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
Cheerful spring treats eventually sneak up on even the most morose: You see a cherry blossom, and you're feeling better, period. Silky air, tender greens, and longer days are undepressing. So go with it, and reward yourself still further by trekking across the Golden Gate to the Headlands Center for the Arts' Spring Open House. The joy of visiting is nice on its own, the Headlands area being especially pretty, but the renovated 1907 military installation plays host to some of the world's coolest artists, including Will Oldham. You read that right: Bonnie Prince Billy is in residence up there with visual artists, dancers, and writers of similarly high quality. Tournesol Award winner Ana Teresa Fernandez is one of the best of the best, with her giant canvases full of intelligent, weird, and beautiful feminist comments, but let's not play favorites: The point of the event is to hop from studio to studio, knowing every single one holds something fabulous.
Sun., April 20, noon, 2008