Heading our april offering of entertainment for men--in an issue replete with fictional, factual and visual divertissements--is Vladimir Nabokov's Ada, a tale of intrafamilial passion at an aristocratic estate, and his fourth PLAYBOY appearance (a Playboy Interview in 1964, The Eye in 1965 and Despair in 1966). Ada is a novella-length preview of a forthcoming novel, Ada, which is Nabokov's sexiest, entirely new work since Lolita. The hardcover edition will be a Literary Guild selection when McGraw-Hill releases it in May, and Columbia Pictures has offered more than $500,000 for screen rights. A regular contributor to filmdom is Richard Matheson--represented herein by Prey, a macabre fable about a fetish doll that refuses to play dead. Matheson wrote the screenplay for DeSade (you'll have an advance look at it in the June PLAYBOY), which was recently filmed in Berlin. Our April fiction also includes Patrick McGivern's Master of the Ball Hawks, which details a strange search for perfection on the golf links. McGivern has relinquished his post as a news editor for CBS to devote all available time to writing.
Play boy, April, 1969, Vol. 16, 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 and Canada, $24 for three years, $18 for two years, $10 for one year. Elsewhere add $2 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., Chichago, Illinois 60611, and allow 30 days for change. Advertising: Howard W. Lederer, advertising director; Jules Kase, Joseph Guenther, Associate Advertising Managers, 405 Park Ave., New York, New York 10022, MU 8-3030; Sherman Keats, Chicago Managers, 919 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Illinois 60611, MI 2-1000; Detroit, Robert A. Mc Kenzie, 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, 434-2675; Southeastern Representative, Pirnie & Brown, 3108 Piedmont Rd., N.E., Atlanta, GA. 30305, 233-6729.
Half-time performances during football games are usually a noisy wedding of chauvinism and sousaphones, but we're deeply regretful that we missed the Harvard-Princeton football game last autumn--not so much for the contest (Harvard won, 9--7) as for the tour-de-force performance of the inestimable Harvard band. Word of this event, which was witnessed by thousands but perhaps understandably not reported in the mass media, is just now leaking out. Here's the background: Early in the season, according to The Harvard Crimson, the 120-piece band had garnered accolades during a football match with Holy Cross, a predominantly Catholic college. During half time the band announcer, speaking over the public-address system to packed grandstands, bestowed "the Spiro T. Agnew award for distinguished achievement" on Pope Paul, "for his contribution to the population explosion," while the Crimson band formed the word "Bang" and played With a Little Bit of Luck.
In Teaching As a Subversive Activity (Delacorte), Neil Postman and Charles Weingartner, who have long and varied experience as teachers, go beyond the now-familiar indictments of American education to propose basic ways of liberating both teachers and students from becoming personnel rather than people. Building on their own observations and on the insights of a wide range of other explorers into the nature of learning and language, from Whitehead to McLuhan, the authors have created what may become a primer of "the new education." The core of their approach is that the student must be central in any meaningful curriculum. For the teacher and the taught to be free to grow, schools will have to discard the traditional concept of distinct units of information that have to be stuffed into all students at the same rate of speed. Instead, learning will be a continuum of questions, most of them asked by the students, to which answers will be found by transcending the conventional boxes into which knowledge is now separated. Divisions between subjects, as if they were selfcontained entities, would be dissolved; mass testing would disappear (because individual, not mass results would be the goal); and the learning environment would extend to anywhere answers could be found, including the streets. The result, the authors promise, would be teachers and students with greatly increased capacities for spontaneity, inventiveness and individuality. Their book is intended for anyone, teacher or not, who is concerned with sanity and survival in a world of precipitously rapid change, and it's worth your reading.
