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
The sinews of old San Francisco lie in the water: the posts standing in the Bay mud that supported the docks and piers where the shipping that made the city possible, and later allowed it to flourish, flowed.
While Mah Jongg, a game of skill, calculation, and chance involving 136 tiles, may have originated in China (with alternate variations found in Japan and Korea), Gravity Goldberg, Manager of Public Programs at the Contemporary Jewish Museum, tells us that Mah Jong, or Mahj for short, happens to be "hugely popular with little old Jewish ladies." Further evidence of this truth rests in the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York and the Skirball Cultural Center in L.A., which both had recent exhibitions about Mah Jongg. Of course, it's not only Jewish elders who love the game, evidenced by the fact that the first Mah Jongg sets sold in the U.S. came from that bastion of hip, shirtless youth, Abercrombie & Fitch. All ages and skill levels are welcome to attend Mah Jongg Open Play, which is led by Mahj Maven Sara Linden. The event does tend to sell out, so get your tickets early because there's only room for 56 players. When asked whether the games tend to be competitive, Goldberg said, "The ladies (mostly ladies) do take it very serious -- they don’t like ambient noise other than the tiles -- play now, gossip later." Lest you think it's all business up in this house of tiles, we'd like to point you to its delightfully playful catchphrase: "Get your mahj on!" See you on the flip side.
Sun., Sept. 9, 1 p.m., 2012