Is homosexuality more widespread in the U. S. today than it was a decade or two ago, or has it simply attained greater visibility? That's the first question faced by this month's Playboy Panel, and it leads into a wide-open discussion by 11 experts of varied sexual and psychosociological backgrounds. America's attitudes toward sex, A.C. or D.C., may be becoming liberalized, but political liberalism is moribund--the victim of arteriosclerosis--according to writer Jack Newfield. Newfield's article, The Death of Liberalism, will appear, in slightly different form, as an introduction to his book, Bread and Roses Too, to be published by E. P. Dutton this month. A powerful performance as the chauvinistic, archconservative General George S. Patton has made George C. Scott a front-runner for an Academy Award --which we hope he won't refuse in advance, as he did in 1961. Scott, a consummate actor and a compelling personality, is revealingly portrayed by Saul Braun in Great Scott! Both Braun and his subject are due for fresh exposure this fall; Scott as star of Universal's They Might Be Giants and Braun as author of a book of essays titled, he solemnly affirms, Square America and Son of Square America Together Again for the First Time on This Continent (Dial). In his article Sixth Sense, free-lancer Jules Siegel delves into the world of ESP and related phenomena. The girl he calls "C. Jolly" in his opening paragraph has since become Mrs. Siegel; their first child is due in May, and his precognitive intuition is that it'll be a boy. Illustrating Sixth Sense are six original sculptures by Iranian-born Chicago artist Parviz Sadighian. Even eerier than telepathy is the perception that dawns gradually-- and terrifyingly--on the hero of Richard Matheson's Duel, who is pursued by a mysterious adversary seemingly bent on highway homicide. Associate Editor David Stevens describes roadway mania of another sort in Baja's Queasy Rider, his first-person account of the grueling Mexican 1000 auto race. Associate Travel Editor Reg Potterton admits he researched his companion piece, Baja--The Other California, at a more leisurely pace. "I caught a 150-pound marlin off Cabo San Lucas," he reports. "My biggest previous catch had been a two-ounce gudgeon in the Thames." Neither Stevens nor Potterton is fluent in Spanish, but they had less linguistic difficulty in Mexico than a fictional Chief Executive encounters with his bumbling answering service in Dan Greenburg's Mister Noxon's Lockets--and considerably less cultural shock than Zubin Mehta experienced with Frank Zappa, et al., as recounted by F. P. Tullius in Zubin and the Mothers. Greenburg has just finished his first movie role, as editor of the Tombstone Epitaph in Frank Perry's Doc (to be released by United Artists in May). Tullius, a knowledgeable observer of the hip scene, makes his Playboy debut, appropriately enough, in an issue that also includes a wonderfully wacky hip quiz devised by staffers Craig Vetter and David Standish. An ingenious burglarproofing ploy is developed by Warner Law in The Harry Hastings Method. Law says about his story: "Since this will probably be read by a few burglars, I wish it known that I do not live in the geographical area described in the story, and there is nothing of the slightest value in my house except for my collection of puff adders, which I let roam loose." Paul Theroux depicts a far-out beauty contest in The Miss Malawi Contest, which--with December 1970's Santa Claus in the Jungle--will appear in his novel Jungle Lovers (Houghton Mifflin). Beauty, American style, is lavishly displayed in Vadim's "Pretty Maids," a pictorial essay in which film maker Vadim Plemiannikow, better known as Roger Vadim, reminisces about the women in his life--from Brigitte Bardot to those in his first U. S. made movie, MGM's Pretty Maids All in a Row. Natalie Wood's sister Lana shows hitherto unrevealed talents (as well as a good deal of herself) in The Well-Versed Lana Wood--with poems from a collection soon to be published. Contributing Editor Tomi Ungerer is also awaiting book publication; his The Beast of Monsieur Racine is due in May from Farrar, Straus & Giroux. "It's for children, and a bit outrageous," says Ungerer, whose current Playboy offering is Spring Rites. And finally, there's Robert L. Green's Spring and Summer Fashion Forecast, rounding out an April package that, we trust, will efficaciously exorcise the winter blahs.
