We Think Mob boss and picture Marlon Brando. We think famine and the image of an emaciated African child appears. We are inundated with data, and it has become easier to store information as image: the picture-worth-a-thousand-bytes syndrome. But seeing The Godfather is nothing like knowing the reality of the complex world of the Mafia. Inside the brotherhood of organized crime, Time investigative reporter Richard Behar finds an organization In the Grip of Treachery when he interrogates Nicholas "The Crow" Caramandi. Not since Joe Valachi flipped three decades ago has one man done so much damage to the Mob. In his testimony, Caramandi presents a startling and brutal picture of life in the Philadelphia family. The illustration is by Mike Benny.
Playboy, (ISSN 0032-1478). November 1991, Volume 38, Number 11. Published Monthly by Playboy, 680 North Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, Illinois 60611. Subscriptions: $29.97 for 12 issues, U. S. Canada, $43.97 for 12 issues all other foreign. $45 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 and allow 45 days for change postmaster: Send form 3579 to Playboy, P.O. Box 2007, Harlan, Iowa 51537-4007, Advertising: New York: 747 Third Avenue, New York 10017, Chicago: 680 North Lake Shore Drive, Chicago 60611: West coast: 8560 Sunset Boulevard. West Hollywood, CA 90069; metropolitan publishers representatives, Inc. Atlanta: 3017 Piedmont Road Ne. suite 100, Atlanta, GA 30305; miami:2500 South Dixie Highway, Miami. Fl 33133; Tampa;3016 Mason Place, Tampa, Fl 33629.
Whether or not you think of jazz as the one true faith, you have to admit it's had its share of awe-inspiring icons. A perfect example of jazz culthood was long ago conferred upon saxophonist John Coltrane, whose later music radiated a potent spiritualism. (Some devotees in California once attempted to start a religion based on his music; his widow told them to stop.) Coltrane's chaotic, fulminant solos became a rallying point for fervid proponents, as well as critics, of the free-jazz avant-garde. You can make up your own mind with Live in Japan (GRP), which comprises four CDs but only six tracks--including a 57-minute version of My Favorite Things. Most of the music, recorded a year before Coltrane's death in 1967, has never been issued in the U.S., and it will bewilder listeners accustomed to the neat outlines of Wynton Marsalis and company, but parts of this set achieve the terrifying storm's-eye serenity Coltrane sought. Still, an easier place to start would be Blue Train, his classic postbop sextet date: Originally recorded for Blue Note, it's now out on an audiophile CD from Mobile Fidelity (P.O. Box 1657, Sebastopol, California 95473).
Guitarist/songwriter/singer Richie Sambora already claims fame via his tenure in the band Bon Jovi--and his relationship with Cher. Currently, however, Sambora's pride and joy is his rock/ R&B debut solo LP, "Stranger in This Town." Among other highlights, there is a cut featuring Eric Clapton. And alongside Slowhand in Sambora's hall of personal passions stands the band Skid Row. Sambora rates its second album, "Slave to the Grind."
It's Doubtful that any American director other than Terry Gilliam would even attempt a movie as far out and phantasmagorical as The Fisher King (Tri-Star). Richard LaGravenese's multilayered first screenplay has fallen into the right hands--with Gilliam directing Jeff Bridges, Robin Williams, Mercedes Ruehl and Amanda Plummer in a dense, astonishing comedy about love, loss and redemption. Dynamic in the richest movie role he has ever had, Bridges plays Jack, a cruel New York deejay whose radio talk show is renowned for insults and shock value. After driving one unstable listener to commit mass murder and suicide, he abruptly falls from grace. A year or so later, he's drinking himself to death and working in a video store with a woman who loves him (Ruehl). By chance, Jack encounters a homeless dreamer named Parry (Williams), who is searching for the Holy Grail and believes he has located it in a rich man's palatial mansion. Parry's other romantic fixation turns out to be a plain girl named Lydia (Plummer).
