Above, an exclusive gallery of 5 never-before-published Venfield 8 images.
Venfield 8 is the moniker of a mystery shooter who loves to take the piss out of consumerist sacred cows, as well out of the conventional gay male aesthetic.
Well, with his sorry/not sorry, glam/not glam approach, maybe he would actually put a little more piss into the latter.
Whereas most of the men we're presented with (guilty as charged here) are twinks or shiny musclemen with nary a hair on their god-like bodies, Venfield 8 seeks out hairy beasts, men who haven't had their abs ultra-etched by a surgeon, men you can practically smell through the computer screen.
David LaFlamme by Venfield 8
He's got a sense of humor, too, teasing his rapidly expanding audience with hints that he may be someone famous, all the while sprinklinghis Tumblr (Work Unfriendly)with unique, offbeat imagery, building a catalogue of work that is becoming more illustrative of who he is than any personal information ever could be.
I've been negligent in not interviewing him sooner—I've blogged about him for a couple of years already—because we've become friends. I've met him and stayed with him at his home, and have benefited from his advice and support; it's hard to interview your buddies.
But when your buddies are brilliant artists, you have to step up to the plate...
It was behind August 11, 2009, which was plentifully peopled due to two "Channing Tatum used to be a stripper" stories (here and here); September 4, 2009, with its link from Perez regarding Queen Latifah behaving like Redd Foxx with a nasty stripper; and March 3 and 4, 2011, which were both hot due to the mother of all posts, the one where I went all out by scanning an article from National Enquirer claiming that Zac Efron had been spotted holding a guy's hand. March 3, 2011, was not only my best day ever, it had more views than my third and fourth most popular days put together. (The Zac post was widely "stolen"—if people using my scan of stolen stuff counts as stolen—by others across the Web, so my hits could have been even higher with more attributions.)
The lesson? Sex sells. Even when it's being given for free.
I just returned, with my at-gunpoint cameraman José, from the 25th annual Night of a Thousand Gowns, a benefit thrown by the Imperial Court of New York to honor LGBT activist David Mixner and Princess Boy author Cheryl Kilodavis that raises cash for the Trevor Project and the Ali Forney Center.
As you know, I have done drag—I made a right camp Sam Fox. However, the Imperial Court is not bullshitting around when it comes to drag. They're a serious (and seriously regimented) org; camp was in short supply even if half the sequins on the East Coast were in the Marriott with me.
We arrived to find a larger-than-expected area for the press line. However, as guests began arriving—I'm not sure why some queens did the photo call and others didn't—it was apparent that NO print press showed up and very few online outlets, leaving me as the first person on the line. It was awkward, so we just began grabbing interviews where we could, either as attendees arrived or after they'd posed for the photographers. I was especially interested in (my new pal) Ally Sheedy, Honeymooners legend Joyce Randolph (who later received an award for which she was asked to kneel—not cool to ask of someone cruising toward 90, girls) and Carson Kressley...so of course not one of them did the carpet. Still, the people who did were quite diverse and easy to grab and I was able to chat with Joe of Joe.My.God. and more formally meet Mr. Broadway, Michael Cusumano.
Bill Cunningham (and Matthew Rettenmund) New York
I was most excited to meet and chat briefly with Bill Cunningham, the legendary octogenarian fashion shooter for The New York Times. A new documentary on him (Bill Cunningham New York) is getting lots of good press, something he seemed a bit shy about when I mentioned it. "I haven't seen it," he told me, "but I understand the filmmakers deserve a lot of praise." He remembered my name when thanking me. It was fascinating to watch him work the line; so many of the queens had no idea who he was and seemed bemused when he would hand them a pad to write down their names. (This old-school method is fail-safe, though, if you want to avoid being Miss Identified.)
Mike Ruiz of The A-List: New York and his partner Martin Berusch are supernice and supersexy each time I meet them. Ruiz noted that two more A-Listers are on the way for season two—and that the show was seeking supervillains. Super!
Don't ask—we won't tell
I grabbed Dan Choi—with a new friend, as in, a drag queen he met at the elevator, on his arm—and asked him a bit about marriage equality. He's a nice guy to talk to always. I feel like he has his regular personality—a little shy, nervously joking around—and then when he speaks about serious subjects he kicks into his activist persona. It's nice that he has a sense of humor; he needs one considering the schism in the community over whether he is our new Harvey Milk or is just milking every opportunity for attention. I don't think he's a messiah (and I don't think he thinks he is, either), and I occasionally disagree with him, but I like him and there's no denying he's had a major, grassroots impact on DADT and other gay issues. And he's hot in a suit.
As a bonus, I finally got to meet LGBT activist David Mixner, a gracious dude with a righteous sense of conviction about getting 'er done, rights-wise.
Amanda LePore walked right past me as I asked to take her picture. It felt like there was no way she didn't hear me, but she was as methodical as a glacier if a bit faster about it. It was...odd.
Ari Gold knows how to make an entrance...
...but his slaveboys know a thing or two about making an exit!
Ari Gold—who released his new single as "Sir Ari Gold" thanks to being knighted by this group last year—made an entrance that would have had Lady Gaga gagging with jealousy: He waltzed in clad in a gold Arabian number with two boyslaves on leashes. I hope he curbed them. I wish I'd seen the reaction of the gorgeous hospice dog that was in the house! (Dude brought his parents. He's one of the lucky ones who could do such a thing.)
He looked sexy in his version of drag, but it was soon back to the more traditional, can-I-pass-as-a-flamboyant-chick style of drag.
The guys of The Six Pack are the first to score with Black Spark—well, they scored the first audio interview with him at least. Go have a listen to see if you think he's "a tool" (as hosts Ben & Dave worried he might be before speaking with him) or a serious artiste or both. (Full interview available on The Six Pack's iPhone app.)
He says he was inspired by Kanye West's lyric about "shooting a viral" and incorporates sex into all he does because:
"...sex is power. You know, anyone can tell you, they can tell you whatever they want, but sex is power. Um, I feel powerful when I'm, when I'm havin' sex. I like, you know, I like to have sex, I have a lot of sex in my day-to-day life and so, that's why I hate the whole 'porn' thing is just because you guys are just seeing my love life. I have sex every single day and that's what people see."
He says, of his occasionally temperamental outbursts on Facebook:
Most of you have by now read my one and only previous post on erotic video auteur Black Spark. Turns out Mr. Spark—formerly "Collegefuckboy"—read it, too, as confirmed when his representative Jason Pears wrote me to assure me the guessing game I'd engaged in was perfectly okay. (This was a relief; I'd never intended to pour cold water on anyone's sparkler.) A lightning-fast e-mail interview with the man behind Black Spark ensued.
It's not arty porn or porny art: "You're seeing my love life."
I'm sorry that in some cases my questions are longer than his answers, but then I'm the word guy and he's the visuals guy, so it makes sense.
After reading this and checking out his work, decide for yourself whether he's a good director, a good fuck, a good marketer—or a triple threat.
Boy Culture: Did the Black Spark project start out as one guy and his friends and then become a more sophisticated, planned out project, or was it always a project that has been leaked out methodically?
The Black Spark: The Black Spark started off as one guy and that wasn’t Black Spark. The project is organic.
UPDATE: Make of this what you will, Nancy Drews—I was contacted by someone with Black Spark with this message:
"We think it's ok for you to guess as well. 'WHO IS BLACK SPARK?' is a question, right? We're comfortable that we're in a good position bc for all the guessing it hasn't been figured out. Additionally, there are no lies being told. Only truths being concealed for the sake of the project. <3"