It's that time of year again. Overhead, bikinis and miniskirts are flying south for the winter. Rainwater is pooling on the barbecue. Still, fall is full of anticipation. We're looking forward to the Olympics and the World Series. Of all the surprise finishes ahead we can count on one thing: the spry commentary of Bob Costas. He's a sports hound on smart drugs. He can call any and every game. Lately he's cut back to concentrate on baseball, the Summer Games and an upcoming show on HBO. In a Playboy Interview by Diane K. Shah, he analyzes the counterpunching of Howard Cosell and the persiflage of John Tesh, then rips into sports radio hosts, maudlin announcers and athletes who credit Jesus for a touchdown. Save some breath for Michael Johnson. Look for him to dominate the 400-meter races in Australia. This month he sprints through a gold-medal 20 Questions by Ken Stephens. One of Johnson's many secrets revealed: Listening to Tupac Shakur makes him shake a leg. And we thought it was the shoes.
Playboy (ISSN 0032-1478), October 2000, Volume 47, Number 10. 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: Bentz & Maddock Inc., 5180 Roswell Road, Suite 102, South Building, Atlanta, Ga 30342 (404-256-3800). For Subscription Inquiries. Call 800-999-4438.
'N Sync batmitzvah.com Department: If you have the dough, you can do anything, and that includes hiring 'N Sync to play at your daughter's bat mitzvah. That's exactly what the president of business affairs for AOL did. But before you slag the boy band, remember that the Eagles, Toni Braxton, Beck and Hole have also taken a few bucks to perform at private parties.
Given the junk that regularly turns up on movie screens and the sludge that makes its way onto video store shelves, it is startling that there are hundreds of movies filmed and completed every year in this country that never see the light of day.
Penélope Cruz is so enchanting in Woman on Top (Fox Searchlight) that she almost makes the film worth watching. I say almost because there's little else to recommend about this wrongheaded romantic comedy. The gossamer-thin story centers on an introverted Brazilian woman who is cursed with severe motion sickness (which she can avoid only if she is in control--driving a car herself, or, more pointedly, being on top during sex) and blessed with the ability to cook magnificently. She marries an ardent lover who runs a restaurant, but in time she grows frustrated because he takes all the bows for her cooking and expresses his displeasure with being underneath her in bed by seeking other lovers. So she flees to San Francisco to hook up with a transvestite friend, and winds up hosting her own cooking show on TV. There is perhaps nothing more difficult to achieve in film than a modern-day fairy tale, telling a patently unbelievable story in concrete surroundings. Sorry to say, screenwriter Vera Blasi and director Fina Torres have failed. The movie looks great, and so do its stars--the charming Cruz and the handsome Murilo Benício. The Brazilian music helps, but not enough. Woman on Top resembles a punctured soufflé.[rating]2 bunnies[/rating]
The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle (Listed only) Boomers who still cherish Jay Ward's cartoons may cut this more slack than others will. A benign comedy aimed mostly at kids, it does preserve the spirit of those cartoons, and features the incomparable voices of June Foray and Keith Scott as R&B.[rating]2 1/2 bunnies[/rating]
"My favorite movie is Braveheart," says C. Thomas Howell. "I also love Swingers and Good Will Hunting, because I'm a real fan of Vince Vaughn and Matt Damon. Then there's Stripes. I love Bill Murray. He read an article where I said he was one of my favorite actors, and he went out of his way to locate me. When I was working on Soul Man, he helped me rework some lines. Then he wanted to meet Rae Dawn Chong, who I was going out with at the time. He said, 'Don't tell her I'm coming. I want to see what she's really like.' So naturally I told her and as soon as he walked onto the set she said, 'I hear you're doing a new movie and have a part for me.' I never heard from him again."
Welcome to class, class, where today we will attempt to get you through the major works of William Shakespeare without making you read Elizabethan English. Forget Cliffs Notes, we've got movies! But only the best versions for you, because there will be a test.
"Tap! Tap! Tap!" The cry for This Is Spin¨al Tap on DVD has been answered in a feature-laden disc (MGM, $30) that, in the band's peculiar parlance, would seem to approach "11." A joyously droll career high point for director Rob Reiner starring Michael McKean, Christopher Guest and Harry Shearer, This Is Spin¨al Tap managed to poke fun at pop music's pretensions while simultaneously celebrating the simple fun of rock and roll.
