Compact Disc. Cyberspace. VCR. HTML, Carbon fiber, Nafta. We live n a world that reinvents itself almost every day. We aren't afraid of change. In fact, we're responsible for it. We're the generation that rewrote the rules on sex, on play and fitness, on money and living well. We thrive on the new and innovative. As Hef writes in Playboy 2000, we perk up and take note when the walls come tumbling down. Hef, by the way, celebrates his own transition: This month he turns 70.
Playboy (ISSN 0032-1478), April, 1996, Volume 43. Number 4. 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 (212-261-5000); 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.
Gangsta Rap has been attacked by reactionaries and media moguls. This is ominous politically, but musically it has served to undermine hip-hop as a pop phenomenon. On the one hand, we have Tha Dogg Pound's impotently defiant Dogg Food (Death Row), which consists of unrepentantly crude sexual boasts and hedonistic fantasies over pleasurable grooves. On the other hand, hip-hop also includes Genius/GZA's Liquid Swords (see below), the latest spinoff from Staten Island's Wu-Tang Clan. It's smart, strong, violent and hook-laden.
The Genius/GZA's solo effort, Liquid Swords (Geffen), possesses a maturity and political insight missing from efforts of younger members of the Clan. Backed by the resident producer of Wu-Tang, the Genius tempers his gangster tales with surprising references to God and retribution.
Soul Train 25th Anniversary Hall of Fame (MCA) is the perfect desert island boxed set for R&B lovers. Smart selections from Aretha, Al Green, Stevie Wonder, the O'Jays and Boyz II Men add up to an almost flawless compilation.
Mick Jagger has spent the past 20 years playing Peter Pan. When you've become a caricature of yourself, where can you go? The clichéd answer is back to your roots, and it sure works on Stripped (Virgin), the most satisfying Stones album in more than two decades. It helps that these semiunplugged country blues numbers are mostly from Beggars Banquet and Exile on Main Street. Jagger sounds real. So is this a genuine rebirth? It's too soon to tell. But Stripped's vibrant versions of Wild Horses and Sweet Virginia give you the hope that they may be able to carry this energy into the studio.
Any fans of funk or progressive R&B looking to expand their musical palates should try Salif Keita's Folon (Mango/Island). The Malian superstar has a light, plaintive voice that inspires empathy and emotion. His lyrics reflect a simple optimism---especially those of such songs as Tekere (about the pleasures of storytelling and music) and Sumun (a parable about a gathering of animals discussing the death of an elephant).
Stomp 442 by Anthrax (Elektra) is one of the most overpowering hard rock albums of recent years. These guys are remarkable. And a personnel change has brought new drive, as is best exemplified on the ferocious opener, Random Acts of Senseless Violence. They work in a supposedly dying style---heavy metal---and revitalize it. John Bush's vocals show how much he's learned from his association with hip-hop and especially with the stentorian explosions of Chuck D. (Public Enemy toured and recorded with Anthrax.) While some may call Anthrax decadent, the band epitomizes commitment and consciousness.
With New Disease (RCA) the 1000 Mona Lisas take a hard approach that should definitely attract young men interested in slam dancing and showing off their bruises. But under all that testosterone-driven cacophony, you will find some unambiguous melodies and lyrics. It's hard to mistake the meaning of the song I'd Rather Die Than Have to Touch You. Be sure to stick around to the end, because the Mona Lisas have a habit of burying unlisted joke tracks. On their first release, EP, they hid a hilarious cover of Alanis Morissette's You Oughta Know. On this album, it's Paul McCartney's Jet. Just be patient for a minute after Change & Decipher.
It's easy to identify the first must-have boxed set of 1996: People Get Ready: The Curtis Mayfield Story (Rhino), a Three-disc extravaganza that rambles through Mayfield's performing career form his heyday in the Impressions to Superfly and after. A genius of soul, funk and falsetto and a fascinating guitar stylist, Mayfield ranks with Marvin Gaye, James Brown and Isaac Hayes among innovators who did the most to prepare today's soundscape.
The big bands made jazz and American pop music synonymous in the Thirties. The five-CD boxed set Big Band Renaissance (Smithsonian Collection) helps explain how the swing era liberated the jazz orchestra. Compiled by bandleader Bill Kirchner, the set is separated into categories. You'll get it all---Ellington, Basie and even Quincy Jones---with a big punch.
