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My Gay Toronto - Bellini's 8 1/2

A day without Tom of Finland is like a day without sunshine

Like most gay men, I discovered the artist Tom of Finland by browsing gay bookstores. He drew a comic book called Kake, always on display at Glad Day Bookshop. It showed the adventures of a gorgeous young man with a stupendously large cock. The men in Tom's drawings were not real the way Barbie isn't real, but the technical accomplishment of the drawings was impressive, as was the dirty sex depicted. I bought a lot of Tom of Finland's books in the '90s. Here was an artist who knew what he was doing.

Touko Laaksonen was born in 1920 in Finland. He completed hundreds of drawings in his lifetime but because they depicted naked men he kept his work underground, for collectors only. Now, 26 years after his death, Tom is bigger than ever, particularly in his native country. In fact, 2017 marks the release of Tom of Finland, a lavish biopic about the artist's life. And it doesn't stop there. In 2014 the Finnish postal service released a set of three official Tom of Finland stamps, then a few months later, renowned Finnish textile maker Finlayson released a collection of Tom-inspired sheets, towels and other home products. In January of this year Tom of Finland: The Musical (https://teatteri.turku.fi/en/turku-city-theatre/productions/tom-finland) debuted in Turku, the country's oldest city. (Pray that it tours!) And a growing collection of merchandise is now available at the new tomoffinlandstore.com, in case you should ever require a tote bag covered with bulging crotches.
Tom's pencil drawings were meant to be jerk-off material for gay men who, like himself, dreamed about giant cocks. It's not to everyone's taste, but apparently the recent surge in interest is being attributed to women and trans people's discovery of Tom's work. 

It was bound to happen. When I was a kid, a photograph showing a cock was Breaking News. Now, I get up every morning, have a coffee, and surf gay porn sites. It is the only thing that gets me going. Maybe Touko Laaksonen was on to something. 



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