You'll notice from our cover that this special issue is a celebration of love and lingerie--a potent pair. After all, lingerie is the warhead of love bombs. Call it Victoria's secret weapon. As a delicate yet powerful underpinning to our lineup, the lingerie pictorial Heart Couture features a gift pack of Playmates in various stages of dishabille. Next, we asked two of our favorite funny valentines, John Cleese and Jamie Lee Curtis, to square off for a disarming discourse on desire. Cleese and Curtis, you may recall, flirted and flopped their way through the literate, sexy comedy A Fish Called Wanda. As they wrapped Fish II--the forthcoming flick Fierce Creatures--Dick Lochte, columnist for the Los Angeles Times Book Review, solicited their lustful thoughts on everything from muesli to whether it is better to frisk or not to frisk. The illustration is by Fred Stonehouse. If money is power and power is the fulfillment of desire, Super Bowl weekend offers corporate America a chance to show off its big balls. Never mind football, the big game is payday for hookers and limo drivers alike. In the article Sex and the Super Bowl,Kevin Cook follows the money to the honeys. When top salesmen and U.S. senators fly into New Orleans this year, more than cash will be pumped into the local economy. (Blair Drawson did the artwork.) As James R. Petersen explains in the second installment of Playboy's History of the Sexual Revolution, the relationship between sex and popular culture has deep roots. Between 1910 and 1919, the advent of movies and the dancehall craze helped fuel a sexually charged atmosphere that the temperance movement couldn't cool. (Managing Art Director Kerig Pope and Assistant Photo Editor Beth Mullins did the visuals.)
Playboy (ISSN 0032-1478), February 1997, Volume 44, Number 2. 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.
Coming off the worst album of his career, Luther Vandross has a welcome return to form with his latest, Your Secret love (LV/Epic). Vandross is reunited with producers Nat Adderley Jr. and Marcus Miller (including a quasi-hip-hop track that features Spinderella of Salt-N-Pepa). But most of this project's best moments occur when Vandross is at the controls.
If you've been thinking that Morphine--with its saxophone, two-string bass and drums--must be a piece of calculatedly weird, postmodern fecal matter loved only by critics, don't think that anymore. Like Swimming (Ryko) is a terrific, lowdown, vaguely decadent rock album with a touch of jazz. "I know a way to swing on the way downtown," sings Mark Sandman, who could give Chris Isaak steam lessons. You will swing all the way downtown, and probably get laid when you get back uptown. What instrument sprays more pheromones than a baritone sax?
Sweetback consists of saxophonist-guitarist Stuart Matthewman, keyboardist Andrew Hale and bassist Paul Spencer Denman--the band that's performed with Sade for more than a decade. This self-titled debut (Epic) offers a surprising selection of music. R&B rookie Maxwell, Sade backup singer Leroy Osbourne and Groove Theory lead singer Amel Larrieux provide vocals on several songs. Much of the album is made up of hard-to-classify instrumentals that borrow from trip-hop, jazz and New Age. This album isn't Sade without the vocals. Sweetback is its own idiosyncratic musical blend.
Chris Isaak's music is so stylized that it seems as if he's been singing a single song--one long, keening ballad--for his entire career. It's tempting, therefore, to react to Baja Sessions (Reprise) as more of the same. But that would be wrong. You can look at Isaak as just a hunk with a thrilling upper register, but his subtlety makes his crooning palatable. On Baja (which was inspired by a journey to the Mexican peninsula), Isaak sings the corny bachelor-pad ballads (South of the Border, Yellow Bird) with which he's always flirted. He even tries Only the Lonely, risking direct comparison with Roy Orbison. Yet if you believe that music is mainly emotional, Baja's effortless rhythmic flow and lush melodicism constitute a triumph.
