As the election year heats up, America's trade deficit with Japan continues to be a major issue. So here's a radical suggestion: If we can't sell them cars, why not sell them something even they'll admit they don't do as well? Like basketball. Give Tokyo an N.B.A. franchise and soon every Japanese will be talking about Air Jordan. Once Mike starts selling those Chevys on Japanese television.... At any rate, read Mark Vancil'sPlayboy Interview with Chicago Bulls' star Michael Jordan, and think about it. For another strategy--a sexually fulfilled worker is a productive worker--read E. Jean Carroll's most-original Viewpoint, "Solving the Japanese Problem." On a more practical note, if you're in the market for a new car and have decided to buy American, this is the year to do it, according to Playboy's Automotive Report, by Contributing Editor Ken Gross.
Playboy, (ISSN 0032-1478), May 1992, Volume 39, Number 5. 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.
Bringing up Baby Department: Eddie Van Halen's instrumental 316 was written for son Wolfie before he was born. Says Eddie, "When Valerie was pregnant, he was totally nailing her bladder. I'd take an acoustic guitar, lay it on her belly, play the song and it would chill him out." Eddie says Wolfie is still a big fan. Sounds like useful info for Dr. Spock.
A Crowd-Pleasing comedy called My Cousin Vinny (Fox) is carried from fitful start to hilarious finish by Joe Pesci, in a total departure from his Oscar performance as a psychopathic killer in last year's GoodFellas. This time, Pesci plays a seemingly inept New York lawyer who took six years to pass the bar exam and has never handled a court case. Vinny drives his Cadillac to rural Alabama to defend his cousin Bill (Ralph Macchio) and Bill's college buddy (Mitchell Whit-field), who face a murder charge stemming from a convenience-store robbery they didn't do. From a screenplay by Dale Launer (who wrote Ruthless People), director Jonathan Lynn wages a North-South cultural war with some capable accomplices--among them Marisa Tomei as Vinny's quick-witted girlfriend and Fred Gwynne as the bemused judge. Cousin Vinny wins the day as pop entertainment worth more than its weight in wisecracks. [rating]3bunnies[/rating]
Rain-soaked and rushed, actress Kate Nelligan slips into her corner seat at a New York eatery for a brief lunch before dashing off to a famous designer's atelier to borrow a gown she'd wear at the Golden Globe awards in L.A. "I'm co-presenting something with John Goodman, who was so marvelous in Barton Fink. I guess they choose people who aren't nominated as presenters, to make them feel better." Nelligan obviously feels great, whether or not Oscar should recognize her two stunning 1991 performances--as the randy waitress in Frankie & Johnny and as the vivacious mother in Prince of Tides, whom she played young and old with dazzling aplomb.
"I like experimental films," squeals Saturday Night Live's creepy androgyne, Pat, "and romances because I'm a very sexual being." Like those before us, we couldn't nail down Pat's gender (though, video-wise, we learned that he/she prefers Beta to VHS: "I have a Beta machine. It was given to me by my old flame, Leslie"). Pat's favorite rentals: Tootsie, Switch, Victor/Victoria, A Man and a Woman and Some Like It Hot ("There's a male and female side in everyone"). Fave directors: the weird Davids--Lynch and Cronenberg. ("Oh, and John Waters! I'm mad for Divine!") Sex symbol: Rambo or Linda Hamilton? "Neither. I like David Bowie." One last try: Would Pat pose for Playboy? "Oh, yes! But you'll have to wait. I need to lose ten pounds."
With the publication of The X-Rated Videotape Guide II (Prometheus), Robert Rimmer's two-volume set now boasts more than 3000 minireviews of adult films released through September 1991. The books go for about 18 bucks each; call 800-421-0351.... Get out your dumbbells and fire up the VCR. In Keys to Weight Training for Men and Women, five-time Mr. Universe winner Bill Pearl takes you through three free-weight routines designed to get your bod back in shape--just in time for the beach. Tape comes with 20-page handbook and exercise log; call Critics' Choice, 800-367-7765.... Actor-singer Hoyt Axton is the sharpshooting host of Guns of the Old West (Cassel), a video browse through the world's vaunted firearms collections, supervised by noted Smith & Wesson historian Roy Jinks.
New Yorker Video has a new world order of its own. From Germany, China and Japan comes a triple-header release of: The Marriage of Maria Braun: Rainer Werner Fassbinder's quirky romance about a World War Two survivor (Hanna Schygulla) whose sexy wiles see her through Germany's postwar reconstruction.
