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Off Sunset Festival | 29th March | LA

Events of Interest


An exciting day of music, culture, art, food and fun
populated by over 8000 people, taking the party to the streets.

What better way to kick off spring than by luxuriating
in Los Angeles’ legendary sunshine
as it spotlights an area spanning over half mile of:

Live music, DJ-driven dancing, Gourmet food trucks,
Festival foods, Beer trailers, Ice-cold specialty drinks,
Dozens of hand-picked merchandise, art and novelty vendors.

Check out the World of TOM.

Sunday 29th Off Sunset Street Fair Santa Monica & Sunset Boulevards, Silver Lake 11:00a to 7:00p Taking the party to the streets with music, dancing, food, drinks, merchandise, art and novelties.

TOM OF FINLAND © 1988 Tom of Finland Foundation

Sunday, 11a-7p

Santa Monica at Sunset
Silver Lake



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For the Record

TOM OF FINLAND (Touko Laaksonen, Finnish, 1920 – 1991), Untitled, Hand knotted, Wool & Silk, 150 knot Free-form, 215 x 240 cm (84.5 x 94.5 ins) © 1978 Tom of Finland Foundation


I can quite honestly say I have never written at any length about rugs before. Has anyone? But then I suppose I had never really seen a rug worthy of writing about. That all changed on Wednesday night when I attended the Henzel Studio Collaboration launch at Colette. Work by some of the world’s most celebrated contemporary artists has been turned into glorious oversized rugs. Jurgen Teller, Nan Goldin, Scott Campbell and most importantly: Tom of Finland. On a rug. Best thing ever. 



TOM OF FINLAND rug, Colette, 213 rue Saint-Honoré 75001 Paris


TOM OF FINLAND (Touko Laaksonen, Finnish, 1920 – 1991), Untitled, Iron-on patch © 1978 Tom of Finland Foundation


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Los Angeles Leather Pride continues!

Events of Interest



2015 beneficiaries are Project Angel Food, ONE Archives and Tom of Finland Foundation

Congratulations to All the Winners of
2015 Southland Honors Awards

Wednesday 25th VIP Reception TOM House 6:00 to 9:00p A thank-you to supporters.

Wednesday 25th
VIP Reception
TOM House
6:00 to 9:00p
A thank-you to supporters.

Thursday 26th
Roast of Mr. Los Angeles Leather 2014
The Bullet Bar
Bid farewell to Eric Paul Leue with a hilarious send-off. 

Friday 27th
Rough Trade Gear
Hosted by Calif B & B, Regiment of the Black and Tans, BLUF
7:00 to 10:00p
A formal uniform/ formal leather gala reception under the stars.

Leather Dog Pound
Bullet Bar
The pup party of L.A. Leather Pride.

Full Fetish Tribal Rites Men’s Play Party
Presented by RECON and hosted by Avatar LA
Sanctuary Studios – LAX

Cigar Party/ Meet & Greet
Eagle LA
Meet the Class of 2015 contestants and judges up close and personal.

Saturday 28th
Desert Tribes Beer Bust
Presented by Palm Springs Leather Order of the Desert
The Bullet Bar
1:00 to 4:00p
Second annual event to get you ready for the big night!

DCF 1.0

Saturday 28th Mr. Los Angeles Leather 2015 Contest. LEGION Victory Dance. Club 333. Doors open at 6:00p. Silent Auction and Vendor Mart. See who will represent LA at IML.


Sunday 29th Off Sunset Street Fair Santa Monica & Sunset Boulevards, Silver Lake 11:00a to 7:00p Taking the party to the streets with music, dancing, food, drinks, merchandise, art and novelties.

Sunday 29th
Off Sunset Street Fair
Silver Lake
11:00a to 7:00p
Taking the party to the streets with music, dancing, food, drinks, merchandise, art and novelties.



Grand Prize Raffle Tickets - Trip for Two to Folsom Europe

Grand Prize Raffle Tickets – Trip for Two to Folsom Europe

TOM OF FINLAND images © Tom of Finland Foundation

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Macho man: Tom of Finland is latest to join Henzel Studio Heritage

For the Record
Henzel Studio's latest collection - a tribute to artist Tom of Finland - launches at Colette this week

Henzel Studio’s latest collection – a tribute to artist Tom of Finland – launches at Colette this week

Henzel Studio launches a new chapter of their production with a tribute to artist Tom of Finland.