Playboy, April, 1971, volume 18, number 4. Published monthly by Playboy Enterprises, Inc., Playboy Building, 919 North Michigan Avenue, 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 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60611, and allow 30 days for change. Marketing: Nelson Futch, Promotion Director; Lee Gottlieb, Director of Public Relations. Advertising: Howard W. Lederer, Advertising Director: Jules Kase, Joseph Guenther, Associate Advertising Managers, 405 Park Avenue, New York, New York 10022; Sherman Keats, Chicago Manager, 919 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60611; Detroit, Robert A. McKenzie, Manager, 2990 West Grand Boulevard; Los Angeles, Stanley L. Perkins, Manager, 8721 Beverly Boulevard; San Francisco, Robert E. Stephens, Manager, 110 Sutter Street; Southeastern Representative, Pirnie & Brown, 3108 Piedmont Road, N.E., Atlanta, Georgia 30305.
With commendable fervor, the U.S. Postal Service has girded its loins, adrenalized its personnel and computerized its operations to assure a new kind of nondelivery--in this case, of mail that appeals to "prurient" interests. As reported in last month's Forum Newsfront, a citizen no longer must decide for himself what junk-mail advertisements offend him and then call the Post Office to demand the removal of his name from such mailing lists. Though he still may do this, the new Postal Reorganization Act of 1970 now invites him to merely advise the postmaster that he wishes to receive no "sexually oriented" mail whatsoever and his problem, theoretically, is solved. Once a month, the Postal Service will publish an up-to-date list of those who have written in with that request. The trouble with the old law was that too many people were finding all junk mail offensive, as was their legal right, and they were making themselves a thorough nuisance to Government grayfaces. (Some people declared they found grocery-store ads erotic; others complained of receiving "obscene" material--draft notices--from the Selective Service System.) Now the responsibility has been shifted from the citizen to the direct-mail advertiser, who must decide for himself if he is pandering and, if so, strike from his mailing lists the names of those who don't wish to receive his missives.
Barbara W. Tuchman's new work, Stilwell and the American Experience in China (Macmillan), ranks with her The Guns of August--no small praise. She's clearly enchanted by the legendary Vinegar Joe, the caustic, tactless, stubborn but valiant general who slogged alongside his foot soldiers through the blood, mud and rain of the terrible China-Burma-India campaigns. To a degree unmatched by any other major American figure, Stilwell's career was intertwined with the emergence of China as a unified, modern state. As a young and a middle-aged officer, he served in China for many years and, impatient with the pre-War cocktail-party set, journeyed, often on foot, through vast areas of the mainland. Fluent in several Chinese dialects, with an unequaled knowledge of the country and a brilliant strategic sense. Stilwell had the discouraging task in wartime of persuading the "G-mo," Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, to commit his enormous armies to the collective effort to defeat the Japanese. But Chiang simply did not want to fight them. His intention was to allow one barbarian nation to defeat the other, while he hoarded men and American military supplies for the post-War struggle with the Chinese Communists. This might have been brilliant gamesmanship if Chiang had not been so capricious, so corrupt, so incompetent and, worst of all, so badly informed about his own country that he was unaware that his regime, despite enormous American assistance, was collapsing all around him. Mrs. Tuchman brings this scenario to vivid life, from Stilwell's early days in China to his last, when he could see the United States sliding ineluctably toward the post-War commitments to Asia that landed us in the jungles of Vietnam.
