Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Favorite Pic of the Day for January 18th

Welcome to my Circus!
Image by flondo
-See More Below-

Check out today's birthday's HERE:

Come & Join the Circus

Up until the age of 12 I frequently dreamt of running away and joining the circus. My dream was built on the magic of the lights, the music, my love of animals, my love of performing and my desperate desire to escape.

By the time I was old enough to actually take the journey, reality had set in. Not only was the traditional circus pretty much dead by the time I was a teenager, my knowledge and awareness of the treatment of the animals would not have allowed me to to work somewhere that had bears riding bikes and elephants forced to dance. My homelife had also stabilized to the point escape, although still a plan, was not one I needed to act on with the same degree of urgency.

I wonder where kids today dream of running off to. Sure, we have Cirque du Soleil but the mystic of the tradional circus wasn't just about what happened within the three rings, but what happened beyond them. Although I know the reviews were not kind, the recent film Water For Elephants brought to life for me what it was I was dreaming of. There was a sense of not only excitment and adventure but of family and inclusion. A ragtag group of people, forming a family, traveling the country with a rough and dirty yet magical mystique that pulled at the dreams of all kids like me, seeking a place to belong.

Hope you enjoy our day at the circus!

With The Greatest Of Ease: Apollo Bird by Mark Grantham

cirque érotique
Apollo Bird by Mark Grantham

'Oh, he floats through the air
With the greatest of ease,
This daring young man
On the flying trapeze;
His actions are graceful,
All girls he does please,
My love he has purloined away'

George Leybourne

One of the most exciting parts of any circus is without a doubt the aerial performances. Not only does it require a high level of technical skill, there is an artistry and magic in watching bodies move so gracefully in the air high above you.

When I think of bodies moving gracefully I cannot think of anyone who captures them as well as Mark Grantham. In my feature (Beauty of Lines) I put it this way;

'I was immediately drawn to his work as he is a master at capturing moments of movement. When I think of Mark Grantham I think of space. Mark's work is not just about the body in motion it is equally about the space in which that motion occurs.'

The idea for a circus theme has been with me for awhile but I could not go forward without including Mark's images of performing aerialist Apollo Bird. Apollo performs with the Vespertine Circus, a troupe of 7 multi-talented main characters, who have performed both internationally & across the USA. Mark's work with Apollo captures so beautifully what it is at the core that draws me to Mark's work and makes it such an addictive pleasure to spend time with.

Send Away The Clowns: Bounce by Richard Rothstein

Bounce by Richard Rothstein

When I was 12 years old I was given the responsibility, for the first time, of taking my brother without an adult to the circus. It was a traveling circus, one of those that set up in mall parking lots for a few days. At 12, I loved the circus. The animals, the acrobats, the colors and mystery. Elephants, lions and mobile homes turned dotted parking spaces into a magical world I would stare at for hours after school.

Soooo, my mother dropped my brother off and I off in front of the main tent, gave me strict instructions to watch my brother closely, and headed off into the mall to kill the hour or two until the show would be done. We had no money for food or souvenirs (I would have killed for one of those photo filled programs). Instead, we each had prepacked granola bars and grapes. Those grapes stick strongly in my memory as I felt the stares from all those around as with their cotton candy as we opened our zip lock sandwich bags stuffed with grapes.

At intermission, my brother wanted to go to the bathroom. I should have smelled trouble looming right there and then. I ran along with him to the blue outhouses that lined the outside of the tent. As I waited for my brother to finish I kept my eyes firmly, not on his whereabouts, but on the camels and horses grazing oh so naturally on straw thrown on the pavement.

Well as the whistle blew for the show to continue, I had the realization I had left any thoughts of my brother for about the past 10 minutes and committed firmly to dreaming about what it would be like to join the circus. Panic set in quickly and strongly. I began calling is name, running between the outhouse line and the opening of the tent. After what seemed liked hours, but was really more like seconds, I decided I needed help. The piped in music was beginning and spotlight was starting to circle the inside of the main tent. I thought the best person, and safest, to seek assistance from would be the clown that was about to start act two of the show. I wasn't really paying attention so did not internalize he was about to go 'on'. Frightened and nervous, I walked towards him and weakly asked if he would announce that my brother was missing.

The next 5 seconds are permanently ingrained in my memory, and nightmares forever. The clown stared down at me, his painted on smile turned into twisted annoyance and in a voice I can only remember as evil the clown quietly but intensely said 'Get the Fuck back in your seat.' As he turned to face the audience I stood in shock for a few seconds before I slowly walked back to my seat.

