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
When the San Francisco Arts Commission wanted someone to dress up City Hall for the building's 100th anniversary last year, and become the structure's first artist-in-residence, it took a leap of faith by choosing Jeremy Fish.
Indoor Shakespeare productions can concentrate on textual nuance and create poignant moments simply because the actors don't have to shout over the wind. This luxury makes Shakespeare Etc's production of the notorious Scottish play worthwhile. Director Claudia Weeks eschews the colorful banners and fanfare of the customary production, instead opting for an extremely stripped-down version. Her Castle Dunsinane is a dark, sinister place. While the sound effects (by Michael Santo) are effectively disquieting, there's no set and only minimal lighting, and the actors wear simple black costumes, which sometimes gets visually boring, especially at dull moments in the text. But at other times the minimalism proves effective in placing more weight on the acting. The Weird Sisters (Mollena Williams, Roger Loesch, and Floriana Alessandria) enter slowly, whispering at first, until Williams gives her lines an evil sensuality. The cast interprets this play as one of secrets and internalized torments that, under pressure, eventually break the surface. "Is this a dagger I see before me?" asks Matthew Henerson as Macbeth, fixating intently on the invisible object before giving a slight, knowing smile. In this precise performance, Henerson lets control give way to sheer fear at the sight of Banquo's ghost (an equally distinct Michael Santo). Likewise, Valerie de Jose's Lady Macbeth drips internal conviction, but then de Jose delivers a haunted and tortured "Out damned spot" speech. Greg Bryan breaks up the intensity with a versatile and amusing turn as the Porter. Kevin Kelleher turns in a refreshingly natural, conversational performance as Malcolm, not subscribing to the "inside of the thigh" approach that plagues other small roles -- in which an actor stands stiffly with his leg turned out, as if to say, "Look at me, I'm doing Shakespeare." With this collection of talented performers, Shakespeare Etc proves itself a company to be reckoned with.