On the 12th day of Christmas, 37 editors, 11 art directors, 6 researchers, 6 proofreaders, 3 lawyers and 11 production managers polished off the December issue of Playboy and sent it to the printers. Then they toasted one another with a few rounds of vodka and cough syrup and, exhausted, gathered about the Christmas tree to celebrate. Ours is a large, collaborative effort. On these two pages alone, you'll find an additional 29 faces of cartoonists, photographers, artists and writers. Standing astride all of it is the man we call Santa and you call Hef. Together this small army has assembled one of the best issues of the best general-interest magazine for men. We're not a humor magazine masquerading as a lad book, nor a sports mag that occasionally turns into a bikini catalog. We have everything you need, and plenty more of what you want.
Playboy (ISSN 0032-1478) December 2000, Volume 47, 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 (312-751-5000): West Coast, SD Media. 2001 Wilshire Bouleyard 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.
Joan Osborne released her colossal hit Relish in 1995. She made her fans wait five years for the follow-up, Righteous Love (Interscope). It's worth the wait. Her voice, an instrument of vast range and minute subtlety, changes to fit every song, even as it keeps its identity. In 11 songs, there are as many convincing voices. It's like watching a great method actor create different characters for 46 minutes. Influenced by the music of India and Pakistan, she belts blues, rock and pop, and then veers into some breathtaking qawwali-influenced melody. None of this would matter, of course, if the songs weren't there. Whether pulling a neglected tune out of the fire (like Gary Wright's hit Love Is Alive) or writing from her own insights, Osborne is as sharp a psychologist as she is a singer.
Drop trou department: Scott Weiland took a final bow without his pants one night last summer. Upset about the crowd's reaction to the Stone Temple Pilots' set, Weiland gave critics something else to review.
Many Directors suffer from a sophomore curse, but that can't be said of former film critic Rod Lurie, who has followed up Deterrence with The Contender (Dream-works), a top-notch political drama that couldn't be timelier. Joan Allen has the title role, as a senator from Ohio who's nominated by the president (Jeff Bridges) to fill the vacant vice presidency. This requires congressional confirmation, and self-righteous Speaker of the House Gary Oldman sees an opportunity to stick one to his political rival. Lurie's script deals most tellingly with the issues that would face a woman subjected to the kind of grilling that plagues all candidates. What types of questions would be considered inappropriate for a man but relevant for a woman? Audiences haven't shown much interest in political movies recently, but if they miss The Contender, it will be their loss. [rating]3 bunnies[/rating]
At a time when directors are adding footage to their films on DVD---whether anyone wants it or not---the television networks (which, after a long dormant period, are again showing recent theatrical films) are cutting the living daylights out of them.
Rhys Ifans (pronounced Reese EE-vans). Last seen as: Hugh Grant's addle-brained, bohemian roommate, Spike, in Notting Hill.Other work: co-starring in The Replacements, with Gene Hackman, the upcoming Human Nature, with Patricia Arquette and Tim Robbins, and Little Nicky, as Adam Sandler's devilish brother. The biggest difference between working in British and u.s. productions? "two words: craft service. In England when you make a film, you get a tepid cup of tea, a pork pie and a kick in the ass and then you're back on set. Here, every day is a banquet. I remember seeing the salad bar the first day on the set of The Replacements. I took a photo of it and sent it to my mother, who, when I told her I was working with Gene Hackman, said, 'What's she been in?'" Do women respond to his famous "fancy a fuck?" T-shirt From Notting Hill? "Not half as often as I'd like."
Almost Famous (Listed only) Cameron Crowe wrote and directed this extremely likable film based on his experiences as a teenage writer who hits the road with a rock band in the early Seventies. Full of keen observations and winning performances; the camera loves Kate Hudson. [rating]3-1/2 bunnies[/rating]
"My favorite movie of all time is A Christmas Story, directed by the guy who directed Porky's," says Trey Parker (above, right), co-creator of South Park. "It's genius. It was marketed to kids, but was an adult film. It was full of kids who were swearing and everything, and it had a ton of influence on South Park." Says Parker's partner, Matt Stone: "My favorite movie is Megaforce. It's rad. It was a rip-off of Road Warrior. It's so lame that it is actually the sweetest movie ever made. It has one great quote: 'The good guys always win---even in the Eighties.' Some of my other favorite movies include Babe, Raising Arizona, A Clockwork Orange and Rushmore. But none stack up to Megaforce---not even fucking close."
