I’m not sure I remember how you actually landed at TOM House. Do you want to share a quick anecdote about how you became one of Tom’s Men? Via Durk?
I had a friend who was into a lot of stuff. I wrote his will. When he passed away, I got his football uniforms to his sports friends, his weightlifting equipment to his bodybuilding friends. I dispensed his motorcycle gear to his fellow bikers. There was stuff left over. I kept a few things to remember him by. A friend, and executor, said there was this dude with a big house in Echo Park. He is an artist and said Durk would be interested in some of the objects. I called, we met, and really, really got to know each other really fast.
And now you’re the VP of ToFF! What does organizing an event like this mean for you? How long has it been in the works? How long have you been putting these events on?
This year’s TOM’s Bar will be the Foundation’s 27th annual commemoration of the artist Tom of Finland, who was born Touko Laaksonen, he died in Finland in 1991. Tom had emphysema, and knew that when he could no longer draw, that his time on earth should come to an end. Although Tom was in a hospital bed, rather than his own bed as he had intended, he ultimately succeeded in his design. Tom asked Durk not to have a funeral but to have a party—like a scene from his artwork—and it’s great to have a celebration with so many friends, fans, and “family” – that honors his wishes every year.
I recall you and Durk musing over the past gay bar scene of silverlake/echo park… What’s the story with Faultline? Is it reminiscent of a bygone era?
It used to be in LA, that no matter where you were, you could find a Gay something – a Gay establishment somewhere near you. Not so much, nowadays. There were bathhouses and book stores and places to eat – allover. Faultline used to be The Stud, then Griff’s moved there (from close to Paramount Pictures). Each incarnation, if you will, had its own vibe, its own clientele. Its own era with its own memories.
What is the significance of queer space (like TOM House/gay bars)?
Dedicated Queer spaces – wherever they are – are our “safe” places. Necessary environments to socialize, to gather. Bars are a place to connect without fear or aggression. We can 100% be our LGBTQ+-selves. They used to be place that we had to go – now these are spaces where we want to go. When we were marginalized, they were a shelter – now they are our temples of revelry.
What is the significance of Tom’s work IN such aforementioned spaces?
The presence of Tom’s images in so many bars – globally – gave a sense of identity, you knew you were in the right place, even when traveling. His unabashed lust was the friggin’ perfect backdrop for rowdy, uh, horseplay.
I’ll say… What’s ToFF’s relationship to Faultline specifically?
TOM’s Bar marks the 24th anniversary of Tom of Finland events sponsored by Faultline – what will we do for our Silver next year??
The event seems multifaceted— DJ, erotic art, clothing sale, haircuts, bootblack… It sounds like a festival of sorts! What can party-goers expect from an event like this?
People coming together and having a hell of a good time is exactly what Tom would want. Queers are on the cusp of a major renaissance – so this is our Renaissance Fair! Only a LOT sexier… Special Guest Terry Miller is the perfect ambassador for Tom – he embodies advocacy, aesthetics and allegiance; he is the cofounder of the LGBTQ youth advocacy group It Gets Better and the first official ambassador for the Tom of Finland Store.
And how did Buck Angel get involved? What will he be doing?
We reached out to Buck. A fundamental way we learn how to love – and love ourselves – is through sex. Tom deliberately sought to breakdown stigmas we carried in our own selves. We can only, truly be liberated when we respect the identities of all. Buck is here to spread that positive love…
Come to Daddy is cheeky. Are we really celebrating father’s day?
Oh, yeah, baby. Tom’s Foundation and Faultline celebrate our Queer selves – our kinky folk. Leather in all its magical manifestations.
800 of Tom’s men… is that how much you’re expecting??
We’ve had more, but there are capacity regulations, you know… Everyone can be a TOM’s Man!
“Bawdy contest and prizes”... TELL ME MORE.
We have a couple of contests – crowd favorites – that let you expose yourself. First rule of a good party is to check your inhibitions (along with your shirt).
Most importantly, what should I wear?
However you define Leather. Classic? At least a leather jock. Perhaps something softer, like from Soft Daddy (available at TOM’s Bar)?
How does attending TOM’s Bar and contributing to the Foundation help support Tom’s legacy?
This is art that represents us – it is our art. See what artists bring, fall in love, take something home and hang it on your wall. Live life with beauty and share it with your friends when they visit.
For more information on Tom's Bar, head to the event page here.