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
Drawing strongly on Dick Dale and Neutral Milk Hotel and using a skittering drum to offset the glossy guitars, the Oakland folky rockers in Amos Payne also remind us a little bit of Frog Eyes. The band is four white guys from Oberlin, and therefore shouldn't make music quite this interesting, but they've done the homework, obviously, and now they drop tracks that are simultaneously complicated and pretty. Granted, the group has some Mother Hips moments, but what the hell. Most of Amos Payne's songs are lightly distorted as if through a thin, brightly lit fog, and the tightly paralleled vocal harmonies ring Wall of Sound-like. Nice job for four white guys! Joining AP at the Benefit for Modern Times Bookstore is Lily Idalia, whose sweet, androgynous voice sounds like a sleepy Patti Smith gone Woodie Guthrie. Her acoustic, guitar-based songs about wolf howls and other baffling natural phenomena recall more psychedelic times, and include the occasional bongo drum, most welcome among the tambourines. Also appearing are the Po' Poets and Welfare Queens, a troupe of spoken-word artists from among the homeless, the working poor, and others who face serious economic bullshit, and Foibles, a local one-man band.
Sat., Sept. 1, 3 p.m.