It's Only Natural to put on weight during the holidays, so you'll understand if this issue is a bit heavy. Just have a seat, feast your eyes and feed your head. We've prepared a big spread that includes ice capades, X-capades, wild women and crazy weather. May we suggest an appetizer? To Witt: Our cover shot of gold-medal Olympian Katarina Witt is by Contributing Photographer Stephen Wayda. Among skating's acrobats, Katarina reigns as queen of the ice. She's also comfortable sportscasting and appearing in films such as Ronin. Now she has posed for a Zamboni-revving pictorial, minus those skimpy outfits we used to pray she'd fall out of. Even the Russian judge would score it all a ten.
Playboy (ISSN 0032-1478). December 1998, Volume 45, Number 12, 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.
What you Think of Beloved (Buena Vista) will depend on your misery threshold. This very long, deeply emotional adaptation of Toni Morrison's novel about a woman's battle with the world, with angry spirits and with herself is not what you'd call fun. Nor is it particularly enlightening, because instead of illuminating a universal truth about slavery and mistreatment, it deals with a woman whose determination to protect her children drives her to ghastly extremes and a mystical aftermath that haunts her the rest of her life. "Your love is too thick," Danny Glover tells Oprah Winfrey, and the adjective might apply to the film as well. Winfrey (whose company produced the film) is effective in the leading role, and Glover is typically charismatic as a man who comes back into her life after 18 years. Kimberly Elise and Than-die Newton are fine, as well. But Jonathan Demme's languorous approach to the script---credited to three different writers---makes this a long wallow. Women may respond more than men to this deeply felt story, but its air of suffering and mumbo jumbo turned me off. [rating]2 bunnies[/rating]
"I own tons of movies," says leading man Jimmy Smits. "I'm a member of the Motion Picture Academy, which sends me tapes all the time." Even before he got the freebies, Smits was an avid collector. "I love Spencer Tracy-Katharine Hepburn films. And I like the Jimmy Cagney genre, too---all those tough-guy movies." Smits is partial to standout performances. "I'll watch Lion in Winter over and over, simply for the acting. That and To Kill a Mockingbird. But I don't mind laughing every now and then, either. Toy Story is a riot to me." New films on Jimmy's A-list include The Apostle and Good Will Hunting. "I just love it when little movies kick the blockbusters in the ass." Don't we all?
All Elvis all the Time Department: It's not too late to catch the Elvis exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. It kicked off this past summer with the Flying Elvis skydiving team from the movie Honeymoon in Vegas and runs through the end of the year. Look for pay stubs from El's stint at Crown Electric and Precision Tool, Lisa Marie's trike and, uh oh, Elvis' report cards.
After nearly a year of Monica Lewinsky and the dismissal of oral sex as no sex at all, it's a relief to read Chronicle Books' Going Down: Lip Service From Great Writers. Some of the writers are literary---Oscar Wilde, Anaïs Nin, Norman Mailer, John Updike, Philip Roth and Harold Brodkey. Some---Erica Jong, Frank Zappa, Anka Radakovich---are just bawdy. Here's Nin on the subject: "As he was pinned under her, she was the one to move within reach of his mouth, which had not touched her yet. She remained a short distance, looking, enjoying the spectacle of her own beautiful stomach and hair and sex so near his mouth." Countered by Mailer: "We grappled toward the bed, stealing handfuls of each other's flesh en route before diving down into the song of the bed-springs, her mouth engorging my cock. There are a hundred words, I suppose, for penis, but cock goes with fellatio. "Then there is Frank Zappa's report on the Plaster-Casters: "The blow job girl had to take her mouth off the guy's dick at the precise moment the other girl slammed the container full of glop onto the end of it, holding it there until it hardened enough to make a good mold. When Hendrix was cast, they told me he liked the glop so well he fucked the mold." Anka Radakovich became so enamored of a cunnilinguist that she put a framed photo of his tongue on her desk at work. In Sex Tips for Straight Women From a Gay Man, the author concludes: "Perhaps your biggest concern about the world's best BJ is gagging. A lot of it has to do with your relaxation level and how comfortable you feel. A lot has to do with the control of your breathing. Remember that Mr. Stiffy is your friend."
