Used to be that what everybody talked (and did nothing) about was the weather. Then it was Watergate, then the energy crisis. People finally did start to do something about Watergate, and now others are starting to uncover the fraud--and the frightening truth--behind the energy crisis. One of these is environmentalist Barry Commoner, interviewed this month by Larry DuBois. Commoner, who believes it's a scientist's duty to expose as well as to research, often sounds like a crusading journalist in the grand old muckraking tradition--or the grand new muckraking tradition represented herein by Robert Sherrill, whose No Success like Failure is a damning portrait of the head of the CIA. "To most of us reporters," says Sherrill, "an institution like the CIA presents a solid wall you can't penetrate. You break through by finding the feuding elements; there's always somebody who wants to stab his boss in the back." The walls Sherrill has been boring through lately are those of the oil industry. Told that Commoner, in the Playboy Interview, attacks petroleum magnates, Sherrill cracked: "Good! I'll steal some of his stuff for my new book." Even in Russia, reports novelist Herbert Gold (back from a trip he'll describe in a future Playboy), everybody's discussing--you guessed it--the phoniness of the oil shortage. Gold's piece this time is Winter of '73, a sort of fictionalized memoir.
Playboy, July, 1974, Volume 21, Number 7, Published Monthly by Playboy, Playboy Building, 919 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60611. Subscriptions: In the United States, its Possessions and Canada, $24 for three years, $18 for two years, $10 for one year, elsewhere $15 per year. 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: Robert A. Gutwillig, Marketing Director; Emery Smyth, Marketing Services Director; Nelson Futch, Marketing Manager; Lee Gottlieb, Director of Public Relations. Advertising: Howard W. Lederer, Advertising Director: Herbert D. Maneloveg. Associate Advertising Director: Jules Kase, Joseph Guenther, Associate Advertising Managers, 747 Third Avenue, New York, New York 10017; Chicago, Sherman Keats, Manager, 919 North Michigan Avenue; Detroit, William F. Moore, Manager, 818 Fisher Building; Los Angeles, Stanley L. Perkins, Manager, 8721 Beverly Boulevard; San Francisco, Robert E. Stephens, Manager, 417 Montgomery Street; Southeastern Representative, Pirnie & Brown, 3108 Piedmont Road, N. E., Atlanta, Georgia 30305.
Police in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, rushed to a suburban home and found a man and his wife handcuffed together in the nude, with the husband extremely angry at his dog. The couple explained to police they had been "fooling around" with a pair of handcuffs and had locked each other to a ceiling-high bookcase. The husband had dropped the handcuff key and his dog had picked it up and swallowed it. "I feel like kicking the hell out of that dog," the nude man remarked.
Hey, Lenny! Did you see the new book they did, Ladies and Gentlemen--Lenny Bruce!! (Random House)? Some professor wrote it. Albert Goldman--you remember the guy, lectured at Columbia, wrote for The Nation, Harper's, The New Republic, The New York Times Magazine. Used to hang around the Village with all those other writers who wanted to be comics. It was when you had your grief with the heat--every time you went in the slammer, those guys signed a petition. They were all on your side.
Bill Farley of Phoenix, Arizona: For his contribution in the field of advanced weaponry. The 78-year-old former cutler singlehandedly built, over a period of 15 years, the largest jackknife in history. It measures ten feet from tip to handle when opened, weighs 27 pounds, has four blades and is completely useless.
