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'll be honest: We don't love Court & Spark frontman M.C. Taylor's twangy, low-register, sometimes Jerry Garcia-ish singing. In fact, if the group's latest, Witch Season, had been released on a label besides the local Absolutely Kosher, known for putting out cutting-edge, typically indie rock records by bands like the Wrens, Pinback, and Frog Eyes, we would have dismissed it as altcountry humdrum. But C&S's choice of label (or vice versa) compelled us to give the record a thorough listen, which we're happy about, because what we do love is the way the instruments interact. At any given point on Witch Season, happy guitars and trembling organs lollygag as if there's little to care about but porch swings and sweet lemonade. The sound is as pleasantly far from city-life hustle bustle as we've heard in a while.