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
The Swell Season is a tour doc — shot in moody, close-up-heavy black-and-white — that traces a few years on the road with Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová, real-life musical collaborators in the band The Swell Season who starred in the 2007 Irish indie musical hit Once, won an Oscar for writing its music, fell in love while making the film, and broke up while touring America in its aftermath. Once's unlikely success and the ensuing May-December relationship between Irglová (who was 17 when the film was shot) and world-weary, fortyish Hansard created the marketable myth of a creative partnership leading to true love, which made an apparently never-ending American tour possible. The Swell Season documents that myth's undoing — a dissolution that almost necessarily remains hidden from the fans drawn to the band's shows by Hansard and Irglová's rags-to-riches-plus-romance fairy tale. (An autograph hound gushes, "I hope you guys make it to the end of time!") Exceedingly nonlinear, the film is a jumble of fragments — performances, vérité footage backstage, a few contextualizing interviews — each offering real-world evidence to puncture a fan's fantasy version of Hansard and Irglová as lovers meant to beat the odds. For those fans, The Swell Season might seem like a bittersweet revelation, proof that these stars are, in the sheer banality of their everyday angst, just like us. (Although their ability to continue the professional relationship after the romance ends seems superhuman.) To viewers without an existing knowledge of the couple and their saga, that everyday angst could seem just banal.
Nov. 25-Dec. 1, 2011