Jean Leon's La Scala Boutique at the corner of Beverly Drive and Santa Monica Boulevard is tantamount to a way of life in Beverly Hills. It's easy to get hooked on the intime deli-cum-dining-room atmosphere. Salamis and provolone cheeses hang from the ceiling, along with a glittering crystal chandelier. Wines and table delicacies from France and Italy crowd the tops of booths and jam the shelves. Caricatures of Streisand, Hepburn, Brando and Garland line the walls while hopeful thespians, models, designers and pretty local shopkeepers line the tables, occasionally dining next to Streisand, Candy Bergen, Diana Ross or Natalie Wood. Even the late Mike Romanoff loved to luncheon here and gallantly would sip a La Tâche 1959 and nibble a wedge of camembert with host Leon, who also owns La Scala restaurant next door. At noontime, diners devour the spectacular sandwiches made by Adolph Honig--creations of imported Genoa or German salami, Chicago pastrami, Nova Scotia salmon, caviar and cream cheese, ham and pâté de maison. The salads, which more and more appear to be a mainstay of the Southern Californian's midday world, are addictive--notably, the "gourmet" salad with julienne snippets of Genoa salami and mozzarella cheese, plus a medley of garbanzo beans, tomatoes, olives, peperoncini and lettuce, all finely chopped and mixed with a bright, herb-laced Italian dressing. Then there is the pasta. Only De Cecco pasta from Italy is served, and a first course of chef Emilio Nunez' vermicelli with tomato sauce can be a poetic experience. Fresh tomatoes and basil, a touch of shallots and olive oil--that's all Emilio uses in his sauce, which is a pale coral color, with a sweetly delicate taste, and not the fire-engine-red Neapolitan variety. A second course might well be Emilio's vitèllo tonnato. White Wisconsin veal is cooked, chilled and served with a creamy-thick tuna sauce, along with several stalks of cold asparagus. Then a slice of imported brie and several leaves from the heart of romaine sprinkled with a gentle oil-and-lemon dressing. For dessert: Emilio's homemade vanilla ice cream with fresh raspberries or strawberries bathed in a hooker of Amaretto, that love potion of a liqueur made from almonds. Finally, an espresso--dark, rich, thick and settling. It might be noted that Leon's wine cellar is among the largest in the United States; in addition to collecting fine wines, he also owns 450 premium vineyard acres near Barcelona. Although the Boutique's wine selections are limited, Adolph, who manages the Boutique, and Pierrette, who heads the staff of waitresses, can be persuaded to find a prize wine or two from La Scala's cellar. La Scala's wine list runs to 25 pages and there are numerous California whites and reds, ranging from Beaulieu's Cabernet Sauvignon to Mondavi's Fumé Blanc. The Boutique is open from 11:30 A.M. to 9 P.M. No reservations; first come, first served. La Scala, at 9455 Santa Monica Boulevard, is open for lunch from 11 to 3; dinner from 5:30 to midnight. Reservations imperative (213-275-0579). Both are closed Sunday. Most credit cards accepted.
Demolition derbies are dumb. What's the point of paying to watch a couple of Chevys bang each other into heaps of scrap metal when you can see the same show for free on the expressway? Well, in Brazil, you might just get converted. There, both driving and soccer come under the heading of religion, not pastimes, and Brazilians have managed to combine the two into something they call Autobol--soccer played by cardriving maniacs.
Turkish Delight isn't the kind of movie they used to nominate for an Oscar, yet this lusty Dutch-made love story was in the running as Best Foreign Language Film for 1973, and deserved to be. Based on a European best seller by Jan Wolkers, and already a smash hit in its native land--publicity flacks claim the screen version has been seen by more than half the adult male population of the Netherlands--Turkish Delight stacks up as an imported Dutch treat that can be cited for its liberating impact in the same breath with Last Tango in Paris and La Grande Bouffe. Producer Rob Houwer and director Paul Verhoeven, a movie team firmly set against any inhibitions whatsoever, also acknowledge the debt they owe to outright sex films. "Today, at long last," says Houwer, "a director needn't wonder which flowerpot should be put in front of pubic hair." Here, a rose is placed between shapely buttocks simply to say good morning and improve the decor. Letting it all hang out is the rule from reel one, when Eric the artist meets Olga the shopkeeper's daughter while hitchhiking. Both free-spirited enough to enjoy sex at first sight, they wheel off for a quick roadside bash but have to race to a nearby farmhouse for help when Eric gets his foreskin stuck in his zipper. Shortly after, there's a more serious accident, and in both cases Turkish Delight shows us the blood. The movie also graphically calls attention to maggots, shit and vomit, pushing a little hard sometimes to insist that such realities are no less a part of human experience than wall-to-wall sex, which seems at first to be all Eric and Olga ever want. But wait a while. As played by Rutger Hauer, a blond Nordic stud with somewhat flabby thighs, and vivacious Monique van de Ven (who looks a little like Shirley MacLaine as Irma La Douce), this randy couple begins to show layers of unsuspected depth beneath the four-letter words and deeds. Their marriage is a disaster, their divorce even worse, and the script ultimately brings them to a "hospital ending" that seems an abrupt shift of gears and may remind you too much of Love Story. These two are easier to believe, however, and much, much easier to like. Away from their busy bed, Turkish Delight depicts a rat-race where most people would be better off if they spent more energy just getting it off.
One rock-'n'-roll slang word for woman is lady, so in that context, what follows is a few words on six ladies, each stunningly individual and gifted in special ways. By dictionary definition, none is a lady; all are women who have ripped through the ladylike barrier to become real musicians--a most hopeful sign that music has started along new paths. Since these albums in no way fit a single, recognizable genre, they are simply a listing of what has been surfacing in recent months from women who write, sing, play instruments, produce, etc.
