WHAT A RELIEF. Years from now, historians need only look to the cover of your January 1994 issue for definitive proof that, indeed, Fabio’s breasts were bigger than Heidi’s. —DAVID H. DOBSON Los Angeles, Calif.
“DAVID COPPERFIELD doesn’t wear any sequins,” says senior writer Bill Zehme, who makes his Esquire debut this month, “but I, in fact, do, whenever possible. Otherwise, we’re very similar.” And it’s sort of true if you think about it. Copperfield is a world-renowned illusionist known for his ability to fly without strings or wires; Zehme floats above the heads of his peers with no visible means of support.
IT SURE ISN’T the way things ought to be, but Rush Limbaugh is engaged. The twice-married conservative talk-show host is telling friends that he plans to marry a Florida woman named Marta. “He’s smitten,” coos a friend, who says the blessed event is set for this summer, “but he says he’s abstaining from sex until the vows.”
No wonder Tom Cruise charges so much money to appear in films: Being a Scientologist can get pretty expensive. The following fees are what the unconventional church—which was founded by science-fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard and counts Nicole Kidman, Kirstie Alley, and John Travolta as members—asks in “donations” for some of its “courses.”
George Bush seems to have drawn another line in the sand: He will agree to interviews only if the topic is Operation Desert Storm. “He sees the Gulf war as the great achievement of his presidency,” says a Bush source, “and that’s what he wants to be remembered for.”
Tommy takes such Mottola interest in the career of his young bride, Mariah Carey, that he wants her to be known as more than just a singer who’s married to the president of Sony Music. So he’s assigned producer Walter Afanasieff to cowrite songs with her. The problem, according to sources, is that “she comes up with ideas like, Let’s do a love song, but any songwriting she does is rudimentary,” and still “she gets half the credit.” What, only half?
AFTER LOBBING softballs at Michael Jackson last year, Oprah Winfrey has set her sights on another man with a fancy wardrobe who doesn’t date: Pope John Paul II. Oprah isn’t asking the pontiff to appear on her show, though—Do you have a question for His Holiness?—she wants him to join her in a national “prayer weekend” that she’s planning with Marianne Williamson, the “bitch for God" who officiated at the Liz Taylor-Larry Fortensky nuptials.
It’s $10 Million. Do You Know Where Your Children Are?
Here’s what experts surmise it cost an innocent superstar not to buy the silence of a thirteen-year-old boy he never molested: The Washington Post: $5 million Time: around $5 million cash and a trust fund
A SMALL GROUP OF pundits like to think they “discovered” Bill Clinton way back around, say, his Oxford days and that they set the agenda in the election. But, in fact, Clinton’s staff knew all along how to appeal to this crowd. Shortly before the New York primary, a confidential memo was written by Clinton’s top advisers—including James Carville, Paul Begala, and George Stephanopoulos—to prepare him for the televised debate, and specifically for journalist Joe Klein, who was then at New York magazine and is now at Newsweek: Joe Klein: He is disappointed in you. As always.
“THERE is something fresh and new about Elvis Presley,” according to a book proposal that’s been making the rounds at several publishing houses. “Robert Kendall is the Tennessee funeral director who played a major role during those final days,” Kendall’s agent writes, and his tome promises to give untold anecdotes about Elvis’s autopsy, burial, and funeral.
WHEN Alexander Liberman stepped down as the editorial director of Condé Nast, many wondered if his heir, James Truman, would make the trains run on time. After all, it’s widely known that Liberman controlled Condé Nast’s magazines— such as Vogue, Vanity Fair, and Glamour—in a, shall we say, hands-on manner.
BARNEY the dinosaur may love us, but the feeling isn’t mutual in some circles. When members of white supremacist groups learned that David Joyner, the actor inside that purple suit, is black, many forbade their children to watch the show. “We feel that blacks and their ways are dominating the performing fields,” says a Ku Klux Klan member who would speak only anonymously.
For My First Character Witness, I Call Erik Menendez
COVERING the trial of those dear little Menendez boys wasn’t nearly as arduous for Dominick Dunne as his own legal problems. The case involves an article that appeared in Los Angeles magazine under the byline Will Runyon that criticized the media coverage of the sensational trial, especially Dunne’s.
WHEN WE MOST LOVED Elvis, he was possessively eyeing angels who wanted to wear his red shoes and reveling in two little Hitlers fighting it out until one little Hitler did the other one’s will. That was when, Elvis said then, his songs were about “revenge and guilt, in that order.”
“We curved everything that could be curved,” says Chris Murphy of Specialized Bicycle, where they usually take their technology straight. Known for bikes with such names as Stumpjumper and Rockhopper (created to traverse the raw rock at Moab), Specialized has gone Euro, and retro, with its new Globe bike.
