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 were recently surprised to learn that, while print and e-book publishing lan- guishes, audiobooks do better and better with every passing year. (Downloads in 2015 were up 38 percent over 2014.) We like to imagine that it’s the allure of the well-trained dramaturge that makes emotional connections while leaving some- thing to the listener’s imagination — not background noise for long commutes. In such a case, there can be no finer pleasure than a staged reading by longtime favorites Word for Word, a company that has brought countless short stories from page to stage, including “Sonny’s Blues” by James Baldwin, “The Fall River Axe Murders” by Angela Carter, “Berenice” by Edgar Allan Poe, and “The Bunch- grass Edge of the World” by Annie Proulx. During “Off the Page,” devotees help the company massage prose into parts, and sometimes, as was the case with Al- ice Munro’s work, choose the next story for production. Tonight, the actors ap- proach short fiction from Jamie Quatro’s highly lauded IWanttoShowYou More, which explores faith, (in)fidelity, and family along the border between Georgia and Tennessee.More
A storytelling night with Carnie Asada, Profundity, Coco Buttah, Mahlae Balenciaga, Greg der Ananian, and Fauxnique, celebrates Shark Week with accounts of dangerous, deadly, and treacherous creatures.More
Be there when Cara Black discusses her new book: Murder on the Quai. Aimee Leduc is in her first year of college at Paris's preeminent medical school. But Aimee's world is crumbling: her boyfriend is leaving her, her father leaves for Berlin for a mysterious errand and asks Aimee to look after his detective agency. She begins to investigate a murder. A book sale by the Friends of the San Francisco Public Library follows the event.More
Magic Theater, Fort Mason Center, Building D, Marina & Buchanan, S.F.
Through Dec. 30
Tickets are $22
Word for Word normally stages short stories. The troupe once tried a novel (well, one chapter) with brilliant success, but so far it has avoided poems. The rules of its game involve mounting a work of literature without changing a single word. This method has worked well with fiction, because fiction, in general, has to tell a story; a poem, on the other hand, can go anywhere at all. As a result, this collection of 45 poems, from Carl Sandburg and e.e. cummings to Robert Hass and Eloise Greenfield, is uneven compared to the other shows. Some of the poems are just boring onstage, and all of them are pitched at children. A young boy (Joey Hauswirth) climbs into bed, and funny-faced adults come out to chant verse at him. The narrative poems work better than the nonnarrative ones, unsurprisingly -- "Pumberly Potts' Unpredictable Niece" by Jack Prelutsky and "Have Some Madeira, M'Dear?" by Michael Flanders are particularly good -- but the best pieces are musical. The cast gives Edgar Allan Poe's "The Bells" a stirring, nightmarish choral reading, and Langston Hughes' "Harlem Night Song" is an unexpectedly hip dose of syncopated tooth-brushing. The success of these two pieces is new territory for the group, since neither poem has a plot; it would be nice to see Word for Word do more in the same direction, only aimed at adults.