Just as the compact disc sent the record companies into mad fits of compilation, the DVD is a medium that inspires messages in bulk. Sets such as The Clint Eastwood Collection (Warner Bros., $100) pack six DVDs and knock off a few bucks from the price the discs would fetch under individual packaging. It's a delicious compendium of stubble and snarl, but instead of presenting the films in wide-screen, the discs feature pan-and-scan versions of the films and no extras to speak of. It's a little like getting a Whitman sampler when you were expecting Godiva.
From the audience's point of view, the sweet part of the sweet science is a flawlessly delivered, clock-stopping blow. In The Perfect Punch (American Home Treasures), there are more than 100 of them. The principals include Lennox Lewis, Azumah Nelson, Prince Naseem Hamed, Francis Ampofo, Herbie Hide and Chris Eubank---and their opponents, usually on the canvas, with their lights out. This is not a pretty collection, but it shows the exact locations of human weakness (the chin, the side of the head and the area around the fifth rib). And, of course, there are lots of instant replays.
We finally grew bored watching our iMac's inner workings and found ourselves a new desktop distraction---Harman Kardon's SoundSticks (pictured here). The three-piece SoundSticks speaker system includes two satellite towers and one subwoofer, all of which connect via a USB port to Apple computers running OS 9.0.4. The self-powered system pumps 40 watts of power through the six-inch woofer and the four one-inch Odyssey speakers on each minitower. The sparkling rubber rings on the bottom of the towers will keep them from toppling off your desk and also act as adjustable stands. That way you can position them perfectly when playing the new Moby remix MP3 your friend sent you. Besides being affordable ($199) and great-sounding, the set has clear plastic casing and rounded corners that won't compromise the appeal of your new iMac or take up valuable space on your cluttered desk.
To us, nothing says the holidays like a coffee-table 10-pounder. But order too many and Rudolph gets a hernia. We did the heavy lifting for you by holding down the list to a handful of topics---food, automobiles, cartoons, adventure travel, exotica and sex (of course). Hot Sour Salty Sweet: A Culinary Journey Through Southeast Asia (Artisan) by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid presents more than 175 recipes from the Mekong delta, including jungle curry and Yunnan greens. But if Vietnamese cuisine isn't your style, try Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby's How to Cook Meat (Morrow), a collection of recipes for red-blooded Americans that will take you as far afield as calves brains. Whether you call it dollars or dinero, the art of a nation's currency reflects a nation's individuality. David Standish's Art of Money: The History and Design of Paper Currency From Around the World (Chronicle) is a different way to count cash. Every gearhead should find room on his workbench for Customized: Art Inspired by Hot Rods, Low Riders and American Car Culture (Abrams). The book allows readers to sit shotgun next to custom-car creators Von Dutch and Big Daddy Roth. Beginning with a Harvard-trained psychologist (who created her) and Lynda Carter (who played her), Les Daniels' Wonder Woman: The Complete History (Chronicle) delves into the superhero's past. Several new photo books will be sure to make you stop and browse awhile. Arranging photos by topic rather than period, How You look at It: Photographs of the 20th Century (D.A.P.) highlights many of the big guns of photography---Walker Evans, William Eggleston and Eugene Atget---in a refreshingly different way. Howard Schatz' Nude Body Nude (Harper Collins) features 252 images of nudes---some even dipped in chocolate. Fashion photographer Thierry Le Gouès' Popular (Powerhouse) features photos of the hot Havana party scene, a mix of sexy strangers, underground denizens and Buena Vista Social Club stars. Frans Lanting's Jungles (Taschen) gathers gorgeous photos of treetops and creatures in the Congo, the Andes and other exotic, steamy, dense spots. The National Geographic Expedition Atlas covers a century of daring explorations into such exotic locations as volcanoes, outer space and oceans. The book's time line is illustrated with more than 60 maps, plenty of photos and first-person accounts by divers, polar explorers and mountaineers. It may be hard for some to believe, but there was golf before Tiger Woods. Former New Yorker staff member Herbert Warren Wind covers those earlier days in The Story of American Golf Volume One: 1888--1941 (Callaway), highlighting gods of the greens Bobby Jones, Sam Snead and Ben Hogan. If golf is too genteel for your tastes, try Ultimate Stock Car (DK) by Bill Center, who combines history, statistics and photos for a great ride. Paul McCartney Paintings (Bul-finch) collects many of the cute one's canvases, which include portraits of Linda and the Queen of England, plus landscapes and abstract subjects. This year, give all of your buddies a copy of Boystown: La Zona de Tolerancia (Aperture). The 128-page book puts together black-and-white souvenir photographs that were taken in a collection of brothels along the Texas-Mexico border during the early Seventies. These are stark, amateur shots of drunken cowboys adorned with sombreros and carousing with willing girls. They dance to tejano bands and pause only to mug for the camera. A bordertown dream come true. Feliz Navidad!