NOT TO be alarmist, but this may be an important year to make a pilgrimage to the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, and not just because this is the twenty-fifth anniversary of the event. Soon a proposed gambling casino—the world’s biggest—will open in the heart of town and threaten to turn it into a theme park.
Two new pretenders vie for New York’s steak-house crown
PAT CETTA, co-owner of Sparks Steak House, likes to boast that he hasn’t had an empty table in twelve years. He’s not alone. Poke your head into Smith & Wollensky or Gallagher’s or even out-of-town interlopers like Morton’s and Ruth’s Chris, and you’ll swear there’s no recession and that cholesterol is a miracle cure.
WHAT CAN YOU SAY about an actor who chases Madonna into the bathroom and roars, “There’s nothing in there but Tampax and aspirin, and that’s the closest you’re going to get to comfort in this life, baby!” Unsheathed is the word that comes to mind to describe James Russo’s performance in Abel Ferrara’s dark and unpopular Dangerous Game.
EVEN IF Olaf Olafsson didn’t have a name better suited to luge competition than corporate infighting, he would still stand out at Sony, where he is president of the electronic-publishing division. Tommy Mottola may rack up Grammies, and Peter Guber may bring home an Oscar or two, but Olaf Olafsson can lay claim to having written the best-selling novel in the history of Iceland.
WHEN THE HUMORIST Robert Benchley was an undergraduate at Harvard eighty years ago, he and a couple of friends showed up one morning at the door of an elegant Beacon Hill mansion, dressed as furniture repairmen. They told the housekeeper they had come to pick up the sofa.
Sumo with Helmut, beers with Václav, and the other diplomatic adventures of Euro-Clinton
EVER SINCE DWIGHT David Eisenhower clinched the 1952 election by pledging, “I shall go to Korea,” Americans—especially the television-news directors among them—have been transfixed by globe-hopping presidents. A visit to Moscow became the ultimate TV distraction, as even the beleaguered Richard Nixon demonstrated a month before he resigned.
Will the Braves finally bring the World Series home, or will they Buffalo us again?
IT IS THE NIGHT before the Buffalo Bills will lose their fourth Super Bowl in a row. David Justice, the Atlanta Braves outfielder, and his wife, actress Halle Berry, are in a makeshift television studio, getting ready to go on the air. In the cramped quarters backstage, guests and production people mill about.
They know where I live. They know what I eat. But they don’t know my hat size. Hah!
SAINT PAUL FELL off his horse. Newton was hit on the head by a palmtop. Freud had a dream about strawberries and discovered the subconscious. Me, I had a visionary experience recently. I didn’t know it was coming. It just . . . happened, rising naked out of the water of perhaps the most intense emotion an American consumer can experience.
BOBBY RAY INMAN DID NOT WANT TO BE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE, BUT HE WENT TO THE MOUNTAINTOP ANYWAY. THEN HE PLUNGED OFF.
ROBERT SAM ANSON
IT WAS SEVEN DAYS after the press conference to end all press conferences, and, for the eleventh time that morning, the phone in Bobby Ray Inman’s Austin, Texas, office was ringing off the hook. Just as he had the previous ten times, the former nominee to be secretary of defense was not moving to answer it.
How David Copperfield, a relatively average guy who makes about $26 million a year and can also fly whenever he wants to, won the $10 million heart of Claudia Schiffer, the most fabulous übermodel in the world
<p>OF COPPERFIELD, let me begin by imparting the following: Nothing he does is real. He does not believe in magic. His greatest regret is that he cannot sing. He was born to dance. He is never tired. He touches no coffee and has never seen cocaine. He is, he claims, "75 percent happy" at all times, except when preparing his annual CBS television special. At such times, he is 50 percent happy.</p>
Why America has lost its capacity to convict the guilty
“Irresistible impulse.” It’s such a tantalizing phrase, so voluptuous of contour. The s’s, l’s, and i's slide over and around one another like intertwined snakes. And then there are the layers of resonance. “Irresistible impulse” manages to be biblical and psychoanalytic, to evoke both temptation and compulsion.
Don't you wish everybody was a totally fulfilled colossus of American can-do?
YOU WAKE in a castle in Del Mar, in a bedroom that looks out over the burned hills of San Diego and the green polo fields and the stables where your ponies sleep. The courtyard fountain coos and flutters. Security cameras sweep the rooms. You remove the electrodes from your scalp and arise.
Cover your ears. Hide your women. And be prepared to get trash-talked to death. The SuperSonics are coming to your town, and they’re gonna bust a move on your sorry ass.
