If television is the electronic fireplace around which families gather on cold, dark nights, shouldn't we hang our Christmas stockings from the antenna? That was just one of the questions we pondered as we prepared this issue of Playboy. Whether you are a veteran couch potato or one of those trendy Yuppies newly into cocooning, you will be interested in the pop-culture icons investigated here.
Playboy, (ISSN 0032-1478), December 1989, Volume 36, Number 12, Published monthly by Playboy, 680 North Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, Illinois 60611. Subscriptions: $26 for 12 Issues, U.S. Canada, $39 for 12 issues. All other Foreign, $39 U.S. Currency only. For new and renewal orders and change of address, send to Playboy Subscriptions, P.O. Box 2007, Harlan, Iowa 51537-4007. Please allow 6--8 weeks for processing for change of address, send new and old addresses postmaster send form 3579 to Playboy, P.O. Box 2007, Harlan, Iowa 51537-4007, and allow 45 days for change Advertising: New York: 747 Third Avenue, New York 10017, Chicago 680 North Lake Shore Drive, Chicago 60611: West Coast Perkins, Fox & Perkins, 3205 Ocean Park Boulevard, Suite 100, Santa Monica, California 90405.
Sure, females say he's cute, but Australian-American rocker Johnny Diesel has talent, too--witness his U.S. debut, "Johnny Diesel and the Injectors." We asked him to assess "Heart Shaped World," the newest release by another singer-songwriter-guitarist whose chops compete with his looks--Chris Isaak.
Pay-Per-Hear Department: Here's an idea whose time has come: Music Systems, Inc., has launched Music Line, a national service that allows you, the record buyer, to sample new recordings by calling 1-900-45-Music and then punching in a four-digit code to hear a specific song. The caller can get ten to 15 seconds of each song for 89 cents per minute. This means that before you pop for the price of an album or a CD, you can get an idea of what you'll be buying. It beats spending $12 only to discover that you hate side two.
England's Answer to Working Girl and Wall Street is a chic, cynical romantic drama called Dealers (Skouras). Rebecca De Mornay, still up to her pretty neck in risky business, plays an American manipulator employed by a huge London bank. She's a whiz-bang stock trader as well as a sexpot whose crowded calendar allows time for affairs with her boss (John Castle) and her archrival in the firm (Paul McGann), who thinks her top-echelon job should have gone to him. He appears to be doing all right, though, commuting by seaplane to his country estate on the Thames. The dubious morality of making big money for the sheer joy of it is debated, exposed and scorned, as usual, with De Mornay and McGann ultimately teamed to weather a crisis on the big board. The death of a former colleague teaches them that there is more to life than greed, and they fly off in a seaplane, presumably to settle for less. So will they live on Yuppie love alone? Not bloody likely. Director Colin Buck-sey's coolly detached tone makes it clear that this is a mating dance of born predators. [rating]2-1/2 bunnies[/rating]
Talk about runaway success: This will be a banner year for Annabella Sciorra (pronounced shee-yorra). The New York--born daughter of Italian immigrant parents, Sciorra attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts before making her film debut as a Bronx bride-to-be in True Love. After that sleeper won a grand prize at Utah's United States Film Festival in January, she zoomed into the big time. "Word got around after the festival.... A producer saw True Love and recommended me to director Mike Figgis for Internal Affairs, where I play Richard Gere's wife. He's a bad guy with the L.A. police, and I turn him in." The next star encountered on her meteoric rise was Robin Williams. "I finished Internal Affairs on May seventh this year and started Cadillac Man on May eighth. I'm not supposed to tell much about the movie, but Robin's a Cadillac salesman, and I play Tim Robbins' wife. He's an incredibly jealous husband, sort of crazy." By the time you read this, Sciorra will be full speed ahead in Reversal of Fortune. "It's about the second trial of Claus von Bülow, with Jeremy Irons as Claus and Glenn Close as his wife, Sunny. I'm a young lawyer on the case." So far, Annabella has deflected the curse of typecasting. "At first, because of the part I play in True Love, people expected me to come in chewing gum, with a Bronx accent. I tell them what they want to hear: that I can be American, French, Cuban or French-Italian and any age from eighteen to twenty-seven. I'm an actress." Being an actress on a hot streak helps, she acknowledges. "This is actually my first interview, ever. Things have happened so fast, I do get overwhelmed at times. But mostly, it's cool."
