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
There's no fantasy quite as befuddling and beloved as E.T.A. Hoffmann's The Nutcracker and the Mouse King. Tchaikovsky's ballet version, far from a pretty platitude, never fails to enchant for the same reason it's so damn strange. With an oddly developed romance and the presence of lots of little confections in a fantasy world presumably of the heroine's making, it's hard to readily decipher the plot.
The San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band throws out the liner notes and, appropriately, goes extempore with its Dance-Along Nutcracker: Ratified! The band retains the whimsy and music of the original ballet, but dispenses with elegant, overly serious performers. Instead, the audience gets to dress up in fanciful costumes while lollygagging and pirouetting around the stage to the accompaniment of the musicians. In addition, the story takes another detour rather than the focus being on protagonist Clara and her wooden beau, this year the rats (who are the Nutcracker's archenemies, in case you forgot) take to the stage and explain themselves with a tongue-in-cheek counterpoint. What with all the marching musicians and potentially graceless actors, it's a mutiny that'll make the ballet seem terribly passé in comparison.
Sat., Dec. 8, 2:30 & 7 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 9, 11 a.m. & 3 p.m., 2007