Wouldn't it be great if you could reinvent yourself every few years, sort of like Madonna but without having to cuss on TV? John Travolta knows how to do it. After launching his career as a Sweathog and soaring to fame with Saturday Night Fever, he found himself playing second fiddle to chatty babies and dogs. These days Travolta does the talking. Writer Judson Klinger, who first interviewed Travolta for us in 1978, gets the actor's takes on returning to stardom with Pulp Fiction and Get Shorty, steering a disabled jet into Washington National and placing an excited phone call to an idol named Hugh Hefner.
Playboy (ISSN 0032-1478), March 1996, Volume 43, Number 3, Published monthly by Playboy, 680 North Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, Illinois 60611. Subscriptions: U.S., $29.97 for 12 issues. 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: 730 Fifth Avenue, New York 10019 (212-261-6000): Chicago: 680 North Lake Shore Drive, Chicago 60611 (312-751-8000); West Coast: SD Media, 2001 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 200, Santa Monica, CA 90403 (310-264-7575); Southeast: Coleman & Bentz. Inc., 4651 Roswell Road NE. Atlanta, GA 30342 (404-256-3800); Boston: Northeast Media Sales, 8 Faneuil Hall Marketplace, Boston 02109 (617-973-5050). For subscription inquiries, Call 800-999-4438.
Director Terry Gilliam, the former Monty Python troupe member, states unequivocally: "I'm not drawn to straightforward stories." True to his word in 12 Monkeys (Universal), the man who made Brazil and The Fisher King vaults over the top with another visually smashing futuristic drama. Bruce Willis plays a time traveler from Philadelphia in the year 2035, when 99 percent of the world's population has been eradicated for reasons not altogether clear. Beamed back to 1996 to see if the human race can be saved, Willis encounters a helpful psychiatrist (Madeleine Stowe), a Nobel Prize -- winning scientist (Christopher Plummer) and the scientist's son (Brad Pitt), the last a crazed animal activist whose terrorist chums may have unleashed a deadly virus that could wipe out civilization. The plot by screenwriters Janet and David Peoples is circuitous, but Gilliam and his crew lead audiences on an eye-filling trip through time. [rating]2-1/2 bunnies[/rating]
Victoria Abril, 36, touched down in New York to promote her latest film, French Twist (see review), in which she stars as a betrayed housewife who turns bisexual. A vivacious international star who has won awards and accolades everywhere, Spanishborn Victoria, amber eyes flashing, rushes to explain that the original French title of her new movie was Gazon Maudit:"Gazon means grass, and maudit is forbidden, bad -- but it stands for pubic hair. It's a lesbian idea, a beautiful love story that makes people grow up."
It may not be the résumé credit that landed Val Kilmer in batboots, but his swashbuckling turn in Ron Howard's Willow (1988)--rereleased by Columbia TriStar in a digital transfer with THX sound--is worth a spin ($70). The George Lucas--produced fantasy about an abandoned baby who must overthrow an evil queen features a three-side CAV transfer, perfect for those dazzling special effects. . . . Voyager has a Criterion Collection Edition of the New Zealand drama Once Were Warriors ($50), about Maori who drifted to the inner cities. Extras include: chat by director Lee Tamahori; two trailers--one for N.Z., the other for the States; a making-of featurette; and a segment on the tattoos seen in the movie.
The Brits were obsessed with it in 1994, just as Americans had gone ape over Ken Burns' The Civil War. Now it's preserved on tape. Weighing in at six hours, Middlemarch (BBC Video, three tapes) transforms George Eliot's classic into a perfectly English soap, with capricious love, social bitchiness, political intrigue and money, money, money. Great performances upstaged by awesome mansions. . . . Presumably, the making of Bon Jovi: Live From London (Polygram) was a technological triumph--or, at the least, a big pain in the neck. To capture the band's sold-out performance at Wembley Stadium (72,000 writhing bodies), the filmmakers used 17 well-placed cameras--one in a blimp. The program features live spins on past hits, songs from the band's These Days album and back-stage footage. . . . ABC Video corralled 100 twanging ladies for The Women of Country: Volumes I and II, a love song to C&W's top female artists, past and present. The two-volume set includes footage from the historic 1993 concert in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, intimate interviews and memorable numbers by such honky-tonk heartbreakers as Mary-Chapin Carpenter, Emmylou Harris, Tanya Tucker, Tammy Wynette, Trisha Yearwood and Patty Loveless.
