Nickname given to Elizabeth Short (29th July 1924 – c. 15th January 1947),
an American woman who was the victim of a much-publicized murder in 1947.
Short acquired the moniker posthumously from newspapers in the habit of nicknaming crimes they found particularly lurid. The “Black Dahlia” nickname may have been derived from a film noir murder mystery, The Blue Dahlia, released in April 1946. Short was found mutilated, her body sliced in half at the waist, on 15th January 1947, in Leimert Park, Los Angeles, California. Short’s unsolved murder has been the source of widespread speculation, leading to many suspects, along with several books, television, and film adaptations of the story. Short’s murder is one of the oldest unsolved murder cases in Los Angeles history.
About sixty people confessed to the murder, mostly men. Of those, twenty-five were considered viable suspects by the Los Angeles District Attorney. In the course of the investigation, some of the original twenty-five were eliminated, and several new suspects were proposed. Suspects remaining under discussion by various authors and experts to this day include Walter Bayley, Norman Chandler, Leslie Dillon, Joseph A. Dumais, Man Ray, and most specifically Dr. George Hill Hodel, who may have murdered Short in his Loyld Wright designed home on Franklin Avenue.
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Loves and Lives Tom of Finland is a Gay icon. His drawings of well-built men in rugged attire, and depictions of man-to-man lust, shaped a strong image of Gay identity. He drew males having sex without shame, proud and full of confidence.
Tom of Finland is the artist name of Finnish Touko Laaksonen (1920, Kaarina – 1991, Helsinki). He signed his erotic work “Tom” and when his drawings were first published in 1957, now world-famous “Tom of Finland” was born. “Touko Laaksonen” was kept for family and colleagues; both friends and fans have always simply called him “Tom”.
Ecce Homo If we can agree upon the definition, that a great artist must be radical in the terms of his own time and has the power to change the way we see the world, then Tom of Finland undoubtedly counts among the great and truly influential artists of the second half of the 20th century. He managed to gain a huge international following outside the usual precincts of museums and galleries. Through his iconic images he almost singled-handedly changed the way Gay men were perceived by society, and – maybe even more important – how gay men perceived themselves.
All he needed to create a universe of dazzlingly gorgeous hunks was a pencil and a sheet of paper. And he probably drew every day of his life. Drawing was an excercise for his restless imagination and desire.