Calendar pages

Emily Menon Bender on Facebook yesterday: “Office calendar, bringing me joy”, with the page from her Tatsuya Tanaka Miniature Life wall calendar (with wire hanger) for the current week of 2022, depicting a maid ironing some stackable potato chips. To which I juxtapose the current (month of January) page of my corresponding (Tom of Finland) wall calendar, depicting a Sexual Spy scene, in which a passionate encounter between two men is secretly observed by a third man, who is aroused by them.

(Warning: my discussion of the ToF calendar will go well over the raunch line, including depictions of male-male sex, so this section is inappropriate for kids and the sexually modest.)

(Note on calendar design. Over the years, I’ve had many many wall calendars, most of them with male bodies as their explicit or implicit subject, but almost all of them just came with a hole at the top of the photo page to hang on a nail. A classier wall calendar — like the two shown here — has a wire hanger to hang on a hook or nail, much easier to manage than a little hole in the paper.)

Miniature Life. The calendar page (complete with hanger):

(#1) The maid is ironing the potato chips with an antique steam iron (I had intended to illustrate such a steam iron for you, but all the images I could find are under a license and require a fee for use)

The potato chips appear to be not just any random chips (BrE crisps), but Pringles stackable chips, in fact the wavy variety of these:

(#2) Pringles are saddle-shaped — they’re hyperbolic paraboloids — so they can be stacked and then marketed in cylindrical containers so as to virtually eliminate breakage

In any case, the ads say that the Miniature Life calendar provides “Fifty-three wonderful works of art by Tatsuya Tanaka, to be enjoyed week by week!”

On Tanaka’s work, from the (resolutely lower-case) designboom site, in “explore the intricate miniature worlds of japanese artist tatsuya tanaka” from 4/15/21:

the intricate, tiny worlds of japanese miniature and mitate artist tatsuya tanaka are going on display in museums across japan. 2021 marks the 10-year anniversary of tanaka’s ‘miniature calendar, where every day he shares a playful recreation of everyday life scenes. in his pieces, the artist combines common household objects, such as rolls of toilet paper, sugar cubes, fruit and vegetables, with miniature figurines he has collected over the years.

born in japan’s kumamoto prefecture in 1981, tatsuya tanaka now lives and works in kagoshima. in april of 2011 he started to publish his miniature works on instagram, where he now has almost 3M fans.

This piece locates Tanaka’s art within the Japanese mitate tradition. From Wikipedia:

In Japanese art, mitate-e (見立絵) [sometimes translated as ‘parody art’, seeing things in a fresh perspective, repurposing them] is a subgenre of ukiyo-e [‘pictures of the floating world’, of hedonistic lifestyles in the Edo period] that employs allusions, puns, and incongruities, often to parody classical art or events.

Now brought up-to-date in Tanaka’s meticulous compositions. His droll Miniature Life for 3/22/21:


Earlier on this blog, other artistic miniaturizations, variously charming, ingenious, sexy, or entertaining:

on 8/3/13 in “The city in scrapwood”: Wood-carved cityscapes by James McNabb

on 8/11/13 in “Naughty little people”: an assortment of artists, sexually oriented

on 9/13/13 in “Cupcake sledding”: Christopher Boffoli, on food themes

on 1/12/14 in “More miniatures”: the food miniatures of Pierre Javelle and Akiko Ida

on 1/4/16 in “Urinating superheroes”: Indonesian photographer Edy Hardjo’s compositions of superhero figures

“I like to watch”. Chance the Gardener (Peter Sellers) in the 1979 film Being There, to Eve Rand (Shirley MacLaine), who’s asked him what he likes; she means sexually, he means on television, but in any case she obliges him by masturbating for him. In this spirit, the January page from the Tom of Finland 2022 wall calendar by Peachy Kings:

(#4) A Sexual Spy scene from 1983: two smoking (in several senses) men kiss and fondle each other’s bare buttocks (in trousers designed for the purpose), while a third (also smoking) man (concealed from their view), aroused by watching them, fondles a gigantic erection in his trousers; everybody’s wearing boots; the man who appears to be dominant in the kiss is in a police uniform; the watcher is in a dress naval uniform

A Sexual Spy image by itself, without any context, is ambiguous as to its interpretation. Is the spy, the watcher, an intentional voyeur, or have they accidentally come across the coupling? Is the carnal couple actually unaware that they are being watched, or are they exhibitionists, knowingly putting on a show for a concealed watcher? All four scenarios occur in real life — I can, in fact, vouch for this from personal experience (I’ve led a long and eventful life) — and you can’t be sure which one you’re looking at just from a snapshot of the event.

Even when there’s no discernible visual barrier between the couple and the watcher, so that the watcher seems surely to be a voyeur, it’s possible that the couple are so wrapped up in their carnal pursuits that they don’t notice the watcher, or have simply ceased to care. (That, too, happens in real life.)

An example from (amateur) gay porn — #5a from the site — and one from gay art — #5b from BoyKingdom (“original gay art” from Portland OR) on Etsy:

(#5a, b) Two approaches to the missionary position for gay men (with the bottom lying on his back while the top mounts him from above, face to face); it’s all in what the bottom does with his ass and his legs (in #5b, a supine fuck, he’s lying flat on his back, shoulders to buttocks, and wraps his legs around his top’s body; in #5a, a scapular fuck, he’s supporting himself on his shoulders while he raises his buttocks in the air (to provide a better angle for his top to enter him) and wraps his legs around his top’s neck

Meanwhile, the couples are thoroughly wrapped up in their sex and give no sign that they’re aware of anyone outside of their fuck bubble. The watcher in #5a seems to be naked and merely observing. (In the actual video, the bottom is getting gangbanged, and the watcher is next up in the rotation. You really can’t tell from a snapshot.) The watcher in #5b seems contemplatively absorbed in his voyeurism, but shows no sign of arousal. (The pink suit is a nice touch, though.) But this is a work of art, so what we see is what we get.

Note on Peachy Kings. An addendum. First the cover of the 2022 ToF calendar from Peachy Kings:

(#6) In comparison to the semiotically dense ToF in #4, this one is virtually ascetic

Then from my 12/17/21 posting “Eye charts”, the beginning of the PK section:

Peachy Kings. An entertainingly sex-drenched Etsy supplier, especially devoted to Tom of Finland merchandise (for background, see the Page on my ToF postings) and Terry Miller muscle-daddy merchandise (for background, see the Page on my Daddy – Boy and DILF postings).

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