I pick up one of the many women's magazines in the dentist's office, just to see what the other half is reading. It is a well-thumbed issue, vintage 1999, and as I open it at random, I read this question: "Which zip code is ground zero for guys who love going down?" The article that follows is purportedly based on interviews with 6000 women from different cities, who reveal how guys rate on their lip service, out of a perfect 10.
After my third marriage I told myself I wanted only girlfriends. Eleven years later, at 48, I have five: the kinky one, the wild one, the one who became my best friend, the one who would blow me five times a day if I didn't give out first and, finally, the one I fell in love with. I would like to settle down with her, but I'm having a terrible time letting go of the others. I've been seeing four of them for eight years, and there's nothing but pleasure in it for me. I met the one I love only a few months ago, and I fell hard. She has all but given up on me and I feel lost without her. If she ever finds out how much I cheat on her after I promised I would stop seeing the others, that will be it. I feel like I will never be able to love anyone again. I have let my addiction run wild, uncontrolled, for so long that I don't know how to handle the situation. What should I do?---J.B., Visalia, California
The computer screen lights up. A cursor arrow searches down topics in the chat rooms. It goes past "bi-fems-for-bi-fems" and stops at "dad-to-dad chat." Candy clicks on and types in "Hi! I'm looking for a dad to chat with." Within seconds, four "dads" respond: Bushmaster, Bigdaddy, Lollipopman and Daddio. Bushmaster clicks on first.
This past summer, President Clinton commuted the sentences of four women and a man convicted of serious drug charges. The gesture received little attention compared with his release last year of 11 members of the violent Puerto Rican group FALN.
There was high drama one day on the set of Charlie's Angels. Lucy Liu, one of the Angels (alongside Drew Barrymore and Cameron Diaz), got into a loud argument with Bill Murray, who plays Bosley. Murray bristled at Liu's suggestion to change dialogue in a scene, telling her she should feel lucky just to be there and should keep her comments to herself. Liu snapped right back, and suddenly trailer doors were slamming, agents were being called and the clock was running on a costly day of production. So whose job was it to calm the combatants?
It is just past two in the morning, but the dusty streets in the central Cuban town of Jaguey Grande are jammed with people. This is a flat village. Not one of its modest colonial-style buildings is above two stories in height; there's nothing that even the most optimistic guide could call a tourist attraction.
Things are a little different in Australia. There, trees lose their bark, not their leaves. In Australia, swans are black and mammals have pockets. The English once used it as a prison colony, but over time, Australia reinvented itself into a college of the best of the rest of the world. You want great beaches and unparalleled diving? Try the Great Barrier Reef. A sophisticated urban setting? Try Sydney, with its harbor, night-clubs and top-notch restaurants. Animals with amusing names? They have kangaroos, kookaburras and koalas. You want attractive, well-educated, thoughtful and fun-loving girls? Australia is the place. And since this continent is an increasingly popular destination for travelers, we went on a walkabout so we could prove our point to you.
