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
You can expect a great deal of edible fare at this oddball puppet show, but don't be mistaken: Despite the event's title, the food isn't there for the eating. Rather, the eight-course dinner menu consists of several food- and cutlery-inspired scenarios performed by puppets made of organic materials, from leafy greens to sprouting radishes. Over a brief evening of theater, you'll meet an eclectic, if not ridiculous, cast of characters: a striptease dancer with perky lemon boobs and lanky carrot-stick legs, a muscle-bound strongman made solely of potatoes, and a flustered French waitress with a dinner-roll head who flits about in fits of anxiety. Sometimes it's easy to see right off what the puppets are -- or what political theme they're alluding to -- while others are harder to wrap your brain around, like those Magic Eye posters from the early '90s, where you had to keep refocusing your eyes to find the hidden picture. Looking for a puppet's face inside a bread roll or envisioning scenes from the West Bank through scenes acted out by toilet rolls takes audience commitment; the act has obvious appeal to children, but it demands concentration to follow. The cleverest piece of the evening is a wonderfully orchestrated scene between two Samurai warrior puppets (made of dinner napkins, teacups, and chopsticks) who imitate the high-tech fight moves and sounds from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon until their teapot mother comes and puts them to bed. Another highlight is a sexy courting scene performed between two sets of human fingers wrapped seductively in ribbon (later stripped away). While the sketches have some slow and indecipherable moments, they're inventive and faultlessly executed by the quirky Lunatique crew. Fans of found-object puppetry and creative no-frills theater will get a kick out of how much can be done with so little. Just remember to eat before coming to the show.