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
We put a lot of our private selves out there on the interwebs. We share our existential fears on LiveJournal, we publicize our breakups (and then divide up friends) on Facebook, we circulate last night's drunken experiment on YouTube. But what about the things we really, truly wouldn't want to share with anyone? You know, things we did in the past, maybe as teenagers or even before that. Some of them might just be silly writing a dramatic poem, for example, and setting it to Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven" (Best! Song! Ever! -- when you're 12). But other acts might be a little -- okay, a lot-- weirder. Take the woman who, as a young girl, was madly in love with the already-attached boy next door. Not only did she illustrate the numerous ways she'd mutilate her rival, but she also came up with a scheme to capture and circulate naked photographs of the girl that would wreck her reputation for all eternity. (Strangely, the plan didn't win him over.) What if something like that got out? Welcome to Mortified, where people volunteer this kind of stuff to an audience. High-volume laughter ensues, for sure, but the result is not quite as Jackass or Punk'd as you might think, mostly because it's coming straight from the source rather than a parent, a sibling, or a sick-minded "friend." Scott Lifton, who produces San Francisco's version of Mortified, has said the exercise is much like a self-help group, saying, "Part of it is comedy show, and part of it is therapy." Better someone else's than yours, right?
Fri., Nov. 12, 8 p.m., 2010