Is THERE a perfect Esquire issue? A few of my favorites are some of the classic editions like "The Best of the New Generation” (December 1984) or “How We Lived” (June 1983). But your February issue, “White People: The Trouble with America,” has to rate with the best of them!
IF THE SPECIALLY commissioned art on our cover looks somewhat familiar, you've either been hanging out in museums or galleries lately or storming the barncades of sexism. If not, then welcome to the world of BARBARA KRUGER, who is not only one of America's most original talents but one of our keenest social and cultural critics as well.
KNIT TIES are back. They've been resurrected for spring by such designers as Robert Talbott, Donna Karan, Gary Wasserman, and Alexander Julian. The bad news for former Woody Allen wannabes who long to bring back their dead tie racks is that the new knits are no longer square.
PERHAPS THE MOST shocking thing about Mark Tansey is how darn accessible he is. Even the most tentative viewer can take a quick look at one of the forty-three-year-old's funny, visually punning canvases and feel he is getting a nice bit of oldschool draftsmanship for his gallery-going dollar.
YANCY BUTLER has her big break. She's playing a cyborg—in everyday language, a robot—a sublimely intelligent, sublimely attractive robot-cop who teams up with an all-too-human guy named Mann in the new NBC comedy/adventure series, Mann and Machine.
MARY VINS0N'S print shirts for the Island Trading Company look as if they have to be plugged in and charged up before you put them on. It’s that sense of voltage that gives her kaleidoscopic designs and spacey patterns (one’s called Funny Face; another, Celestial Staircase) such a delirious quality.
THREE VERY millennial rogues, Kevin Begos Jr., Dennis Ashbaugh, and William Gibson, will publish a book together sometime next month. Begos, a publisher of museum-quality manuscripts and books, knew Ashbaugh, a New York artist whose canvases employ models of computer viruses.
HENRY KAISER & David Lindley in Madagascar, Volume 1 (Shanachie): Faraway places don’t get much farther away than the island of Madagascar, remotely located in the Indian Ocean off the southeast coast of Africa. And yet the musical tradition of the 12 million or so Malagasy people, while generally elaborated by highland zithers and oddly fretted guitars, and sung, of course, in impenetrable Malagasy, has some strangely familiar attractions for Western ears.
DON & DEWEY (Specialty): One of the great lost chapters in black-rock-'n-roll history. Don Harris and Dewey Terry were ace players and singers, and on L.A.’s Specialty label in the late 50s, they recorded the original versions of “Big Boy Pete," "Farmer John,” and “Leavin’ It All up to You”—nonhits, alas, that only later turned gold in the hands of the Olympics, the Premiers, and Dale and Grace.
WHAT YOU should know about eating out in New Orleans these days is that a new breed of young chefs is breaking free of the Creole straitjacket that for decades kept the local restaurants from evolving much beyond the clichés of gumbo, oysters Rockefeller, and barbecued shrimp.
PHILIPPE STARCK'S Walter Wayle II clock is imbued with the menacing, dark, sci-fi worlds of Starck's hero, Philip K. Dick—who liked to set his novels specifically in the strange future of 1992. The clock’s hands are the naked blades of a prop or a fan.
UNLIKE EDWARD CURTIS, whose famous Indian photographs are now being attacked as overly sentimental, Gertrude Käsebier dispensed with prevailing notions of the noble savage. Her studio portraits of Sioux who performed in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show between 1898 and 1901 are what she called “likenesses that are biographies.”
THE PLACE: Venice, California. Eighty-seven years after Abbot Kinney had canals dug to create a doges’ city on the Pacific, thirty years after it had become "a slum on the beach," a decade after the first marquis-named clients hired marquis architects to design pricey homes on the under-priced beachfront, the final phase of gentrification may have arrived.
<p>IT IS NEW YEARS EVE, and Rodney Dangerfield is down in Florida, coughing and wheezing his way through an act that— even on nights like this—is exactly fifty-seven minutes, or 325 jokes, long. It is not a pretty sight, even if you’re a sucker for heavyset guys who perspire profusely.</p>
<p>HE STANDS THERE in the cool, dark hallway at Dodger-town, in Florida, admiring all these photographs of old ballplayers the way people admire paintings hung in great museums. “These are the best pictures you’ll ever see,” Tommy Lasorda says.</p>
<p>I TOOK A VERY LONG FALL that had apparently been waiting for me way up Hog Canyon. The ridgeline looked good for Mearns quail, and I scrambled up in defiance of gravity and good sense, forgetting that the back-country is always trying to get you to self-destruct.</p>
A FEW NIGHTS AGO during an intermission at Avery Fisher Hall, a friend in the next seat asked if in the pursuit of participatory journalism I had ever conducted a symphony orchestra. “Natch,” I replied, crossing my legs and leaning back in my seat in a show of suavity.
