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
According to comic Marc Maron, comedy audiences don't have the patience they once did for neurotic comedians in the tradition of Woody Allen or Richard Lewis: Get on Prozac or get the hell out is the typical reaction, he laments. Lewis career slumped in the '90s during the rise of the alt-comic, a casualty of changing tastes. Not until Lewis outdid Larry David in sheer neurotic intensity as a recurring character in Curb Your Enthusiasm did he return to the public eye. Despite his late-career comeback, his act remains somewhat anachronistic, but that doesnt make it any less effective. Although the dominant mode among contemporary alternative comics is ironic detachment, Lewis is still frothing and hopelessly worked up. His public acts of self-flagellation may not resonate with the kids, but his passion is something to behold. The high-wire intensity of his stand-up and the personal depths he plumbs make for a transfixing performance, no matter how uncomfortable the revelations are. Its not for everyone: Lewis act requires a commitment from the audience to go along while he explicates precisely how and why he is a piece of shit. What he reveals may be unflattering, but its always compelling, and resonates more than some would care to admit.
July 15-18, 8 p.m.; July 16-17, 10:15 p.m., 2010