The most significant development in recorded classical music in the past decade has been the advent of the Naxos label. Taking advantage of an abundance of skilled musicians and diminishing manufacturing costs for CDs, founder Klaus Heymann offers quality recordings of classic repertoire for $5 or $6 a disc. This spells trouble for prestigious labels that find themselves unable to rely on their expensive annual revampings of Beethoven symphonies or Chopin nocturnes.
In the Sixties, two German promoters established the American Folk Blues Festival, concert tours that brought Willie Dixon and Muddy Waters to blues-hungry Europeans. Now the five-disc American Folk Blues Festival '62-'65 (Evidence) brings a lot of previously unissued performances to CD. John Lee Hooker and Matt Murphy turn in refreshingly unadulterated sets.
Al Pacino is at the top of his game in City Hall (Columbia) as an ambitious, manipulative New York mayor named John Pappas. John Cusack is also strong as the mayor's deputy, an idealistic man from Louisiana who has a lot to learn about the devious ways of the movers and shakers he looks to as role models. The plot spins around the death of a child killed in a street shoot-out, and a subsequent official cover-up that raises sticky questions about ethics, cronyism and courtroom justice. Up to their ears in the unfolding intrigues are David Paymer as the mayor's chief of staff, Danny Aiello as a shady Brooklyn Democratic boss, Tony Franciosa as a mob capo and Martin Landau as a revered city judge. Bridget Fonda is the dogged attorney seeking truth and fairness for the dead child's family. Fortunately, little time is wasted on the inevitable attraction between Fonda and Cusack. City Hall (directed by Harold Becker, who guided Pacino through Sea of Love) is a resonant, intelligent thriller regarding the high moral price paid in urban politics. [rating]3-1/2 bunnies[/rating]
For a hard-boiled TV cop. N.Y.P.D. Blue's Dennis Franz takes his home viewing nice and easy. "Years ago I started an annual tradition of watching Meet Me in St. Louis with the family," he reports. "As a kid, I really lost my heart to Judy Garland on the trolley---even more than in The Wizard of Oz." The Franz clan---that's his longtime love and her two daughters---also enjoys video flashbacks to a "simpler, more peaceful lifestyle": A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, The Magnificent Ambersons and Yankee Doodle Dandy. Yet it's family fare à la Corleone that truly impresses Franz. "The Godfather is absolutely flawless," he notes, "except for one obviously faked punch before Caan smashes his brother-in-law's head with the trash can lid." Ouch.
The film may have left your neighborhood theater as soon as it arrived, but to enjoy William Friedkin's Jade, forget the by-the-numbers murder plot (Eszterhas on autopilot) and the grumblings of Carso and Palminteri. So what's left to like? Linda Fiorentino's scorching turn as a good girl moonlighting as a nympho. Brace yourself: This woman truly enjoys her bedtime.
Surf's up. Brian Wilson: I Just Wasn't Made for These Times (Live, $19.98) zooms in on the storied career of the Beach Boys' creative center, chronicling his rise to fame, his often overlooked musical genius (some say his Pet Sounds LP was a Sgt. Pepper before its time) and his creepy descent into seclusion. The program includes interviews with friends Crosby, Nash and Ronstadt. It even checks in with Wilson himself at the keys. . . . Why settle for an Oliver Stone stand-in when you can watch Tricky Dick reinvent himself? Central Park Media's three-part The Real Richard Nixon ($49.95) is a safe, one-on-one grilling of Nixon by his own man, White House comrade Frank Gannon, over a ten-month period in 1983. Sure it's a whitewash, but the truth slips out in the archival clips, rare home movies and Dick's trademark tics and sweats. . . . Motorcyclist Jeremy McGrath won his third straight U.S. Supercross title in 1995. Now the 24-year-old's vid scrapbook, Winning Can Be Fun! (Musical Pictures, $24.95), shows you his championship style. Included is footage of McGrath's daredevil dexterity spun through an MTV-type soundtrack cycle and interlaced with intimate family chat. Definitely don't try this at home.
The splendid Hoop Dreams and less-than-splendid Basketball Diaries are only the most recent films to attempt to translate the thrill of basketball to the big screen. In time for March Madness, here are some other three-pointers, slam dunks and foul-outs:
If Pioneer never does another thing, it's lived up to its name with a special-edition release of Amadeus ($160), Miloš Forman's 1984 adaptation of Peter Shaffer's Mozart-Salieri chronicle. Supplementing the epic's state-of-the-art laser transfer are audio commentary by Oscar winners Forman and Shaffer, The Mozart Firmament (a 50-page tour of the composer's life, complete with paintings and engravings), a copy of Shaffer's play, a making-of documentary featuring interviews with the stars and six previously deleted scenes, and a two-CD set (160 minutes) containing a 24-bit digital remaster of the film's soundtrack. And the packaging's gorgeous.
