You've Seen Them—the scare headlines, the magazine covers, the ads for TV specials blaring out yet another message of impending doom. If it's not AIDS, it's crack, herpes, Third World debt, sunburn or salt; by Thursday, you're afraid of something that you'd never heard of on Monday. In Crisisweek, Associate Articles Editor Peter Moore examines this phenomenon and its victims, with a little help from Lewis Grossberger and Paul Dickson. The trend's a classic case of overkill—a word that, not incidentally, ranks high in A Guide to Crisis Journalese, Dickson's guide to the hypesters' hottest hits. Speaking of lexicons, stone the crows if it isn't the fair dinkum; that's from Say What, Mate?, "A Glossary of Aussie Argot," accompanying Michael Thomas'The Decline and Fall of Okker Chic. Illustrated by Robert Giusti,Chic is a nostalgic tribute to the g'day syndrome that has conquered the rest of the world but is fast becoming extinct in its homeland. Down under, it seems, the mates are drinking LA' beer and eating quiche—when, of course, they're not battling the Fremantle Doctor, some upstarts from New Zealand and a bunch of crazy Americans bent on vengeance in the final throes of the world's most expensive sporting event, the America's Cup yacht race. Reg Potterton and marine technical illustrator Stephen L. Davis explain in Of Bucks and Boats, a stem-to-stern breakdown of the 12-meter boats competing in the race, why they cost so bloody much. Davis should know all about boat-building expenses; he lives with his wife and daughter near Port Townsend, Washington, on a 45-foot cutter he helped design and construct. A cup victory, it's estimated, will be worth upwards of a billion dollars to the winning country.
Playboy, (ISSN 0032-1478), March 1987, Volume 34, Number 3. 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, Colo. 80323-5230, and allow 45 days for Change. Circulation: Jack Bernstein, Circulation Promotion Director. Advertising: New York: 747 Third Avenue, New York 10017; Chicago: 919 North Michigan Ave., Chicago 60611; West Coast: 8560 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles 90069.
Weight of a hockey puck: .38 pound. Weight of the world's largest ball of string: 10,000 pounds. Average weight of a Chihuahua: five pounds. Average weight of a Saint Bernard: 190 pounds. Average weight of Fred Astaire: 140 pounds.
When a shocker is as well crafted and chilling as The Stepfather (New Century/Vista), some of its claims to seriousness seem unnecessary. Taking off with a screenplay, by Donald E. Westlake, tightly woven from the loose ends of an actual unsolved case, director Joseph Ruben explores the psyche of a serial killer who has grue-somely murdered his whole family about the time we meet him. He then sets off to start a new life with an attractive young widow (Shelley Hack) and her unhappy teenaged daughter (Jill Schoelen), a perceptive kid with a strong hunch there's something weird about this new dad. As Stepfather moves toward a breath-stopping climax, with many intermediate stops along the way, the odds increase that the youngster will be proved dead right. In the title role, Terry O'Quinn performs with cool precision as an affable middle-class maniac subject to unexpected lightning bolts of rage when crossed. While it may be argued that director Ruben is exploring the dark side of an elusive American dream about home and family, I suspect he's keener to keep an audience riveted with whatever he can find in his bag of stylish movie tricks. He uses them sparingly, with a minimum of gory detail, and that's good enough to send thrill seekers home wasted but happy. [rating]3 bunnies[/rating]
Having collaborated previously with such jazz greats as Dexter Gordon, Quincy Jones and Chick Corea, bassist Stanley Clarke looked for the abstract truth with colleagues Herbie Hancock, Stewart Copeland and David Sancious on his new LP, "Hideaway." We asked Clarke for the truth about Talking Heads' "True Stories" (Sire).
Party Anthem Department: Richard Berry, the writer and original performer of the rock classic Louie, Louie, has regained royalty rights to it 30 years after signing them away. More than 1000 versions of the song have sold 300,000,000-plus records. From punkers to the Rice University Marching Band to TV commercials for wine cooler, Louie, Louie has made everyone feel like yelling, "It's party time!"
Richard Gid Powers' Secrecy and Power (Free Press) has to be the definitive biography of one of this nation's most powerful men, J. Edgar Hoover. On May 10, 1924, Hoover was named acting director of the FBI, a position he would hold until the day of his death, May 2, 1972. That comes to 48 years as head of a Federal police force that could surveil, arrest, harass and indict. What Secrecy and Power shows us in a balanced and thoroughly researched way is that Hoover came from a long line of bureaucrats ("The Hoovers were part of an almost hereditary order of families who knew their way in and about the Federal agencies"), held his office with brutal efficiency ("By refusing ever to forgive or forget anyone who crossed him...Hoover was giving his subordinates a taste of what was in store if they ever gave him reason to turn on them") and had his moments of extralegal activity ("Hoover's next step outside the law was to apply the disruptive tactics of Cointelpro to an attack on black radicalism"). But through it all, Powers shows that Hoover did strive to be professional and responsible. "His most unassailable achievement was creating one of the great institutions in American Government," he writes. And it's not a bad epitaph for a complex, sturdy man.
