The history of Tom Of Finland

If you’re like me, who lives in a big cosmopolitan city filled with cast of colorful characters inhabiting all the boroughs of NYC, you bound to run across these black and white drawings of overtly sexualized gay men in black leather jackets and assless leather chaps in bookstores or saw them on posters in some counterculture clubs.
Well that’s the signature drawing from the person who is known by Tom Of Finland. Finally there is a movie about him and his work, and how his drawings fanned the flames of a gay revolution.
I knew nothing about any of these facts and have been marveling from a far everytime I came across these detailed black and white drawings at the legendary Strand Bookstore in NYC. I always thought that someone has been drawing these images and crank out volumes upon volumes of them in printing.
What I discovered through this movie was a total eye opening facts that these images were drawn since the beginning of the 30s when NO ONE was wearing black leather jacket or assless chaps. These images were born out of the imagination of Touko Laaksonen, at a time when he was working as an art director in an ad agency back in the 1930s Finland.
He drew these images in the period that being gay could land you a spot as the candidate  in a mental hospital waiting to be lebotomized, or worse, death in a German prison.
Touko treat these images like a contraband where they were passed around in underground gay gathering during the 30 to 40s and he finally muster the courage to send them to California in the 60s to shop them around for a possibility of publication. That’s when Tom Of Finland was born.
The movie took great care to preserve the details of outrageous events of Touko’s life when he finally visited California and saw how much his drawing inspired the way the gay culture dressed and looked in those period that carry on to the present time.
After the screening of this movie, we were priviledge to sit through a Q&A with the lead actor Pekka Strang who play Tom Of Finland and he generously answer every single questions threw at him by the curious audiences who just saw the fascinating life story of Tom Of Finland. This movie will open tomorrow in Los Angeles and San Francisco so if you like me,  have  a curiousity about Tom Of Finland and it’s origin, I suggest you take a trip to your neighborhood art house theatre and watch this movie.
It has also been submitted for Oscar nomination as the best foreign movie candidate.

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