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
We stand in awe of anyone who can write, or even speak, a new language. It's just hard; triple points if the alphabet is different. But to publish writing in a second (or third or what-have-you) language is above and beyond. To publish poetry in a language other than one's first elevates a person to some status we don't even have a name for yet, but it makes us think of the end of the Matrix, when Neo suddenly understands how things work, and can flip around in dimensionally different ways than before. Polina Barskova has written seven books of poetry, most in her native Russian, The Zoo in Winter is her latest, it's in English, and she's under 40. There should be a word for that kind of language mastery, but if there is, we don't know it. Could ask Barskova, she probably knows.
Tue., Feb. 15, 7 p.m., 2011