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
Before the theater was about expensive tickets and Andrew Lloyd Webber productions that run 1,300 weeks, it was often an exuberant, even rowdy affair in which the audience was as central to the experience as the players. The younger generation of theater creators gets that, and an increasing number of new works are prioritizing audience interaction and original venues. Playwright/director Joel Heinrich and composer Hunter Noack’s new play The Sister takes this approach, using a cultural center’s mutable space to stage the action in four rooms, inviting audience members to follow the performance from one set to the next. Throughout the performance, Noack’s score is performed live from a central location that is visible from all ersatz stages. Using physical movement, audience interaction, and shades of magical realism, The Sister explores physical and emotional isolation, mortality, and intoler-ance, telling the tragic tale of orphan Alice, her spectral brother Pugna who resides beneath her bed, and her brother Hiro, with whom she shares forbidden desires. The Sister is a kinetic work animated by its unusual staging, score, and a story that embroiders the audience into its intricate emotional tapestry.
Jan. 11-14, 2012