Gonzo porn is video erotica shorn of any conceit. It enjoys threadbare production values, women you've never seen before and hot and heavy action. Part of gonzo's appeal, when done right, is that it offers a sense of immediacy and authenticity often lacking in porn efforts that struggle with plot and, God help us, acting. Among its practitioners, the Brit Ben Dover is a master. Think of him as porn's Benny Hill. He's goofy, enthusiastic, wildly crude and sometimes very funny. This isn't art, it isn't really craft, either; it's sex as silly and stark as it gets.
John Lober and Izzy Johnson size each other up, two panthers wearing black shorts, fingerless padded gloves and wrestling shoes. Lober, a.k.a. the Machine, has his nickname tattooed across his stomach in four-inch-high letters. Johnson endures eight hours of ring work per day and has fists the size of grapefruit. Lober and Johnson--trained in multiple martial arts--can inflict horrendous pain. They circle each other in the ring--an octagon in a southern California bingo pit. They are breaking the law.
You Guys graduating from college soon have to be special. After all, they named the movie 2001 after you, and that was more than a decade before you were born. Most of you came into this crazy world around 1980, so to show you that the only things you can count on in life are change and flux, here are some statistics from that fateful year:
Once or twice a week my friends and I go out to lunch. Sometimes we'll see a girl and somebody will say, "I wouldn't sleep with her, but I'd let her blow me." Do women say the same sort of thing about guys? That is, do they see an attractive man and say, "I wouldn't sleep with him, but I would let him go down on me"? Please survey some women and let us know the results.--T.W., Raleigh, North Carolina
For the past decade, the forces of the religious right have resisted gay marriage, saying, among other things, that it demeans the traditional union. Earlier this year, the Vermont legislature passed a groundbreaking "civil union" statute that affords committed gay partners the same rights given to married couples. What are these sacred rights? While drafting the bill, the Judiciary Committee of the Vermont House asked its lawyers to comb the state code for every mention of marriage. Their inch-thick report listed 870 statutes that extend legal privileges to a spouse.
Looking for a lawyer to defend Gregory Wilson in a 1988 death penalty trial, a Kentucky judge posted a sign in his courthouse that read Please Help. Desperate. William Hagedorn accepted the job for $2500. Hagedorn, who had never tried a capital case, gave a tavern as his office address. Hagedorn missed various parts of the trial and questioned only a few witnesses. Wilson was found guilty and sentenced to die.
Wilton Dedge has been in a Florida prison for 18 years for the knife assault and rape of a teenage girl. Like many prisoners, Dedge insists he's innocent. But the circumstances of his claim merit a closer look. All Dedge wanted was for the state to turn over saliva and blood samples, as well as semen taken from the victim's vagina after the rape. Forensic scientists could then conduct tests to determine if the samples contain Dedge's DNA.
Adecade ago, Congress passed the Americans With Disabilities Act. The law has helped thousands of disabled people live better lives, especially in the areas of housing and employment. Some studies showed that before the ADA, more than 70 percent of the disabled were unemployed.
Bob Costas is at Yankee Stadium for game three of the World Series. The noise is deafening in the NBC booth, where he is calling the play-by-play. Headphones blot out some of the pandemonium and at the same time transmit another source of extraneous audio: the voice of producer David Neal. After half an inning, Costas calls for the Advil.
That Night after work, they stopped at the Wakamba Cocktail Lounge near Times Square, a working-class side pocket of a joint in the city's glittering wardrobe. No velvet ropes or sneering doormen here: Entry is by buzzer. At a glance, the bartender knew Patrick Dorismond and Kevin Kaiser were OK, recognizing them and a few other guys from their job. It was late in the evening of March 15, 2000.
Hedonism II and III are adults-only resorts in Jamaica where guests are encouraged to shed their inhibitions and clothes. When Hedonism III opened last September, we took a look for ourselves--and here we provide a peek for our readers. Hedonism III is situated near Runaway Bay on the north coast of Jamaica. The new facility offers the same amenities and activities as the original, plus a four-story see-through water slide that cuts through the disco. The water slide stays open until five A.M., and the disco closes when the last patron leaves. If this suggests a place where you can party all night, you've got the picture.
