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
Its 1920s Paris. Its 1940s and 1960s San Francisco. Its deviant, luscious, drag-a-licious, and as witty as it is outlandish. And its gore lots of gore. Its Thrillpeddlers Shocktoberfest!! 12: Fear Over Frisco. This dedicated little theater troupe that draws members from various sectors of queer, drag, and burlesque scenes seems to get stronger as time goes on. It has made a Halloween-season tradition of emulating short plays from the Theater of the Grand Guignol, a 1920s Parisian troupe whose aim was to shock and overwhelm audiences with graphic subject matter and props. In recent years it has enlisted the help of Scrumbly Koldewyn, an original member of the Cockettes, an absurdist gender-bending company from the late 1960s and early 70s. This year it adds San Francisco czar of noir Eddie Muller, writer and director of The Grand Inquisitor and An Obvious Explanation. The first depicts a young woman confronting who she believes is the widow of a serial killer, while the second involves a heist gone wrong, a case of amnesia, and memory serum. The third play, The Drug, is directed by Thrillpeddlers Russell Blackwood. Originally set in Saigon, Muller has rewritten it to take place in San Francisco. It involves the disfigurement (natch) of a famous artist, and a young prosecutor torn between the truth and a burning desire for the main suspect. Expect the surprise ending to be less Raymond Chandler and more H.P. Lovecraft.
Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m. Starts: Sept. 23. Continues through Nov. 19, 2011