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 production being a Broadway import, you might expect just another generic and generally unchallenging extravaganza. Arguably, it is, but how appealing that the most technically elaborate thing about it is the well-oiled machine of its ensemble performance. (Okay, and the terrific shadow puppets.) Claire Brownell, Ted Deasy, Eric Hissom, and Scott Parkinson rip right through this funny, hammy, riotously paced retelling of the 1935 British spy thriller about a man who finds himself embroiled in a life-threatening conspiracy and a high-stakes chase across the U.K. Officially, it's called Alfred Hitchcock's The 39 Steps, but as the program explains, it was adapted by Patrick Barlow, based on an original concept by Simon Corble and Nobby Dimon, and based on the book by John Buchan. So if anyone is counting, that's more writers than actors. Between them, however, those actors play too many characters to count, and with consistently, infectiously entertaining aplomb. Instead of an adulteration of the movie with which Hitchcock first caught Hollywood's eye, director Maria Aitken here delivers a winning testament to its enduring popularity.
Dec. 9-Jan. 3, 2009