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.
"Experimental" is a favorite term in the dance world, one too many dance-goers have learned to equate with "amateur." So when Kunst-Stoff, a company of highly trained dancers founded by two former members of the stunning LINES Ballet, readily describes its work this way, we've got to applaud the risk. Not content to dazzle audiences with the sheer technical merits of the eight members (which, trust us, it could), co-choreographers Yannis Adoniou and Tomi Paasonen layer the dancing into a multitiered, multisensory art experience. In past shows, photographic imagery, video design, and sculpture by Paasonen (among the most memorable being a translucent tube resembling a birth canal from which dancers emerged naked) have frequently studded the stage. We dont know if the three premieres that make up Kunst-Stoff's 10th Anniversary Season will feature such curiosities, but what we can promise are characteristically conceptual ditties ranging in topic from an abandoned cold war spying compound in Paasonen's native Berlin to the physical rituals used to transport a soul to Nirvana. Oh yes, and the likelihood that you'll leave with renewed faith that "experimental" really can mean "brave."
Feb. 14-16, 7 p.m., 2008