While they often presented themselves as bodybuilders’ publications, their chuckle-prompting titles — Torso, Adonis, Honcho, Mandate — didn’t lie. Gay men’s magazines of decades past were bought by gay men who wanted to look at the erotic illustrations of well- built male bodies therein. Because any- one known to possess such material in the homophobic 1950s and 1960s could experience serious consequences, men hid the magazines under their mat- tresses. These illustrations have now inspired a traveling exhibition, Stroke: From Under the Mattress to the Museum Wall. Curated by notable erotic artist Robert W. Richards and orig- inating at the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, the popular show contains 24 original illustrations that ap- peared in gay magazines from the 1950s to the 1990s. It also looks at how gay men, forced into the closet during those decades, used these pictures to explore their sexuality intimately. It additionally serves as a showcase for the artists in- volved. On view are works by two dozen top artists of the times, including Touko Laaksonen (Tom of Finland), Antonio Lopez (Antonio), and David Martin.More
Today, the expansive eight-day Mostly British Film Festival turns Mostly Australian, with three of the six features originating from the rough-and-tumble land of charming accents. The real-life murders of five Aussie journalists in East Timor in 1975 and the ensuing coverup propel the nail-biter Balibo (aka The Balibo Conspiracy, screening at 7 p.m.). Adapted by Robert Connolly from foreign correspondent Jill Jolliffes nonfiction book, the film stars Anthony LaPaglia as a man in search of his own self-esteem as well as the truth. Little-seen and underappreciated on its 2006 release, Candy (9:15 p.m.) is a grittily honest portrait of a boho couple (Abbie Cornish and Heath Ledger, in the last movie he made in his home country) who are truly, madly, deeply in love with each other and heroin. Moviegoers with a taste for both late-night creepiness and talented newcomers will lose sleep over Crush (11:30 p.m.), starring Emma Lung as a gal with both tunnel vision and extraordinary powers, whose seduction of a visiting American student (Chris Egan) kindles a profoundly unhealthy obsession. As opposed, you know, to those healthy obsessions the rest of us have.
Feb. 4-11, 2010