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
Making the less-traditional transition from brick-and-mortar to mobile pop-up, A16 is finally offering its hearty Monday meatballs and signature wood-fired Neapolitan pizzas without the inconvenience of needing to book a table.
Famed artist William T. Wiley has transformed an old pinball machine into high art, doing something we're stunned hasn't been done before. And thanks to the efforts of Jim Dietrick of Novato's Pinball Revival, he made sure it could be played as well as gawked at. The original 1964 machine, which we glimpsed on the Internet Pinball Database (there is one!), offers one of those charmingly backward goodtime takes on mid-20th-century American might. Dealing with the first trip under the North Pole by a Nautilus submarine, North Star features an Elvis-in-the-Arctic joie de vivre with ice bunnies, singing Eskimos, and a polar bear on a leash. For his exhibit "Only One Earth PunBall," Wiley reformatted this tableau into a dizzying comment on climate change and art, with a wild cartoony style awash in color and hinged together with mysterious text. Some of those words are daunting ("Only art can save us now"), others are wry puns ("The eye scabs are melting"), while a few are soberly utilitarian ("10 points when lit"). Although Wiley masterminded the project, Dietrick and Joe Sweeney and Richard Lang of the gallery helped transform the game, which is set on free play for the duration of the exhibit right next to the original. Assorted works by the artist accompany the machine.
May 16-July 3, 2008