Imagine, for a moment, that you own a small family-run business. One day, a group of thugs come to your door and demand that you sell their product and pay for "protection," or your business will be ruined. Those were the bad old days, right?
Asa Baber has caused quite a stir around here lately---or perhaps we should say that this issue's Men column has, since Asa himself is a model of stoic gentility. The column, titled "Romancing the Bone," evoked widely diverse reactions as it filtered through our editing machinery. One of our female staffers proclaimed it "disgusting," while another asked, "How can he show his face in public after writing this?" But if you're a Playboy columnist, risking embarrassment goes with the turf. Just ask Cynthia Heimel, who writes Women. A couple of years back, she devised a tongue-in-cheek quiz for men on oral sex, ending, "Those of you with a score of 50 or more, please send your names, addresses and phone numbers to this magazine---my friends have needs." "How foolish of me," she admitted later, after receiving "three crates of letters from every horny half-wit in the country, including photos of naked men and even a 14-year-old boy's high school class picture." Our Sports columnist, Dan Jenkins, seems to offend sizable numbers of people every time he goes to bat. So far, he has alienated blacks, gays, women, Southerners, golfers, chefs and, no doubt, several of his relatives. He probably would have offended more people than that by now, but he can pick on only one group per column. If he hasn't gotten around to yours yet, just wait. He will. Craig Vetter, who says he titled his column Against the Wind because "most of the time I take life to be an upwind tack," probably sums up the life of a Playboy columnist best with, "You can't be uniformly bright 12 times a year. Out of 12 columns, one's gonna be your best and one's gonna be your worst---but, happily, nobody agrees on which is which." At any rate, our hats are off to three guys and a gal for making the front of our magazine a nice place to visit, even if you don't want to live there. This month, Vetter takes a wry look at the financial wizardry of Mr. and Mrs. Ferdinand Marcos in "Imelda's Shoes," Heimel finally begins to understand men in "Boys and Their Toys" and Jenkins, true to form, insults every heavyweight champion since Joe Louis in "The Last Heavyweight."
Playboy, (ISSN 0032-1478), July 1986, Volume 33, Number 7. Published Monthly by Playboy, Playboy Building, 919 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60611. Subscriptions: In the United States and its possessions, $56 for 36 issues, $38 for 24 issues, $24 for 12 issues, Canada, $35 for 12 issues. Elsewhere, $35 (U.S. Currency) for 12 issues. Allow 45 days for new subscriptions and renewals. Change of Address: Send both old and new addresses to Playboy, Post Office Box 55230, Boulder, Colorado 80323-5230, and allow 45 days for change. Circulation: Ed Condon, Director/Direct Marketing; Jack Bernstein, Circulation Promotion Director. Advertising: New York: Elaine Hershman, New York Manager; Walter Kuenstler, Marketing Director, 747 Third Avenue, New York 10017; Chicago: 919 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago 60611; Detroit: 3001 West Big Beaver Road, Troy, Michigan 48084; West Coast: Brian Van Mols, Manager, 8560 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles 90069.
The common ferret is a weaselish, tube-shaped cousin of the common skunk. For reasons that are not entirely clear to us, this animal is presently the pet of choice among hip urbanites. Our neighborhood veterinarian reports an impressive growth in the number of patients named Farrah Ferret and Ferret Fawcett, and Ralston Purina has introduced Ferret Chow.
There can be no doubt about it now. Ernest Hemingway is the greatest writer of all time. He has published nine books since his death on July 2, 1961. In the more than 350 years since his demise, William Shakespeare has managed only one poor, pitiful poem. Hemingway's prolific posthumous pen has just struck again with the publication of "The Garden of Eden," a surprisingly contemporary novel about a young American writer and his bisexual bride.