There aren't too many Chicagoans and certainly few out-of-towners who know about Mama Lena's Italian Kitchen (24 E. Chicago Avenue), which has proved a blessing for the cognoscenti still able to get reservations at one of the most delightful, least pretentious eating places around. Its dimensions may be among the smallest in the Windy City (there are only 30 seats), but the scope of the superb Sicilian cooking transcends the restaurant's minisize. Mama Lena's is strictly a family affair; there is the signora herself (yes, Virginia, there is a Mama Lena Madonna), who comes in each day to work her gustatory wonders in the kitchen; her son Salvino, who takes care of the final preparation of the food, manages the place and sandwiches in voice lessons when off duty (the restaurant was opened to finance Sal's contemplated musical career); and ebullient Uncle Chico, the resident musician and Sal's mentor, whose guitar and still-powerful voice (along with Sal's) are very much a part of the warm, personal ambiance of Mama Lena's. Then there is Papa Frank, along with assorted sons and daughters, all of whom have contributed in some way to the cause. The dining arrangement itself is unusual. There are two dinner shifts, at 6 and 8:30, Monday through Saturday, and no menu; the dinner consists of a piquant antipasto/salad, an appetizer that might be a pasta or an eggplant-and-ground-beef amalgam (one of Papa Frank's culinary contributions), and a single main course of veal, tenderloin tips, chicken or seafood, each enhanced by Mama Lena's magic ingredient--one of her 11 tantalizingly subtle sauces. (The accompanying tomato bread rates its own bravissimo.) The dessert will most likely be cannoli, a flaky pastry stuffed with ricotta cheese and merely sensational. If you're not the adventurous sort, it would be wise to check with Sal, when making your reservation, as to what the main course might be that evening; but whatever it is, the top-quality cooking remains constant. You'll have to bring your own valpolicella, as Mama Lena's has no liquor license; and the irrepressible Madonnas are always thinking of ways to improve on a good thing, so the hours and days they are open may change. Be sure to make a reservation (337-4050) and arrive at the appointed hour.
British producer-director Lindsay Anderson's last memorable movie, This Sporting Life, appeared way back in 1963. Eminently worth the wait in promises fulfilled, Anderson's If .... with a smashing screenplay by David Sherwin, bids to be considered one of the most important films of this tumultuous decade. As with a score of other movies steeped in English social traditions, If....exposes life within a hidebound provincial boys' school, but resembles its predecessors only superficially and only for a time, while the audience gets acquainted with a cast of unfamiliar young actors that portrays the restive student body. The atmosphere recks of Etonian reserve, though--in fact--fictional College Hall nurtures striplings sprung from the same seeds that have produced campus disruptions in this country. After a slow start, in which the ritual scenes of sadistic hazing and casual homosexuality are touched upon as though nothing very special were afoot, the film begins closing in on a trio of upperclassmen (Malcolm McDowell, David Wood and Richard Warwick) whose tutelage is left to a ludicrous pack of old-school eccentrics, one of whom rides into class on a bicycle, singing at the top of his voice. In the subsequent lunacy, bit by bit, Anderson demolishes many a beloved myth about the substance of British education, whose advocates include a chaplain noted for exhortations to his young wards that, short of striking the queen, deserting one's post in battle is the most heinous of human crimes. With such minds to guide them, the lads find plenty of time for pinching motorbikes, guzzling vodka, indulging in sensual fantasies and sexual rough-and-tumble with a girl (Christine Noonan) at a village café or dreaming dreams of all-out war against the establishment, which at last become palpable when they stumble onto a cache of weapons. But recapping the details of his indictment does Anderson a disservice, for his satire is of a high order, too scathing to be wholly funny but so subtle that a viewer's consciousness is subliminally primed to accept a jolt when student fun and games suddenly take a turn toward bloody revolt, in one of the most stunning film finales ever to shake an audience out of its comfortable habits of thought. Exquisite color photography by Czechoslovakia's Miroslav Ondricek may be a clue to a qualitative change in Anderson himself, whose familiarity with the work of eastern-European film makers has mellowed his style, adding looseness and spontaneity to that ever-reliable British craftsmanship. Resonating with authority, one virtually silent slow-motion scene reads breath-taking lyricism into an encounter between a junior boy and a senior gymnast cutting a manly figure on the parallel bars. From a work so timely in theme, technically adroit and brim full of creativity, a dozen other remarkable scenes remain in the memory. Suffice it to say that If....is a masterpiece.
