Detente '74 was weird. Nixon, swollen leg hazardous to his health, touched down to peanut-gallery squealings somewhere in Maine and told us that the world was significantly safer than it had been two weeks earlier. That was nice to hear; but it made us wonder what had been going on two weeks before that they weren't telling us about. One of the agreements they signed gives Dick permission to defend Grand Forks, North Dakota, with ABMs. In return, Brezhnev gets to ring Moscow. And then there was that amazing and sober moment when the Russians pulled the plug, blacking out TV screens as U.S. network correspondents talked about dissidence. "There was never a more vivid demonstration," said NBC's John Chancellor, "of the difference between the two systems." Herbert Gold, who visited Russia some time before the Presidential trip, also felt that difference, palpably, as he moved through Moscow. Very soon after he arrived, official Russia knew that an American Jewish writer with intellectual Soviet friends was visiting, and he describes in this issue its none-too-subtle surveillance and clumsy attempts to draw him into illegal acts. In Russian, "To Be Silent" Is an Active, Verb is his account of all this and of conversations with his repressed but defiant friends. "I now receive three or four letters every week from people I met in the Soviet Union." says Gold, "begging for some help, contact, human feeling." There's much of the last in his account, which is illustrated by Roy Schnackenberg. Gold's new novel, Swiftie the Magician, is due this month.
Playboy, October, 1974, Volume 21, Number 10. 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: Richard S. Rosenzweig, director of marketing; 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, $721 Beverly Boulevard; San Francisco, Robert E. Stephens, Manager, 417 Montgomery Street; SouthEastern representative, Pirnie & Brown, 3108 Piedmont road, N. E., Atlanta, Georgia 30305.
At ease! The Florida senate, in rejecting the Equal Rights Amendment, explained its rationale through a spokesman: "Can you imagine an 18-year-old girl, raised in the Church, being drafted into a barracks full of hardened military men?"
San Francisco is renowned among diners out for two drink-and-eat elaborations: the family-style, prix-fixe adaptation from the Italian (or French, Spanish or Basque) and the Union or Montgomery Street swingle-dingle body-exchange bar with cheeseburgers. The Washington Square Bar & Grill (1707 Powell Street), overlooking its urban park and the marvelous wedding-cake Church of Peter and Paul, stands nearly alone in a diminishing company: an emphasis on hearty roasts and fish, enlightened salads and economical drinks for marathon talkers. Ownership is sophisticated (we'll get to that), but perhaps the chef is the key. Here, Aldo Persich, a 60ish triestino, pretends to no cordon-ble crap but is a great allround cook and bon vivant, much beloved by the ladies who keep peeking into the kitchen to see how the minestrone bubbles. Style comes next: a neat, clean, Third Avenue-deco motif, with San Francisco prints and a piano and a rich mix of clientele--the sheriff and Italian-neighborhood socializers; Margo St. James and the staff of Coyote, the whores' benevolent association (see this month's On the Scene); staffers from the local offices of Newsweek, The New York Times and Rolling Stone; writers and artists and widely unknown poets who like to study the wetness of a glass on a bar for possible inspiration. New as it is, the place has history and social depth. Sam Deitsch, one of the famous St. Louis beatniks of the Fifties, got tired of people hanging around his house in San Francisco while he did the cooking and they ate his food. Ed Moose got tired of managing political campaigns for worthy losers. Together they decided to open a rough, nonfern, Third Avenue bar in San Francisco's beat-hip-Italian North Beach, and found this place opposite Washington Square Park. And now there's the Washington Square Bar--skillful waiters in shirt sleeves, tasty near-gourmet food at modest prices, and Sam and Ed actually making money on the friends who used to eat at their places for free. The W.S.B.&G has swinging doors, proper paneling, antique bar and not too much attention yet. The lunchtime special recently was a coldroast-beef salad with cucumbers, hearts of palm and avocados, just because Ed's wife, Mary Etta, felt like making up a lunchtime salad of cold roast beef and things. Other days, other whims. At night they emphasize serious eating and conversation, simply by presenting their anachronistic formula of honest chow à l'talienne and hearty drink and the mellow Jewish-Irish vibes of Deitsch and Moose. Once in a while, a piano player comes in, if it's someone they enjoy. Once in a while, a politico comes in to plot the liberal revolt, if it's someone they can stand. But on a stack of back copies of Playboy, Deitsch and Moose swear the Washington Square will never join the body-exchange ranks. Believe them. Washington Square Bar & Grill is open from 10 A.M. to 2 A.M. Tuesday through Sunday. No credit cards. Reservations for large groups only (415982-8123).
