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 grizzly bear has scored its fair share of movie roles. Its the beleaguered cub of Jean-Jacques Annauds ode to nature, The Bear, the object of ill-fated Timothy Treadwells obsession in Werner Herzogs documentary Grizzly Man, and has had its anatomy revised for maximum cuddliness by Disney on more than one occasion. Californians will be most familiar with the bear through its filmic lives, since the last living Grizzly in the state, Monarch, died in captivity in 1911. Sabrina Alonsos visual essay, Grizzly Road, ponders Monarchs fate, as well as that of his kin, who were no match for the human steamroller that was Manifest Destiny. Alonsos camera captures whats left of the Grizzly in California: carvings sold at roadside tourist hubs dressed as the cowboys and pioneers who hunted them out of existence. Under her gaze, its apparent how macabre their costuming is. Alonsos film doesnt just eulogize the bear, but explores the tenants of Westward Expansion that allowed progress to eradicate Grizzlies and Native Americans while solidifying their idealized place in history. Alonso attends this screening in person.
Sat., Aug. 16, 8 p.m., 2008