With releases such as Richard Barbary's Soul Machine and Tamiko Jones' I'll Be Anything for You (both also available on stereo tape), A & M is apparently developing a new soul style. Both sets are attractively understated; Barbary proves himself a facile singer on Like You, Babe, Nothin' in This World and Nature Boy (which gets a samba treatment), while Miss Jones benefits from the assistance of super soul man Solomon Burke as writer (Suddenly), arranger (Goodnight, My Love) and singing partner (on Try It Baby and Please Return Your Love to Me).
Frederick Rolfe, a miserable, embittered, cynical reject from holy orders, suddenly is called to the priesthood, and scarcely weeks later, he finds himself in Rome for the choosing of a new Pope by the college of cardinals. As in The Shoes of the Fisherman, the college deadlocks and, amazingly, offers the Popeship to Rolfe. He can respond either "Nolo" or "Volo." For the briefest instant, he is stunned--he never counted on being Pope, at least not so soon after making priest. Then he crosses his arms over his chest and shouts in ecstasy, "Volo!" It is a cry of outrageous confidence and absolute conviction. As played by Alec McCowen, it is a thrilling theatrical moment, the kind that can send even bored ushers into nightly shivers. McCowen is an astounding actor and, thanks to him, Hadrian VII is an exciting play. Dramatist Peter Luke has wrenched it from the life and work of the real Rolfe, better known as Baron Corvo, who, around the turn of the century (under a variety of aliases), wrote novels, painted, swindled the public, corrupted youth and lusted after the priesthood; he was bounced out of a series of seminaries. His major work was a novel called Hadrian VII, an autobiographical fantasy in which a man very much like himself is made Pope. From this complex, bizarre life, Luke has structured a mystery play, a character study. It is not the complete word on Rolfe (for which one must go back to his biography, The Quest for Corvo, by A. J. Symons) nor even a great play. But it is a great evening of theater. Luke's contribution is not so much as a playwright but as a pipeline to an actor's imagination. He turns McCowen on to Rolfe, and McCowen turns into Rolfe with all his genius, cheekiness, compulsiveness and perversity. At the Helen Hayes, 210 West 46th Street.
[Q] When someone does something that hurts me, I find that--in spite of myself--I immediately see the other side of the story and forgive the opposite party. Some of my friends tell me I'm harming myself by being so open-minded, but I feel that this is in accord with the teachings of all the great religions. What is your opinion?--J. B., New York, New York.
a tripartite exploration and clear explanations of that territory of intellect and action where game theory and computer technology fuse to not only predict but actually shape the future of us all and of our world as well
Generally, a toy is a game you play by yourself. Like building a boat, or gliding around looking for thermals on a marvelous day, or taking a new car out for an early-morning drive, or putting on scuba gear and exploring the womb of the sea. You and a device, letting it happen, finding yourself--and the world--by losing yourself, losing track of time, getting in touch with feelings and ideas and strengths and beauty that may be important and are certainly refreshing, often in surprising ways. In short, a toy is a mechanical companion for exploring without and within; a thing for being alone with, yet a thing to keep you in touch with the world.
"I shall never believe," Albert Einstein once said, "that God plays dice with the world." It was necessary to say this because all the evidence of modern physics points the other way. The world behaves as if God does play dice with it. Relativity, quantum theory, the Heisenberg principle--all tore apart Newton's model of an orderly world with causes leading to uniform effects. Physicists, to live with disorder and uncertainty, had to turn to probability and statistics--just as the Weather Bureau gave up trying to make exact predictions and now settles for telling you that your picnic has a 30-percent chance of getting rained out.
Unable to manage his rebellious girlfriend, the young man asked his father how he had dealt with similar problems. "Well, son," the father frankly replied, "every time your mother began to act up, I'd take down her pants and spank her."
Remember the old Hollywood films where the girl was a virgin until she got married (except Doris day, who was a virgin after she got married)? remember how, when the climax of the love scene would approach, the camera would pan to the sky?--fade out! cut to breakfast!--well, in today's films. Nobody's a vrign, the camera never pans to the sky and no one has time for breakfast, as for example: our heroine acting in a new mod flick under the direction of the Groovy Richard Luster