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
Making the less-traditional transition from brick-and-mortar to mobile pop-up, A16 is finally offering its hearty Monday meatballs and signature wood-fired Neapolitan pizzas without the inconvenience of needing to book a table.
Nas has always been hip hop's most complex lyricist, so it comes as little surprise that he's released one of the genre's most ambitious albums. On Street's Disciple, the MC suggests the existence of a black culture that lies in opposition to the American mainstream -- politically, aesthetically, and emotionally. Granted, that culture has been crippled by oppression ("A Message to the Feds, Sincerely, We the People"), the false promises of the political process ("American Way"), and racial abandonment ("These Are Our Heroes"), but Nas finds salvation in his family (the appearances of his father and master bluesman Olu Dara), strength in himself ("Street's Disciple"), and a cultural identity in hip hop ("U.B.R.," "Bridging the Gap"). It's a credit to Nas' ability as a lyricist that he's able to hold all of this together. While the two-disc set feels slightly bloated -- and some of the production is bland -- Street's Disciple serves as a high-water mark in a dazzling career.