April is, indeed, cruelest month--in a the way the late expatriate poet T. S. Eliot, who so described it, quite probably did not have in mind: In April of last year, 76,000,000 Americans forked over 53 billion dollars as their annual tribute to the IRS, and this year it's due to be worse. Playboy readers in particular--because of their relatively high incomes--will feel the bite especially painfully. And needlessly, as this issue's tripartite takeout on How to Abolish bite Personal Income Tax makes abundantly and unarguably clear. The articles that comprise it were written for playboy by, respectively, a well-known crime reporter, a controversial churchman and a syndicated columnist. From Drew Pearson's partner in crime detection, Jack Anderson, comes Tax the Oil Companies, a courageous plea to introduce equity in the oil industry / tax code buddyship. Bishop James A. Pike, author of Tax Organized Religion, is the Episcopal theologian whose attempts to reduce Christian dogma to its essentials have brought him, four times, to the brink of as unlikely an event as an Episcopal heresy trial. That Pike--who last year resigned as Bishop of California to become a resident member of the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions at Santa Barbara--should be known principally as a doubter of such doctrines as Original Sin and the Trinity makes him no less qualified to examine politico-religious problems such as church taxation. The proposal, in Tax Organized Crime, to re-channel some of the billions of dollars involved in "institutions" at the opposite end of the social spectrum comes from Pete Hamill, a freelance writer on a host of topics and a columnist for the New York Post. "As a man who lives on the edge of poverty because of the taxes a New Yorker pays," Hamill told us, "I don't know how much longer I can hold out. Either they've got to legalize gambling--the sine qua non of organized crime--so I can start taking home some of my pay, or one of my own occasional two-dollar bets has got to come through big." The dramatic--and hopeful--net of the three articles is that fair taxation of oil, organized religion and organized crime would virtually equal, and hence could cancel out, the personal income tax that now drains away an average of 21 percent of Americans' pay checks.
Playboy, April, 1967, vol. 14, No. 4, Published Monthly By HMH Publishing Co., Inc., Playboy building, 919 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Illinois 60611. Subscriptions: In The U. S., its possessions, The Pan American Union and Canada, $20 for three years, $15 for two years, $8 for one year. Elsewhere add $4.60 per year for foreign postage. Allow 30 days for new subscriptions and renewals. Change of Address: send both old and new addresses to Playboy, Playboy Building, 919 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Illinois 60611, and allow 30 days for change. Advertising: Howard W. Lederer, Advertising Director; Jules Kase, Associate Advertising Manager, 405 Park Ave., New York, New York 10022, MU 8-3030; Sherman Keats, Chicago Manager, 919 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Illinois 60611, MI 2-1000. Detroit, Joseph Guenther, Manager, 2990 West Grand Boulevard, TR 5-7250; Los Angeles, Stanley L. Perkins, Manager, 8721 Beverly Boulevard, OL 2-8790; San Francisco, Robert E. Stephens, Manager, 110 Sutter Street, YU 2-7994; Southeastern Representative, Pirnie & Brown, 3108 Piedmont Rd., N.E., Atlanta, GA. 30305, 233-6729.
In recent years, the demand for salable book manuscripts has far outstripped the supply, and publishers' nervousness has been eloquently expressed in the colossal advances they're now paying for unwritten material. Norman Mailer, for instance, received $225,000 against two unwritten books; James Jones was advanced $900,000 for three; and Harold Robbins, after receiving $1,000,000 for The Adventurers before he'd even thought up the title, was guaranteed another $6,000,000 against future opuses.