It's no disparagement of The Band, probably the best rock group in the country, to say that its music is not for anguished lovers. The Torture Garden is simply not part of its lower 40. Nevertheless, with The Band playing impeccably behind him, Bob Dylan creates one of the most agonized and vindictive/romantic antiheroes on record. Or the snottiest, depending on where you're coming from. The key songs on this live double album, Before the Flood (Asylum), are Most Likely You Go Your Way (And I'll Go Mine), Lay Lady Lay. It Ain't Me, Babe and Like a Rolling Stone.
If you miss movies in the grand old tradition of The Maltese Falcon and The Big Sleep, pay a visit to Chinatown. Director Roman Polanski made it, and made it right, in his classiest piece of work since Rosemary's Baby. We may have come a long way, baby, but it's great to be back in the year 1937 while Polanski and screenwriter Robert Towne (who copped an Oscar nomination for his script of The Last Detail) spin a sharply crafted melodrama about a cynical private eye (Jack Nicholson) specializing in squalid matrimonial snoopery--until a missing husband and an unexpected murder open up a virulent case of fast-spreading civic corruption. Towne's convoluted plot demands close attention but pays off with some brash insights into the way a city like Los Angeles was grafted together out of greed, lies, land grabbing and official cover-up. Actor-director John Huston, usually one of movieland's premium hams when he gets in front of a camera, shrewdly underplays his role as an archconspirator, while Polanski himself appears as a pint-sized hatchet man who tries to cut off Nicholson's nose. Yes, there's shoot-'em-up violence, but it's semi-cooled by intelligent dialog, elegant cinematography (credit John A. Alonzo) and Faye Dunaway's stunning detachment as an enigmatic widow who dabbles in promiscuity and knows much more than she dares tell. Mainly, though. Chinatown provides a showcase for Nicholson as J. J. Gittes, a tough loner with his own inviolable code of ethics, like those hard-knuckled heroes Bogart and Cagney used to play. In this era of rip-offs, Watergate evasions and public apathy, there's welcome relief in a slick, suspenseful detective thriller that peddles excitement along with a certain moral indignation.
Bobby Fischer became obsessed with the game of chess when he was seven and, since then, has not been known to show lasting affection for another human being or for anything else produced by nature or made by man. Raised by a divorced, ambitious mother (she once picketed the White House to push her son's career) and everlastingly surrounded by sycophants, hustlers, weaklings, bullies and users of every stripe, this authentic American genius became a virtual recluse long before puberty and at 13 won a game so masterfully it is still remembered as the Game of the Century. Bobby Fischer vs. the Rest of the World (Stein & Day) is the sad and nasty tale of what happened in 1972 when Bobby defeated Boris Spassky in Iceland to become chess champion of the world. Brad Darrach, the author of this fascinating chronicle (also of The Day Bobby Blew. It, Playboy, July 1973, which is included in this book), portrays the man as two thirds Neanderthal, with the other third evenly divided between lout and spastic, with an occasional flash of insane, inexplicable brilliance.
Tom Eyen, who wrote The Dirtiest Show in Town and many other spicy stage cartoons, such as The Three Sisters (from Springfield, Illinois): A Trilogy, has the kind of crazy pinball humor that makes one want to shout "Tilt!" Two of his distinctly un-Chekhovian sisters, Hanna and Sophie--longtime off-off-Broadway staples--have, happily, surfaced off-Broadway under the title Why Hanna's Skirt Won't Stay Down. Why, indeed? Because weird Hanna spends her days in a Long Island funhouse standing over a breeze hole, which sends her into gales of orgasmic delight. This is a place for her to let her hair down and her skirt up, and also to confide the story of her bizarre life, which includes a ferocious rivalry with her bald sister Sophie, a Jersey City Avon lady, and repeated run-ins with a handsome narcissist named Arizona. In his American-flag bikini, Arizona swings on a trapeze, does push-ups and plays a gallery of sex roles for the pushy sisters. In keeping with the mad-camp dialog, the acting is Day-Glo, with most, of the comic-strip cutups provided by Helen Hanft, who has built a career out of playing tacky Hanna. For the occasion, the Top of the Village Gate (at Bleecker and Thompson streets) has been turned into a gaudy funhouse, complete with barker.