In the beginning, there was Monty Python's Flying Circus. Actually, there was radio's Goon Show, with Peter Sellers and Tony Hancock; then, in 1969, six university-bred loonies launched Python mania and forever changed the face of British humor. Before long, Americans were cheering for Monty--and more. Here, then, is a Yankee's sampling of U.K. yuks, many of them new to video:
In observance of Easter and Passover, FoxVideo is serving up its Films of Faith collection featuring 13 classics at $19.95 each. The lineup, which ranges from Biblical to biographical to pure Hollywood piety, includes The Robe (1953), The Agony and the Ecstasy (1965), Moses (1976), The Song of Bernadette (1943), The Bible (1966) and Cleopatra (1963).
Pioneer Laser Entertainment has released a new batch of Karaoke discs--those sing-along specials with background voices and subtitled lyrics. Included in the eclectic lineup: Soul Man (Sam and Dave), I Go to Extremes (Billy Joel), Nick of Time (Bonnie Raitt) and Witchcraft (Frank Sinatra).
Despite Decades of excessive press given to the business of moviemaking, only a handful of book-length reports from inside Hollywood have captured the essence of the beast--such books as William Goldman's Adventures in the Screen Trade, John Gregory Dunne's The Studio, David McClintick's Indecent Exposure and Julia Phillips' You'll Never Eat Lunch in This Town Again. Now add to that select library Paul Rosenfield's catty, chatty, deliciously telling The Club Rules: Power, Money, Sex, and Fear--How It Works in Hollywood (Warner). The list of 400 producers, actors, agents and studio execs--the true Hollywood insiders' club--that makes up the annotation for this book is a devastatingly accurate directory of the Hollywood power structure.
A bunch of us went to the theater the other night. We saw a one-woman show starring a performance artist named Carrie, a woman who is funny, moving, attractive and brilliant. During the show, she talked about being a lesbian, and every time she did, some women in crewcuts and work boots stood up and cheered.
Is there a restaurant in Chicago called the Water Tower something? Then that's the place. Lots of glass, as I remember. We were in a booth. I had on my fake hair. A big, long nylon sort of blondishred chignon that I would sometimes pin on top of my head and other times on the back of my head--I don't remember where the chignon was that particular night. I remember my dress. I had only one. And I always wore a pair of panties, a panty girdle, a bra, stockings, a full slip and dress shields.
How dare you suggest that someone engage in fellatio while driving on a freeway! The 20-mile blow job you described in the September Advisor is unsafe sex. That attentive wife and her husband could kill someone.--D. S., Los Angeles, California.
Let me confess that I probably have done as much as anyone else to introduce sex into Presidential politics. I'm not referring to my endless flirtations with the locals to relieve the boredom of crisscrossing the country while covering candidates who were outstanding only in their ability to avoid saying anything of substance. No, I refer to that moment back in the 1976 campaign when Jimmy Carter confessed to me in the soon-to-be-fabled Playboy Interview that he had lusted in his heart for women other than his Rosalynn.
Princeton, New Jersey--In classrooms and journals, in lectures and coffee shops, academics are talking about rape. Although it wears a fashionable leftist mask, this is a neopuritan preoccupation. While real women get battered, while real mothers need day care, certain feminists are busy turning rape into fiction. Every time one Henry James character seizes the hand of another character, someone calls it rape.
"Is it really fair to say 'AIDS is an equal opportunity destroyer' and 'We're all at risk' and 'AIDS doesn't discriminate'? Or is it more accurate to say that while AIDS should be the concern of all, in the same sense that [male] breast cancer is, it is nonetheless nonsense to maintain that we are all at equal risk of getting [AIDS]?"
The Reverend Donald Wildmon is far and away our favorite censor. The president of the American Family Association is against everything--Dr. Ruth, The Golden Girls, The Last Temptation of Christ, Madonna, Robert Mapplethorpe and Mighty Mouse. And now, it seems, he is censoring himself: To prevent an interview he gave to a BBC film crew from being shown in the U.S., he has filed a $2,000,000 lawsuit.
When the founding fathers drafted the Bill of Rights, they sought to protect certain values: freedom of speech, of the press, of the right of the people to assemble peaceably. Their understanding of freedom and liberty came from events in the real world. People have the right to assemble in a church or town square, the right to be secure in their homes and the right to speak freely in any and all of those places: solid, tangible stuff. Rights made manifest through the morning paper, the church pew, the Miranda card read by the cop after breaking down the door.
