In Anthropology, New Year's Eve is a liminal event—a threshold that separates the old from the new. Our culture has had its share of liminal moments, and there's no better time than an anniversary issue to celebrate our favorite movers, shakers and stirrers. We start with Marilyn Monroe, the most profoundly sexual woman of our era. She was born the same year as Hugh Hefner was and shared the same sense of liberation. "I dreamed I was standing in church without any clothes on," she once said, "and all the people there were lying at my feet." We offer you a chance to worship at her altar with a combination of new and eternal images in this month's tribute, The Nude Marilyn. Included in this special pictorial are historically significant photos by Tom Kelley, who took the red-velvet calendar shot that appeared in the first issue of Playboy. We have digitally separated a double exposure from that photo session, and the result is an entirely new image of Marilyn. There are colorized Polaroids from the publicity shoot for Something's Got to Give—during which Marilyn unexpectedly stripped off her bathing suit—early cheesecake by Earl Moran, pictures from the "black sitting" by Milton Greene, newly enhanced images by Bert Stern and the last nude photo of Marilyn, by Leif-Erik Nygårds. With text by amateur Monrovian John Updike, our recast portfolio will undoubtedly fuel your erotic imagination.
Playboy (ISSN 0032-1478), January 1997, Volume 44, Number 1, 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 021O9 (617-973-5050). For subscription inquiries, Call 800-999-4438.
Fine Line's Shine is an enchanting movie by writer Jan Sardi and director Scott Hicks. This essentially true story introduces Geoffrey Rush, a splendid Australian stage actor, as classical pianist David Helfgott (portrayed movingly in childhood and young manhood by Alex Rafalowicz and Noah Taylor). Despite a cruel father (Armin Mueller-Stahl) who treats his prodigy's keyboard genius as a personal treasure, young David severs family ties to attend a music school in London, only to fall into the hands of yet another demanding mentor (John Giel-gud, compelling as usual). The film is told in flashbacks, beginning with the mature Helfgott's return to Australia as a stammering middle-aged mental case who smokes nonstop and is cautioned by psychiatrists to keep his mind off music. Only when he wanders away to resume his virtuoso piano playing at a neighborhood pub does he begin to reconnect with the real world—redeemed when he wows the blue-collar clientele and catches the eye and ear of an astrologer (Lynn Redgrave). Small-scale but awesome in impact, Shine is a musical surprise. [rating]4 bunnies[/rating]
Tough talk is his stock in trade, and R. Lee Ermey, at 52, lives up to the reputation he established as a foul-mouthed drill sergeant in Stanley Kubrick's 1987 epic, Full Metal Jacket. In 1995 he stood out as the angry, bereaved father of the murdered girl in Dead Man Walking. He's now on the verge of full stardom in two new films. As Olympic track-and-field coach Bill Bowerman in Prefontaine, he promises to be "a very colorful, off-the-wall character." About his top slot in the imminent Going West with Dennis Quaid, he notes: "I'm a Texas sheriff, a grouchy good old boy, a butt-kicker. It's a major role, sure—but I never get the goddamn girl."
Molly Ringwald is all grown up and cracking wise on ABC's Townies, but the former Breakfast Clubber still finds herself vulnerable to the power of movies. "Whenever I watch Breathless by Jean-Luc Godard," she says, "I wind up cutting off all my hair. Then I regret it and don't watch the movie again for a few years." Back in the States after an extended sabbatical in France, the former teen queen rents old French flicks to keep her ear attuned to her second language. She owns only a few videos, among them Funny Face and the John Cassavetes library (she made her screen debut with Cassavetes in The Tempest). As for her Brat Pack oeuvre—Sixteen Candles, Pretty in Pink, etc.—Molly is nostalgic. "Those have a big video life. The clothes never went out of style. The dialogue hasn't changed much in terms of how kids talk. Those movies are timeless."