<p>THEY COME YAPPIN’ from the upper-left-hand corner of the Lower 48, a yarn snag in the broad-shouldered sweater of the country, and right now they’re on the road and on a roll. As the man in the booth says: “Your Seattle SuuuuuperrrrrSonics!” Everyone loves the Supes 'cause they’re a riot to watch, and they’re even more fun to listen to, live and uncensored.</p>
Like a poet of the free-market economy, a good salesman turns a simple product (say, a photocopier) into a sonnet of love and desire.
One sales rep breaks out in rashes from the tension. Another bolts out of church in tears one Sunday because God just isn’t responding. God has never tried to sell Xerox copiers in Cleveland. Six reps suffer from colitis, another’s eczema becomes inflamed again. One rep, in a spasm of anger, throws a frozen turkey down a flight of stairs at her husband, missing the spouse but breaking dinner’s legs.
BARBED WIRE. Barbed-wire barriers are what you see first. They protrude out of the snow, hover over it—lines, trestles, fences, of barbed wire. What extraordinary combinations, knots, billows, entire constructions out of barbed wire clasping together the sky and the earth, clinging to every bit of frozen field, to the white landscape, to the icy horizon.
NATURALLY, the most vicious confirmation fight in our history was waged to keep a black man off the Supreme Court. They hated him, for the content of his politics and the color of his skin, and so they tried everything. They questioned his intellect and his veracity and the choices he made in his personal life.
No matter how tenuous his influence during the waking hours, Bill Clinton has a strong, even amorous grip on the nation’s subconscious at night. That’s the view of Julia Anderson-Miller and Bruce Joshua Miller, who have collected accounts of dreams about the President in Dreams of Bill, out this month from Citadel Press.
“SOMEBODY’S GOING TO TRY and knock me off today.” Saul Feldman stood across from me at his counter in the heart of New York’s diamond district. He had diamond rings on each hand, and the diamond-studded pen in his lapel pocket was worth $1,000. The pen I carried in my lapel was also worth a grand; it contained a radio transmitter that could send a signal a quarter of a mile.
There was a great tenderness to the sadness when I would go there. She knew how much I loved my wife and that we had no future. We were like casualties helping each other as we waited for the end. Now I wonder if we understand how happy those Danish afternoons were.
Runway news; the navy suit goes AWOL; in Sri Lanka, a dharma dozen
ON ITS FRONT PAGE the other day, The Wall Street Journal reported on a new masculine ideal—geeks. Those awkward, gangly antisocial types, more in touch with their computers than with real life, are in. Well, there were plenty of clothes for them in the fall 1994 men’s-wear shows in Milan.
Say this about the military: You never have to think about what to wear. Now apply the uniform concept to the civilian world. Everyone understands the power of a navy-blue boardroom suit, but the subtle sophistication of navy sportswear is ideal for a little R&R.
Designers are turning to the East for inspiration, as Nehru jackets skinny linen trousers, and embroidered vests enter the picture for spiring. On location in Sri Lanka, we explore fashion's new karma.
BILL CLINTON STOOD on the South Grounds of the White House last fall and waxed nostalgic about his first car, a 1952 Henry J, which, at age six, he had helped his stepfather rebuild. The occasion was the President’s announcement of a program to commit an estimated billion dollars of tax money to the creation of USCAR, a consortium of government agencies and Detroit’s Big Three aimed at designing a radically new car for the new millennium.
ONCE UPON A time, Jean-Luc Godard, while defending the auteurist penchant to lionize virtually anyone, admitted that including guys like Edgar G. Ulmer is going too far. Seems unfair, Godard slighting the esteemed (if skid row) director of Detour, The Naked Dawn, and The Black Cat, but the point is, the line has to be drawn somewhere.
OH, THOSE BAD-BOY BRITS! There they slouch at the back of English literature’s stuffy classroom, telling dirty jokes, smirking, belching, scratching, smoking pot in the cubbyholes of their desks, setting their farts on fire. Why, there’s young Amis! His father went to the same school and is still remembered rather unhappily by the older masters.
Fashion Navy at Liberty, page 145: Giorgio Armani suit ($1,420) and shirt ($275) at Giorgio Armani boutiques, Boston, Beverly Hills, and Manhasset, New York. For information contact: Giorgio Armani, 815 Madison Avenue, New York, New York 10021.
“THEY CALL THEM WAIFS,” I said to Liam Neeson at the Giorgio Armani show in Milan. “Waffs?” he said. “No, waifs, like the women models,” I said. Liam’s legs were spread wide, taking up half my tufted, red-velvet seat, and one of his large hands was holding Natasha Richardson’s knee.