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
This year, Disney announced plans to revive the magical, majestical, supercali- fragilistical title character of Mary Poppins. We can’t find too much fault with the choice of Emily Blunt in the starring role, and we are pleased that this won’t be a “reimagining” of P.L. Travers’ original tale. (Travers wrote many more adventures for her English governess, so there’s plenty of material to draw upon.) Still, even if the composers are Hairspray’s Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, and they have elicited the support of at least half of the Sherman Brothers who wrote “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” and “Chim Chim Cher-ee,” we have a difficult time imagining a movie that can compete in our child brain with the five-time Oscar winner. Granted, Dick Van Dyke’s cockney accent left a lot to be desired, and maybe the movie does take its own sweet time getting started — to say nothing of those interminable penguins — but we’ve done some internal editing, leaving nothing but a sweet aftertaste that, during this month’s “Wine Down with a Movie,” might be accompanied by free tipples of Domaine Chan- don.More
Nothing caps off a nice day at the beach like a mouthful of sand — especially if the grit in your teeth is the reward for the grit required to splay flat-out on your stomach, for the prize of a plastic disc in your hand, and all the glory that comes along with it.
With its delicate, fairy-tale bones and layer of politically conscious muscle, Azur and Asmar is a sleek and yet slightly unwieldy animal. The fourth animated feature from French director Michel Ocelot, Azurs hybrid appeal should be one of its strongest selling points but proves its weakest: The lessons of cultural intolerance are pitched simply enough for children to understand, yet the execution lacks the schmoozy wit and splashy visuals to keep them entertained; adults will find the elegant combination of cut-out and CGI animation bewitching but the thematics unsubtle, at best. Azur and Asmar are introduced as babes at the breast of an Arab woman (nanny of the former, mother of the latter) in an unspecified Anglo land. Raised as brothers, Azur is an Aryan wet dream, while Asmar is brown like his mum. The boys are separated by Azurs unaccountably evil father, but meet years later in an unspecified Arab land, both chasing a childhood fable that involves freeing a fairy princess. Azur is feared by the Arabs for his blue eyes, a sort of reverse racism that causes him to feign blindness, and all of the Arabic dialogue is untranslated, heightening his feeling of isolation. Aside from a visual shout-out to Jesus and a mention of madrasas and mosques, Ocelot skirts religious questions altogether, offering a moral about ethnic differences, with interracial dating as the answer for a harmonious future.
March 6-12, 2009