Friday, July 18, 2014

Peace Out

(February 2, 1925 – July 17, 2014)

"All you have to do is say, 'I'm going home,' and you're the most popular girl at the party."

"I find it easier to abstain than do a little bit of anything.  I'm not a 'little bit' kind of dame.  I want it all, whatever I do."

"I don't think there's any thrill in the world like doing work you're good at."

"These performers that go on about their technique and craft - oh, puh-leeze!  How boring!  I don't know what 'technique' means, but I do know what experience is."

"There will always be ladies who lunch.  Always.  And apparently they live a long time."

"I think it's the wrong way around to say, 'When you get older, move to the country.'  I think when you get older, you move to New York City."

"I never found anyone who could look afer me as well as I could look after myself."

"I could have made a lot of money doing 'Golden Girls,' and I would have been good.  But the image of it!  And for me to work with Betty White every day would be like taking cyanide."

...and finally:
"You can't be funny unless you're tragic, and you can't be tragic unless you're funny." 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Second chance at Bear love

Lispers, the original winner of the Bear Hill Project poster,
exclusively autographed by Venfield8 and David Laflamme, is unable to fulfill their duties, and the second runner up will now be eligible to claim the prize!

Tom Smith says his favourite Venfield8 photo is:

Summer Souvenir, The Creamsicle 2013 is hot & cold, all at once, and one of only 2 pics that go all the way, so to speak, yet very tastefully. And the Astro Turf reminds me of my high school football days.

SO!... TOM, all you have to do is email me at with your shipping address, and Venfield8 will send you your ready-to-frame poster!

Don't let me down!

Friday, July 4, 2014

Sunday, June 22, 2014

We Have A Winnah!

Many thanks to everyone who participated in the Venfield8 contest, but there can only be one winner...

Congratulations to Scott MacGowan!  He's the lucky recipient of an exclusive limited edition, autographed Bear Hill poster!

Scott, all you have to do now is email moi with your shipping details and Venfield8 will personally ship your poster to you!

Oh, and Scott's favourite Venfield8 image (below) is from the Bear Hill project!

Keep following The Lisp for more exclusive content and contests!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

I Found My Thrill On Bear Hill ~ Exclusive!! Contest, Interview w/Venfield 8 & David Laflamme!

Back in November, I was able to bring you an exclusive interview with Venfield 8, where he shared with us some of his favourite images and a little insight into the man behind the moniker.  The project itself stands as a personal highlight of The Lisp. 

It was around that time that we first heard of a new project that he was working on, called Bear Hill.  It was to be a collection of images, destined to be iconic and of course, delicious.  It's an homage of sorts to Bruce Weber, but instead of smooth and sinewy muscled models, it features gorgeous furry bears, including everyone's favourite bearcub, David Laflamme.

Kids, I bring you another major exclusive to The Lisp... Speaking about the project is friend to The Lisp, Venfied 8 and David Laflamme!

The Lisp: Where, oh where, is Bear Hill and are all the specimens as lovely as David?  Seriously though...some of the Bear Hill images are so completely different from some of the work you are so known for...was this an effect of your surroundings?  Model?  Headspace?

Venfield 8: Ah, Bear Hill, Heaven on Earth….  hahahahah  Wouldn't it be lovely if it really existed - I mean outside of the book? But that is the challenge - getting what is in my head onto the page, so there can visit. Going into shooting Bear Hill, I knew we wanted to do an homage to Bruce Weber's classic, so that dictated a certain style of shooting, yet I also wanted to make it distinctly Venfield 8. By taking a classically Weberesque shot, using a beautiful "bear" model and then gently subverting the subject matter - and still getting the overall feeling of Weber's book is, I think, a signature Venfield 8 recipe. So to me, it feels perfectly appropriate and natural. True, my style is usually more glamorous, but I created Venfield 8 to do whatever I wanted. A continuity of style isn't particularly high on my priority list.

The Lisp:  It's easy to see how you were inspired by much of the project is a shared vision?  Which came first, the idea or the model?