Picasso is OK, I can appreciate his work, but show me a motorcycle like the new MV Agusta F4 (designed by Massimo Tamburini) or the 1997 BMW R1200C or the 1911 Harley-Davidson Model 7D, and my eyes will shine and I will shout, "That's art!"
It is not enough to get your girlfriend a present. You have to make the extra effort so it looks, well, presentable. You can cheat and ask the store to wrap it for you, but then it will have that manufactured look. Besides, no matter what the finished product looks like, your sincere attempt to wrap the gift is more important than the appearance of the package. Follow the directions below. And as long as you're going to all the trouble, spend money on attractive paper of a good weight. Avoid preassembled bows. A flawed but earnest bow beats a store-bought perfect one.
Computer technology has been progressing at warp speed over the past decade. And while many of us are on our third or fourth computer, that cutting-edge model still sits on a desk that keeps us hunched over and cramped for space. The Biomorph Interactive Desk is designed to accommodate serious computer equipment in a way that enhances its use. With a simple hand crank you can adjust the position of the back surface (which can hold a large monitor) or the keyboard surface. Shelves with articulating arms move important equipment closer as the need arises. The desk pictured here is about $1500. The articulating arms are $500 each.
Serving the holiday goose is probably the most festive Christmas tradition to come out of the kitchen. It isn't particularly hard to do, and the preparation makes the kitchen a locus of activity and good cheer. Fill the cavity of the bird with your favorite fruitbased stuffing, then truss the goose. Rub the skin with coarse salt and prick it all over to allow the fat to drain during cooking. Place the breast on a roasting rack in a shallow pan into which you have poured a cup or so of water. Place the goose in an oven preheated to 425 degrees. Roast 15 minutes per pound (a 12-pound goose will take approximately 3 1/4 hours). Baste the bird every 15 or 20 minutes. If the water in the pan evaporates, add more. Skim the accumulated fat from the pan every hour or so---there will be a lot of it. After the first hour, turn the bird over every half hour, leaving it on its back for the last 45 minutes to allow the breast to brown. The goose is done when its legs move freely up and down and the juices from between its thigh and its leg run clear. Let the bird rest out of the oven for at least half an hour before carving.
I Coloniali toiletries would have been right at home in the bathroom of Joseph Conrad's Lord Jim. The line, developed by J&E Atkinsons (perfumers in London since 1799), draws inspiration from the English colonies. Exotic ingredients such as mango-kernel oil and hamamelis extract are packaged in elegant pottery, glass and metal containers, and the result has the scent and look of the tropics. (The shaving cream with mango oil in an earthen pot is terrific.) Prices range from $16 for a deodorant stick with oubaku extract to $40 for an aromatic splash infused with guajaco wood. Saks Fifth Avenue and some Bloomingdale's and Nordstrom stores sell I Coloniali, or call 800-711-4880.
Poker. It's replacing bowling as a weekend way to party and pair up. Chuck Zito. He's the stuntman and celebrities' bodyguard who kicked Jean-Claude Van Damme's ass following a disagreement at Scores, the strip club in New York. Classic woodies. Vinitage wood-sided station wagons are becoming hot collectibles, with prices for rare cherry or restored models reaching upwards of $70,000. The bellini. As it is usually made, it contains champagne and the hand-squeezed juice of a white peach. But now the drink is so hot that we've seen bellini vending machines in busy clubs. Pocket Mail. With JVC's portable device for accessing and sending e-mail and pages from anywhere there's a paging network, no cables or wires are required. Round-the-clock restaurants. Global markets and greed have encouraged extended hours at a number of upscale eateries, including the French bistro Florent on Gansevoort Street in Manhattan's meatpacking district. The Life Hammer (pictured here). In the event of an accident, this $30 German-made gadget can crack a car's side window or cut a seat belt and possibly save your life. It's good for starting conversations, too. The price includes a mountable housing bracket for the Life Hammer.