OK, so they have yellow skin, blue hair and three fingers. But the Simpsons are still the typical American family, and their video choices confirm that. When Homer is alone, he goes for the likes of The Last of the Mohicans ("I never did like the Mohicans," he explains); when he wants to view a romantic his-and-hers double feature with Marge, it's Immortal Beloved and Mortal Kombat. Which brings us to their viewing problem: They simply can't communicate. To wit: Recently Marge sent Homer out to rent Amadeus. He returned with Beethoven. Then when she suggested a passionate foreign film, he rented La Femme Nikita. "I made him take it back," Marge says, "and he returned with Fists of Fury. What can you do?" But the last straw was when Homer dropped everything to run out and rent the romantic adventure It Takes a Thief. Why? He thought it was the sequel to It.
Chrissie Hynde may be the finest rock singer working today, and the Pretenders' Isle of View is her masterpiece. She sets her best songs against a spare rhythm section that brings out the bright, bitter essence of her lyrics. An early song such as Kid acquires new depth in this arrangement, while midperiod classics (Back on the Chain Gang) along with later ones (Sense of Purpose) seem more like standards than recent tunes. This is rock at its most adult, but without a hint of complacency: Hynde mourns her lost youth but never tries to recapture it. Instead, she brings to her music all the passion and problems that middle age has brought to her. And she makes such things seem like no burden at all.
Whenever I listen to Boss Hog (DGC), I smell spilled beer and fresh sweat. The album sounds way too loud at moderate volume and reeks of skeezy punk clubs full of intelligent young bohemians suffering from attention deficit disorder. Formed from the shards of Pussy Galore, Boss Hog makes lots of noise. But, thanks to tight execution and cool arranging by guitarist Jon Spencer, it chops it up into bite-size fragments. Vocalist Cristina Martinez gets my current nomination for Who Courtney Love Should Have Been.
However you feel about legalizing marijuana, Hempilation (Capricorn) is a gutsy benefit album in the age of Newt. The artists' royalties go to NORML to help reform marijuana laws. Although about half the neohippies and grungers on Hempilation sound as if they could use a strong cup of coffee, some do their best work in years. The Black Crowes' cover of Dylan's Rainy Day Women #12 & 35 is a rollicking gem. Blues Traveler has the balls to take on Sly Stone's I Want to Take You Higher, and pulls it off--thanks to John Popper's harp work. Gov't Mule's bluesy kick sounds like Cream, Southern style.
After Yoko Ono's disastrous 1994 musical New York Rock, we can be forgiven for dismissing her as a rich widow. But if you're smart enough to understand that she's always had her own musical gift, you'll be pleased to learn that Rising (Capitol), the follow-up to Season of Glass, was worth the wait. Anchored by Sean Ono Lennon's sparse guitar, Rising is Ono's first pop album to make the most of her avant-garde vocals, which the world has finally caught up to. Its best songs are clear, stark, graceful and possessed by the right spirits.
A heartfelt reconstructionist for her entire 20-year career, Emmylou Harris makes barriers fall with Wrecking Ball (Elektra/Asylum), a dozen disparate songs produced by Daniel Lanois. Harris, who began expanding the parameters of country music in 1977, reinterprets Steve Earle's Goodbye as a dirge, while Neil Young's title track becomes a twirling tune of raw desire. But the real winner is her lilting cover of Lucinda Williams' Sweet Old World. Wrecking Ball offers spiritual country music that country radio won't touch.
Tracy Chapman is seen by many as only a socially conscious folksinger, and her fourth collection, New Beginning (Elektra), certainly contains material which feeds that perception. But Chapman's greatest gift may be in composing nuanced songs about romantic relationships: Give Me One Reason is a tune aimed at a vacillating lover, Remember the Tin Man reminds a friend that love can be found and I'm Ready is a song whose title sums up her attitude toward love. Chapman's low, straightforward delivery and wholehearted performances anchor all the tracks. There's a warm, husky richness to her voice that's as engaging when she's preaching as it is when she's swooning.
