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
More than a year after its first twirl at Sundance, this Amy AdamsEmily Blunt dramedy finally shrugs its way into theaters, and it feels almost like an afterthought. A film about sisters who go into the crime-scene clean-up business, its a muddled mess: terrific performances (from Adams, especially, as the exhigh school cheerleader now at the bottom of the pile) buried beneath contrivances and clichés, not to mention Alan Arkin cast yet again as the foul-mouthed gramps dispensing four-lettered advice to a troubled youngster (Jason Spevack, as Adamss son, wholl lick anything and anyone). Director Christine Jeffs, working with Megan Holleys screenplay, renders the light and dark as a muddy shade of sitcom-pilot gray. This has the makings of a great Showtime seriesfeels a bit like Weeds, but with cleaning fluid instead of bong water. Too bad whats intended to play as funny (girls and gore) stumbles into slapstick; whats meant to play as profound (girls and dead-mommy issues) sinks into the overwrought. Yet another willful, comically tortured indie coated with Hollywoods happy-ending sheenor perhaps, at this point, its simply hard to buy the perky Adams and pretty Blunt as schlumpy losers trapped in the bland flyover with an Oscar-winner stuck in rerun mode.
March 23-May 7, 2009