August is hardly a month for poring over history lessons, but when the historian is a photographer of pulchritude like Jerry Yulsman, there's good reason to look upon history as one of the most pleasant of pastimes. His camera loaded with color film, Yulsman has stripped away the cobwebs of musty fustian surrounding several famous historical personalities and given us a racy new slant on them in the five flavorful pages of his History Revisited.
Lovers of the great indoors might be interested to know that during the current summer, members of the Fred R. Lanagan 14,000 Foot Peak Non-Climbing Club succeeded in not climbing most of the major Colorado mountain peaks. Executive vice president John Barrows tells us that a few years ago the club had to face the problem of whether they should not not join the Everest Expedition. "Various committees made various studies," Mr. Barrows says. "It was finally decided to not join. We couldn't face the thought of sitting around, Saturday after Saturday for six months, keeping our strength up with martinis and other medicines, when, using the same medicines, we could not climb a different peak every week for six months. Had we the slightest idea that Hillary and Tenzing would actually get on top of old Everest, we would, of course, have endured the tedium of not climbing the same old peak week after week." Mr. Barrows adds that non-dues paid in by non-dues-paying members go to swell the coffers of the Foundation for the Assistance of Non-Climbers of 14,000 (or Higher) Foot Peaks (or Lower). With the money not in the till, says Barrows, the Foundation can establish a Fund with which not to buy any crampons, gryphons, phytons, pitons, pythons, bergschrunds, berserks, cornices, crevasses and all the other gunch a non-climber does not have to stuff in his cul-de-sac. Those interested in not participating should write Mr. Barrows, Non-First National Bank Bldg., 624 17th St., Denver 2, Colorado, no later than.
The Hi-Lo's love Nest (Columbia CL 1121) and The Four Freshmen in Person (Capitol T1008) showcase those eight dissonant dandies at their best. The Frosh, caught amid a concert at Compton College, deal mostly in Frosh favorites (In This Whole Wide World, It's a Blue World), add to them all the spontaneous high-jinkery of a live performance. Laying aside their pipes now and then, Ken Albers (trumpet, mellophone) and Bob Flanigan (trombone) break up the student body (and us) with some stunning fireworks in brass; the platter is a gas. Like Steve Allen says on the liner notes, the Hi-Lo's feature stereophonic breathing -- both lungs. For the most part, they eschew their usual violent vocal nip-ups and turn to a set of semi-straight softies (But Beautiful, In the Wee Small Hours, The Lamp Is Low). And you never heard it so good.
Should pleasure or biz take you to Hollywood this month, you owe it to yourself to sample some of the finest fare forthcoming from the kitchen of any restaurant on the land. At La Rue(8631 Sunset Blvd.) you can dine in sumptuous and quiet elegance on pheasant, guinea hen, a variety of game, or more common viands like roast beef, all prepared superbly, served with just the (continued on page 70)Playboy After Hours(continued from page 10) right degree of personal attentiveness, accompanied by wines from one of the city's best cellars. The atmosphere and cuisine are French; the price is all too American: half a C-note can vanish if you do yourself and your date proud, but it's worth it. We urge you to accompany your second cocktail (served at table) with a platter of cracked crab heaped on a mound of ice.
In the shadow of the mushroom cloud, two new heroes have walked the pages of postwar fiction -- the beat American "hipster" and his British cousin, the angry "hypergamist" (a man who social-climbs on a matrimonial ladder). Now their explosive exploits have been lovingly anthologized by Gene Feldman and Max Gartenberg, whose The Bear Generation and the Angry Young Men (Citadel, $4.50) brings them face to face, and etches their jagged profiles via excerpts from their creators, chroniclers, and too few critics. It's all here -- from Allen Ginsberg's anguished Howl ("angel-headed hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection ...") to the tragicomic "Merrie England" episode from Amis' Lucky Jim; from William Lee's My First Days on Junk to the gall-bitter climax of John Braine's Room at the Top; from Norman Mailer's The White Negro to Jack Kerouac's The Time of the Geek. And more. In fact, most of the important names in both groups are somehow represented. Glaringly absent is any part of or comment on Playboy's own tripartite appraisal of beat -- perhaps because it put the finger on the nihilist, anti-social, anti-creative elements in the beat mystique, a vital aspect of the matter which doesn't jibe with the book's generally adulatory premise. The editors have supplied a thoughtful introduction showing how both Angries and Beats are reacting to a world they never made -- the latter in a search for sensation, a "sordid dance of violence and pain," the former by strangling their "betters" with their old school ties. In the process, both have produced some of the most dynamic writing of our time, and you can read the best of it here. In short, a bloody cool collection.
