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Within a matter of days after this issue arrives in the mailboxes and on the newsstands across America, Esquire’s History of the Sixties, Smiling through the Apocalypse, will go on sale. Since the nation’s bookstores are so much less numerous than its newsstands, the chances are the majority of the new book’s copies, too, will go through the mails.
Planning a Beethoven Festival must be one of the most exasperating jobs in the world. A festival, after all, is supposed to present rarely heard works of unusual interest. One can find music to meet that description in the oeuvre of Bach, Mozart, Handel, Haydn, Schubert, Schumann, Rossini, Verdi, Liszt, even Brahms—but not Beethoven.
He who wishes to practice my art, let him love the spirits of hell and those who reign in the air; for these alone are they who can make us happy in this life; and he who would have wisdom must seek it from the devil” —Faust The disturbing and sometimes eerie section that occupies pages 99123 in this issue began, like so many of the features that come at all close to doing what we think Esquire ought to be doing, out of a long, hard talk in our offices.
In excruciating conversations over drinks around the city, during the fourteen months that Renata Adler served as film critic for The New York Times, I often found myself serving, by a whoosh of role suction, as her apologist. When anyone else present seemed prepared to champion her critical honor, I’d find myself laying back.
Having returned home stoned from seeing African tribal dances at City Center, into a fantasy of birdchild calls to primitive gods, I sat down in my roommate’s balloon chair and leafed through Esquire until I was hung up in The Happy Jack Fish Hatchery Papers (January).
What a delight for a battered old journalist to turn again to Gibbon’s enchanting autobiography in an elegant new edition edited by Georges Bonnard (Memoirs of My Life by Edward Gibbon, Funk & Wagnalls, $10) ! It is one of my favorite books : so exquisitely funny, in its own weird way so touching, above all, written with a grace and clarity which makes plodding through the dreadful wasteland of twentieth-century prose seem, by comparison, a hateful and aimless endeavor.
I don’t know when the omnibus term “the military” came into general American use to cover not merely the Army (as in English usage) but all the Armed Forces (Army, Navy, Air Force and that ambiguous body, the Marine Corps), as a kind of “estate of the republic” (on the analogy of an “estate of the realm” in English law and language).
Looking through my copy of the current Ohio State University alumni association magazine, I see that three hundred and five members filled two Pan Am 707’s recently on a ten-day all-expense charter trip to Rome that cost them $434 apiece, and that the association is planning more junkets in the future.
Fear can start in the scalp, which may sweat at the first soft splat of gas grenades, at the mere sight of nightsticks raised. The head may be suddenly wet before the knees or wrists dissolve, and the feet move. It’s a reflex for many—since Chicago, marching or voting with bodies will never be quite the same : that old confidence in one’s rights was punctured along with some lungs and kidneys and snapped ribs on Michigan Avenue.
There is so much more attention to the quality of death in California to death-styles, to dying the good death, to all-electric dying. Why is the suicide rate in San Francisco so high, asked the Time reporter. “People kill themselves,” replied the San Franciscan, “in the most attractive environments.”
No deer and no antelope. But strange sounds for a blind man's ear
<p>The horse wrangler, tall and ruggedly handsome, placed his hands on the hips of a pretty girl wearing white bell-bottomed trousers and casually lifted her onto a hitching post near the stable; then, voluntarily, almost automatically, she spread her legs and he stood between her, moving slowly from side to side and up and down, stroking her long blonde hair while her arms and fingers caressed his back, not quickly or eagerly but quite passively, indolently, a mood harmonious with his own.</p>
In subterranean Hollywood there lives a witch, an acid goddess. Don’t go there without a cross
On Hollywood, Santa Monica the Boulevard manager in of West the Happyshop (frozen delicacies, prescriptions filled, choice wines and liquors) has hurried the Mexican sweep-up boys through closing time (good boys, really, they wear gold crosses outside their aprons), has changed quickly into his blue suit and Sacred Heart tie clasp and is now traveling fast in his Toyota because Friday night sabbath at the Chapel of Jesus Christ of the True Believers begins in eight minutes and if he is very late there won’t even be standing room.
American artists talk a lot about involvement, and what they usually mean is political activity or an outright political content in their work. But to Neke Carson, who is from Texas, is twenty-three years old, and thinks of himself as a sculptor-inventor, involvement takes the form of exorcising the devil from society.
The surf at Malibu is not phosphorescent, but sometimes in the afternoon the seaweed on the shore gives off a crimson haze. On mescaline, one hears the seaweed sing, not robustly but thinly. The sand at Malibu is coarse and littered with debris.
Somehow Jesus and the Devil have survived the death of organized religion in Southern California; the fate of God is still uncertain. Nevertheless, the style of California evil remains concerned with the spirit. “Jesus was a junkie,” a kid on the Strip screams at a sheriff’s car.
Are we, then, to despair? No. A number of Californians—millions in fact—carry on as usual despite Satanists in their midst. They form a kind of buffer zone between bad vibrations and the rest of a grateful nation. Even more encouraging are those Californians who, like those shown here, possess “certain powers” and use these for good and against evil.
