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
Where does the past live? (A wee hint: not on the Internet.) In books, yes, but primarily in movies, as Martin Scorsese reminds us in his 3-D film Hugo, a childhood adventure fantasy that has been called a public service announcement for film preservation. San Francisco archivist Rick Prelinger has gathered and saved our collective cinematic history — home movies, educational films, and so-called “industrials — for decades, working with a minuscule fraction of Marty’s resources and none of his bushy-browed self-importance. In what has become a raucous annual event put on by the Long Now Foundation, Prelinger unveils a mesmerizing selection of locally shot footage from bygone days for our vicarious enjoyment and philosophical betterment. Lost Landscapes of San Francisco VI, like its predecessors, isn’t a reverential museum show but a rambunctious hootenanny, with the crowd encouraged to yell out landmarks and cultural references as apparitions of midcentury San Francisco zip by. Thanks to Prelinger, we can see that the past also lives in the present.
Thu., Dec. 8, 7:30 p.m., 2011