Robert Redford's Sundance Institute is a well-meaning film workshop where moviedom's high and mighty volunteer their expertise to help beginners polish their craft. So far, its best product is Desert Bloom (Columbia), writer-director Eugene Corr's slice-of-life drama about a working-class family in Las Vegas circa 1950. The movie has the earnest air of a conscientious, socially relevant student film, but it also has passion, emotional richness and a marvelously personal re-creation of a particular place and time in America. As a lame, tortured World War Two veteran who runs a gas station and broods about the atom-bomb tests gearing up nearby, Jon Voight limns a near-perfect portrait of a sensitive man driven to drink, cruelty and violence by feelings he cannot articulate. Equally good are JoBeth Williams as his dull but doggedly optimistic wife, and Ellen Barkin as a resident sister-in-law, a snappy former model and divocee about town. Desert Bloom's point-of-view character is a bright, bespectacled teenager named Rose, played with winningly unaffected charm by 14-year-old movie newcomer Annabeth Gish. Gish's strained, poignant relationship with stepfather Voight gives some focus to a story line that is shot through with symbolism linking a young girl's growing pains to an entire nation's loss of innocence. Set in a period when Americans were concerned about the Korean War, McCarthyism and the dawning nuclear age, Desert Bloom throws warm light upon a moment of history when atomic-bomb testing in the neighborhood meant party time for fun-loving plain folk from Vegas. Despite an occasional fumble, here's a feature-film debut well worth celebrating. [rating]3 bunnies[/rating]
Jellybean "J.B." Benitez, who produced superhits for Madonna, Whitney Houston and others, premieres his second solo LP, "Just Visiting This Planet" (Chrysalis), in August. We asked him what's ahead in music.
It's got a good beat and you can dance to it department: If you glance above these words, you'll notice that something new is going on. Beginning this month, our incredibly hip record reviewers will be rating five albums on a scale of one to ten, just the way American Bandstand taught us to do it. We're calling it the Rockmeter, and you'll find it from now on in this spot.
The month of June marked the 45th anniversary of the last heavyweight-championship fight. Let me rephrase that. It's been 45 years since the last heavyweight-championship fight that meant anything. To me. That I cared about. Are we straight? Fine. I refer to the night of June 18, 1941, "outdoors in the ball park," as Terry Malloy would say, when a flashy young Billy Conn made an unbeatable Joe Louis look stunningly beatable by outboxing him for 12 smart rounds. As we know, it was in the 13th round that Conn inadvertently, if not cockily, danced into a boxing glove that concealed one of Louis' fists. That punch kept Louis the heavyweight champion of the world for the "duration," a term applied to the ten or 15 years it was going to take for World War Two to end.
Since meeting him, I have had a melody in my heart, a spring to my step, and I hear singing when there's no one there. I walk around in a heady, euphoric daze. I smile at strangers, stop and pat puppies on the street. I'm happy, I'm excited; he has changed my life.
How stupidly the mighty have fallen: Just a month after he fled the Philippines like a jeweled rat, Ferdinand Marcos sat in his Hawaiian bungalow, dabbing at his rheumy eyes, trying to explain to Ted Koppel why his wife, Imelda, needed 3000 pairs of shoes. For 20 years, he and Imelda had practiced a style that would have driven Henry VIII from the party, had hoarded a booty that would have made every Louis of France blush, and somehow---like Nero's fiddle and Marie Antoinette's cake---Imelda's shoes had become the single outrage that most perfectly symbolized their arrogance, treachery and greed.
My wife and I have been happily married for more than 15 years. We have had what I thought was a mutually satisfying sexual relationship. Recently, however, my wife has not been able to have satisfying orgasms without the use of such exotic paraphernalia as whips, chains and vibrating mechanical devices. I feel embarrassed to participate in her sexual fantasies, due to my conservative small-town upbringing. My question is this: Should I do whatever is necessary to please my wife, regardless of my personal embarrassment, or should I be concerned and seek help in finding out why a drastic change in her sexual preferences has surfaced? What really bothers me is, how has she come up with these sexual fantasies? I am afraid that her new sexual interests have been nurtured by a relationship with someone other than me! I would really appreciate your advice.---C. M., Phoenix, Arizona.
