TOM OF FINLAND FOUNDATION

TOM OF
FINLAND

THE
FOUNDATION

EROTIC ART
GALLERIES

EXHIBITIONS
& EVENTS

ARTIST &
MUSEUM LINKS

HOME

OVER A QUARTER CENTURY OF DEDICATION TO PROTECTING, PRESERVING AND PROMOTING EROTIC ART.

DISPATCH AUTUMN 2006

airwaves
foundation happenings from our
artist-in-residence michael kirwan

Since my last dispatch appeared in the last Dispatch so much has happened here at the ToFF House that it boggles the imagination!

PETER BERLIN VISITS

First off, we had the Peter Berlin as a houseguest. He was here because the documentary about him, “That Man, Peter Berlin” was getting a showing at the Egyptian Theatre, arranged by the good folks of Outfest and ToFF was the official sponsor (or something, those kind of details don’t really register for me).

It was a great night, good attendance, and excellent energy. Kudos to Keven Smith for his selfless diligence while putting all the pieces together. Tom of Finland had made a number of drawings where Peter was the subject and they are pretty sweet. The event was superb, but having Peter around and getting to know him was really a treat. Peter was loquacious, charming and exhibited a truly distinct philosophy and sense of humor.

I experienced a very unique and revelatory engagement with this homo legend during his week here at ToFF. He’s a recognized idol and icon, a living part of the gay aesthetic and the ultimate narcissist. Our man, Peter Berlin, still maintains that classic mesmerizing basket, that protruding promise that fills our collective imagination. I think there’s yet another chapter of his story yet to behold....

TOM’S BAR

Hot on the heels of this spectacular occasion we careened head first into Tom’s Bar (my first time, so I was trying to absorb everything), a fundraiser held at the Faultline saloon. We commandeered the sizable parking lot and built a stage, put up booths to accommodate artists such as Hector Silva, Miguel Angel Reyes, Sergio Kardenas... wildly beautiful men with magnificent talents.

There was a silent auction filled with some very impressive items (one of my drawings was snapped up by sweeter-than-pie Buster, Mr. San Diego Leather 2006), tattooing, and some other stuff that I was too drunk to investigate properly. Tom’s Bar (which is a tribute to the artist’s birthday) had a festive, feisty atmosphere and the whole operation ran as smooth as silk thanks to the sure-handed ministrations of Humpmeister & Board Member Scott and a cadre of dedicated volunteers. I had a blast! My only regret was that I somehow missed the “Best Butt” contest because I found myself otherwise engaged in the men’s room. Oh, well. You know how that goes. One “thing” leads to another....

AFTER DARK

No sooner had I recovered from that excellent adventure then the first ever “ToFF House After Dark” ­— which I conceived and hosted — was launched. I’d put together a bunch of film clips from movies prior to 1985 that dealt with gay representations and particular themes. The thread this time out was “Dire Consequences” — essentially how homos were “dispatched” in almost every depiction. I was lucky that my friend Stan is not only a wonderful editor but also willing to help out on this project.

So we had about an hour’s worth of fags and dykes getting hung, shot, gashed, frozen, burned alive — because that’s what happens to those that don’t follow the rules! — and then a lively discussion about the whole thing.

A lot of the younger folks in the audience were intrigued by these snippets and I can only hope that they tracked down some of the films like Women in Love, The Children’s Hour, Advise and Consent, and Victim and see the entire production. The second in the series, “Love & Obsession”, was cancelled due to the heat wave and before I could even get around to rescheduling....

TOM OF FINLAND: ROUGH AT WESTERN PROJECT

I found myself at the opening of Tom of Finland: Rough, a retrospective of Tom’s sketches and preliminary drawings held at the lovely Western Project Gallery in Culver City. Exquisitely put together by the stunning owner of the space, Cliff Benjamin, this was one powerful exhibition.

Although I’d seen many of the pieces — since I am living here at the ToFF House and there are beautiful examples of Tom’s work hung throughout — it was nonetheless inspiring to watch the reactions of the attendees as they beheld some of these rarely seen treasures. Many people who were familiar with Tom’s finished work were enthralled to witness the process and progression of the iconic images.

I had quite a few conversations with unfamiliar people during the course of this event and was surprised by the degree of interest and passion that folks associated with the cultural impact Tom of Finland exerted over popular culture. A bunch of us went out to dinner at a bowling alley afterwards. Don’t ask me why I thought anyone would care to know that fact, I just thought it was an unusual place to end the evening. I could be wrong — but I doubt it.

SALON AT SPACE

 
Gingham
by Michael Kirwan

So I extracted myself from human contact — as much as possible, there’s always a wealth of activity here at the ToFF House — and concentrated on creating three new drawings for something called Salon at Space.

Michael (right) and friend Anthony
enjoying Salon at Space.

It was a local event with fellow artists Ivy Bottini, Jay Jorgensen and Miguel Angel Reyes also hanging work at this fun, funky, bohemian theater called Michael Kearn’s Space at Fountain’s End. Yes, quite a mouthful. It turned out to be a charming, delightful, friendly evening and was attended by some remarkably colorful people. I fell in love at least a half dozen times and I thought that my new pieces looked very striking in the ambient surroundings.

WEST HOLLYWOOD - LOS ANGELES WEEKEND

We’re involved in huge, elaborate jamborees like Tom’s Bar and more intimate affairs like this “Salon” thing. There’s even a fundraiser down Palm Springs, California way on November 12th that I’ve gotta check out. On the go, on a roll, on a mission.

Now we’ve got the Erotic Art Fair Weekend coming up in October. This — I think — is the crown jewel of all of the activities that ToFF is responsible for, and this year’s promises to be one of the biggest, most carefully crafted, best promoted gathering of erotic artists from around the world. It’s a special time for us guys — and ladies — to reconnect and revel in the company of our peers, and it’s also a great venue for meeting with the general public whom we all serve.

If you’re in Los Angeles, near Los Angeles, have a vacation due and would like to visit Los Angeles, make sure that the Erotic Art Fair Weekend is on your itinerary. You absolutely will not be disappointed. We’ll have cocktails! Hahahaha!!!!!! Your treat.


DISPATCH CONTENTS | FOUNDATION HOME

TOM OF FINLAND FOUNDATION 2006


— Share This Page —
Share |

HAPPY SEXUALITY
“In those days, a gay man was made to feel nothing but shame about his feelings and his sexuality. I wanted my drawings to counteract that, to show gay men being happy and positive about who they were. Oh, I didn’t sit down to think this all out carefully. But I knew — right from the start — that my men were going to be proud and happy men!"
— Tom of Finland