Hey, Maxim--our cover girl can kick your cover girl's ass. It takes a strong woman to pose nude in Playboy, and we can say with certainty that in this issue we have the strongest yet. Gorgeous and shapely at 6' and 200 pounds, World Wrestling Federation superstar Chyna can break your body and your heart. You'll get whiplash just from looking at her pictorial, which was shot by Arny Freytag.
Playboy (ISSN 0032-1478), November 2000, Volume 47, number 11, 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.
Finally, a film to cheer about: Billy Elliot (Universal Focus) was a smash at this year's Cannes Film Festival, where it was screened under the title Dancer. By any name, it's a wonderful film about an 11-year-old boy who lives with his father, brother and addled grandmother in a British coal-mining town where life is grim because of a bitter strike. Billy has little understanding of that, or why he still has vivid recollections of his mother, who died several years earlier. Nor can he explain why, in the midst of a boxing lesson, he's attracted to the ballet class being taught at the other end of the gym by a chain-smoking, no-nonsense woman (Julie Walters). She sees in Billy the potential for greatness and urges him to take his lessons seriously, so he might audition for the Royal Ballet School. This doesn't sit well with his macho father and older brother. Writer Lee Hall and first-time director Stephen Daldry have gone out of their way to desentimentalize the story, to play their underdog tale against the harshness of life in a working-class English town. Because emotions are held in check so long, when they rise to the surface (near the end of the picture), it's difficult to hold back tears. Billy Elliot is everything this year's Hollywood movies aren't: bold, original, glorious. It's not to be missed. [rating]4 bunnies[/rating]
I love going to the movies, and now it's even more fun because I play a game: How late can I walk in and still not miss the beginning of the picture? The odds are always in my favor, because the so-called preshow is getting longer all the time. This wouldn't be so bad if there were something intrinsically entertaining in this warm-up period. Mind you, I have no problem watching a few previews; everyone wants to know what movies are on the horizon. But when you've sat through four, five, even six trailers, the thrill is gone.
Songwriting legend Bob Neuwirth recorded his latest album in Cuba. Havana Midnight (Diesel Motor) benefits enormously from arrangements by José Maria Vitier and the premier Cuban musicians he recruited. But, in an unusual twist, it's the Cubans who fit themselves around Neuwirth's spindly voice and love songs. The settings, especially the way the strings and guitars support Neuwirth's alley-cat voice, give the songs a lushness they couldn't get from any North American backing. Havana is the rarest thing in world music, genuine collaboration.
De la soul's Art Official Intelligence (Tommy Boy) is billed as the first volume of a triple-album set. Although these surviving standard-bearers of humanist rap have never gone mega, they remain commercially viable. Art was worked over for a long time, but it has an easy feel. Playful textures that once seemed exotic have been smoothed out, and De La's beats are now just intelligent pop. And although such cutting-edge producers as Rockwilder chip in, smooth R&B grooves prevail as guest stars Chaka Khan and the Beastie Boys tell us how much respect De La Soul deserves. Let the future take care of itself---this will hold us for a while.
In the early Nineties DJ Quik was viewed as just another Compton gangsta. He had scary hair, wrote about driveby shootings and had that California ghetto twang in his voice. But a decade later, Quik has survived the gang war of Cali hip-hop and established himself as one of the finer writer-producers in contemporary black music. Perhaps the best cut on Quik's diverse Balance and Options (Arista), The Divorce Song---sung by James DeBarge---isn't a rap, but a song about lost love. Quik, who co-wrote the song with DeBarge, creates a polished arrangement around a melody that any young R&B singer would envy. He also displays a surprising sense of history on Balance. He creates a tribute to two key influences---Roger Troutman with Roger's Groove and Eazy-E on Quikker Said Than Dunn---that updates the styles of both while paying homage. There is some lingering dissing of women and some random gunplay, but the overall tone of this collection is exploration and expansion. Even the title speaks to options many veteran rappers now see for themselves.
The press release says Nashville Pussy wants to "unbuckle the Bible Belt and suck God's dick." Nashville Pussy is so alienated that it doesn't sing about anything on High As Hell (TVT) except drugs, guns and pussy, in plotlines that are surprisingly frank, if not subtle. Nihilistic? Of course. Sociopathic? Not quite, because the band is very funny. And, for all its shtick, Nashville Pussy rocks. The band keeps it simple, but it swings and roars and has quite a few good riffs, some of which you haven't heard before.
