Ever Since Tailhook, gender politics has swamped the Navy. Admirals and officers have walked the plank--but to no lasting effect. Conduct Unbecoming, by Dana Priest of The Washington Post, is an up-to-date log of this salty state of affairs. Where rum, sodomy and the lash once ruled, zero tolerance now holds sway. Or does it? The fire below decks may still rage, but some brass are being punished for nothing worse than faulty social sonar.
Playboy (ISSN 0032-1478), July 1996, Volume 43, Number 7. 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.
Many ambitious African American artists have attempted to render the terror, pain and ultimate spiritual triumph of their ancestors' transport to America as slaves. The trumpeter-composer Hannibal, in collaboration with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, has created African Portraits (Teldec), a collection of songs that traces the 400-year-old African American experience. Recorded live at a Chicago concert, this sweeping song cycle uses gospel (a solo by Jevetta Steele), blues (presented by David "Honeyboy" Edwards) and jazz (by Hannibal's own quartet), along with operatic sections, to tell this tale.
The Butthole Surfers, America's greatest psychedelic band since the early Eighties, have a talent for surreal ranting that continues to astound on Electric Larryland (Capitol). While you're never quite sure what vocalist Gibby Haynes is upset about, you know he's extremely discombobulated. Guitarist Paul Leary plays in what he calls a "retarded" style, laying a foundation of simple droning riffs under solos that make liberal use of the whammy bar and a circus of special effects. Leary doesn't like to hit notes so much as wiggle around them in a way that jumbles the lobes of your brain like nothing this side of LSD. Drummer King Coffey has a special feel for tribal rhythms that aid him in creating hypnotic grooves. What could be more apt than the Hendrix reference in the album title? Chromosome damage, anyone? The best cut is probably Pepper, which drips with so much tremolo, it'll melt your CD player.
The Fugees are two Haitian American cousins who specialize in hip-hop beats and rhymes, and one actress who attends Columbia University. Like many promising lineups, this one debuted with an album I felt guilty about not enjoying more. But their latest, The Score (Ruffhouse/Columbia) is smart, strong and beautiful. They are multicultural without sanctimony, militant about cops and contemptuous of criminals. They take such contagious pleasure in wordplay that trying to get every detail would only distract listeners from other pleasures--seductively rhythmic sounds both strange and strangely familiar. You'll remember the Fugees.
Juan Luis Guerra is arguably the most popular singer in the Western Hemisphere right now, and with good reason. He is witty, intense and a grand singer. His band stamps its insignia on influences that range from obvious (salsa, merengue) to surprising (rock power ballads, African juju). Grandes Exitos de Juan Luis Guerra y 4 40 (Karen/BMG) are greatest hits in any language.
Pulp's Jarvis Cocker knows how to write songs that mean something. The basic theme of the highly potent Different Class (Island) is that sex is a weapon of class warfare. If Americans understood that, fools wouldn't get away with demonizing hip-hop. I hope your curiosity is piqued. Cocker has as much to say about the sex part as he does about the class part.
If you think that all San Francisco bands from the summer of love were too stoned to get it together live or in the studio, you're in for a shock. In honor of the Jefferson Airplane's recent induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the band's 1969 live album, Bless Its Pointed Little Head, has been remastered and reissued by RCA. Hits such as Somebody to Love boast searing vocals, thundering rhythms and incendiary guitars. This is as close as you can get to the musical magic that dazzled the Fillmore West crowds. Far out, indeed.
On Best of 25 Years of Swamp Dogg ... or F*** the Bomb, Stop the Drugs (Virgin/Pointblank), Jerry Williams, the legendary Swamp Dogg, serves as an unheralded gangsta grandfather. It's a point borne out in such songs as California Is Drowning and I Live Down by the River, Call Me Nigger and Understanding California Women. The Dogg is hilarious, tough, politically insightful, and above all, soulful.
While the blues transcend fads and styles, fans are always on the lookout for the next innovator--the new Stevie Ray Vaughan or Robert Cray. Roy Rogers, one of the few modern masters of slide guitar, carries the torch. If Ry Cooder and Bonnie Raitt teamed up, they would sound a lot like Rogers. Named after the singing cowboy, Roy plays with John Lee Hooker and produced Hooker's past four albums. His solo album, Rhythm and Groove (Virgin/Pointblank), emphasizes syncopated rhythms, fine songwriting and the sweet sting of his remarkable slide. Like many sidemen Rogers overestimates his vocal skills, but if he finds a worthy frontperson, he'd give Bonnie and Ry something to talk about.
