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
Doing research on human trafficking for her latest piece, The Escape, which integrates dance with music, text, film, and martial arts, dancer and choreographer Lenora Lee says she found that a lot of the abuse women go through is psychological and emotional, not just physical. “A lot of captors threaten repercussions if the women attempt to leave, and they say they will tell families back home,” Lee said. “They divide women and pit them against each other and try and get women dependent on them.” Lee conducted resarch at Chinatown’s historic Cameron House, which has provided support for Asian women and their families for more than 100 years, as well as talking to shelters and legal agencies to find out about current-day trafficking. To Lee, whose dance group is also performing parts of her two most recent large scale works about the Chinese exclusion act and Chinese men and violence for its Fifth Anniversary performance, it makes perfect sense to take on such a serious topic through dance. “You can listen to a lecture about it, but that’s not the same as seeing somebody embody a topic and dance about being raped,” she said.
Oct. 12-14, 2012