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 year, Disney announced plans to revive the magical, majestical, supercali- fragilistical title character of Mary Poppins. We can’t find too much fault with the choice of Emily Blunt in the starring role, and we are pleased that this won’t be a “reimagining” of P.L. Travers’ original tale. (Travers wrote many more adventures for her English governess, so there’s plenty of material to draw upon.) Still, even if the composers are Hairspray’s Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, and they have elicited the support of at least half of the Sherman Brothers who wrote “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” and “Chim Chim Cher-ee,” we have a difficult time imagining a movie that can compete in our child brain with the five-time Oscar winner. Granted, Dick Van Dyke’s cockney accent left a lot to be desired, and maybe the movie does take its own sweet time getting started — to say nothing of those interminable penguins — but we’ve done some internal editing, leaving nothing but a sweet aftertaste that, during this month’s “Wine Down with a Movie,” might be accompanied by free tipples of Domaine Chan- don.More
It took filmmaker Terry Zwigoff nine years to make the documentary Crumb, about the underground comic artist of the same name. Zwigoff was broke, suffering chronic back pain so bad it made him contemplate suicide, unable to get investors interested in his version of the film -- the horrific truth of R. Crumb and his family, who suffered at the hands of an abusive father -- rather than an MTV-style celebration with animated versions of the artist’s best-known characters. But Zwigoff stayed with his vision, capturing astonishingly candid footage depicting the ways each surviving family member dealt with the abuse, including agoraphobia, hoarding, promiscuity, quasi-religious obsessions with penance and self-cleansing -- and artwork. With interviews of Crumb’s ex-wives as well as other comic artists and cultural luminaries, Zwigoff assembled a film in 1994 that was called the best of the year by prominent film critics, won numerous awards in the U.S. and overseas, earned praise and support of fellow outsider David Lynch, and launched his career as a force in Hollywood. Since then he has made three films (Ghost World, Bad Santa, and Art School Confidential), two of those with Daniel Clowes, also a comic-book artist. Zwigoff’s appearance is part of the Radical Directing Lecture Series, which highlights approaches to filmmaking that veer sharply from the traditional. We’d say Zwigoff had that figured out, oh, about 25 years ago.
Wed., Feb. 29, 7:30 p.m., 2012