For anyone who cared about the folk-blues movement of the Sixties, Koerner, Ray and Glover have recorded their first album together in 31 years. But even if you didn't care, give One Foot in the Groove (Tim Kerr) a listen. Stalwarts in the Twin Cities scene that produced Bob Dylan, KR&G recorded several classic albums that are now collectors' items. One Foot has all the charm, wit and rollicking affection that made their earlier work remarkable, but it also has a sense of mortality. The Dave Ray version of Bill Monroe's With Body and Soul, a eulogy for a dead lover, sends chills up your spine. Both Ray and Koerner are devastating on the acoustic 12-string, and Glover (the first great harp player of his generation) can still blow with the best.
In 1970 Hendrix, Morrison, Townshend and Joni Mitchell were the vanguard of the alternative revolution begun five years before by the Beatles and Dylan. In the U.S., their Lollapalooza was called Woodstock, and in the U.K. it was the Isle of Wight Festival. Message to Love: The Isle of Wight Festival 1970 (Columbia/Legacy) captures exceptional performances by rock's young giants. Less than a month before his death, Jimi Hendrix turns in his best versions of Voodoo Child and Foxy Lady. Free delivers a driving All Right Now and the Who's muscular Young Man Blues and Naked Eye are first-class. Dylan, Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen are superb. But Miles Davis steals the show with an almost 15-minute-long Bitches Brew--styled vamp that matches Hendrix for sheer genius. Unfortunately, the Doors are unable to light anybody's fire, and there's lots of self-indulgent noodling by a few other bands that will remind you why punk was a revolution waiting in the wings.
DJ Shadow (a.k.a. Josh Davis) is a 24-year-old Californian who's famous in London for inventing the spacey techno-derived style known as trip-hop. Armed with a sampler, a sequencer and mountains of vinyl, Shadow painstakingly creates music. Some of the 13 dense, varied, drum-driven tracks on Endtroducing DJ Shadow (FFRR/Mo' Wax) are less than a minute in duration, while others are more than nine. They are not so much songs as compositions, designed for headphones rather than dance floors.
How'd you get to be so smart department: Jackson Browne, Roseanne Cash, Bruce Cockburn and Carly Simon, among others, performed on the world's first environmentally friendly guitars at a concert to benefit the Rainforest Alliance. The performers played Gibson Smartwood guitars that are made of wood harvested without jeopardizing forests. But how do the guitars sound?
Heretofore, Mike Henderson has been one of the most underrated honky-tonk singers in country. First Blood (Dead Reckoning) marks him as one of the most underrated white bluesmen, too. His Pony Blues is so adept that Johnny Winter might envy it, and his Chicago blues evoke the spirit of Elmore James. Plus there's Pay Bo Diddley, on which Henderson and his band pay some dues.
A quarter century ago, Bob Dylan went to Nashville to work with Johnny Cash on Nashville Skyline. Now, Cash heads to Los Angeles to work with producer Rick Rubin for the second time. Unchained (American) is less bleak than their first collaboration. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers provide discreet backing as Cash brings the heartfelt gravity of his amazing voice to tunes by Beck and Soundgarden, plus Petty's own Southern Accents.
Sales of classical music were down 19 percent last year, but not because of a lack of good opera CDs. Clearly the best of 1996 was Archiv's release of Claudio Monteverdi's L'incoronazione di Poppea. Conductor John Eliot Gardiner leads a remarkable cast that includes soprano Sylvia McNair. Equally inspiring is mezzo-soprano Lorraine Hunt's performance in George Frideric Handel's Ariodante (Harmonia Mundi), sensitively directed by Nicholas McGegan. Modest Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov is probably the greatest Russian opera. What better way to hear it than with the chorus and orchestra of the Bolshoi Theater? BMG Classics' remastering of a titanic 1962 performance does justice to a masterpiece. In Richard Strauss' Elektra (Teldec), Deborah Polaski masters the work's vocal and dramatic challenges to create a character of enormous depth. When Viktor Ullmann was murdered at Auschwitz in 1944, the world lost a tremendous composer. His expressionistic Fall of the Antichrist (CPO) is a powerful portrayal of tyranny. But if you buy only one opera disc this year, make it James Levine's 25th Anniversary Metropolitan Opera Gala (Deutsche Grammophon). An allstar aggregation--including the wonderful Renée Fleming and Bryn Terfel--celebrates the conductor's tenure with the Met.
