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.
In Stiffed: The Betrayal of the American Man, Pulitzer Prizewinning journalist Susan Faludi analyzed the myth of the stoic American man who easily meets the needs of his vulnerable wife and family and the detrimental effects it has had on real men with little power, struggling in the face of increasing economic inequalities. The Terror Dream: Fear and Fantasy in Post9/11 America goes further, illustrating the response to these myths in the midst of perceived national peril. Faludi discusses how America returns again and again to the swaggering and false imagery of the Old West with its gun-swinging cowboys, helpless women, and ungodly savages; and how these myths keep us as docile as the hapless citizens in Soylent Green. At root, all of Faludi's work is a welcome inspection and sobering indictment of the media (and politics, which is quite practically the same thing). While detractors might say that she has gone too far, postulating that the powers that be would hijack a hijacking in order to keep women in their place, a more relevant complaint would be that Faludi has not gone far enough: The powers that be have hijacked the hijacking in order to keep everyone in their place and, at this point, it clearly has more to do with wealth than gender.
Tue., Oct. 30, 7:30 p.m., 2007