THE NEW James Bond won’t likely live to be the old James Bond (“Of Human Bondage,” by Richard Rayner, November 1995). Forget the drinking and smoking—don’t grab a beautiful leg and ignore a cocked automatic pointed at your head by a left-handed lady.
MY COLUMN IS PREDICATED on the delusion that my household—inhabited by my Ecuadoran-born wife, Mercedes (aka Kid Woman); our two-and-a-half-year-old daughter, Gaby; a hydrocephalic golden retriever named Carmella; and me—is as sublimely fascinating as the court of Louis XIV,” says novelist and new Esquire contributing editor Mark Leyner, describing his monthly column, Wild Kingdom.
IN A plot twist worthy of Oliver Stone, Earl Ruby is claiming that his brother, Jack Ruby, did not actually kill Lee Harvey Oswald. Although no one disputes that Ruby shot Oswald, his brother says that the paramedics who arrived on the scene ultimately may have been responsible for the death of John F. Kennedy’s stillunco nvicted assassin.
TIME magazine is seeing a libel case blow up in its face. Lawyers for the newsweekly have been negotiating a cash settlement for a $26 million suit involving an April 1992 cover story (right) on Pan Am Flight 103 brought by Michael Schafer, a Georgia floor cleaner identified in the article as “David Lovejoy,” a double agent for the U. S. and Iran.
Rush Limbaugh may attack Ted Koppel in public, but privately he’s a lot more sheepish. Limbaugh was upset about being quoted out of context in a Nightline story last year and complained to Koppel. The Nightline host apologized, according to Hot Air, a new book by Washington Post media reporter Howard Kurtz, but after Limbaugh accepted the apology, he then went on the air and blasted Koppel.
EVERY picture tells a story, don’t it? Matelda, a nineteenth-century oil painting by Noē Bordignon, was recently sold in New York by Sotheby’s for $57,500. When the buyer failed to pay by the thirty-five-day deadline, the seller, Louise Dembeck, rightfully said she wanted her painting back.
Newt Gingrich isn't the only political figure who's sensitive about whether he used a ghostwriter. Hillary Clinton's new book, It Takes a Village, and Other Lessons Children Teach Us, credits Barbara Feinman as an assistant. But one source familiar with the project says Feinman, who ghostwrote a book for former congresswoman Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky, “researched and organized the book and wrote the draft.
FINALLY, a sociological explanation for the disappearance of dinosaurs. That world-renowned paleontologist Newt Gingrich recently stunned colleagues while holding forth on the natural-selection process. “He’s very much into dinosaurs and kept commenting on how neat’ and ‘cool’ they are,” says a baffled dinophile.
Kathie Lee Gifford's controversial "Jewish" comments have some people calling her names— like her own. During last November’s sweeps period, Gifford began a much-talked-about “feud” with Michael Gelman, the executive producer of Live with Regis & Kathie Lee, saying he was out of touch with Middle America because he’s a single Jewish guy living in New York.
Frank Zappa's Eastern European fans need a new translator. The late rock star has a huge following in Lithuania, where some of his admirers recently unveiled a six-foot-high bust of Zappa. But a press release announcing the event made even his most ardent fans seem unduly excited.
IN Judge Ito’s courtroom, a free seat was a rarity, but back in the real world, Christopher Darden packs them in about as well as the Los Angeles Clippers. Last October, the now-millionaire O. J. Simpson prosecutor failed to sell all the tickets to a speaking engagement in New York.
YOU CAN’T put a price tag on emotional support from friends— unless it’s well into four figures. When former Ohio congressman Sam Devine’s wife, Betty, died several years ago, both George Bush and Gerald Ford wrote condolence notes. “Dear Sam,” Bush wrote in longhand on Thanksgiving 1993.
LIKE Hamlet before him, George Bush Jr. was ready to avenge his Poppy. A source says there was a small movement in Texas— probably begun by anti-Phil Gramm Republicans—to have the former president’s son enter the presidential primaries.
Any idiot can buy one hundred shares of Microsoft and know he’s invested wisely. Just one person, however, can own the strangely beautiful suit designed for Soviet space dogs (top) or the 1912 working manuscript of Albert Einstein’s special theory of relativity (inset) or one of the motorcycles used in Easy Rider (right).
HOLLYWOOD has revised our notion of the girl next door so many times that the original concept has, shall we say, moved out of state. That wholesome-but-sexy archetype is about to find itself quickly restored and upended yet again in the person of Theresa Randle, who, in her first lead role, plays Girl 6, a struggling actress who secretly pays her bills through phone sex, in the movie of the same name.
