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
Coffee loyalty runs deep in San Francisco, and if asked to come up with a choice between Sightglass, Four Barrel, Ritual, or Blue Bottle, we might hiss and run away, flaring our frilled neck like a frightened Aussie lizard.
While the less-successful experiments of Fidel Castros Cuba are well known, its state-run system for training dance professionals can hardly be counted among them. For nearly half a century, the country has turned out some of the most stunning dancers on the planet. Among them is San Franciscos Ramón Ramos Alayo. Selected to study dance in Santiago de Cuba at age 11, he went on to tour the world with some of the countrys best-known companies. In 1997, he moved to California, where his blend of Afro-Cuban, modern, folkloric, and popular Cuban dance has been winning a steady stream of converts ever since. In his latest project, "BOUNDtogether", Alayo teams up with longtime friend and choreographer Tania Santiago, whose Afro-Brazilian company, Aguas de Bahia, may rival only his own Alayo Dance Company in contagious energy. Santiagos contribution to the evening, Sagrada/Profana Bahia, explores the fine line between the sacred and profane in traditional Brazilian culture through two new dances, Terra de Todos os Santos (The Land of All Saints) and Terra de Felicidade (Land of Happiness). Meanwhile, Alayo tells the story of a person searching for redemption in A Piece of White Cloth, which traces the symbolism of plain white fabric through Cuban culture back to the Yoruban traditions of West Africa. If the dictatorship of his homeland has yielded less-than-hoped for results, perhaps it finds its own redemption in the exceptional arts Cuba continues to give the world.
Dec. 4-6, 7 p.m., 2009