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
Despite our soft spot for the unconscious campiness of Eurovision, we had no interest in America’s broadcast talent shows. That is, until we caught Vogue Evolution on America’s Best Dance Crew -- a group of gay boys from NYC led by an exceptionally limber transgender woman. We suddenly understood why people root for athletic teams. At the same time, ballroom-dance champion William DeVries was putting the judges of So You Think You Can Dance to shame for scoffing at same-sex competitors. It was kind of great. But we couldn’t help thinking it would be really great if the Fresh Meat Festival were aired on MTV. This transgender and queer performance festival is produced by Sean Dorsey, a modern-dance choreographer with two Isadora Duncan Awards and a place in Dance Magazine’s top “25 to Watch.” For 10 years, Dorsey has presented sensational performers, and he does it again this year as members of Vogue Nation team up the Glee Project’s Emily Vasquez (we can only hope she is coming as Chacha). He also deals in the truly artful (if you haven’t seen Dorsey’s dance company or witnessed the subtle grace of trapeze artist Cohdi Harrell, you’re in for a treat). There's also the unexpected -- taiko drumming, anyone? This year’s cavalcade of talent also includes Leave It On the Floor superstar Miss Barbie-Q and William DeVries with Kumu Keali’i.
Fridays-Sundays. Starts: June 15. Continues through June 17, 2012