Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Favorite Pic of the Day for May 19th

Jesse Griffith by Marlen Boro
-Check out more below-

Happy Birthday today May 19th to:

Actor and Model Jon Kortajarena turns 26 today.
Below: Jon shot by Shoky Van Der Horst for H&M.

Happy Birthday also today to Drew Fuller & Steven Ford.

Kudos to Oprah:

Yes FH readers, I said it, Kudos to Oprah. As many of you know I am not always a cheerleader for the talk show host. I admire and respect her but often cannot get beyond what I see as a wee bit of a self inflated ego. If I was to count the critical emails and comments I have gotten over the years, most of them (including an email from a reader this week) are about my giving poor Oprah a hard time.

Now the cynic in me wants to throw out some possible reasons for the Queen of daytime's decision to bring author James Frey back on her show (much needed publicity for new network, guilt, way to bring back viewers who turned away at her coldness) but I will not dwell on these doubts.

I will simply say kudos to Oprah from bringing Frey back, for admitting (in Oprah fashion) her past mistakes with him and for admitting her public lashing of him was ego driven. Although most of us saw it right away, it took Oprah about 5 years (timed perfectly to coincide with her last shows), but I digress, this is a kudos post... ;)

Special kudos to Frey who although admitted his mistakes, again and again in fact, did not succumb to the great ones attempts to get him to cry or to give more than he wanted to as far as explanation. Kudos to them both!

Favorite Click Of the Week: Barenaked in Boise

Cute counts!

There are a lot of guys who strip down to their birthday suits in public and end up getting arrested. Not many however are as cute as 20 year old Jonathan Palmer. Thanks to One Angry Queer I got to know a little about Jonathan and his attempted to overcome his fear of being naked in public by walking the streets of Boise wearing nothing but his great head of hair. Check out a bit more at One Angry Queer HERE:

Modest Exposure: Jesse Griffith by Marlen Boro

Behind The Mask:
Jesse Griffith by Marlen Boro:

'The desire to be a part of something creative or interesting always out ways the fear of being exposed.'
Jesse Griffith

In last week's Gentlemen of Marlen Boro readers were introduced to goatboy, model Jesse Griffith and his powerful and erotic goat mask. The mask, along with all those pictured in this feature, were created and hand made by Jesse.

Masks have traditionally served many purposes. From tribal ceremonies through performance art, Masks have had magical transforming powers. In North America masks are most commonly used for disguise. For children and adults, Halloween masks are an opportunity to become someone else, for criminals, they can be a way to keep their identities hidden from their victims. Masks are also used as protection, in sports and in battle the mask is used to protect the face from harm.

I know that you cannot judge a book by it's cover..yet...I still sometimes need a reminder. I have spent a lot of time over the past few months engrossed in the work of Marlen Boro. Marlen has been phenomenally kind to share with me. Some of his most creative shoots, some of his most fantastic, bizarre, erotic and explicit shots have included Jesse. With Jesse's facial structure both strong and expressive, his incredibly fit (not to mention hot) body, I wrongly made the assumption Jesse must be comfortable in front of the camera, in being naked, with being exposed. When I asked Jesse about the mask and it's purpose I was surprised by his response.

'I'm super shy but I fake it pretty well... It was a little easier posing with the mask. Props of any kind make it feel more like performance or acting to me and that makes me less self conscious. I can think of several runway shows I've been in where I was out there in front of everybody for an eternity wearing something outlandish, or very little at all, and really could have used a mask to hide behind!

Mom and dad took us to a lot of dinner parties functions when I was little; I was definitely the one hiding behind their legs when the children were introduced. I got into acting partly because i wanted to tell stories but mostly because I was afraid of public speaking.'

'I grew up in Hudson Valley New York. My accent is a mix I'm very glad you can't hear it! Dad is a philosopher. Mom is a librarian, and a badass. They're wonderful, brilliant people; I've been trying to live up to them my whole life. In 1995 I moved to St. Paul to study Art and Geology. I spent a semester abroad in Scotland, interned at Columbia University, and graduated with an Art BA from Macalester College in 1999. I served as apprentice in the Macalester Art Department the following year, then moved back to New York and started freelancing.'

Besides acting and modeling, as you can tell from the masks, Jesse is an artist. Besides the masks, Jesse works and expresses himself with a variety of other artist mediums, my favorite being his paintings. On his website Clever Monkey City, Jesse shares a large sampling of his work.

'Clever Monkey is me, and a reference to human origin (intelligence according to many is the trait that separates us from the monkeys). The website, which has undergone several incarnations and is due for a new one that will include film clips and modeling links, was envisioned as a hub linking different aspects of my art - personal, professional, various styles and media, around the homepage. It has a kind of architecture. Like a city. Hence: Clever Monkey City'

'I think my art is more about the things I'm reacting to (many) than it is about me. It is not all about me, I think that's a kind of vanity. There are things I would like people to see though. I would like them to say I'm good at what I do, that I've tested myself and pushed my own boundaries. That I've looked into some tough questions and come out with meaningful work.'

Jesse said that modeling was something else he was afraid of but...after the third of forth time of being asked by people on sets or on shows to shoot he knew the fear had to be faced.

