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
David Mamet wrote this triptych of short plays about his own Jewish neighborhood early in his career, then revised them in 1997. The plays are more autobiographical than his best work -- Glengarry Glen Ross, American Buffalo -- so they should be more honest and free, but somehow they're not. The Disappearance of the Jews has Bobby Gould (Mamet's alter ego) talking to a school friend about their upbringing. The two actors -- Michael Santo as Bobby, Ron Kaell as his friend Joey -- sometimes have to force their way through emotional moments, and sometimes they miss the rigid timing of Mamet's overly simple dialogue, but the characters grow on you. The same goes for Jolly, the middle piece, about Bobby's frustrated sister, complaining about her now-dead parents. "The kinda background we come from?" she says. "It's a miracle we can wind our own watch." Amy Resnick makes Jolly an appealing, kvetching housewife, but those of us who know her work also know that Resnick is bending and restraining her considerable talent to play Jolly as Mamet has written her. And there's nothing Delia MacDougall can do for Deeny, the simple-minded subject of Mamet's third piece of the same name. Deeny is a bit of a birdbrain, twittering to Bobby over drinks about urban gardening and her job. Birdbrains can be interesting, but Mamet gives Deeny so little dimension that MacDougall also has to cramp herself to get through the lines. Mamet tends to fall into a rut with his dialogue: He finds a colloquial pattern that in his best work sounds realistic and tough, but here it just sounds mannered and needlessly obscure.