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 famous fire arts community center hosts a youth art show. One of the coolest parts of the Oakland institution is its commitment to local kids, and at "Flamboastin'," you can see what they've done. Metalwork, wood carving, ceramics, and more show the breadth of the classes and workshops available, as well as the always-surprising fact that when kids are encouraged and supported, the skill they can access is nearly unlimited. And yes, we realize that art and shop classes used to be available at public schools, so it's a bit sad that a non-profit center has to step in to offer them. But hey, we're just glad it's there.
Sept. 8-Oct. 1, 2010