It's that time again, when television screens all over the nation are lighting up with what the networks would like us to believe is The Greatest New Season Ever. Since last year, anyway. Pulitzer Prize-winning TV columnist Ron Powers of the Chicago Sun-Times herewith lets us know what we're in for:
Just before going onstage to conduct the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Sir Georg Solti indulges in one of the least-known and most esoteric rituals in music: He tucks two bonbons into the pocket of his tail coat. Solti's 62, and very much aware of the extraordinary demands a concert places upon the symphony conductor. If he feels drained during a performance, he can, between numbers, casually put his hand behind his back and retrieve an energy-boosting bonbon to munch on. He has been known to deviate from this routine only when he feels an even more compelling need to feed the audience. Before conducting Götterdämmerung at Covent Garden in London one night a few years ago, he had secreted two cough drops in the pocket. Onstage, Solti turned to a loudly coughing concertgoer in the front row, snapped. "Here, take these!" and offered him the lozenges.
For five years, I have enjoyed an active sex life. I thought that I had the basics down, but now and then I discover my naïveté. For example. Bitch, the story by Roald Dahl in the July Playboy, says that there are women with "an extraordinarily powerful muscle in a region where other women seem to have no muscles at all." My gynecologist advised me that by exercising my vaginal muscles regularly, I could strengthen them to the point where I could massage or even hold my man inside me--increasing the friction and intensity of feeling for both myself and him. He suggested that I tense the muscles at least ten times a day. He added that it would take a good six months, but the end would be rewarding. The exercise apparently tightens and firms all the related muscles supporting the urinary and reproductive tract--making pregnancy and recovery much easier. Why didn't someone tell me this five years ago?--Miss B. C., Austin, Texas.
An A.C.L.U. attorney says, "He gives freedom of speech a dirty name." Describing Screw, the 48-page weekly sex tabloid that Al Goldstein edits and publishes, New York Court of Appeals Justice John Gabrielli wrote. "It's hard to conceive how publication could reach any further lows in attempts to appeal to prurient interests." an opinion with which the U.S. Supreme Court, late this July, refused to differ by denying hearings on several New York obscenity convictions. Screw's irreverent mix of scatology and porn has even earned Goldstein the dubious distinction of being called the world's foremost pornographer by The New York Times. Screw's parent company grossed more than $2,100,000 last year--partly in profits from its production of a hard-core film feature. "It Happened in Hollywood" (in which Goldstein played a major role), but mostly from the paper's 108,000 circulation. Though the profit margin has been substantially diminished by $214,000 in legal fees and fines from nine obscenity arrests during its six years of publication. Screw has acquired a kind of semirespectable reputation among the lecherati as the paper of record on sexual phenomena, however eccentric: Its list of subscribers includes 122 college libraries and the Library of Congress, as well as such celebrities as Sammy Davis Jr., Gore Vidal and Judith Crist.
The first time it happened, they thought nothing about it. Having returned after dark from a cocktail party, Carl and Pauline Bays left their car as usual in the circle where the road ended and climbed the winding steps that were cut into the rock. At the halfway point, the steps turned sharply and the cottage came into view above them. It was then that they saw the light in the kitchen.
He was standing atop the pit wall, hands on hips, looking out through slitted eyes at the Frenchmen--people he distrusts because they serve fish with the heads and tails still on them. And if that isn't enough, they all talk this goddamn funny language. Close beyond the first tight circle of Frenchmen was a looser stand of European journalists, all of them poised, waiting for some of those clean, cutting, kiss-my-ass quotes they had heard about. And beyond them all, parked on the edge of the track, sat the car.