"What hump?" A collector's edition of Young Frankenstein ("That's Fronk-en-shteen!") is due out from Fox, complete with commentary by director Mel Brooks, trailers, outtakes and seven deleted scenes. Marty Feldman still holds up as the flick's stroke of genius ($90).... Holiday shopping bulletin: A few copies remain of the Roan Group's A Christmas Carol Collector's Edition ($49), featuring the best Scrooge of all time, Alastair Sim, in a superb transfer from the 1951 35mm British negative. The Avengers' Patrick Macnee (who plays young Marley in the movie) filmed the intro for the disc.
Iris Dements The Way I Should (Warner Bros.) is going to surprise a lot of people. Having earned respect for two unfashionably plain albums, the Arkansas-born singer with the enormous voice hired Nashville producer Randy Scruggs and spends musical time protesting immorality. The result is a good change for her. Scruggs' brightly traditional production separates DeMent from her former somberness without gussying her up. Her recollections of childhood in Walkin' Home and the love song This Kind of Happy sound completely natural. Only a woman as nice as DeMent could make the line "That sounds like crap to me" seem as damning as it ought to be.
The bankruptcy of Broadway musical theater has never been clearer than it is on Rent, Original Cast Album (Dream Works). The show's "rock" stature is meant to excuse the absence of a single memorable melody, let alone anything reminiscent of Chuck Berry or the Beatles. The follow-the-plot lyrics range from the moronically obvious ("That's what Maureen is protesting!" someone shouts and immediately sings, "Maureen is protesting") to third-rate Gilbert and Sullivan. Rent is meant to be Tommy's successor, but the comparison only makes it pathetically clear how skillfully Pete Townshend avoided the clichés of the program song and the tyranny of plummy vocal tones. Rent also lacks a single memorable instrumental passage. A song that actually has a rock beat, such as Out Tonight, is ruined by the vocalists' inability to slur the lyrics properly. At least Bye Bye Birdie owned up to hating rock. Rent seems to have been created by people who feel the same way but lack the guts to admit it.
Vic Chesnutt may be the only singer-songwriter who has sold more records to his fellow musicians (including R.E.M., Cracker and Smashing Pumpkins) than to the general public. Chesnutt hails from R.E.M.'s hometown. On his first major release, About to Choke (Capitol), he can be as enigmatic as his friend Michael Stipe, then suddenly toss in a metaphor that's very much down to earth. Degenerate is the album's most haunting song, a paean to the spiritual mulch created as things die and get reborn. Last June, Chesnutt (who has been in a wheelchair since he was in a car accident) was one of the subjects of a remarkable tribute album, Sweet Relief II: Gravity of the Situation (Columbia). The album series benefits musicians dealing with hardship, and features moving performances of Chesnutt tunes by Soul Asylum, Madonna, Smashing Pumpkins and Hootie & the Blowfish. You'd swear these songs were long-lost gems from the bands performing them.
The original appeal of Nirvana has been overwhelmed by imitators. Let us therefore recall why the band was great in the first place. Kurt Cobain had a rare voice that sounded good when screaming. In rock history, maybe only John Lennon sounded better. Cobain also wrote wonderfully mysterious lyrics and equally evocative chord progressions and riffs for his beyond-punk guitar. Bassist Krist Novoselic always found the pocket, and Dave Grohl, now playing guitar with Foo Fighters, was probably the best pure rock-and-roll drummer of his generation. All these virtues are abundantly in evidence on From the Muddy Banks of the Wishkah (DGC), a live album culled from gigs early and late in the band's trajectory from nowhere to superstardom to tragedy. Play it loud and you'll be happy. There aren't many big revelations and clues here to what might have been. Mostly, you'll find cruder versions of the big hits. But even after listening to this, the ardent fan will still be haunted by the question "Is that all there is?"
The New York City subway is fertile ground for creativity. As demonstrated by Street Dreams New York (Clay Dog), musicians work its stairwells and platforms well. Recorded live in the subway system, these 15 songs by ten artists include folk, reggae and soul. This is a surprisingly laid-back record, not nearly so harsh as you'd expect. Paul Clements, an English acoustic guitarist, and Simon 7, an Australian who plays the didgeridoo, perform two gentle instrumental (Slide and Rolling Dice). Roger Ridley turns in a sweet version of Gershwin's Summertime and a fine duet with Kathleen Mock on You Should Know. But this collection's knockout performance is delivered by Alice "Tan" Ridley, who blows a big, womanly gust of soul vocalizing on My Man. It's the kind of performance that puts the whiny vocals of most Nineties divas to shame.