Roachford's Permanent Shade of Blue (Epic) is the return of this British rocker to the States. He's been successful elsewhere, and Only to Be With You, Johnny and Cry for Me ought to give this talented writer his best shot in America.
Even as a teenager singing the blues, Bonnie Raitt's hallmarks were realism and pride. These same virtues have now turned her into a worthy middle-aged legend. Raitt has waited too long for stardom to sit on her duff now. Honoring both her second-phase hits and her gutsy, lyrical Seventies songs, the double CD Road Tested (Capitol) should mollify those who groused that Nick of Time and its two studio successors were lifeless. Road Tested has both emotional depth and pizzazz. It also has been blessed with some terrific guest performers, including R&B septuagenarian Charles Brown and Hollywood poster boy Bryan Adams.
The First Ten Years of Def Jam Classics (Def Jam) celebrates the label's first decade with a four-CD set that starts with LL Cool J's Can't Live Without My Radio and ends with the recent number one single This Is How We Do It by Montell Jordan. It includes cuts from Public Enemy, the Beastie Boys, EPMD, Slick Rick, Warren G., Domino and, of course, plenty from Def Jam's most enduring artist, LL. This compilation is an essential document of hip-hop.
Hailed as a work of genius at its 1993 premiere in Vienna, Steve Reich's multimedia opera The Cave (Nonesuch) has now been released on CD. Reich uses four singers, a 13-piece ensemble and tape sampling to detail the biblical story of Abraham and Sarah. The real achievement of this nontraditional opera lies in Reich's work with the melodies and rhythms of speech. Despite the occasional bombast, he has succeeded in setting forth a new operatic form.
John Coltrane's Stellar Regions (GRP/Impulse) is the archival discovery of the year: a beautiful set on which he fronts a late quartet featuring Rashied Ali, Jim my Garrison and Alice Coltrane. The title track is a splendid composition, a ballad practically Ellingtonian in its grace and power.
Finally in possession of the MacArthur grant he long deserved, the fecund jazz innovator Ornette Coleman has returned from a seven-year recording layoff with Tone Dialing (Harmolodic/Verve). There's Bach on it, tablas and rap. But it still sounds like nothing but Ornette, polyrhythmic and gorgeous.
For Sale Department: The pink house in West Saugerties, New York where the Band recorded Music From Big Pink is on the market. Bob Dylan recorded The Basement Tapes there while he recovered from his 1967 motorcycle accident. The current owner says the novelty has worn off.
Book Publishers have noticed that the Internet, with 37 million users, has a circulation considerably larger than that of The New York Times Book Review. Book lovers have discovered troves of online information about what's hot in the bookstores, the secrets of contemporary authors and how to find almost any book ever written. Whether you are looking for the Central Source Yellow Pages (with 10 million telephone numbers) or the poems of Dorothy Parker, it's out there on the Internet. It may turn out that the supposed electronic threat to pages and print will become the best friend the reader ever had.
I want to examine an important issue without engaging in the political posturing that usually accompanies discussions about it. The issue is domestic violence, and what you read here will be blunt and direct -- and totally unacceptable to some people.
The other night I awoke to find my boyfriend masturbating. He was sitting in a chair at the end of die bed, watching me, but he didn't notice I was awake. I haven't confronted him about this, but it really unnerves me. Should I say something? -- R.S., Memphis, Tennessee.
The most coercive government sometimes is not the one in Washington, though it tries. It's more likely to be the one next door. These days the greatest threats to your pursuit of happiness come from your neighbors in the form of zoning board bureaucrats, planning commission design cops and pain-in-the-ass regulators.
Coral Gables, a Miami suburb and the self-proclaimed City Beautiful, decreed in 1990 exactly which type of news racks the city will tolerate on its corners and sidewalks. "News racks shall have gloss brown pedestals, gloss beige sides and door and gloss brown coin box, coated per standard Sho-Rack specifications." The city zoning wizards further decreed: "The height of the cabinet top of all news racks shall be 39 inches above the finished grade level." The name of the newspaper in the box was permitted to be painted on the box in letters that were not larger than 1.75 inches. The ordinance also went into excruciating detail about where each news rack could be placed on the city's sidewalks. The ordinance mandated: "The Public Works Department shall prepare a scale drawing or aerial photograph of each news rack location showing the position and name of each news rack at that location."