Fade In: A kitchen in New York City on a very hot day in the mid-Thirties. Louis "Lepke" Buchalter (Tony Curtis), the infamous contract murderer and head of what Walter Winchell dubbed Murder, Inc., is sitting at the table, eating. Beside him is the lovely widow Marion (Mary Wilcox). She is running an ice cube down her bare leg and complaining about the heat. Suddenly, she removes her bathrobe, revealing her lingerie, and Lepke tells her to stop acting like a whore. . . . Fade out. "I'm constantly being cast as a whore," says Mary offscreen. "It's funny, because I've always seen myself as the girl next door." Starting as a ballerina in Indianapolis at the age of four, she eventually abandoned professional ballet for the screen ("A ballet instructor once told me I had prima ballerina in me from the waist up") and has played minor roles in Marlowe, Love Me Deadly, Willie Dynamite and the aforementioned Lepke, starring Curtis. In the film, directed by Israel's prize-winning Menahem Golan, Mary provides Lepke with a hideout, but nothing ignites between the two until. . . . Fade in: The kitchen again. Same heat, same crook, same lingerie. Marion says good night. Lepke follows her into the bedroom, sees the silhouette of her naked body in the doorway. He walks toward her; she walks toward him. They meet at the bed. She takes off his suspenders. . . . Fade out.
In Sly Stone's encapsulated universe, life isn't always theater but travel can be. One afternoon late last year, it was a ride from the residential hills through the East Oakland ghetto to the airport. At 98th Avenue and East 14th, his Japanese bodyguard, Turu, Zen cool in leather and aviator shades, punched buttons to send conditioned air whooshing from discreet vents throughout the seven-passenger Mercedes. At a stop light a moment later, Bubba Banks, an old friend, put on an eight-track cartridge, while across the street in front of V. J. Liquors, a few brothers smiled at the sight of black faces behind tinted glass--righteous solidarity with the player's player. As the Doggie Diner came and passed from view, a sleek unsmiling beauty named Kim, wearing a creamy satin blouse with nipple accents, leaned forward from the seat opposite and with the tip of her perfectly manicured little finger gently, carefully, sensually dabbed a bit of Chap Stick on Sly's, possibly parched lower lip.
It does say October on the cover of this issue, but, as you can see, it's not the season for Halloween masquerading. The eccentric, the outrageous, the defiantly personal modes of dress that flourished a couple of years ago, when the flower children were threatening to make Salvation Army Eclectic a mainstay of American fashion, are essentially gone. Pimps and musicians still go their own way, of course. The rest of us are turning back to the quiet elegance of suits and sweaters and the secure touch of tweeds, flannels and corduroys. The approach of winter has something to do with this; so does the fact that each and every trend in fashion guarantees its own countertrend, and so, perhaps, does the current swing toward conservatism. (Haircuts, as you've undoubtedly noticed, are back in style, too.) Not that individuality has been sacrificed: The layered look, with its infinite possibilities for variation, is still with us; and even the most conservative outfit can express individuality if properly garnished. See what we mean?
The second I spotted the plastic credit-card case lying helplessly on the sidewalk in front of the Hollywood drugstore, I knew this was going to be one of my lucky days. I casually kicked it up to the building, dropped a pack of cigarettes on it and picked them up together.
You Might think that a girl who was born in Panama, schooled in California, New Jersey and Spain and who has also lived in the Philippines might want to plant herself somewhere and keep her feet on the ground. Not Ester Cordet. True, since 1967, she's resided in San Diego. But "Home," as Ester says, "is the skies." The skies of Pacific Southwest Airlines, to be exact, for whom she works as a stewardess. "I take a lot of pride in my job," says Ester, an attitude that's impressed her employers enough to promote her to in-flight instructor and assign her additional duties as a public-relations representative in her off hours. "I love everything about flying," she says. "There's always something new to learn." Apparently so, because what's Ester's favorite free-time activity? Flying lessons. "Unfortunately," she says, "I haven't taken all the instruction I need"--the principal reason being those aforementioned PR dates. Which have led to several free-lance modeling jobs (including a pair of TV commercials), which, in turn, have revived in Ester a long-dormant desire to act. "In high school," she recalls, "I was a member of an acting group. Many of my classmates, like me, were children of Servicemen and, although we read more serious things, we most enjoyed putting on Service comedies." Not surprisingly, Ester's dramatic preferences tend toward the comic. "I'd prefer nothing better than someday to be described by movie reviewers as 'a gifted comic actress' like Barbra Streisand." And, like Streisand, Ester wants to sing, although she admits she'll "need a lot of voice coaching" before she'll ever give singing or musical comedy a whirl. "Still," she says, "I'd have an advantage over other beginning movie actresses: I wouldn't mind starting work at six A.M. As a stewardess, I've done that many times." And, after all, the name Ester does mean star.
