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
Typically, crowds don't circle around men in drag performing on a street corner, figuring discretion is best. But when the Kinsey Sicks did it in 1994, Castro pedestrians got pulled into their sonorous orbit: The girls, it turned out, had chops. Since then, the "dragapella beautyshop quartet" has played just about everywhere, from the Aspen Opera Hall to CBS' The Early Show with Bryant Gumbel (a drag milestone that begs the question: Where's the memoir?). Exposure, however, hasn't tamed the group's act. Witness a scene from its holiday stage spoof Oy Vey in a Manger, when one of the ladies, eyes wide and nervous (as if certain a mouse is stirring), leans over the audience and begins her solo in a soft, delicate voice: "Jews better watch out. Jews better not cry. Jews better not pout. I'm telling Jews why." With reworded carols that smudge the line of good taste, the show is scathing romp, bashing Christmas and the season of spending though song, dance, divalike acting, and plenty of asides about "packages."
Sat., Dec. 23, 8 p.m.