<p>For armchair space explorers, these are the best of times and the worst of times. On one hand, science fiction continues to flourish on best-seller lists, the Soviets have set up the first permanent manned space station and satellites are doing everything from sending back pictures of distant moons to bouncing our TV and telephone signals around the world at ever-increasing speeds. On the other hand, America's space effort seems stalled in the wake of the Challenger disaster, and the Reagan Administration keeps pressing---and the Soviets keep protesting---its multi-billion-dollar satellite-and-laser-beam Star Wars space defense plan. So at this crossroads in the history of space travel, with all these high-tech topics in the air, it seems an excellent time to ... go to Sri Lanka.</p>
The night in 1976 when Brenda Venus had planned to hear Henry Miller deliver a lecture to her acting class, her house burned down. She didn't make it. A few weeks later, at a rare-books-and-antiques auction, she found a first-edition set of books called Women Through the Ages. She examined one of the volumes and found in it a letter written by Miller to a woman. She bid on the books. Before the evening was over, Brenda Venus owned the first editions and Henry Miller's address. She wrote to him, returning his letter and enclosing a few pictures of herself. That piqued the famed author's curiosity and, shortly thereafter, they began a correspondence and a friendship that would last for four years, until Miller's death in 1980 at the age of 88. "When I read Tropic of Cancer, in college, I had a premonition that I would meet him one day," Brenda said. "There was something about Henry's writing; I knew if we ever met, we would get along. I had never had that feeling about anyone else. By the time I met him, I had been going to school for a long time. I'd had a few acting jobs, won some beauty contests and moved to L.A. My parents insisted on the schooling. I wanted to be out in the world. I wasn't educated, in any real sense of that word. Henry was a genius. He educated me. Were we fated to meet? I think so. He thought so, too. Henry once said this about great lovers: They can't write about each other when they're both alive. One of them has to be dead. He told me that several times. I used to wonder why he kept saying it, but I guess I really knew it was about the letters. I had to know what he wanted me to do with the body of work he had given me. I couldn't have made a decision about the letters without him." Miller's writing is famous for its fleshy descriptions of sexual love and the uneasy alliance between the sexes. In his relationship with Brenda, the possibility of actual sex was out of the question, because of his failing health. That freed him to woo her with words. And he did. "Without the pressures that come with a sexual relationship, you can focus better. For Henry to be my mentor, I had to be in love with him. He was a hard teacher, because he was intense. He was also very sick and could have died at any time. So everything was speeded up. He knew that there wasn't much time. He stressed that there would be a lot of things I would remember only after he died. He gave me love and I gave him love. But I also gave him something to live for. It was a wonderful exchange. I don't think either of us got shortchanged. The passion of raw sex makes you play games, even if you're unaware of it; Henry always said that man/woman games would never end. The beauty of our relationship was the purity of it." What will Brenda Venus do after the book reviews and the talk shows and the movie deals are history and her letters from Henry Miller become part of his literary legacy? Don't worry about her. She's a strong, beautiful, intelligent woman. And a 20th Century Venus.
Now you don't have to be a general or an admiral to buy household articles from defense contractors at 100, 1000---even 10,000---times their real cost! That's right---this is your chance to pay the same absolutely astonishing prices Uncle Sam has been paying for years! We at Pentagon Products don't believe in wasting time on a lot of "dollars-and-senseless" program reviews. We're purveyors of high-quality merchandise, not a bunch of pussyfooting pencil jockeys whining over a couple of extra zeros. Nor do we believe in hauling our contractors over the coals because of a minor price adjustment or a small problem with availability or capability. The way we see it, we're like golf partners, working together to get the best score. In fact, some of our contractors are our golf partners. All the products in this catalog are taken from military-supply records, and the price listed under each item is the actual price at which it was offered to the Defense Department---you're not being asked to pay one penny less! We feel certain that once you consumers have a chance to eyeball some of these once-in-a-lifetime bargains---yes, bargains---you will enthusiastically remark, "To heck with the naysayers, the hairsplitters and other negative personnel!"