A politician who had just arrived in hell was being shown around the place. Passing a pit filled with unspeakable slime, he saw John Dean covered up to his waist and Haldeman and Ehrlichman submerged up to their necks, but then, a little farther on. John Mitchell standing only knee-deep in the stuff. "Hey," said the politician to his tour guide, "how come ole Mitch rates such preferential treatment?"
Thus the principle which inspires hunting for sport is that of artificially perpetuating, as a possibility for man, a situation which is archaic in the highest degree: that early state in which, already human, he still lived within the orbit of animal existence.--Ortega Y Gasset
Maybe you think that speakers should be felt, not heard. You put on a Led Zeppelin album, jack up the bass and relate to the music the way a tackling dummy relates to a linebacker. Maybe you like classical music. You put on a string quartet and get off on high-frequency tone that drive the local dogs nuts. Whatever; it's clear that sound systems--and good speakers in particular--aren't a luxury; they're a necessity.
He had rather expected his mother to make some kind of protest at the wedding. She might simply refuse to talk to anyone beforehand or tap her foot in anger during the ceremony or remain standing in the back of the church, a slim cigar in her longest gold holder. He was braced for something like that. But a tantrum! And one of her class-A, star-studded, gilt-edged, glorioso tantrums, at that. Too much!
Once Again the Soviet Union, that great preoccupying history, fills my hours. Long ago I studied "friendly Russian," singing the old songs about wide plains, willing maidens and birch-filled forests; I was trying to be a good liaison with our gallant Soviet allies. In volleyball tournaments with Russian officers, we wanted to win and so did they, and we also wanted to be friendly--all of us wanted that--and the friendship was precarious but worth working for. Russkies and Yankees both like to laugh, yes? Drink, yes? Other things, yes, oh, yes--let us like all those things together, plus Pushkin and Tolstoy and, sure, Jack London and Mikhail Sholokhov, why not? And volleyball, too.
For bunny Watchers, it's been a very good year. Not only could everybody's favorite two-legged cottontails be seen in their natural habitat, at Playboy Clubs and Club-Hotels from San Francisco to London, but 23 of them--each of whom had been voted Bunny of the Year from her home hutch--entered viewers' homes in some 80 cities, via a colorful television spectacular. The 1974 Playboy Bunny of the Year Pageant, syndicated nationwide, was a smash success--beating out such tough competition as Saturday-night prime-time favorites in several markets. Featured in the hourlong show, besides the Bunny contestants, were host Don Adams, veteran entertainer George Burns, the Ike and Tina Turner Revue and the comedy team of Jack Burns and Avery Schreiber. The panel of judges, too, consisted of celebrities: syndicated columnist Earl Wilson, pro-football star Larry Csonka, comedian Bill Cosby, artist LeRoy Neiman, author-critic Rex Reed, motion-picture star Timothy Bottoms and singer-actress Connie Stevens. After (text concluded on page 140) due deliberation, they came up with a winner to fit the gold-lamé costume reserved for the International Bunny of the Year--1974: Angie Chester, a 21-year-old native Chicagoan.