Straight from prison comes Short Eyes, a strong, sobering look at the airless world of inmates. Written by Miguel Piñero, an ex-con turned playwright, it is a damning indictment of the prison system. That dehumanizing system, with all its multiethnic levels of discrimination, is scrutinized with mordant (and ribald) humor by the playwright (and Piñero is a real playwright). The title is prison slang for a child molester--an outcast among outcasts. An accused short eyes is placed in a house of detention (where inmates pass years awaiting sentencing). He is shunned, abused and finally murdered. The killing of the sex offender is the basic plot, but the play is about the prisoners themselves and the steel-sealed world they are locked in. The characters and the dialog hum with authenticity. The performers, most of them ex-cons and members of The Family (a theater group of former inmates), making their professional acting debuts, are refreshingly un-mannered and absolutely convincing. The direction by Marvin Felix Camillo excitingly evokes the shifting rhythms of the harsh environment--from mocking sex banter (most exuberant is a mastur-batory ode to Jane Fonda) to savage violence. The play was first presented for a limited run at the Theater of the Riverside Church, then, wisely, transferred by producer Joseph Papp to his off-Broadway Public Theater. Then, after a run in Philadelphia, Papp installed Short Eyes on the large main stage of the Vivian Beaumont Theater at Lincoln Center. This unusual venture turns out to be the single dramatic hit of Papp's current season--the first in which he covered New York with his various establishments. This hyperprolific producer began his Lincoln Center series with the world premiere of David Rabe's Boom Boom Room, a premiere that was premature; the play (about the American dream as seen through the eyes of a Philadelphia go-go dancer) should have gestated longer in the author's typewriter. The next Papp offering, Au Pair Man, a two-character fluff by Irish playwright Hugh Leonard, should have been grounded in Great Britain. Next was What the Wine-Sellers Buy, an interesting, traditional naturalistic drama by promising black playwright Ron Milner. Fourth was a heavy revival of Strindberg's The Dance of Death, partially retrieved by a powerhouse performance by Robert Shaw. Then Short Eyes charged into Lincoln Center, filling the Beaumont (150 West 65th Street) with the pain and rancor of prison life.
Finally, after two years of fighting, I broke up with my girlfriend. Apparently, she has taken the split quite hard, missing work for several days, etc. I am worried and have considered suggesting that she see a psychiatrist, possibly at my expense. Would this be appropriate?--C. M., Hartford, Connecticut.
"Oil Crisis Abates," read the headline in The New York Times. In the adjacent column, a dispatch from Dallas reported news of a scientific gathering at which expert after expert had warned of some ecological doomsday to come. Said one: "I believe that unless we begin to match our technological power with a deeper understanding of the environment, we run the risk of destroying this planet as a suitable place for human habitation." It all sounds like a typical front page from the early months of 1974--but the date line was December 29, 1968; the oil crisis cited was caused by a truck drivers' strike rather than an Arab embargo; and its juxtaposition with the environmental story was fortuitous. Not many Americans in 1968 considered the possibility of either an energy crisis or an environmental crisis--let alone the fact that the two might be interrelated. One American who did was the scientist quoted above: Barry Commoner, director of the Center for the Biology of Natural Systems at Washington University in St. Louis.
I have so far released for publication only one episode from Uncle Oswald's diaries. It concerned, as some of you may remember, a carnal encounter between my uncle and a Syrian female leper in the Sinai Desert. Six years have gone by since its publication and nobody has yet come forward to make trouble. I am therefore encouraged to release a second episode from these curious pages. My lawyer has advised against it. He points out that some of the people concerned are still living and are easily recognizable. He says I will be sued mercilessly. Well, let them sue I am proud of my uncle. He knew how life should be lived. In a preface to the first episode I said that Casanova's Memoirs read like a parish magazine beside Uncle Oswald's diaries and that the great lover himself, when compared with my uncle appears positively undersexed. I stand by that and, given time. I shall prove it to the world. Here, then, is a little episode from volume XXIII, precisely as Uncle Oswald wrote it.
