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
From the ashes of Uncle Tupelo, Wilco has become one of America's finest rock bands, its constantly evolving sound a seamless mix of country, folk, and jolting blues that retains its urgency even during the quieter moments. Not surprisingly, the group has also grown into a potent live act, thanks in large part to newcomer Nels Cline (guitar), whose scorching solos provide the perfect backdrop to singer Jeff Tweedy's imploring howl. Kicking Television, a double-disc souvenir from a recent four-night stand in Chicago, captures that chemistry perfectly, during both the melancholy strains of "I Am Trying to Break Your Heart" and the frenetic climax of the album's finest number, "Spiders (Kidsmoke)." With pristine clarity, it finds Tweedy at his peak as a stage performer, tearing through Wilco's formidable catalog with the zeal of a man possessed.