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
Pity the poor parlor. The historically stuffy bastion of chintz pillows and antimacassars is as likely to be associated with arcane Victorian card games as it is to not exist at all in contemporary dwellings. Bravo to San Francisco Parlor Opera, then, for putting these rooms (and basements, and gardens) to good use by staging such works as Faust, Thaïs, and now Mozarts inimitable Don Giovanni therein. Currently in its second year of existence and on its fourth production, the company employs a roster of fresh musical talent, a charmingly DIY aesthetic, and some fabulous local homes to make classic operas accessible and immediate like never before. The setup does not include subtitles, and the performers dont compromise on things like mastery of foreign languages, so pay attention to the affable prescene narrator or read up on the story before you arrive. (In this case: Rakish nobleman and his kvetching sidekick merrily stab, scheme, and screw their way through all strata of Spanish society transposed in this production to New Orleans in the Jazz Age before the Don gets his, courtesy of the dinner guest nobody wants to break bread with.) The first act is a veritable Mozart greatest-hits reel, the libretto is a hoot, and the freely flowing wine (and a bountiful dessert reception) is included with admission. It probably once was illegal to have this much fun in a parlor.
Saturdays, 7 p.m.; Thu., May 20, 7 p.m. Starts: May 8. Continues through May 22, 2010