The collection, which is launching at Colette this week, opens a new frontier for the Swedish rug maker. Following last year’s impressive range of high profile artist collaborations, which included rugs by Richard Prince, Linder and Mickalene Thomas, the brand is now debuting an ongoing series of partnerships with artists’ foundations to bring a wide variety of 20th century works to life under the Henzel Studio Heritage umbrella.

Combining the best craftsmanship and latest weaving techniques, the rugs will showcase a selection of the artist’s vast production of homoerotic line drawings in great detail.

The collection includes one free-form hand knotted rug and twelve tufted rugs, made of New Zealand wool and silk and intricately woven to reproduce the drawings in great details. A set of three pillows completes the range.

The collection is inspired by the unique environment that is Tom’s own home, TOM House in Echo Park, Los Angeles (W* 188). Now home of Tom of Finland Foundation, the house offers a vivid picture of the artist’s world: rooms have been left intact and include a vast array of sketches, collected images and objects that center around a theme of homoerotic sexuality and the male body.

One of the artist’s most iconic pieces, a 1978 portrait of a policeman, is the subject of the hand knotted rug (woven over a 5-month period) which includes subtle manufacturing touches such as the silk embroidery that enhances the black leather effect on the hat. The rest of the collection depicts various sexual and sensual scenes from Tom of Finland’s sketches, many of which have never been seen before. Curator Joakim Andreasson worked on the three pillows, creating unique collages from Tom of Finland’s collected imagery he found in the house.

The range offers a new perspective on Tom of Finland’s works and their modernity, affirming the artist’s great relevance in art and design today.

12 tufted rugs, based on Tom of Finland's erotic sketches

12 tufted rugs, based on Tom of Finland’s erotic sketches

Henzel Studio X Tom of Finland exhibition will run between 23rd March – 18th April
Colette Gallery, 213 Rue Saint-Honoré, 75001 Paris, France 



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Letters written by Tom of Finland during the war

Friends of Tom


The authors of the book, Letters from War,
at Vapriikki Museum Center auditorium on Friday 20th March.

The book includes a chapter about the letters written by Touko Laaksonen (aka Tom of Finland, 1920-1991) during the Continuation War. The chapter is entitled, “With the Help of Music”, and depicts the role of music in Touko’s life as he taught singing and the playing of different instruments to his fellow soldiers, formed and led a chorus, entertained men by playing piano and most of all gave them strength, through the power of music, when they most needed it.


Helsingin SanomatThe anthology also presents Tom of Finland’s letters from the army to home.

Susanna Luoto’s article in the book presents letters of Touko Laaksonen. Luoto is a journalist who curated the Post Museum’s Tom of Finland exhibit, Sealed with a Secret, and is preparing a book on his life.

According to her, the young Laaksonen is shown in the letters to be “anything else than his later trademark of a seductively self-conscious and robust men’s men.”

Rather the young Touko was a clean-cut, wholesome family boy dedicated to classical music, who was shocked by crassness of his fellow comrades-in-arms. His abilities as a draughtsman already emerged during the war.

Laaksonen started the military service in the infantry training center in spring 1940, soon after the conclusion of the Winter War. NCO was followed by the Helsinki Air Defence Regiment.

In October of 1943 Laaksonen was promoted to Lieutenant due to his achievements as head officer in the air battles over Helsinki. For the last months of the war Laaksonen was sent to Vyborg Bay.

During his nearly five-year service Laaksonen wrote plenty of letters to his sisters and parents.

In his first letter from the army to the folks back at home, he spoke of his sudden longing: “I wouldn’t have believed that just after a week and a half I would miss the piano so terribly.”


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How Gay Porn Helped Build the Gay Rights Movement

For the Record

In 2002, pornographer Chuck Holmes’ name was installed over the San Francisco LGBT Center, and public outrage was swift. Detractors called the move — in recognition of the late gay mogul’s $1 million bequest to the beleaguered center — “insane,” fearing it would only fuel right-wing allegations about the gay community’s obsession with sex. What those critics missed, and what continues to missed over a decade later, is the role pornographers like Holmes played in building the gay rights movement we know today.

Several years ago, I set out to make a documentary about Holmes, Seed Money, which premieres this spring. During the process, I discovered how much we, as a community, owe to intrepid smut-peddlers like Chuck who risked their lives to help us live out ours.