"God Almighty rubbish!" said Leo Stein, as sister Gertrude nurtured her idiosyncratic muse. He was so incensed by her moony writing style and loony coterie that he took all his pictures and moved out, thus beginning the dispersal of one of the most remarkable collections--next to Havemayer or Guggenheim--in the history of modern art. By the painstaking examination of old photographs of the Stein apartments. New York's Museum of Modern Art has reconstructed the collection and, after a sensational debut in New York, "Four Americans in Paris: The Collections of Gertrude Stein and Her Family," is traveling to Baltimore, San Francisco and Ottawa. The 225 paintings, drawings, photographs and sculptures are as noteworthy for their collectors as for their creators. In the first years of this century, Leo and Gertrude set up housekeeping at 27 Rue de Fleurus (Alice B. Toklas moved in only some years later), while their brother Michael and his wife Sarah lived around the corner on Rue Madame. Everybody who later turned out to be somebody visited their salons, and the walls were covered with examples of new works by Picasso, Matisse, Gris, Cézanne, Renoir, Manet, et al. Gertrude has gotten most of the credit for their discoveries and acquisitions, but all the Steins collected with fervor and fierce partisanship. Gertrude identified herself primarily with Picasso; Michael and Sarah with Matisse (who once said that Sarah understood more about his work than he did); and Leo with Cézanne and Renoir, all of whose work from the family collection he took with him when he left. The result of these highly individual tastes is stunning, conveying in full force the heady creative climate of Paris at the turn of the century. Witness to the connection between collectors and collected are the large number of portraits of the Steins themselves--not only the famous Picasso of Gertrude in Spanish style but others by Matisse, Picabia, Tchelitchew, Vallotton, Lipchitz and Davidson. Then there are the collectors' writings. Here is Gertrude on Picasso: "Something had been coming out of him, certainly it had been coming out of him, certainly it was something, certainly it had been coming out of him and it had meaning, a charming meaning, a solid meaning, a struggling meaning, a clear meaning." And of Picasso's famous portrait of her, she wrote in her inimitable way, "For me, it is I, and it is the only reproduction of me which is always I, for me." A remarkable quartet, the Steins: separate voices, but complementary, adventurous, exuberant, observant and assured. Art collecting, the way they did it, was indeed a creative act.
Love is the magic ingredient of Promise at Dawn. Not everyday passion, but that pristine, once-in-a lifetime romance between a boy and his mother, based in this case on novelist Romain Gary's nostalgic tribute to Nina, his indomitable mater, a Russian-born actress and madcap whose life was a series of flamboyant disguises. Playing all of Nina's parts--star, seamstress, taxi driver, tour guide and con artist--Melina Mercouri outcamps and outclasses Auntie Mame in the first screen assignment to match her talent since Never on Sunday. A battle scarred but unsinkable beauty, Melina dominates her handsome surroundings no matter where the film takes her--from queening it on a movie set in snowy Leningrad to peddling snapshots of tourists on the sparkling Côte d'Azur. Producer-director-adapter Jules Dassin (Mercouri's husband in private life), best known as the man behind Never on Sunday and Topkapi, also plays a small role as the hammy Russian movie idol who appears to be Romain's absentee father, and plays it surprisingly well, though, for reasons of his own, under an assumed name. Last but by no means least of the three young actors who portray Romain up to the age of 25 is Assaf Dayan, son of Israeli defense minister Moshe. It's some boyhood, growing from prepuberty to moderate sex mania under the eagle eyes of an unpaid servant (charmingly played by Greek character actress Despo) and a mother who vows to make her offspring great. "It is decided ... you are going to Berlin to assassinate Hitler," Momma decrees at one juncture, and never lives to know that her son the writer does, indeed, one day become a War hero as well as a French diplomat. In this post-Freudian age, to celebrate such motherly devotion as a source of strength rather than a prelude to homosexual hang-ups is both refreshing and courageous.
John Lennon's latest solo effort, John Lennon / Plastic Ono Band (Apple), is much more of a personal statement than anything he ever did with the Beatles. Accompanied by music that is honed to the barest essentials, the lyrics are so simple as to almost be inane, but they do manage to deliver just enough to provide basic, beautiful communication. The cut that stands out is God, which seems to be an obituary for the whole Beatles trip and the audience that followed along in their footsteps. A string of "I don't believe in __________" (fill in the blank) is ended with "Beatles" and this is followed shortly by "The dream is over. / What can I say? / The dream is over. / Yesterday / I was the dreamweaver / But now I'm reborn. / I was the walrus / But now I'm John. / And so, dear friends, you just have to carry on. / The dream is over." It's been said that John became bitter after his mother died and his father deserted him when he was young. and the opening and ending cuts of the album concern this traumatic event in Lennon's life. Mother fades out with pleading shrieks of "Mama don't go / Daddy come home," and on My Mummy's Dead, Lennon takes the voice of a child to recite a truth he's trying to accept.
