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
A.C.T. has staged A Christmas Carol for 35 years, but in today’s political and economic climate, Carey Perloff and Paul Walsh’s adaptation of the Dickens novella could hardly feel timelier. “The parallels between now and what was going on Dickens’ time are extraordinary,” says director Domenique Lozano, “with the stock market bubbles, the huge inequality between the rich and the poor.” The adaptation contains song (composed by Karl Lundeberg), dance, puppets, flying actors, and an almost 40-person cast of children, conservatory students, and professionals. The story focuses on how a community “reclaims” a lost individual. Every year, Lozano and James Carpenter (Scrooge), who are now in their sixth production of Carol, try to explore a new facet of Dickens’ rich story; this year they examine how totally isolated Scrooge is — in Dickens’ words, like “an oyster.” They’ve also added a moment that speaks to the mortgage foreclosure crisis. Its implications are indeed once again timely, yet the production’s message — that anyone can get a second chance — is timeless and family-friendly. And with only two 40-minute acts, the Tiny Tims in the audience need not worry about the ghost of future bathroom trips.
Dec. 1-4; Tue., Dec. 6; Tuesdays-Sundays. Starts: Dec. 1. Continues through Dec. 24, 2011