Czech-Born director Miloš Forman, a two-time Oscar winner (for One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and Amadeus), should reap new honors with The People vs. Larry Flynt (Columbia). From a screenplay seething with humor, drama and social relevance (co-authored by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, the team that wrote Ed Wood), Forman has wrought an ultrapop masterpiece about the controversial publisher of Hustler. Here, Flynt's stormy career in defense of First Amendment freedom more than compensates for his reputation as a raunchy, uncontrollable eccentric. Woody Harrelson portrays him as a "scumbag" (as Flynt calls himself) from Kentucky who gets rich by building his Ohio strip clubs into a magazine empire that blatantly promotes "pussy" shots. "All I'm guilty of is bad taste," Flynt proclaims while the law closes in. After doing jail time, he is permanently paralyzed by an unknown-assailant's bullet and finally wins his point about censorship in a historic Supreme Court case against the Reverend Jerry Falwell (who sued for libel after being mocked in print by Flynt as having had sex with his own mother). You don't have to like Flynt to admire the film's ultimate defense of him. He is a schlock merchant, perhaps, but one ennobled by fierce, unshakable convictions.
She has been compared to Bacall and Bardot. But Deborah Unger, at 30--blonde and beautiful, with a voice like crushed velvet--carves out her own niche in David Cronenberg's controversial Crash. The movie shook up the Cannes Festival with its portrait of auto-erotic characters turned on by car smash-ups, leg braces and scar tissue. Variety hailed Unger for her performance as James Spader's wife, who "most perfectlyy personifies the film's prevailing sense of cool and daring." Since then, Unger has been promoting Crash from Hamburg to Tokyo, calling it "metaphorical." She admits, however: "I was initially terrified by the script, because I didn't understand it. But it's really not about sex. The theme is isolation, about people trying to connect in an age of cars, computers and phones."
A&E Home Video does not live by its Biography series alone. Now from kid-sister subsidiary the History Channel comes China Rising ($49.95), a three-tape crash course on the sleeping giant--from the glamour of Twenties Shanghai to Mao's cultural revolution to the country's rise as an economic colossus. Call 800-708-1776.... Paramount Home Video would like to remind you that before Tom Cruise came along, Mission: Impossible was doing just fine. Now available, a six-volume sampling ($9.95 each) from the spy show's 1966--1973 run. Cast includes the usual gang--Martin Landau, Barbara Bain, Peter Graves, Greg Morris and Peter Lupus--and a surprising batch of then-unknown supporting players, among them Ed Asner, Martin Sheen and Star Trek's George Takei.
After years of promises, Voyager's Criterion Collection edition of Terry Gilliam's technology-hell parable, Brazil (1985), has finally arrived in stores. Among the bells and whistles on the five-platter set: commentary by Gilliam, additional footage, letterboxing and a fine, 100-minute documentary on the movie's peculiar history, narrated by Newsday's Jack Mathews.... Image Entertainment has released its Russ Meyer Signature Collection (with Meyer autographs on the first 2500 boxes). Package includes the big-bust-cinema pioneer's trio of vixen films--Vixen, Supervixens and Beneath the Valley of the Ultravixens--along with a "treasure chest" of supplementary materials, including Meyer's characteristically colorful ruminations on the audio track. Wide-screen editions? As wide as they need to be.
In Justin Sterling's Head Trip, an ordinary Joe is visited by his lusty childhood-fantasy dream girl (Shayla La Veaux), who proceeds to mess with his sex life. Lots of fiery action, kicked off by T.T. Boy's landmark opening-scene fuckathon. Oh, yeah, have a hot Valentine's Day.