With the death of Luamba Franco in 1989, singer Tabu Ley Rochereau became the grand old man of Zairean soukous. Like most seigneurs, he tends to coast. But on Africa Worldwide (Rounder), he reprises 12 of his thousands of songs--and provides a glorious introduction to this lilting pan-African style.
Onstage, John Wesley Harding refers to his current music as "gangsta folk." Harding absolutely terrorizes the stereotype of the sensitive acoustic-plucking folkie. His earlier albums were called folk mainly because the instrumentation and singing were so spare, but they are actually much tougher than the folk stereotype can allow. Harding's early work is musically astringent, verbally acerbic (his official bio says "cynical") and reminiscent of Billy Bragg without the sectarianism--which brings it close to the young Dylan. Harding's New Deal (Forward/Rhino) turns a corner. He is now using poetic, even mythic, themes and images to convey stories that blur the lines between social and personal concerns. The best of these songs--God Lives Upstairs, Cupid and Psycho, The Triumph of Trash, Other People's Failure--have a Lennonesque melodicism, and Harding's performances bring them a similar eloquence and wit. Indeed, the closing track, The Speed of Normal, is Harding's Norwegian Wood. Folk or rock, that's not a comparison that can be used very often, but New Deal lives up to it.
Traditional country fans should be alerted to Sweet Harmony (Rounder) by the Whitstein Brothers--Robert and Charles. Their harmonies are modestly understated in the title. Glorious and delicate might be better adjectives. Whatever you call them, they certainly fit the innocently honest sentiment of these songs--some of which are new, some of which are old, and you won't be able to tell the difference unless you're a country historian.
John Anderson is another keeper of the traditional-country flame. On Paradise (BNA), he continues to celebrate basic values. The lilting title track suggests all you need to get by are "tomatoes in a jar, a fire and a VCR." The Band's Levon Helm's Delta bark is a natural counterpoint to Anderson's bluesy sound on The Band Played On. Paradise is a crossover success.
Pucker up Department: When you saw the guys in Kiss in full makeup at the Grammys, didn't you get a little nostalgic? You can see them again, in what is expected to be a hot reunion tour running into 1997. Ticket prices are expected to be far more reasonable than those for the Eagles reunion. And the costumes are better.
On The Road Goes On Forever (Liberty), Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash and Kris Kristofferson join forces as the Highwaymen. A few of the ten songs are about living outside the law, but most of the songs are about growing old, which by now they know much more about. It's a knowledge they have the grace to convey with candor.
Movies about growing pains have reached a new level with Welcome to the Dollhouse (Sony Classics) by writer-producer-director Todd Solondz. Dawn, his 11-year-old heroine, wears glasses, has spaces between her teeth and generally endures the hell of preadolescence in a New Jersey suburb. Dawn's parents clearly prefer her kid sister, Missy, an obnoxious would-be ballerina, while Dawn's schoolmates enjoy humiliating her with accusations of lesbianism, apple-polishing and nerdiness. Movie newcomer Heather Matarazzo's unmannered performance as Dawn is a marvel of restraint, and Solondz guides her from rejection to rejection as if this preteen's angst were his main concern. In fact, Dawn's trauma merely serves as a framework for this sly satire of suburbia, which won the Grand Jury Prize at this year's Sundance Film Festival. [rating]3 bunnies[/rating]
Like Gary Old man, Anthony Hopkins and other British actors he admires, handsome Englishman Cary Elwes, 34, often portrays Americans without his native accent. Right now he is in Twister as "a storm-chasing meteorologist" from Oklahoma. He was a young Civil War officer in Glory and a race-car driver competing against Tom Cruise in Days of Thunder. During filming of the latter, he was such a hotshot behind the wheel that he began to get speeding tickets on location in North Carolina. "It was difficult," he recalls, "to get out of a stock car that does 250 miles an hour and crawl into a rented Ford."
"Yankee Doodle Dandy is an all-time video favorite," reports Conan O'Brien, redheaded Late Night rambler and confessed Cagney wannabe. "My biggest disappointment in life is that showbiz isn't exactly like that." He likes to rewind the occasional comedy, such as the Marx Brothers' Duck Soup or the subtly nutty Being There. "And Albert Brooks' Real Life is the funniest movie ever made." He's also a fan of documentaries ("anything from the life cycle of a silkworm to the midlife crisis of Eleanor Roosevelt"), but his real passion is Mafia movies ("I love Coppola's Godfather I and II and Scorsese's Goodfellas"). Still, it's Cagney's killer looks in The Roaring Twenties that top O'Brien's most-wanted list. "I get drawn in by the gangster lifestyle. It's so different from my own."
