It's time to shoot past the moon and land a man on Mars. An expedition would take six months less time than it took Magellan to circumnavigate the globe and would cost far less than the Apollo project--and no one disputes the tangible benefits wrought by those trips. In Houston, We Have Landed on Mars,Mark Bowden hangs loose with a bunch of hippie visionaries who are making a high-tech dream a low-budget reality. Bowden's Martian chronicle (illustrated by Donato Giancola) shows what a long, strange trip it will be.
Playboy (ISSN 0032-1478), August 1997, Volume 44, Number 8, 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 from 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 Wishire 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.
Nine Albums and ten years into his career, KRS-One shows no signs of slowing down. I Got Next (Jive) is full of street corner philosophy, witty rhymes and the toughness that always defines his work. By staying true to his vision of himself as the teacher, KRS-One has survived rap fads. So when he explains a rapper's role in The MC or chastises crossover rap stars in Rapture's Delight or critiques friendship in A Friend, he does so with confidence. His spiritual heir, Redman, joins him on two cuts, Heartbeat and Blowe, on which the two trade verses with a vicious swagger.
If you're looking for answers to the murder of Biggie Smalls in his two-disc second album, Life After Death by the Notorious B.I.G. (Bad Boy), please get lost. There's plenty of gangsta representation here, though it's not so high-spirited as the stuff on his first album. Before he became a rapper, Biggie was a real criminal, the kind Tupac only pretended to be. But Life After Death is a work of art, not prophecy, social science or criminology. Smalls rapped about pleasure, profit, sex and drugs. Yet, in the end, like every other hip-hop record of merit, this album is about beats and vocal delivery.
For 20 years after the MC5's demise, Wayne Kramer probably spent more time in jail than in recording studios. But he returned with wry maturity, a stronger voice and a vengeful guitar on last year's Dangerous Madness, Citizen Wayne (Epitaph) emphasizes all the hallmarks of Kramer's artistry: off-kilter humor, guitar sounds from the other side of the universe and the ability to look at his achievements and fuckups. The music is less direct than the MC5 or Dangerous Madness, but the best of it still burns. Kramer remains one of rock's great raconteurs, as on Back When Dogs Could Talk, his account of the MC5's rise and fall. He also bravely faces his own demons on the junkie confessional No Easy Way Out.
If you harbor the slightest hope that you will ever get along with your girlfriend, Maggie Estep will relieve you of all such delusions on Love Is a Dog From Hell (Mercury). Estep, who's sort of a poet and sort of a comedian, rants over techno and industrial weirdness. When you're not laughing, she'll make you sorry you were ever born. At the center of her vision is attraction alternated with revulsion, love alternated with stalking, and the boyfriend ideal alternated with bohemian dirtbag reality. All these are governed by the arbitrariness of mood. "What am I, your fucking cat? Don't touch me like that!" she snarls. It won't make you comfortable, but you will be utterly, completely cleansed.
The Cunninghams have been heralded as the new sound of Seattle, a sort of cross between Nirvana and Oasis. The band's debut, Zeroed Out (Revolution), is crammed with roaring guitars and Beatlesque melodies. The problem is, they sound like a band designed by a committee. Hard-core grunge choruses are cobbled onto cheery Britpop verses. The Cunninghams have talent--now they need to make something distinctive from their half-digested influences.
As a strong-voiced diva of blue-eyed British soul, Lisa Stansfield has had some success in the U.S. Lisa Stansfield (Arista) is an entertaining 14-cut collection dominated by her deep, urgent delivery. She does a memorable cover of Barry White's Never Never Gonna Give You Up and a well-intentioned tribute to Phyllis Hyman on You Know How to Love Me. But I Cried My Last Tear Last Night has the best chance of getting played on the radio.
I hope my daughter turns out to be as feisty and smart as Ani DiFranco. I hope when she's 18 she'll have the confidence to say: "Smile pretty and watch your back." And I hope when she's 25, she'll know "We lose sight of everything when we have to keep checking our backs." Both lines are from Living in Clip (Righteous Babe, P.O. Box 95, Ellicott Station, Buffalo, NY 14205), a live double-CD that draws liberally on DiFranco's folkpunk years. Fronting a loose-limbed bass-and-drums duo here, she is never boring.