Give Me Some Wheels (Capitol), by Suzy Bogguss, has all the virtues of Seventies southern California rock with better singing. Bogguss co-wrote the best tracks: Give Me Some Wheels, a great car song, and She Said, He Heard, which is country feminism personified. Saying Goodbye to a Friend mixes metaphors of romantic and mortal mourning in a way that would gratify Jackson Browne.
Mary Chapin Carpenter has built a career by making connections with her own generation, but rarely as directly as on A Place in the World (Columbia). I Want to Be Your Girlfriend is an homage to Sixties radio, replete with cresting Mersey-beat guitar and Benmont Tench's crunchy keyboard work. And Carpenter's Stax-Volt-tinged Let Me Into Your Heart (from the Tin Cup soundtrack) uses its antecedents well. A Place in the World finds her sounding splendid.
Engelbert Humperdinck Lives Department: Engelbert Humperdinck will be joined on the soundtrack for the new Beavis and Butt-head movie by LL Cool J, the Chili Peppers and R.E.M. Can an MTV Unplugged be far behind?
Chuck D is rightfully associated with blistering attacks on white supremacy, but he's often at his scornful best talking about African American malfeasance. On his first solo effort, Autobiography of Mistachuck (Mercury), he finds a juicy target—black record industry moguls known as Big Willies. Some cuts explicitly criticize them and others do so obliquely. Chuck D roars, shouts and orates with righteous vigor.
Reggae artist Maxi Priest has the skills to marshal both traditional and modern Jamaican styles, as well as R&B. He's R. Kelly one minute and Marvin Gaye the next. On Man With the Fun (Virgin America), he croons about love (Won't Let It Slip Away) and rants against injustice (Watching the World Go By).
On Matapedia (Rykodisc) Canadian folkies Kate and Anna McGarrigle show no signs of sweetening with age. But in Talk About It, they make it clear that there are still things they'd rather do in bed than die.
Few musicians can claim to have invented a style. But when Thomas Mapfumo adapted Zimbabwe's traditional thumb-piano lines to the electric guitar, he became one of them. Two terrific compilations showcase him: Chimurenga Forever: The Best of Thomas Mapfumo (Hemisphere) and the Singles Collection 1977-1986 (Zimbab, Box 2421, Champaign, Illinois 61825).
Professor Hope Devane, author of the best-selling Wolves and Sheep: Why Men Inevitably Hurt Women and What Women Can Do to Avoid It, gets stabbed to death in front of her home. Police figure it was a wacko who hated her book. But the murder has them stumped. Enter Alex Delaware, children's shrink and freelance detective, who, as usual, digs up some long-buried secrets. In this case they turn out as nasty and horrific as any in a Stephen King novel.
Bill Gates beat me to the punch a few years ago. He made billions by creating Microsoft Corp. while I was making 50 cents an hour as a freelance writer in Chicago. Which leads to a crucial question: How many moneymaking opportunities have I passed by? How many times have other folks invented cash cows for their wealth and glory while I sat around like a motley fool, picking my nose and counting my toes?
