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 must be real easy to become a cliché if you're a girl holding an acoustic guitar. (Easier than if you're a boy? Discuss.) San Franciscan by way of London Rebecca Cross takes up the challenge and wins it. While she draws on the traditions of Bob Dylan's storytelling and Buffy Sainte-Marie's unapologetic femininity, she also folds in unexpected rhythms and instrumentation to make a spare, torchy folk. Not that she shies away from love songs or politics, but with a vocal tone as crystalline as Sinead O'Connor's, Cross sounds fresh and pretty where you might expect well-worn. She even manages to pull off a sort of rap about plastic surgery; this sweet little voice has a strong command of language and a sharp wit that makes it work. She claims both Micropixie and Led Zeppelin as influences. She's hard to label, let alone stereotype. Remember that next time you see a girl and a guitar.
Thu., April 10, 8 p.m., 2008