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After The Fair

by Michael Kirwan — October 7, 2012


The Tom of Finland Foundation’s Erotic Art Weekend


So, it's a week after the ToFF Art Fair and I'm just about finished decompressing. The Fair is pretty much the denouement (there's probably an accent mark in there somewhere but I still haven't figured out how to implimentize [apparently not a word — whatever] that function yet) of my year. There's pre-Fair and post Fair. It's the demarcation that separates one year from the next for me. I've never put much stock in New Year, too much noise and too many amateur drunks, besides everything is exactly the same on January 2nd — same weather, same life conditions. And after fifty-eight of them, birthdays kinda lose their spark as well.


The Art Fair is a bit different because things can and do change as a result of the event. It's possible to make some decent coin, you get to meet folks who might be worthwhile contacts in the field, and it's a rare occasion to connect with other artists in this particular niche market. Drawing is a solitary endeavor so it's a treat to hobnob with people who share a similar interest and experience. It's funny, we really don't talk about what it's like being erotic artists that much. We lament the lack of opportunities in the "industry" and sometimes whine about being under-appreciated, but don't generally discuss the nuts and bolts aspects of our peculiar "career" choice. I guess it's like a convention of Albinos. We all know the pitfalls and joys because we live them and the gathering of our peculiar subset of humanity is just comfort enough.


Before the Fair, there's that pressure to bulk up your "product" in the hopes of appealing to as many buyers as might make their way to the venue. Some attendant anxiety about presenting a variety of images and gauging (gaging?) what price range will attract collectors but not devalue the work (both mental and manual) put into the creation. I don't know why more queers don't hang homoerotica in their domiciles now that we're all so "out" and everything. Our sexual interests define us in a way that straight people needn't bother to —oh well, I'll bleat about that some other time because I find it troublesome how many fags still don't feel comfortable visually expressing their gayness for fear of offending someone.


Michael Kirwan closely examines the living embodiment of

Tom's Men in the body of Pete of Finland (aka Pete Karjalainen)

at the Tom of Finland Foundation's Erotic Art Fair.

Photo by JayPG Photography


I catered the Artists' Reception again this year. I'm associated with the ToFF (not a Board Member as it seems I'm too annoying for that position... HAHAHA!!!). My skill sets are rigidly limited. I can't clean because I'm a lazy pig, or garden as I don't understand the "outdoors" at all, or do office work because I fall asleep five minutes into it. So, I contribute to the cause in the only ways I can. One of them being that I'm a pretty good chef/cook and believe that guests/visitors are much more impressed by unique homemade victuals than the too-often-served "trays" prepared by supermarkets. Those forgettable plastic platters of raw vegetables and rolled processed meats... ugh. Anyway, I've done the food preparation and service for this party going on ten or twelve years. I'm not very good with "time" until I look in a mirror (I'm certain that I'm eternally seventeen).  This year, Durk Dehner [if you don't know who he is, I question your queer credentials] threw a stumbling block my way by exiling me from the Tom House kitchen. The heat generated would've made the whole house unbearable because of the heat spell we Angelinos have endured recently. Instead, he put me out on the back patio at a nonexistent grilling station. Maybe he thought I'd go the hot dogs and hamburger route (that I kinda did), but the reception and I both have a reputation. So, I devised what I believed to be a workable menu for the evening. I decided to memorialize the various delicacies in this missive to brag and possibly entice a few readers to make the pilgrimage to Los Angeles next year for the reception.


For those who could care less about food, just skip this list and read on later down the post.



  • Deviled Eggs - wasabi instead of mustard

  • Dates stuffed with Gorgonzola and a half pecan

  • Potato Skins packed with their own innards - pretty standard with sour cream, chives, and Mexican queso

  • Gazpacho marinated 48 hours in half tomato juice and the other half a combination of Madeira and Tequila

  • Cerviche served in cored plum tomato shells - was supposed to be boiled cabbage wraps but that didn't work out

  • Bison Balls - marble-sized, baked balls sautéed in sesame oil at the last minute, served in Dorito scoops filled with a horseradish, cream cheese, and mayonnaise sauce — very popular!! Hahaha!

  • Stuffed Mushrooms - shrooms marinated in chicken stock, soy sauce, and olive oil, then filled with chicken sausage topped with Monterey Jack and pickled cactus

  • Smoked Whitefish/Salmon - served on a cracker with smoked Gouda, sour cream, and a baby smoked oyster

  • Puffed Pastry Treats

    • Vegetarian - sweet potato, chopped Macadamia nuts, and goat cheese

    • Meat Eaters - pork with scallion, garlic, cumin, RO*TEL, and Spanish olives in red enchilada sauce and cheddar cheese

  • Skewers

    • Chicken Tenders marinated in green enchilada sauce and green curry paste, then lanced with apricot halves and pineapple chunks

    • Strip Steak marinated in tomato sauce, A1 and beef stock, then lanced with green pepper and red onion

  • Sliders

    • Vegetarian - patties essentially composed of eggplant, Portobello mushrooms, onion, garlic, and chopped hazelnuts served on a Hawaiian roll garnished with thin-sliced heart of palm. This was supposed to get a citrus aioli, but we ended up using the same condiment as...

