December 23,10:35 P.M.: Coming home on the subway after a full day of work, I was exhausted and grumpy. To avoid dozing off, missing my stop, and further fueling my mood, I took out my brandnew copy of Esquire and flipped to "The 1998 Dubious Achievement Awards."
A friend of ours died toward the end of last year. In fact, he died on Christmas Day. His name was Mike McAlary. He was forty-one. I didn’t know Mike very well. We talked here in the offices a number of times, we saw each other at the occasional event, and I was glad that he invited deputy editor Peter Griffin and me to the party celebrating his Pulitzer prize last year.
After doing graduate work in immunology at UC Berkeley, Laurie Garrett decided to become a journalist. Today, not only is she the medical and science writer for New York Newsday, but she is the only writer ever to win the top three prizes in her field:
Yes, yes, yes, yes, and we apologize for the inconvenience; we know that you’ve gone on to other tragedies and catastrophes, that you have new, more pressing global concerns, that you’re wearing a different-colored ribbon these days. But did you happen to notice all those celebrities on the cover?
ESQ: Now that Michael Jordan has retired and all this cash has been freed up, do you have any second thoughts about the new NBA deal, in which a young player like you won't be able to make as much money as players who came into the league a couple of years before?
More than anything, Dreamland (HarperCollins, $26) is a novel about love—love and kindness, generosity and endurance, in spite of it all. Dickensian in scope and intellectual breadth, Kevin Baker’s (dare it be said?) masterpiece is Ragtime but without the sprawling misanthropy; Tom Wolfe but with characters that are human, not merely theoretical; Dreiser but superbly written; Sinclair Lewis but with a mystic’s heart.
It's easy to make some kind of odious joke about cheerleaders, but don't. It's more fun to try, believe it or not, to understand them. And James T. McElroy does just that with a bunch of cheerleaders, a whole team of them, in his entertaining and well-reported book, We've Got Spirit:
Why, with All Due Respect to T. S. Eliot, March, and Not April, Is the Cruelest Month
MARCH 11, 1918 The great Spanish-flu pandemic is first reported in Kansas; it will eventually kill more than 20 million worldwide. MARCH 12, 1938 Germany annexes Austria. MARCH 15, 44 B.C. Brutus stabs Caesar in the back. MARCH 16, 1968 More than 500 noncombatant Vietnamese civilians die at the hands of American infantrymen in the My Lai massacre.
Didn’t cause anyone any trouble. Mild mannered. Quiet. This is what they say, after the rampage, of the inconspicuous monster next door, isn’t it? This is also what someone who’s driven the popular Volkswagen Passat would say, not that the Passat would ever go postal.
It is not often that Esquire makes note of art exhibitions, but then, photographer Ellen von Unwerth's "Original Sin" (of which this photo is a part) isn't exactly a French-impressionist retrospective at the Musée d'Orsay. The twenty-fivephoto show—which opens in New York this month at the Staley-Wise Gallery before moving on to Austin, L. A., and New Orleans—takes as its inspiration E. J. Bellocq's earlytwentieth-century photos of Storyville prostitutes.
Rule No. 7: The best number is 7, followed closely by 9. Rule No. 8: There is no worst number; all others are of equal merit. Rule No. 168: Female pastry chefs are to men as male architects are to women.
Those fat fashion magazines always get this bad rap about showing clothes way too expensive for the average guy. And maybe the reputation is justified: $8,000 wool-andnun's-hair two-button ensembles from Sergio Giorgio that, really, who would buy?
It's the stuff of rucksacks and rugged army duffels, canvas is. it's used for sails and to batten down hatches and to keep clowns in under the big top and the elements out, and that's why it's so unusual to see it in finely finished bags and packs like those shown here, unusual, but not bad. Think of these pieces as fully adult versions of the more common jewel-colored, sneaker-logo-studded nylon carryalls:
You already know one side of the story. Musical genius founds impossibly influential group with abusive fatherbrothers-cousin-friends, overdoes everything, makes masterpiece, records even more ambitious follow-up, goes mental, falls under spell of shady “therapist,” is pretty much written off as another sad-sack former rock star.
The Mississippi River of song: A Musical Journey Down the Mississippi (Smithsonian Folkways) Gist: The only record of this (and probably any) year that combines Chippewa chants, punk rock, jazz, and bluegrass in one neat two-disc set. Sounds like:
The cure for what ails you, wine drinker? In the Windows on the World dining room, I find myself recommending pinot noirs as if dispensing a prescription: Both fishand meat-eaters at your table? Easy—pinot noir. Hate trying to figure out which wines are “ready” to drink?