"Video is the only practical way to watch movies over and over," says Richard Linklater, director of Slacker and Dazed and Confused and artistic director of the Austin Film Society. So what frequents the Gen-X expert's replay menu? "Melodramatic films from the Fifties with obsessive characters like Arturo de Cordova in El. He's a paranoid who first falls for his love's foot." Also on Linklater's list of must-see performances: Robert Mitchum's religious fanatic in Night of the Hunter, James Mason's drug-terrorized teacher in Bigger Than Life and Rock Hudson's dipsomaniacal degenerate turned eye surgeon in Magnificent Obsession. With such a highly charged lineup of favorites, is there anything he can't stomach? "Nothing, really. I even liked Showgirls."
In Abbreviating Ernie (Villard), by Peter Lefcourt, Audrey Haas' husband Ernie is a cross-dressing urologist from Schenectady who shackles her to the stove, then inconveniently dies of a heart attack while performing his marital duties. In handcuffs, impaled on her dead husband's still-erect penis and pinned against the antique O'Keefe & Merritt, Audrey has no choice but to amputate his member in order to save her own life.
Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider, authors of a best-selling book called The Rules: Time-Tested Secrets for Capturing the Heart of Mr. Right, were on Imus in the Morning last October. Rarely have I seen Don Imus intimidated by anybody, but this day he was. Fein and Schneider were talking his headphones off. "These two women are absolutely out of control," Imus finally griped.
My boyfriend and I had a layover of several hours at a major airport during a trip with a bunch of other college freshmen. While we were browsing the stores, we saw some of those private office cubicles called Ziosks. My boyfriend whipped out a credit card his dad had loaned him and rented one for three hours (he's planning to tell his dad it's an ice-cream parlor). Inside were a table, chairs and a love seat. I closed the blinds on the door and we stripped off our clothes. He got on the floor and I lowered myself on top of him. It was wild! We began telling each other about all the people and things going on around us: the meeting in the Ziosk next door, the people in the bar watching CNN, travelers getting on and off planes, the elderly couple we had been talking to while we had a bite at the snack bar. It was a real turn-on knowing that we were screwing our brains out in the middle of a crowd. Since then we've tried things such as skinny-dipping in a farmer's pond in the middle of the day and fucking in the basement of his parents' home while his mom was throwing a wedding shower upstairs. Maybe we're weird, but we like these risky situations. Are there any books that might suggest other things we could try--A Couple's Guide to Stupid Sex Tricks or something like that? Thanks for your help.--L.R., Los Angeles, California
Once again, politicians have decided to blame children for many of society's problems. President Clinton wants municipalities to adopt curfews, threatening to place millions of law-abiding youth under virtual house arrest. Representative Bill McCollum (R.-Fla.) and Senator Orrin Hatch (R.-Utah) introduced legislation in the last session of Congress that would largely end the requirement of separating juvenile offenders from adult offenders. States across the country are making it easier to prosecute and punish juveniles as adults.
" 'I concede that I once did not view marijuana as dangerous. It was only after my appetite for recreational drugs had abated, and I produced children whom I did not believe capable of handling marijuana as responsibly as I had, that I came to oppose decriminalization. I acknowledge that it was this fear, and not new medical evidence, that subsequently caused me to support mandatory sentencing for other people's children caught emulating the actions of my generation.' "
You know the story: California Attorney General Dan Lungren, opponent of medicinal marijuana use, raided the San Francisco Cannabis Buyers' Club. Cartoonist Garry Trudeau spent a week ridiculing the bust in Doonesbury and sympathizing with medicinal pot smokers. Lungren asked Doonesbury's syndicator, and California newspapers, to pull the offending strips or run them with a disclaimer stating the facts of the matter.
On September 6, 1970 Palestinian terrorists hijacked three planes and held the passengers hostage on a remote airstrip in Jordan. The story was covered by every major newspaper and TV network in the U.S. Our government responded to the call for greater security by creating--almost overnight--an army of air marshals.