As I slunk back into my seat, the fact my brother was already sitting there waiting for me was of little consolation. A childhood fantasy had just been violently murdered. I was in shock for the rest of the day and days to follow. I can only compare it to finding out about Santa Clause. Yet another chunk of the magic that makes up being a kid was shot to hell. Life was forever just a little bit different and a little less special.

From this point on I have had issues with clowns. My coulrophobia crops up whenever I see a clown, in person, on tv or movies. Each time, the memory floods back. I of course have made the mistake of sharing this with may of my friends. It has led to clown related joke gifts at every holiday. Pop-up clown toys in my desk, clown related phone messages on my phone and 3 different gift DVD sets of IT. (which btw I LOVE).

When Richard Rothstein mentioned his clown shoot earlier this month, I again made the mistake of letting him know of my issues with clowns. Well Richard, like those clever friends of mine, decided to have some fun and began embedding shots of the clown he shot, Bounce, in the body of emails and sent them to me over the following couple of days. Of course he did not put any warning in the title so as I opened each e-mail I got to relive my childhood horror again and again.

Now...I sort of hate to admit it but I have to thank Richard for his clown intervention. I would not go so far as to say that my coulrophobia is cured, but spending time with his images of Bounce have made it a little more tolerable. Bounce's intent is not to frighten but instead to bring smiles and pleasure to those he encounters, mostly as roams throughout New York City. There is a fascinating and erotic juxtaposition with a naked clown. The whole intent of 'clown' is usually to mask, hide and cover, something you might think being naked would make difficult. Bounce, within Richard's images, manages to maintain the mystery, even when wearing nothing but a balloon bouquet.

'I've always been fascinated by the intimate juxtaposition of the ridiculous and the sublime; and by that occasional moment during the heat of sex when you find yourself observing as well as participating and suddenly realize that absent the hormonal surge, the moment is truly ridiculous. The position you're in is truly silly and what you and your sex partner(s) are doing looks absurd. And you laugh; its when ridiculous meets sexual frenzy in one great big orgasm of silly. Hence, the naked erotic clown. We've all been there, whether you want to admit it or not. It's when an erect penis suddenly morphs into a rubber chicken.'
Richard Rothstein

Check out more of Richard's work at Manhattan Men HERE:
Look for more Bounce, sans the clown make-up, on FH soon!

CIRCUS, CIRCUS by flondo

'No matter how long we exist, we have our memories - points in time which time itself cannot erase.'
Anne Rice, Blood And Gold

'I am a man of few words...but
I show the world new ways to dream'


Dreams, maybe.... more specifically fantasy, is the soul which powers much of the work of Toronto based artist flondo. Self described as a photoshop artist and photographer, flondo has a theatre, film and photography background which can be seen beautifully invading much of his imagery. Although flondo's portfolio includes many erotic images of intriguing and sexy men, I was drawn initially to his Manimals, Mermen, Angels, Faeries & Elves. I have to admit that I already was thinking of my Circus theme as I floated through flonto's flickr sets, so... when I saw his set titled Circus, Circus I knew where I wanted to begin.

'Circus: Out of the air like everything else.'

I think the difference between dream and a fantasy is time, and more importantly choice and control. You dream almost without intent or planning. During the day when bored or stressed, your mind takes over, breaking the tension with thoughts to help you through the moment. During the night, when sleeping, your subconscious takes control, pulling together elements of reality, inner fears and fantasy into visualizations that can bring both ecstasy, and at other times intense horror or dread. No matter how much we may want to plan or control our dreams, they force us to take a back seat and the control remains, no matter how much we fight it, not our own.

Fantasy on the other hand is all ours! We plan our fantasy's. As we slide under the sheets, as we lay on the grass staring at the sky, we get to plan who we will think about and what we will be doing with them. When we have a successful one, it gets repeated, sometimes for days and days, some we pull from year to year. These fantasy's arouse us, pleasure us but most of all comfort us.

The comfort comes from the fact that since we're writing the ending, we can predict it. Elements of reality, senses of noise and smell rarely enter in. They hit our emotional and visual senses while leaving the others untouched. The clowns and men in flono's Circus, Circus world are not scary or loud, have no rips in, or stains on, their costumes. The bodies are perfect, the fabric rich,the color vibrant and men, sexual and exotic.

Check out more of flondo's fantasies and dreams on his official site HERE: & his extensive portfolio on flickr HERE:

You can also check out flondo's book and travel deeper into his world of Exotica on Blurb HERE: