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
Nob Hill Theatre, the all-genders-welcome male strip club, is holding it down on Bush Street, and after several decades of D, it's still S.F.'s only place to see full-frontal guys up close, seven nights a week (for $20).
This DIY release of In the Reins makes it official: Lite rock is the new indie cool. The seven-song collaboration between Tucson's sun-baked rootsy virtuosos Calexico, a borderland backing band with few peers, and Miami singer/songwriter Sam Beam, the one-man folk hero behind Iron & Wine, draws directly from the cottony melodies and string-centric, no-frills sincerity of KOIT superstars like the Eagles, Simon & Garfunkel, and Fleetwood Mac. Much of this music is languid, downtempo, and thoroughly unobtrusive, ideal for background sounds at a low-key gathering of lifelong friends. Yet its softness is arguably its greatest strength. You want to listen closely: to catch the nuances of the melodies, nestle into the sumptuous contours of the harmonies, swoon to the instrumental flourishes (the pedal steel guitar on "Sixteen, Maybe Less," the muted trumpet on "Burn That Broken Bed"), and unravel the subtle poetry of the lyrics, which take us behind the bars of family dysfunction (and salvation) on tunes like "Prison on Route 14" and "Dead Man's Will." Still, the question remains: Is it possible for lite rock to really be cool, or are indie hipsters less hip than they think they are?