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
It wasnt all that long ago that The New York Times was running stories lamenting the precipitous decline of Italian cinema. The industry was in a certified crisis, as Hollywood flicks siphoned off moviegoers and the decades-long streak of star directors with international reputations came to an abrupt end. Those dark days are past, with an array of talented young filmmakers connecting with audiences at home and making gentle waves abroad. The annual festival of New Italian Cinema showcases first- or second-time directors whose films play like thoughtfully composed postcards from a society in flux. Carmine Amorosos more-romantic-than-gritty Cover Boy: The Last Revolution (Nov. 19 and 23) views Rome through the eyes of two immigrants, a newbie innocent from Romania and a jaded Swiss drudge worker. Toni dAngelos bittersweet A Night (Nov. 19 and 22) reunites a group of long-separated Naples friends on the cusp of 40, all seemingly successful but with gaping holes where their dreams used to be disillusionment never looked so attractive. While we await the next Fellini or Antonioni, these new filmmakers will serve nicely.
Nov. 16-23, 2008