Tom of Finland: Life and Work of a Gay Hero
(by F. Valentine Hooven III)
This anthology takes a serious look at the erotic artist’s drawings, with juicy behind-the-scenes photos and background discussing the artist’s inspiration, private life and impressive, um, body of work. Known best for his exaggerated illustrations of muscle-bound men, the Finnish artist (real name Touko Laaksonen) faced plenty of controversy and censorship before becoming a cult sensation. Before his death in 1991, he created thousands of drawings that helped subvert gay male stereotypes, inspiring would-be Muscle Marys everywhere.
Directed by Sundance winner Lee Hirsch, this new documentary delves deep into the sometimes-misunderstood and much-talked-about world of bullying. It’s estimated that 18 million kids are bullied each year in American schools. And three million students—many of whom identify as gay or transgender—miss class each month because of the torment. The film, which takes a very candid look at both sides of the epidemic, introduces audiences to young people and their families, including the parents of two suicide victims, who share their stories.
Most recently, the movie drew controversy when the MPAA wanted to give the film an “R” rating, which would prevent it from being shown in schools to anyone under the age of 17. Many celebrities and politicians have spoken out about the rating, which is being criticized.
Locally, Philadelphia City Councilman Jim Kenney has this to say: “I am deeply troubled by the MPAA’s decision to give the film ‘Bully’ an ‘R’ rating. As a Philadelphia City Councilman who has screened an advance copy of the film, I firmly believe this film must be seen by as many students as possible. The film has a vitally important and powerful message that can open the eyes of students to the pain and real consequences of bullying other students.”
Check out the trailer:
Her first note was posted on the Broad Street Line. Then it just snowballed. Josephine Figlia created Notes4Strangers last year after having a hard time coming out to her family. “The reaction [to coming out] was shocking,” she says. “I was cut off in every way for weeks, and the communication that followed was destructive and damaging.” The Temple business student wanted a positive outlet. So she began sharing Post-its all over Philly and in other cities, including New York and San Diego, and documenting the conversations online. “I felt like I could start something, a revolution of anonymous people making a difference by reminding strangers to pay attention to unexpected words.”
For more from G Philly‘s spring issue, visit your favorite LGBT-friendly destination in the region for a copy and don’t forget to sign up online for a free subscription.