Has Sense and Sensibility kicked off a new yen for refined entertainment? From the BBC and CBS/Fox comes The Buccaneers (three volumes, $60), Masterpiece Theater's elegant adaptation of Edith Wharton's novel about American debs in 1870s England. Also available: The Final Cut (two volumes, $40), based on Michael Dobbs' House of Cards trilogy, starring Ian Richardson as England's wily prime minister who's bent on retiring rich.... And we thought we'd seen it all. TV's popular American Gladiators is spoofed in a full-length parody called American Flatulators (Madacy, $19.95). Yep, the brawn here focuses on, well, intestinal fortitude, as challengers called Gaseous Clay and Felicia Fullercheeks try to go the distance in a variety of explosive events. Our fave: Pumped-up participants vie to burst a nine-gauge, high-density rubber balloon with human wind. Try this at home--please.
Times have changed since the first best-actress Oscar went to Janet Gaynor for her portrayal of a prostitute in Street Angel (1928). Now Roberts (Pretty Woman), Shue (Leaving Las Vegas) and Sorvino (Mighty Aphrodite) have tried the life. Want a date? Consider:
The six-volume Secrets of Love series is the perfect home study guide for those who cut Comp Lit, rounding up 12 erotic classics from the likes of de Maupassant (The Greenhouse), Chaucer (The Contest) and de Sade (Augustine). Stories feature pretty backdrops, decent camera work and great period costumes--when they're being worn, that is. (Tee Dee Gee, Ltd., $19.95 each.)
The only people who complain more than athletes do about getting their minutes are movie buffs, and Image Entertainment has some good news on that front. Sergio Leone's 1972 epic about the Mexican Revolution, Duck, You Sucker, weighs in on disc at its original 158-minute length. Television versions of the film--also known as A Fistful of Dynamite--usually chop at least 20 minutes out of that. So get yourself a really big bag of popcorn.
When Leonard Lewin's Report From Iron Mountain (The Free Press) appeared in 1967, it was soon after exposed as a satirical hoax, a clever parody of think-tank rhetoric. Now it's being republished, with a new introduction by Victor Navasky, because this send-up of conservative thinking has become a "sort of bible" among the Michigan Militia and other radical right-wing groups. That a Sixties liberal joke should inspire today's paramilitary suggests how pathetically distorted our national political discussion has become.
Professional sport may be defined by its rivalries--corporate churl (Cowboys vs. 49ers), fierce elegance (Lakers vs. Celtics), simple sociopath (Mike Tyson vs. Civilization itself)--but how do we define tennis? When 1995 began, the men's and women's tours seemed on the verge of a wonderful era. Pete Sampras--the cool, quiet Gen Xer next door--and Andre Agassi--the hot, loud, earringed grunger--would contest Grand Slam finals and number one rankings into the next millennium, or at least until Nike, Mountain Dew and milk exhausted their commercials. On the women's side, the father-impaired Steffi Graf and the resurrected Monica Seles, co--number ones, would battle each other until only one of their personal soap operas was left breathing.
If you were watching ABC News Nightline on August 31, 1983, you saw Ted Koppel announce that Korean Air Lines flight 007, en route from the U.S. to South Korea, had mistakenly flown into Soviet airspace and had then been forced down by Soviet fighters onto Sakhalin island. Sixty Americans were on board, including a congressman, and it was said that the plane was safe and sitting on an airport runway.
I'm watching Homer drift into a nap. His eyes blink, close, snap open at a vague sound. I am nuts about Homer, the sweetest, most loyal dog on earth. He enchants me. I adopted him three and a half years ago, when he was 11. I'd hoped to have a year with him. Now I'm in denial. I secretly believe he will never die.
My boyfriend and I have been together for a year. For the first four months, he wanted to have sex every night. Since we moved in together, we make love about once a week. What happened?--K.T., Seattle, Washington
For a time during the Eisenhower era, Bettie Page was everyone's favorite pin-up, the girl next door who doubled as the Dark Angel. She starred in the fetishistic work of Irving Klaw and added sultry glamour to Fifties erotica. Her legend secure, Bettie vanished, turning up nearly four decades later in California, the unknowing star of the Bettie boom. Photographer Bunny Yeager, known for her outdoor work with Bettie in Florida, shot this rare studio pose in 1954.
Forty-three-year-old Chazz Palminteri witnessed a murder when he was nine, has known more than a few wiseguys and has been in his share of fights. But he knew that Broadway literally leads from his native Bronx into Manhattan.
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 17, 26--28, 30, 78--81, 84--87, 104 and 161, check the listings below to find the stores nearest you.