Hey, MTV---here's one for you. The video opens with a high-angle shot of Clearwater---the sunny strip of land between the Gulf of Mexico and Tampa Bay. Billy Idol's Hot in the City pumps in the background. The air is sweating. "When a long-legged lovely walks by...." Camera cuts to Hooters, the beachy bar just off the causeway. A brightred Fiero zips into frame and stops. Zoom in on door. Someone steps out. "Yeah, you can see the look in her eye...." At first, all we see is blonde hair, the color of Tampa sun. Finally, close-up: Lynne Austin. "Then you know that it's hot in the city." She perches her sunglasses on top of her head. Her eyes are deep blue---bluer than the Clearwater surf. She smiles. Cut to the inside of Hooters. In the background, Jimmy Buffett sings about the blurry joys of tequila. Lynne and her best friend, Brenda Lee, sit at the bar, sipping a midday beer. They're waitresses at Hooters, but it's their day off, so they're kickin' back. "Hey, take the air outa my glass," Lynne says, laughing, to the bartender; they're served another round. Hooters is a pretty funky place---probably the only bar in Florida where you can find a biker at one table and a doctor at the next. Calling itself "delightfully tacky, yet unrefined," Hooters is a place where the walls tell its history---an N.F.L. pennant here, an Iowa license plate there, a clock on whose face is written who gives a shit?
Thank God moviemaking is so slow and boring and repetitious. Otherwise, it would be a totally enviable way to make a living: hanging out in the best places in the world, bathed in the adulation of strangers, getting more zeros at the end of pay checks than most of us manage to dream about. As Peter O'Toole says, "I get paid the fabulous sums for the bloody waiting; the acting I do for the fun of it." Even when it's going well, moviemaking moves at the pace of primordial ooze.
Tom Cruise was burned out. The previous day's shooting on "The Color of Money," a sequel to "The Hustler," in which he costars with Paul Newman, had run into the early hours of an icy Chicago morning. Now, what the 23-year-old actor wanted most was some sack time. But it would have to wait. Instead, in preparation for his talk with Contributing Editor David Rensin, Cruise had reserved a suite at the Ritz-Carlton and had ordered coffee, tea, orange juice, croissants and assorted fruits. He wore cuffed-and-pleated slacks, a red shirt and cowboy boots. His hair was cut close, and he sported a goldplated stud in his pierced left ear. "It's something my character, Vincent, wears," he offered. "After this is all over, I may just let the hole close up."
The Wine Press has consistently savaged coolers. "Not really wine," it sniffs. Of course not; that's the point. Coolers are a whole new dimension in beverages, taking their place alongside wine, beer and soda pop. For want of a better handle, they've been termed adult soft drinks. Coolers have been spectacularly successful because they implement the changing American lifestyle, with its attention to fitness and moderation. Convenience is another prime attraction of coolers. They're fast, fun and east to swallow. Just twist off the bottle cap or flip the tab and you're in business. Definitely not the thing to serve at formal dinners, coolers are perfect at the beach or the marina, at barbecues and picnics.
even as Jane Fonda and other gurus of sweat were imprinting their leotarded images on the national consciousness, even as the home fitness business was beginning to rival the arms industry in annual sales, even as joggers were shouldering automobiles off the roads, even as more and more seemingly sane people engaged in such seemingly masochistic pursuits as the Ironman Trithlon, the rumblings were starting: Does this stuff really do any good?
Let's face it, Playboy Mansion West is an imposing piece of work. Five and a half lush acres in Holmby Hills, will zoo, hidden grotto, beautiful people. One gets the idea that Hef watches Dynasty to see how the less fortunate live. This is home to a man who doesn't go out for Big Macs, dosen't care if he care if he ever sees Herb and thinks jogging is something you do to your menory. On a recent visit, we strolled the grounds. In the Library, Editor-Publisher Hugh M. Hefner and writer Leo (Yeager) Janos were collaborating on Hef's autobiography. Near the bathhouse, workmen were laying the foundation for an underground exercise room. At the pool, a Playboy Channel crew was setting up a shooting. Then we met the lady of the house, Carrie Leigh.
Continuing The Playboy Gallery's tradition of bringing you the best of Playboy art and photography, we present Vanna White, named best game-show hostess in our March Playboy Guide: The Best. Vanna, who is watched (and, no doubt, worshiped) by millions of fans of television's Wheel of Fortune, was photographed by Contributing Photographer Arny Freytag. On the flip side, you'll find a splendid interpretation of a Playmate by Salvador Dali; it appeared in our January 1967 feature The Playmate as Fine Art. This water color, commissioned by Playboy, is part of the extensive art collection at Playboy Mansion West.