'Marlen is someone I trust, both as a friend and an artist. Shooting with him does get me into situations I would definitely walk away from with anybody else behind the camera. At the shoot itself, the desire to be a part of something creative or interesting always out ways the fear of being exposed. It's only when the work is done and up on screen or in front of your viewers that I start getting nervous.

It is the creativity that leads me to do more than standard type shoots. The second you do something that has been done it's just stock photography and not art. I think we both hate photographic cliches; he knows them all and we either try to avoid them entirely or spin things in some way to make them his. We both like odd props, silly or provocative ideas, and are happier 'out there.' I know at the end of the day he's going to make me look better than I do and more often than not the shots I was nervous about look amazing.

In my shots with Marlen, I really hope people see something funny, or sexy, or beautiful, or all of those at once (Marlen can do that!) and that I have enough of those elements in me to be a worthy subject for his lens.'

Although the goat mask was off for the second part of Marlen's most recent work with Jesse, it did not go unnoticed by me that another form of disguise and deflection was present. The tattoo becomes the focus, possibly again as a prop for comfortability. For Marlen though, the tattoo's purpose was not to cover but to remind.

'Back in the late 90s when we used to go clubbing and have fun with ecstasy and such -I used to use color-stay eyeliner to draw Asian-inspired tattoos on myself. So I've always meant to play around with that again. Those were such amazing days - seeing Fatboy Slim in intimate venues - Paul Oakenfold - Fantastic Plastic Machine. Fantastic Plastic performed at First Avenue here in Minneapolis and played this amazing techno remix of Michael Jackson - I still remember how amazingly gleeful we all were when it came on - and I've never heard that song again. Sometimes that how it should be.'
Marlen Boro

Marlen put together an all new slide show featuring more of his work with Jesse! Do yourself a favor and check it out HERE: Be sure to crank your speakers!

Be sure to check out:
Marlen Boro Official site:
Gentlemen of Marlen Boro on Facebook:
Jesse Griffith on ModelMayhem:

Goat Boy: by Marlen Boro

There are many animals which have taken on sexy or erotic persona's, one of the most famous examples being The Playboy Bunny. Horses, and riding them have played a role in many sexual fantasies. Words that describe animal behavior are often connected to sex, words like wild, ferocious and beast to name just a few.

Then of course there are goats. Goats, like most animals from the farm are usually more associated with Disney Land than fantasy land. That is of course before they get in front of Marlen Boro's lens.

'Checking out Marlen's site Gentlemen Photography, is like being in the middle of an erotic theme park with light and colors and an intensity which make it difficult to know where to look first. Like being at Disney your surrounded by excitement where deciding where to start is hard choice. Marlen's work is erotic, sensual with a sense of fun made up of conceptual shoots where guys are not just posing, but playing strip twister, wearing hello kitty underwear and covered in glitter.'

I wrote the statement above in one of my first profiles of Marlen's work. This erotic theme park Marlen has created is full of many themes and many symbols usually only associated with attractions traditionally more family friendly.

Doing a little research on the 'the goat' I was a bit surprised to find out there are indeed some erotic theme's associated with the long horned mammal. In addition to being extremely curious and intelligent they are intensely inquisitive and with their upper lip and tongue will explore anything new or unfamiliar. Intact males are also known as as bucks or billies. Bucks are willing and capable of breeding at all times of the year. Bucks also are likely to charge or butt at humans out of fear or sometimes for no particular reason at all.

There is another goatboy besides the one grazing in front of Marlen Boro's window. In Greek mythology there is Pan. Pan is the God of shepherds and flocks, of mountain wilds, hunting and rustic music. Pan is famous for his sexual powers, and is often depicted with a phallus. Diogenes of Sinope, speaking in jest, related a myth of Pan learning masturbation from his father, Hermes, and teaching the habit to shepherds.

Pan has also been featured twice before on FH portrayed on stage by two of my favorite actors, Nick Adams & Jonathan D. Lovitiz.

Marlen said he was inspired to work with a mask by Sylvain Norget's Naked Rabbit Project. Marlen chatted with Jesse, one of his favorite collaborators, and it all began to come together. Jesse went to work and made the mask by hand himself.

'Its plaster gauze over a cardboard base. I'm not sure its what Marlen envisioned but I think we both agree it turned out well. Its always fun to imagine projects with Marlen and even more satisfying when they take shape. You have to be careful what you say though; any idea is fair game and Marlen has a habit of grabbing the silliest sounding ideas and holding you to them... Twister, 2 dollar pink bunny ears...'

I wondered how the mask turned into that of a goat. Jesse says he and Marlen thought of several animals for the shoot before deciding on a goat.

'Eagle was a strong candidate (I saw a Halloween costume in San Francisco that was hilarious and thought would mesh with Marlen's great sense of humor). Ultimately, we settled on a goat because of that animal's licentious reputation and the erotic overtones of Marlen's work. And...because horns look cool lol!'

Be sure to check out:
Marlen Boro Official site:
Gentlemen of Marlen Boro on Facebook:

& check back next week to find out more about Jesse, the man behind the mask!