John Keats, author of this article and such talk-provoking, bile-churning books as "The Crack in the Picture Window" and "Schools Without Scholars," wields one of America's angriest young pens. Herein, Mr. Keats' deep dudgeon is aimed foursquare at a medium-sized mid-western metropolis that sits on the north bank of the Detroit River and is chiefly responsible for the conception, design, production and marketing of the American car. He performs an incisive autopsy on the still-thrashing carcass of a depressed automotive industry and delivers a scathing diagnosis of the corporate yelps. (Next month, Lippincott is publishing his expanded broadside on the subject, titled "The Insolent Chariots.") Whether or not you take umbrage at Mr. Keats' nasty nouns and acid adjectives, we have no doubt that his piece provides an indignant, provocative case against the automakers of Detroit.
The Lobster is the playboy of the deep: he is a Night Person, an epicure, a traveler. During the daylight hours, he remains relatively stable on the ocean bed; after sundown he becomes noticeably restless, moving about with vigor and dash, despite his armor-plated bulk. He has the true gourmet's fondness for seafood, being partial to clams in the shell, and he has been especially equipped by nature to enjoy this delicacy: one claw is larger than the other -- with this he holds the clam, while with the daintier claw he extracts the tasty tidbit piece by piece. As for his traveling preferences, he finds the airplane more congenial than train or truck.
Spiro got to the restaurant first, and sat silently on a plump semicircle of leather cushions, sipping a cold, dry martini and listening to the lunch talk. Big talk, little talk, deal, deal, deal; it was just like the talk he'd heard in every restaurant in every city where the selling business had taken him and his black suitcase. But today, the talk jarred. Today, Spiro had big worries.
Until recently, Brother Theodore freely admits, his life was unimportant. "I lectured on how to manufacture baby oil, using live babies; the joys of making love to a raincoat; and other commercial pap," enjoying a certain success with lovers of the macabre in small Eastern nightclubs and on TV. But then one day he received The Word. The ailments of mankind, he discovered, were caused by man's walking on his hind legs. So, putting Two-Leggedism and Two-Leggedism together, he emerged with a glorious panacea, Four-Leggedism or Quadrupedism. "Walking on all fours," proclaims Brother Theodore, "is living as nature meant you to live; with your vertebrae held horizontal, from east to west; your posterior pointing to the North Pole; with the navel as the center of gravity, transmitting poise and self-expression to all parts of the body." Nee Theodore Gottlieb, he cracked showbiz as a grisly club comic in 1947, seven years after escaping from Nazi Germany, where his family was liquidated. Dropping his last name, Theodore attracted a faithful following in various urban pubs and clubs with a program called Blossoms of Evil. His audiences found in him the same sort of ghoulish humor previously popularized by The New Yorker's Charles Addams. John Huston described him as "a one-man Grand Guignol." (It is no coincidence that his name is identical to that of the title-character of a Playboy story, The Distributor. Author Richard Matheson confesses that the disturbing Distributor was, at several removes, inspired by Theodore's more ghastly routines.) Resembling a pudgy pile of mud, with egg-beater hair, satanic eyebrows, and a hangdog lower lip, Theodore punctuated his dissertations with rolling eyeballs, blood-stopping shrieks, slobbering, and what he labels "good old-fashioned death rattles." An LP of these rantings was cut, and Theodore seemed well on the way to becoming what the New York Daily News called "a genius of the sinister." But then he saw The Light. His posters and handbills were changed to read: "Brother Theodore (formerly Theodore)." He Went Forth. Now, in such temples as New York's Town Hall, as well as on the Jack Paar and Night Beat television shows, he expounds on his newfound faith. His greatest satisfaction, he finds, is derived from seeing his little group of disciples grow. Just recently, a young lady wrote him: "Before I became a Quadruped, I was so nervous nobody could sleep with me. Now everybody can."