A black-theater movement is erupting across the country--and it has nothing to do with the blind passions of Shakespeare's Othello, the voodoo mysticism of Eugene O'Neill's The Emperor Jones or the fish-fry-in-the-sky whimsy of Marc Connelly's Green Pastures. Its concerns are repression in Mississippi, turmoil in Harlem, racial injustice in Africa. As black poet Larry Neal sees it, "Black art is the spiritual sister of the black-power concept." Art intertwined with militant sociology has honorable antecedents. The Industrial Revolution produced Dickens; the Irish revolution of the 1920s produced Sean O'Casey; the proletarian movement in the U. S. during the 1930s produced Clifford Odets. It's probably too much to expect that any of the current black-activist playwrights will attain the niche of an O'Casey or even of an Odets, but there are some promising talents around. Charles Gordone won the 1970 Pulitzer Prize for No Place to Be Somebody, a seething if sometimes confused portrait of black racism. Gordone's award was widely taken to be the Pulitzer committee's way of according delayed recognition to such playwright as LeRoi Jones (Dutchman, The Slave), Ed Bullins (The Electronic Nigger, Clara's Old Man), James Baldwin (Blues for Mister Charlie, The Amen Corner) and a growing list that includes the late Lorraine Hansberry, Douglas Turner Ward, Lonne Elder III, Adrienne Kennedy and Ben Caldwell. Their works are regularly performed in some 40 playhouses from coast to coast, ranging in age and size from Cleveland's elaborate Karamu House Theater, founded in 1915, to countless small groups that spring up in storefronts and churches in major cities. Among the newer theaters, two are especially noteworthy. The Free Southern Theater, founded in 1963 and based in New Orleans, tours small black communities in the South. The off-Broadway Negro Ensemble Company, founded in 1968, is a more professional group that has won considerable attention. Other well-known companies are the New Lafayette Theater and the National Black Theater in Harlem, Concept East in Detroit, Spirit House in Newark, The Inner City Repertory Company in Los Angeles and Aldridge Players/West in San Francisco. Fired with zeal and firm in its refusal to pull punches in the attack on Whitey, black theater has become a target of critics who contend that up-against-the-wall exhortations make poor art as well as bad race relations. A number of critics generally sympathetic to black-theater aims were disturbed, for example, by the rampant racism in Joseph A. Walker's Ododo, a musical produced by the Negro Ensemble Company, and appalled by Miss Hansberry's Les Blancs, produced posthumously on Broadway, which advocated genocide of nonblacks as a solution to the race problem. Black playwrights counter that their works are intended for black audiences and that white critics are not qualified to evaluate them. Their shrill tone of protest, they feel, is a natural outgrowth of the traumatic experience of black people in America. Clayton Riley, a black critic, sums it up this way: "We have a rich, albeit anguished legacy to call upon when we choose--onstage or anywhere else--to tell one another about ourselves."
Upon graduation from college, I intend to become a high school teacher--which was fine with the girl I had hoped to marry; she understood full well that members of this profession seldom get rich. Unfortunately, her attitude toward me was not shared by the rest of her family, with whom I recently spent a weekend. They didn't like my hair, they didn't like my clothes, they didn't like my idea of becoming a teacher; they told me I was trying to marry above my station and that I could never give my girl the things she's accustomed to in life. Later, they told my girl they never wanted to see me in their house again. As a result, she's broken the engagement. Is there anything I can do?--E. D., San Jose, California.
At the Age of Nine, when most young girls are playing with dolls and exploring the neighborhood on bicycles, Lana Wood was a professional movie actress--filling juvenile roles in films that starred her older sister Natalie. Following in her famous sibling's footsteps began to pall as Lana reached her mid-teens and she went to work at sales and secretarial jobs--until one day in 1964 when Lana, then 18, was offered a supporting role in a television episode of Dr. Kildare. "After the first day's shooting, I realized that acting was what I really wanted," Lana recalls. So she chucked her steno pad and plunged into TV full time, landing a succession of meaty parts, including 14 months as a resident of Peyton Place. Despite her ongoing record of independent achievement--she'll guest on a David Janssen-series pilot film this fall--Lana is still more often than not referred to as "Natalie Wood's little sister." Sister she is, but Lana's a big girl now and a versatile one as well. Her newest interest is writing highly personal and stylized poems--five of which we publish here for the first time, accompanied by photos of their bountifully gifted author.
