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
The fulcrum of Mal Sharpe’s charming documentary The Old Spaghetti Factory is a mural created by Kaffe Fassett in 1963. It depicts the regulars who turned that North Beach hangout into a nexus of Bohemia. As expected, many of the beatniks portrayed were poets and writers. For most of us, the proliferation of flamenco artists was something of a revelation. But not for Yaelisa. The Emmy-winning choreographer and artistic director of Caminos Flamenco practically grew up in the Spaghetti Factory’s Cuevas Room. For a quarter of a century, this small but infamous cafe was home base for one of the most active flamenco scenes outside of Spain — partly because of an early artistic freeway between the Cuevas Room and Morón, a small town in Spain where many local artists studied pueblo style. Even then, our performers were known as much for their daring as their reverence. Yaelisa’s mother was part of the Cuevas Room’s Los Flamencos de la Bodega, the Bay’s longest running flamenco show and an inspirational proving ground for generations of artists. As founder of the New World Flamenco Festival, Yaelisa has more than carried the torch forward. Tonight, she looks back in Homenaje a Los Flamencos de la Bodega. Through narrative text, projections, and flamenco scenes re-created by some of the artists who originally presented them on the Cuevas’ stage, the show offers a personal exploration and a rich cultural account.
Sat., May 5, 7 p.m., 2012