Venfield 8:  Wow. That is a good question - a which came first riddle. I am not sure. Somewhere in the back of my head, I always thought in the abstract, that it would be a fun thing to do - a Bear Pond homage with "bear" models, but it wasn't until I first saw a picture of David that I really say it coalesce into a definable concept to shoot. I knew at that moment, seeing his picture somewhere on the internet - that I would shoot him in that style. So - when I finally reached out and met him, I knew exactly what I wanted to pitch. He is very inspiring. To look at him, you can't help but imagine a world where he is surrounded by beauty and warmth. He is so cuddly and playful, and so assured and relaxed. He totally embodies the essence of Bear Hill. So - yea - it was a collaboration. Luckily for me, this life - these feelings we wanted - aren't a big stretch for David - all those qualities are him…so he knew instinctually what we wanted to show and how to show it. It definitely became a shared vision.

The Lisp:  Here's a silly and fun question: If Bear Hill was an actual vacation spot for us beautiful, furry gays, what do you think the theme song would be for the ad campaign? 
Venfield 8:  Congratulations. Nobody has ever asked me that…. hahahahah    ever. Hummm… I don't know. When we shot the short promo film for the book, we used an old Jim Reeves song, "Welcome to my World", and now it is sort of indelibly associated with Bear Hill. I don't think I will ever be able to hear it again without seeing David rollicking naked in a stream or reclining against a redwood. It think it perfectly fits.
Bear Hill from V E N F I E L D 8

The Lisp:  You know I love knowing what your favourite shots are....can you share them with us and can you tell us why?

Venfield 8:  Wow. There are so many - and some didn't even make the book. But on the same note - there isn't a image in there that isn't my favorite, either. And that is the great thing about doing your book - only the shots you love get in there. And that is the funny thing - I didn't really make the book for anyone, except myself. Sounds kind of selfish, right? hahaha But really, I just wanted to create this imaginary world - this Bear Hill, and as much as it would be PC to say I did it for the fans, it just isn't true. I did it for myself. To put this world in my imagination, onto paper. I am just so thankful, that other people were interested in what was in my head…..

David and friends, John (l) and Ryan (r).
The Lisp:  Okay...fantasy time...You can shoot anyone in the world, at your whim, fully naked and without repercussion (for model or photographer) ...who is it?

Venfield 8:  Damn - let me get my list…….   hahahahaha  I mean, really. I have so many people that inspire me. I would love to work with Francois Sagat because he is such an amazing brand to me. So beautiful, so interesting and he really gets art and fashion and the way it plays together. Pavel Petel as well, for the same reasons. Fearless and always fascinating. I also love this exotic intriguing model right now - Marlon Texeira. A Brazilian man that seems so chic and current, and so sexy. And I have been so inspired by this man named Dylan, a sometime model/blogger who runs a blog called Noodles and Beef. People will know of him… He did this great homage to Colt calendar last year. He is so sexy and so beautiful. But there are so many…. I am always inspired.

Francois is so swoon-worthy, I hope that happens!  Oooh, and watch out Dylan!  I'm going to pester you 'till you cave!  

Let's spend some time talking about, and with, David.  David first captured our collective attention when he appeared as the official face of sexy social app, SCRUFF.  Things for this French-Canadian born, Arizona-raised young man haven't been the same since.

The Lisp:  You first landed on our radar thanks to SCRUFF...did you ever think you would have so much attention?
David:  Not at all.  I had no idea what was going to happen when Johnny asked me to take a few pictures.  I'm grateful for it though.  It kicked off a lot of great things that happened after. 

The Lisp:  What did you think when Venfield 8 contacted you for the Bear Hill project?  Were you on board right away or did you need to consider any factors?

David:  At first I was very hesitant.  I've never photographed nude and have had some propositions from strangers before.  But after reading his email, I looked up his work and the inspiration for the project. Something told me to reply and explore this opportunity.  I figure just emailing back can't hurt, right?  We met for coffee and I got a great vibe from him.  Internally I was struggling back and forth to go through with it but this was the chance to be a part of something that could be iconic. 

The Lisp:  Can you describe the process of Bear Hill?  Any significant moments for you?
David:  The whole experience was a significant moment and it changed my life.  V8 is now a great friend and he was one of my biggest motivators to pick up a camera as well which has lead to many new opportunities for me.  He made the whole process comfortable and was very humble about the whole thing.  It was refreshing to be part of a project like this even though I don't have the typical model build.  

Exclusive! "Lonely Rocks" (censored image)
The Lisp:  Do you have a favourite image?  If so which one and why?

