Despite Controversy, No Children Harmed at Tom of Finland’s West Hollywood Erotic Art Fair
Earlier in the year, members of the West Hollywood Arts and Cultural Affairs Commission refused to put their seal of approval on the event, saying that children could somehow be harmed.
The commission’s decision stunned the gay community in Los Angeles and caused an uproar.
West Hollywood City Council members eventually overrode the commission, allowing the erotic art fair, which is sponsored by the Tom of Finland Foundation, to take place at West Hollywood Park Auditorium.
West Hollywood Patch reporter James Mills notes that folks at the fair were still concerned about the controversy.
“The most alarming thing is none of the people on that commission are our enemies. They are one of us,” Dan Berkowitz, co-chair of the West Hollywood Lesbian and Gay Advisory Board and a former president of the Tom of Finland Foundation, told WeHo Patch. “When the LGBT community is attempting to censor its own … things are really in trouble.”
Commission members are appointed to their posts by West Hollywood City Council members John Heilman, Abbe Land, John Duran, Jeff Prang, and John D’Amico.
During the recent West Hollywood City Council race, longtime incumbents John Heilman and Abbe Land, who were running for re-election when the erotic art fair controversy broke out, were criticized for helping to de-gay West Hollywood.
The city’s poor handling of the erotic art fair was cited as an example by critics.
This weekend, Heilman and Land made personal appearances at the fair, which featured many drawings and paintings of naked men.
Original issues of old school gay magazines from the early 1960s such as Physique Pictorial were also for sale.
The crowd was made up of mostly gay men in their thirties, forties, and older, with volunteers always standing outside the doors leading into the fair.
The few children who live in West Hollywood — U.S. Census figures show the city is not, and has never been, a place filled with kids — were not allowed anywhere near the auditorium.
There have been no public reports of anyone being offended by the erotic art fair.
Mr. L.A. Leather 2011 Leo Iriarte, however, did make a triumphant appearance.
By Patrick Range McDonald, Mon., Mar. 28 2011