Barry Sobel, actor (227, Punchline) and comedian, has a standup act that plays kamikaze all over the pop-culture landscape, nailing everything from rap music to Neil Simon. When it comes to his VCR menu, Sobel's tastes are modern. "I go back only as far as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Another Western, Silverado, is one of the most underrated movies--ever. I love James Bond stuff and all Woody Allen films--especially Manhattan and Stardust Memories. Allen kills me." Barry couldn't resist a parting shot at Tom Cruise. "I'm so glad he did Rain Man, because Cocktail was one of those movies where we couldn't care less about the main character's job. Like, imagine Stallone as the greatest miniature golfer of all time: 'Windmill! Windmill! Free game! I'm your worst nightmare--ever!'"
Rudest Porn Title of the Month:Splendor in the Ass;Best Why-Bother? Video:How to Play Flutes of the Andes: Level 1;Best Live-on-the-Edge Video:How to Market, Eat Out & Read Labels;Best Oh-Give-It-Up Video:Feel Your Way to Better Golf;Best Dirty-Laundry Video:Clergy Marriages in Crisis;Favorite Reach-Out-and-Touch-Something Video:How to Call Canada Geese;Best It's-a-Living Video:How to Field Judge Trophy Mule Deer.
You Don't Say: For viewers who are good at taking orders, Optonica now has a Super VHS deck (VC-G990) featuring The Voice Coach, a remote control that gives vocal, step-by-step instructions for operation, by Sharp.
Video Girlfriend: An interactive video date--from that first phone call to the goodnight kiss--starring Jessica (One Life to Live) Tuck. Cassette includes contest entry form with which viewer can win an actual date with the real Jessica (How to Fantasy Films).
The Danger in writing about larger-than-life characters, such as John Huston, is that the writer will fall victim to the mythology, be seduced by egotistical bravura and end up portraying a popular icon instead of a man. In many sections of The Hustons (Scribner's), biographer Lawrence Grobel rightly allows Huston to set the scene, pick the camera angles and tell his story with all the power of a master raconteur. Then Grobel turns to a chorus of other voices providing corroboration, correction and alternative versions for the record. This technique gives us both the charming theatricality of his subject and a realistic perspective on his life.
I spent the summer of 1956 in Europe. I was a college sophomore, it was my first time out of the U.S.A. and I had a ball. I rented a car and drove through France, Spain and Italy. Life seemed a continuous joy ride. But then things got serious.
All I have to do to find a loon these days is walk out my door. Suddenly, there he is--another wild-eyed, hysterical psychotic who wants to have me arrested for "assault with a deadly weapon," which turns out to be my Winston cigarette.
I have always hated to use condoms, because after rolling one down over my penis, then having sex, it causes such great pain to try to get it off. It invariably rolls my pubic hairs up with it and pulls them out. I have come to the belief that only masochists can really enjoy using these infernal devices. Is there any solution to the problem of pinched hairs? A different technique? I am more inclined to forgo sex altogether than to put one of these things on.--M. M., Richmond, Virginia.
With the recent rapid deployment of condom vending machines, there's a risk that a new generation of creative young males will begin defacing them--without appreciating the literary history of rubber-machine graffiti.
The young woman complained to her friend about her boyfriend's extraordinary sex drive. "I barely have the strength to go to work in the morning." she said. "Now that he's off on holiday, things will only get worse."
It's said that living is the best preparation for an actor. If that's so, Patti D'Arbanville is better equipped than most. At 14, while a disc jockey in a Greenwich Village night club, she was discovered by Andy Warhol and cast in his movie classic "Flesh." At 15, she began modeling in Paris and London, where she worked with Francesco Scavullo and Richard Avedon, and met Cat Stevens, who wrote two songs for her: "Lady D'Arbanville" and "Wild World." She starred in the erotic film "Bilitis" and, back in America, had roles in such films as "Rancho Deluxe," "Big Wednesday," "The Main Event" and "Modern Problems." Most recently, she played John Belushi's drug connection, Cathy Smith, in "Wired." Patti is also Ken Wahl's continuing love interest on TV's "Wiseguy." In real life, she has been married twice and shares a son, Jesse, with Don Johnson. Contributing Editor David Rensin met with Patti at her Santa Monica home. He reports: "Her living room is cluttered with Catholic artifacts and all sizes of framed photographs, including one group shot of Patti, best friend Pamela Des Barres and Melanie (Mrs. Don Johnson) Griffith. She was dressed in jean cut-offs and a T-shirt and was surrounded by workmen who were remodeling her house. Outside, it sounded like the attack of the Mexican lawn blowers. She has amazing powers of concentration."
Ready to book a flight for Spain? Iberia Airlines of Spain, the national airline, offers the most frequent service from several American cities. TWA and Pan Am have flights from New York; American from Dallas.
"So goes the decade"--A tip of the hat to the whos and the whats that got us through the eighties, plus educated guesses about the nineties from the likes of T. Boone Pickens, Timothy Leary and Al Neuharth; and our "Name The Nineties Contest"