The Band's debut, Music From Big Pink, was a startling dreamscape where country, gospel, rock and the American cultural unconscious melded into a mystical, roots-rock hybrid. Remastered by Capitol along with the group's next three releases, Pink now boasts almost an entire extra album's worth of outtakes and alternative versions. The follow-up, The Band, is tighter, if less revolutionary, but features most of the group's hit songs. The new edition adds seven fascinating bonus tracks. With a few notable exceptions, the songs on Stage Fright and Cahoots are slicker and less compelling. So pick up the expanded versions of the first two albums. Then grab the new Band's Greatest Hits package, which cherry-picks the best of their later work.
Rock bands used to succeed by building a regional base. That gave us the great scenes of Detroit and Seattle, west Texas and southern California, hippie San Francisco and post-beatnik Greenwich Village. These days, everybody sounds like everybody else, in part because few bands start out playing for a distinct crowd. But in Pittsburgh, the Clarks have a local following, which buys tens of thousands of their albums. On Let It Go (Razor and Tie), its first national release, this basic rock group shows the rest of us why. The group's harmonies and power pop chords put it squarely in Pittsburgh's tradition of meat-and-potato rockers like Donnie Iris and Joe Gruschecky's Iron City Houserockers. I'm a Fool, Born Too Late and If Memory Serves show off the Clarks' memorable melodies, ringing 12 strings and detailed vocal harmony.
Brian Wilson Live at the Roxy Theater (Brimel) is a double CD that finds the last surviving Wilson brother fronting a 10-piece band. The ensemble explores multilayered harmonies and instrumentation. Many of the 26 songs are Beach Boy chestnuts, but the emotional highpoints come midconcert with such lesser-known compositions as Please Let Me Wonder, which rolls into a joyous snippet of the Barenaked Ladies' hit song Brian Wilson. (Available online at brian wilson.com.)
Trent Summar and the New Row Mob (VFR) is the most impressive country album to come out of Nashville in a decade. I think it's the most impressive rock record to come out of Nashville ever. Summar, formerly of alt-country legends Hank Flamingo, has assembled a band of session players and renegade rockers that kicks slick pop-country right in its buns. Trent isn't ashamed of his working-class roots. He celebrates them. His voice is pure cracker soul, full of heart, humor and irony. His band cranks up the guitars on New Money, and the heartfelt Starletta that sounds like updated Skynyrd or Stones.
Undress for MS Department: In August, Yahoo held an online auction of celebrity jeans to benefit the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Everyone took them off, including Blink 182, Danny Elfman, Kobe Bryant, Tom Cruise and our own Hef.
Singer-songwriter Greg Brown has been making records for nearly 20 years from his home base in southern Iowa. His best one yet is Covenant (Red House). Brown's gruff vocals have had a tendency to overshadow his superb lyrics in the past, but he and longtime producer Bo Ramsey strike a perfect balance here. Brown lies back and lets the elegant melody lines of Blue Car steer the ballad into the album's strongest track. It uses an old car as a metaphor for lost love. And Brown---the son of a Pentecostal preacher---plays the content outsider on the gospel-tinged 'Cept You and Me, Babe. Even the album's hidden bonus track (Marriage Chant) is a keeper. The beat from America's heartland runs through Greg Brown.
In an era of techno and electronica it's easy to overlook the fact that electronic music has been around for 80 years. Ohm: The Early Gurus of Electronic Music, 1948--1980 (Ellipsis Arts) is an intelligent survey of a once-promising genre. The three-CD set starts with Tchaikovsky's Valse Sentimentale (as performed on theremin) and ends with Brian Eno's ambient musings. In between there's Bayle, Risset, Stockhausen and Xenakis. But there are also plenty of surprises here: Charles Dodge's exhilarating voice experiments and David Tudor's Rainforest show how timid and limited contemporary music has become. And the flying saucer soundtrack to Forbidden Planet is a whole lot better than the soundtrack to Titanic.
Our comic book dreams are coming true. We already have portable communicators and electric cars. But there is one futuristic vision that hasn't happened yet---X-ray goggles that render clothing transparent. But we're getting closer. Night-vision technology and camcorders with infrared filming options reportedly give users a peek at what a target is---or isn't---wearing underneath. Unfortunately, almost all authentic night-vision getups involve cyborg-style headgear. And the ones that don't are designed more for looking good than for checking out undies. Still, prices have dropped to a point where the curious can afford to pick up some see-through specs and look for themselves. Highquality headgear, goggles and binoculars are available for $350 and up from companies such as Alf Enterprises, night-vision-goggles. Com and Russian Optics. If you have $2000, try the X-Reflect X-ray Goggles. Designed to look like sunglasses, they can be worn by themselves or attached to a camcorder. If your taste runs to beer goggles rather than X-Ray specs, your best bet is a pair of raver-style Wild Planet Night Vision Goggles, available on eToys for $ 15. Popular in British nightclubs, these Star Trek-style shades blast two beams of light when the visor is flipped down. They don't see through clothes, but they will give you a better view of what awaits the morning after before you leave a dark club or bar. Now those are what we call safety goggles.
