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
We will dispense with the double entendres: Carol Doda, who we lost in November, was a San Francisco hero who will be rightly celebrated and remembered as long as the town she helped create still stands, the torch held aloft along Broadway and kept alight in neon.
A certain legend surrounds R.A. the Rugged Man. A rapper so talented he was the subject of a major-label bidding war in the mid-'90s, R.A. was also so reviled that he was eventually blackballed by nearly every label and banned from nearly every recording studio, venue, and label office, including his own, Jive Records. After slipping beneath the radar for several years, releasing sporadic singles and honing his writing skills in magazines like Mass Appeal, he finally comes back with a project that was worth the wait. Backed by thumping, radio-ready beats compliments of Nigga Nilez and a handful of other relative unknowns, R.A. breaks down his rather distinct outlook: "I ain't down to sign autographs and shake ya hands/ I don't want trendy-ass followers as fans/ I don't wanna sell records, I don't wanna be big/ I don't want MTV runnin' up in my crib." By sticking to his guns and being his nasty, hilarious self, R.A. has delivered an album that lives up to the legend.