At the age of 29, Michael Jeffrey Jordan is almost certainly more popular than Jesus. What's more, he has better endorsement deals. Of course, Jordan, unlike John Lennon, would never say anything so imprudent. It's not in his nature. Then, too, the estimated $21,000,000 he'll earn in 1992 from product endorsements is dependent on his image as the quintessential gentleman, consummate sportsman, clean-living family man and modest, down-to-earth levitating demigod. He maintains that image effortlessly, perhaps because it's not an image.
On a sunny spring morning in central Utah, Peter Stamatakis sits astride his roan gelding and fumes. "Did you get that cat yet?" the rancher shouts at Don McNulty, who has four-wheeled to the top of this mountain range to find and kill a mountain lion. "I lost another two last night."
With the poise befitting a former Miss America, Elizabeth Ward Gracen sits patiently in her chair, waiting good-naturedly for the Big Question. She has been asked the Big Question a lot recently--hundreds of times, according to her manager's rough estimate--and so far she's avoided giving an answer. But that never stops anyone from asking. "It's been an interesting two or three weeks for me," she admits, showing a gift for understatement. Three weeks earlier, Elizabeth awoke to find herself the subject of a banner headline in a tabloid. Dems' Front-Runner Bill Clinton Cheated with Miss America, announced the Star, quoting from a lawsuit against Clinton filed by a disgruntled state employee. The lawsuit, which alleged that Clinton spent state funds to wine and dine five extramarital partners, was dropped only days after the Star appeared, but Elizabeth's life has been a maelstrom ever since. "It's not just the tabloids approaching me, it's everyone: friends, family. I've had to deal with all these people and that's been difficult," says Elizabeth, who was Miss Arkansas and Miss America in 1982. "What's unfortunate is that a lot of my friends have been put in awkward positions to try to find out information. All the tabloids are in Arkansas waving money in everybody's face. Ten thousand dollars for a phone number, sixty thousand for an address. I told my friends, 'Look, give them my number for ten thousand dollars--I can always change it.'" The tabloids may have her phone number, but they've yet to get anything else, despite cash offers as high as $500,000. "I know Bill Clinton," she admits. "I haven't seen him in years. I know his wife, Hillary. I've met their daughter. I don't know them very well. Arkansas is a small place, and any celebrities from there are going to meet one another at various celebrations and festivals.
There's an old tantric idea that excessive indulgence in sex can take you to the other side and free you of a need for it. I thought I was going to have a chance to test that theory. I could see opportunity looming on the horizon in India, of all places. Yes, I was off to holiday in India, the place where tantric sex began.
Shrugging off the worst sales year in decades, two automakers have come out swinging with a pair of decidedly different sports cars. Mazda's new RX-7 sports coupe is like a scalpel, while Dodge's Viper RT/10 roadster closely resembles a sledgehammer. Each is artfully styled, blindingly fast and a kick to drive. The aerodynamic $32,000 Mazda sports coupe appears more contemporary, with a high-revving, sequential-twin turbocharged engine. In contrast, the no-frills Viper (at nearly twice the RX-7's price) seems a retro-tech effort: an unabashed reincarnation of the Shelby Cobra. But don't be fooled. Mazda's RX-7 has the latest version of a rotary engine that's been around for decades and the Viper is not as retro as it looks--its swooping body (pictured overleaf) is made of composite materials that are 40 percent lighter than comparable sheet-metal panels. The new RX-7 is 200 pounds lighter and substantially more powerful than its predecessors. It's also nearly 700 pounds lighter than the Nissan 300ZX and about 1000 pounds less than the Mitsubishi 3000GT VR4. A lightweight sports car, of course, rewards its driver with quick steering and nimble handling. Even better, it requires less horsepower and, consequently, less fuel. Although the RX-7's 255-hp rating is hardly shabby, it's well below that of most of its competitors. Yet the 2800-pound RX-7 will surge from zero to 60 miles per hour in just 4.9 seconds, topping out at 156 mph. Dodge's 165-mph Viper weights about 3400 pounds. Its massive alloy V-10 engine, which develops 400 hp, compensates very nicely for the heft. In the Viper, you can accelerate from zero to 100, slam on the brakes and return to zero in just 14.5 seconds. That's faster than any car currently in production, even the legendary 427 Cobra. No large, multilayered automaker could effectively build a limited-volume car like the Viper. So Chrysler established a small team, really a company within a company, to do the job. Team Viper's philosophy is "minimum frills, maximum thrills." The Viper is a modern interpretation of a bare-bones, long-hood/short-deck roadster, complete with raucous side exhaust pipes. Cat's-eye ellipsoidal headlamps and an integrated roll bar are modern concessions. (Air conditioning is a dealer-installed option. And, yes, the Viper comes with a top and side curtains.)