In the last week of April, on a Saturday night in Blantyre, the Miss Malawi Contest was held. Sponsored by Ambi Creams, Ltd., a Rhodesian skin-lightener manufacturer, it was an annual affair: Every year, Miss Malawi won a cash prize and several cases of Ambi and was flown to London in June to compete against Miss Gambia, Miss Pakistan and the others for the Miss Commonwealth crown. There was always the possibility of being sent later to the Miss Universe Contest in Miami. But that eventuality was so remote it was not spoken about, and locally the contest was seen as a political struggle. It was invested with all the authority of folk tradition: "What will happen when the old man goes?" was answered with, "Who was Miss Malawi last year?" Before anyone had heard of Hastings Osbong, the girl who was crowned Miss Nyasaland Protectorate was seen being squired around Blantyre by a talkative little man with a facial tic and always in a natty suit. The white settlers took, no notice; they had their own beauty queens, elected at the sports clubs and agricultural shows, Miss Rugger and Miss Groundnut. But most Africans guessed that, at independence, Dr. Osbong, the homburg-wearing companion of Miss Nyasaland Protectorate, would be the first president. This augury confirmed, a tradition was born and many of the cabinet ministers used the Miss Malawi competition to test their influence. Entering their girlfriends in it was regarded as something like fighting a by-election in a stubbornly mute constituency.
Now that the snow has all but left the slopes, and skis and parkas have been stashed until next winter, it's time for our annual prognostication on the spring and summer styles that will soon be appearing in men's stores and boutiques. As Playboy readers already know, the word fashion no longer denotes a rigidly regimented approach to attire. Today's males are enjoying an unprecedented sartorial freedom, creating a total look that's right for--and unique to--each individual. Cases in point: a tight-ribbed knit sweater worn with velvet jeans, a dark-blue knit suit tucked into lace-up boots or a zip-front suit worn with a scarf loosely knotted at the neck. The trick, of course, is to wear your selections with an air of studied informality. The majority of this summer's suits, we predict, will have a familiar cut: shaped, wide-lapelled and two-button. The look is reminiscent of the Thirties, but with an intangible contemporary touch imparted by the way colors are combined with fabrics: near-white in linens and cottons, and pastel (text continued on page 119) shades in tropical weights and denims. Each year, men's-clothing designers seem to "discover" a specific fabric and then spin off a variety of wearables from it. In the months ahead, you'll see an increasing number of items made from three materials: linen, canvas and denim. All three, you'll notice, have two things in common: a look of frontier simplicity and bleached earthy tones. When buying, pay particular attention to such details as contrasting stitching and suede, corduroy or polished-leather trim. Knit flared-leg slacks with matching jackets have been featured in men's stores over the past two years, more as a novelty item than as a serious consideration for your wardrobe. During the coming months, you'll note a profusion of well-tailored knits featuring a variety of jacket treatments that range from long tunics to waist-length Eisenhowers. Depending on the weather--and your build--they can be worn open at the neck, sans shirt, perhaps with a silk scarf or a piece of jewelry. Leather togs are now year-round favorites, with emphasis during the warm months, of course, on lighter skins. Hides and styles to look for this summer include soft suedes and smooth cabrettas cut into good-looking safari and double-breasted jackets, casual coats and slacks. Leather shirt suits similar to the one pictured on page 114 are also worth hunting for. And expect combinations of leather and crothet, leather patchwork and leather with applique treatment to gradually outdistance the ubiquitous fringed look, which, from all indications, is slowly drifting back toward its orginal home--on the range. The difference between a dress shirt and sport shirt, too, appears to be disappearing, as styles with longer collars and stronger designs are being worn either open neck or with a five-inch-wide cravat. Boutiques, we forese, will be quick to capitalize on this continued loosening of old-school-fashion ties by laying in ample supplies of bold-patterned shirts showcased next to stacks of solid shades. All--or almost all--should be eminently correct at work as well as at play. In swimwear, the current natatorial direction is toward the low-cut tank trunk, often made of colorful; quick-drying nylong tricot. So what are you waiting for? Get in the fashion swim.
Susie Plimson says I should keep on practicing my writing. She's been my teacher at Hollywood High Adult Education in the Professional Writing course and says I am still having trouble with my syntaxes and my tenses and very kindly gave me private lessons at her place, and she is dark-haired and very pretty and about my age (which is 25) and, in addition, she has great big boobs.