You see, when the early homophile movement began in the early 1950s, the U.S. government didn’t differentiate between homosexual rights manifestos, gay erotica or dirty pictures. All were considered illegal, and using the postal service to distribute any of them could and did result in long prison sentences.

So perhaps it’s not surprising that pornographers, who had years of experience fighting those battles, were often prominent figures in the emerging homophile movement’s leadership. Jim Kepner, founder of the ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives, was a noted author of gay erotica. Hal Call, one of the first presidents of the Mattachine Society, the pioneering gay rights organization in San Francisco, was an adult film director and owner of the Adonis Bookstore.

Rather than be a liability, pornographers could provide a strategic advantage to the movement. They not only knew the legal restrictions (and how to get around them), they had the money to fight the obscenity battles that cleared the way for greater discussions of sexuality. Pornographers were the advance troops of our sexual revolution.

Homophile organizations like Mattachine and Daughters of Bilitis had publications, of course, but their reach — often just a few thousand circulation — was miniscule compared to that of “posing strap” magazines like Physique Pictorial and Tomorrow’s Man. It wasn’t political tracts, but pornography that provided most gay men with their first connection to — and awareness of — a larger gay culture.



BOB MIZER, Physique Pictorial Artwork: TOM OF FINLAND

BOB MIZER, Physique Pictorial


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The Second Coming of Tom

Friends of Tom

Tom of Finland Foundation has collaborated with artists and designers to satisfy a new generation of collectors.

From Michelangelo to Rauschenberg, gay artists can be found at any major museum. Meanwhile, Tom of Finland’s “dirty drawings” of bulging bikers, lumberjacks, and leathermen seemed forever confined to the back rooms of gay bars — not the hallowed halls of white-walled galleries. But a new window display at Colette Gallery on one of Paris’s most fashionable streets is aiming to elevate the work from hardcore to haute. The new exhibition of Henzel Studio’s luxury handmade rugs — which will also feature designs by Nan Goldin and Richard Prince — is the result of the tireless efforts of the Tom of Finland Foundation to promote the artist’s legacy.

But the trend doesn’t stop with pricey tapestries. With gallery exhibitions, linens, a line of athletic apparel, and a new biopic about the artist in the works, we’re experiencing a full-blown Tom of Finland renaissance.

“We just received a beautiful letter from a 21-year-old Polish guy telling us how he discovered Tom in the last year, and how good it makes him feel,” says Durk Dehner, president of the Tom of Finland Foundation. “And we could have gotten that letter in 1976 or 2006. It’s what made me work with Tom to start this: listening to young guys who said his work gave them a positive identity — that they weren’t the only gays in the village.”

Dehner always knew the work of Tom of Finland (a.k.a. Touko Laaksonen) was special. Inspired by one of the artist’s erotic drawings he saw at the Spike, a New York City fetish bar, in the ’70s, he wrote Tom a fan letter. They became friends, and Dehner helped create the foundation in 1984 in his Los Angeles home, where Tom lived for his last decade. Originally intended to preserve the work of the artist, who died in 1991 at the age of 71, the organization soon expanded to “offer a safe haven for all erotic art in response to rampant discrimination against art that portrayed sexual behavior or generated a sexual response.”

With the motto “Let’s keep it fun,” Dehner threw parties in the ’80s and ’90s to celebrate Tom’s images, but interest began to wane. Then, in 2006, the Judith Rothschild Foundation donated five works to New York’s Museum of Modern Art. “Tom of Finland is one of the five most influential artists of the 20th century,” Harvey S. Shipley Miller, a Rothschild Foundation trustee, said at the time. “As an artist, he was superb. As an influence, he was transcendent.”

Last year, the first American museum exhibition devoted to the work of Tom of Finland and photographer Bob Mizer, both pioneers of gay art, was mounted at MOCA in Los Angeles. That will be followed by the largest exhibition of Tom’s work at New York’s Artists Space in June.

However, all the upscale collaborations doesn’t mean the foundation has forgotten its raunchier roots. It recently created a line of “pleasure tools,” including a limited-edition dildo art object (retailing for $500). A sculptor based it on a drawing of Tom’s character (and alter ego) Kake’s cock, and the material looks like graphite. “It’s a beautiful cock,” says Dehner. “When we were creating it, we wanted it to be a sculpture.”