One of the latest giants to thrust its head into New York's skyline is a stern but startling 38-story edifice sheathed in stunning bronze. Austerely geometrical and devoid of any ornamentation, the House of Seagram is referred to sneeringly as "that whiskey building" by Frank Lloyd Wright. But to the rapidly multiplying admirers of its 72-year-old architect, Mies van der Rohe, the building is the crowning manifestation of a lifelong principle: maximum effect with minimum means. Mies (as he prefers to be called) is a man of ample proportion and great personal warmth; his architecture is spare and rigid ("skin and bones," he calls it). Mies' career began officially in 1919 in his native Germany, where he designed a truly revolutionary skyscraper, sheathed wholly in glass and stripped almost to the structural skeleton. After 20 years of advancing his avant-garde theories in Europe, he came to this country. At the Illinois Institute of Technology, he headed up the Department of Architecture (a job he still holds). With relish he proceeded to re-do the entire I.I.T. campus, making bold use of immense glass areas and blanketing the 100-acre project with his architectural X-ray look. Then in 1918 the unique Mies touch appeared on Chicago's Lake Shore Drive in two towering apartment houses with floor-to-ceiling windows, standing on stilts of steel. Though somewhat resembling up-ended ice-cube trays and thus termed "icy cold" by critics, this Slenderella approach to architecture elicited huzzahs from many of Mies' confreres in the field. But his genius might never have been acknowledged outside the circle of Architectural Forum readers if the Seagram people hadn't been seeking fresh talent for the New York scene. With the assistance of architect Philip Johnson, Mies gave them the world's first bronze skyscraper, with huge, tinted, glare-resistant windows, overlooking a paved, fountain-dotted plaza (Park Avenue's first "park"). Now that Mies, like his building, enjoys a place in the sun, the paeans to his artistry are filling the air. They are summed up in the words of one of his fellow architects:
"I never thought I'd use that horrid expression, 'musical genius,'" the late music critic Olin Downes once said: "You can blame Lenny for making me sound trite." Downes' Lenny, of course, was Leonard Bernstein, who last November became the first American-born (Lawrence, Mass.) conductor to be appointed Musical Director of the New York Philharmonic and, at exactly 40, is the second youngest ever to hold the position. For the past two decades, Wunderkind Bernstein has had his talented fingers in a variety of musical pies: he'd tear off a symphony or a movie score, knock out a Broadway show (West Side Story, Wonderful Town, On the Town), give lively lectures on jazz and Bach via TV's Omnibus (he got an Emmy for the Bach), do some serious conducting, compose an opera (Trouble in Tahiti), play a little jazz piano. Some sourpusses have called this Spreading Himself Thin, but for the next three years, Bernstein will have plenty of chance to prove the strength of his symphonic baton. Conducting the Philharmonic full time should serve as an excellent maturation index for Lenny. It will also put him on a hot podium, as the first Yank to break into what has been so far a strictly European club. While Lenny strives to prove his baton wizardry, there will be much toe-crunching and yowling along the way. He has already promised to inject liberal doses of American music into his programs, at the expense of the Old Masters (sheer blasphemy to the concert Tories). Another concern of the old guard is that Bernstein's long association with Broadway will besmirch the dignified name of the Philharmonic. Some still wince at the way he good-humoredly referred to his predecessor at the Phil's helm (elderly, distinguished, Greek-born, Brynner-bald Dimitri Mitropoulos): "I feel," said Lenny, "like an actress who has to follow Tallulah Bankhead." Those who ought to know believe that if any home-grown American can triumph in a field that has been dominated up to now by foreign imports -- and even make the world forget that one of America's musical products of late has been more longsideburned than long-haired -- that person is the Wunderkind.
The sensitive scratchings on these pages spring from the mordant mind of Jules Feiffer, a kind of Mort Sahl of the drawing board, who has more than a touch of psychoanalyst and social critic in his makeup. These cartoons first appeared in The Village Voice, unofficial organ of the Greenwich Village bohemian belt, under the apt title Sick, Sick, Sick. Now gathered into a book of the same name (McGraw-Hill, $1.50), they are creating new Feifferphiles beyond the confines of the Village.