Harold Pinter's new play, The Home-coming, is malevolently mysterious, quasicryptic, comically compelling. That is to say, it is extraordinarily Pinteresting. In a gray run-down house in North London live, in sort of semi-communication, a blustering ex-butcher named Max (Paul Rogers), his ineffectual chauffeur brother Sam (John Normington) and Max' two youngest sons, Lenny (Ian Holm), a dapper, wily pimp, and Joey (Terence Rigby), a bull-like demolition worker who is studying to be a boxer. Into the male menage comes the eldest son, Teddy (Michael Craig), and his wife, Ruth (Vivien Merchant), for the past six years residents of the U. S., where Teddy teaches philosophy. Teddy's separation from his family is not just geographic; it is also intellectual and psychological. Ruth, too, at first seems distant, but she once lived in the neighborhood and presumably walked its streets for a living; it is her homecoming as well as Teddy's. In a strangely ritualistic fashion, the characters abuse one another (Max greets his daughter-in-law as a "stinking pox-ridden slut"), then use one another. Eventually the family invites Ruth to live with them as mother, cook and whore--but the indications are that instead of her being their kept woman, they may be her kept family. Through all the banter and barter, Teddy stands by as unfeelingly as if he were watching animals or objects. The attitude is unsettling, but in order to understand Teddy and the play, they must be approached on their own terms, which are neither realistic nor absurd. Pinter has a private logic. It is the unspoken, sometimes even the unthought things that he is after. As the curtain rises on the second act, the men huddle to light their cigars from the same match, then disperse in a quick, rhythmic, dancelike pattern across the stage, one by one to relight his cigar alone. The author does not insist on anything, but the symbols are there for the plucking, and there are miles of meaning between the lines. For the punny-pinching Pinter, these characters are surprisingly rich in detail. The Royal Shakespeare Company ensemble of actors who perform The Homecoming under the direction of Peter Hall are so exacting and so knowledgeable about the characters they portray that it is impossible to imagine any other valid interpretation. At the Music Box, 239 West 45th Street.
Lou Rawls Carryin' On (Capitol) continues the success saga of the rhythm-and-blues belter chronicled in these columns. Rawls kicks off the recording with an explosive run-through of Mean Black Snake, done in the best blues tradition, and doesn't let up till the last note of the final offering, On Broadway, a ditty that has been well received in both vocal and instrumental form. Lou's a lulu.
There's an old myth in the eating game that says that the best restaurants are the little secret ones run in basements and in the back of stores by old Italian families. Well, it's true; it's true. Manhattan's Ninth Avenue in the 30s and 40s is girded with a long string of Italian and Greek grocery stores and food stands. Supreme Macaroni Company (511 Ninth Avenue) appears to be, at its front, merely one of the Italian grocery stores, undistinguishable from its neighbors. In the back of the store, Poppa Scarola used to crank out macaroni by hand. Then he started cooking it for friends. Now, in the back room of the store are about 20 tables and a small kitchen that turns out the most extraordinarily high-quality Italian cooking at the most phenomenally reasonable prices. Momma Scarola still runs the store out front and oversees the entire operation with a warm smile and a firm hand, and Poppa still oversees the back of the house. The practical aspects are run by son Mike (who holds down a daytime job as a production man in the garment center) and daughter Faye. Everybody else in the establishment is also a relative. There is no menu and the S. M. C. has no liquor license--you buy your own bottle of wine across the street. Each day the Scarolas feature something different, although they are always ready to serve the standards. Superb spaghetti served al dente goes for a buck and a half, and a remarkable steak Pizzaiola, the best you'll get in any Italian restaurant at any price, goes for five bucks. The coffee, made with anisette, is served in a Woolworth-type wineglass with the rim dipped in sugar. Service is family style and informal, with more warmth than flourish. Monday to Friday, lunch is served from 12 to 3, and the crowd is a mixture of uptowners and local folk. Dinner--every evening, except Sunday, from 5:30 to 10--usually has at least one celebrity in attendance. It's a rare spot that shouldn't be missed, because, like most myths, it probably won't last forever.
A tantalizing challenge of living in the American democracy is the feeling that if we could only talk to enough people, if we could only probe the minds and hearts of everyone from Judy O'Grady to the colonel's lady--then we would Know What America Is Thinking. The newest effort to find out what "typical Americans" think and feel about themselves and their country is embodied in Division Street: America (Pantheon), by Chicago radio-TV commentator Studs Terkel. Seventy Chicagoans of all ages, colors, occupations, backgrounds, persuasions and prejudices talked into Mr. Terkel's tape recorder. Their verbatim monologs, accompanied by brief introductory remarks from the compiler, constitute the book. In an attempt to present an unadorned, uninterpreted "cross-section of urban thought" (the book's title is symbolic, reflecting the divisions among--and within--ourselves), Terkel has deliberately not imposed any structure on his interviews. One result is that the unwary reader (he who sets out to read the book rather than to dip into it) is quickly lost; the characters appear and vanish in such bewildering succession. Yet this torrent of words gradually develops a fascinating life of its own. The book is a sort of Hydra-headed Midwestern monster, its multiplicity of mouths spewing out an incredible mixture of ignorance, fear, idealism, hate, futility, hope, cynicism, kindness, filth, beauty, selfishness, altruism, belief, loneliness, puzzlement, despair and love. As one interviewee says: "I think this is a real great country...the majority of people like it the way it is, corrupt, maddening, aggravating, horrible, we would fight to keep it that way." If there is a single, general point that emerges, it is the truism that in the worst of us there is a yearning for good that makes one weep for the bitter crudities and lost hopes that betray that yearning. "Suppose you were God?" Terkel asks a teenage Negro dropout, who answers: "I'd have it so...they couldn't kill nobody. They all go out and work together and grow food and stuff. They'd have fun together after working hard.... And with this, I'd create a love for each other. Such a love where it couldn't be unbroken. This is my world. But this is dreaming."