It was only days after O.J. Simpson's ill-fated Bronco run. Robert Kardashian, Simpson's close friend and confidant, was worried and confused--and positive that his house was being bugged. So he met at midnight with an old acquaintance in the noisiest place possible, a parking lot next to one of L.A.'s busiest freeways. Lawrence Schiller's discussing this most infamous murder case in the dark of night would surprise only those who don't know him. Like some real-life Zelig or Forrest Gump, Schiller has a talent for popping up, inexplicably, in the middle of historic events. A photographer, filmmaker, author, interviewer and entrepreneur, Schiller has phenomenal instincts and even better luck. He was in Utah when killer Gary Gilmore was executed--but before Gilmore died, Schiller had been astute enough to tie up Gilmore's movie and book rights. He was in Texas when Jack Ruby shot Lee Harvey Oswald, and within hours he owned the rights to the photo of the murder. Schiller has worked his odd magic with Charles Manson, Marilyn Monroe, Richard Nixon and the family of Lenny Bruce.
Jayne Hayden assured me she hadn't been followed to the dark corner of the nondescript restaurant where we met for dinner, that the saltshaker didn't contain a bug (I checked the pepper), that she wouldn't have to kill me after telling me about her job and that no one knew she was in Chicago posing under covers for Playboy. She had told her supervisors she was vacationing in New York and would be unreachable. They had taught her how to lie and to do it well, so they believed her. Harder to fathom was that this diminutive beauty has been trained to fire a rocket launcher and an Uzi, persuade someone to betray their country, kick my ass if she had to, study my facial expressions to determine if I was being truthful and transform herself into any of several identities. But isn't that how it goes? The people you don't think work for the CIA always do.
Hookers love the Super Bowl. Thousands of affluent men hit town. Not just beery football fans with their faces painted, either. In January New Orleans is jammed with successful guys who feel like showing off, a city full of Charlie Sheens.
The first time Ken678 saw Mary97, he was in Municipal Real Estate, queued for a pickup for Closings. She stood two spaces in front of him: blue skirt, orange tie, slightly convex white blouse, like every other female icon. He didn't know she was a Mary; he couldn't see which face she had. But she held her Folder in both hands, as old-timers often did, and when the queue scrolled forward he saw her fingernails.
Brrrrr! The weather outside may be frightful, but there was a time not so long ago when the average guy wouldn't have cared a fig. Just take a look at any photograph taken between 1920 and 1945, or watch any movie from the period, and check out the fellows. Resplendent in their tailored double-breasted suits, elegant mohair overcoats and wool mufflers and topped by the pièces de résistance, glorious Borsalinos, they were ready for anything, come rain or come shine. Whether strolling down the street, taking in a ball game or just sitting in a bar, no self-respecting man would have been caught dead without his hat. It may have been Fifth Avenue, Soldier Field or some nameless drinking establishment on Short Vincent in Cleveland, but the men would not have looked out of place at the Stork Club, the Brown Derby or Carnegie (text concluded on page 84) Hall. Those were the days.
The brothers were compulsively competitive, constantly arguing about who was the better golfer, businessman, lover, fisherman--everything. One day they argued about who was better at folding and packing parachutes. "Only one way to settle this, Bill," Charlie said. "Let's go skydiving."
We consider ourselves to be year-round romantics who become extra motivated in February. And why not? It's the month of flowers, lingerie, chocolates and passion--perfect for reminding the women we love just how lovable we are. To get you in the mood, too, we've created a guide to Valentine's Day. From romantic drinks to amazing destinations to great gift ideas, it's all here from Playboy's stable of experts. Our movie guy, Bruce Williamson, picked the most romantic films to watch on video (including a steamy John Leslie hard-core), and music critic Charles M. Young selected the best tunes, whether you like New Age or lounge. Because we're big on atmosphere, there are ingredients for a great bubble bath and a look at the sexy backseats of some cars that may be more fun not to drive. Contributing Automotive Editor Ken Gross researched the latter and didn't even file an expense report. Hmm.