Here's a new one for you: m-commerce. It stands for mobile commerce, and the idea is to enable the time-pressed to use cell phones to buy stuff on the fly, from movie tickets to compact discs to home furnishings. Shoptalk, for example, hooks you up with bargains on a range of merchandise divided into categories such as travel, food, entertainment and gifts. When we telephoned the service (800-Shoptalk), a DirecTV satellite dish and receiver setup was available for $50---that's half the suggested retail price. There also was a great deal on a golf weekend at Hilton Head and a $20 discount on a Swiss Army watch. You can navigate the entire service on a cell phone or regular phone via the touchtone buttons, but if you know what you want, just speak. Shoptalk uses voice recognition, so saying "pizza" will advance you to the incentives on thin crust or stuffed. You also can access Shoptalk via the web at shoptalk.com. That way, you can mark a pizza special to be announced instantly when you dial the service (say, in your car on the way home from the office). Shoptalk has partnered with major companies such as Crate and Barrel, Pizza Hut and Blockbuster, and it updates its offers weekly. Another service, Tellme (800--555-Tell), is more about information than shopping. Horoscopes, sports scores, weather forecasts, stock quotes, winning lottery numbers, soap opera updates---you name it, this service provides the lowdown. For a quick traffic check, dial the Tellme number and say "traffic." Tellme also provides instant airline updates. Flight delayed? Say "blackjack" and you can play over the phone for fun. Like Shoptalk, it uses voice recognition to get you to the information you desire. Learn more at tellme.com.
Next time you're driving and you hear a song you like, don't wait for the disc jockey to name that tune. Instead, click your iTag. This key chain-size gadget "bookmarks the radio," according to its creator, California-based Xenote. Press a button on the iTag during a song or commercial and the device emits a chirp, indicating that it has recorded the time and frequency. When you connect iTag to your computer, the bookmarks are uploaded to a personal Xenote homepage, where a database supplies the name of the song and artist, information on the CD, music samples and links to CDNow and Amazon.com for on-the-spot shopping. And if you tag a commercial, iTag will send you directly to a home product page created by the advertiser. You can order the device for $15 at xenote.com.
The strange title isn't the only thing that surprised us about Sega's Seaman. More virtual pet than game, Seaman allows players to grow a bizarre creature with a human face and (depending on the environment) the body of a fish, frog or tadpole. Sega hired Leonard Nimoy to narrate, so players can hold realistic conversations with their creatures through a microphone, which fits into a Dreamcast controller. Seaman will remember previous conversations and mistreatments---a feature we discovered after neglecting our pet during a weekend away. Upon return we found him quite surly.
"I love The Maltese Falcon," says talk show host G. Gordon Liddy. "It was brilliantly done, especially when you consider that most of the movie takes place in three rooms. I liked Les Enfants du Paradis, the French movie that gets mistranslated to Children of the Paradise but which refers to the far balcony section---the cheap seats---in the theater. I like film noir, but I must confess that I really enjoy something funny. The funniest movie I've seen recently is Bowfinger. Eddie Murphy's scene where they're telling him to run across the freeway, but don't worry because all the cars are being driven by stunt drivers, is hysterical."
In the early Seventies, Japan's Nikkatsu Studios created the "roman porn" (romantic pornography) genre to revive flagging box office. Two masterpieces---Masaru Konuma's 1974 Wife to Be Sacrificed and Noboru Tanaka's 1975 A Woman Called Sada Abe---are now here from Kimstim. Be warned: This is depraved S&M with a nasty twist---it's artistic. Sada edges to the ultimate in eroticism. In Sacrificed, the husband gives his bound victim an enema and sits back to await the results.
The $85 million Enemy at the Gates, starring Jude Law and Ed Harris, takes aim at one of the most intense professions around: snipers. Given the success of other sniper movies, we predict it will shoot to the top, with a bullet.
