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
Despite John Guare's early critical success with House of Blue Leaves, which won the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best American Play of 1971, his next full-length play, Rich and Famous, was not received kindly by New York critics. Perhaps it hit too close to home. Rich and Famous follows a deluded young playwright named Bing Ringling during the opening of his "autobiographical" musical adaptation of Dante's Inferno. What is to be the turning point of Ringling's professional life becomes an inky night of the soul. More than anything, he fears becoming "the world's oldest living promising young playwright," but the craven road to fame leads to something altogether more hollow. Presenting the play in its first major revival since 1976 and rewriting significantly Guare employs the most absurd circumstances to magnify the real tragedy of human lives, and he caps it off with a song. Rich and Famous was no doubt intended as a satirical self-portrait, but Guare's own career bears no reflection. Since '76, hes been piled with accolades, including an Obie for Six Degrees of Separation, numerous Tonys, and a National Film Critics Circle Award and an Oscar nomination for his screenplay for Louis Malle's Atlantic City. Surely the revival of Rich and Famous will see its due at last.
Tuesdays-Sundays. Starts: Jan. 8. Continues through Feb. 8, 2009