Pro football is finally over, but I wouldn't want the sport to depart from your consciousness without letting you in on a television-series possibility inspired by the N.F.L.'s "electronic official"—the replay guy.
In an early episode of L.A. Law, one of the characters referred to a sex act called the Venus butterfly. A polygamist with 11 wives had used the technique to keep his ladies happy. I have a suspicion that it has to do with the female labia, which, when spread, somewhat resemble butterfly wings. Can you explain the technique?—T. S., Marysville, Ohio.
Our special thanks to Senator Jesse Helms for providing some oomph to the normally dry Congressional Record. Helms is on a crusade to ban dial-a-porn phone calls and included the following evidence in his testimony before Congress.
At eye level on the wall of my office is a poster for the Thirties antimarijuana film Reefer Madness. Women Cry For It—Men Die For It! blares the poster, whose lower-left-hand corner features a wild woman dancer transported in Drug-Crazed Abandon. A cloud of deadly smoke wafts toward the upper-left corner, warning, Adults Only!
When it first made news, a lot of people laughed off the Strategic Defense Initiative (S.D.I.) as the finest example of deranged politico-military thinking since the Maginot line. Its projected costs would make it the most expensive human venture in the history of the solar system—and maybe the most reckless one, considering the amount of self-delusion required to imagine that it would (A) work and (B) not freak out the Russians, whose equanimity in such matters can be judged by their past behavior toward errant Korean airliners and snoopy U.S. Army officers.
At three a.m.—in the middle of his composing day—Lionel Richie is locked away in the soundproof studio of his Bel Air home, "mean and rolling," he jokes. Outfitted in a mustard-yellow track suit and munching a bagful of Famous Amos cookies, the 37-year-old singer sits surrounded by a one-man band: two synthesizers, a 24-track board, three electronic keyboards, a Yamaha grand and a "live" microphone hooked into mammoth speakers. Tape recorders are strewn everywhere, because the nation's number-one hit man doesn't read music, much less bother to write it down.
Picture a crowded bar. Three television sets hang from the ceiling, tuned in to the network feed. This is a high-tech joint, so there are competing amusements, as well: MTV on wall-sized monitors, dueling jukeboxes, video games with synthetic voices. On top of this racket, there's the festive roar of conversation.
In recent years, I have become fascinated with journalese, the professional jargon of journalists. It is an amusing but often deceptive tongue that requires careful translation. For instance, there is the way journalists describe people: Ebullient usually means crazy, outgoing means noisy, Rubenesque is fat, spry means not in a wheelchair and ruddy-faced means drunk. If you are called crusty in print, it means the writer thinks you are obnoxious.
Stan H. and his wife, Gloria, slump dejectedly in the squalor of their once merely unkempt suburban home, their vacant eyes fixed on the television screen, their shaky hands clawing at the rising tide of newspapers and magazines. They both know that they are helpless victims of something awful, but they're not sure exactly what, as they haven't yet seen a thing about it in Time or Newsweek.
When word leaked out that MiSchelle McMindes (rhymes with finds), a licensed private investigator and a seven-year resident of Pendleton, Oregon, was posing for a Playboy pictorial, the letters column of the local daily, the East Oregonian—which had run a front-page story about her—got the predictable protest mail from Falwell followers. The story even made the news in big-city Portland, 200-plus miles west. "Will Playboy 'Strip' Away Pendleton's Image?" an Oregonian headline inquires. Responds MiSchelle, an attractive, articulate 29-year-old native of Nebraska: "No way." To understand what the fuss is about, it helps to put Pendleton in perspective. It's the kind of place, as the adage has it, "where the men are men and the women are glad of it." Its chamber of commerce claims it's "not the old West, not the new West—the real West." Stroll down Main Street on a Saturday and you'll meet an eclectic mix of cowboys, Indians, doctors, lawyers, even an occasional merchant chief. The town's money, most of it, comes from the surrounding land: rolling hills that nurture wheat, peas, cattle, sheep and pine trees. During one week in mid-September each year, the place explodes in the heady blend of dust, horse sweat, whiskey and excitement that heralds the Pendleton Round-Up, one of the country's top rodeos. For the other 51 weeks, this community of 14,500 inhabitants and 32 churches is fairly calm. That may change if MiSchelle's pictorial sets Pendleton on its 107-year-old ear. Frankly, though, she expects the citizenry of her adopted home town to take it in stride.