You probably don’t go around looking for beauty and meaning in men’s rooms. But then, you’re not New Jersey photographer Ken Ross. Understand, it’s not as if the guy’s on a quest for truth in his friendly neighborhood john. When Ross pulls out his trusty Mamiya RB67 for his work in progress, “Men’s Rooms,” it’s to document the places guys go off to tinker or to hang with other guys.
we all know the new masters-of-the-universe mantra: Live well but live quietly—Anderson & Sheppard instead of Armani, the platinum Patek Philippe instead of the gold Rolex, summering on the Cape instead of in the Hamptons, and—gulp—sedans instead of limos.
So you forgot to reserve at the Four Seasons, and now even the Plaza is booked solid. You try every place in town, but the only room you can get makes Motel 6 look like the Taj Mahal. Well, Felix, you’re not traveling alone anymore: Those are your neuroses at your side, heavy baggage, room for two, please.
When Richard Branson called Esquire right before his last unsuccessful attempt at lighter-than-air circumnavigation of the globe, we were interested in only one thing. Knowing how interminable an eighthour transatlantic flight can be for us, we wanted the skinny on how the founder of Virgin Atlantic Airways and the veteran of four long-distance balloon flights killed time while airborne for days.
DEBORAH HARRY CHATS ABOUT HER YOUTH AND DREAMS OF BEING A SEX WORKER
It had leaves all over it. — <dc:creator>MIM UDOVITCH</dc:creator> With No Exit, Blondie’s seventh album, Deborah Harry returns to the band that made her pop music’s original ironic blond. During the band’s sixteen-year hiatus, she has done some movies, released three solo records, and performed on two others as a vocalist for the Jazz Passengers.
It seems to me that the competition is over, and we've got the bragging rights: The U. S. A. is now the gastronomic center of the world. I say this not because France, Italy, Spain, and Japan haven't legitimate claim to the title but because right now the U. s. is far more influential—both at the haute-cuisine and casual-dining levels—with far more diversity, excitement, and modernity in our restaurants than in the rest of the world's combined.
IT WAS A GOOD YEAR FOR THIS PORTFOLIO. The $10,000 investment enriched the mother company by some $1,800. (If you're new to Green, I received a $10K chunk from Esquire on December 31, 1997, and began managing the scratch as if it were my own—which, alas, it is not.
Every time you drive over a pothole, wait two hours at the DMV, or send your kid to a classroom with twenty-nine other rug rats presided over by a teacher who looks like the "before" model in a Xanax ad, it's tempting to wonder just what the government does with your April 15 wad.
And the Leni Riefenstahl Award for Rabid Nationalism Goes To...
A reconsideration of Saving Private Ryan
LAST SUMMER, Steven Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan surfed on the sort of hype that transcends its own nature— hype with a halo. Newsweek's cover story led with the hag gard recollections of real-life Normandy vets, practically obliging moviegoers to thread their popcorn into a rosary.
In the most imaginative movie of the last year, it isn't World War II that haunts us but the nightmares of nirvana that followed
HISTORY SPEAKS as it is made: Invasion of the Body Snatchers—that fable of alien seedpods devouring their human hosts and replacing them with an entire society of soulless replicants—is a tale we will not escape any time soon. First taking shape on film almost forty-five years ago, in 1956, the persistence of the story implies that the fifties remain the haunted house of the American century.
The game of basketball is big enough to contain both the next Magic Johnson and a skinny throwback from Ireland
Charles P. Pierce
<p>THE GAME HAS REACH. A ball pounds on the asphalt of a ghetto schoolyard and on the asphalt of a suburban driveway. A jump shot fights through winter breezes on an old, struggling farm and through the shawllike heat of an afternoon in the Delta.</p>
Welcome to French class, where you must learn to juggle irregular verbs, flying chalk, and the constant threat of bodily harm
AT THE AGE OF FORTY-ONE, I am returning to school and having to think of myself as what my French textbook calls “a true debutant.” After paying my tuition, I was issued a student ID, which allows me a discounted entry fee at movie theaters, puppet shows, and Festyland, a far-flung amusement park that advertises with billboards picturing a cartoon stegosaurus sitting in a canoe and eating what appears to be a ham sandwich.
IT DOESN'T TAKE much to set her off. It's early Sunday morning. I've been sick for a couple of days with a bad head cold. I'm behind in my work. After sleeping on and off in our boys' room (they spent the night with Karen), I know I have to get rolling fast, do as much as I can while it's quiet, before I fade.
Here is the envelope. Here are the instructions. There's no such thing as a risk-free risk.
WE ARRIVED in winter not knowing what to expect. What should you expect, away from home, without infor mation, the telephone lines down and the hotels closed? There were four of us, two men and two women, none of us married to either, each of us single or divorced.
