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.
Anyone else tired of the notion that New York City claims a monopoly over late-night partying? Just about any bustling world-class urban center can be credibly identified as a city that never sleeps, this one included. That said, if you can ignore the obligatory New York homerism, theres a lot to enjoy in Taylor Plimptons Notes from the Night: A Life After Dark, his travelogue of the seedy nightlife roiling behind the velvet ropes. Unlike other documentarians of late-night excess, he isnt interested in presenting a gaudy display of elegantly debauched overconsumption. Instead, hes self-effacing the entire time, unraveling the seams of after-hours N.Y.C. with equal amounts of anthropological rigor and tart self-examination. Plimpton has done well for himself: Notes from the Night has found fans in the likes of Jay McInerney and Jonathan Ames, no strangers to the pulsing underbelly of the big citys late-night culture. Credit his ability to make his specific experience in a decadent subculture feel broadly relatable his detailed catalog of the various types and intensities of hangover will ring true with those familiar with spending Sunday morning coming down, whether or not theyve ever spent a night in Manhattan. What Plimpton has achieved is a rare feat: offering up a propulsive narrative full of debauched thrills that has a sober awareness of its own absurdity.
Tue., Aug. 10, 6 p.m., 2010