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
A brooding, evocative Norwegian juvie-hell drama set in 1915, Marius Holst's movie King of Devil's Island lands us in a fresh locale: secluded, wintery Bastoy Island, home to the near-medieval "school" for "maladjusted boys," just as a new, unbreakable young felon (Benjamin Helstad) is admitted, much to the concern of the principal (Stellan Skarsgard). Indelible in its muster of pungent period flavor, the film follows the resonant Cool Hand Luke/Cuckoo's Nest formula pretty closely until the prison uprising (which this microgenre often avoids) blows up stirringly. Reportedly based on a true story, Holst's seemingly robustly budgeted and luridly titled opus (we're nowhere near the real Devil's Island in French Guiana) takes its time expanding the inmates' characters, but in the end, they're as convincing as the preindustrial slave labor and the climactic trial on the frozen Skagerrak Strait.
Jan. 6-12, 2012