1st May 2021, 6:29 pm
In an event emblematic of the new Helsinki, the last of the bomb damage on the waterfront was replaced by a luxury hotel. It was rushed to completion so that it would be ready in time for the hordes of tourists expected for the 1952 Olympics. An elegant restaurant and bar opened on the second floor. Tom was hired to play the piano for the patrons while they ate and drank and admired the view.
He would listen to a group of customers to discern what language they were speaking and then launch into songs from their homeland. It worked wonders for his tips. The clientele, though basically heterosexual, was friendly, the management easygoing, and the location was perfect from Tom’s point of view. His favorite cruising circuit passed right by the front entrance of the hotel.
Around midnight, while playing his last Cole Porter medley, without leaving his piano bench he could look down into the street and check out whether the rest of the evening was going to be lively or not.
The La Vista Grill in the Palace Hotel became Tom’s second home.
He played the piano there for a number of years and of all the places he worked, he liked this one best.
“In the late ’40s and early ’50s, Helsinki had no full-fledged Gay bar. But, as Tom learned, more than a few of Helsinki’s more uninhibited bars and cafes had ‘Homosexual corners’. A drinking establishment was actually there to serve the patrons of a cooperative department store (“Helsinki Co-op Store”), but being small and more… View Article
Avant-garde, provocative, subversive and rebellious – Tom of Finland stamped history with his recognizable artistic style. A virtuoso of drawing, he fashioned the silhouette of a new Gay man – strong, confident, joyful and assertive – fully participating in the visibility and recognition of the nascent Homosexual movement. With text authorized by the artist… View Article
How are you going to celebrate this year? Take in an exhibition – IRL or virtual? Design a new cocktail and try it out on friends? Or a stay at home read-a-book, watch-a-movie kinda celebration? Do your homework, finish your quizzes, and show us your favorite ToF “text” book! 8th May is fast approaching,… View Article
On 5th May, Frieze New York gets underway. In years past, the arrival of this seminal art fair marked a significant moment in the cultural calendar—a convergence of people, ideas, culture, and conversations. This year, Frieze represents something more: the first step towards a return to cultural life. At the same time, so much has… View Article
1st May 2021
Tags: #TomOfFinland101, 101 Quiz, The Official Life and Work of a Gay Hero
Categorised in: For the Record, History