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
If you're like us, and you appreciate the slap-happy singles style of Tony Gwynn to the deep-ball threat of Barry Bonds, then the shuffleboard table at Fly Bar on Larkin and Sutter is definitely your speed.
San Francisco has always been a nexus for independent thinkers, but the 1960s saw a wholesale, albeit brief, rejection of the cultural mainstream on nearly every front. There were free concerts in the park and free stores in the Haight. Cohorts like the Merry Pranksters and the Diggers passed out acid and soup at happenings, where artists pushed limits of their various mediums. One of the most interesting (and long lasting) groups to bubble up from that heady hotchpot was Canyon Cinema. Like the San Francisco Tape Center, which abetted musicians who took audio technology to the cutting edge, Canyon Cinema provided a venue for experimental filmmakers, both physically and philosophically. Initially existing first as a floating cinematheque, Canyon Cinema presented underground screenings in the basements and backyards of local artists who were willing to supply wine and popcorn. By 1967, this loose collection of filmmakers had become an organization capable of championing and distributing avant-garde work around the world. Last year, film historian Scott MacDonald published Canyon Cinema: The Life and Times of an Independent Film Distributor, which fully illuminated the distributors position in independent film history. As a major source for experimental work, Canyons catalog boasts nearly 4,000 films spanning 70 years, yet it remains an artist-run collective, operating with the same values that drove instigator Bruce Baillie to erect an army surplus screen in his backyard. MacDonald appears at a series of screenings this week which include Canyon: the Founders and The Spirit of Canyon, Part 1, featuring nine experimental shorts.
Sat., Nov. 22, 7:30 p.m., 2008