Oh Arthur Kopit, poor Arthur Kopit, Richard Quine has ruined your little playlet and we're feelin' real bad. No wonder Quine waited so long before releasing Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mamma's Hung You in the Closet and I'm Feelin' So Sad. Undergraduate humor is a fragile commodity. It may seem to pulse with the hot blood of youth, but its frenzies are self-limiting and it rarely travels well into the commercial idiom. In Kopit's case, what he wrote for a Harvard lark got a brilliant setting from Jerome Robbins in its off-Broadway production; it became a manic play, a big hit. Madame Rosepettle, her 25-year-old child Jonathan, his steamy-loined baby sitter Rosalie, all their weirdly morbid and hysterical adventures in some sticky little banana republic of the mind were played for just what they are--absurd figures of fevered sophomore satire. And it worked. But when Richard Quine got hold of it for a movie, all his theatrical sense apparently departed. First he decided on a specific resort on a specific cove in Jamaica. Then he got Ian Bernard to dismantle most of the Kopitry in the script and to rebuild the thing after some more concrete structure of his own imagining, making what had been amusingly absurd into something repulsively grotesque. Rosalind Russell's Madame Rosepettle becomes a helmeted harpy with no dramatic excuse for herself. Robert Morse's Jonathan, played in rompers and whiteface, becomes simply cretinous and nasty. Hugh Griffith, the commodore, sniggers and leers, drools and fiddles. But the greatest loss is Barbara Harris' Rosalie. The titillating, shocking device of her characterization in the play was her embodiment of juvenile sexuality; she was a child and a whore at once. Now she's just a whore, apparently a retarded one, and none of her power in this role comes over. Quine must have seen, too late, what he had done. So then he did something worse. Jonathan Winters, as Dad, is rejuvenated as an angel, to intrude on the dialog throughout. In the middle of a scene, a little circle opens to one side and Winters says something like, "I don't think anything is going to happen in the next four or five minutes, in case you want to go get some popcorn or something." It's the sort of remark that usually gets a laugh track on TV. Some critics thought Kopit's play was "sick." But you have to see Quine's abortion to know what "sick" really is.
As a college freshman, I've met many girls at parties, but I've had bad luck in attempets to set up first dates with them. I figure that if I've been having an enjoyable conversation with a girl for an hour or more, I shouldn't draw a blank when I say, "How about a date next weekend?" Do you have any hints on handling this first request for a date?--E. B., Los Angeles, California.
For a summer lark that's different and idyllic, visit the tourist resort of Sveti Stefan on the coast of Montenegro in Yugoslavia. Easy to reach by car or bus from the airport at Dubrovnik, all 36 buildings, which occupy the entire tip of a tiny peninsula, have been converted into modern hotel rooms. The medieval architecture, of course, has been preserved. Along the winding, narrow streets, you'll find restaurants, shops and night clubs. This former hangout of Adriatic pirates also offers superb little beaches where you can laze away the days under a warm Adriatic sun. Rates range up to $18 a day for two, not including meals.
Hailed by many scholars as the greatest historian of the century, assailed by others for what they consider an obsession with dead rather than living civilizations, and for his insistence that the Western world may collapse unless it rediscovers a sense of spiritual purpose, Arnold Joseph Toynbee, at 77, is one of the most brilliant, distinguished and controversial of living Englishmen. Best known as the author of "A Study of History"--a prodigious attempt, which occupied him for 27 years and fills a dozen weighty volumes, to chronicle and assess nothing less than the entire recorded history of mankind--Toynbee is also an acknowledged authority on contemporary international relations and a contentious critic of American foreign policy in particular. He was a member of British delegations to peace conferences after both World Wars, and for much of his working life has supervised the annual survey published by the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London.