Platform shoes are back, so why not Lava lamps? Those psychedelic mood-setters have surged in popularity just in time for their 35th anniversary. In honor of the occasion, Lava World International has created a king-size limited edition of its motion lamp. At four feet tall, it takes about eight hours to heat and weights in at 100 pounds. Only 35 will be made and sold. With a price of $3500, this is a night-light reserved for only the most ardent Lava lovers. If you want more information, go to lavaworld.com.
You may love him or you may hate him, but all of us will miss him when he's gone. His bleary bedroom eyes, his husky, sugary voice, his celerity as he slides between the cerebral and the seductive; weeks from now we will seek out those features, but we will punch the remote in vain. Bill Clinton looms above fin de siècle America as a large and restless giant---part prodigy, part Baby Huey. He is everything we like and loathe about ourselves. Only when he's gone will we realize that we never had it so good.
I first met stand-up comic Beth Lapides in 1992. She had been doing a joke in her act about running for first lady: "It's such an important job. And how does she get it? Sleeping with the president" Then it occurred to her that "it would be a lot better to actually run than to just keep saying this joke. To do a sort of joke in action." And she put her career on hold so she could conduct her mock campaign. It was a "full-disclosure campaign," she told me. "I've smoked pot, not just to try it, but because I liked it. I inhaled, I exhaled, I used my entire respiratory system."
Struck by a Hurricane-Powered dose of Radiation while Appearing at a celebrity Golf Tournament, our four former presidents are charged with powers and strength rendering them all the more Extraordinary! The fabulous foursome for right against might!
Although the ear, nose and throat guy dismissed it out of hand, I was still convinced that the sleazy advertising executive whose phone number I got at a bar in Soho---where we met and made out briefly while standing next to the jukebox---was the sole reason for my inner-ear infection, and that I had contracted it only moments after my orgasm during phone sex with her the night before. It came as no surprise, really. Because when Charlene came over the phone, she shrieked in a way I had thought until that moment was reserved only for struggling young actresses in the middle of a desperately-off-the-mark audition for a role in some exploitative horror flick.
If you plan to see Blair Witch 2: Book of Shadows, prepare to have a stake driven through your heart. Of the movie's many surprises, the debut performance of Erica Leerhsen is the most striking. A few years ago Erica was skipping across the stage as Ariel in The Tempest at Boston University's School of the Arts. One giant leap later, this sylph found herself whirling around a sapling on the set of Book of Shadows. "It was freezing," she says. "They put heated Astroturf under my feet. I've never been so naked in the woods for so long before in my life." Since she plays a modern-day witch, we asked her about Wiccan love. "I always take the role of seducer," she says with the confidence of a 24-year-old who's never been told no. "I cast a romantic spell with a long, drawn-out date, starting with drinks. I'd talk about sex and my past experiences to create an air of excitement. Actually, I'm not necessarily romantic. I'm more wild. One of the cards in my deck is a mutual seduction of someone else, a third party. I'd paint a fantasy of that, then drop in that I've been there. That's a trick I'd use to figure him out, gauging his reaction. Some guys are overly enthusiastic about it and that blows it for me." Spellbound? If you want to break out of the trance, they're selling cures at the multiplex for $8 a pop.
Miss December Cara Michelle has always stood a head above the rest. The statuesque 6'2" native Hawaiian knows it's all in the genes. "My height comes from my German background," she says. "My mom is 5'9", my dad is 6'4", and my brother and sister are both over six feet tall. I'm used to people staring and making comments about me. It bothered me when I was younger and less secure, but now I don't even notice."
A man came home from work, sat in his easy chair in front of the TV and said to his wife, "Gimme a beer before it starts." Fifteen minutes later he said, "Gimme another beer before it starts." A few minutes later he again asked for beer.
And never plump your foot straight into your shoe in the morning," Willis said. Anyone could tell from the way he parted his lips and leered that he knew he had a meaningful gap between his two front teeth.
