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
She released but two albums in the mid-1960s on the iconoclastic ESP label, but avant-garde vocalist Patty Waters had considerable impact, influencing no less a singer than Diamanda Galas. Then she "disappeared" (to be a mom), re-emerging in the mid-'90s for sporadic performances. In May '02, S.F.'s Noe Valley Ministry was the setting, with Waters accompanied only by a pianist and bassist. Anyone expecting the cathartic, mind-shredding outré technique of her classic "Black Is the Color" could be disappointed -- here she revisits her traditional jazz roots, exemplified by Anita O'Day and especially Billie Holiday, to whom this set is a tribute. Without mimicking Holiday, Waters presents a similarly smoky, sultry, measured quality, capturing the harrowing essence of the jazz singer near the end of her life, after hard living had eroded her voice, leaving only her spirit. The program consists of overly familiar standards like "Old Devil Moon" and "Lover Man," but Waters' trio conveys them with such stark, unadorned devotion that one might think this was the very last time they were going to be played or heard.