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
Isadora Duncan is a classic San Francisco figure. A natural libertine disdainful of convention and delighted by beauty, she stripped ballet of its soul-crushing shoes and flouted the idea of commercial success. For her, dance was life. Philosophies of improvisation, human emotion, and the natural body were the bedrock of her dance schools, and so encompassing were her theories, the most gifted students took her surname. Even today, 82 years after her death, Duncan remains one of the worlds most influential choreographers, yet her work is grossly underperformed. Enter Mary Sano, a third-generation Duncan dancer who trained with disciple Mignon Garland. Sano teaches the Duncan style in a studio just a stones throw from the choreographers birthplace. Every year, she and the Duncan Dancers unleash the Dionysian Festival to celebrate their icons birthday. At once earthy and ethereal, the dances are like myths that have leapt from the page. The poetry of everyday life is woven into painterly tableaux rich with exotic, winsome ritual. Chasing Duncans adventurous spirit, Sano often embraces Arab oud, Persian tar, Japanese taiko drum, and African sarod as well as Noh performers and theater writers. This years festival includes classical Indian dance, Japanese koto, and G. Hoffman Soto and his SotoMotion, which combines butoh, Brazilian dance, and martial arts. It is bound to be breathtaking.
Sat., May 30, 8 p.m.; Sun., May 31, 5 p.m., 2009