For the past several years, Spencer Cox, who is thirty years old, has lived behind a dam built to contain the catastrophe that is the most threatening virus of our time. It is a dam made of drugs designed to keep him from dying of AIDS. Diagnosed at the age of nineteen, Cox, a southerner who lives in Manhattan, became involved with the Treatment Action Group, which put him in daily touch with the cutting edge of HIV science.
<p>IN SEPTEMBER 1998, ESQUIRE STARTED CONTACTING PEOPLE ABOUT APPEARING ON THE COVER OF THIS ISSUE. TOM HANKS WAS THE FIRST TO SAY YES. For Hanks, who earned his first Academy Award by portraying a lawyer dying of AIDS in Philadelphia, the reason for appearing on this cover in support of Laurie Garrett's story was simple and clear:</p>
NOT LONG AGO, THE BRILLIANT DOCTOR HAD AIDS ON THE ROPES, AND THE WORLD TRIED TO MAKE HIM A CELEBRITY. NOW THE VIRUS COUNTERATTACKS. A LITTLE PEACE AND QUIET, IF YOU DON'T MIND.
<p>Perhaps no one else named Man of the Year by Time magazine has cared less for the distinction than David Ho, the AIDS researcher. Ho was Man of the Year for 1996. He felt honored, but he had made no effort to court the attention of the magazine's editors.</p>
<p>The two most misused words in the entire English vocabulary are <i>love</i> and <i>friendship</i>. A true friend would die for you, so when you start trying to count them on one hand, you don’t need any fingers.</p>
The Best Actress in Her Price Ra Nge in the Whole Baltimore Area
MICHAEL MICHELE IS OUT TO PROVE THAT SHE'S AS TOUGH AS THE GRITTIEST SHOW ON TV
Her first minute on the set of Homicide: Life on the Street, Michael Michele marched up to Yaphet Kotto, the cast’s alpha male, and wagged a finger in his clenched fist of a face. "You don’t scare me," she told him. Kotto smiles at the memory. It’s four months later, and the actor is lollygagging between takes in the converted Baltimore rec center that serves as the Homicide squad room.
<p>Mom calls. Dad is in the hospital, on oxygen. It’s his heart. I fly down. They live in Mexico in a big adobe house with cool tile floors and high ceilings. Servants move quietly through the rooms. Mom greets me at the door, telling me through tears that she found him last night flopped across the bed with his legs hanging off the edge. </p>
David Blaine Reveals the World's Greatest Bar Scam
Suppose for a minute that you have powers, strange powers. Like, for instance, say you can levitate, or make objects disappear and then reappear somewhere else, or even read people’s minds. If you’re David Blaine—Leo DiCaprio possemate, hipster magician, and master of the fine art of freaking people out—you can do all of these things and more (enough, at least, to fill an hour-long ABC special, David Blaine:
THE GENTLEMANLY V-NECK There are two different styles of long-sleeved V-neck. There's the one with the plunging neckline that, when worn with nothing underneath, frames a nice patch of pectoral fringe. And then there's the less generous but much more gentlemanly high V-neck that, even when worn with nothing underneath, exposes no chest hair at all (unless you're George "the Animal" Steele, in which case you can turn the page, because you don't need a sweater at all, since you've already got your own built right in). It is the high V-neck that most men want.
One Saturday night, after a certain amount had been drunk, I walked a little ways into the backyard to look at the moon, which was full again, a big, orange harvest moon. I was indulging in a little blessing counting, I confess, under the piney woods of Tallahassee, Florida with a loving wife, good company I could rejoin in a moment, and the comforts of music, wine, and abundant food—a lifestyle granted to me by vast historical forces and sheer blind luck ("You Americans have all the money," you once said)—and I heard your voice, Danzel, the castaway caretaker cook of French Louis Caye, reciting a tone poem of resonating pathos.
She's fast, fit, and good with a stick. Sure, Mary McCormack's an actress, but she's also a hockey player. Wanna tussle?
why would a beautiful actress take up ice hockey—risking injury, disfigurement, and the astonishment and derision of colleagues and friends—when there are so many other beautiful-actress activities like Pilates and aerobics and lettuce nibbling to choose from?
Repaint some tired-looking drywall or a haggard hunk of siding or some moldering deck planks and you'll know what it is to be a lipo doc—a professional faceor ass-lifter. Think about it: Nothing can infuse your place with more vigor than giving it great new skin.
Store information Man at His Best, P. 42: Lauren by Ralph Lauren suit at Bloomingdale’s nationwide; Lord & Taylor, New York. Polo by Ralph Lauren shirt and tie at Polo/Ralph Lauren, New York; Bloomingdale’s select stores; Macy’s select stores.
Moody boarded the Silver Star bound for D. C., where he would hop the Crescent and ride it through the night. There was a dinner theater in Birmingham looking for a mesmerist to open the show, and he had played well there in the past. Across from him, a girl was reading a magazine.