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
The sinews of old San Francisco lie in the water: the posts standing in the Bay mud that supported the docks and piers where the shipping that made the city possible, and later allowed it to flourish, flowed.
The apocalypse has arrived, not with a bang but with the whimper of wind whistling through tall grass, in Kaneto Shindo’s mesmerizing 1964 fable, Onibaba (The Hole). An unflinching tale of wartime survival and carnal hunger, this impeccably composed black-and-white film insinuates us into the company of two rural women -- a hardened spitfire and her acquiescent daughter-in-law -- who sustain themselves by ambushing and robbing injured samurai, then dragging the stripped bodies to the titular pit. The return of a neighboring man from far-off battles upends their routine, and triggers a host of base impulses. Shindo took an old Buddhist parable, substituted sex for prayer, and created a film with contemporary relevance that also (for those inclined to look) summons the specter of Japan after Hiroshima. The last of a three-film mini-tribute to the marvelous Japanese writer-director, who died earlier this year at 100, Onibaba leaves us shuddering in recognition of the injuries we inflict on ourselves through selfishness and panic.
Thu., Aug. 23, 7:30 p.m.; Sun., Aug. 26, 2 p.m., 2012