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
Ask any beat cop or ex-boyfriend -- no two people view the same event identically. Add a few years and you'll get a few more versions of the story. So what of a tale that has been told and retold for more than a thousand years? Academics have pored over Beowulf since it was written down. Some claim that Grendel was descended from Cain and all 3,183 lines are Christian in origin and pagan only in context; others have said that's hogwash, twaddle, clap, and trap, and the poem was clearly passed down through recitation using oral-formulaic composition. In any case, there's a lot of wiggle room, which will be wiggled in by Beowulf: A Thousand Years of Baggage, a song-play written by the singular Jason Craig of Banana Bag & Bodice. This is the same mind that gave us a heart-rending musical based on a sandwich and a blood-thirsty cat, and an apocalyptic love story set in a sewer. The cast includes BB&B co-founder Jessica Jelliffe and members of the Shotgun Players, with a live band led by BB&B composer Dave Malloy (you may remember him as the shaggy buffalo behind the keys in Sandwich).
May 18-June 22, 5 p.m., 2008