During his comedy writing days, Conan O'Brien was strictly a jeans, sneakers and polo shirt kind of guy. Then came his late-night talk show on NBC. Now the six-foot-four star sports designer suits instead of schleppwear. "I like Paul Smith a lot, because he makes thin, tapered trousers, great for my long legs," says O'Brien. He also likes Donna Karan and Calvin Klein. "And colored English shirts--rich blues and velvets." His favorite clothing items? "The ones that hide my nude body. It's shocking," he says. "I have a leather jacket I bought a few years ago because I thought it made me look like Serpico. Actually, I look like Opie Taylor trying to look like Serpico. But I'm always thinking I need another cool jacket. I buy too many of them." As for shopping, he sticks to New York mainstays such as Calvin Klein and Barneys. "They're expensive, but they always have nice stuff." Like velvet shirts? "I was just kidding about the velvet shirts." Whatever you say, Austin Powers.
Who says you can't buy love? Even nonmaterial girls will melt at the sight of a gift that rocks. The first choice, of course, is lingerie. Unless your girlfriend is Nina Hartley, however, don't give her lingerie that's crotchless or buttless. Our choice is the sexy Ravage bra ($144) and thong ($68) pictured here, from Enchanté in Chicago. The company ships overnight. Motorola's new analog wireless phone that's nestled in the lingerie isn't an accessory for Barbie. Weighing 2.7 ounces and measuring only 3 1/4 inches (closed), the V3620 ($700) is the world's smallest and lightest phone. The Behind the Bedroom Door video series is erotic adult education at its best. It features couples talking about sex in real-life situations and demonstrating how they go for the gold. A set of four videos is $65. Fuji Film's slick Endeavor 3500ix Zoom MRC is an advanced photo system camera that's not much larger than a credit card. It features a remote control that makes taking between-the-sheets shots easy. The price: about $500. In the right hands---including yours---the $45 Hitachi Magic Wand, the classic two-speed vibrator with a soft head, is the best bedroom toy on the market.
In 1935, when the U.S. government began its Social Security program, the nine-digit number assigned to each taxpayer seemed innocent enough. Today, citizens are asked to provide the number not only to claim benefits but to obtain a tax refund, health insurance, credit and, soon, a driver's license.
The Eighth Amendment of the Constitution reads: "Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted." This past summer, for the first time, the Supreme Court defined "excessive" as it pertains to the imposition of criminal fines.
It's a classic "X-Files" moment. Special Agent Fox Mulder, played by David Duchovny, stares forlornly off a bluff, contemplating yet another investigation gone wrong. Only minutes earlier, he had been driving wildly, then came to a screeching halt on this bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. In the backseat: a man Mulder desperately wanted to save. Close behind was Mulder's partner, Special Agent Dana Scully, bringing a syringe full of the mystery concoction that could have saved the man's life. But when you specialize in the paranormal you can pretty much expect that your victim will expire in a most paranormal way. And that's precisely what happens. Unable to inject the medication in time, Mulder watches helplessly as the victim's head explodes all over the backseat. No wonder Mulder is depressed.
Despite the festive time of year, it had become, for X, a season of numerous discontents. The more acclaimed he was in the public world, the more the myriad imperfections of others, in the private world, offended him.