Recently a couple wrote the Advisor asking why sex felt better after they shaved their pubic hair. Years ago, my husband shaved his genitals, and love-making just wasn't the same until the hair grew back. That's because one of my favorite parts of foreplay is when he slides his erection back and forth on my belly while I wrap my legs around his lower back. His rocking causes the hair on his testicles to tickle my clitoris, vaginal lips and anus. If he lowers his pelvis a bit, the weight of his testicles feels warm and comforting, like a blanket between my legs. He could probably make me come just by swinging his testicles, but I don't think he has the willpower because he always slides inside me after a few minutes. Have you ever heard of this move?—P.K., Baltimore, Maryland
"Today's graduating seniors are the first generation of adolescents exposed to the most massive, consistent and expensive federal antidrug campaign ever launched. They grew up listening to DARE officers in the classroom and to public service announcements from the Partnership for a Drug Free America at home. Yet statistics indicate that they are using drugs at far higher rates than were their predecessors just four and five years ago. In addition, more drug offenders are being arrested and incarcerated for longer periods of time than ever before. Clearly, this problem requires more than the standard Washington rhetoric." —Paul Armentano, Publications Director for Norml,at a Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing convened to examine The Issue of Drug use among Adolescents
Bad Frog Beer, one of the fastest-growing microbrewed beers in the country, recently lost bids for statewide distribution in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Ohio on the grounds that its product labels are obscene. The labels, which depict a frog giving the finger, have been called "insulting and inappropriate" by John Jones, chairman of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board. Bad Frog Brewery president Jim Wauldron responded philosophically: "Many people might consider Mr. Jones noble or self-righteous. Not us. We just feel he could use some help overcoming his fascination with the sexuality of a frog. We suggest counseling."
It wasn't Marilyn Monroe but Whoopi Goldberg, hair tumbling over her forehead, standing on the Radio City Music Hall stage facing the president of the U.S. at his 50th birthday party and threatening to sing "Happy Birthday, Mr. President." "I was going to wear a blonde wig," she joked, "but I see that Jack Kemp already has the wig." The crowd—including Bill Clinton—roared.
The Fed Ex letter was delivered at 9:30. James Bond had completed his morning ritual of a cold shower, 20 slow push-ups, as many leg lifts as he could manage, 20 reps of touching his toes, and 15 minutes of arm and chest exercises combined with deep breathing.
Gregory Scarpa was a different sort of American success story. He was a spy, a mole at the core of organized crime in New York. For protection and for money, Scarpa told federal authorities how organized crime worked and provided information that helped put many of his fellow gangsters in prison. Officially, Scarpa worked for the FBI, but the facts suggest that the mobster was the boss and that his so-called assistance to law enforcement was just part of his scam. Indeed, the relationship between Scarpa and the FBI is likely to prove unique in the annals of American crime and law enforcement. And, even if it remains relatively obscure, it surely ranks as one of the FBI's worst scandals.
Mnarilyn Monroe was not nudity-averse. Natasha Lytess, who lived with the budding movie star in the late Forties, recalled how she would come wandering naked from her bedroom around noon, bathe for an hour and, "still without a stitch on, drift in a sort of dreamy, sleepwalking daze into the kitchen and fix her own breakfast." So it was at the studio, where she "ambled unconcerned, completely naked, around her bungalow, among wardrobe women, make-up girls, hairdressers. Being naked seems to soothe her—almost hypnotize her. If she caught sight of herself in a full-length mirror, she'd sit down—or just stand there—with her lips hanging slack and eyes droopily half shut like a cat being tickled." Vagrant as a child, Monroe was at home, at ease, in her skin. The photo to the right appeared in 1953 as the first playboy Sweetheart, the precursor of the Playmate centerfold.
Before I take up the alarming question of whether God has orgasms, I will begin with a story of two Martians. A spaceship from Mars has landed in New York City with the mission of studying the earth's inhabitants. The ship's commander turns to one of his crew and says, "Find somebody on the street and ask him what makes humans happiest in all the world." Then he turns to a second crew member and says, "You find somebody on the street and ask him what makes humans un-happiest in all the world."
Forgoing black tie for a banded-collar shirt has become too L.A.-at-the-Oscars for us. Instead, we offer a few alternative ways to break tux tradition. Want to brighten up the party scene? Wear a dark jacket with a jewel-toned dress shirt and a Windsor-knotted-tie. A dinner suit with a longer jacket looks equally festive, as does clothing made from velvet, cashmere and satin. Or you can mix and match, such as a velvet blazer with tuxedo pants. Cheers looking at you.