<p>Senator Ted Stevens first noticed them last September. Stevens is an Alaska Republican; as such he supports the right of every able man to get rich by building things. When he saw late last summer that this faith too had its heretics, Stevens could not keep silence.</p>
Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who is the biggest mother of them all?
George P. Elliott
When my mother learned that the man she loved had been allowed to die of medical neglect as a prisoner of war, the shock was more than she could bear. She was determined never to love another man and thought the best safeguard against such a lapse would be to have a child of her own; yet to go to bed with any man, even drunk with a stranger, would be a betrayal of the memory of her love; besides, mother is fastidious.
Oh, That Ahmed. Poor, Poor Ahmed. They’re Going to Fry His Black, Skinny Ass
In the matter of Cleveland, now
<p>Transmitted by the Highest Voltage, Ahmed is going to get telegraphed to Paradise, C.O.D. And there he will arrive, glowing in the pale blue of his saintliness, bald, smiling and slightly singed. They used to give everyone an early supper and lock all the cells by three o’clock.</p>
<p>Exhausting or not, there's no better way to see the West than to take a good old bus and go batting along on regular roads and come to all kinds of towns and cities where you can get out and walk sometimes a whole hour and see the world and come back to your bus and drive on.</p>
Like a little boy, an eternal innocent, he had no defenses. He seemed neither to need them nor to care for them, although he was sensitive enough to understand that many people do, and in beery conversation Jack Kerouac was like a one-man T-group.
Basic to the mystique of the romantic loser is the occasional wild triumph
Mandell asked if she had ever been celebrated. She said, “Celebrated?” “I mean your body, has your body ever been celebrated?” Then, as if to refine the question: “I mean like has your body like been celebrated ?” “My body has never been celebrated.”
Holden Caulfield, you will recall, drank. He preferred Scotch and soda and, next to that, frozen Daiquiris. He said: “One thing I have, it’s a terrific capacity. I can drink all night and not even show it, if I’m in the mood.” He drank a pint of Scotch one evening and— “I puked before I went to bed but I didn’t really have to—I forced myself.”
An At-long-last Hurrah for Hats— Everything From Stetsons to Skimmers
Now, after years of male bareheadedness, hats are back in vogue, and in practically all colors, sizes, and shapes. Of all aspects of the men’s clothing revolution, this was certainly the least heralded, stealing up on us almost as stealthily as Mr. Sandburg’s catfooted fog.
Now, you take your average arthur— because were he your truly great arthur, he would have took you first
Here's pretty much the way things went that week, the first week of the August of my thirteenth year, the week that Monk LeMay, the meanest, ugliest six feet five inches and two hundred and twenty-five pounds of potential pivot man the victory-starved fans of the New Canaan County High Bulldogs (the Bullfrogs, as the disgusted crowd in Craycraft's Billiards commonly referred to them) had ever laid their covetous eyes on (imagined, even), moved from Newport ("that stinking Sodom of the South," our preacher, Brother Cecil Ransbottom, had once called it, proceeding to denounce its denizens as "those slickery slimy snakes in the Bluegrass") to Hamer's Lick ("population six and seven-eighths when they're all at home," the driver of the Cincinnati-Lexington Greyhound used to announce to his passengers over the impatient roar of the engine during his ten-second pause in front of the Eats Cafe)
The son of a wine merchant (as one might begin a game of Botticelli), he left the grubby coal-mining city where he was born to become, at seventeen, a tailor; subsequently was an administrator for the Red Cross; worked in high fashion for Paquin; created a stir with the costumes he did for the Cocteau film, Beauty and the Beast; became, for a radiant little while, Jeanne Moreau's confidant; and is now one of the most lavishly admired designers of men's clothes.
After three years with Christian Dior, who had been profoundly impressed by the wardrobe he created for Beauty and the Beast, Cardin went on his own as a designer of film and stage costumes and gowns for the dress balls that abound in Paris. Then, in 1957, he showed his first collection—and the face of high fashion had a new look.
As the picture above proves, the performers in Oh! Calcutta! do not bare their bodies all the time. Here, they model rainwear created by Cardin. The men’s coats are maxi, shaped, self-belted double-breasteds with massive collars, roomy patch pockets, and a buttoned vent concealed by a high inverted pleat.
The great age of popular travel is about to begin. Phooey!
Nineteen-Seventy promises to set off a travel explosion that will make the jet boom of the last decade seem like the addition of a few Conestogas to the wagon trains trekking to the West. The forecasts have all been churned out by the computers, the statistical evidence is in: the travel and transportation industry, already the largest single factor in world trade, will handle the greatest movement of pleasure travelers in history.
The bus driver put me out at a Texaco station just north of the Westchester County line, and as I slipped two nickels into the pay telephone I watched, as Mike Hammer might have done, to see if the bus had been followed. Here on this windswept crossroads in rural New York I was to rendezvous with the man who had spent the last eighteen years in prison for conspiring to hand over vital United States secrets to the Soviet Union.
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