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 Tennessee Williams' Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Maggie, the American theater canon's most desperate housewife, tries to persuade her depressed and frigid husband, Brick, to pull himself out of his drunken stupor long enough to impregnate her, thus strengthening the couple's claim on the massive Mississippi Delta plantation belonging to Brick's ailing father, Big Daddy Pollitt. If Israel Hicks' solid and staid production for ACT conveys any of the dangerous animal energy of Williams' 1950s-era drama, it's in Jack Willis' brilliant, ballistic performance as the family patriarch, Big Daddy. A rutting stag crossed with an oversize teddy bear, Willis just has to bark the word "Crap!" and the chandeliers shake. René Augesen's Maggie and Michael James Reed's Brick seem flaccid in comparison. Fluttering onstage in a frilly frock and golden locks, Augesen is more Little Bo Peep than bristling feline. She mostly behaves as though she's lost her sheep, not her lover.