It was eight o'clock in the morning and Margo, my cook, had just put breakfast on the table. Ham and eggs on half a baguette fresh from the bakery, and a full pot of Taster's Choice coffee. I never had a taste for French coffee at breakfast, even when served au lait. But the breakfast, sandwich style, was delicious.
She Wasn't Always an adventurer. Growing up in small-town Indiana, Jami Ferrell was the shy girl in the last row of the classroom—the one looking dreamily out the window. "I was always reserved, even painfully shy. I didn't have any friends," says Miss January. Today, a grown-up beauty of 22, she still speaks in a voice as soft as a little girl's. Her hazel eyes shy away from a stranger's gaze. Yet there's something besides shyness here, something that constantly defies the quiet angels of her nature. There's a rebel in Jami, too. One day after graduating from high school, she went to the airport in Indianapolis, near her hometown of New Castle. "I had never flown in a plane, never been outside the Midwest," she says. Plunking down her Visa card, she was asked for a destination. "I chose Los Angeles. That sounded exciting." Soon she was wandering through Beverly Hills and Hollywood. She made friends with a few locals. "People are much more outgoing here, friendlier and more persistent than the folks back home," says Jami. One was too persistent. A fast-talking modeling agent invited Jami for an interview. Time and place: Sunset. The man offered Jami a deal. He could make her a star, he said, but first things first. "I stood up and left. That was the day I learned to be careful." Low on money, she took a small apartment in a dangerous part of East Los Angeles. Then Jami spotted a newspaper ad: Nannies Wanted. What better job for a quiet Midwestern girl? She got a position as a nanny in Malibu, where Miss January now looks after the children of a high-powered, high-profile California couple. "I love my life here. I love the kids, too. But even this won't last forever," she says, gazing at a spectacular Pacific sunset. "I know I'll just get restless again."
Playboy Classic: Two women were dressing in the locker room after their aerobics class when one noticed that the other was pulling on a pair of men's briefs. "So when did you start wearing men's underwear?" the first asked.
They've come for you at last. Outside your cell door, gathered like a storm. Each man holds a pendant sock and in the sock is a steel combination lock that he has removed from the locker in his own cell. You feel them out there, every predatory one of them, and still they wait. They have found you. Finally, they crowd open the cell door and pour in, flailing at you like mad drummers on amphetamines, their cats' eyes glowing yellow in the dark, hammering at the recalcitrant bones of your face and the tender regions of your prone carcass, the soft tattoo of blows interwoven with grunts of exertion. It's the old lock-and-sock. You should have known. As you wait for the end, you think that it could have been worse. It has been worse. Christ, what they do to you some nights.
Good thing surrealist painter Salvador Dali did not live by limp clocks alone. In 1974 Playboy embarked on a collaboration with the great artist, dispatching photographer Pompeo Posar to Dali's Mediterranean villa. There the two men got to work—Dali assembling dreamlike sets from sketches he'd prepared, Posar filling the tableaux with his naked traveling companions. The final portfolio appeared in the Christmas issue, and was hot enough to melt your stopwatch.
New Year's Eve 1996 is fast approaching, and it's party time at your place. The caterer has been hired, the bar is stocked and the invitations are out. But what about entertainment? That buddy who turns Kramer after a few flutes of champagne may be good for a laugh, but you'll need more than a clown to keep the energy boosted past midnight. To help you host a bash to remember, we have the perfect gadgets—they'll add life to your party and free you up to have fun, too. The Sidebar Beverage System (pictured far left) can serve as your electronic bartender, dispensing up to five libations—straight or mixed—with the press of a backlit button, by Thomas Electronics Corp. (about $500). Next to the Sidebar is Olympus' Stylus Zoom 105DLX (about $460), a weatherproof 35mm automatic camera with a 38mm-to-105mm lens and an optional remote control (about $30) that lets you get in on the pictures or take the ultimate candid party shots. To keep the music going all night long, there's Fisher's 150-disc CD changer (about $400) with two convenient party features that allow you to load a CD while another is playing and program blocks of tunes by categories (i.e., rock, rap, jazz), mood or occasion. Atop the CD changer is Panasonic's new PV-L606 Palmcorder ($1099), a compact VHS model with motion sensor and a 3.2-inch color viewscreen. Set up this baby in the corner of the room and it will "sense" the action and serve as the evening's cinematographer. Finally, Clarion's Party Jockey will definitely attract the closet crooners. This portable karaoke machine uses palm-size ROM music cards that can store 200 songs with sing-along lyrics and graphics. Connect it to your television, pop in Born to Be Wild and watch your friends fight for the mike. The Party Jockey can also stand alone, thanks to two speakers and songbooks. Price: about $1700, plus $300 to $500 each for the ROM cards. Happy New Year!