You won't be seeing all of magician Christopher Hart, 30, in the upcoming film version of The Addams Family: just five fingers' worth. Hart actually plays a character called Thing, a disembodied hand. "It's not scary," he notes, "but lovable. Thing plays practical jokes, more like a family pet." Preparing for his scenes--most of them opposite Raul Julia, as Gomez--Hart had his hand in make-up for roughly 45 minutes a day. When the cameras started rolling, "they'd shoot me running across the floor, then erase my body from the film frame by frame, leaving nothing visible but the hand. It's ninety percent special effects."
Italianamerican and The Big Shave: A pair of early featurettes from master film maker Martin Scorsese--the former, an intimate chat with his folks; the latter, a black comedy about how a man's morning ablutions turn into a blood bath (Home Vision Cinema).
What do dinosaurs, Archie Bunker's chair and the Hope diamond have in common? They're just three of the 100,000,000 treasures housed in Washington's Smithsonian Institution now featured in seven collectible videos. Among them:
"I love action films," says actor, director and former commander of the U.S.S. Enterprise William Shatner, "because I love to direct action." And video is the perfect medium for the star, who likes to "roll the tape back and forth" to study the techniques of Francis Ford Coppola, Ridley Scott, David Lean and Martin Scorsese ("His work is the perfect amalgam of action, visualization and drama"). Shatner also lends his talents to special vid projects such as Ultimate Survivors, a look at how four real-life cops overcame major crises. And then there's Star Trek, which wrapped its final movie chapter last summer. "It's the last one and I'm really very sad," admits Shatner--but apparently not sad enough to watch the legendary space show on TV ("I flick past it"). And what about that gift the studio once sent him--the complete 79-tape Star Trek collection? "They're still in their wrappers." Oops.
Talk about your odd couples: Kit Parker Video has announced this double release: Sex and Buttered Popcorn, a look back at naughty classics of yesteryear; and December 7th: The Movie, the suppressed full-length version of John Ford's documentary about Pearl Harbor.... Remember the 1989 miniseries Lonesome Dove--the Emmy-grabbing, star-studded homage to the cattle drive? Cabin Fever has put all six and a half hours on tape. Now all you need is a little spare time.
Norman Mailer is an exasperating genius. His huge (1307 pages) new novel, Harlot's Ghost (Random House), demonstrates in many passages that he is still a dazzling prose stylist. It also offers us plenty of his quirky imaginative intelligence as he surveys the American political landscape. This is the Mailer we admire. His gift for describing powerful dramatic moments and for providing unorthodox philosophical insights has not deserted him. Unfortunately, neither have his obsessions.
When people call actor/comedian Jerry Seinfeld one of the best-dressed comedians on the stand-up circuit, they're not joking. "What a co-median wears on stage," says the star of NBC's Seinfeld, "sets the tone for his entire performance." He says his quick-witted act calls for "power colors, such as navy and red, but not too corporate." That usually means something by Hugo Boss or Armani, Parachute shirts and Kenneth Cole shoes. Off stage, however, he "tries to cultivate the uncultivated look" with jeans, Gap T-shirts and solid-colored oxford shirts. "The toughest fashion decision I want to make is figuring out what pair of Nikes looks best with my jeans."
The sacrifices I make for you guys! I tell you, it brings tears to my eyes. Here I am, one isolated asshole on the highway of life, and yet I have just devoted all my time and effort to compiling The Politically Correct Sex Manual for Men.
I just fell in love, and it's the worst feeling. I'm a junior in college and this is the first time in three years that I've felt this way about a woman. Her name is Sally; she's a junior and she's very popular-- too popular, actually. She has this habit of sleeping around with different guys but never longer than one night with each. A mutual friend introduced us at a frat party (she was surrounded by guys--mostly old boyfriends) and confided to me that he had spent a night with her. He described the sex as feverish and said she was like "an antelope on meth," meaning she had long legs and moved very fast. Intrigued, I started dating Sally and we had a genuinely good time. Then we had sex (I was surprised that she was responsible enough to have a supply of rubbers). At one point, she crouched on all fours while I entered her from behind. As I held her smooth ass with my hands, she began moving up and down, then in a circular motion, faster and faster, in ways I had never imagined. It was a mind-blistering experience. And that was it. I've seen her plenty of times since then; she's always friendly but lets me know politely that she has moved on. I told her that I loved her, that she was the first thing I thought of in the morning and the last thing I thought of at night, and that although everyone else thought she was a slut, I didn't. Her reply? It was a mean thing for me to say, I am just immature and she doesn't think she could be serious about me. Why is she behaving this way?--D. D., Boston, Massachusetts.
