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
In the mid-1980s, Barack Obama left a promising and well-paid New York business career to work as a community organizer on the South Side of Chicago. That decision was furthered, in some measure, by a brief phone conversation with the Kenyan half-sister he had never met face to face. Nigerian director Branwen Okpako’s The Education of Auma Obama (7 p.m. Friday at the Roxie Theater) introduces us to this highly accomplished and quietly powerful woman, who’s presently channeling her energies and experience into supporting community organizers in her native country. Big names also mix with no-names at the San Francisco International Women’s Film Festival, in what’s become a matter of tradition as well as principle. Okpako’s feature-length documentary shares tonight’s opening-night spotlight with “Making Herstory: Young Women in the Director’s Chair” (5:30 p.m. at the Ninth Street Independent Film Center), a program of short films by next-generation filmmakers. The weekend festival includes events designed explicitly to allow mid-career directors to share tips, advice, and painfully accrued wisdom to their sisters on the way up. Check the statistics on the paucity of female directors in Hollywood and it’s clear that community organizing is still needed in a major way.
April 13-15, 2012