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
Early in Hitchcock, Alfred Hitchcock (played by Sir Anthony Hopkins with a sack of fat connecting chin to neck) walks the red carpet at the premiere of his 1959 chase film, North by Northwest. “You’re 60 years old!” shouts a reporter. The scene is an announcement that Hitchcock will be the kind of Hollywood movie in which veterans on the verge of obsolescence figure out how to beat the industry’s system of cycling out the old in favor of the new. For Hitchcock’s Hitchcock, this means breaking away from starry “baubles” like North by Northwest, and exploring riskier territory. “What if someone really good made a horror picture?” he wonders. Hopkins’ imitation of Hitchcock’s distinctive vocal cadence is initially disarming, but the performance seems less convincingly human as the film wears on, failing to build on its first impression. Scarlett Johansson as Janet Leigh looks distractingly like Scarlett Johansson. More painful are the attempts to transform Helen Mirren into a dowdy woman-behind-the-man; her wig could not be shittier. Unfortunately, Hitchcock is a movie about bygone Hollywood that’s distinctly a product of Hollywood circa now. It bears the influence of the kind of reality TV in which the subject’s career is the excuse for the show, but in terms of screen time what they actually do for a living is relevant only in that it puts them in glamorous locales and in contact with potential catalysts for stock, soapy side-drama.
Fri., Nov. 23, 2012