Several Years Ago, the late Albert Ayler put out an album called Music Is the Healing Force of the Universe. Those words have stuck in our mind, and we'd like to think they're true. If they are, then music is needed more today than ever, because there's a lot of healing that needs to be done, as anybody can confirm with a glance at a newspaper. Fortunately, there are a lot of musical healers at work. Of course, not all our Pied Pipers are on such a positive trip: Some have never thought about healing anything except their own bank balances and there are more than a few who--after years of being ignored or ripped off--are in no shape to heal anybody, since they themselves are so badly in need of some kind of balm. Needless to say, our ballot separates performers by the instruments they play, not by their spiritual conditions. Still, it's amusing to look over these listings of names and think about the variety of stories behind them and the variety of personalities they represent: flashy showbiz types, workmanlike studio guys, transcendental innovators, folksy primitives. Many types of music are also represented; and it's reassuring to us that many of the people we've talked with feel that their favorite schools have been underrepresented. One person thinks we don't get enough jazzmen on the ballot. The next guy says we don't include enough rock groups. Or country singers. Or Latin musicians. You're probably wondering why it's reassuring to hear complaints. Well, it lets us know that people care about what we do. And if all sides think they're underrepresented, then perhaps we've managed to be fair. Which isn't all that easy.
Mr. Murayama, tourist, has been in America less than two hours and already he's having a travel adventure. A swarthy lady to whom, I take it, he has not been formally introduced is trying to steal his gold teeth. This in broad daylight on the steps of the Science Academy in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, and I can supply no information about the events immediately preceding this act of piracy, for it was already in (continued on page 158) Land of the Tooth Bandit (continued from page 151) progress when I arrived at the scene. (I should say near the scene, as I've maintained a discreet distance, not wanting to intervene, in case it embarrasses the old gentleman or causes a public disturbance.)
These paragraphs are, quite frankly, an experiment. They are impressionistic vignettes--or, with luck, prose poems--having to do with the American South, the place where I was born and where I hope to die. My method, or lack of it, was simply to cut in particular memories and impressions and to go with them wherever they took me.
Probing The Mysteries of making wine is a popular pastime these days, and most wine books have been so simplified that anyone with a Ph.D. in chemistry or advanced calculus can produce a decent vintage with very little trouble. All you need to do, according to the books for that little old wine maker--you--is to fit hydrometer A-14 into fermentation lock 3-CLR, mix a yeast that would be the envy of General Mills, multiply one fourth the gravity table times the square root of the nutrient, then bottle and save for seven years. What's needed for a good wine, I noted in the last wine-making book I read, is a "reasonably well-balanced must." That sounded reasonably well balanced, but I couldn't discover from the author what a must was. I decided finally that, in my case, it meant I must keep buying and forget about bottling.
For Most recording artists, stardom spells prosperity. Not so for Mickey Gilley, a local Houston celebrity for the past few years, whose recent country-and-western single Room Full of Roses has propelled him suddenly to national prominence. The fact is. Gilley can't really atford fame, and it's cramping his style. Part owner of the most lucrative dance bar in the Houston area. Gilley, with his eight-piece band, used to be the major attraction, drawing capacity weekend crowds. "But ever since Room Full hit," says Gilley, "I've been on the road so much I can hardly find time to play at the club. Almost never on weekends, anyhow. That's why it's going to cost me money to pursue this new career. We had no idea that record was gonna take off like that." Born in Natchez. Mississippi, and rearel by stern religious parents in Ferriday, Louisiana, Gilley and his first cousin, the one and only Jerry Lee Lewis, grew up playing and singing Gospel music in church. After high school. Gilley entered the construction business, keeping a watchful eve on his cousin's progress. When jerry Lee hit with Whole Lot-ta Shakin Goin' On, Gilley decided construction was not his true calling. "When I saw he was making money playing music. I said, 'Hey! I can do that!"' After a stint of one-night stands across the South. Gilley was oflered a partnership in a ram-shackle club on Spencer Highway, outside Houston. "When I first saw that place, I laughed," Gilley recalls. "It was a tin building out in the middle of nowhere with a bar and a couple of wooden chairs. Hell, you could see the sky through the roof." But today, resurrected. Gilley's (featured on the cover of his recently released Playboy album Room Full of Roses reviewed elsewhere in this issue) seats up to 2400 cowboys, trail riders and businessmen. Says Gilley: "I don't know about this stardom bit. Aside from my finances, it's also gonna mess up my golf game something fierce." Pause. "Then again, there isn't much you can do to a 19 handicap, is there?"