Angola Prisoners' Blues (Arhoolie) was recorded in the Fifties at Louisiana's notorious prison. It features the first recordings of the great Robert Pete Williams, a bone-chilling singer and wildly original guitarist. Williams' Prisoner's Talking Blues might make you vow never to do anything that could get you sent to jail. Then again, these songs may also make you realize how little it takes to get thrown into the clink. A portion of the royalties goes to the Inmate Welfare Fund at Angola, "which is responsible for recreation and providing musical instruments."
Like the Real Virgin Department: The curator of an art display at a Catholic college in California admits this show on Mary isn't what some people on campus expected. The show, which features artwork from 1450 to the present, includes a piece called My Size Barbie. It mixes pop and religious images by using a crowned Barbie doll that appears against flashing neon circles with skulls littering the ground in front of it. If a visitor kneels before the display, it triggers recordings of Madonna singing Material Girl and Like a Virgin.
Joy Lynn White, a former Nashville hotel shoeshine worker, cut a remarkable roots record for Columbia in the early Nineties, but it was ignored. Now White is back with a fury on The Lucky Few (Little Dog). Dwight Yoakam guests on a duet of Jim Lauderdale's traditional weeper It's Better This Way, while White completely throws her gospel-rooted vibrato into Lauderdale's ballad Why Do I Love You. Likewise, her take on the Lucinda Williams rocker I Just Wanted to See You So Bad is in good hands. Good fortune awaits this kind of conviction.
Gen X reedman Ken Vandermark looks like teen spirit in his crewcut, flannel shirt and jeans. But he's heard the siren call of Sixties sax players John Coltrane and Albert Ayler. Vandermark's throaty tenor easily erupts into screams and shrieks, which leap from his quintet's infectious rhythms and sharp themes. Single Piece Flow (Atavistic, P.O. Box 578266, Chicago, IL 60657) marks the Vandermark Five among the best bands of its kind.
J.S. Bach is, of course, the greatest composer. Three recent releases demonstrate his transcendent genius. Ton Koopman's ambitious 36-volume project of Bach's Complete Cantatas (Erato) has reached its fourth volume. This three-CD set of secular cantatas will become the new standard. Violinist Andrew Manze is already known as a baroque master. But his vital recordings of Bach's Violin Concertos (Harmonia Mundi) are surprisingly vigorous. Valery Afanassiev's two-volume Well-Tempered Clavier (Denon) shows the grandeur of Bach's 1722 masterpiece.
In Star Maps (Fox Searchlight), young men prostitute themselves while supposedly pointing out the locations of Hollywood celebrity homes. Handsome 18-year-old Carlos (Douglas Spain) is an aspiring film actor whose father (Efrain Figueroa) recruits him to pick up affluent customers of either sex. In director Miguel Arteta's gritty debut feature, Carlos lucks out with a horny TV star (Kandeyce Jensen) whose husband and child don't seem to inhibit her predatory habits. His favorite trick promises him a TV role that could free him from his tangled family ties. Of course, things don't work out that neatly. But Arteta's well-played picture of the rank corruption underlying Tinseltown is apt to hold your interest.[rating]2-1/2 bunnies[/rating]
He'll be fighting a whale in the forthcoming Free Willy 3, but Patrick Kilpatrick, a 6'2" 39-year-old, has made a name in Hollywood for being bumped off by virtually every major action star in the business. Shot full of lead by Bruce Willis, he calls himself "the first man falling in Last Man Standing." In last year's Eraser, he was Schwarzenegger's nemesis. He has done battle with Tom Selleck in TNT's Last Stand at Saber River, with Steven Seagal in Under Siege 2 and most notably with Jean-Claude Van Damme in 1990's Death Warrant. "I became known for that one, as a serial killer called the Sandman," Kilpatrick recalls. Having fought Sean Connery and Chuck Norris, the only hero he hasn't faced is Stallone. "I was sorry to hear Sly has given up violent roles. I wanted to complete the set."
Clint Eastwood devotee Montel Williams likes to relax in his new in--home movie theater, where he savors spaghetti Westerns such as A Fistful of Dollars and For a Few Dollars More. But the fast--talking TV host hasn't always enjoyed such luxury. In the Navy, Montel spent 300 days on a submarine--so he appreciates the choppy realism of Das Boot and The Hunt for Red October. Still, it's the Civil War epic Glory that remains at the top of Williams' list. "From a historical perspective, it's the finest film ever done. And it's accurate, right down to the canteens." Every evening, however, Williams turns over control of the VCR to his three--year--old son, who pops in one of the Star Wars movies. "What can I say?" asks Dad. "It's our little ritual."