WHEN Dennis was in L. A. last summer, we went to Arthur’s Coffee Shop every morning,” says Dwight Manley, Dennis Rodman’s six-foot-three-inch personal assistant, who has an assistant of his own. “When his turn came, he would just look at me and I’d order for him: two sides of bacon, a side of potatoes, a plain waffle, white toast, and a large milk.
ON THE autobahn, Chris Bangle, the young, Ohio-born head of BMW design, flares his lights impatiently at cars ahead of him, at the same time talking on his cell phone. Bangle has always been a young designer in a hurry. Raised in the Midwest, he graduated from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena in 1981 and, after stints at Opel and Fiat, became the head of design at BMW in 1992—an unprecedented role for an American.
Faithful Esquire readers may remember contributing editor Philip Caputo’s 1989 article “Death Goes to School,” a stunning descent into the mind of Patrick Edward Purdy, who earlier that year had opened fire with an automatic weapon on children in a Stockton, California, school yard, killing five and injuring twenty-nine of them before shooting himself.
IS FRESH CAVIAR an aphrodisiac?” asks a very attractive pal, who is eating caviar by the spoonful only yards from my bedroom. I never lie to a pal. But I don’t see any point in discussing mere physiological mechanics. “Pleasure is an aphrodisiac,” I say, and may your Valentine’s Day end as happily.
You can’t buy a whole F-16 unless you are, say, Benazir Bhutto and have a country and an air force full of generals you have to keep happy. But now you can own most of a genuine F-16—if playing all your flight-simulation computer games in such style is worth $3,000 to you.
ONE EVENING last November, playing pool at the Scoop Bar in Bozeman, Montana, I watched a fiftyish woman in wellworn ranch clothing come in, order a whiskey ditch, shed her slicker and denim jacket, and carefully select a house cue. She pulled a barlow knife from her jeans, roughed up the cue tip a bit, and whipped every man in the bar, five dollars a game, until none of us could take any more.
It’s probably a sign that tattoos have lost whatever outlaw status they once had: The drawings (usually pen-and-ink on flimsy paper) done by tattoo artists to show customers their options are now a hot item in galleries around the country, led by the show last winter at the Drawing Center in New York.
THERE IS something both charming and ominous about actors on the cusp of stardom—they’re like wolf pups at play before they acquire the predatory wherewithal to rip out your lungs. Take the case of Skeet Ulrich. Thus far—he is twenty-five—his career peak has been an apprenticeship in David Mamet’s theater group in New York.
Ban-Lon shirts were the item of leisure wear in the good-clean-fun-loving ’50s, their screaming colors the perfect antidote to the all-work, no-play ethos of the ’40s. Ban-Lon died out in the dour ’80s, but the original has been reintroduced by the inventor of the style, DaVinci.
I DON’T KNOW Frank. People, smart ones, say I should, that he’s the single greatest singer ever. The supreme American popular artist. The best. So I’m trying. Trying to break through decades of Sinatra antipathy. But it’s not an easy thing, in his eighty-first year and my forty-seventh, to learn to love the Man, the Main Event, the Chairman of the Board, a guy with streets named after him in Rancho Mirage.
IF YOU’RE looking for beans in Beantown these days, they’re more likely to be cannellini, haricots verts, or favas than baked navy beans. The town’s in the grip of Mediterranean fever, with many of the best new restaurants—Pignoli, Rialto, 8 Holyoke, and Providence—doing turns on the foods of Italy, Spain, or the Middle East.
NEIL POSTMAN has explored the decline of civic values in a nation awash in media and entertainment. The chairman of the Department of Culture and Communications at New York University, Postman is the author of twenty books, including Amusing Ourselves to Death and The End of Education: Redefining the Value of Schools (Alfred A. Knopf, 1995).
THE DEBATE over where to put the boom box in the 1989 movie Say Anything serves as a tidy metaphor for what’s been wrong with all the Generation-X films that followed. Writer-director Cameron Crowe originally wanted John Cusack’s heartbroken character to stay inside the car, listening to the radio while the rain thrummed outside.
What some of our favorite cultural figures are up to. Michael Herr: Has written the screenplay for Francis Ford Coppola’s film adaptation of On the Road and is one of the writers of the upcoming remake of The Island of Dr. Moreau; now writing a novel whose action spans forty years, the bulk of which, he says, takes place in the 1960s.
OUR LAMAZE INSTRUCTRESS, Rhiannon, was a wiry new-age type with huge brown eyes, a striking resemblance to Marcia Clark, and a relentless enthusiasm for videos showing Brazilian Indians giving birth from the squatting position without anesthetic.