It's Common for small-town girls to deploy a flotilla of feminine wiles and guile designed to get themselves out of Nowheresville to Anywhere, but Vickie Smith has always played it straight. As earthy and wide open as the North Texas spaces she hails from (she grew up in Mexia--pronounced Ma-Hey-ya--pop, 6933), Vickie tells the truth no matter how uncool it may sound. Her biggest fear, for instance: "Water! I feel foolish admitting this, but it scares me when there's any more of it than you can fit into a bathtub." She doesn't like showers, either--maybe because Vickie, who devours horror films like so much buttered popcorn, has seen Psycho one time too many, How about a secret fetish? "Well," she admits sheepishly, "I don't know why, but there's something about men in braces--the kind you wear on your teeth--that drives me crazy." Two things she's not crazy about, she volunteers, revealing her old-fashioned sensibilities, are men who do drugs and men with long hair. She saw a lot of both on the streets of Los Angeles during her recent visit there. Otherwise, the California trip, taken at Playboy's behest, was, in a word, "fantastic! I stayed at Playboy Mansion West, which was incredible. I still can't get over being able to order whatever I wanted from a menu and being served by uniformed waiters." As a former Red Lobster waitress who sometimes got stiffed on tips, this turn-about was even sweeter than the Mansion's desserts. But Vickie's favorite meal had less to do with food than with the company. "Tony Curtis was visiting the Hefners one evening," she recalls, sitting cross-legged on the black-leather sofa in her Houston apartment, "and he sketched a little picture for me." Grabbing a black-leather datebook from a black-lacquered coffee table ("Black is my favorite color"), she proudly shows off Curtis' autographed sketch, a whimsical pen-and-ink drawing of a cat atop a piano, eyeing a goldfish whose days seem numbered in seconds. As Vickie recounts her L.A. trip--her first foray outside Texas in her 24-year-old life--we are sitting in the tidy studio apartment she has shared for the past five years with her six-year-old pixie-faced son Daniel. Living-room and stairwell walls are adorned with some 20 framed photographs of Vickie's idol, Marilyn Monroe.
After making love, the man excused himself and went into the bathroom. When he returned, the woman sat up in bed and remarked, "I can tell you're a doctor by the way you washed your hands before and after."
Most of the prosecutors from the Organized Crime Strike Force were sitting in the back of Judge Joseph McLaughlin's federal courtroom in Brooklyn on December 20, 1983. They wanted to see this event with their own eyes: A United States Senator was about to testify as a character witness for a Mobster.
I have seen the future and it sucks. Recession, repression, sexism, racism, ozone depletion, diet beer. Even worse, baseball. The irrational pastime simply can't top the show it staged last year, when a couple of 100--1 shots played a one-in-a-million World Series. Next year brings expansion: two terrible new teams to lower the level of play. Then the game's sweetheart deals with CBS and ESPN run out; new deals will favor TV at baseball's expense. In 1994 comes the end of the basic agreement between players and owners, followed by your basic strike or lockout, possibly followed by a summer with no big-league baseball--a joyless Mudville year in which the game itself strikes out.
Women grow up to be brides. Men grow up to be bewildered by brides. Women sometimes flower at their weddings. Men can wilt at theirs. A woman often thinks of her wedding as the first day of the rest of her life. A man can regard it as the day after the last great fling in recorded history. What happens when a woman becomes a bride? What specific biochemical transformation takes place? Why all the organdy, crepe de Chine, raw silk and veiled intentions? We thought we'd best investigate this whole bride thing to see if we could make sense of it.
Actor and monologist John Leguizamo's one-man show "Mambo Mouth" introduced New Yorkers and, later, cable and video audiences to a collection of wildly entertaining but disturbed Hispanic street characters recalled from his youth in New York City's borough of Queens. For his performance in "Hangin' with the Homeboys," Leguizamo was described by one critic as a "Latino version of Brando."
Fax facts: Although the process was invented about 1850, it wasn't until the past decade, when transmission time shrank and quality improved, that the fax boom began. Today, there are over 6,000,000 fax machines installed in business and home offices. But the big news is that portable fax machines have become almost as hot as cellular phones. Pictured below are three: AT&T's Safari NSX/20 notebook computer offers two-way fax transmission, while Ricoh's 11"x7"x2" PF-1 is recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's smallest facsimile machine capable of sending and receiving letter-sized documents. And the last model, the Murata/Muratec M750, even incorporates a full-function telephone and a photocopier. And that's a fax.