Black-and-white photos of gay liberation pioneers including Malcolm Boyd, Ram Dass and Robert Mapplethorpe will be on display June 1-28 at Deva Cafe in downtown Modesto. A reception is at 7 p.m. June 6. The show is sponsored by the Stanislaus PRIDE Center as part of the local celebration of gay pride month.
The 14 large-format photographs are part of Mark Thompson's exhibition "Fellow Travelers: Liberation Portraits," which has toured the country.
The men featured in the pictures have two things in common: their enormous contributions to gay civil rights and their powerful effect on Thompson, a former editor of The Advocate, the national gay and lesbian news magazine. In explaining the show title in an interview with White Crane, the gay men's group sponsoring the tour, Thompson said: "It is a sly reference to the use of the phrase during the early days of the Cold War when people who were accused of being communist sympathizers were dubbed 'fellow travelers.' It was a coded word used pejoratively, so I wanted to redeem that and give it a more positive application for today."
Deva is at 1206 J St. Hours are 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily. For more information, contact the PRIDE Center at 338-0855.
Luck be a lady
Romance, high-stakes gambling and catchy songs come together in the classic musical "Guys and Dolls," running May 30 to June 15 at Playhouse Merced. Set in 1940s New York, the show opens with small-time gambler Nathan Detroit betting his slick big-time pal Sky Masterson that he can't make the next woman he sees fall in love with him. Sky has a huge challenge when that doll happens to be the neighborhood missionary Sarah Brown.
Songs include "Luck Be a Lady" and "Sit Down, You're Rockin' the Boat." Playhouse Merced is at 452 W. Main St. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays. Tickets are $19 for adults and $16 for students and seniors with ID. 725-8587 or www.playhousemerced.com.
Argentine dancer and teacher Oscar Mandagaran, who last visited Modesto five years ago, returns to town for a night of social tango dancing and performance May 30 and two intensive workshops May 31.
A native of Buenos Aires, Mandagaran toured with the stage show "Forever Tango" and danced in the movie "Tango." He now teaches tango in Argentina, Japan, Europe and North America. He will be accompanied in Modesto by his wife and dance partner, Georgina Vargas, who also is an accomplished tango artist.
The two will dance and teach an introductory class at 7:30 p.m. May 30 at a milonga (Argentine tango party) hosted by Modesto Tango at Jacob's Fine Dining, 2501 McHenry Ave. Then comes open dancing, a performance by Mandagaran and Vargas at 10 p.m. and more dancing. The cost is $5 for the milonga alone or $10 for the milonga and lesson. No-host dinner, drinks and dessert are available. For table reservations, call 529-2829.
The couple offer tango workshops and private lessons the following day at the Modesto Fitness and Racquet Club, 200 Norwegian Ave. A workshop for all skill levels runs from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. A second workshop for intermediate and advanced students on sacadas, a tango dance movement, runs from
1 to 2:30 p.m. The cost is $35 for one workshop or $60 for two. Private lessons are $100 per hour plus a $15 studio fee. To schedule a private lesson, call Mary at 522-1571 or e-mail ModestoTango@gmail.com.
Kids and Shakespeare
Summit Charter Academy middle school students will present an updated version of Shakespeare's "The Comedy of Errors," set in Toon Town, on June 5-7. It's described as "Tony Soprano meets Daffy Duck." All performances are at 8 p.m. in the middle school courtyard, 2036 E. Hatch Road, under the stars. Donations will be taken at the door. 538-8082.