What kind of serious-minded business executive goes around carrying an orange, pebbled Spalding official-NBA briefcase made of the same synthetic leather used in the indoor-outdoor basketball (as opposed to the regulation game ball)?
IT’S AT THE end of the road, Mile Zero, way out there, where the Atlantic meets the Gulf. It’s the kind of Florida the rest of Florida fantasizes, in a tingly way, about being, for Key West has charm, eccentricity, and style. The town is so atypical, in fact, that it runs the risk of becoming pure marketable concept.
IN MEDIA LAND, at least, it’s the season of the black male—O. J., Louis Farrakhan, the Million Man March, Mike Tyson—and, literarily, Henry Louis Gates Jr., the critic and historian whose graceful articles in The New Yorker interpret the mysterious ways of the Negro to the Man.
Q: poem? How do I write a love To address this question, Esky engaged John Updike, who knows a thing or two about love and poems. A: The first thing to acquire would be a rhyming dictionary. I use one bought in 1950, published by Permabooks. Its slick yellow covers have long since fallen off, but the rhymes are still there.
THIS MONTH: What you need to be better flexed and sexed and a little less perplexed by modern life.
IF YOU’RE LIKE most men, you’re oblivious to your dreams. Though vivid scenarios scroll before your mind’s eye each night, you ignore them—unlike women, who are more likely to dial in to their interior life whether awake or asleep. However, if you’re even remotely interested in self-enlighten ment, not to mention free entertainment, you’re missing some pretty gripping stuff.
TAKE ONE two-wheeled, six-hundredpound machine traveling at seventy miles per hour, add one distracted motorist on a cell phone, and you can see why ER staffers call motorcycles “donorcycles.” Then take into account that wind chill can chop 30 to 50 degrees off the air temperature and you’ll see why what you wear on a bike can be important.
For the latest fitness fad, there's no end in sight
OUCH . . . oh, God . . . excuse me. . . . I’m— oomph!—“spinning,” right now, perched on a bicycle seat roughly the size of a lemon wedge and constructed, or so it feels from the shooting pain in my scrotum, from a slab of granite wrapped in wafer-thin foam.
IMAGINE YOU’RE genetically blessed: ectomorphic physique, full head of hair, high HDL count. Now let’s really get statistically absurd: You’re handsome and filthy rich. But guess what, Mr. Smug? Your teeth are turning as yellow as your jaundiced worldview.
DOES YOUR inner adolescent snicker when you hear about an athlete with a groin pull? “Certainly not if you’ve ever had one,” scolds Dr. Bob Cantu, former president of the American College of Sports Medicine. “It feels like you’ve been shot.
POSTURE is as important in bed as anywhere else, particularly if you suffer from back pain—so say the specialists whom we asked: Are there sexual positions that are bad for your back? “Any position where you have to support your body weight or someone else’s is going to be stressful,” says Dr. Charles Kaplan, director of the New York Center for Pain Management—which means that a man with back pain should, whatever the moral consequences, reconsider the missionary position, for which he must prop himself on his arms.
ABSTAINING FROM FOOD to restore vitality is counterintuitive, yet fasting has a long tradition in the world of alternative medicine and, it would appear, is newly in vogue among the holistically minded. In theory, “therapeutic fasts” are intended not for rapid weight loss (though that’s inevitable) but to purge the body of disease-causing toxins.
I HAVE SOMETHING to Say," I begin. "What else is new?" D. smiles. My suggestion of impending crisis has failed to make an impression. But after six years, a breakup is in the offing, and, as usual, when it comes to my dissatisfaction, D. wants to dissect it to exhaustion, as though life were most profitably lived in its reliving.
Air bags have saved untold thousands of limbs and faces-and plenty of lives. By 1998, they’ll be required for all front seats in every new car-and that’s a fine thing. But there’s a catch: Air bags themselves, which inflate at up to a hundred miles an hour, are causing a small but disturbing—because mostly they’re preventable— number of deaths and injuries.
Malcolm’s boy is the GOP race’s supply-side Dr. Feelgood. So what’s not to like about Steve Forbes?
SOMETHING from Oliver Stone? Maybe. A reporter shares an explosive secret with a distant acquaintance. Decades pass, then suddenly the shadowy acquaintance emerges out of nowhere to run for president, and—this being the movies—the reporter, of course, is asked to cover his campaign.
Six months ago, we proposed the Esquire Investment Portfolio— so how’re we doin’, already?
IT’S BEEN STARTLING—indeed, unnerving—to watch the stock market go up month after month after month. It’s a performance Wall Street hasn’t put on in nearly a decade, and before that, not since the 1960s. Even the most iron-stomached investors are beginning to wonder if it isn’t time to take their profits and move to the sidelines.