The double-breasted look is taking top priority on fashion fronts from coast to coast. The sophisticated silhouette of today's sports jackets, blazers and suits is enhanced by four to six buttons, deep side vents, suppression at the waist and a generally longer jacket. The influence is European, with designers such as England's Hardy Amies and France's Pierre Cardin setting the stylish pace. We predict that details will play an important fashion role; inverted side-vent pleats along with bright and bold linings should add an impeccable finishing touch to your wardrobe. The single-breasted, two-button shaped suit with side vents that we correctly labeled a sleeper in 1964 is now wide-awake. For spring and summer it's combined with color (a burnished-green model, for example, comes with an orange chalk stripe) as well as solid white. A careful selection of the latest looks in herringbones, checks and plaids will help round out your suit-and-sports-coat wardrobe. For a fashionable change from the uniquitous black dinner jacket, take a timely step forward in a double-breasted, sand-colored formal suit. It's a smart newcomer to the formal scene. "Think color" when it comes to slacks. The Western look, which features narrow legs and on-the-hips belt line, will be the season favorite. In swimwear, we see last year's baggy surfer styles being replaced by lean, squared-off briefs. Also, pay particular attention to the matching trunks-and-jacket sets made of vinyl. Another item we favor is a suede c.p.o. shirt that, when donned at the beach, looks best worn without a T-shirt. When resort bound, resort to sleeveless shirts and beach vests for topping off an après-swim or -surf session. The cotton pullover, a long-term summer stand-by, is also available in a vast variety of looks you'll like. All in all, by dressing right, you'll be riding the crest of a fashion wave soon to hit both shore and city.
Seventy-six million American taxpayers, with an average income of $3300, pay 53 billion dollars a year in personal income taxes (corporations pay 26 billion dollars)--the biggest tax bite in the history of the world--and this year they are being asked to pay even more. Adjusting the personal income tax is certainly the easiest way to control consumption and thus direct the entire economy. But one of the prevailing political myths is that the personal income tax is the only source of additional Federal funds. It is not.
The holy writ of the oil industry, The Oil and Gas Journal, was clearly pleased with the outcome of the 1966 Congressional elections. "Oil wins big in off-year elections," the headline read. It had been a triumphant campaign for the champions of oil indulgence and had stamped more securely into the statutes that most controversial of tax privileges, the oil-depletion allowance.
Every taxpaying citizen of the United States could have his personal income tax significantly reduced, and every homeowner could have his property tax abated, without local or Federal governments' losing a penny, if church property and income were fairly taxed. And it is my sober and considered judgment, as a bishop of the Episcopal Church, that this tax reform would be good, not only for the people of the country but for the churches themselves--many of which are presently in danger of "gaining the whole world and losing their own souls." I would add, in all earnestness, that taxing the churches may be mandatory, finally, in order to preserve our present democratic form of government.
For a sufficient reason a man might do anything: murder his wife, enter a monastery, move to Texas or take up the novels of Ivy Compton-Burnett. One such reason is usually enough. He seldom gets 30 billion reasons for doing anything. Thirty billion, after all, is a very large number. If you tried to count it out a second at a time, it would take you 100 years, with no time out for sleep. Today in this country, we have 30 billion sound reasons for doing one particular thing, but a combination of fear, Victorianism and political self-righteousness is stopping us. Immediately, and on a nationwide scale, we should legalize gambling.
Of all feasts, a casserole is the most movable. You can tote it from freezer to oven or from city high-rise to country retreat. For travel purposes, you can keep a casserole either hot or cold by simply blanketing it with generous layers of The New York Times or by coddling it in an insulated bag. When three or four yachts are tied together at eventide, one way to celebrate sundown is with a boarding party: Come aboard with a cocktail pitcher in one hand and a casserole in the other. Chronic icebox raiders who can't wait for the witching hour to sample sliced shell steak, roast turkey or goose with stuffing always keep a well-chilled casserole handy. As time goes by, cold roast meat loses its flavor, but any man with time on his hands knows that a tow-day-old casserole has twice the flavor of a one-day-old beginner. Most important of all, a large casserole enables the bachelor chef--whether he's on land or at sea--to feed a starving crew without running into any last-minute logistical hang-ups. The built-in features of a casserole give you freedom to imbibe along with all other bibbers at the appointed hour.