As John Travolta saunters through the clubhouse of the Mountain Gate Country Club near Brentwood, California, there's no mistaking his star wattage. Celebrities are as common as sunny days in southern California, and, with few exceptions, barely warrant a turned head. But no one in the snack shop even pretends not to notice Travolta. "Tom Cruise has no idea of the kind of stardom John Travolta has experienced most of his life," says "Pulp Fiction" director Quentin Tarantino.
Colonel Herb Smith was baffled by the sight before him--hundreds of dead camels, sheep and birds splayed out across the Kuwaiti desert. Smith, a Green Beret, a veterinarian and an expert on contagious diseases, was the U.S. Army's health liaison to the Kuwaiti government during the showdown with Saddam Hussein's Iraqi forces in late 1990 and early 1991. He was charged with helping to prepare American-led coalition forces for every possible chemical, biological and nuclear threat. When Bedouin tribesmen claimed that U.S. forces had killed the creatures by using them for target practice, Smith investigated. But there were no bullet holes, no visible injuries, no apparent causes of death. Some carcasses were covered with insects, but the insects were also dead. Field manuals had warned soldiers that such a scene was a sign of toxic poisoning, evidence that the enemy had used chemical or biological weapons or both. The top command denied that any such weapons had been used. The other signs, according to the manual, were symptoms of illnesses that defied diagnosis. But Smith had no such symptoms as he gazed at the dead creatures.
Even now, five months after the verdict was announced, everything about the O.J. Simpson murder trial remains controversial. Publishers have spent more than $14 million for books to be written by trial participants, and Simpson himself has attempted to make numerous deals. While the trial was still under way, O.J. collaborated on a book entitled I Want to Tell You, in which he answered letters from well-wishers and tried to (concluded on page 133)Tracy Hampton(continued from page 65) generate support for his case. Before the trial went to the jury, his book collaborator approached playboy and offered us an exclusive interview with O.J., but there were conditions. The interview would have to be conducted by O.J.'s own representative and O.J. wanted $500,000.
All Night I didn't sleep. My shins were bruised and my throat tasted bloody and I kept picturing Willie holding my mouth open under the faucet, saying I had a week to get his $1700. I lay on the bed sweating from the heat, a baseball bat beside me, afraid he would come back. In the first blue blur of day I could see the calendar tacked to my wall: the months crossed off in different colors, the days I'd exercised boxed in black. For nearly a year I'd been straight, and then Willie showed up. I'd worried this might happen since my days in the halfway house.
As one of New York's foremost advertising and glamour photographers, Pete Turner excels at selling fantasies. When we asked him to capture his own private daydreams on film, he eagerly rose to the challenge. Pete Turner's Turn-Ons, a pictorial published in our January 1973 holiday issue, sizzles with erotic imagery--from a beautiful garter-belted lady reclining on a big chrome motorcycle to this high-kilowatt shot of model Robin Leslie. Talk about good vibrations.
Miss March is on the phone from Miami. Despite repeated interruptions from call waiting (the efforts of an ex-boyfriend whom she says she's ignoring), she merrily tells her story. "I was in a beauty pageant when I was 15 or 16," says Priscilla Taylor. "When the emcee asked me who I would be if I could be anyone in the world, I said 'Cleopatra.' 'Why?' he asked. And I said, 'I just want to rule!' " The audience, perhaps expecting Mother Teresa in a bikini, was shocked. "I think I blew the personality part of the contest right out of the water," she recalls, laughing. Although Priscilla lost a crown that day, she did go on to win the title of Miss Orange Blossom in her home state of Florida. She's been blowing people out of the water ever since. Confidence. Priscilla has two scoops of it. Whether she's braving TV auditions with her quick wit or just digging into junk food on a shoot while other models nervously nibble crudités, she has the poise of a woman on the move. Recently, the 24-year-old landed a part on Baywatch Nights and, having conquered the world of modeling in south Florida, was leaving Miami Beach to live in New York. It's the latest stop in a lifetime itinerary that includes Aspen, San Francisco and Fort Lauderdale. "I've lived everywhere," she says. "I was always the new kid in school, but I had no trouble making friends. In fact, moving a lot made it easy."
