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
Pablo Traperos unpretentious prison drama wasnt exceptional enough to win the Palme dOr at last years Cannes, but whats downright neglectful is that his star/producer/wife, Martina Gusman, didnt skulk away with a Best Actress prize. Entering catatonic and submissive (and actually preggers in real life), the Argentinean beauty boldly transforms as shes both hardened and softened over a few years of jail time. Shes a jaw-droppingly credible presence as the anguished mommy-to-be Julia, discovered by police alongside the bloody remains of her baby-daddy and his lover. Sent to the slammer, albeit one less scary than the hellhole in Carandiru as its populated by stroller mommies, Julia gives birth and is forced to raise her son under lockdownclearly not ideal conditions for a growing kid. This bizarrely dreary milieu is unlike any other woman-behind-bars movie (Pam Grier completists might contest): Amid the hair-pulling tussles in the shower, fiery riots, and other genre clichés, there are Lamaze classes and kindergarten. With a lightly expressive touch, Trapero opens our eyes, but not wide enough to take in anything fresh or profound about the settings psychological and sociological complexities. Once the film devolves into a drag-down fight for custody with Julias mother, only Gusmans nuance saves us from a script that seems geared more toward screeching overacting.
July 31-Aug. 6, 2009