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 population of Weed a town near the Oregon border is nearly 10 percent black, greater than you might expect for rural Northern California. Heres how that came to be. African-Americans had been living and working in the Golden State since the time of the Gold Rush, but in the 1920s lumber mill workers in the South were sent west by their companies to towns such as Weed, Dunsmuir, and Mount Shasta. Soon African-American communities in many lumber towns were not only established but thriving, even while dealing with the same issues of segregation and discrimination that afflicted the rest of the country. Director and producer Mark Oliver explores this unique moment in black history in his documentary From the Quarters to Lincoln Heights. The title refers to the change that Weeds African-American residents instigated in the 1960s to rename their neighborhood, a journey described in the film by the people who were there at the time. Oliver is joined by the films co-producer James Langford, who in 1975 became the first African-American teacher hired at Weed Elementary School and brings his intimate knowledge of the black experience in that town.
Fri., June 24, 6 p.m., 2011