When Shakespeare wrote "All that glisters is not gold" in The Merchant of Venice, he clearly couldn't have anticipated this issue of Playboy. Starting with golden-haired cover girl Penny James, you'll find a lode of literary and pictorial riches; appropriately, both gold and Venice figure prominently herein. That venerable city is the setting for Grand Guignol on the Grand Canal, novelist and Playboy contributor Irwin Shaw's sardonic look at the ill-starred international film festival staged by the movie merchants of Venice. And behind-the-scenes, fast-moving bullion manipulation is the vein explored by Franz Pick in Gold. A world-wide monetary expert, Pick is the author of such authoritative works as Pick's World Currency Report, The Numbered Account and Gold, How and Where to Buy and Hold It. The 1848 discovery of gold in California started a surge of Westward-bound wagon trains that, in turn, precipitated three decades of bloody Indian wars. In Custer Died for Your Sins, a title that recalls one of the most publicized episodes from that conflict, American Indian Vine Deloria, Jr., ambushes the hordes of anthropologists who have turned the first Americans into impersonal statistics instead of helping them become productive members of the national community. Deloria's article forms the theme of his book, Custer Died for Your Sins: An Indian Manifesto, to be published by Macmillan next month.
Playboy, August, 1969, Vol. 16, No. 8. 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., Chicago, 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 Manager, 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 & Drown, 3100 Piedmont Rd., N.E., Atlanta, GA. 30305, 233-6729.
When Reginald Potterton wrote I Cut Out Her Heart and Stomped on It! for Playboy (April), he defined tabloid journalism as "a lurid subspecies that specializes in disasters corporeal and sexual ... and unabashed gossip about the rich and the famous." But central to his definition was the qualifying phrase "often more imaginary than authentic." Forsaking authenticity entirely for the outer limits of imagination, New Frontiers Publishing Company now offers The National Puton Press--a whimsical underground parody of the freakish National Enquirer genre. The front page of its second issue, dated May 1969, is emblazoned with the headline "Circus bear rapes then marries girl," which is some indication of the puckish perversions contained within.
We live in an Electric Circus world, Marshall McLuhan implied in a Playboy Interview last March, and, like the world, The New Electric Circus changes, too. The decor is different at 23 St. Marks Place in Manhattan's East Village, but those everlovin' multimedia stimuli are still there and hyped up for maximum effect on the acolytes. Liquor is still verboten, but who needs it, anyway? The Electric Circus remains the Creative Plaything of discothèques, but its new atmosphere is more controlled, more sure of itself and less maddening in its multiplicity than it was in the Circus' first incarnation. It is today more Aluminum Orgasm than the Gimmick Groove it was. The entrance hall has been chastened with aluminum wall sheeting, broken up only by the introduction of a brief tunnel in gaudy bright Art Deco stripes. The main dancing room has been stripped of its circus-tent roof, leaving the walls and ceiling bare for bigger, better and more overpowering projections. A battery of computers runs the sound and projection equipment for those who want to dance or for those who just want to stand around and stare--the walking stoned. At the far end of this room, on a raised piazza of baronial proportions, is a steel-bar ziggurat--a jungle gym of Expanding Consciousness size. Patrons in Unisex or Army-Navy Store drag may be seen hanging from these bars and blinking like Krishna at the writhing mass below. Upstairs, in a glass-enclosed room looking down on the dance floor, there is a raft of pigeonhole cylinders sunk into the wall. They are lined in Ozite carpet. You and your date are invited to make use of them in a manner of your own devising. Each hole holds at least two and possibly three persons, but only in the most elemental of Kama Sutra postures. The room is soundproofed for ragas, as is a nearby room, similarly dark and serene from the flashing strobes and megatonnage of sound in the main dancing room. In this second room is a slowly moving carrousel and a highly interesting pit. As you hoped, both of them are also lined in sexy Ozite. The pale-blue and purple Lucite bar downstairs offers coffee, frankfurters, Pepsi-Cola and animal crackers, all served up lovingly by the cool lilywhites of beautiful slum goddesses. Nearby is the E. C.'s new Balloon-O-Mat, a devilish machine that dispenses helium balloons that will take you up, up and away if you aren't there already. The Gucci Groovies and the Shaggy Crazoes alike all love it; but, as Gertie Stein once said: "When you get there, you discover that there's no there there." Rock groups such as Meat, and Cat Mother and The All-Night Newsboys alternate with recorded sound. The digital computers never drop a stitch. The Electric Circus visitor is promised an environment that won't quit trying to disorient him until it sets him floating in a nonlinear nirvana. Most of the time, dancing seems beside the point when everything else is in motion. The admission price is $3.50--$5 per person; and, no, you can't get in free if you're wearing bare feet.