The House Un-American Activities Committee has now polished off the Communist Party and the Ku Klux Klan. It has proved, to its own satisfaction, that overthrowing the Government and beating up people are definitely un-American. Where will it turn next? Where it will turn next is clearly indicated by the California Senate's Committee on Un-American Activities, a bellwether group whose alert work is closely watched by un-American investigators across the land for valuable new trends in exposures, public spectacles and down-to-earth sensationalism. And never has this committee received more mileage in the press than with its report attacking the University of California for condoning, among other things, homosexuality, LSD, the frug, sex, rock-'n'-roll music, smoking marijuana, dirty words and throwing up. This unquestionably points the way.
An Obscure 19th Century poet named Coventry Patmore might well have pre-saged the appearance of Gwen Wong, our April Playmate, when he wrote, "A women is a foreign land." The exotic Miss Wong is, in fact, a startlingly beautiful blend of six nationalities: Chinese, Scottish, Spanish, Australian, Filipino and Irish. A Cocktail Bunny at the Los Angeles Playboy Club, Gwen is a small (all of five feet) sensation in any language. Born in Manila during the latter part of World War Two, our Playmate Bunny spent some of her infancy in Australia. (Gwen's mother, Doreen Wong, had been a popular pianist throughout the Orient, and she continued her night-club career in the U. S. after the family moved to San Francisco in 1949.) An expert cook, Miss April is equally adept at whipping up wor shew opp, scungilli or boeuf Bourguignonne. "Cooking has almost become a mania with me," she says. "I collect cookbooks the same way people collect LPs." Before becoming a Bunny, Gwen studied painting and ceramics at California's El Camino Junior College. "Frankly," she says, "most modern art confuses me, although I wouldn't classify myself as a traditionalist. I try not to be swayed by other people's opinions when visiting a gallery, but that's not always easy. I like to think if a canvas is good I'll know it -- because, well, I'll feel it." Gwen paints whenever she gets the chance. "But since I've become a Bunny," she says, "my life has become very hectic, and I don't do nearly enough." Miss Wong is also a jazznik and prefers the singing of Morgana King and Ella Fitzgerald among at least a score of recording artists she admires. Tentatively planning a summer trip to Europe (with friend and fellow Los Angeles Bunny Marilyn), Gwen would eventually like to see all the capitals. "But," she says, "I won't be staying in Europe for more than a month, so I'll probably spend most of my time in the city that fascinates me most: Paris. I also plan to visit France's wine districts while I'm there." Although she could easily break into films Miss April is not interested in a show-business career. "I'll admit it--I'd like to get married," she says. Gwen is a domestic kind of girl: her idea of an ideal date is a stay-at-home dinner for two. "And I'll do the cooking--French or Chinese food, probably, and perhaps afterward a film. But the important thing is to be with a man with whom I can relax and enjoy myself by being myself." While Miss Wong awaits Mr. Right, she is more than happy to continue serving as a Bunny--and the Los Angeles Playboy Club patrons will be even happier to hear that their favorite fortune cookie isn't about to split.
A philosophical friend of ours points out that at cocktail parties the men usually stand around getting stiff, and the women are usually tight, but when they get home they frequently find that neither is either.
Love continues to enjoy excellent public relations. What other word so grossly stage-managed for private gain could remain so uncontestably a star? Freedom, perhaps, but no other. Love is the most sought-after emotion of all. When we are in it, we feel uniquely at one with the world. And we say, "Love is wonderful!" When we are out of it, we feel coldly isolated from the world. And we say, "That wasn't Love. That was a sick relationship."
"I'm going to throw this wagon out, George. You don't play with it anymore; you're a general now. It's just gathering dust in the cellar. And if you don't want that little hatchet you got for your birthday, I'll get rid of that, too. I don't want it just banging around the house. It's liable to cause more trouble."
