The third annual celebration of go-go dancing, which is said to have originated in West Hollywood, will be held on Nov. 9 as part of the opening reception for a Tom of Finland art exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) branch at the Pacific Design Center.
“It’s really exciting,” said West Hollywood Councilmember John D’Amico, who came up with the idea of Go-Go Dancer Appreciation Day in 2011. “This is the first-ever Tom of Finland display at MOCA. It seemed natural to tie go-go dancing to the opening of the exhibit.”
After this Saturday’s MOCA opening for Bob Mizer & Tom of Finland and ONE’s Art and Physique Circa Bob and Tom, head over to West Hollywood’s third annual Go-Go Boys Appreciation Day Festival and Competition at 7:30 p.m. The contest will be held between Revolver & Eleven.
Celebrity judges for this TOM themed, star-studded, red carpet event include David Moretti (Dante’s Cove, The Lair), Gerald McCullouch (CSI, BearCity), Matthew Breen (The Advocate Magazine), Guy Baldwin (International Mr. Leather 1989), Mike Gerle (International Mister Leather 2007) and Vladimir Shmygol (WeHo GoGo 2012).
International recording artist and YouTube sensation VINITA will be performing live.
Frontiers magazine has partnered with The City of West Hollywood, Tom of Finland Foundation, Visit West Hollywood, MOCA at the Pacific Design Center, 665 Leather and the bars and clubs of Boystown for the third annual Festival.
Starting on November 9 and running through January 26, the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), Los Angeles, presents Bob Mizer and Tom of Finland, the first American museum exhibition devoted to the art of Bob Mizer (1922–1992) and Touko Laaksonen, aka “Tom of Finland” (1920–1991), two of the most significant figures of Twentieth Century erotic art and forefathers of an emergent post-war gay culture.
Tom of Finland is the creator of some of the most iconic and readily recognizable imagery of post-war gay culture. He produced thousands of images beginning in the 1940s, robbing straight homophobic culture of its most virile and masculine archetypes (bikers, hoodlums, lumberjacks, cops, cowboys, and sailors) and recasting them—through deft skill and fantastic imagination—as unapologetic, self-aware, and boastfully proud enthusiasts of gay sex. His most innovative achievement though, worked out in fastidious renderings of gear, props, settings, and power relations inherent therein, was to create the depictions that would eventually become the foundation of an emerging gay Leather culture. Tom imagined the leather scene by drawing it; real men were inspired by it… and suited themselves up.
By the time the gay liberation movement swept through the United States in the late 1960s, both Tom of Finland and Bob Mizer were already well-known and widely celebrated as veritable pioneers of gay art. Decades before the raid on the Black Cat Tavern and Stonewall Inn these evocative and lusty representations of masculine desire and joyful, eager sex between men proliferated and were disseminated worldwide at a time when the closet was still very much the norm—there was no such thing as a gay community. If these artists were not ahead of their time, they might just have foreseen and even invented a time.
Organized by MOCA Curator Bennett Simpson and guest co-curator Richard Hawkins, the exhibition is presented with the full collaboration of the Bob Mizer Foundation, El Cerrito, and the Tom of Finland Foundation, Los Angeles and is made possible by David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles and The City of West Hollywood.
Opening events on November 9
Bob Mizer and Tom of Finland
The Museum of Contemporary Art – Pacific Design Center – 6-9 PM
North San Vicente, between Santa Monica and Melrose
Art and Physique Circa Bob and Tom
Exhibition exploring context surrounding erotic art
ONE Archives collections and materials on loan from Tom of Finland Foundation
ONE Gallery – 6-9 PM
El Tovar and North Robertson, between Santa Monica and Melrose
GoGo Dancer Appreciation Festival
The theme is Tom of Finland
$5 suggested donation benefiting
Frontiers Awareness and Education Foundation and Tom of Finland Foundation
The City of West Hollywood – 7:30-10:30 PM
Larabee and Santa Monica