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
Eternity Frankenheimer is a clone, a fighter, a mystery, a West African, and, later, a supermodel. In Kola Boofs new literary political sci-fi novel, The Sexy Part of the Bible, the main character crosses so many boundaries in the first few pages that its hard to keep up in a good way. When have you read an empathetic description of the moment a person realizes she is, or was, another person? I cant think for a moment. I am the rum extract, the clone of this woman who was kicked to death in the streets, Eternity muses. The book poetically, cyclically addresses panic-inducing questions such as How do I know Im human? or How do I know Im black? Boofs sociopolitical analysis is sharp, and combined with her unflinchingly observant and richly rendered prose, its keeping us enthralled.
Sat., Aug. 27, 6 p.m., 2011