Straight-talking Isela (Ee-seh-luh) Vega, a well-seasoned native of Sonora, is the top female film star in Mexico, where she's made about 25 pictures. Before she became an actress, she was a night-club singer in Mexico City; prior to that she lived for a while in L.A. and tried a variety of jobs, from factory work to cosmetology. She also writes her "own stuff" and, over the phone, she read to us little parables and observations, some in verse, on a variety of subjects. "Play violent," she cautioned, "and only them that really need you will stay. Play the beggar; you will have coins coming your way. Play the fool--let them show you what to do. Play it cool; they will say that you pretend. Play it humble--they'll stick it up your ass." Hmm. "Well," she told us, "if you want to see me from the outside, you might as well see me from the inside a little. I might be very cruel sometimes. I don't know ... I don't have any objective way of looking at myself." For more of la señorita's observations on life and love, turn the page.
Everybody, except for the nefarious Eli, was going to be there. The astral jet setters. Riders incomparable of the inner planes. In a word, the flower of American witchery. Say, Philip Emmons Isaac Bonewits, a reconstructionist Druid with a B.A. in magic from the University of California, endorsed by no less than Ronnie Reagan. Bonewits, a mere 22-year-old, his hair worn in a pigtail, his beard wispy, sucking on a calabash pipe and adorned in Moroccan robes, his leather belt slung low, an athame (a black-handled knife made or inherited by a witch) riding one hip and a hammer of Thor, the other. P. E. I. Bone-wits is the sole begetter of Real Magic. "Learn how to cast spells or heal a friend. Discover clairsentience [vibes], clairvoyance, telepathy, astral projection, as magic leaves the Dark Ages and enters the age of reason." Gavin of Boskednan and Yvonne were also going. They are codirectors of the Church and School of Wicca (Route 2, Salem, Missouri), the craft's first mail-order college. "Introduction: Some people would call me a wizard. They would call my mate a witch. We call ourselves flamens of the Wicca faith. Wicca is the old word meaning 'wise' or 'wisdom,' which is now pronounced 'witch.' To our believers, Wicca is the oldest religion."
It is January 3, 1973, and 400 registered voters from northern Illinois have been asked to the Everett Dirksen Federal Building, in the middle of Chicago's clangorous, soot-gray Loop, to listen to truths and lies. They are the year's first citizens to be called for jury duty in Federal Court. They live not only in Chicago but in its flat suburban trim and in surrounding small towns that take much of their commerce from the land, and whose people resist any meeting with the rude whines and vulgar geometry of the city. Of the 400 called, the Government knows from experience that half of them have suddenly become the victims of domestic chaos or fresh occupational responsibilities demanding their full and constant energies. Others simply know someone who knows someone. So on January third, those without clout or excuse, 194 good citizens in all, have come to the building's ceremonial courtroom on the 25th floor.
It's cold up and down Van Ness Avenue in San Francisco, where they sell the cars. It's raining. There is never any snow, this is San Francisco, but the people are surprised to be shivering. The showrooms through the great plate windows look cold, despite the circus slogans painted on shimmering glass. It's also cold on Van Ness because they aren't selling many cars this year. The flow of oil has been tampered with, unclear exactly why. The Arabs say the oil users should take a turn as colonies, subject to cold winters. (continued on page 163)Winter of '73(continued from page 101)
It's not that Miami Bunny Carol Vitale isn't keeping her options open. After all, she did take a leave of absence from her Playboy duties last summer to sing at a friend's night club in Glens Falls, New York. And her application for a job with the public-relations department of a major airline was accepted. It's just that when it came time to decide whether she wanted to trade the endless summer of Miami and the friendships she's made and the advantages she's accrued while working at Playboy for another kind of life, well, let's simply say that the skies she'd been so attracted to previously didn't seem that friendly anymore. "I was all set," says Carol, "to take my first airline training class. But I couldn't take my mind off how much I'd miss Playboy and all my free time for modeling assignments, guitar lessons, water-skiing and the rest. For me, living in Miami is like being on vacation every day of the year, and I kept on thinking about how much I'd be away even if I were to be stationed here. So, a few days before I was to attend the class, I called the airline and said, 'Sorry.'" Which is what more than a few key-holders would have been had Miss Vitale decided otherwise; you see, she won the local Bunny of the Year contest in 1972. That hasn't been the only time Carol's been rewarded by her association with Playboy. Last October, she made her third appearance in four years of Playboy's annual Bunny pictorials. Readers also may remember her as the girl with the red Rabbit-shaped life preserver featured on our August 1972 cover. And she even played a bit part as a Bunny ("Tough work," she quips) in a yet-to-be-released movie, Sammy Somebody, that was shot, in part, at Playboy's Miami digs. More recently, Carol flew to Jamaicato be the star of a "Bunny on a Holiday" cover story for our Playboy Club magazine, Vip. Even so, it would be inaccurate to imply that Playboy alone claims title to recognizing Miss Vitale's comelier qualities; in 1969, she served as Miss Gulfstream and was a finalist in the Miss Florida-World contest that same year. And Carol's modeling credits include a series of auto commercials. All this from a lady who says, "I had no idea, when I moved to Miami, of even applying for a job as a Bunny." As we all know now, she did get the job--and something more: "I've got lots of friends, lots to do, and I guess I'd say I'm happy all the time." Well, Carol, if you're happy, we're happy.
