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
H.P. Lovecrafts Cthulhu mythos has become the dominant joke religion for Internet geeks the world over, eclipsing other willfully anachronistic belief systems such as the Church of the Subgenius and the Flying Spaghetti Monster. There is a staggering wealth of webcomics, blogs, fan fiction, and even plush dolls dedicated to Lovecrafts gargantuan beast, or as he inelegantly put it, the thing cannot be described. (Imagine the offspring of the Cloverfield monster and a mammoth squid.) What is it about Cthulhu that has so inflamed the imaginations of coders, mild-mannered IT guys, steampunk aficionados, and snarky bloggers? Its impossible to say, but the numerous references to the monster in punk and heavy metal songs, video games, genre television, online fiction and webcomics like the Hello Kitty parody Hello Cthulhu certainly play a role. It makes sense that the hyper-connected population of San Francisco would welcome their new underwater overlord with open arms, making the Ball of Cthulhu almost an inevitability. Bands (and avowed Lovecraft enthusiasts) Abney Park, Vernian Process, and steampunk act the Unextraordinary Gentlemen provide the soundtrack to the nights revelry, promising a bacchanalian sendoff to the doomed souls in attendance. Will such pagan offerings of devotion to the Great Old One spare these puny mortals? Unlikely, but at least the puny humans will go out dancing.
Fri., Oct. 8, 8 p.m., 2010