focused on publicity than the mundane work of managing, most likely would have faced an uphill battle, according to the most recent polls.

Obama hails Inouye as pivotal role model


WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama says the late Democratic Sen. Daniel Inouye showed him “what might be possible in my own life.”

In a memorial service at the National Cathedral, Obama recalled a boyhood memory of watching Inouye during the Watergate hearings. He said the experience left him with a sense of what serving in government was all about. He said he had watched a man full of “grace and dignity.”

The president said: “Danny Inouye was perhaps my earliest political inspiration.”

Other political leaders hailed Inouye for his career, spirit and selflessness.

Vice President Joe Biden said: “When people talked about loving Danny, they meant it.”

The Hawaii lawmaker was the second-longest serving senator in U.S. history. He died Monday of respiratory complications at age 88.


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