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 don't often go out of our way for restrooms, but in the case of Macy's sixth-floor ladies room (sorry guys: you'll just have to make do with having everything else), all who pass through its doors will understand why it's worth the effort.
Part of what gives San Francisco its, um, charm is its vibrant history of colorful characters. The city has survived multiple earthquakes in addition to plenty of cultural and political upheavals. (Merchant ships are buried beneath the streets!) From its beginning, our enticing Baghdad by the Bay has attracted free spirits and entrepreneurs alike, perhaps no more so than during the Gold Rush. And sure the 49ers were full of pluck and determination, but what of the women who came to San Francisco to seek their fortunes? Yes, we're talking about the city's original sex workers, the prostitutes who plied their trade at a time when men outnumbered women in the city 50 to 1. (That bears repeating: Men outnumbered women 50 to 1.) Revel in the salaciousness of their stories at a screening of Michael Rohde's film Madams of the Barbary Coast hosted by local historian and tour guide extraordinaire Daniel Bacon, a man who intimately knows the secrets of this debaucherous district. Hear about Chinese madam Ah Toy and the infamous Tessie Wall, legendary for gunning down an unfaithful lover in broad daylight. The movie also gives screen time to the female reformers who were keen on ending the slave trade prevalent in Chinatown during the era. One was Donaldina Cameron, who often risked her life to rescue underage prostitutes. It was a wild and dangerous time but also an exhilarating one, when traditional class, race, and gender lines were a little blurry. These are the enterprising women who took full advantage.
Fri., Oct. 21, 7 p.m., 2011