In The Film Funny Girl, it was abundantly apparent that Florenz Ziegfeld's formula for the Follies--in addition to an array of big-name stars--included a queen-sized regiment of chorus girls to complement the song-and-dance offerings of Fanny Brice, et al. One of the stunning chorines in that movie was 24-year-old Chris Cranston, who herewith makes a repeat appearance in Playboy; she debuted in our September 1968 Girls of "Funny Girl" feature. Soon after that first full-page exposure, she was signed as a regular on the Playboy After Dark TV show and her second career--modeling--began to take off meteorically in the Southern California area, where she was born and raised. Then came commercials and bit movie parts, plus an invitation to appear on a local Los Angeles TV talk show. It was in the course of that televised conversation that Chris learned of an upcoming U.S.O. troop-visiting tour of Vietnam. "What interested me particularly," she explains, "was that this wasn't the usual entertainers' whistle-stopping trip. Instead, the idea was to have us travel into isolated areas of the country, meet the guys stationed there and talk with them at length." For two and a half weeks, Chris and her group made helicopter forays into remote bases, where they entertained and chatted informally with GIs who were unaccustomed to any kind of friendly visitation. "Needless to say, they were delighted to see us." For Chris, however, the most indelible impressions of the journey resulted from her nonverbal but highly communicative exchanges with Vietnamese natives. "Through gestures, we were able to speak with one another quite easily. It was gratifying for me to be accepted by them. One old woman gave me a bracelet that signifies everlasting friendship, since it fits snugly and can't be removed. It's now one of my proudest possessions." Although her troupe was never actually fired upon, Chris does have one close call to relate. "After landing at a spot near Cao Lanh, we learned from the men that a helicopter trying to land just a few minutes before we arrived had been shot down. I'm really glad I didn't know that until we were on the ground." Wholly dovish in her opinions about the war when she signed up for the tour, Chris substantiated that assessment during her brief tour of duty. "I'm still against the war, but the troops I saw really helped the Vietnamese, who, consequently, loved the GIs." During her return trip to California, Chris landed in Hawaii for an R & R visit with former Los Angeles friends, who eloquently urged her to join them as a resident of the Islands. "But," she says, "my first impressions were negative. The parts I saw were quite commercialized." A recent return visit, at her friends' insistence, turned Chris around, however--particularly when she was introduced to the uniquely bohemian life style of Honolulu's North Shore, a mélange of canvas tents and psychedelically painted vans occupied by growing numbers of young people, mostly mainland emigrants, who enjoy a continuous diet of sun, sea and tropical fruit. "Seeing the informality of everything over there made me realize what a silly rat-race existence I've been leading. The North Shore way of life isn't like a commune. Most of the people work in Honolulu. But it's communal in the sense that many of them share their possessions: clothing, food, practically anything. I just can't wait to get back there to stay. I talked it over with my folks and they approve of the idea. That's important to me because I value their opinions." Chris is now in the midst of liquidating her Stateside assets, since she feels they would only clutter the simple life she'll soon be adopting. "Besides," she reasons pragmatically, "with the money I can get for my things, plus the amount I've already saved, I can buy a van and not have to work for a while. I'll stay in Hawaii for as long as the cash holds out." We predict her stay will be a long one, for the best things that await Chris in her new life--an idyllic environment and beachcombing camaraderie--are unconditionally free.
The attractive young thing was about to go to bed with her blind date for the evening when she burst into tears. "I'm afraid you'll get the wrong idea about me," she sobbed. "I'm really not that kind of girl."
In the film Patton, there is a mysterious, beautifully photographed scene in which the monomaniacal and supremely individualistic World War Two general, standing with an aide in a graveyard of war in North Africa, delivers this moving and evocative self-summation: "I fought and strove and perished countless times. ... As through a glass darkly the age-old strife I see. ... For I fought in many guises. ... Had many names. ... But always me."
Thirty years ago, when John Steinbeck returned home from a trip to the Baja peninsula in a Monterey fishing boat, he predicted that before very long this primeval finger of isolated Mexican territory would be transformed into another Florida resortland. It seemed a fairly safe prophecy, given the talent and proclivities of man for "improving" his natural environment, but Steinbeck's forecast proved unduly dire. Mercifully, this pristine land was regarded as irredeemable desert, and most of it has been almost completely neglected by developers. As far as the tourist business is concerned, the only centers of commercial hustle on the entire peninsula are Tijuana, Ensenada and Mexicali, all in northern Baja.
