GO TO THE THEATRE Tom of Finland movie opens in LA on the 20th at Nuart Theatre
COME TO THE BAR Tom of Finland has a special party on the 21st at Eagle LA
The film has received acclaim in 30 countries
and now comes to Tom’s second home, Los Angeles!
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”.
Tom shaped the fantasies of a generation of Gay men, influencing art and fashion before crossing over into the wider cultural consciousness. Dome Karukoski’s stirring biopic follows his life from the trenches of WWII and repressive Finnish society of the 1950s through his struggle to get his work published in California, where he and his art were finally embraced amid the sexual revolution of the 1970s.
Tom first visited the USA in 1978. With in that year, he had two solo exhibitions, one in Los Angeles and one in San Francisco. This trip to the States was worthwhile with his career taking a significant leap.
Tom needed someone to manage his business and Durk Dehner, who lived in Los Angeles and had hosted him on his first visit, turned out to be just this man: trustee, model, lover and business partner. Together they formed Tom of Finland Company, followed in 1984 by the nonprofit Tom of Finland Foundation in Echo Park.
Tom’s story is one of love, courage and perseverance, mirroring the Gay liberation movement for which his Leather-clad studs served as a defiant emblem.
Last year, Tom’s Los Angeles residence, the Tom of Finland House, TOM House, was honored with a Cultural-Historic Monument designation in Los Angeles. It was in his home, TOM House, that Tom got to be Tom 100% of the time and live the life he drew on paper.
The night is hosted by
Marc Bellenger and Pete Karjalainen of Tom of Finland Foundation
Jeff Wilcox, Eagle LA Mr. Leather, Mr. L.A. Leather 2017
Finland’s Official Selection for Best Foreign Language Film
consideration at the 90th Academy Awards.
Q&A Friday 7p: Actor Pekka Strang (Tom), and VP Tom of Finland Foundation S. R. Sharp
Q&A Saturday 7p: Dialogue writer Mark Alton Brown, and VP Tom of Finland Foundation S. R. Sharp
Leather-clad, burly young men, in various stages of undress and often indulging in sexual shenanigans, are standard scenes in the artworks created by Finnish Touko Laaksonen, known as homoerotic artist Tom of Finland and professionally and personally as Tom. His Echo Park home, nestled within the suburbs of Los Angeles, has been preserved, down to the pillows, and is the home base for Tom of Finland Foundation and the revolving door of characters that make the pilgrimage to the famous—and infamous—compound.
“It’s an extraordinary place, equal parts frat pad, utopian collective, art historical archive, sepulcher, community center, and den of iniquity,” writes Mayer Rus, in his foreword to TOM House.
Tom’s artwork, which he called “dirty drawings,” is no longer relegated to back rooms in kinky New York City gay bars. At the Whitney Museum’s Biennial of 1991, his drawings held court alongside iconic works by Cindy Sherman and Roy Lichtenstein.
Today, Tom House is still home to many of the original residents, while also welcoming new arrivals, often at-risk youth and struggling artists, looking for sanctuary. The Foundation also uses the home as a backdrop for countless fundraisers, art exhibitions, and community meetings.
Rus writes: “At Tom House, everyone is welcome, everyone is accepted, and all things considered.”