And so one man created two houses and all men would forever want to go to these houses, to be inside. Last time I was inside, at the second house, desperate men outside were trying to climb the towering walls to get in. It was a Party night, so they could not be blamed---prosecuted perhaps, but never blamed. I remember nights in Chicago when I stood outside of the first house, staring, imagining, wanting in so bad. I stood outside the iron gates, a dream-drunk college dope, and thought of something the man who lived in that house would often recall: "I remember, in the days prior to the magazine," he had liked to confess, "walking the streets of Chicago late at night, looking at the lights in the high-rises and very much wanting to be a part of 'the good life' I thought the people in those buildings must be leading." This was consolation, of course, small but reassuring enough. I thought: Even he understands! This exquisite torment---he knows! Then again, that which was once considered urban good life had, in this very home, under the roof and the sway of this man called Hefner, become Good Life supernova. More than that even. I think of the phrase coined by one beloved habitué of both houses, the eminent historian Max Lerner, who would survey life on the premises, east and west, and duly exult: "Pretty goddamned fucking marvelous!" Well, yes, but understatement still.
In a little-known story of Ferenc Molnár's (familiar only to a small group of discerning Hungarians), an elderly couple, vacationing at the seaside, reflects on the pleasures and travails of a long and rewarding marriage.
Anyone who followed the Chicago Bulls' six world championship runs in eight seasons---and even those who didn't---witnessed legendary basketball and the dominating reign of Michael Jordan. As impressive as Jordan's on-court heroics and role as team mentor is his capacity for not playing his age. Jordan, who turns 36 in February, outhustled and outlasted much younger opponents throughout the NBA's 82-game marathon. He always seemed to recover quickly for the next big game. Energy was rarely a problem.
a veteran salt named Charlie Barr drove a three-masted steel schooner from America to England in 12 days, four hours and one minute, thereby setting a record for a transatlantic fleet race. Charlie's feat still stood 92 years later when 15 yachts equipped with space-age navigation, communications and weather gizmos and manned by the hired guns of ocean racing's professional elite set out on the same course to set a new record.
If you think the weather has gone a bit wacko, you're in good company. Tom Karl, director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's climate data center in Asheville, North Carolina and respected keeper of the nation's weather statistics, believes it has, too. Karl and his colleagues have looked at their numbers to see whether this widespread public perception is based in fact. It is subtle work, separating real weather trends from the daily ups and downs of our unsteady atmosphere. But the scientists have found that recent weather has indeed been screwier in several ways---it's been hotter than ever, with bigger, rougher rainstorms, and there has been more hail and snow.
Think predicting the weather isn't important? At least one forecast changed the course of World War II. In the weeks before D day, Allied commander Dwight Eisenhower dragooned every meteorologist in Britain and ordered them to do two-day and three-day forecasts using the Allies' one great advantage---the network of weather stations in the Atlantic. The Nazis had already abandoned their Greenland weather station, their last observation post west of Europe. When a blustery, rain-heavy storm arrived on June 4, the German generals assumed they were safe from an amphibious assault. But Ike's meteorologists spotted a break---a low-pressure calm heading east from Scotland. "OK, we'll go," Ike announced with soldierly hope. Luckily for the British weathermen, the skies cleared on schedule on June 6.
The big worry for many scientists isn't whether the earth is warming or cooling. it's how fast change can happen. We used to think we eased into an ice age or hot spell over decades or hundreds of years. Many scientists now believe we could see a drastic change in the course of a few years. Two scenarios: The warming planet releases moisture in the form of snow that builds up glacial ice, which buries continents and cools the planet. Rising polar temperature melts the West Antarctic ice sheet, raising ocean levels by 20 feet and erasing Florida and New York City. Either profound climate change could kill or enhance farming in various regions, herd entire species to new territories, alter the spread of diseases and build up or devastate economies.