Let's start with a small story: Last summer, I received notice from a local court that I had ignored a traffic ticket and that, consequently, the fine was doubled. The only problem with this was that I had never received the first ticket. I went to court to find out what had happened.
In the case of Barnes vs. Glen Theater, the Supreme Court has ruled that while nude dancing is protected by the First Amendment, states could demand that dancers wear pasties and G strings in the interest of "protecting order and morality." Chief Justice William Rehnquist, in his brief plurality opinion, did not address whether that interest would allow states to demand the same attire for productions of the opera Salome or the nudity often incorporated into stagings of Terrence McNally's Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune, or even Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream.
In room 637 at the New York Hilton, ten or so prostitutes and porn-flick glitterati (Veronica Vera, Annie Sprinkle and Nina Hartley, among them) caucused with several women who write about sex to frame a draft resolution on pornography. This was Friday, July fifth, 1991. That morning, NOW--otherwise known as the Sisterhood of Enforced Political Correctness--had convened its national conference. This year's convention found hundreds of card-carrying feminists descending on Manhattan to hammer out the Agenda yet again. What took place in room 637, though less revolutionary than, say, gall-bladder removal through the navel, had considerable significance, nonetheless. As "sexworkers," the women of 637 felt they were due a legitimate and honorable lobby at NOW--one they'd never been granted. Not surprisingly, they felt that the NOW attitude toward porn was judgemental, archaic, vague and generally bad for business.
Why doesn't George Bush just come out and say that any woman or doctor who participates in an abortion ought to be convicted of murder? Anyone, rich or poor, in New York or Louisiana, using a public or private medical facility. That's the logic of Bush's turning the Supreme Court over to the pro-life crowd that says abortion is murder.
Once, trying to get close enough to Sean Penn to take his picture--let alone talk about his private life--was typically met with epithets, spit and fists.Peoplemagazine diagnosed him as a "slugaholic" and paparazzi often goaded him into violence just to get one more action shot of Penn's knuckles heading straight at a camera lens. He snarled at reporters, threw punches at men who flirted with his then-wife Madonna, refused to do publicity for some of his films and became so immersed in a sea of bad press that it began to tarnish his obvious skills as an actor.
I've been asked a million times why I agreed to appear in Playboy in March 1989. Having grown up under the strict tenets of the Jehovah's Witnesses, I have to confess that I approached the whole thing very naïvely. Originally, I agreed to be photographed fully clothed; but even then, I wavered on my decision and reneged on the deal.
In 1987, Mobster Nicholas "The Crow" Caramandi pleaded guilty to murder, racketeering and conspiring with a Philadelphia city councilman (Leland Beloff) to extort $1,000,000 from a real-estate developer. Since then, The Crow has been singing. He has testified in II trials, resulting in more than 52 convictions. Not since Joe Valachi spilled the beans three decades earlier has a "made" member done this much harm to "this thing of ours," La Cosa Nostra.
Instead of Spending your Saturdays tramping the streets in search of the latest styles, try letting the clothes come to you. The key is finding fashion catalogs to fit your tastes. Many catalog companies now sell the same designer labels that you'll find in top stores. Others manufacture their own lines. A few even specialize in hard-to-fit sizes. The King Size catalog (800-456-0337), for example, offers clothes for big and tall guys, while Wallaby Station (312-883-4477) is into styles for diminutive gents. And there are catalogs, such as the one from J. Peterman, that combine exciting clothes with great accessories, such as the leather briefcase that's pictured in this feature.