There have been 55 wars since the end of World War Two, and most of the killing, from the Congo to Sinai to Biafra, could not have taken place without a gigantic international arms trade--five billion dollars annually now and rising fast. The number-one governmental tycoon of this bloody trade is not Russia but the United States. In The War Business (Simon & Schuster), George Thayer traces the origins of legal gunrunning and finds it takes two forms, both deadly. In one, an entrepreneur named Sam Cummings has become the modern Sir Basil Zaharoff, the shadowy "merchant of death" of the World War One era. Cummings, a clean-cut American boy who neither smokes nor swears and rarely drinks, got his start with the CIA 20 years ago. Today, as he wheels and deals from tax haven Monaco, he can take pride in the fact that his Inter-arms firm stocks more weapons than all the U.S. military forces combined have in active service. It has sold them to trigger-happy rulers through a global network of agents and has given Cummings some happy memories of customers--the late Dominican strong man Trujillo, for one. Dictators, Cummings finds, "have a sense of order and they pay their bills promptly."
Having bided his time through numerous stereotypical post-Graduate film offers, Dustin Hoffman brilliantly reverses his field in Midnight Cowboy--John (Darling) Schlesinger's version of an admirable novel by James Leo Herlihy. The titular cowboy is played by Jon Voight, who makes a remarkable screen debut as Joe Buck--a big, beautiful, dim-witted, totally innocent Texas hustler who comes East thinking he'll get rich by peddling his wonderful body to wealthy ladies. Hoffman's portrayal of Ratso Rizzo, a crippled, fatally feverish Times Square con artist, offers eloquent counterpoint to Voight's bull's-eye characterization of the lay-about who strokes his fierce phallic energy by raptly gazing into mirrors at the blond, spiffy, boot-clicking, altogether miraculous package it came in. But except for a couple of poignantly droll couplings with a brassy blonde (Sylvia Miles) and a wry swinger (Brenda Vaccaro) whom he meets at a Warholian Greenwich Village party, the bids for Buck's services are more often tendered by fidgety schoolboys or cruising closet queens in business suits. The compelling fascination of Cowboy rests in the slowly developing symbiotic union of these two urban misfits who court tragedy and find it, but first come to recognize their mutual need of someone or something beyond the routine quest for easy money and sexual release. With a screenplay by Waldo Salt, Schlesinger seldom errs in exploring the subtle, pivotal relationship between Hoffman and Voight, using murky, brutally surrealistic flashbacks and lyrical fantasy sequences to create an enlightening context--and contrast--for the painfully immediate realities. Schlesinger also uses his camera to sketch fleeting glimpses of the sluts, homos, hippies, creeps, freaks and derelicts who throng New York's concrete canyons. In scraping the bottom of Manhattan's teeming barrel, he has, with the help of his superb actors, made a touching statement about loneliness, despair and man's limitless potential for degradation in his struggle for survival.