    • Meat Eaters - veal (was intending to use lamb but mysteriously none of the eight stores I visited had any) with mint, onion and Worcestershire sause, again served on a Hawaiian roll with a slice of dill pickle and bourbon-infused ketchup

I typically make desserts as well but didn't this year because I was already $170 over-budget, and Durk thought we should forego that portion of the meal. Big thanks to the guys who helped me get all of this stuff prepared! Gary, Doug, Angel, Rich... these guys really did an amazing amount of work to help me pull it off. There were some glitches in the service area the night of the party, but it was a good excuse to shout obscenities and shove some muscle boys out of my way. Of course, I felt them up in the process. Hahaha!!!


Pete of Finland (aka Pete Karjalainen) exudes the look of Tom's Men while serving puff pastries.

Photo by JayPG Photography


So as I was saying, the Fair is traditionally a pivotal affair for me. I didn't make the kind of money I was anticipating. It was just enough to cover my monthly bills, and have a bit extra to play with. I had foolishly planned to make enough to cover a few months rent, pay up my AT&T bill, get my Internet/phone services restored, buy a couch or futon so I could entertain company, get a shade for my other window, and buy some new T-shirts... none of that was to be. Instead of a $200 shopping extravaganza at the art supply store, I settled for a $40 run at another place I'm not particularly enamored of... whatever. I'm certainly no stranger to being financially deficient. These last few years have been pretty tough. Eh, I'm just not that bothered by it this year. I had some enjoyable and thought-provoking conversations, made out with a couple of guys (I don't love kissing but these guys were good at it and I have skills that I like showing off), met some new people, and got to see a lot of my compatriots that I don't see very often.


Michael Kirwan peddles books and original art at his booth during the Erotic Art Fair .

Photo by JayPG Photography


[An aside] Since I had to shop for and prep the feast, I stayed at the ToFF House from Wednesday through Sunday. I was delighted that two of my favorite artists were also there — the magnificently French Benoît Prévot and Xavier Gicquel. They came all the way from Paris to attend this function. Both incredibly beautiful and talented. These guys are such a pleasure to be around that it's almost impossible to describe just how good it feels to have contact with them. If you're unfamiliar with their artwork, do yourself a big favor and seek it out. But the actual men are bonerific. Hahaha!!!

[back to wherever we were...]


Yeah. I had a great time. My feet gave out Sunday night after the breakdown (9 tents to be disassembled, maybe 100 metal grids, tables, chairs, and all manner of equipment for lighting, hanging, and a bunch of other stuff that I know nothing about.) Then, packing it all into the truck. It was a grueling endeavor after fixing the food for the Fair, and being totally "ON" for the attendees for two days straight. I was pretty much crippled with the pain right through Thursday. I saw a Dr. Scholl's foot massage machine for $20 at Walgreen's, but didn't make the kind of money for that type of indulgence... pity. So, a new year begins for me. I imagine that I learned a thing or two... who knows? I've recovered my ability to walk without limping and grimacing. I have some new art paper and a couple of pens to play with. I made a meatloaf that'll see me through the week. I'm becoming more familiar and attached to my new neighborhood (lots of men/boys that might be induced to let an old fag play with their dicks — not being able to get that futon has postponed my seduction schedule... FUCK!), and I generally feel pretty good about my life right now. I want to take this opportunity to thank all the guys who've given me feedback and input about my art last year, and thanks to those who have generously contributed to my survival throughout the year. Keep it up! Let me know what you want and think about, donate on the website whatever you can to keep me afloat, and seriously consider buying one (or more!) of my drawings in the upcoming year. We're all connected and that's what truly matters in the main scheme of things.


Just a mention:  Some of my drawings are featured in the Bruno Gmünder  books "Stripped Uncensored," "Hair," "Fur the Love of Hair," and the the soon-to-be-available "Cum," and "Cock Tails." There is also the hot tale of "Backwoods" written by the very humpable Natty Soltesz and fully illustrated by me. Of course, you can get a major dose of my cock-loving creativity in my own book "Just So Horny." I'll actually make some money on that if it goes to a second printing. So, get one for yourself and a couple as Christmas presents for your homofriends... they're pretty affordable!


Lastly, kudos aplenty to my friend and web-wrangler Daniel over in Orlando who makes all of our communication (and my life in general) easier. He duh MAN!


Let's make this year better than the last one... TOGETHER.

Later, Michael


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