Handheld personal computers are no longer just glorified address books and calendars. The latest from Palm Computing. Hewlett Packard. Casio and others can access e-mail and let you play games or listen to digital music downloaded from the Net. You can even exchange phone numbers via infrared signals beamed from HPCs, a cool trick in a crowded bar. Because choosing a specific model among the dozens available can be daunting, we tested a handful of the hottest handhelds. Here's the low-down on our favorites. More than 70 percent of the people who own HPCs are Palm devotees. The reason? Simplicity. Palm devices--from the entry-level IIIe to the top-of-the-line Palm VII--are easy to use. You can zip through the menu options on the Palm VII without even checking the manual. And using the pen stylus to input information (phone numbers, appointments or other data) is a breeze. Palm's "Graffiti" method of handwriting recognition identifies symbols that closely resemble letters, numbers and punctuation. It takes only minutes to learn the strokes, compared with the hours required to master earlier forms of handwriting technology.
Don't look now, but people are talking about you. Polished, hot, coordinated, discerning--these are just some of the words they are using. No, it's not the girl down the hall and her friends. (At least not yet.) The people who have a crush on you are players in the young men's fashion industry: Nike. Fila. DKNY. Designers pay attention to the choices you make. That means function has met fashion and they're merging faster than a pair of horny psych majors. Reversible shirts, convertible pants--clothes are becoming increasingly versatile. It's all about poise. As in, "He has a lot of composure." As in, "He is ready to strike." It's a race-you-to-the-corner-bar mentality. Like a game of Survivor, Big Brother and Dawson's Creek, your every move is being watched. And yes, this time we are talking about your cute neighbor. So get some clothes that look fun to jump into and out of. And remember the most important accessory of all--the sock on your doorknob that tells your roommates not to come knocking. Otherwise you'll really give them something to talk about.
Hype Williams is hip-hop's most wanted video director, a college dropout who grew up in Queens and paid his dues manning the smoke machine on film sets. Williams is the guy behind some of the most visually rich clips: Gettin' Jiggy Wit' It by Will Smith, I'll Be Missing You by Puff Daddy, Sweetheart by Mariah Carey, The Rain by Missy Elliott, No Scrubs by TLC and Big Pimpin' by Jay-Z. Known for using multiple camera speeds, fish-eye lenses, reverse angles, flamboyant costumes and futuristic sets, Williams holds court in the Guinness Book of World Records under costliest special effects in a video ($2.4 million for What's It Gonna Be? by Busta Rhymes and Janet Jackson). He even managed to make khaki pants look cool in a Gap commercial. His latest project is Follow the Leader, a behind-the-scenes book about his video shoots. "I helped put that larger-than-life spin on the music," Williams says. (We never said he was modest.) "If rap videos were big, I made them look bigger. Rap artists were talented, but I made them look more talented. Hip-hop wasn't a fashion thing before I was doing it. It was never like it is now, where de-signers like Donatella Versace know the rappers. It's similar to the Forties, when certain musicians, artists and actors were part of a fashion-design clique. Now, it's us. It's Lauryn Hill and Busta." Williams' high-gloss style is not for everyone. Though his feature film directorial debut was named movie of the year at The Source's 1999 Hip-Hop Music Awards, critics deemed Belly a flop. The flick was also slammed by Magic Johnson, whose theater chain refused to show it because of its "overwhelmingly negative and violent depictions of African Americans, as well as its potential to create disruptive situations for our theaters' patrons and employees." Unscathed, Williams responded with trademark aplomb: "Censoring this film is akin to turning a blind eye to what's happening in today's cities." And then he picked up his camera and continued on his way.
Nichole Van Croft is no ordinary Southern belle, and it's written all over her skin. Her German ancestors introduced the use of herbs for beauty purposes in Florida, a practice that has rubbed off on Miss October. "I read medical books all the time," says Nichole, a native of Jacksonville. "I must have 10 zillion herb and physiology books from my mom. But even before I knew my family's history I had a little garden and grew peppermint and other herbs. I'm 26, but I look younger because I take really good care of my skin and use natural stuff like buttermilk and cornmeal on my face."