Don't you love Paul Hogan? He's the Rogue Okker in the Australian Tourist Commission commercials chucking prawns on the barbie. Have you seen the Foster's Lager campaign? Hogan again, in his cashmere jumper, gasping for a drop of the amber nectar.
Is it because of lawyers' loss of favor that briefs are losing popularity? Or is it more fundamental than that? Is it that women are trying to lay claim to the champion-boxer look and men want it back? Looking at the options on these pages, we'd say that men and women benefit from the new boxer styles. Left: You (or she) can have the universe by wearing these cotton-flannel boxers, by Joe Boxer, about $15. Right: Try these paisley-print cotton boxers, by Calvin Klein Menswear, $8.50.
At the time we met actress/Playmate Marina Baker, she'd just bought a flat in London. Marina told us all about her mortgage, her monthly note, finance brokers, interest rates and how she saves most of what she earns. So, we ventured, we take it you're a British Yuppie. "I suppose I'm a Yuppie," she agreed. "The few Yuppies here are thriving more than most Sloane Rangers, meaning certain upper-class types who live near Sloane Square, a posh area of London."
The law of good design is not dissimilar to the law of the jungle. To survive, you have to fulfill a function. And function—along with good design—is what safari-style clothing is all about. It's the symbol of an adventurous international spirit. Indiana Jones and "Crocodile" Dundee are cinematic Johnny-come-latelies to the bwana look, as anyone who's seen The Roots of Heaven and endless episodes of the Jon Hall Ramar of the Jungle TV series already knows. Yet they've certainly contributed to the enduring popularity of the sun-never-sets-on-the-British-Empire clothes. And with sequels to both films rumored to be in the works, bush jackets, Bombay shirts, slouch socks, Foreign Legion jungle hats, sahib shorts, etc., aren't about to fade away.
Ineed life, Marty. I need life." Frank Ames looked over the rim of his third gin and tonic at his friend Marty Green. "Christ, I'm forty and not getting any younger, I've been married to the same woman for seventeen years; I got three kids...."
There aren't many opportunities in life to say, "This is the best there is," but Playboy's restaurant poll comes close. In 1980, we first polled the nation's food critics, columnists and editors to identify the absolute best restaurants in America; that list, revised in 1984, stands as the grandfather of such rankings. The chefs and owners, an individualistic bunch, are said to regard them as the definitive selections in the restaurant industry. It is the only national ranking of American restaurants based on an extensive survey of the most distinguished American food commentators—people who monitor both the latest trends and the finest enduring classics to determine the direction that American gastronomy is taking in 1987.
Bob Vila, the host of PBS' "This Old House," pulled up the long drive to his very old and very large house in his vintage fire-engine-red Jaguar XK-E convertible. The car, a present from his wife, was in honor of Vila's 40th birthday a few days earlier.
Starting her movie career Cinderella style, with a sunny-California twist, Janet Jones was lobbing balls over the net on the courts at La Costa resort when director Garry Marshall approached her. He saw a beautiful blonde with a marvelous body, just what he needed for The Flamingo Kid. "Garry walked over to me and said, 'I think you'd be right for my new movie starring Matt Dillon.' " Janet still calls it a dream come true, grateful because she "never had to beat the pavements" but soon began to get phone calls about reading more movie scripts as well as about posing for Vogue and Harper's Bazaar. She wound up on the cover of Life. Anyone for tennis?
Oceans of cash and high-security dementia have transfigured what was once a relatively low-key nautical spree between sporting amateurs into a rare and often ludicrous frenzy, the kind that inevitably results when corporate sponsors jump into bed with jingo loonies, tiny-brained yacht-club yahoos and seagoing rock stars—the generic label for 12-meter skippers and other key crew members.
Donna Keegan, 26, can't figure out what's toughest about her soon-to-be ex-job—the anonymity or the danger. When she drove the speeding car that chased after Tom Cruise in Top Gun, it was Kelly McGillis who got the credit. When she was tackled by Robert Redford in Legal Eagles, Daryl Hannah got all the sympathy. Did anyone care when Keegan was shot off a cliff for Kate Capshaw in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom? When she was machine-gunned and broke three ribs in Scarface? 4It's no wonder Keegan is retiring, giving up her status as one of Hollywood's top stunt women, to become—what else?—an actress. "I guess I'm getting out of my tomboy stage," says the former world-class diver. "I'm even starting to dress like a girl." Was she envious of the actresses for whom she'd doubled? Is the Pope Catholic? "Sure—I'm the one who's being dragged along the street by a car, but you hear her voice saying, 'Oh, no!' At least in acting, the only thing that gets bruised is your ego." Her ego gets its chance in this summer's Robocop. "For the first time, I walked onto a set and wasn't worried about going home with a broken bone," she sighs. "I felt relieved."