In the electronic village of Blacksburg, Virginia, the homes are wired, the schools are on-line, and you can even jack into the local pizza parlor. Is this a digital utopia or the end of civilization as we know it?
Lions look pale and green under fluorescent light—especially when they’re aging and Caucasian, as are most of the forty-one citizens gathered in the back room of the local Best Western for the bimonthly meeting of the Blacksburg, Virginia, Lions Club.
What happens when a seven-foot-one-inch, 330-pound man-child gets a boo-boo on the basketball court? First, rebuild the Shaq. Then start tearing down the NBA.
<p>BEFORE THERE was Homeboy Payback, there was Homeboy Rehab, but before there was Homeboy Rehab, there was Homeboy Getting Fat. The ulnar collateral ligament avulsion fracture of Shaquille O’Neal’s right metacarpophalangeal joint—a broken thumb to you less-valuable mortals—had occurred in late October, and for three weeks in the fall, a man who normally earned a decent living wreaking havoc on basketball courts across America was sunk deep into the tattered couch of unemployment.</p>
A lifelong dorsalist gets his passion for women's backs off his chest
IN ANDALUSIA last summer, I was in heaven. An ocean of backs. Backs of caramel, backs of flan. Backs of olive, cognac, castana, mandarin, café con leche. In the ferias, young women parade in Day-Glo flamenco dresses smothered with ruffles, tiered skirts sweeping the pavement, high in the front to protect their virgin virtue and cut to the tailbone in the back.
When you’re Al Pacino, you really have to go out of your way to suffer for your art. But it can be done.
GET OFF THE elevator on the tenth floor of the Essex House Hotel in New York City, and standing there is a heavyset guy who speaks immediately into a microphone on his lapel. I make him for a fat Secret Service agent and expect that three or four more will soon come peering out of the hallway with their smooth stone faces, and in a suite behind them somewhere will be the candidate himself.
One critic’s guide to a roller coaster of a career
WHAT happened to Al Pacino? When he began his acting career, we thought he was Brando, James Dean, and Monty Clift all rolled into one, with a Bronx accent. Now his eyes alone do the acting for him—they’re like black olives rolling around in saucers of buttermilk, and there’s something heavy and fixed about them, almost dazed.
Crisscrossing the country with Courtney Love and the ashes of the deceased (which, in search of nirvana, are divided, molded, stuffed in a teddy bear, held up in customs, and inhaled by many)
<p>LATE AFTERNOON, Halloween, and a member of the Namgyal Monastery has gone out to get candy. The monks will leave the porch light on and will answer the door all evening to the parade of trick-or-treaters who venture down North Aurora Street and climb the steps to ring the bell.</p>
<p>IT WAS SUPPOSED to be an ordinary evening, just your typical dinner-and-a-movie kind of date with a supermodel—on this occasion, Naomi Campbell. We met at the restaurant, made some small talk; she said she'd had a small case of conjunctivitis ("pinkeye," she reminded me) but now was feeling much improved ("in the pink").</p>
One ordinary Joe’s misadventures in independent filmmaking, or how to bankrupt your own future and your children’s for the sake of ego and art
ON FEBRUARY 1, 1993, I made a fateful decision that would change the course of my life. I bought a copy of The New York Times. In it, I happened upon an article about a twenty-four-year-old Tex-Mex filmmaker named Robert Rodriguez. Rodriguez, the article explained, was a maverick director who had become rich and famous overnight by winning an award at the Sundance Film Festival.
Armani goes corporate. Shiny suits. Stripetease. Jackets with zip.
WHEN PEOPLE think of Armani, they might think of a Hollywood agent in a BMW with a cellular phone pressed to his ear or Pat Riley striding courtside with fluid, slicked-back elegance. The name Armani is now almost synonymous with the idea of fashionable men’s suits, as in “Armani-clad executives,” whether or not they are actually wearing his clothes.
Fashion The Shining, p. 104: Richard Tyler suit (jacket, $2,775, trousers, $580), shirt ($375), and tie ($125) at Bergdorf Goodman Men, New York. John Bartlett jacket ($595) at Charivari, New York. Shirt ($175) at Bloomingdale’s, New York.
THE MOMENT I SAW that doctors had pulled a beautiful girl from my wife’s womb, the first thing that crossed my mind was: I’ve got to get a gun to protect her from her ex-husband. Granted, Gaby was only about ten seconds old and not yet seriously involved, never mind married, never mind divorced from the son of a bitch.