A married couple was driving down the interstate when the wife said, "Herb, I want a divorce." The husband said nothing but slowly increased his speed. "I've been having an affair with your best friend," she continued, "and he's a better lover than you are. I want the house, the kids, the car, the checking account and the credit cards. Is there anything you want?" she finally asked.
The Bowl Championship Series worked to perfection last season, setting the stage for what turned out to be the first great college football game of the 21st century. With only two major programs finishing undefeated (sorry, Marshall, your 12-0 record was impressive, but your schedule wasn't), there was no room for media speculation or second-guessing among fans. Florida State and Virginia Tech played for the national championship and they played like champions. Virginia Tech freshman quarterback Michael Vick dazzled fans and surprised Florida State as he ran and passed over and around Seminole defense. In the end, Weinke, Warrick and the Seminoles' depth and experience prevailed, and FSU won the game 46-29.
British runner Roger Black said that when you run against Michael Johnson, you run for the silver medal. Since 1990, Johnson has been one of the most dominant runners in the history of track and field. He has won 90 percent of his races, three Olympic gold medals and a record nine gold medals in the world championships. He once went eight years and 58 races between losses in the 400 meters.
Take A Ride In Toyota's Reincarnated MR2 Spyder, A Renegade Lexus And Other Winning Wheels
The MR2 (pictured here) is back, topless. Its predecessor, an overpriced, wedge-shaped coupe, was mercifully put to rest by Toyota five years ago. This roadster reincarnation, named the Spyder, is lean, striking and, like the original, midengine. A 1.8-liter four-cylinder power plant just aft of the driver gives the MR2 Spyder its punch. Go it does, out-accelerating its closest competitor, the Mazda Miata, by almost a second in zero-to-60 tests. But here's the bad news: Only 5000 will be imported this year. A base price of about $23,000 includes a trunkload of goodies, such as AM-FM with cassette and CD player, air-conditioning, ABS and power windows and locks, but, alas, on trunk. I'm not kidding. Behind the MR2's bucket seats are two panels that cover twin compartments barely big enough to hold stuff for the beach. Up front, where the spare tire is stored, there's a concave space big enough for a small gym bag. Storage in the rear? Nada. In the MR2 Spyder you travel light. But if you can deal with its less-is-more configuration, you'll have a ball on a long and winding road.
Conference USA is among the nation's newest collegiate conferences, and at first glance it seems an odd collection of schools gerrymandered on a bender. DePaul and the University of Southern Mississippi? Marquette and Louisville? Whose zip code logic is this, anyway? We had to know what these schools have in common, so we packed our bags, and audited some classes. Our mission revealed the secrets of Conference USA: great basketball and the collective pursuit of academic excellence. Then there are the girls, who stopped our hearts. Join us as we give you the highlights.
So what if you haven't explored the wreck of the Andrea Doria. Dive watches are red-hot status symbols, and wearing one says you've at least considered going below. The best dive watch endorsement, of course, came from the underwater explorer Jacques Cousteau. He and his film crew wore Blancpain Fifty Fathoms watches during the filming of his deep-sea documentary The Silent World. Today's model is just as resilient but can go three times as deep. An Omega watch is the one favored by James Bond, and it has worked wonders for him in and out of the briny. Plus, Omega is also the only brand of watch that's been worn on the moon. The Seamaster model is water-resistant to 300 meters and features a helium escape valve for deep diving. Italy's Panerai breaks the Swiss monopoly on high-end dive watches. Until 1993, these tickers were reserved for Italy's navy, but now models such as the Luminor are declassified. And while most watches are battery-powered or automatic, Seiko's Kinetic converts motion to electricity--one more reason to keep moving when a moray eel is trailing you. Swatch's Irony Scuba 200 Chrono features a stopwatch function and is water-resistant to a depth of 200 meters--plus, its $140 price makes it distinctly affordable. Assembled from steel and titanium, Audemars Piguet's Royal Oak Offshore is built like a car--and costs just as much as one. Its distinctive nautical look was inspired by a ship's porthole.