For years, sophisticates and auto mechanics on the Continent have ogled the annual photographic miracle known as The Pirelli Calendar. The tire company has become as well known for its taste in women as for its products. Whenever one had the tires rotated on one's Aston Martin, one could spend a few moments reflecting on the state of womankind. It made paying the bill a bit easier, we suppose. In 1975, for some unknown reason, the company ceased publishing a calendar. Fans had to go to auctions at Christie's to fight for old copies. Western civilization as we knew it had come to an end. No less a personage than actor David Niven mourned the passing of the calendar: "Pirelli gave our dreams form and once we saw them, we knew that standards had been set that would last us a long, possibly a life, time." Say amen.
An unsung benefit of having an amateur actress as your mother is getting your stage debut out of the way. For Lea Thompson, 24, it came while she was still in utero. "My mom was pregnant with me while she was doing Kiss Me, Kate," explains Thompson. "You know that research about how babies can be affected by sounds they hear in the womb? Well, my mom swears that when I was seven months old, she was rehearsing in our house and I began singing Too Darn Hot, from Kiss Me, Kate, on pitch, in baby words, in my crib."
Back in 1978, Michael Tomson (far left), like many men, was pondering his postretirement life. Granted, Tomson was facing the issue at the age of 23, when most folks are starting out, not wrapping up. But as a professional surfer who had been on the circuit since he was 16, Tomson knew it was time to plan for his leeward years. "I looked at what else I could do," he remembers, "and I said, 'Hey, I've been in surf trunks all my life.''' So he called an old school friend, Joel Cooper,32, who had worked in his father's dress-manufacturing business and proposed they go into business together.
One of the main attractions---perhaps the only one---of the latest edition of Saturday Night Live is a furtive, slightly swarthy fellow with slicked-down hair who seems incapable of telling a straight story. "I'm in the music business," he confided to Jerry Hall in a skit. "I'm a produc------ songwriter. Yeah. I write hit songs. For everybody." "Have you ever written for The Rolling Stones?" she asked. "Now you're being silly," The Pathological Liar replied. "Of course not. I manage them."
For Polaroid, it's been a very good year. First, the legal decision that sent Eastman Kodak and its attempt at instant photography into the red ink. Now, The Spectra System, an optical and electronic quantum leap that has produced a marvel of a camera. Like the best 35s, Polaroid's Spectra is completely automatic---including focus, flash (it recycles in two tenths of a second) and even a digital readout that tells you how far your subject is from the camera. Add such options as interchangeable filters and a wireless remote control for the shutter, and you've got yourself a stylish shooter that not only produces crisp color shots in about 90 seconds but also feels right when you hold it.
Just about any excuse will get us to leave town during the depths of a Chicago winter. But when Kawasaki invited us to Bimini for a few days of making like a motorized skipping stone aboard its new X-2 Jet Ski, we knew that we were in for the wetting party of the year. The X-2 does for aquatic fun and games what the sidecar did for motorcycles---no more solo wave jockeying, with just you and Flipper out there on the briny deep. The X-2's two-cycle, 635-c.c. engine has plenty of poke: 40 miles per hour is about the top end, and should you flip, the X-2 immediately returns to idle and automatically circles back to you, like a friendly dolphin. (Being rudderless, it has nothing underneath except water-intake jets, which provide the thrust.) The X-2 holds up to 450 pounds and even comes with an adjustment that enables you to alter its trim, depending on how much weight you're carrying. So, as you can tell, we're wedded to Kawasaki's X-2. (Not even Raquel Welch in a shower would be as much fun.) Surf's up! The gang's down at the beach. Don't just sit there. Join the Jet Ski set.
"Company Men"---are megabusiness moguls the sexy new american folk heroes? Not on your bottom line. Read "Attack of the Business Rah-Rahs," by Laurence Shames; "The Selling of Excellence," A Profile of Tom (In Search Of) Peters, by Louise Bernikow; and "Required Executive Reading," a guide to those self-aggrandizing C.E.O. autobiographies