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
Shadow-puppet theater is elementally powerful and super-ancient: Think of Plato's cave wall. Shadowplay shows up in the folk art of India, China, Greece, and plenty of other places, but tonight, the old standby bursts into the here and now. Sort of. In Karaghiozis for President, the protagonist (Karaghiozis, a traditional main character in political Greek shadow theater) runs for office in Thessaloniki during the time of the Ottoman occupation. With his friend Hatziavatis, the candidate faces mythological monstrosities, dirty elections, and violent intimidation at polling places (by Turkish Vellighekas.) So yes, it's an allegory. The show is performed live on a 45 X 21 foot screen by local Greek storytelling master Leonidas Kassapides, who calls it an "action packed comedy," with democracy at its heart and live music at its side. The poster riffs, in a CNN font: "Critics say Greek shadow play is more entertaining than Palin vs. Biden boxing match."
Fri., Oct. 31, 8 p.m., 2008