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
With excessive ardency and prayers addressing Christ like an absent lover, postulant nun Céline (Julie Sokolowski) in Hadewijch draws the disapproval of mother superior, who calls the girl "a caricature of a nun," and sends her out to rediscover herself in the world. Writer-director Bruno Dumont, with his great capacity for translating environment to the screen, shows a quietly crumbling European Christianity in wintertime, of empty seats in houses of worship held together with scaffolding. Back at her palatial family flat, Céline rejects her posh background for friendships in the Arab banlieue. Told with brusque ellipsis and unusually expressive close-ups Sokolowski is as vivid as a hunted animal in her throes the tale of Céline's exploring the outside world is impregnated with the anxious sense of waiting for the proverbial other shoe to drop. Dumont teases at length the viewer's protective instinct toward his heroine, who has no sense of self-preservation of her own then jerks a hard turn, reminding us that we should fear innocence as much as fear for it. Hadewijch follows the director's philosophy of rugged, squalid secular humanism into an abrupt, uncoordinated salvation scene but not even that lapse can dispel the lingering effect of the perturbing, harsh images that preceded it.
Dec. 29-30; Jan. 1-12, 2010