Nicole, Erica, and Jaclyn Dahm, Miss December, 1998
This is What happens when you walk into House of Blues in Chicago with triplets Nicole, Erica and Jaclyn Dahm: Word spreads like a Malibu brushfire that someone important has arrived. "Who is it?" people whisper, frantically scanning the room for the source of the excitement. "There!" someone shouts, pointing to the doorway, where three tall, blonde, svelte, identical women stand, dressed in jeans and T-shirts, oblivious to the commotion they're causing. Men gawk. Are they models? Playmates? Women give our Miss Decembers astonished once-overs. Servers fight to balance wobbly trays of food, their arms suddenly gone limp. The maître d', who just told the party in front of you that there is a 35-minute wait for a table, whisks your group into an elevator and up to the VIP lounge. Long Island iced teas are rushed to the table. Busboys sneak from the kitchen for a glimpse. The waitress says. "Are you triplets? Wow! You're so pretty!" Welcome to Dahm mania, a phenomenon that started on December 12, 1977 when Nicole, Erica and Jaclyn were born, in that order, to parents Robert and Donita. The triplets have been in the spotlight ever since, including a Hardee's commercial when they were eight years old, victory in a Teen magazine model search at the age of 16 and appearances on talk shows, including The Jenny Jones Show and Ricki Lake.
Now it might interest you to know, stranger, that that barstool you are sitting on is the very one Radio Ronnie Harper was occupying when his wife bust through those doors and marched up to him and stabbed him in the neck, and both their little daughters watching. She had a Buck knife, Ronnie's own hunting knife, in fact, and stuck it in wrongways. I don't mean handle first, how the hell you gonna do that, I mean cutting edge toward her, kind of sidearm, like she was boxing his ear. Except it was his neck. And that knife slides in like a good Buck knife will and she pulls toward her, which you're never supposed to do. You could get hurt. She was OK in this instance, though Ronnie of course died of it.
What more appropriate time to compile our first Best Dressed List than when men's fashion is on the rise? Call it the return of the gentleman. All of the men who made our list are regular guys---albeit incredibly successful ones---who have no problem with looking good. You won't find them pimping for free suits, but they are all surprisingly conversant in the language of fashion. Michael Douglas, for one, is a relentless promoter of Ellen Mirojnick, the costume designer for Wall Street, Basic Instinct and A Perfect Murder. "I'm a big supporter of costume designers," says Douglas. "They set the fashion trends long before American design became so popular." Mayor Willie Brown of San Francisco could school the most cosmopolitan dresser. His advice: Be careful when you break up an ensemble. His Honor explains: "There's a reason they designed the pocket square or the tie the way they did. It wasn't meant to be used with six different outfits. That would be counterproductive for them economically, so you better believe they designed it so you can't." Without exception, these ten men enjoy being hip to fashion. Each has his own way of talking about it and thinking about it. But whether they go to the clothes or the clothes come to them, they know what they like. They also don't care if they don't know everything. "I have no idea who makes what in ladies' clothes," admits Denis Leary. "But I can point and say, 'Look at that fucking dress!'"
The Most disturbing movie of 1997 was also the most misunderstood. Written and directed by Neil La-Bute, In the Company of Men rattled audiences with characters who utter things most men only think about and who do things most men only talk about. (In Your Friends and Neighbors, LaBute's 1998 film about mean people and bad sex, he adds the inner workings of women to the mix.) Though In the Company of Men is about alienation in the corporate world, it is often mistakenly labeled an exercise in misogyny. In it, the movie's misanthropic anti-hero Chad (played by Aaron Eckhart) destroys his rival by recruiting him in a scheme to seduce a deaf girl and then break her heart. Even today a mention of Chad or the movie itself throws some people into a cold rage. Now there's more---a climactic monolog in which Chad recalls a special lady in his life. It comes from LaBute's original script but was never shot.
