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
This year, Disney announced plans to revive the magical, majestical, supercali- fragilistical title character of Mary Poppins. We can’t find too much fault with the choice of Emily Blunt in the starring role, and we are pleased that this won’t be a “reimagining” of P.L. Travers’ original tale. (Travers wrote many more adventures for her English governess, so there’s plenty of material to draw upon.) Still, even if the composers are Hairspray’s Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, and they have elicited the support of at least half of the Sherman Brothers who wrote “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” and “Chim Chim Cher-ee,” we have a difficult time imagining a movie that can compete in our child brain with the five-time Oscar winner. Granted, Dick Van Dyke’s cockney accent left a lot to be desired, and maybe the movie does take its own sweet time getting started — to say nothing of those interminable penguins — but we’ve done some internal editing, leaving nothing but a sweet aftertaste that, during this month’s “Wine Down with a Movie,” might be accompanied by free tipples of Domaine Chan- don.More
Conceived in the early 1980s while its author served time in prison for his political views, Václav Havel's Temptation manipulates the legend of Faust into a metaphor for the writer's mistrust of dogma and absolutism. The play centers on one Dr. Henry Foustka (Daveed Diggs), who works as a scientist at a government-funded institute by day and dabbles in the occult by night. When a strange cripple, Fistula (Dawn Scott), hobbles up to Foustka's house one evening offering to enhance the scientist's knowledge and power, Foustka tries in vain to resist the overtures but eventually succumbs to their appeal. Unfortunately for Foustka, the visitor turns out to be not quite what she seems. According to Charles Marowitz, who directed a production of Temptation at the Czech Republic's National Theater in 2004, Havel wrote the play in just 10 feverish days. It shows: Temptation is packed with unwieldy abstractions and dialogue so convoluted with clauses that even in translation, it's impossible at times to understand what the characters are saying. The inventive members of the Custom Made Theatre Company wrestle bravely with Havel's boa constrictor syntaxes, but superimposing yet another layer of meaning -- the hard-line tenets of the current U.S. administration -- upon the playwright's already heavy-handed interpolation of Faust further suffocates the flow.