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 the San Francisco Arts Commission wanted someone to dress up City Hall for the building's 100th anniversary last year, and become the structure's first artist-in-residence, it took a leap of faith by choosing Jeremy Fish.
2926 16th St. (between South Van Ness
and Mission), S.F.
Through June 2
Tickets are $12-20
Spanning the time period from African roots to American slavery to snap divas, Marvin K. White's for colored boys may be an "homage" to Ntozake Shange's classic choreo-poem "for colored girls who have considered suicide/ when the rainbow is enuf," but the title alone telegraphs that this ain't no show about Black Women's Pain. No, honey, this is all about the African-American gay male experience. (Snap. Snap.) The company of five talented men spiritedly directed by Johari Jabir slips exuberantly between pathos and joy, sensuality and hilarity, lyricism and satire. White's poems lend themselves to a theatrical presentation (it doesn't hurt that he's a former member of Pomo Afro Homos), and on a stripped-bare stage we are treated to poetic vignettes acted, danced, and sung. Even if a poem here or there doesn't grab your attention, or if some performances prove uneven, the overall production is still successful in communicating the facts and fictions about gay black men -- which are more universal than you might imagine. The hot comb may straighten the hair, but it won't straighten the man. (Snap. Snap.) Being gay in the black community and black in the gay community is a double whammy, and White translates this schism with lyrical force, avoiding clichés and staying off the political soapbox. Although for colored boys does not maintain the sustained force of the play based on "for colored girls," it does have passion and admirable conviction. Does that translate into enlightening entertainment? Girlfriend, it's a snap.