Pop-and-soul heartthrob Freddie Jackson, 28, almost made a highly premature stage debut. His mother—his very pregnant mother—was on stage singing Gospel. "And during the middle of her concert, she went into labor. Luckily, there was a hospital just around the corner from the concert hall. That's why people like to say that I was born to sing." Jackson grew up in a Gospel household; his mother is a Gospel singer, as was her mother before her. Balking at such a heritage, Jackson went to business school—and became a 100-word-per-minute typist. At night, though, he began to sing at small clubs—until he was noticed one evening by Melba Moore, who told her manager to check Jackson out. The result was a pair of number-one soul hits—Rock Me Tonight and You Are My Lady—several Grammy nominations and an end to Jackson's career as a typist, "though I guess I could always go back to it if all this falls apart." His most important lessons about singing, Jackson likes to stress, were learned in church. "That's where you really want the audience to feel what you're singing about. If you don't make them cry, you aren't doing anything. Now, when I sing a ballad or a love song, I look for tears in people's eyes. That's my seal of approval."
"My skull is too flat, my ears stick out, my mouth is too big and my belly too round." Such is actress Béatrice Dalle's opinion of herself. But critics who've seen the 21-year-old in Betty Blue, the highly praised French tale of erotic obsession, compare her to Brigitte Bardot and Marilyn Monroe. "She is a challenge to the rules of beauty," says director Jean-Jacques Beineix. "She has something that's the gift of God—the camera loves her."
As a photographer, Bill Owens, 48, produced an odd book called Suburbia, a cult classic filled with some very offbeat photographs of some very ordinary people. As a beermaker, Owens is doing virtually the same thing—he's taken a very ordinary beverage, brewed it in an offbeat manner and come up with some highly select, idiosyncratic beer. How about pumpkin ale, made with mashed pumpkin? Or a beer he calls Tasmanian Devil, because it's made with Tasmanian hops? But don't go looking for Owens' beer at your local supermarket. This is truly designer beer, sold only in his own Brewpub (Owens' registered trademark), Buffalo Bill's Brewery in Hayward, California, just southeast of San Francisco. It's one of a growing number of microbreweries that have recently sprouted around the country, in states where the sale of beer brewed on the premises is allowed. "We're part of a general revolution in society," says Owens. "Ten years ago, you walked into a supermarket and there was nothing but air bread. Now, there's all-grain, seven-grain—everything. The beer revolution is on, too, and our message is that for the first time, you can sit down to a beer that's delicious, with a floral bouquet of hops. It's distinctive and different. You don't get that in big-brewery American beers."
His humor's sly and dry. His take on current events would make your high school history teacher scream. He's Saturday Night Live's Dennis Miller, and his trademark sign-off at the "Weekend Update" desk—"I'm outa here!"—perfectly sums up his weird and witty look at the week in review. Miller, 33, has not only brought pointed political gibes back to S.N.L., he's also added an attitude, a hip smugness not unlike David Letterman's. "I just want to look confident behind the desk—like I belong," he insists. "That's the way I am in life. Maybe I'm a little less glib at home, because this is show business and you have to jack everything up a couple of decibels so people know you're doing something, but the perceptions are the same. My stand-up, me at the desk, me at home—there's no variance." Miller, who writes most of his own material, began developing his sarcastic take on world events in the late Seventies in comedy clubs in his native Pittsburgh. He moved to New York but wasn't ready for it: "I had to fuck my life up a little more, I guess." He returned home, honed his act and got a series of odd jobs, finally landing a spot as host of a local kids' TV show. That on-camera experience gave him the confidence to move to L.A., where his appearances as a club comic first drew raves and attention. Even with his success on S.N.L., Miller is still a regular on the club scene, to perform or just hang out at spots such as New York's Catch a Rising Star and, during off weeks, L.A.'s The Improvisation. "I'll always do stand-up. That's what I do," he explains. "I don't drink, I don't do dope. There are times when I can't unwind at night, so I go to a club and tell jokes. It cools me out."
Any resemblance between the original pocket calculator and the sophisticated Lilliputian devices pictured below is truly coincidental. Aside from doing arithmetic, three of these models—Casio's Digital Diary/Pocket Calculator, Seiko's Dayfiler and The Calling Card—act as electronic appointment calendars, memo pads and phone books, recording dates, names and numbers for future reference. (The Calling Card is as thin as a credit card and adheres magnetically to its own leather case.) The two other devices bring electronic ease to the golf course and the wine cellar. Caddy Card is the world's first computerized golf-score card, while the Wine Guide II gives vintage ratings.
"Behind the Scenes at Soldier of Fortune"— What was it like to work with Bob Brown in the early days of his journal for mercenaries? For one thing, you learned to cover your coffee cup. Join the fun and games at Colonel Kangaroo's paramilitary theme park with a pioneer participant, Fred Reed