David:  Ironically, my favorite image did not make it into the book or poster.  I included in the set of 3 possible options for a poster but people didn't select it.  My favorite image is the one from far away where I am looking down while standing on a rock with trees and rocks all around.  There is a very dark and artistically moody feel to the image.  It was shot the same day as when we were at Big Bear Lake with John Barreto but I was off wandering on my own while V8 and John were doing some individual shot.  I had no idea V8 took that picture of me but he later asked me what was going through my head that day since I was sort of "off".  You can really see it in that image.  We all have ups and downs in life and I did have a lot on my mind but it didn't stop me from still pushing through to create such a great piece.

The Lisp:  What word accurately describes you, of all the words you think people would  use to describe you?

David:  This is also another tough one.  Everyone has a perception of people they see online and cast an option of them without actually really knowing them.  I am friendly and will speak and give time of day to anyone who is a good and decent person that treats others with respect. 

The Lisp:  I know my readers want to know:  are you actually on SCRUFF?  How does a "regular" guy --- not that you're not a regular guy--- get, and WIN your attention?

David:  I am not on scruff and indeed I'm a regular guy.  To win my attention, be truthful and humble with a sense of adventure.  I want a partner that will be my best friend and partner in crime.  Someone happy who loves life and has ambition.  Just be the best version of you and don't hold back.
The limited edition, signed poster!

Many thanks toVenfield 8 and David Laflamme!  Together, they have created exquisite, iconic images that will endure the test of time!  You can pick up your limited edition copy of Bear Hill RIGHT NOW!  

 But before you it's your turn to be the best version of you and don't hold back...

Venfield 8 has graciously donated one of the limited edition, signed copies of the Bear Hill poster!  It is 22 x 28 and ready for framing!  All you have to do is tell us about your favourite Venfield 8 image.  The winner will be selected randomly on June 21st at midnight, EST.  

...and GO!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Peace Out

Dr. Maya Angelou

(April 4, 1928 – May 28, 2014)

 You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own back yard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Ready, Eddie!

"I am writing the film as we speak -- it's in the pipeline.  I am hoping it will be released at the end of next year." ~ Jennifer Saunders on the rumoured AbFab feature film.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

"The 80's Are Over!" ~ Boy George At Danforth Music Hall

While the 80's significance of Boy George will never truly diminish, George showed the mostly standing room crowd why it's good to be him in 2014.
A healthy, happy and musically focused Boy George treated us to a set that was heavy with tracks from his amazing new CD, This Is What I Do. Some "die-hards" complained that there weren't enough "hits," but I think any true "die hard" would've moved passed the past and loved this serving of amazing music!   
Despite sound problems in his monitors from the onset that seemed to annoy him, he still delivered an amazing show.
He didn't chat a lot with the crowd, but at one point he noticed one concertgoer with a Boy George doll from the 80's. "What a strange thing to bring to a show," he laughed. "I hate to break it to you, the 80's are over -- Thank God!  Welcome to now --- 2014!" And while some folks shook their heads and disagreed with him, he laughed and said, "It's true. Jon Moss is locked in a trunk backstage!"
This evening marked the first time in my thirty year adoration of George of hearing him perform live.  Yes, the voice has changed a little bit, but there's a deeper, more soulful timbre to his voice, and it was all so very exquisite!  

The Boy saved some of his biggest hits for last, including Church Of The Poison Mind, Do You Really Want To Hurt Me, Karma Chameleon and his first big solo hit, Everything I Own, along with a rousing Bow Down Mister, that was, dare I say, an almost religious experience!

My personal highlight came during his performance of one of my favourite tracks off his latest CD, Bigger Than War.  During the first chorus ("...bigger than The Beatles/The Rolling Stones/Bigger than Elvis/but not Yoko..."), I SWEAR he looked right at me and smiled as I danced and sang!

My only downside to the show are those pesky sound problems...they seemed to have pissed him off enough to cut the second encore, which in previous shows included one of my favourite Culture Club tracks, Victims, and his hauntingly beautiful version of Make You Feel My Love, which I secretly want him to perform at my wedding...oops..guess it's no secret anymore!
Again, this was one of the most precious moments of my life... love of music has always played such an important role in my life.  George's image covered two of my bedroom walls when I was just a kid...and I was just a kid...but on this night...I grew up, right along with the man we know as Boy George.

I must add here that I once met, fan-boyed, and shook hands with George about seven years ago in the lobby of Claridge's in London.  I can say with total honesty that both of these moments rank in the highlights of my life.