It was just a matter of time before the Thirties made it in New York restaurant circles. Fortunately, they made it in high style at The Tin lizzie (140 West 51st Street). The style is furnished by the current panjandrum of modern-Thirties design, Peter Max. He conjured up the decor and the wallpaper (which looks like the stuff they used for end papers in books before the whole world started reading and books had to be printed cheap), chipped in with the china, and contributed old movie posters and other relics from his own collection. Proprietor Shelly Fireman might himself have been supplied by Max, what with his keen cognizance of the era's trivia. Over the bar, which features a genuine six-ounce martini ("just like W. C. Fields' mother used to make") and a barrel of peanuts, is a 30-foot nude to which carouses can be fondly quaffed. Pay no attention to the non sequitur of a genuine 1915 Ford sitting in the middle of the dining room-- it's an attention-getting device. Study, instead, the collection of Dixie Cup covers, the stills from Bogart and Marx Brothers movies or the underwhelming overstuffed peacock. The only other nonperiod piece in the joint is the red telephone--a hot line to a theater ticket agency. The Tin Lizzie is essentially a steak house; its specialty ranges from the Diamond Jim Brady, a king-sized sirloin smothered in oysters that have been broiled in hot butter sauce, to the Tin Lizzie Special, a filet mignon served with Canadian bacon and an artichoke heart. The Baked Tiffany Clams appetizer provides a splendid way to warm up for an impending steak. All entrees come with an astonishing variety of side dishes. The desserts are so outrageously rich one wonders why they haven't been declared illegal--or at least immoral. There's the Chocolate Mousse Cake and a little desvelter known as Miss Grimble's Hot Pink Sour Cream Cheesecake with Nesselrode--oh, the pains. Lizzie is open for lunch, dinner and supper from 12 noon to midnight, Monday through Friday; for dinner and supper on Saturday from 5 P.M. to 1 A.M.; and for Sunday dinner from 4 P.M. to 9 P.M. Reservations are helpful.
The Mothers of Invention are finally beginning to deliver some truly inventive music. Uncle Meat (Reprise) is a carefully etched two-LP set that takes in not only the Mothers' familiar comedic ventures in the Dada tradition (Sleeping in a Jar and Mr. Green Genes) but also long stretches of music, unobstructed by noise and enhanced by tactful tape juggling and meticulous overdubbing. The sources appear to be Webern, Coltrane and vintage rock--but the side-long King Kong is, happily, all jazz.
Charles Gordone's No Place to Be Somebody is a powerful, personal, highly particular but highly relevant play and a kind of black black comedy. Set in a bar in Greenwich Village, with its assortment of curious characters--whores, crooks, coeds, cops--wandering in and out, it evokes memories of Saroyan and O'Neill. Gordone has, like Saroyan, a fine feel for character and for humorous detail and, like O'Neill, a feel for dramatic collision. But his milieu is a thing apart. The owner of the bar is Johnny Williams, a cocksure pimp, ladies' man and would-be black mafioso. Mike Maffucci, an Italian gangster, former school friend and now antagonist of Johnny's, pays him the highest compliment: "If you were a wop, you would be big in rackets." Then there is Gabe Gabriel, a light-skinned black playwright and actor who knows the worst of both white and black worlds. In a series of remarkable between-scenes soliloquies, Johnny unharnesses his own repressed hatreds. He is waiting for Sweets, a notorious black crook, to come out of prison, so that they can go into unlawful business together. But when Sweets arrives, he turns out to be a philosophical clown, at peace and rehabilitated except for a compulsion to steal watches and wallets for the fun of it. He accuses Johnny of being victimized by "Charlie fever," and sits down to a home-cooked soul feast. Suddenly, Maffucci strikes in, pointing a revolver at Johnny. He is here to bully, perhaps liquidate him. Out of the corner of his eye, he spies Sweets' repast. "Is that macaroni salad?" he asks and samples some. He loves it. It reminds him of his childhood. Before the play ends, the bar is covered with a carpet of corpses, but each death is dramatically necessary and each, in its own way, moving. Gordone's play is ill-kempt and in need of editing. The plot line about the corrupt judge's daughter who falls for Johnny and raids her father's files for him is like an old George Raft movie. But most of what happens is deeply felt; and, in this production by the New York Shakespeare Festival Public Theater, the play is superbly acted by largely unknown actors. At the Other Stage, 425 Lafayette Street.