An on/off-road race held each year in Baja California, the Mexican 1000 has been called the most grueling run under the sun. Contestants driving dune buggies, souped-up trucks, motorcycles, four-wheel-drive jeeps and modified muscle cars, arnong the eight categories of vehicles, pit their machines--and their will to survive--against the 832 miles of road, most of it incredibly rough, that links Ensenada with La Paz. Despite stringent safety regulations and a demanding technical inspection, officials of the National Off Road Racing Association (NORRA), sponsor of the race, estimate that fewer than half of the 250 or so entries will finish. And some never come back. To add insult to possible injury, the first prize offered by NORRA is a paltry $2200, while the entry fee is a steep $350. Contingency prizes are also donated by various companies, among them Sears, to entrants equipped with their products who finish in the money, but the chances of winning any of this additional loot are slim, what with all the competition. Why, then, would anyone want to run the Baja? Obviously, because it's there. A land whose fame rests primarily on its impassable terrain must be challenged. There's a certain breed of rugged, possibly demented, individualist who can't think of all those enticing ruts and potholes without itching to get out and drive over them, preferably as fast as possible. Playboy's Associate Editor David Stevens is such a man. Not only has Stevens' face often been compared to five miles of bad road but his kamikaze driving style and uncanny ability to read a highway map turned upside down have earned him an unenviable reputation for machismo among fellow staffers. So when B.F. Goodrich invited a Playboy editor to compete in last November's Mexican 1000--riding in a dune buggy equipped with its radial-ply passenger-car tires and driven by one of the up-and-coming young hot dogs of off-road racing--Stevens was obviously the man for the job. His account of the assignment follows.
Once you've arranged for the prime ingredient in a stay-at-home weekend for two--a partner with whom you are as compatible as a chateaubriand with Chàteau Margaux--it's time to start thinking about the food and drink that will see you and your lady through the Friday-evening-to-Monday-morning activities with a minimum of bother and a maximum of flair. From the entertaining standpoint, your astutely chosen guest list of one means you're freed from the job of trying to match the disparate temperaments of the usual weekend-house-party guests, from thinking about your inventory of pillows and towels, the quantity of your bitters and limes, the cross-bedroom traffic patterns, the no-shows for Sunday breakfast and all the other ills to which weekend hosts are normally heir. However, even though your party is limited to an intimate twosome, it will require some preparation to set the stage.
Sitting here in California editing my first American film--Pretty Maids All in a Row--I find myself reflecting on my 12 preceding pictures and the women who have risen to stardom through them. Most of my films have been attacked or censored for their supposedly provocative content; but there has actually been less nudity in them than in many other films. Usually, however, their ambiance and their atmosphere are very erotic, even though people are dressed from neck to toe. If possible, I prefer to show an actress either completely naked or completely dressed; I always try to avoid that vulgar situation in which a woman is seen wearing only bra and panties. That's cheating the audience. Better to let the imagination work: An actress wearing a T-shirt with nothing underneath or moving under a sheet or outlined in shadow can be infinitely more suggestive.
The Moment He Saw her shoulders, the young Chevalier de Langevin forgot his habitual boredom. They were bare and incredibly white, the blanc de blancs of shoulders, with one butterfly-shaped beauty spot resting on the firm slope that descended to her decolletage. Her dress was the color of bright poppies, except for the band of gold at her bosom that held two crystal peepholes on either side. And gazing through the peepholes with a look of innocent curiosity were two pink, nipples. De Langevin could not see her whole face, because of the black fan she was holding up, but the eyes above it were sea green. He suddenly realized that all the other women he had loved were nothing but tones of brown or gray.