~Set list~

King of Everything
Death of Samantha
Any Road
My God
Feel the Vibration
Love and Danger
Live Your Life
Bigger Than War
Nice and Slow
My Star
It’s Easy
Satellite Of Love
You’ll Lose a Good Thing
Church of the Poison Mind
Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?
Everything I Own
Karma Chameleon
Get It On
Bow Down Mister

Monday, April 28, 2014

Spotlight on Flyfoto ~ The White Shorts Project

Back in 2011, I did a spotlight on Boston-based photographer, FLYFOTO, and he's been a friend to The Lisp ever since.  He specializes in portraiture and editorial imagery.  He is a graduate of Massachusetts College of Art, and has been shooting for over 25 years. His philosophy on shooting is that an image must first serve to inform, then to trigger inquiry within the viewer. His work has been widely published on book covers, in print and on line. He is currently in editing of a retrospective of his work for publication.
This year, FLYFOTO released The White Shorts Project, a tantalizing collection of gorgeous men in classic poses, but re-imagined in a contemporary beefcake fashion, all centered around, you guessed it, a pair of sporty, slinky, white shorts.

Here, a Q & A with the photographer, along with some exclusive images, some not published in the book!

The Lisp:  Tell me about the White Shorts Project.

FLYFOTO :  It began in 2009.  I started to explore the concept of shooting a variety of men in the exact same garment.  After experimenting with a variety of clothing items, I stumbled upon the white mesh shorts.

The Lisp:  What was it about the white shorts that compelled you to explore it further?

FLYFOTO : The garment itself was simple and most models felt 100% comfortable wearing it. It was natural, not intimidating and flattering. Also, from an artistic standpoint, I discovered that, if I was somewhat specific in the manner in which I lit the model, it would be somewhat revealing. The added bonus (at least for the models) was that the shadowing effect that was created, gave the illusion of much greater endowment. 
The Lisp: How many models have you shot in the shorts?
FLYFOTO : It just sort of ballooned. Over time, I would guess that I have shot well over 100 men in the white shorts.
Tristan, Luke, Nikko

The Lisp: How did you manage to edit down the final selections?
FLYFOTO : Because there were well over 5,000 images, I narrowed down the final edit selection to down to 300 images – representing a wide cross section of models. I printed these images onto contact sheets and began soliciting direct feedback from three different demographics: gay men, straight men and females. I knew that the images that each target group would agree upon, would likely be the most successful shots to the widest audience. Naturally there were a number of shots that I personally felt strongly about that were added in the final cut. After that process, I did a final edit to the images that would be used in the book.

Heath Jordan
The Lisp: Were there any lessons learned along the way?

FLYFOTO : Actually, the white shorts became a unifying, baseline element. I gave each model the exact same 3 poses to work with and asked them to bring forth their own personality into the shots. What I discovered was that each model gave the task their own interpretation of masculinity. Some shoots were decidedly sensual. Others were more classic and iconic. I also learned that some physiques were more flattered in some poses, but not others.

The Lisp: What has the response been?

FLYFOTO : The response has been incredibly positive and supportive. Predictably, there are a number of people who simply respond to the salacious aspect of the images. Let’s face it; the images are very sexy and there is a certain degree of arousal that is created simply in the tease factor. But there are also a lot of people who are simply intrigued by the concept and appreciate the photography as art. 

Girth Brooks

The Lisp: How does the White Shorts Project represent FLYFOTO?

FLYFOTO : Well, I have always asserted that all men are inherently beautiful and handsome. As a photographer, it has always been my mission to unlock that visually as I shoot. The aim, and emphasis of my work has always been about discovering a man’s masculinity and then drawing that out in a highly sensual manner. There are some who seem to feel that nudity is essential to accomplishing that endeavor. I, on the other hand feel that if you are talented, you should be able to create the essence of male sexuality whether a model is clothed or nude. I believe that you can shoot a man with clothing on, and still trigger a highly evocative image. It is my hope that the White Shorts Project illustrates that point.

The Lisp: So what is next for FLYFOTO?

FLYFOTO : I am continuing on with the white shorts project and there will likely be a sequel at some point in the future. I have begun the daunting task of examining my entire portfolio and am working on the preparation of a retrospective of my work to date.

The Lisp: Where can the book be purchased?

FLYFOTO : The book is on sale HERE or on my blog.

I don't know about you, but this project has left my white shorts anything but pristine!

Franco & AJ Irons

Carlito, Landon & Evan


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