She is the unofficial hostess of hip San Francisco. She's had all the obligatory colorful jobs: cocktail waitress, porno-movie extra, hooker. The skid-row derelicts who live in the Harbor House Hotel love her, and so do the North Beach literati. Sheriff Richard Hongisto is on her board of directors; so are Paul Krassner and Kate Millett. Margo St. James. 36, chairmadam of Coyote (Call Off Your Old fired Ethics), the first civil-rights organization for prostitutes, was arrested in 1961 for prostitution--before she ever turned a trick. It took a year and a half for the conviction to be overturned for lack of evidence. Afterward, she decided. "Everyone wantd to believe I was a whore, so I might as well be one." She adds. "But I never did that much hooking, because I was never really in it for the money. I just wanted to pay my rent and feed my friends." A health-food enthusiast, a nondrinker, a jogger and a feminist. St. James is hardly typical of the image that prostitution has generated for the past 2000 years. The link between women's liberation and Coyote is obvious, she says: "If a woman has the right to decide what to do with her own time for be good at it, then she can decide to sell her own time for profit. That's up from, at least. Lots of women make that financial arrangement, only they call it marriage." At San Francisco's city jail, she teaches courses in grooming and money management to the hookers. Coyote initiates legal action whenever appropriate: funded by donations and foundations, it works for decriminalization of prostitution as the neces-sary step to equality of the sexes. There are now two fledgling chapters. ASP in Seattle and Pony in New York, where millionaire philanthropist Stewart Mott serves on the board. Since Coyote uses Y.M.C.A. office space and St. James is a frequent Bay Area talk-show guest, it all seems very legit somehow. But Margo puts everything into the right perspective: "I've gone public. First I sold ass, now I plan to kick some."
"We're In The recycling business. We take human beings that society has thrown out and get them back into shape." So says John Maher, president of San Francisco's Delancey Street Foundation, a community of alcoholics, ex-addicts, thieves and prostitutes--an eclectic mix of those who've roamed hard through the nether lands. Maher has undergone a pretty thorough recycling himself. Born on New York's Lower East Side, he took up the twin professions of felony and drug addiction at an early age and wound up at Synanon. He says Delancey Street differs from Synanon in that "They give you an austere substitute lifestyle. We don't. If we were religions, they'd be the Amish and we'd be the Jews." Which means that Delancey Street is among other things a group of businesses--staffed by the 300 live-in members and aided by its graduates and friends--that includes a restaurant, a plant dealership, a moving company and a bodyguard service. So it pays its own way and has gradually earned the support of almost everyone in town. "The liberals like us 'cause of the wonderful good we do," says Maher, that playful exaggeration aimed at the bleeding-heart mentality he has little patience with, "and the hard-hats dig us because we preach the work ethic. We don't care a helluva lot for the whiners on Haight who think playin' with their wee-wee in public is a revolutionary act." Delancey Street did arouse neighborhood nervousness some time ago, when it moved into two mansions in the fashionable Pacific Heights area of the city. But Maher defended the move: "Trying to rehabilitate an addict in the slums is like trying to cure a drunk in a bar." Delancey stayed, and grew. Maher next plans to start centers in New York and Chicago. "Ya see, we're nuts," he says. "We think this country's streets are lined with gold and we don't know that we can't have some of it, regardless of the fact that we're just a bunch of bums tryin' to grow up a little." If he wants to move Delancey to our street, he's more than welcome.
In our August 1971 issue, we published "The View from Kilroy's Head," a collection of strange and wondrous graffiti recorded by then-Colonel lrving Breslauer, with Ken Sams, after years of careful research in Air Force latrines. The Air Force didn't appreciate it. In the months after the appearance of the article, life changed for Colonel Breslauer; and in the following short piece, he recalls how it went for him--and for the Air Force:
"I'll Play These"--The wild world of Poker, from the first ante to the final Raise: Tips on Tactics by Jon Carroll, Lure and Lore of the game by G. Barry Golson, an Affectionate Glance Back at the Algonquin Round table by Scott Meredith, a story about the best woman player in Gardena, California, by Jack Richardson, a report on the world series of Poker in Las Vegas by Richard Warren Lewis and a lot of table talk by Inveterate Bluffers Jack Lemmon, Elliott Gould, Telly Savalas, Walter Matthau and Milton Berle