"I Learned to be very comfortable with my failures; I can do it with success, too--but it's tougher." Director Robert Altman, 46--a veteran of eight years of industrial-film making in his native Kansas City and of six behind television cameras, comaker of 1957's trail-blazing documentary The James Dean Story and free-lance author-scenarist-- has had plenty of failures to be comfortable about. "One of my pictures, Countdown, made in 1966, was, as far as I know, never shown except on TWA flights from Los Angeles to New York," he claims. Then, in 1970, came M. A. S. H., and suddenly its director was one of the movie industry's hottest properties. Altman's outlook is one of irrepressible irreverence--the quality that made M. A. S. H. a smash, but was less universally applauded in his latest offering, Brewster McCloud. Brewster, the story of a lad with an Icarus hang-up who constructs a set of wings in an unlikely hide-out--the fallout shelter of Houston's Astrodome--was intended by Altman to be "a contemporary cartoon essay"; some critics found its humor ham-handed. Altman himself, though staunchly defending his Brewster concept, believes his forthcoming work, The Presbyterian Church Wager, will be his best to date. "This film will make the other pictures I've been associated with look like home movies," he predicts. Wager, filmed in Canada, stars Warren Beatty as a tinhorn gambler and his offscreen inamorata, Julie Christie, as a Cockney whore in a decrepit mining town. Altman's next project may be one of his own screenplays. He's been writing since World War Two, except for one period in New York when he had to take a job tattooing canine I. D.s. We doubt Altman will need to use that skill again--unless he decides to make it the protagonist's profession in one of his far-out films.
Soul-Shouting Together has been Ike and Tina Turner's bag since 1956, when Tina mounted the stage from the audience one night in St. Louis, took, the microphone despite Ike's protests and sang lead for his Kings of Rhythm. Ike liked what he heard and took Tina on as a regular, changing her first name from Ann and altering her surname, Bullock, by marrying her a year later. Born in Clarksdale, Mississippi, Ike had organized his first band at the age of 11 and later put together the Kings, recording a rhythm-and-blues hit, Rocket 88. "It was a big financial score," says Ike, "but some dude at the record company beat me and I only got $40 for writing, producing and recording it, and so I took the Kings on the road." And so he met Tina, who was living with her sister in St. Louis. Born in Brownsville, Tennessee, Tina grew up in Knoxville, where she sang in Gospel choirs and talent shows. Today, Ike and Tina Turner play Las Vegas hotels and rock festivals as well as soul-circuit auditoriums and live--when they're home--in a $100,000 house in View Park, a hilly section of Los Angeles. Maintaining their prosperity by touring, they earn as much as $15,000 per appearance with an act that is solid, Gospel-drenched rhythm and blues, ribbed with a rock beat and a galvanic sexuality belted out by Tina. The Ike and Tina Turner Revue includes a proficient eight-man band led by Ike on guitar and a black go-go-girl trio choreographed by Tina, who also dances--springing onstage like a lioness in heat, writhing and twisting sensuously, caramel legs flashing, tawny mane flying. Although Ike and Tina have run practically the gamut of major record labels in recording their 15 albums--the latest is Working Together--and 60 singles, live shows are their forte and what they take greatest pride in. Says Ike: "We're just doing our best to give the people their money's worth of what they came to see--entertainment, man, entertainment."
The 1970 Mid-Term Elections were notable mostly for the candidates' mind-boggling advertising expenditures and the Administration's frenetic--and largely futile--efforts in behalf of its favorites. One race, however, the campaign for Massachusetts' Third Congressional District, was widely followed for a special and singular reason: the ultimately successful candidacy of a Jesuit priest, Father Robert Drinan, dean of the Boston College law school, who sought public office because, he said, "As a person, as a lawyer, as a Christian, I feel compelled to speak out," Clearly, the district's predominantly suburban constituency liked what he had to say, especially his firm views on Vietnam (he wants out). He was ably assisted by a large group of highly organized young volunteers, whose feelings about their candidate were best expressed in a jubilant election-night victory placard: Our Father who art in Congress. Father Drinan was an indefatigable campaigner--which hardly came as a surprise to those familiar with his many activities in the academic and clerical communities. He has written numerous legal and religious essays, served as editor of Family Law Quarterly, was appointed to a team, sponsored by the pacifist Fellowship of Reconciliation, that is studying South Vietnam's controversial treatment of anti-government prisoners and has authored such seminal books as Democracy, Dissent and Disorder and Vietnam and Armageddon. Father Drinan will be the first priest ever to hold voting status in Congress.(A priest from Michigan Territory served as a nonvoting House member in 1823.) But if the number of clerics who ran for office in 1970--two dozen--indicates a significant trend, he will doubtless be followed by others who view politics as an opportunity to turn pious pulpit homilies into effective social legislation, an estimable goal toward which he has been working--religiously--since last September's primary.