Twenty-two years after her appearance as a Playmate, Carol Vitale still puts on quite a show. Her cable access program, The Carol Vitale Show, airs in California, New York, Washington, D.C. and Miami, where Carol was working as a Bunny when she became Miss July 1974 (right). She was in Miami Beach again this past summer, posing for Bunny Yeager. The results are on these pages. "Whenever I'm in town, Bunny asks, 'When do you want to start shooting?'" Carol says. "Young men these days are so hot for older women, and I like men of all ages. Just treat me like gold and you'll never be sorry." Most men who would like to do that might have trouble keeping up with Carol. Her schedule is not for the fainthearted. She vows to pare it down. But so far she hasn't had much luck. "I don't even have time to go to movies," Carol complains, "or take vacations. So I try to make my whole life a vacation." Hanging with celebrities certainly helps. For her cable show, her wish list of guests includes Jay Leno, Goldie Hawn and, of course, Hugh Hefner. "Maybe I'll revamp the whole show and exclusively interview Playmates," Carol says with a wink. "Don't let the blonde hair and the big boobs fool you, boy. I mean business." Don't touch that dial.
For centuries philosophers from Ptahhotep to, well, Beck have provided us with myriad opinions on the wistful, wishful and sometimes painful state of desire. Not all of them have agreed. For example, do we subscribe to George Bernard Shaw's theory that "there are two tragedies in life. One is to lose your heart's desire. The other is to gain it"? Or would we prefer to go along with poet William Blake's belief that "he who desires but acts not breeds pestilence"?
<p>I became 6'4" very suddenly, and I've never quite recovered from it," says Conan O'Brien. The tall television host may be citing his growth spurt as a metaphor for his accession to David Letterman's seat on NBC's "Late Night." But O'Brien has recovered nicely from what some critics viewed as a rocky start. To use an industry term, his show began trending up in the ratings, and finally, just before his third anniversary on the air this past fall, the network that often seemed on the verge of dumping him offered O'Brien a year's contract.</p>
When it comes to seduction, there is no greater weapon in a woman's arsenal than lingerie. It is the ultimate enticement, a perfect combination of mystery and arousal. Consider the sheer excitement of a negligee, the hidden treasure of a lace bra or the shimmery grace of a silk slip. This is the gossamer stuff a man's dreams are made of. Some of our friends in the sports magazine world would have you believe that the last word in sex appeal is a bikini-clad bombshell tripping along the sands of Maui. But we say, "Time-out." To prove our point, we asked some of our favorite Playmate superstars to do what comes naturally. Call it the Playboy Lingerie Revue--the start of a special-edition tradition. Next to nothing has never meant so much.
When Herb Ritts captured the formidable Brigitte Nielsen for our December 1987 issue--her third Playboy appearance--the six-foot wonder was hot off a hot streak of films (Red Sonja, Cobra, Beverly Hills Cop II) and embarking on a singing career. Divorced from Sly and linked romantically with everyone from New York Jet Mark Gastineau to her female secretary, the great Dane was also enjoying notoriety in the tabloids. This photo started its own chain reaction.
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 15, 24, 79--83, 100--103 and 171, check the listings below to find the stores nearest you.
We're not going to sugarcoat our feelings about Valentine's Day. If you're set on giving her candy, leave the boxes of ordinary chocolates to Forrest Gump. We've sampled the world of sweets and found everything from the ridiculous (R. Crumb's Devil Girl Choco-Bars, with the slogan "It's bad for you!") to the unique (vodka-filled chocolates by Petrossian) to the sublime (Godiva's best). On the romantic side, there are confections named Baci ("kisses" in Italian) and delicious truffles by See's Candies. Even good old M&Ms have been given a makeover--they now come in funky colors such as silver and gold. And if she doesn't like chocolate, saltwater taffy by Fralinger's will give her a very sticky thrill.
The Vulture on the Ring Post--He's a shameless shaman, a huckster with a stranglehold on boxing. In a profile on the great American hype machine, Jack Newfield discovers that in Don King's World, nice guys usually finish last