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
In a nut-colored penthouse, with four clocks set to Happy Hour, lives a quartet of queer ghosts: Oscar Wilde, Truman Capote, Tennessee Williams, and Quentin Crisp. An obscure, young, straight writer wanders into this bitches' brew after getting hit by a train. They all know his name -- Gryphon Tott -- and he doesn't understand why. "You can drop the act, sugar," says Capote. "You're an icon." It seems that Tott has joined the ranks of the famous, gay, drunk, and dead because of a homoerotic manuscript he left half-finished on his laptop. Bickering over his book ensues, and the best part of Jeffrey Hartgraves' new play is not the way the actors capture four legendary personalities -- which is impossible -- but the pure energy of the catfights. "I'd give him a piece of my mind!" says Capote, in some context or another, and Wilde retorts: "Oh, he serves it often. It's a regular gray-matter buffet." P.A. Cooley looks terrifically like Capote in a pair of round glasses and a suit. Leon Acord has some of Crisp's manner but none of his voice; Hartgraves himself is amusingly depressed as Williams, but not delicate enough; and Matt Weimer looks less like Oscar Wilde than Meg Tilly. But the show is hilarious. This may be the best thing John Fisher has directed in years. The play moves at a rude, sure-footed clip, and it's packed with witticisms, written by Hartgraves, that are downright lapidary.