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
More curators and programmers should follow the flamboyant lead of Tranny Fest, aka the Transgender Film Festival. Tonights opening bash eschews the usual sober salute to moving images in favor of a parade of celebratory song and dance performances by the likes of Chan Dynasty, StormMiguel Florez, and Sean Dorsey. Odds are these numbers will set pulses racing straight (well, not exactly) through the weekend. The lights dim only slightly for two programs of image-enhancing, soul-affirming, ass-kicking short films on the most beloved of themes: sex and politics. Fridays collection, R Is for Revolution, takes on societys stubbornly narrow and long-standing definitions of identity with an evocative blend of anger, wit, and suck-on-this defiance. Scoring points is important, of course, but so is scoring. The more playful and juicy aspects of gender reassignment are showcased at length and in depth (metaphorically speaking, of course) in Saturdays 18-and-older show, G Is for Glitter. By acknowledging that the stakes are higher for transgender folks, Tranny Fest gives new meaning to the tossed-off term serious fun.
Nov. 5-7, 8 p.m., 2009