Few Writers have stared so unflinchingly into the face of violence as has Philip Caputo. In his Pulitzer Prize-winning book Rumor of War, and in Horn of Africa and Indian Country, he tried to make sense of war and atrocities. Now, in the novel Equation for Evil (HarperCollins), he probes the psyche of a mass murderer. A lone gunman dressed in Army combat fatigues opens fire on a busload of Asian American children in San Joaquin, California. With cruel efficiency, he kills 14 and wounds four more, and then commits suicide. In the wake of this massacre, the search begins for some way to understand such a senseless act. Justice Department Special Agent Gabriel Chin joins forces with forensic psychiatrist Leander Heartwood to perform a psychological autopsy on the gunman, Duane Boggs. Their investigation takes them back through Boggs' life and his association with an underground racist group called WAR, the White Aryan Resistance. In a surprising development, they find indications that Boggs did not act alone. Equation for Evil is a terrifying look into the modern heart of darkness.
I've heard that exercising the vaginal muscles can increase a woman's pleasure during intercourse. I wondered if the principle applied to men, so I conducted a little experiment: After getting my boyfriend properly excited, I held my finger an inch above his erection and had him touch it with the tip of his penis 20 times. Could this workout improve our lovemaking?---A.S., Roanoke, Virginia.
Let's say you want to do something resoundingly unpopular, such as market rare animals as gourmet food. For openers, you'll need a PR front organization to promote the idea. But what to call it? The Exotic Dining Society? The Committee To Kill and Eat All Pandas? Wrong! Here's your name: the Endangered Creatures Protective Guild.
It reads like a scene out of an Ian Fleming novel: First, there's a phone call. "When you arrive in London," the voice at the other end warns, "an agent of the special branch will contact you. He will instruct you where and when the meeting will take place."
Today we are bombarded by newness. The new movie. The new star. The new show on the new network. The new song by the new group. The new style by the new designer as worn by the new supermodel. The latest development. The latest craze. The hot restaurant, the hot car, the hot computer. The new lingo. The news. Newt. So rapidly and irrepressibly do phenomena appear that they compete for attention in our poor minds. New science has even come up with the field of memetics to study how cultural ideas---memes---rip like viruses through the media and into our consciousness.
As anyone who taps into the Hollywood gossip pipeline can tell you, Kelsey Grammer isn't exactly the sweet, dweebish shrink he plays on TV. In fact, according to those who spend their time trailing the Emmy-winning actor off the set of his hit show Frasier, Grammer's a walking soap opera---primarily in the romance department. If we're to believe the tabloids---and, hey, who doesn't?---Grammer's love life has been a string of disasters that has included a first wife who scooped up their infant daughter and jetted off to the Bahamas with another man, a jealous actress he dropped, an ex-skater who lost his best friend (a dog named Goose) and an ex-stripper whom he married---a woman, he says, who made his life hell.
Manchester, New Hampshire is a scrapper's town where survivors outnumber victors a dozen to one. The textile tycoons left here for cheaper hands south of the border. One of the world's largest shoe manufacturing operations is now a brick dinosaur. The out-of-luck and out-of-work sip coffee in Dunkin' Donuts, which locals call Drunken Grown-ups. There isn't a lot to smile about in Manchester, where the icy wind blows through sweaters and parkas, oak leaves zip by and the city tax collector auctions another fore-closed office building.
Yogi Berra got it right when he said, "It's déjà vu all over again." Yes, Volkswagen is bringing back the Beetle. Not the original Beetle, of course, but a Nineties reinterpretation of the classic Bug, code-named Concept One (pictured here with four joyriding Beatles aboard). "Concept One illustrates its owner's philosophy of life: individualist, lighthearted, youthful and nonaggressive," touts VW. Officially, the car will be on American roads sometime before the year 2000, but given Volkswagen's current meager market share, we're betting that the Concept One will be rolling off Mexican auto assembly lines long before the turn of the century. And its price is sure to be competitive with Chrysler's Neon, GM's Saturn and Honda's Civic, among other diminutive marques. Say, mate, which way to Penny Lane?
Everything You've Heard About Mutual Funds is Wrong
Robert S. Wieder
You can't get away from them. They're in newspapers and magazines, on TV and radio and the Internet, and they are a staple of workplace and cocktail party conversation. They're mutual funds, and, as with computers, if you don't own any, it's probably because you're paralyzed by the confounding complexity of it all.