On the heels of the Oscar-winning documentary When We Were Kings comes the six-tape Muhammad Ali: The Whole Story (Warner; $110). The title isn't hyperbole. Weighing in at almost six hours, the bio tells the tale of the Greatest--from Clay to Ali--including his boyhood in Louisville, the 1960 Olympics, his best bouts (notably the Rumble and the Thrilla) and his transformation from three-time champ to global goodwill ambassador.... Alan Hale and Tom Bopp have discovered that having a comet named after them is a rare occupational perk. Usually, those who study the skies are kept behind the scenes. Not anymore. The Astronomers (MPI; $80) brings forward the scientists who look up for a living to explain what in the heavens is going on. Included in the six-part series: the story of the stars, the search for black holes, understanding cosmology and a crash course on the planets. It is narrated by Richard Chamberlain.
Calling all Coenheads: In the wake of Fargo mania, two earlier films by Joel and Ethan Coen--Miller's Crossing (1990) and Barton Fink (1991)--have been issued in wide-screen by Twentieth Century Fox ($40 each). Packages include no extras, but the Coens' trademark mix of striking visuals, crackling dialogue and odd characters make the platters keepers all the same.
Naomi Wolf, who caused a ruckus when she wrote The Beauty Myth, will surely cause another with Promiscuities (Random House). Wolf is a writer who mines her own experiences and isn't afraid to be contradictory. She says, "Women long to be attentively touched, gazed at, caressed, deeply kissed and surrounded with sensuality." Then she recounts candidly her experience with a boyfriend who smacked her around. On one hand, she champions women's sexual freedom, but she sees the hypocrisy of wearing a short skirt and then complaining that men are looking at her legs. These insights into the female psyche will give men something to think about. Also worth a look: In the Garden of Desire: The Intimate World of Women's Sexual Fantasies (Broadway), by Wendy Maltz and Suzie Boss, offers vivid accounts of the erotic lives of contemporary women who are frank, but not prurient, about their sexual fantasies. Are We Having Fun Yet?: The Intelligent Woman's Guide to Sex (Hyperion), by Marcia and Lisa Douglass, is a handbook for women who are seeking to bridge the "orgasm gap" and bring equality and greater pleasure into the bedroom. Men can learn how to navigate the white water of female sexual desire. Just bring your paddle.
Are you turned on by stiletto heels, sheer stockings, white panties or pinups? The international publisher Taschen has erotic little picture books, labeled "amusegueules" ("munchies" to you), that are made just for you. These miniature softcover samplings of Taschen's larger, more expensive volumes cover the sexual front from John Willie's sado-masochist comic art and photographs to Richard Kern's New York Girls, which was described by the publisher as "hard-core photographs by a practiced Peeping Tom." They're exotic, erotic, fun and, in an easily portable size, they're designed to keep your obsessions, however magnificent, close to the chest.
Novelists are kings in Hollywood. In what has been nicknamed the Jurassic Shark deal, Disney set aside $1.5 million for film rights to Steve Alten's Meg (reviewed last month) after reading just the first hundred pages of manuscript. The Jaws-like fish story is about a megalodon that terrorizes Hawaii. Martin Cruz Smith's Victorian thriller Rose (Random House) sold to Miramax Films for $600,000. Screenwriter Ted (Silence of the Lambs) Tally will pick up nearly three times that to adapt it. Scott Frank, the film writer who turned Elmore Leonard's Get shorty into a hit movie, is adapting that author's bank robber-lady marshal romance Out of sight. And Quentin Tarantino is scripting Leonard's Rum Punch, about a bail bondsman and flight attendant trying to lift an arms dealer's loot. Reversing the cash flow, Simon & Schuster has handed moviemaker Wes (Scream) Craven a reported $1 million for his first novel, a medical thriller he sold before he put one word on paper.
Bill Clinton may be the biggest fan suspense novelists have ever had in the White House. But that doesn't mean he or the presidency is getting a free ride from fiction writers. Primary Colors, by Joe Klein, bashed Bubba and struck best-seller gold, along with David Baldacci's Absolute Power, wherein a presidential rough-sex romp leads to murder. Now there are at least a dozen new travails of the chief, including Michael Weaver's The Lie (Warner), in which the big guy is taken hostage, and David Callahan's State of the Union (Little Brown), which has him at the top of an assassin's hit list. And this month's First Victim (M. Evans), by former Reagan--Bush scribe Douglas MacKinnon, features a prez so loutish he uses the first lady as a punching bag. It might just be enough to send Clinton to a Star Trek convention.