Three decades ago DeDe Lind was the dream girl personified: cute as a button, with a healthy batch of freckles and a soft, sexy voice; a teen-model-turned-movie-actress-turned-Playmate; a southern Californian as passionate about cooking spaghetti and pastries (her roots are Swedish-Italian) as she was about the war in Vietnam ("I just hope that it really is worth it," she said at the time). Now, having dabbled in horses and the boating business, DeDe is newly single and living in Florida--and still enjoying her fame. "I get more fan mail now than ever before," she says. "Who would think people would still remember me? But they do, even in the supermarket. One Vietnam vet had me sign my centerfold. He showed me where part of it had been blown away in his tent. He said it helped him get through the war. I was really quite touched by that."
Aside from growing a beard and a mustache, the only basic way for a guy to alter his looks is to change his hair. The problem is that most men don't know which hairstyle looks best. Women rave about Brad Pitt's buzz cut or Antonio Banderas' luxurious locks, but hair textures differ, so one man's no-care style could be another man's high-maintenance nightmare. And, of course, a look doesn't always translate. Imagine Lyle Lovett with Kato Kaelin's do (or vice versa). To get to the root of the problem, we asked three of the country's leading hairstylists to talk about the latest trends. Cristophe, a Beverly Hills stylist who has trimmed the heads of the high and mighty, including President Clinton's--remember Clinton's runway haircut?--says short haircuts are back, "but not so short or closely cropped that you look as if you just got out of the barber's chair." Cristophe maintains that hair shouldn't appear too finished or styled. "It should be a little shaggy. A short haircut that looks as if it's about two months old is ideal. If you have medium-length hair, grow it out a little." In New York, stylist Frédéric Fekkai (who charges $290 for a haircut at his salon in Bergdorf Goodman on Fifth Avenue) says the look is "clean and sharp." He recommends going short on the sides and either short or long on top--as long as the overall presentation is "neat and structured."
Three years ago, playboy published a ten-page pictorial feature that illustrated a simple reality: In this age of political correctness, safe sex and unsafe feminists, men's clubs--a.k.a. topless joints--were making a serious comeback. Were we right? Were we ever. "Today," says playboy Photography Director Gary Cole, "there are approximately 10,000 women in the U.S. who call themselves strippers or exotic dancers--women from every community, some with college degrees, others working their way through school, some who are supporting a parent or a child." Even Hollywood, often an oddly accurate barometer for trends, has begun rolling out tributes to workaday doffers, including Showgirls, Exotica and Demi Moore's Striptease. So turn the pages and meet the women who take it off with the best. Tipping is allowed.
As a boy in New Jersey, Richie Vitale passed many hours by tossing a rolled-up pair of socks into an open dresser drawer while calling play-by-play: "Here comes Cousy-down on a fast break for the Celtics--over to Sam Jones--jumpah--goood!" Vitale never made it as a pro basketball player--in part because of a childhood accident that blinded his left eye--but his manic color commentary for ESPN's and ABC's college basketball games has made him one of America's mast imitated broadcasters.
Below is a list of retailers and manufacturers you can contact for information on where to find this month's merchandise. To buy the apparel and equipment shown on pages 22, 28--29, 30, 74--79 and 157, check the listings below to find the stores nearest you.
Who says you can't buy a better golf game? High-tech clubs have proved you can buy distance and feel, enough to make any golfer happy. This year's hot story is high-strength, low-density titanium. Ray Cook has a set of irons with titanium heads so playable you'll actually take the one- and two-irons to the golf course. Callaway's Ely Would 11 has a head with a gorgeous, playable low-drag design. Wilson has dared to manufacture oversize, cavity-back forged heads for a big sweet spot with great feel. Titleist has minted the Howitzer in titanium for longer distance, and Roger Cleveland gives you a chance to putt with the instrument of Corey Pavin's choice; unfortunately, you'll have to find his touch by yourself.