At the office shower, one of the gifts gigglingly presented to the bride-to-be by her sister stenographers was a pair of lace panties with two birds embroidered in the crotch. When she returned to work after her honeymoon, one of her co-workers asked smilingly, "And how did the little lovebirds make out?"
We felt the best thing we could do for artist John Craig was to suggest he take some time off. For several years, he'd been creating collages of pretty women and he recently began complaining of strange, recurring dreams he'd been having--all of them with sexual overtones (and the undertones were pretty snappy, too). "In one dream," he recalled, "I was managing a little-league team. All my players were titties. Except for my second baseman, who looked like a vulva, which worked out OK because he was a terrific glove man."
Playboy's History of Organized Crime Presents Part XII: The American Nightmare
With considerable justification, Italian-Americans were seething by the beginning of the Seventies. In the previous 20 years--since the Kefauver hearings and on through the McClellan investigation and the disclosures of Joe Valachi--Italians and gangsters had become almost synonymous. The American public was devouring Mario Puzo's The Godfather, first as a book and then as a movie, and was generally agreed that this must be the real inside story of the strange world inhabited by the sons of Italy, that everyone must be a Don Vito Corleone, his son Michael or someone owing allegiance to them. These suspicions were only reinforced by Gay Talese's Honor Thy Father, the tale of the family of Joe Bonanno and his son Bill.
Yakim and Maxim, two young peasants who were friends, went off to the fair at Chistopol to buy seed for the sowing and Maxim got drunk. It seems that they separated at some point and Yakim, like an honest fellow, bought his rye seed and had a good night's sleep. Maxim got into bad company and God alone could have counted the glasses of vodka he put in his belly.
My second book, Pages from a Cold Island, didn't work because it was so unrelievedly desolate that, despite its humor, I was sure the reader couldn't turn back the final page (allowing he got that far) without wondering whence I'd mustered the will to put together its 480 pages of typescript. And in Ms. Gloria Steinem--and I'd all but leapt from my bed in exaltation when the possibility began to form itself in my mind--I'd seen the metaphor to lift the pages from the gloom in which they wallowed. The book was a reminiscence; and the cold of the title, applied to Singer Island off Palm Beach, Florida, where 90-degree-plus temperatures are not uncommon, apostrophized my being, not the weather. In those pages I'd put down one American's journey through the Sixties and especially his reaction to what historians call "the great events." If I had entered the Sixties more given to dark derogation than to joyous celebration, I'd at least been an articulate, relatively hopeful creature. But I had crawled out of the period on my knees, a simpering, stuttering, drunken and mute mess. The obscene decade had begun with President John F. Kennedy's "Ask not what your country can do for you" and in the late summer and fall of 1969 had ended at Chappaquiddick. At that numbing moment succeeding the assassinations of the brothers Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr., when I'd at last come to accept that there existed no desecration left capable of unmanning me, Senator Edward M. "Teddy" Kennedy had fooled me and for nine hours had left the body of Miss Mary Jo Kopechne to float about the back seat of a car among the currents beneath the now famous wooden span at Martha's Vineyard. I'd then gone back to bed, had pulled the sheet above my head, now and again had sneaked out to drink vodka and to put down bleak words and had come at last to lie there with swollen balls and cracked ribs, the results of a stomping I'd received in Nassau, reading about Gloria Steinem in the glossy magazines.
A few Months ago, the creator of what's been called the hottest new musical in New York was "just walking the streets as Earl Wilson, Junior." Wilson is, indeed, the son of the famed celebrity columnist, but since the opening of his show, Let My People Come, Junior's life hasn't been the same. The revue is a joyous celebration of sex, "the last of the dirty shows," says composer lyricist Wilson, and with tunes such as Give It to Me and Come in My Mouth, the message gets across. Road companies scheduled to open in Toronto, San Francisco, Los Angeles and London--and an album in the works--will also get his words around, words so singular that we've included some of them here, which, along with scenes from the show, speak quite nicely for themselves.