Some of the greatest players in the history of the game are captured in flight, under the basket, at the foul line and one-on-one with their opponents in Basketball Stars (Black Dog & Leventhal) by Nick Dolin, Chris Dolin and David Check. This towering book (7-1/2"x18") features 200 in-your-face photos and a courtside view of, among others, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Larry Bird, Wilt Chamberlain and MJ, as well as an inside look at legendary coaches. Let's give Basketball Stars a well-deserved hoop-de-do.
We live in the U.S. territory of Guam. Recently there has been an influx of immigrants from the island nation of Chuuk. We've heard references to a sexual position called the Chuukese hammer, but when we ask for details, our new friends just respond with big smiles. Can you help?--L.Y., Agana, Guam
Students at Michigan's Coloma High School have as much school spirit as the next guy, but even they could not defend their mascot. The fierce comet blazing through the competition looks, the students say, more like a sperm. Recurring complaints prompted students and teachers to put out a call for a tougher-looking galactic phenomenon. A new design will be approved by the school board.
Growing up in the war-ravaged town of Pozzuoli, Italy, Sophia Loren was teased for her scrawniness and called Sofia Stuzzicadenti (Sofia the toothpick). Happily, she was a great late bloomer whose bountiful curves and startling sensuality made her a screen legend. In 1957, just as Sophia surpassed Gina Lollobrigida as America's favorite Italian sex symbol, Playboy ran this photo from an early Loren film called Era Lui, Si, Si. The photo and Sophia remain classics.
He says he doesn't do well at auditions. So it must have been tough for Norm Macdonald to deliver a "Weekend Update" routine to "Saturday Night Live" impresario Lorne Michaels and "three or four other people who didn't laugh. They just sat there."
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 24-25, 28, 30, 76-79, 106-107, 122-123 and 167, check the listings below to find the stores nearest you.
Credits: Photography by: P. S Steven Barbour, Ted Betz, Benno Friedman. David Goodman. Ron Mesaros. Rob Rich (4): P. 12 Stephen Wayda: P. 20 Strand Releasing: P. 22 Kevin Hees/Shooting Star: P. 23 (c) 1996 Paramount Pictures: P. 24 Richard Fegley: P. 28 George Georgiou, (c) 1997 Warner Bros.: P. 30 Georgiou (2): P. 34 Nathan Billow Photography (2). Seacycle/Water Bike: P. 44 David L. Ryan/the boston globe: P. 45 Ap/Wide World Photos; P. 61 Arny Freytag: P. 66 Laura D. Luongo (2): P. 83 Gideon Bachmann: P. 100 Bettman Archive. Georgiou (4), Niels Van Iperem/Retna: P. 101 Gary Boas/Retna, Adrian Brooks/RexUsa Ltd., Steve Double. Georgiou, Pat/Arnal/Stills/Retna, Gavin Smith/Retna; P. 102 Georgiou (2): P. 103 Fegley, Georgiou(3)P. 109 Pompeo Posar; P. 115 Fegley; P. 116 Steve Conwey, Georgiou, Superstock (2); p. 117 Archive, Georgiou (3); p. 118 Fegley, Gero (3): P.118 Superstock; P. 132 Photographed at Easy Riders. Amount Prospect, Il,; 134 Photographed at U.S. Beer Co., Chicago, Il; P. 137 Jim Tiller; P. 140 Freytag: 141 Freytag, Tiller; P. 163 Patty Beaudet 141. Don Bronstein; P. 164 art foxall. John Harrington, wayda (2): P. 170 Fegley, Georgiou: P. 172 Richard singer, wayda. Cover chrome hearts. New york. Ny. 212 327 0707. P. 115 body-Suit Courtesy of Risewear, 800-525-9655. P. 124 Styling by paula fox for Butler Regnianti, Grooming by Nancy Sprague for One. P. 131 Motorcycle from A&M; Cycles, Rosemont. Il. P. 135 Motorcycle from Woodfield Kawasaki. Hoffman Estates. Il. Clothing by Intersport Fashions West, Inc., Tustion, ca. Helmet by Kawasaki Motors Corp. Santa Ana, Ca. P. 136 Custom Paint by Alcalde Customs. Morton Grove, Il. P. 138 Tattoo Courtesy of Wayne Baruchi/Wizard of Ink. Chicago. Il.