Not that Tom of Finland is a brand, per se. “We don’t see it that way, with those definitions,” says S.R. Sharp, the vice president of the foundation, who also helms an artist residency program. “It’s really about a man and his legacy united with the guy who created it. Tom of Finland was a real person, with real hands, who actually created great artwork.”

“If someone can’t afford a $30,000 drawing, they can maybe afford a $20 cock ring,” Dehner says. “It’s just as valid that they have Tom in their life in their own way. We think of them all as collectors.”

S.R. Sharp (left) and Durk Dehner at TOM House | Photography by François Dischinger. Produced by Michael Reynolds.

S.R. Sharp (left) and Durk Dehner at TOM House | Photography by François Dischinger. Produced by Michael Reynolds.



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The Agenda: This Week in Los Angeles

Events of Interest

A.i.A. editors suggest a few of the myriad events taking place this week in Los Angeles: an appearance by Jiraiya at the Tom of Finland Foundation; a pop-up porn theater at Machine Project; a screening of Hairy Who & the Chicago Imagists at the Armory Center for the Arts; and an opportunity to check out John Craig Freeman’s augmented reality at LACMA.

Thursday, Mar. 19, 7 p.m.

Presentation: Jiraiya at the Tom of Finland Foundation

Jiraiya is a cult Japanese erotic artist who makes detailed cartoons of jovial, muscular gay men hanging out with each other, reclining with dogs and eating. He may be mysterious (he doesn’t allow photographs of himself), but he’s not a secret: one of his illustrated men-a beefy, happy swimmer-was recently featured on the cover of Massive: Gay Erotic Manga and the Men Who Make It, recently released by Fantagraphics. Thus he’s a perfect fit for the Tom of Finland Foundation, where he will give a visual presentation of his career, sign items, and sell merch.

Tom of Finland Foundation

by A.I.A EditorsArtInAmerica_logo@


JIRAIYA, Lifeguard (ライフをガード, Detail), 2013, Digital illustration, 11.8″ x 7.4″, © 2013 Jiraiya

JIRAIYA, Lifeguard (ライフをガード, Detail), 2013, Digital illustration, 11.8″ x 7.4″, © 2013 Jiraiya


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“Sesión Continua: A porn theatre in Echo Park” | 20th March | LA

Events of Interest


DL: Los Angeles takes back the streets – way, way back to a period when freely flowing reels of gay pornography filled back alley cinema screens. In a 24-hour long marathon-screening, DL: Los Angeles will show classic works of Gay and Lesbian erotica in “sesión continua”-style: no schedules, no set attendance times. Slip in and out or stay a while to witness a bygone approach towards explicit cinema that blended avant-garde film forms with another industry’s titillating requirements.

Sesión Continua will take place at a 17-seat, underground, vaudeville-style theater located in Machine Project’s basement. We want to convey the intimacy and appetites that animated original porn theaters like the Park Theatre or the Tomkat Complex, with a limited seating that calls for closeness and an extended program that lubricates the flow of audiences into the theater.

Friday 11:59p – Saturday 11:59p



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Facebook has new rules for nudity, lot more

For the Record
Nudity (1)

We also allow photographs of paintings, sculptures, and other art that depicts nude figures: Facebook

Using Facebook? Be prepared to for changes to what you post and see on your timeline. Facebook has released a 2,500 word Community Standards document on the social networking website which reads out a few new rules, out loud.

The BBC reported that Facebook has released a 2,500 word Community Standards, which is longer than the earlier released one, focuses on safety, respectful behavior privacy, security and intellectual property.

The ‘Encouraging respectful behavior’ section on Facebook’s Community Standards page explains it all. The subsection ‘Nudity’ explains ‘We restrict the display of nudity because some audiences within our global community may be sensitive to this type of content – particularly because of their cultural background or age’. So in short, nude images from posts will be taken down without notice. If the images are for educational or satirical purposes, you may get lucky, but not always.

“We remove photographs of people displaying genitals or focusing in on fully exposed buttocks. We also restrict some images of female breasts if they include the nipple, but we always allow photos of women actively engaged in breastfeeding or showing breasts with post-mastectomy scarring.”

“We also allow photographs of paintings, sculptures, and other art that depicts nude figures. Restrictions on the display of both nudity and sexual activity also apply to digitally created content unless the content is posted for educational, humorous, or satirical purposes. Explicit images of sexual intercourse are prohibited. Descriptions of sexual acts that go into vivid detail may also be removed,” say the nudity guidelines.



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