All things LGBT, erotic, beautiful, taboo and fringe


Presenting Sponsor

TOM OF FINLAND (Touko Laaksonen, Finnish, 1920 – 1991), Untitled, c.1965, Graphite on paper, Tom of Finland Foundation Permanent Collection, © 1965-2019 Tom of Finland Foundation

Tom of Finland Art and Culture Festival 2019: OUR Community Standards
5th-6th October

Recon visits TOM House for last year’s Art Fair and presents a genuine reflection of our vibrant and relevant community.


We are experiencing unprecedented challenges to our freedoms – especially when it comes to expression, as has been experienced by a number of LGBT artists who have been deleted, removed, banned or otherwise barred from full representation on social media.

For nearly a quarter century Tom of Finland Foundation has hosted an annual Art and Culture Festival celebrating all things LGBT, erotic, beautiful, taboo and fringe.

OUR Community Standards will look at censorship in art, and provide a safe, positive and inclusive environment for both artists and the general public to see, feel and engage with art of all types, in a historic location that has played host to many luminaries throughput the years.

The Festival will showcase nearly 50 artists, the opportunity for visitors to make art themselves during the life drawing sessions with live models, film screenings, a live auction and the annual presentation of Tom of Finland Foundation Awards – to artists, supporters, and those who make a difference.

Saturday 5th October 2019
– Art Fair – Noon to 6:00p

– Drawing Session Noon – 3:00p
Coordinated by Miguel Angel Reyes

– Mikki Yamashiro 1:00 – 1:15p

– Panel Discussion – 2:00p
“How Do We Communicate On/With Social Media,” moderated by Jennifer Tyburczy, Associate Professor of Feminist Studies at UC Santa Barbara.
Panel: Rick Castro, Artist; Brendan Hamme, Lawyer, ACLU; Marvel A. Rex, Artist; Dakota Belle Witt, Activist, ACLU;
Angela “Angel” Divina, Artist.

 – Peter Kalisch 4:30 – 4:45p

– Screenings – 7:00p
Hustler White (1996) and Sticks and Stones (2014)
Rick Castro will be in attendance to introduce the film and answer questions.


Sunday 6th October 2019
– Art Fair – Noon to 6:00p

– Sob Sister 1 – 1:15p
Musical Performance

– Drawing Session Noon – 2:00p
Coordinated by Miguel Angel Reyes

– Awards Presentation – 2:00p
Honorees includes Don Bachardy, Pierre Davis, Christopher Harrity and Danny Fuentes.

– Live Auction – 4:00p
Works from around the world – Japan, Great Britain, the United States and Finland.
See artwork below.

– Vicente Ugartechea 4:30 – 5:00p

Admission is $12 for each day, $12 for the screening; or $20 for a weekend pass.
Day of: $14 per day/$24 both days and films4fags




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“My Gay Eye” chronicles much more than beefcake

Historic images explore influence of Tom of Finland on our culture

If you are gay man, 30 years old or older, chances are you have heard of or seen iconic images from Tom of Finland that feature erotic and artistic portraits of men together and solo in what are easily some of the most sexual and beautiful pieces ever to come out of the gay community.

If you haven’t taken a look at these works of art do yourself a favor and Google them now or better yet, visit the Tom of Finland Foundation for a tour and a history lesson at one of LA’s hidden gems of the gay community tucked away in the historic neighborhood of Echo Park, just blocks away from your favorite eateries on Sunset Boulevard.

In 1984, the non-profit Tom of Finland Foundation was established by Durk Dehner and his friend Tom of Finland (born Touko Laaksonen). As Tom had established worldwide recognition as the expert in homoerotic art, the Foundation’s original purpose was to preserve his “library” of work. Soon after Tom and Durk found themselves with a larger purpose and now, after 35 years, the Foundation still educates the public on just why erotic art is important to overall health and sexuality.

The Foundation is a non-profit organization supported by donations from the public and various fund-raising events throughout Los Angeles during the year.

During LA Pride weekend, the Foundation will join forces in the well-known “Erotic City” tent within the festival to reach out to a larger demographic of festival goers, including the younger generation who might not be as familiar with some of the iconic images and background of the Foundation as it promotes its 400- page, special edition of “My Gay Eye” containing works by more than 120 artists and writers from around the world, as well as a large selection of work from Tom himself. More than just a collection of beefcake images, the book features essays and pieces of history that help to build a bridge between the continents of Europe and America and the twin cities of Berlin and Los Angeles. This collection which will be on hand to purchase, is an in depth exploration of the history and influence of Tom of Finland within the gay community.

Rinaldo Hopf, editor of the book, gives the community a sense of the culture and art that has been shown at the Foundation. Hopf an important figure of German gay art, was Resident Artist at The Tom of Finland Foundation in Los Angeles in 2017, and brings to life, the collection from over the years, in “My Gay Eye.”

“It starts with Tom’s work process: the collages he did with found images from newspapers and magazines and preparatory sketches. Durk Dehner came up with the idea to feature examples of all the techniques Tom used, from taking his own reference photos, to pen and ink drawings, to the absolutely finished masterworks,” Hopf notes.

After you pick up your copy of My Gay Eye, on Saturday, inside Erotic City, head over to a special event at the Tom of Finland Foundation house in Echo Park: RUBEN ESPARZA “Piss + Blood & Spunk: Seminal Works 1993-2019.”

Ruben Esparza combines the skills of a multimedia artist and the insight of a gifted curator to synergize intensely cross-referential artworks. This exhibition of 20 of Ruben Esparza’s most potent pieces includes a survey of the artists, art influencers and scenesters who frequent TOM House, and who Esparza has photographed in a collection of Polaroids.

Opening night events include performances and happenings by Oscar David Alvarez, FleshPiece, Ridge Gallagher, Jordan Michael Green, Jamison Karon, Marval A Rex, and Sheree Rose.

TOM House is at 1421 Laveta Terrace in LA,
213-250-1685 or

By Roman Navarrette



If you can’t make it to the festival, you can order a copy online.


Images Push the Boundaries at Rubén Esparza’s “Piss, Blood, Spunk”

Digital Flux, Mostly Cocks (Series), 2015-2019, Photo-collage, Sizes variable

Rubén Esparza combines the skills of a multi-media artist and the insight of a gifted curator to synergize intensely cross-referential artworks.

Queer AIDS tropes, phallocentrism, and bodily fluids become markers of LGBTQ+ culture from the early ’90s to the contemporary Trumpian zeitgeist.

RUBÉN ESPARZA Piss + Blood & Spunk: Seminal Works 1993-2019. Presented by Tom of Finland Foundation. Curated by Phil Tarley. June 8 – July 6, 2019. On view by appointment through July 6, 2019

Opening Reception: Saturday, June 8, 2019, 7 to 10 pm. Opening night events include performances and happenings by: Oscar David Alvarez, Ridge Gallagher, Jon Vaz Gar, Jordan Michael Green, Jamison Karon, Kale, Marval A Rex, and Sheree Rose.

TOM House, 1421 Laveta Terrace, Los Angeles, California  90026
Phone +1 213 250 1685

See 16 images from the exhibition.

Complete article by Editors