Londe, blue-eyed and gutsy Tonja Marie Christensen, who just turned 20, has come a long way in the past two years--5800 miles, to be exact, the distance from West Valley City, Utah, a sleepy suburb of Salt Lake City, to cosmopolitan Barcelona, Spain's second largest city. There, while the Catalan capital gears up for the 1992 Olympics, she's diligently pursuing a dual career in modeling and acting. "I think I've grown up a lot in the past two years," she says. "For one thing, I've learned that there's a lot more to life than slinging burgers." That's what Tonja did for three and a half years at Scotts, a fast-food place back in West Valley. Our Miss November was one of nine children, an example she doesn't plan to follows. "I believe families should be three or four children at most," she says. For herself, being part of such a crowd gave her more freedom than most young girls enjoy: "Nobody was paying much attention to what I did." What she did, finally, was take off for Europe at the age of 18 with a casual friend named Eric and a photographer they'd met through a modeling agency in Salt Lake. "He told us that Spain was a good place for us to get into movies and modeling," she explains. "So we went with him, landed in Amsterdam and bought an old car. It took us a month to drive to Spain." Travel can be hazardous to a relationship, and the car trip tested their patience. They survived, though, and Eric's now her best friend, the man she expects to marry eventually. They share an apartment above a bar in the resort town of Sitges, near Barcelona, "with a view to kill for--the beach is right in front." It took Tonja a while to adjust to her new surroundings. "I had to learn Spanish from scratch. I'm fluent now. I've also had to learn quite a bit of Catalan." Language isn't the only cultural difference between Sitges and Salt Lake: "It's normal to go topless on any beach here. I don't, though. I guess I'm too American." Tonja is pleased with the career strides she has made overseas. Among her credits: the cover of Playboy's Spanish edition; publicity work for Pioneer electronic equipment; an episode of the TV series Dark Justice, which is filmed in Barcelona; a video for singer Miguel Rios; and several commercials for Spanish television--notably, a popular one for Sanyo VCRs, for which she spent ten and a half hours being made up to look like a robot. But she's not staying in Spain forever; she plans to return to the U. S. when this issue hits the newsstands.
F Life Imitates Art, then the art of technology strives to imitate life. From stereo sound in the Fifties to color television in the Sixties to digital audio in the Eighties, engineers and designers have been coming up with bigger and better ways to make your home-entertainment experience as exciting as any live performance.
As last year drew to a close, it seemed that things were looking up, Sex in Cinema-speaking. Making a major shift in the rating system it had often, and loudly, defended, the Motion Picture Association of America deep-sixed the abhorred X and introduced the NC-17 rating (no children under 17 admitted). At last, critics rejoiced, a distinction could be made between outright sleaze and tasteful erotica. Movies could now be made for and marketed to an adult audience; no (text continued on page 148) longer, the theory went, must they be pruned to the level of suitability for teeny-boppers.
The fastest transformation in recent Hollywood history changed Julia Roberts into Julia Roberts. At 24, she is the hottest female property in all filmdom. Her performances in films such as "Satisfaction," "Mystic Pizza," "Steel Magnolias," "Pretty Woman" and "Flatliners" made audiences forget that she was Eric Roberts' little sister. Since we talked with her, she has worked on "Sleeping with the Enemy," "Dying Young" and the upcoming "Hook." Also, since then, a forest of trees has been sacrificed to the intricacies--real and imagined--of her love life. We were immediately impressed when we met her. She was funny, earnest and blunt. She also had bushels of hair and, of course, those lips and eyes that seem to be the first things other writers describe about her. We also discovered, for reasons that are not entirely clear, that she peels the crusts off her hamburger buns.
I have a built-in resistance to new technological marvels, inspired by my laziness to learn how to use them, so I wasn't very receptive that day five years ago in Tower Video on Sunset Strip when the guy asked me how come I was looking at the video tapes instead of the laser discs.
Whether you spend your weekends tuning up your street rod or ducking into the trendiest clubs, the hottest thing to wear is a varsity jacket. Yes, we know that just a few years ago, a varsity jacket was the kind of locker-room look that you'd find only hanging in the closet of a college jock. But today, some of the best menswear designers have joined the team, mixing unusual and exciting color combinations with warm, durable fabrics such as wool melton, suede and leather. A chenille or leather appliqué of a favorite team, a patriotic emblem or even a fashion logo on the front, back or sleeves is a must. Wear one with a shirt and tie or oversized jeans and a T-shirt. Either way, you'll be on top of the game.