A host of watchwords to the wise. For occasions sportive or dressy, consider this timely show of hands--and legs. Out on the lower limb, left to right: Alarm watch is 14-kt. gold, has 17-jewel movement, by Girard Perregaux, $145. Doctor's watch is 14-kt. solid gold, features a pulsometer scale, by Longines, $175. Stainless-steel Chronomaster is ideal for yachtsmen, aviators and sports-car rallyists, by Croton, $100. Stainless-steel chronograph can measure time to 1/5 second, also doubles as a regular wrist watch, by Movado, $150. Nautilus 403 vest and pocket watch is 10-kt. yellow-gold filled, operates electrically on energy cell, by Hamilton, $125. On the other leg, left to right: Ermetophon desk-table-pocket alarm watch in leather case automatically winds when case is opened, by Movado, $175. Gold-filled dress watch with leather strap, by Tissot, $49.95. Electric watch is dustproof, waterproof and shock resistant, by Timex, $39.95. Thin, 18-kt.-gold dress watch with 18-jewel movement is exceptionally accurate, by Patek Philippe, $750. Silhouette F calendar watch is 14-kt. yellow-gold filled, by Wittnauer, $79.50. Unusually thin pocket watch is mounted in authentic $20 gold piece, by Vacheron & Constantin, $1150. Elegant 14-kt.-gold Golden Knight key watch has 17-jewel movement, by LeCoultre, $135.
Ashland frowned, trying to concentrate in the warm emptiness of the thick-carpeted lobby. Obviously he had pressed the elevator button, because he was alone here and the elevator was blinking its way down to him, summoned from an upper floor. It arrived with an efficient hiss, the bronze doors clicked open, and he stepped in, thinking blackout. I had a mental blackout.
In ancient Buda town there lived a lady named the Countess Hunyadi. She was one of those tall beauties with amber hair, gray eyes and magnificent promises under all those stiff silks and brocades she wore. She was as vain as she was lovely, and as arrogant as she was vain. Men lost their voices when they met her and, before they had regained themselves enough to offer a compliment, she had smiled coldly and swept by.
In the basement of a dingy building a half block from Times Square, some 200 devotees of the far-out film huddle together nightly in a shabbily rococo auditorium, The Film-Makers' Cinémathèque, to witness the collected works of Kenneth Anger, Stan Brakhage, Andy Warhol, the Kuchar brother and other gods and gurus of the cinematic underground. In a somewhat gaudier base on Hollywood's Sunset Strip, the all-night Cinémathèque 16 grinds away at similar fare for West Coast fans of the experimental film; while Chicagoans who like their kicks cinematic support the screenings of the Aardvark Cinémathèque, an organization of underground enthusiasts that has successfully invaded the premises of Second City, a satiric cabaret theater, on Monday nights. Coast to coast, comparable establishments have been springing up in the major cities, with more undoubtedly to come. It's what's happening, baby. The underground is rising to the surface and an impressively large audience is beginning to catch up with the avant-grade. Significantly, not long after Warhol's fourhour, dual-screen psychodrama, The Chelsea Girls (see our review on page 40 of this issue), had opened at the New York Cinémathèque, it was moved uptown to a West Side art house--"by popular demand." This new audience may include all too many culture vultures from a new generation that will accept any insult to its intelligence or eyeballs provided that it carries the tag "experimental"; but for the first time in movie history, an avant-grade has reached through to a public large enough to support it and vocal enough to make an impression upon the citizenry at large. The films themselves may not be great; often they are downright dreadful. Their subject matter is a compound of exotica, erotica, neurotica and lurid samplings of psychopathia sexualis. But today, for anyone with intellectual pretensions who wants to be "with it," who feels he has to "make the scene," some acquaintance with the work of the New American Cinema is an absolute must.
"God Is Dead. At least a god is dead. The white god, the nationalistic American god, he's dead, dead, dead. Goddamn it! Dead!" So speaks the Reverend Malcolm Boyd, a balding, battling, 43-year-old Episcopal priest who, in 1951, left his lucrative partnership in a Hollywood TV-radio company for seminary school and who now is the outspoken apostle of a new approach to divine communication--pop prayer. Father Boyd's pulpit is often the night-club-espresso-house stage (last fall, at San Francisco's hungry I, he co-billed with comedian Dick Gregory). The prayers Boyd offers up are nonsectarian and unconventional. Instead of the standard style of supplication, they take the form of a slang-packed monolog to the Almighty--one in which Boyd touches on topics that he feels both God and the audience at hand should be concerned about. "It's a jazz spot, Jesus," Boyd begins. "The musician is wondering if they're hearing him at all through all their death and life, sex and hunger, knowing yourself and being known, the dream, the vision. He's looking at the people, right into their dead and alive eyes, and he wants them to hear him." Following his prayer meeting, Boyd often answers questions from the audience, occasionally rubbing salt into the cuts he's inflicted ("The only isms I believe in are humanism and ballsism") or chewing on another bone of contention--civil rights ("Black Power means that a little five-year-old colored boy won't be looking up to a white liberal to help him...he'll be looking up to a black man that he respects"). The appeal of Boyd's contemporary approach to religion, although denounced by conservative Episcopalians, became apparent in 1965 when a hardcover collection of his most popular prayers, Are You Running with Me, Jesus?, hit the best-seller lists, earning him the chance to cut an LP (under the same title) on which he recites some of the prayers, accompanied by jazz guitarist Charlie Byrd. His latest book, Free to Live, Free to Die, was published last month. What's Father Boyd trying to prove with his gutsy new approach to religion? The Reverend's answer is sharply to the point: "The Church should get off its ass."
