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
Mashing up different world cuisines is usually a popular conceit for new quick-service eateries and food trucks to make a quick buck and gain Instagram fame, but Volta has shown how well global cross-pollination works on a refined plate without stretching for novelty or pretense in the process.
If San Francisco were a woman, shed be Kitten on the Keys: a coquettish fag hag with twirling tassels, sweeping vistas, and a raunchy rapier wit borne upon tinkling ivories. As such, artist Suzanne Ramsey received the highest honor a local can hope for: She was sainted by the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. Mainstream media tastemakers like E!, HBO, IFC, and Bravo have also succumbed to her charms; recently, cinematic bon vivant Mathieu Almaric (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly and Quantum of Solace) approached her to portray the MC of a burlesque troupe in his new film. So its sure to be springtime in Paris for Ramsey, but not before she highlights her hometown roots in Does This Piano Make My Ass Look Big?, Kitten on the Keys first one-maam show, which, like most of her work, is autobiographical. Despite corrective shoes and braces, a young girl from Walnut Creek dodges the pitfalls of pig farming, poor body image, and addiction by crossing the Bay Bridge and plunging into a world of fornicating plushies, toe-loving shrimpers, pony people, leather daddies, and overcozy folks on Muni. Somewhere between the interpretive liturgical dance and the song about Ramseys geriatric punk boyfriend (He has hepatitis C/Wakes up lots to pee), you will assuredly fall in love.
April 4-5, 8 p.m., 2009