Enswear designers are on a retro trip, reflecting in their new spring and summer lineups everything from the rebel look of the Fifties to the disco threads of the Seventies. But while Joseph Abboud, Donna Karan, Robert Freda and others may borrow fashion cues from the past, they use the latest fabrics, colors and tailoring to give the clothes new flair. White suits, for example, will be showing up this summer. Today's version is a far cry from the polyester special that John Travolta wore in Saturday Night Fever. (The new white way is to pair a double-breasted suit such as the DKNY model on page 91 with a dark, open-collar camp shirt.) Black-tie attire harks back to James Bond's Thunderball days. You also can get preppy in a white leather jacket worn with a sweater and classic flat-front khakis. James Dean would have dug the Nineties version of the zip-front jacket, which looks sporty in brown-toned glen plaid (pictured on page 87). Wear one with a white T-shirt (with a "V" rather than a crew neck) and cigarette-slim jeans. There's also the mod mode of dress. Our man on page 88 teams a leather racing jacket with a dark T-shirt, indigo denim dungarees and black-framed wraparound sunglasses. Way cool---and all in a day's dressing for our quick-change artist, who takes you from a casual Friday at the office in a tailored soft suit (at right) to a finale of late-night dancing.
As I Watch America start to move away from our centuries-old practice of having only two political parties, I feel compelled to add one more: the Reluctant Conservatives. We are the ones who think that Phil Gramm was way out of line when he crowed, "I was conservative before conservative was cool."
Even a skilled computer animator couldn't have created a better Playmate for the digital age than Gillian Bonner. Not only does she have a great body, a warm smile and a quick wit, but she also owns a very big computer. She's the type of girl who can make your fantasies come true---even if you've never met her.
A deliveryman was driving through a rural area when he saw a farmer plowing his field with a bull. The driver found this especially odd because the place seemed otherwise modern and highly mechanized. Curious, he stopped and waited by the fence as the farmer and beast slowly approached. "No horse?" the man asked. "No tractor?"
Summertime and the grooming is easy. This year, the hottest products for warm weather will offer simple solutions. You'll find conditioning shaving creams and vitamin-based formulas that will revitalize your skin and hair. There's even a lotion-and-pill combo that will give you a great (but expensive) tan.
We can't get enough of Lillian Müller. As a top European model turned August 1975 Playmate, Lillian so wowed our readers that she went on to become Playmate of the Year---and one of the most popular PMOYs at that, "Playboy totally changed my life," she says. "I got my green card and started working in television. Through playboy, I met my husband and had a baby. And, of course, it gave me sex-symbol status." It's a status she's not in danger of losing. Not surprisingly, she is a household name in her native Norway. "I'm the biggest Norwegian export to this country," she says. "In 1992, when the leading newspaper in Oslo learned I was on the cover of Playboy a record number of times, it put me on the front page. The paper sold the second most copies in its history; the most copies sold were of the issue published after the king died." These days, she's working on a book of her life. "Without Hef, I wouldn't be who I am today," she tells us. "I'm so happy that he's settled into his new life."
If you've been everywhere and bought the T-shirts, too, get set for some surprises. Summer travel trends in 1996 probably won't include a carbon copy of your neighbor's week in Orlando. Cruise ships, for example, used to be synonymous with love boats that were the size of small towns---and just as predictable. No more. The newest ships of summer are small, luxurious and so romantic that you may choose not to set foot on shore. One Italian-registered line, Silversea, has two new ships, the Silver Cloud and the Silver Wind, sailing to some of the world's most exotic ports. But it's the intimate nature of a Silversea cruise that makes it unique. Each ship accommodates fewer than 300 passengers, making you feel as if you were a pampered guest aboard a private yacht. And the only kind of accommodations are suites, with 75 percent boasting private verandas. Silversea enforces a strict no-tipping policy, and all wines and spirits in your stateroom and in the ship's many bars, restaurants and salons are gratis. Prices range from about $3000 for a six-day Caribbean excursion to $95,000 (the two-bedroom Grand Suite rate) for an incredible 65-day journey that embarks in Singapore and ends in Copenhagen by way of Thailand, Sri Lanka, India, Egypt, Israel, Turkey, Greece, Spain, France and Germany. (The same cruise is a paltry $36,250 if you opt for a Veranda Suite.) Prices are per person.
