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
As comics grow in popularity, so grows the medium’s diversity. Yet comics have always been open to every background. There have been Jewish, Latino, Asian, and African-American comics creators from the very beginning. (One theory on why: Given prevailing racial attitudes in the 1930s and 1940s, comics simply weren’t taken seriously, allowing their creators to operate with unusual freedom, and in near anonymity.) Now, with the medium more diverse than mainstream Hollywood or the Top 40 charts, the Latino Comics Expo presents Noche de Latinas — an evening with three leading Bay Area Latina comics creators: Gabrielle Gamboa (Miss Lonelyhearts), Crystal Gonzales (In the Dark), and Liz Mayorga (Spunky Cat Comix), as well as one from Los Angeles, Grasiela Rodriguez (Spadra, Lunatic Fringe). Together, they will discuss their habits as creators — spanning their work in comics, zines, and web animation — as well as the specific inspirations and challenges they have faced as independent creators. This event is presented in conjunction with “La Raza Comica: A Celebration of the Latino-American Experience in the Comic Arts,” on view through Sept. 30.
Thu., Aug. 23, 7 p.m., 2012