My girl and I have found it pleasurable to make love under water at the beach. The salt water seems to act as an additional lubricant and we're wondering if it might also have a spermicidal effect. We have the same question about the chlorine in swimming pools.--M. W. U., Los Angeles, California.
Throughout his 1968 Presidential campaign, Richard Nixon regularly promised that, if elected, he would fire Attorney General Ramsey Clark. Even in his acceptance speech at the Miami Beach convention, Nixon reiterated his ritual pledge to get rid of Clark, so that American streets could be made safe again and the Justice Department would stop going soft on criminals, pornographers, demonstrators and rioters. From his small working room next to the immense formal office of the Attorney General, Clark watched the campaign with wry amusement--but with some concern, too. He didn't particularly mind being Nixon's political target, but he feared that Nixon's law-and-order rhetoric was aimed at the wrong people--toward "those who are least involved: the suburbanites and the whites. They are the most angered, but they are the least affected."
For all their immense physical power, the two dominant nations in the world--the United States and the Soviet Union--suffer from a neurotic sense of insecurity, although neither regards itself as being in imminent danger of attack by the other. At tremendous cost, their nuclear armories keep them at bay and, even if each were foolishly to add a new inventory of ABM missiles to the awesome stockpile, the delicate equilibrium will hold, leaving the two rivals in a state of chronic but only low-grade anxiety over the danger of attack by the other. It is a costly and desperately dangerous way of keeping the peace, but it is all we have shown ourselves capable of thus far.
Sensuously structured Paula Kelly promises to be among Hollywood's most memorable new faces and figures of 1969. Her first film role--as Sweet Charity's tough-talking taxi dancer, Helene--gave optimum exposure to Paula's bumptious dancing and comedic talents. Though she's anxious to become a dramatic actress--especially after receiving gilt-edged notices in the ill-fated Broadway production The Dozens last March--Paula's sticking with song and dance for the moment. Currently. she's starring in the national road-show production of the hip musical Your Own Thing. As video viewers who watched her saucy dance interpretation of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at April's Academy Awards presentations can testify, Paula does her own thing very well, indeed.
A Russian Cargo of manufactured products destined for Singapore leaves Vladivostok. Unbeknown even to the highest officials, about one ton of gold granules is hidden somewhere aboard ship. Despite strict supervision at loading and unloading, the Russian gold will wind up in a Malaysian or Indonesian bank that will pay for it in hard currency (perhaps Deutsche marks or Swiss francs) at higher than the U. S. official price--probably as much as $50 an ounce.
When this opens, I am M. O. D. (medical officer of the day) and this phone call comes through: An Eighth Cav. fire truck has just lost an argument with the Osaka Express. It's about ten o'clock on what has been a quiet Saturday evening. The voice is confused, but I pull through the static something about two bodies--condition unspecified--headed our way. Thanks for letting us know, Mac.
In front of the almond-paste architecture of the Excelsior Palace hotel on the Lido in Venice, the orchestra plays on the terrace above the beach. Two young couples dance, the kind of dancing that looks like arguments between peddlers on a busy street corner. The terrace is almost empty. In other years at this hour, six in the evening, no chair was vacant. The Adriatic murmurs at the rows of cabanas--tents that look as though they have been arranged for a medieval tournament. The sky is soft, mid-ocean gray. Far out, the horizon is ambiguous. A cargo vessel seems to be floating several hundred feet in the air. A waiter comes out with the specialty of the season, a drink called a Bellini, fresh peaches mixed in a blender and laced with champagne. A bearded young man confers in a corner with two longhaired contemporaries over an announcement to the press denouncing the management of the XXIX Mostra Internazionale D'Arte Cinematografica of Venice as bourgeois and anti-cultural. The festival has opened two days late, a year ago this month, and nearly hasn't opened at all because of demonstrations and a belligerent Sorbonne-type sit-in. Policemen prowl before the Lido Palace. Six hundred other policemen are bivouacked nearby, ready to charge if any lovers of the seventh art are carried away by an excess of enthusiasm. Detectives with pistols bulging under sports jackets patrol the bar, the dining room and the corridors of the hotel. Posters advertising a movie glorifying Ché Guevara are pasted on fences all over the Lido, as are other posters exhorting the merchants of Venice to unite to fight the saboteurs of the festival who are taking the bread and butter out of the merchants' mouths. There are no yachts in the harbor. The Czechoslovakian entries have won most of the prizes for short subjects, but most of the Czechs have gone home to face the Russian tanks in Prague. The orchestra goes on to another number. A singer intones in French, "Que c'est triste, Venise."
