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
Over the past several years, the New York duo the USA Is a Monster -- Tom Hohmann (drums, synthesizer, and vocals) and Colin Matthews (guitar and vocals) -- has been developing a singular fusion of Lightning Bolt-inspired techno-metal, bong water-drenched psychedelia, anthemic prog-isms à la Rush, Native American tribal-jams, and defiant political hardcore. What's more, Hohmann and Matthews have also found the time to follow their other respective muses. Under the moniker Elvish Presley, Hohmann heads up a face-painted cadre of misfits creating hobbit folk-rock. And with acoustic axe in hand, Matthews often spends months wandering the country as a nomadic troubadour (influenced by '60s AM pop and the cryptic, cowpunk lyricism of the Meat Puppets). But on the 14-track Wohaw, every musical path that Hohmann and Matthews have traveled both together and as individuals merges into the USA Is a Monster's magnum opus. I mean, this disc is really, really over-the-top, featuring a punishing sequence of jams such as "Tecumseh" -- a seven-minute, multimovement war-chant tribute to the fallen American Indian leader that also contains manic sections of synth-squealing, mosh-pit thrash. But this release also boasts a quiet, surreal suite of campfire field recordings, mystical nature-poetry, and stoned psych-folk. If sprawling, two-hour progressive-rock statements are your bag, check out the truly epic fucker that is Wohaw.