<p>THE OTHER DAY I broke some very hard and crusty bread with a consultant I've known for more than a decade. We sat down at the appointed hour. The waiter told us the specials, which, as always, involved some form of arcane fungal matter in a Dijon vinaigrette.</p>
In order to survive, Strike went by three unbreakable rules. One: Trust no one. Two: Don't get greedy. Three: Never do product
<p>STRIKE SPOTTED HER: Baby fat, baby face, Shanelle or Shanette, fourteen years old maybe, standing there with that queasy smile, trying to work up the nerve. He looked away, seeing her two months from now, no more baby fat, stinky, just another pipehead.</p>
The Player TRASHES THE SMARMY, CRAVEN, EGO-CRAZED POWER BROKERS OF HOLLYWOOD, AND THE SMARMY, CRAVEN, EGO-CRAZED POWER BROKERS LOVE IT.
<p>IS THAT A GLEAM OF TRIUMPH in Robert Altman's eye? Is sardonic the word for that small goateed smile? Sardonic is an old song for the director, but he hasn't felt pure buzzing triumph in a long time. It would be strange if he didn't feel it now, along with a complex of other emotions.</p>
<p>AT TIMES IT SEEMS POSSIBLE to divide the world into two types of people: creeps and assholes. Creeps are wound neat and tight and seldom say what they mean or mean what they say. Always busy plotting, strategizing, and working the angles, they know there's no such thing as paranoia, because everything you suspect might be happening actually is happening.</p>
<p>DRY FACTS WE MAY KNOW: His four-hour (or so) daily radio show fills the heads of roughly three million listeners in four cities, in two of which (New York and Philadelphia) his is the number-one-rated program, and in two of which (Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.) he's still trying.</p>
Power Cockfighting with Pac-Man and the Weeping Widow
<p>IMELDA MARCOS CLICK-CLACKS across the pink marble floor at ramming speed, bursting through the library door so fast she almost runs down eight Japanese tourists. Gaining speed, Imelda blows by the forty other people perennially becalmed in her $2,000 Imperial Suite at the Plaza, a group that today includes a bejeweled woman who's been pestering Marcos to help make her governor of Bulacan; three security guards poised to intercept the woman; an ocher-eyed former beauty who was once pursued to the Philippines by a lovesick General Perón; and a very old Filipina from Mindanao who traveled six days to Manila to present “Ma’am,” as everyone deferentially calls her, with a live chicken that is now, quite plainly, dead.</p>
FOUR FILM COUPLES SHOW HOW THE RIGHT MIX MAKES THE RIGHT MATCH
A WARDROBE, LIKE A RELATIONSHIP, REQUIRES BAL ANCE, IN THIS CASE BETWEEN DRESSING UP AND DRESSING DOWN. DRESSING UP MEANS FINDING THE RIGHT FINISHING TOUCHES-THE SECRET TO DRESS ING DOWN IS ARTFULLY REMOVING THEM. THOUGH TIMOTHY DALY AND PENELOPE ANN MILLER ARE BOTH TONY-NOMINATED ACTORS—HE FOR Coastal Disturbances, SHE FOR Our Town—THEY HAVE BEEN PROVING THEIR TALENTS IN OTHER FORUMS LATELY.
A true chronicle of the Gordons, who wanted to be ordinary but became extraordinary when they brought the Sixties home with them
<p>STAFF SERGEANT Samuel Goldenberg walked down the gangplank of his Liberty ship in the first week of November 1945, during a pre-Christmas homecoming crush occasioned by the fact that an American soldier was returning from Europe every five seconds of the day.</p>
<p>It’s dangerous to call anyone the new James Dean, because even the old one found being himself somewhat impossible. You don’t fly around town on a motorcycle, drink and whatever else, earn a reputation for being difficult to work with, and acquire your death-Porsche—all by the age of twenty-three—if you're not bent on departing young.</p>
Man At His Best, page 28: Robert Talbott tie ($58) at Bergdorf Goodman Men, New York; Mark Shale, Chicago; Nordstrom nationwide. For information contact Talbott Studio, Carmel Valley, California 93924-0996. Donna Karan tie ($70) at Barneys New York, New York.
A MONTHLY NEWSLETTER KEEPING YOU UP TO THE SECOND ON ALL CULTURAL AND SOCIAL FRONTS.
HOOTERMANIA! Topless babes are now officially okay. The boom in upmarket gentlemen's clubs nationwide heralds new era in "classy" adult entertainment. Look for: Yale Club to now call its monthly literary evenings, "The Distinguished Lecturer Series, featuring Captain Cream's Tusseling Tootsies,” and New York’s ultraexclusive Le Bernardin to promo Sunday-night table-dancing by Shanelle Staxx with every order of monkfish and savoy cabbage.