Touko Laaksonen, better known as Tom of Finland, was the influential Finnish artist whose groundbreaking drawings — rendered from the 1940s until he died in 1991 — captured virile men in acts of homoerotic desire. In his art, the master draftsman created an imaginative, affirming universe that empowered gay men and instigated real-life liberation movements.
Tom’s Weekend, a celebration of the artist and the culture he created, is set for Nov. 4–6 at the Ace Hotel & Swim Club in Palm Springs. “This amazing collaboration allows us to bring together artists, followers, and talents in a dynamic environment as a true Tom of Finland experience,” says S.R. Sharp, CEO of the Tom of Finland Foundation, whose mission is to protect, preserve, and promote the erotic arts.
Tom of Finland fueled his controversial artwork with his own illicit experiences as a solider during World War II — in an era (and country) that shunned homosexuality — and gained a fervent underground following for his aesthetic audacity. Toward the end of his career, the artist turned his attention toward Black men to make a bold political statement on race.
The Tom of Finland Foundation aims to showcase cultural merits of erotic art and promote healthier, more tolerant attitudes about sexuality overall.
The event is loaded with parties and products, starting Friday with a poolside pop-up of the CULTUREEDIT/Tom of Finland store offering exclusive and limited-edition products and collabs with J.W. Anderson, Honey Fucking Dijon, and Happy Hour Skateboards as well as Hiro Clark’s “Darkroom” line of tees, sweats, tanks, and hoodies. The pop-up also features an exhibition of Polaroid photographs by Tom of Finland “ambassador” Terry Miller.
The entertainment continues nonstop, beginning with Friday’s hyper-pop party by FAKE AND GAY, whose founder and curator, Adam Kraft, sets the mood with afternoon poolside sets alongside Casey MQ, Saturn, and Ah-Mer-Ah-Su. In the evening, revelers move into the Amigo Room for Tom’s Lounge with music by L.A. house collective TUNNEL and DJ sets. Rush Davis and Kingdom joins TUNNEL for a Saturday-night set.
On Saturday, Tom of Finland artist-in-residence Oat Montien gives a still life drawing class on the second floor of the Clubhouse at the Ace. On Sunday, L.A.-based queer and trans API collective QNA closes the festival with resident DJs Ly, Jae-An, Howin, and Pauliewog on the decks and special performances by artists Yuki and Ethical Drvgs of Jolene, a trans-inclusive variety show.
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