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
Tonight’s lecture, What a Plant Knows, is based on a book of the same name by Daniel Chamovitz. We’re really excited, because it’s like Chamovitz really wanted to title it “Shit Plants Say” and couldn’t, seeing that he’s always surrounded by smart people in his work as director of the Manna Center for Plant Biosciences at Tel Aviv University. It’s probably for the best. “I feel like I just crapped out another tomato,” might be what some plants say, but that’s just hearsay. Chamovitz, however, knows what a plant knows. And what does a plant know? The weather, for one. And when an insect is walking on it, or when its neighbor has been attacked by beetles. And when you play music for that plant? It knows what you are doing — and if you know how to look at it (like Chamovitz knows), you can tell whether the plant prefers Zeppelin to Bach. Chamovitz even gives us a plant’s equivalent of our senses: smell, sight, touch, sound, and memory. What a Plant Knows promises to be the wildest look into plant consciousness we’ve seen, and it probably deserves a good listen (and read) before “Shit Plants Say” stands a chance on Tumblr. Anyone?
Tue., June 12, 7 p.m., 2012