The man about bar who in other months professes no more than a passing interest in the alcohol-by-volume content of his drinks often becomes keenly proof conscious in the summer. 'Tis the season when "cool" and "kick" have to be weighed carefully in the balance, so that the potable fits the clime.
It was a middle-class apartment in Forest Hills with all the standard stuff: slash-pine couch by Lady Yogina, strobe reading light over a big Uneasy Chair designed by Sri Some-thingorother, bounce-sound projector playing Blood-Stream Patterns by Drs. Molidoff and Yuli. There was also the usual microbiotic-food console, set now at Fat Black Andy's Soul-Food Composition Number Three--hog's jowls and black-eyed peas. And there was a Murphy Bed of Nails, the Beautyrest Expert Ascetic model with 2000 chrome-plated self-sharpening number-four nails. In a sentence, the whole place was furnished in a pathetic attempt at last year's moderne-spirituel fashion.
Committed though she is to helping her generation unwind our uptight society, 21-year-old Debbie Hooper proves that one needn't storm the barricades to qualify as a liberated--and liberating--spirit. She supported Senator Eugene McCarthy's bid for the Presidency and was left "brokenhearted" by his defeat at last year's Democratic National Convention, but Debbie--who's currently studying philosophy and sculpture at San Fernando Valley State College--tries hard to avoid the politics of confrontation on campus. "Some of the radicals' demands are good and some are bad," she says, "but they ruin their chances for success with the tactics they use. What kind of education can anybody get when you close the school?" Debbie's personal morality has been strongly influenced by Ayn Rand's objectivism: "It makes sense to live for yourself, because self-love is the basis for all love"; and her attitude toward sex is unabashedly anarchistic: "Sex should be totally spontaneous and consenting adults should be allowed to do whatever they wish. A good relationship doesn't always need a long period of time to develop, and when you get zapped immediately by someone's charisma, your instincts are right more often than not." Irked by middle-aged advertising copywriters "who make egg rolls look erotic but worry about what sex is doing to their children," Debbie also looks askance at contemporaries who abhor conformity "but wish they had XK-Es and houses in Big Sur." Not that her anti-materialism is dogmatic: "I know I can live without too many possessions, but happiness is what counts, and most people need a few nonessential comforts in order to be happy." For Debbie, those nonessentials include eye-catching outfits; she favors bell-bottoms and--for the beach--leather bikinis, as small as the law permits ("if you have to wear one at all"). While Debbie uses her wardrobe as a colorful medium of self-expression, she prefers to be an appreciative spectator when it comes to painting: "The work of some artists, especially Chagall and Beardsley, really turns me on. Even though I do get ideas of my own sometimes, I lose them when I try to put them down on canvas or paper." If she could have any fantasy come true, Debbie would like to be an out-of-sight songstress: "a combination of Billie Holiday and Barbra Streisand, perhaps." The Beatles are indisputably tops among the pops, as far as she's concerned, but Debbie also responds to the pulsating sound of Creedence Clearwater Revival, a West Coast rock-and-soul combo: "Their beat always puts my body in motion." Debbie's taste in drama is relatively conventional; underground films tend to leave her cold ("Why pretend to like something you didn't even understand?"); she generally prefers to get involved in more romantic tales; and Camelot is her favorite film. The prospect of emoting in movies herself holds no special attraction for Miss August, who has acted successfully in a few stage plays; she worries that "my identity might dissolve" if she were immersed in the Hollywood whirlpool. We're completely convinced, however, that Debbie would continue to be her own unpretentious self in any milieu.