Helmut Newton is no stranger to the pages of Playboy. His compelling, sexually charged photographs prove him the master of the edgier outreaches of the erotic. Case in point: his August 1977 interpretation of Madame Claude, the softcore brothel fantasy from director Just (Emmanuelle) Jaeckin. Employing two French models, a well-appointed drawing room and a gentleman who obviously knows what he likes, Newton perfectly captured the sensual energy of the film.
In late August 1992, Randy Weaver was holed up in his shack on Ruby Ridge, a rocky bluff in the mountains of northern Idaho. His wife's body had been rotting at his feet for a week, ever since an FBI sniper shot her through the face as she held their infant daughter. His 14-year-old son, also killed by a federal agent, lay lifeless in the barn. Weaver, a white separatist under siege for violating gun laws, had taken a bullet in the shoulder. Hundreds of FBI agents and other lawmen surrounded the cabin. Weaver prepared to die.
Most cigarette lighters just don't do the job when it comes to firing up robustos, Churchills and pyramids---three of today's most popular cigar shapes. These thicker smokes demand broader fire, which is why manufacturers have created a new breed of lighter that delivers a wider flame. At near right is Dunhill's Unique cigar lighter, available in silver plate, gold plate (shown, about $415) and gold with silver. Next to it is the Quantum cigar lighter with an unusual flip top, by Colibri ($125). At far right, the Macassar is made of lacquered tropical wood, by S.T. Dupont ($575). Our Bunny brings a spark to the night with a Double Corona cigar lighter by Savinelli ($225). Fire 'em up.
On the Internet, no one knows you're a babe. Until now. The moment we asked the women of the Net to reveal themselves, sexy GIFS and JPEGS poured into our digital mailbox from around the world. We unzipped each file carefully and gazed in admiration at the beauty behind the bandwidth. In a fit of nostalgia, one retro editor suggested we print the best shots on something called paper. It worked. We know what you're thinking: Half the "women" you encounter on the Net turn out to be men. (Strange days, indeed.) Be assured that our modem models are as real as your nose, and wired to boot. We've met them in person, checked their IDs and, over cold pizza, charmed them into giving us their e-mail and World Wide Web addresses. As experienced surfers know, women who venture onto the testosterone-soaked Net are by necessity a shrewd bunch. They are very well aware of the difference between FTP and FTD and prefer to be on the receiving end of both. They appreciate a good line---a phone line, that is. They love a well-connected guy who can make them LOL. And they certainly don't take any guff from newbies. If you write, be polite.
Bigger isn't necessarily better in life---or in home electronics, as evidenced by a growing lineup of products designed to do more yet be far less obtrusive. The latest television sets, for example, are loaded with great new features, including split-screen picture-and-picture, which lets you watch two identically sized shows simultaneously. And while screen sizes have reached near-Multiplex proportions, the sets themselves take up less space, thanks to shrinking picture tubes and technology that will soon make it possible to hang a 40-inch TV on the wall. Other signs that less is more this spring include the introduction of pocket-size digital camcorders that can easily be linked to a TV set. computer or printer: multimedia notebook computers that rival desktop models; and small, stylish stereo systems for apartments where space is at a premium yet great sound is a must.
Michael Madsen can easily look like a thug. The 37-year-old actor (and brother of actress Virginia Madsen) has certainly played his share---from the ominous Mr. Blond in "Reservoir Dogs" to the hazardous Rudy in the 1994 remake of "The Getaway." But Madsen has a softer, introspective side as well. He showed those qualities as the father in "Free Willy," and as Susan Sarandon's boyfriend, Jimmy, in "Thelma & Louise." Those are his better-known roles. There have been 25 others, some juicy, some straight to video. And he's written a recently published book of neo-Bukowski poetry titled "Beer, Blood and Ashes."
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 20-21, 84-91, 118, 124-125, 140-143 and 173, check the listings below to find the stores nearest you.
It may look like some futurist's vision of exercise in the next millennium, but the Reebok Sky Walker is actually one of the hottest new fitness machines for health clubs and the home. Requiring about as much floor space as the average treadmill, the Sky Walker simulates a natural walking motion. To get moving, you stand on the suspended platforms, grip the arm bars and start swinging. Upper- and lower-body resistance can be adjusted independently, allowing you to tailor your workout levels. A programmable control console displays elapsed time, speed and distance, as well as calories burned and calculated pulse rate. Best of all, your feet remain stationary through the entire workout, so the Sky Walker eliminates shock to the ankles, knees and lower back.