Photographer Bunny Yeager was shopping in downtown Miami when she spotted Lisa Winters boarding a bus. "I returned to Flagler Street for the next several days hoping to run into her. She was 19 years old and very shy." Forty years after her December 1956 appearance, Lisa still is shy. When we called on her at her Texas home, she was surprised. "It's ridiculous that anyone would still be interested in me. It's a time past." That's why we take photographs.
Because I do a show with the title Politically Incorrect, I am often challenged as to the meaning of that phrase. For me, it never implies being liberal or conservative—it just means the opposite of being political, which means being full of shit. Politicians are full of shit because they're so afraid of saying anything that someone, somewhere, might disagree with that they say nothing at all, or tell a bunch of white lies. So, to me, being politically incorrect simply means calling a spade a spade, and just the fact that I now have to add "and I don't mean anything by that" shows how supersensitive we've become.
It was quite a year. The Fugees and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony brought melody to rap. The next Brit invasion heated up with the new Oasis and the old Sex Pistols. Fourteen-year-old LeAnn Rimes and BR5-49 kicked country out of the mainstream. Tracy Chapman put a smile in her music and Me'Shell Ndegéocello put a growl in hers. Neither Toni Braxton nor Hootie & the Blowfish had sophomore slumps. Nor did Beck. Robert Altman's movie Kansas City spotlighted the young turks of jazz. And the great lady of song, Ella Fitzgerald, passed on. Babyface, the R&B power both behind and in front of the mike, won just about every possible accolade. Little Richard even played the Olympics. Can you get more accepted than that? On a somber note, there is a new heroin epidemic. It should be a cautionary tale. Jonathan Melvoin overdosed, and others were in and out of rehab. It's sordid, and it nearly derailed the Smashing Pumpkins' successful concert tour. But a year that combined Seventies nostalgia and a rediscovery of ska with Rancid cannot be dismissed. Take a listen to Tom Jones singing Kung Fu Fighting in Supercop. It's worth its weight in platform shoes.
Five years ago Mike Judge was unknown. Then his brainchildren Beavis and Butt-head went on MTV and became the world's favorite geeks. "The Beavis and Butt-head phenomenon," as the press termed it, spawned endless MTV appearances, as well as guest shots on the networks and tons of Beavis souvenirs and Butt-headed merchandise. They even gigged with Cher, singing, "I Got You, Babe, Heh-Heh-Heh."
He is an impeccable source, a man with personal knowledge of one of the FBI's great buried secrets. He was present during the Freedom Summer of 1964, when J. Edgar Hoover used Greg Scarpa and his Mafia methods to find the bodies of murdered civil rights workers. There are two things I must understand about Scarpa, he begins. "One, in his own curious way, he considered himself to be a true patriot and a loyal American. And two, he ran an interracial crew.
Although half-inch-thick churchills and robustos may be today's cigars of choice for more leisurely moments, the realities of life often call for a stogie that takes a little less time to smoke. Enter the minicigar, a short 15- to 20- minute European-style smoke that is poised to make its presence felt in the U.S. Rolled with the same premium tobaccos as their larger counterparts, these mild cheroots come in boxes or tins that fit into your coat pocket, glove compartment or briefcase. (They're also the perfect size to enjoy between acts at the opera.) Further-more, a box of ten Don Diego Preludes, Macanudo Ascots or other small cigars will coast about the same as some double coronas. Think of these pint-size puffs as the perfect smoke for the fast lane.