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
We will dispense with the double entendres: Carol Doda, who we lost in November, was a San Francisco hero who will be rightly celebrated and remembered as long as the town she helped create still stands, the torch held aloft along Broadway and kept alight in neon.
Strange Fruit Project hails from Texas, but apart from the twangy accents, the group sounds nothing like Houston's chopped and screwed thugs and grill-pushers. The crew's remarkably soulful sound begs for comparisons to early Slum Village, or perhaps a post-neo-soul Native Tongues. Its rhymes similarly eschew materialist fantasies, preferring instead to focus on social commentary and expressions of being. Equal parts iPod headnodder, ride-along companion, and club buddy, The Healing is that rare rap album that's spiritual without being corny, relevant without being trendy, and dope without boasting about narcotics transactions. S1, Myth, and Myone's mellifluous mic skills (The harder we write/ The harder we spit it/ The harder the struggle/ The more reason there is for us to live it) makes you realize what hip hop used to be, how much you missed it, and how good it feels to hear it again. S1's production is on par with 9th Wonder (who guest-produces "Special") for new-school excellence. SFP's execution is so tight, collaborations with Little Brother and Erykah Badu aren't even the best tracks on one of the most original (and best) hip-hop albums you'll hear this year. Just listen to "Good Times" which mixes P-Funk choral arrangements, an up-tempo beat layered with strings and guitars, and party-hearty lyrics that never lapse into stupidity and you'll want all of the strange fruit you can stomach.