In scene six of Mysteries and Smaller Pieces, one of four spectacles that the Living Theater presented on its recent cross-country tour, mainly before university audiences, six actors assumed the lotus position near the footlights and violently blew their noses without handkerchiefs. Some used their fingers, some used nothing. They made quite a mess of their faces. ("For God's sake," yelled a spectator at MIT, "take Dristan!") Presently, a seventh actor unrolled a roll of toilet paper, ripped off long strips, handed them around, and they all blew into these for a while.
Yugoslavia last summer attracted more tourists than Spain, and for good cause: The nation's Adriatic coast line is an enticing 450-mile expanse of beaches, beaches and more beaches. Although Split and Dubrovnik receive the lion's share of coastal vacationers, the country's dozens of nude-sun-bathing settlements along the Adriatic are rapidly attracting the uninhibited sun set from all over the world. LeRoy Neiman, Playboy's artist on the move, recently made the bare and boisterous Yugoslavian beach scene, and reports: "In America, nudist culture is still considered a kookie pursuit. Having experienced it, however, I can only say it was a thorough delight. I found it really refreshing to be baked by the sun and then totally cooled by the sea breeze. For an artist, a nudist beach provides a fascinating scene; there's a wonderful variety of living forms in shades of curry and apricot. The climate on the coast allows sun bathers to head for the beach each year from about May first through the middle of October, and by mid-July, most of the nudists have acquired their allover tans. Fashion, as it does on beaches all over the world, plays a part there. Women display a tremendous variety of headgear and ingeniously decorate themselves with color, in the forms of bright lipsticks, flowers and ribbons. The nude beaches are permissive in the sense that men who occasionally become sexually aroused in public aren't given more than passing notice. The state allows only couples and families to enter. Solo sun bathers circumvent this rule, however, by paddling close to shore in kayaks and then swimming in unobserved. Except for water sports, indolence--sitting, lying down or just standing--is the order of the day, although I noticed one hyperactive volleyball (continued on page 198) Man at his Leisure (continued from page 128) group that was more animated than a Pepsi TV commercial. Nudists usually look, better from a distance than they do close up, but I did come across a great many attractive people in the course of my sketching. Although Yugoslavia's nudists are leery of having their photographs taken--just as in the West, friends, relatives and employers may disapprove of the au naturel ethic--they don't object to being sketched; but more often than not, they are either too theatrical in the way they strike poses or too self-conscious. Playboy, incidentally, was well known to many of the nudists, as was its Editor-Publisher, Mr. 'Hafner.' "
Into each Life, it is said, some rain must fall. Some people have bad horoscopes; others take tips on the stock market. McNamara created the TFX and the Edsel. American politics has George Wallace. But Indians have been cursed above all other people in history. Indians have anthropologists.
As most of the world can testify, the best-known product of Detroit is the automobile. Gallons of ink, miles of video tape, tons of color film and countless man-hours of creative effort by the highest-priced brains of Madison Avenue are all expended on the annual effort to keep it that way. We'll agree that cars are great, but the admen ought to rearrange their priorities. By rights, the most celebrated resource of Detroit should be its girls, both natives and imports. They're beautiful. For proof, you have only to stop in at 1014 East Jefferson Avenue, the Motor City's Playboy Club and the rabbitat of a group of lovelies whose sleek lines, impressive upholstery, varied options and all-round excellence of performance surpass anything the Big Three's stylists ever conceived on their drawing boards. They're the eye-filling Bunnies of Detroit--72 percent of them horn and raised right in the city or its environs. (When you add the girls who were born elsewhere but have lived ill Detroit since kindergarten days, the percentage nears 90.)
Alys, wife of the Master Cooper, was a fine, buxom, fair-haired, rosy-faced wench with strong blood and sharp appetites. Willem, her husband, was lean, saturnine, low of stature, afraid of many things and not much of a success in his trade. Marriages are made in heaven, but, as they say, sometimes even God sneezes--which was the only way to explain the mating of Alys and Willem.