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
When it comes to the circus, I'm a bit of a curmudgeon. I love to "ooh" and "ahh" over fine acrobatics and shimmery costumes as much as the next person, but I've seen more than my share of Cirque du Soleil shows, replete with lissome aerial dancers, acrobats with all the expected choreographic flourishes, and New Agey trance music in unidentifiable languages. Fancy wardrobes aside (I do love me some plumage), I usually find myself longing for the sort of quixotic, unpredictable larking about that made me love circuses in the first place. Maybe I've outgrown the primeval playground of the mind, but these days I prefer troupes like the Montreal-based 7 Fingers, who fuse classical and modern dance with vertiginous aerial tricks and a distinctly urban flavor. In the group"s new show, "Traces" directed by founding members and former Pickle Circus luminaries Gypsy Snider and Shana Carroll five young thespians with all the right moves deliver a multimedia banquet for the senses. Whether they're breakdancing to Indian kathak rhythms, kick-flipping skateboards, or shooting hoops (and jumping through them), these performers give good show. Abstract video installations replace storybook backdrops, and high-grade athleticism complements hippodrome silliness. Amid all the commotion, 7 Fingers also focuses on the gritty realities of urban survival yet the show still delivers enough absurdity and magic to maintain wonder as part of the formula.
Dec. 13-Jan. 1, 8 p.m.