Count speedy delivery among the reasons DVD has become such a phenomenal hit in so few years on the market. Not long ago, in the halcyon days of laser discs, cinephiles might have had to wait years before a movie like Julie Taymor's Titus arrived in a deluxe edition. But since the studios---such as Titus distributor 20th Century Fox---are so eager to make DVD a success, the window has dropped, to roughly eight months. In this two-disc set (Fox, $35), the movie dazzles. Included is an interview Taymor recorded before the film's release. She even addresses a query we had reading the disc's impressive manifest: "Hmm, no storyboards?" Said Taymor: "I didn't storyboard the movie because I knew what I wanted."
Nothing prolongs the pleasure of a trip like a country's savories. Customs regulations prohibit produce, but luxury edibles in cans, bottles and jars are generally permitted. In London, Harrods and Fortnum and Mason are renowned for a wide range of gourmet foods (including caviar), but intelligent shoppers also head to specialists such as Paxton and Whitfield, the UK's oldest cheese shop. Fauchon reigns supreme in Paris---and recently opened a shop in New York---but it shares the Place de la Madeleine with Hediard, a fine food emporium founded in 1854, and with Maison de la Truffe, known for black truffles and white truffles. Nearby on Rue de Vignon, La Maison du Miel sells several dozen types of French honey. La Ferme Saint-Hubert, also on Rue de Vignon, is one of the finest cheese shops in town. While Rome's Volpetti doesn't have the name recognition of Peck in Milan, it's a great source for olive oils, vinegars and unusual food items. A mainstay in Madrid is Mallorca, a full deliknown for its desserts and chocolates. One of Europe's largest supermarkets, Berlin's Ka De We, has a gourmet floor that offers hundreds of breads and cheeses. Staples of Istanbul's covered Spice Bazaar are colorful tiered displays of sweets and teas. Toronto's Pusateri's Fine Foods stocks maple syrup, fruit jam made with Niagara grapes, and other Canadian products. On the opposite side of the world, in Sydney, Simon Johnson is king. Besides international gourmet fare, his stores feature Australian preserves, chutneys, honeys, olive oils, cheeses, chocolates, coffees and teas.
Straddling Europe and Asia, Istanbul is one of the world's great romantic cities. By day, it's all mosques and markets. Start the evening prowl with drinks in the fin de siècle bar at the century-old Pera Palas Hotel, where Agatha Christie wrote Murder on the Orient Express. Or try some Turkish wines at the au courant Sarabi, a cozy wine bar with a fusion menu, at Istiklal Cad. 174 Beyoglu. Some nightspots have separate winter and summer locations, but newcomer Hammam operates year-round in the restored 17th century Sepetçiler Kasri, a sultan's castle. South American music, splendid views of the Bosphorus from a hillside park and Ottoman-style decor make Ulus 29 one of Istanbul's most elegant restaurants. The international menu features delicious versions of Turkish classics such as marinated sliced lamb. Of the many seafood restaurants, the Park Fora (Muallim Naci Cad. Cemil Topuzlu), in gardens on the water's edge, is a good bet for sea bass preceded by an array of meze (appetizers). Late-night options abound, but avoid downtown gazinos (bars with Turkish floor shows and hostesses)--- they're known for presenting foreigners with outrageous bills and bullying them into paying. For jazz, check out the cavelike Q Jazz Bar in the Ciragan Palace Hotel Kempinski. Finish the night at Apik (Dereboyu Cad. 79) with a Turkish hangover cure, iskembe, tripe soup spiked with garlic and vinegar.
Laptops are one of the items most stolen in airports, which is why the Victorinox Web General bag by Swiss Army (pictured here) caught our eye. It features a removable sleeve for internal laptop storage, plus space galore for files, modems and other business necessities, in addition to your clothing. Price: $480. • Heading for the Windy City? Order Barfly's Guide to Chicago Drinking Establishments, edited by Tony Gordon of Barfly newspaper. This $19.95 softcover contains witty reviews of nearly 400 bars, broken down by such categories as singles and bras hanging from ceilings.
Bruce Jay Friedman once edited pulp magazines in an office known as the "sin pit." Even the Rhinos Were Nymphos (University of Chicago) is his first nonfiction collection. In these hilarious essays---several of which have appeared in our pages---he visits a butler school and a home for frozen guys, tries to reason with a paparazzo and scrutinizes America with wit and comic genius.
