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
In El Gato Del Diablo Theatre Company's playful reimagining of the Passion play (a dramatic representation of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus popular in Medieval times), the disciples are a bunch of born-again queers, and the Son of God a transsexual. When four twentysomethings find themselves shunned by their friends and families for falling in love with the wrong people, they turn to Jesús Esperanza, a streetwise drag queen with a maternal streak and a serious migraine problem, for guidance. Featuring a disco-dancing competition (slickly choreographed by Wendy Marinaccio), a double gay wedding, and choruses from members of a sinister religious cult, Shawn Ferreyra's fluorescent comedy is as Messianic as a Mexican soap opera. Nevertheless, the show's message about marital equality is delivered with such sass by the cast of five that the violently tacky Sisters of Perpetual IndulgenceÐmeetsÐJohn Travolta aesthetic works. Norman Muñoz makes for one of the most deliciously sensual transsexuals to have sashayed across San Francisco stages in recent years. And even though the dialogue is as thin as a communion wafer, you've got to give credit to actors who pull off lines like this conversation between two characters: "I believe in the boogie." "But does the boogie believe in you?"