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
In 2013, when Catharine Clark moved her eponymous gallery from 49 Geary to the Potrero Hill area, she gave herself more room to work with, including a dedicated media space that has shown indelible work by such artists as Shalo P ("The Bedroom Suite"), Nina Katchadourian ("In a Room Full of Strangers"), and Andy Diaz Hope and Jon Bernson ("Beautification Machines").
It’s not easy using humor and wit to expose heavy subjects such as racism, domestic violence, or suicide, but Brian Copeland did it in his 2004 solo performance Not a Genuine Black Man. It enjoyed a 25-month run in the Bay Area before expanding to include a spotlight on Broadway. The story by the local talk-show host of growing up black in San Leandro in the 1970s — which was almost all white because of discriminatory real estate laws — has also been published as a book. Copeland’s latest show, Waiting Period, zooms in on that story, focusing on one of the most difficult times in his life — a period when he had nearly resolved to end his life. He spent time peering over a railing on the Golden Gate Bridge. He tried dozing off in a car filling with carbon monoxide (but was rescued by a neighbor). He decided that he needed a gun to really get the job done. The problem was, he had to wait 10 days, by law, before the state would clear him to take a firearm home. During those 10 days, more ruminations developed for Copeland, such as whether the gun he’d picked out was stylish enough for the task, or whether he really should be thinking of using it at all. This “cooling off period” was when Copeland learned to do battle with depression. You’ll laugh. You might cry. Either will seem appropriate.
Thu., Feb. 2; Fridays, Saturdays. Starts: Feb. 2. Continues through Aug. 4, 2012