What else is there to say about the Beatles? Plenty, if you ask them directly. The Beatles Anthology (Chronicle) is a volume of interviews with Paul, George and Ringo, interspersed with John's comments culled from public and private sources. Many of the photos are from their own collections (the early ones are especially wonderful). This is the last word, and what words they are: how they met, the Liverpool days, honing their musical skills (John says, "I grew up in Hamburg, not Liverpool"), their steady march to Beatlemania and, finally, their rooftop goodbye. As George reminisces, "We were really tight as friends. We could argue a lot among ourselves, but we were very close to each other and in the company of other people or other situations, we'd always stick together." Will we still need them when we're 64? You bet.
Do you want Ernest Hemingway larger than life or more like a regular guy? Two new books approach his legend from opposite sides. One attempts to humanize him, the other doesn't even try. Norberto Fuentes' Ernest Hemingway Rediscovered (Plexus) illuminates the unglamorous side of the author's private life through a collection of previously unpublished photographs of his years at Finca Vigia, his Cuban home from 1939 to 1960. Despite the photos of Hemingway relaxing portside, it's the images of his belongings---including old house shoes and his favorite chair---that best represent the Nobel Prize winner's life-size moments. Hemingway's niece Hilary and her husband, Jeffry Lindsay, contribute heavily to the writer's overblown reputation in Hunting With Hemingway (Riverhead). The book is a transcription of a tape made by Papa's younger brother Leicester, who recounts the brothers' hunting trips. It's clear Leicester idolized Ernest as he describes how his brother saved his life.
"I have chosen those ventures that have been important innovative firsts," writes Chris Bonington in Quest for Adventure: Ultimate Feats of Modern Exploration (Adventure Press). Among his firsts: Thor Heyerdahl's raft voyage across the Pacific in 1947, Francis Chichester's solo circumnavigation of the globe in 1966--1967 and Maurice Herzog's expedition to Annapurna in 1950. Bonington includes more-recent journeys by land, sea and air, but, as he says, he's interested "not so much in motive---the why of it---but rather the how," which limits his range. Geoffrey Norman, in his memoir Two for the Summit: My Daughter, the Mountains and Me (Dutton), is interested in the why and the how and gives us an outstanding study of both mountain climbing and fathering. Approaching his 50th birthday, Norman makes a contract with his eldest daughter, Brooke: Together they'll climb the Grand Teton summit in Wyoming, and later, the highest peak in the Andes, Aconcagua. This is a deft and humorous self-portrait of a father dealing with his own weaknesses and strengths as his daughter moves into maturity, passing him---literally and figuratively--- on and off the trail. With excitement, passion and honesty, Norman gives us one of the deepest and finest books of the year.
No question about it, gentlemen. Although you are young and dirty and always flirting, the universe is often too intense for you and your peers. To begin with, there is no way you can keep up with the incessant demands on your time and energy. "What have you done for me lately?" has turned into "What will you do for me next?"---the 21st century refrain that plagues your nights and your days.
My question concerns my fiancé's parents. I know that they have been unfaithful to each other, but my fiancé is clueless about it. He thinks they're the greatest. I have heard rumors of their adultery, and my mother is the best friend of a woman whose husband had a five-year affair with my fiancé's mother. My fiancé knows nothing about this, and his parents are blind to the fact that I know their secrets. I'm concerned about the future. Although my fiancé has given me no reason to mistrust him, my mother warns me to watch for signs.---J.C., Nashville, Tennessee
The usual image of the anarchist, as seen in Seattle, is the madman, the bomb thrower, the agent of chaos. "Bomb thrower" better describes the government, our great protector. The state has designed, manufactured, distributed and used millions of tons of explosive devices to cripple and kill people. Anarchism is not about violence; it's a philosophy of resistance to, and criticism of, statist laws and authoritarianism. Anarchists recognize that all forms of government rest on violence and therefore are wrong and harmful, as well as unnecessary.
Apparently we aren't the only ones with a penchant for grisly games. Seems the bloodiest titles have become best-sellers. Capcom's zombie-filled Resident Evil series has grown so popular that this year the company released an entirely different installment for each system---Play Station. Dreamcast and Nintendo 64. The series' success has spawned a new breed of gore-filled games. Sega recently created D2, a fiendishly creepy four-disc set for Dreamcast, and infogrames resurrected horror game pioneer Alone in the Dark for a sequel---Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare (for Dreamcast, PlayStation and PC). Even Hollywood is releasing a few bloodsoaked games, including Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Evil Dead: Hail to the King (both for Dreamcast, PlayStation and PC). And when we heard that Gathering of Developers plans to release three separate PC games based on The Blair Witch Project, we fixed ourselves a stiff drink and dead-bolted the front door.