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
When day drinkers just could not stop pissing along the train tracks at Dolores Park, where every weekend tons of revelers gather to partake in booze and other inebriants, the city came up with a great idea to make public urination acceptable: install an outdoor urinal.
La Val's Subterranean Theater, 1834 Euclid (at Hearst), Berkeley
Through Dec. 29
Tickets are $15
It's a wonder that Anton Chekhov's Uncle Vanya isn't produced more frequently in the Bay Area. Although the script was written in late 19th-century Russia, it's hard to imagine a place in this world that could relate better than Berkeley to this timeless play. In it, the young wife of a has-been literary scholar unwittingly seduces the local forward-thinking doctor, who, as a vegetarian and major conservationist, mourns the loss of the forest and frets hopelessly about the insufferable hatred and pettiness that exists in the world. Subterranean Shakespeare delivers an endearing, if somewhat clunky, version of this eternal masterpiece at La Val's Pizzeria, starring an ambitious cast that is obviously devoted to the script, even if they do present it a bit unpolished. Michelle Barton is convincing as Sonya, the professor's plain daughter, who loves the doctor in the most severe, unrequited fashion; Brian Gruber is a charmingly unhappy Astrov, sporting a gigantic mustache (a great gag in the first scene, but somewhat distracting throughout the rest of the play). In the end, the team does a good job of illuminating the central point of Chekhov's work -- that is, the need to bring about social change through the gathering of liberal, like-minded folk.