Last summer, at least in its parks, New York City was what it has been calling itself for years--a "Summer Festival." Central Park alone was the scene of bicycles-only Sundays, a mass folk-painting festival and a teenage fashion show backed up by a Yale rock-'n'-roll band. These and a series of unlikely like events calculated to lure the public into active enjoyment of its parks were entirely attributable to Mayor John Lindsay's administrator of recreation and cultural affairs, Thomas P. F. Hoving, then 35--notwithstanding his protestation to us that he acted usually as a broker for other people's ideas. Hoving's emergence as an innovator of urban public recreation and as an aristocratic Populist (his commissionership was marked by the creation of more than a dozen neighborhood "vest-pocket parks" as well as by games and Happenings) followed an adolescence more conducive to comparisons with Scott Fitzgerald and J. D. Salinger heroes than with Jefferson; but as a sophomore at Princeton, Hoving discovered art history and became, if not less interested in parties, extraordinarily proficient in his chosen field. In 1965, after a remarkable half decade of discovery and identification of objects for the Metropolitan Museum of Art, he was named director of its far-uptown medieval branch, The Cloisters, from which post Lindsay commissioned him for the parks. Asked by Playboy to list the principal accomplishments of his last 15 months, Hoving started with "a revolution in park-design standards," revealing the bias of his first interest. "Municipal government should lead the private sector in design and other fields," Hoving says. "I think we helped demonstrate that it can do so." Unfortunately, his combination of taste and a sure sense of public relations and needs are all too rare: In the middle of this month, Hoving returns to the Metropolitan--where observers will be looking for the "touch of mayhem" he admits some of his most successful parks projects showed--as the youngest director in its history. The art world's gain is the parks system's loss, of course, but on both sides of the ledger, New York comes up a winner.
It was with "negative conceit" that Britisher Bryan Forbes, after a 16-year internship as an actor and writer, decided to produce his own scripts and formed his own company, Beaver Films Ltd., in 1958: "I had written screenplays but they'd all been bowdlerized. I felt I couldn't do any worse--and I had a hankering to control my own destiny." The gamble was felicitous. Today the straight-talking 40-year-old London native--himself as industrious as any beaver--rides about in a Mercedes 600. The first film to be written and produced by Forbes, The Angry Silence, won him a British Oscar, and he followed up his breakthrough with such well-applauded ventures as Only Two Can Play, The L-Shaped Room, Séance on a Wet Afternoon, King Rat (a collaboration with Hollywood) and an adaptation of R. L. Stevenson's classic farce, The Wrong Box, which he turned into just the right vehicle for an all-star cast including Nanette Newman, who doubles as Mrs. Forbes. When not crafting a movie, Forbes busies himself at the typewriter, turning out a short story a month; he's also an expert still photographer ("It helps a director develop a pictorial eye"); the proud owner of a bookshop near his suburban London home; an occasional TV-talk-show host; and a "frustrated landscape gardener." Such activities, though, are subordinate to directing. Not one to rest on his reels, Forbes recently completed a low-budget but high-purpose film, The Whisperers; forthcoming, among others, are Deadfall (a suspense drama for which John Barry will compose a guitar-trumpet concerto) and--in a coup of the first order--The Tenant, with an original screenplay by Edward Albee. A cynic who has pungently decried what he considers a breakdown of moral and aesthetic standards in the arts (in an age when dramatists "cannot outinvent the absurdities of our third-rate political starlets" and when entertainment is doled out by "culture assassinators" working for "No-Cause"), Forbes himself is proof that an artist today can survive on his own terms. "In the last ten years," he admits, "I've never made a film I didn't want to, and I have no regrets. The public is the judge."