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
Colin Tilley's video for Kendrick Lamar's "Alright"
Kendrick Lamar is from Compton, but Colin Tilley, the director of the music video for Lamar's song "Alright" — which was nominated for four MTV Video Music Awards and was performed by the artist at the 2016 Grammy Awards — is Berkeley-born and -raised.
There's a certain authority in the tenor of John K. Samson's well-schooled power pop that can be a little daunting. It's not just that the Weakerthans' leader is hyperaware of the shoulders on which he stands -- clever writers like Elvis Costello and Nick Lowe -- but also the people about whom he sometimes sings: Class, today we will be singing a power ballad about the life and times of arctic explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton. But there is much to glean from Samson's work, and tunes like "Psalm for the Elks Lodge Last Call" and "The Prescience of Dawn" are filled with elegiac observations about the everyday world, set within huge, beautifully distorted rock riffs. The layered songwriting gives this, the third Weakerthans effort, a lot of legs, and leaves Samson with few peers (Clem Snide's Eef Barzelay comes to mind). And even though there are times when the geek routine is taken a step too far ("Our Retired Explorer [Dines With Michel Foucault in Paris, 1961]" is the name of a pop song? Puh-lease), if you sing along, you might just learn something.