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
We were recently surprised to learn that, while print and e-book publishing lan- guishes, audiobooks do better and better with every passing year. (Downloads in 2015 were up 38 percent over 2014.) We like to imagine that it’s the allure of the well-trained dramaturge that makes emotional connections while leaving some- thing to the listener’s imagination — not background noise for long commutes. In such a case, there can be no finer pleasure than a staged reading by longtime favorites Word for Word, a company that has brought countless short stories from page to stage, including “Sonny’s Blues” by James Baldwin, “The Fall River Axe Murders” by Angela Carter, “Berenice” by Edgar Allan Poe, and “The Bunch- grass Edge of the World” by Annie Proulx. During “Off the Page,” devotees help the company massage prose into parts, and sometimes, as was the case with Al- ice Munro’s work, choose the next story for production. Tonight, the actors ap- proach short fiction from Jamie Quatro’s highly lauded IWanttoShowYou More, which explores faith, (in)fidelity, and family along the border between Georgia and Tennessee.More
A storytelling night with Carnie Asada, Profundity, Coco Buttah, Mahlae Balenciaga, Greg der Ananian, and Fauxnique, celebrates Shark Week with accounts of dangerous, deadly, and treacherous creatures.More
Be there when Cara Black discusses her new book: Murder on the Quai. Aimee Leduc is in her first year of college at Paris's preeminent medical school. But Aimee's world is crumbling: her boyfriend is leaving her, her father leaves for Berlin for a mysterious errand and asks Aimee to look after his detective agency. She begins to investigate a murder. A book sale by the Friends of the San Francisco Public Library follows the event.More
The synth-pop legends of Erasure can still sell out a week of shows in San Francisco or New York as swiftly as they did in their early-'90s heyday. But lead singer Andy Bell has apparently been itching to release a solo album, and now we have Electric Blue, written without co-conspirator Vince Clarke. Bell did, however, choose frequent Erasure collaborators Manhattan Clique to produce the album. Here and there, the Clique indulges in a couple of those annoying vocoder tricks that helped put Cher's voice in tune a few years back. But Bell shows that such studio trickery is unnecessary for his big vocals, especially on pitch-perfect songs like "Shaking My Soul." He sounds as fresh as he did in the late '80s. The big-ticket partnering here, "I Thought It Was You," featuring the falsetto of the Scissor Sisters' Jake Shears, might end up the album's breakout club song, but it's "Love Oneself" and "Delicious," Bell's collaborations with Claudia Brucken (another synth-pop idol, from '80s group Propaganda), that manage to steal the show. Vince Clarke's quirky production sense is missed in places, but Electric Blue will still sit neatly alongside the duo's catalog and please longtime fans without a problem, perhaps even more than the last couple of Erasure albums.