As purveyors of fashion information and advice to the young urban male, we feel the time has come to convey a great big fat secret to our readers. This hot bit of news is that -- virtually all other magazine illustrations to the contrary notwithstanding -- the average and even the above-average young man does not spend his summers vacationing in Cannes, Newport, Banff or Kamp Kill Kare in the Catskills, but (except for a couple of weeks) stays right in the city, at his office.
Last month, in a tasty treatise on totable treats entitled The Picnic Papers, Thomas Mario outlined an array of delectables for outdoor enjoyment. You'll remember he talked about Hot Clam Madrilene, Cold Glazed Duckling, Onion Turnovers, Frogs' Legs Provençale, icy thermoses of vodka martinis, etc. It was an appetizing essay, but in our opinion, Tom didn't place quite enough emphasis on the prime prerequisite for picnic pleasure -- the company you choose to enjoy it with. Take, for example, Myrna Weber.
Dyed-In-The-Wool blazer bugs (you need not own a banjo to qualify) consider their breed of jacket niftily nonpareil for skylarking -- day or night. Ever since the whoopdedoo of the Twenties, yachtsmen wouldn't think of putting to sea (even in a canoe) without their solid blue flannel jobs, while club fellows lived for their blazing, bar-striped models (both, of course, sporting metal buttons, the distinguishing mark of a bona-fide blazer). A fresh wrinkle on the subject, here beswatched in but three of its myriad color combos, is a zephyr-weight woolen fabric featuring subtly muted regimental stripes -- unabashedly borrowed from your better neckties. The jacket's cut: slimly trim. Lapels: high-notched and narrow. Pockets: flapped and patched. Buttons: burnished brass. Tab: $55.
At the risk of being called Ishmael, I have been sitting here on my duffel bag reading Moby Dick in the flickering glare of a three-way binnacle lamp, and brooding over a newspaper clipping pasted inside my sou'wester. "Record Is Sought Of Whale Heart," reads the curious legend nailed beneath the masthead of The New York Times. "2 Expeditions Aim to Take Electrocardiograms -- One Will Use Tranquilizer."
"History," in the opinion of Tolstoy, "is nothing but a collection of fables." "All the coloring of history," wrote Dr. Johnson, "is conjecture." George Santayana went on record as saying, "History is always written wrong, and so always needs to be rewritten," a view also held by Oscar Wilde, who declared: "The one duty we owe to history is to rewrite it."
The Editors of men's magazines are like the legended busman -- often you will find them having a high old time reading other men's magazines. One of our favorites is a sprightly British periodical called Man About Town, published in London and (to quote several issues' mastheads at random) "edited by John Taylor, and jolly well too," "edited by John Taylor, who is known and loved by all," "edited by John Taylor, who lives like a monk."
The wild pranks of the naughty, nautical Norsemen who scared the spit out of the 8th and 9th Century English are recapitulated for us by Kirk Douglas as one-eyed Einar, bearded Tony Curtis as Eric and Ernest Borgnine as the good-natured rapist and Viking king, Ragnar, in The Vikings, based on the lusty book by Edison Marshall. Frankly hokey, the picture has enough offbeat violence, sudden shock, sloppy eating scenes and spectacular camera work to compensate for all the corn. There's a smorgasbord of authentic historical morsels, too, to shore up the gory mood: death in the wolf pit and a game involving a "testing board." A wife suspected of philandering pokes her head through the board, pigtails pinned up. Hubby (full of malt) throws axes at her till he unpins her or splits her down the middle. (Beats hiring a private eye.) With a riot-inciting musical score and lupine portrayals on the part of the male principals, the picture moves along like a rocket. UPA did the tableaux for the prologue and they are cute as hell.
If you're an aficionado, plan to spend October in the City of Kings, Lima, Peru. It's springtime in South America then, and that means the start of the bullfight season. Prizes as high as $25,000 on the six bulls run at each day's corrida lure top torero talent from Europe and Latin America. One way to get there is by ship -- a smallish Grace liner from New York boasts a pool, beach deck and veranda café, makes a run through the Panama Canal, then a whole slew of stops on the west coast of South America as far as Callao. Fare for the 12-day run is $445 up. If you prefer a bigger Moore-McCormack liner and a straight East Coast run to Buenos Aires (round-trip 31-day romps cost $1110), you can bask in a special solarium for nudist types who like to tan all over. Sorry: there's one for boys and one for girls.