There was, without question, a changing of the guard for sex stars in 1998, from the old Reliables to the Young and Fearless. It began with the spectacular on-screen sinking of the HMS Titanic, which floated its young lovers, 23-year-olds Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio, straight to the top of box-office attractions. And it wasn't the nautical disaster's special effects that packed the cineplexes; it was the film's Romeo-and-Juliet love story. Matt Damon, 27, and Ben Affleck, 26, demonstrated both acting and filmmaking chops in Good Will Hunting, a project they'd nurtured from their own screenplay through development, finally winning an Academy Award (one of the few not swallowed up by Titanic's wake). Catherine Zeta-Jones, a 28-year-old actress well known in her native Wales but [text continued on page 223] Sex Stars 1998 [continued from page 155] just starting in Hollywood, paired up with smoldering Spaniard Antonio Banderas to win American audiences in The Mask of Zorro. The names of Cameron Diaz, 25, and Jim Carrey (at 36, an elder statesman in this crowd) on theater marquees virtually guaranteed box-office success. No longer did producers require the signing of a Mel Gibson, a Bruce Willis, a Michelle Pfeiffer or a Meryl Streep before they would green-light a project. These days it's the boyish charm of a DiCaprio, Damon or Affleck that draws teenage girls, the new targets of marketing mavens. Hollywood's new motto, apparently, is Youth Must Be Served.
Ally Mcbeal, Monica Lewinsky and Cathy Arent the Only Single Women having Trouble Finding Desirable Dates in the Big City. Even two Enchanting Creatures Such as Annie and Wanda are Spending Christmas eve Without Male Companionship. Cuddling and Roasting their Chestnuts by an Open Fire...it's Times Like these that Cause Wanda to Reflect on a Christmas Classic...
At 73, Gore Vidal is an esteemed author and provocateur. His novels include "Burr," "Lincoln," "1876," "Empire," "Washington, D.C.," "Hollywood" and, most recently, "The Smithsonian Institution." A collection of Vidal's essays, "United States: 1952--1992," won the National Book Award in 1993. A memoir, "Palimpsest," was published in 1995. His latest book, "The American Presidency," appeared this fall.
Even before this, our pictures of her have been vivid. First, there was the marvelously graceful teenager gliding across the ice, and winning the gold, at 1984's Winter Olympics in Sarajevo. Four years later, she did it again in Calgary. In 1994, she reclaimed her amateur status, defied the naysayers and finished seventh with a routine, set to "Where Have All the Flowers Gone," that mourned the destruction of the city where she'd competed a decade earlier. She won four world championships and an Emmy for the 1990 HBO special "Carmen on Ice." She received thousands of fan letters and marriage proposals before her 19th birthday; she turned down overtures from Eileen Ford, who saw in her a potential supermodel. "Sports Illustrated" once called her performance "the perfect blend of art and athletics, pirouettes and panache." She was so frequently dubbed the sexiest woman on skates that she could have retired the title. Now, at the age of 33 and with an appearance on "Arliss" and a role in the movie "Ronin" under her belt, Witt stands to add sexiest woman off skates to her list of honors.
Sometimes you know you're stone-cold in love. Other times you know you have to cut your losses, collect your toothbrush and head home. But what if you're not sure? Let this Playboy quiz determine whether your girlfriend still lights your fire or if the relationship has run its course.
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 32, 45, 47, 104, 109-113, 128, 228 and 231, check the listings below to find the stores nearest you.
This holiday, "mine is smaller than yours" bragging rights go straight into the Christmas stocking. We're talking great luxury toys here---not soap from the Body Shop or candy bars. Philips' new Windows-driven Nino 300 Personal Companion is no bigger than a pack of smokes but keeps you in touch with e-mail, and offers handwriting- and voice-recognition features, too. The pint-size stainless-steel camera pictured below is Minolta's Vectis 300 Beam APS model, with a 24mm to 70mm zoom and the capacity for close-up, panoramic and regular shots. AZX USA makes a golf watch that stores scores for up to 50 rounds and tells time, plus more. Want to be on the cutting edge? Put Spyderco's Mini-Dyad twin-blade pocketknife on your Xmas wish list.
45Th Anniversary Collector's Issue---We pulled out all the Stops. Steve Martin on Viagra, Bruce Jay Friedman on Fooling around, Deepak Chopra on Miracles. Robert Stone on Honeymoons, Tom Clancy on a Killer Inside the Pentagon and Kurt Vonnegut on the Millennium