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
Mashing up different world cuisines is usually a popular conceit for new quick-service eateries and food trucks to make a quick buck and gain Instagram fame, but Volta has shown how well global cross-pollination works on a refined plate without stretching for novelty or pretense in the process.
For the three Muslim-American stand-up comics showcased in the concert film Allah Made Me Funny, terror is something more than stage fright. Mohammed Mo Amer and Azhar Usman make fun of themselvestheir wife and mother jokes are universal; much of their ethnic shtick could be Jewish or Italianand their situation. Amer bounds onstage expressing incredulity: This is a lot of room for a Palestinian! The heavily bearded Usman starts immediately with bin Laden jokes. Usman is less cautious than Amera good vaudevillian, he rags on Jews and Catholics as well as South Asiansbut he still stops well short of any irreverence. And Allah-Made-Me-Funny is a relative concept: Its obvious that Amer and Usman labor under the burden of making humor at once insider-cool and outsider-friendly. And its hard to finesse offensive from a defensive crouch. The most skilled comic of the three is the nation of Islam convert Bryant Preacher Moss, who not only evokes Saddam Hussein but goes on to imagine him as a black man in court, arguing with the judge. The U.S. is scared by two things, Moss riffs. I got the best of both worlds. Hes completely self-referential. Perhaps self-satirizing his faith will be next.
Oct. 7-9, 2008