For a while now, college basketball has been losing its best players as early entrants into the NBA. We were thankful that Magic and Isiah gave their schools and fans two years each before turning pro. Michael, Hakeem and Shaq gave us three. There was always more talent to recruit, new stars to be made. However, when Kevin Garnett jumped directly from high school to the Timberwolves in 1995 and Kobe Bryant skipped college in 1996 to join the pros, there was no comparable talent on the college scene to take their places. The enormous entertainment and commercial success of March Madness may have masked the problem, but as more players leave college early or go directly to the NBA from high school, the quality of college basketball has deteriorated.
Playboy has never been much for astrology, but we can't help notice the millennial change in the cosmos. How else explain the sexual energy of those burning bodies with staying power, like Halle Berry and Cameron Diaz? How else explain some of the delightful behavior to affect our celestial darlings, such as the urge to get nude? From Caprice to Charlize ("I love to go naked," she proclaimed) to Mena Suvari, everyone who dared, bared it. Jennifer Lopez did it in a dress; Hilary Swank did it as a boy. Along with Britney's navel-baring crop tops, it promises a new century of skin. Or should we say sin---and thank Angelina? Oh brother. Lastly, no one knows what astral influence possessed Darva Conger to marry her multimillionaire on national television. The fallout---for us, at least---was heavenly.
This year in music was hardly ho-hum. Popular music in 2000 was a hybrid of belly-jeweled teen sensations, boy-toy bands, old-fart reunion tours, cutie-pie country, postmodern blues and rap dramatics. Digital distribution through Napster and MP3 made the world smaller. Musical genres both meshed and clashed; some styles were new and others were rehashed.
You don't have to be a gridiron hero to score. Whether you're an allpro tailback or an armchair quarterback, a stylish sweater will definitely help you get your game on. With Pro Access guiding our picks, we drafted some of the NFL's most talented running backs to practice their new sweater moves. Keep an eye out for deep patterns, hoods and matching hats. And a bulky sleeveless sweater proves that there's no penalty for originality (though your girl might get called for illegal use of hands when she sees you wearing it). These sweaters are more Cool J than Bean. In the right one you'll be ready for a postgame warm-up. The first drill? Go deep.
The best sex is an adventure. I don't pretend to know the secret formula---maybe we should ask Hef---but I do know that you should start by making her laugh. You also need to prove your trustworthiness, show her respect, call when you say you will and have phone sex with her. When you can't be with someone, phone sex is the next best thing. A guy I was dating traveled a lot. He'd call from France or Taiwan, and we'd do it over the phone. We joked about it, and I'd be like, "Cool! I have never had sex in France!" The secret to great phone sex is that you can say anything you want without physical insecurities. Tell her what you want to do to her. Tell her what you want her to do to you. It's easy because you're not saying it to her face. Plus, you have plenty of time to think about how great the sex is going to be the next time you get together. It's all about suspense. Having sex in public places is also fun. A few years ago, a guy I was dating took me to see the house he was having built. It was just a frame at the time, but we went upstairs and started messing around on the floor of what would eventually be his bedroom. There was no ceiling, so we were under the stars. There were no walls, so we could see the ocean. We made out but didn't have sex. Then we decided to go back to my hotel. In the car on the way there, we were so hot that he went down on me. He took off my panties and hung them around the rearview mirror. I must say, he is a talented driver. He had his hands on the steering wheel and his foot on the pedals, but he couldn't see a thing. I guided him by saying, "A little more to the left. Wait, slow down, there's a red light. Faster. Yes! That's the right speed!" Of course, we ended up pulling over to the side of the road and climbing into the back of his SUV.
It was an act of reckless courage for Jakob Dylan to become a musician---and to do as well as he's done is nothing short of remarkable. He was born in 1969 and raised in Malibu, the youngest of Bob Dylan and Sara Lowndes' five children. Jakob's parents divorced in 1977 and he was raised largely by his mother, but the die had been cast---he'd begun dreaming of a life as a musician. A mediocre student, he began applying himself mightily to songwriting when he was 18, and two years later he formed the first incarnation of the Wallflowers. He recalls that "the Dylan name was perceived as a negative" during those early years when he struggled to launch the band, and the Wallflowers' self-titled debut album, released by Virgin Records in 1992, sold just 40,000 copies.
The Internet is creeping out of your den. The process is called convergence, and the idea is to use the Net in your TV, radio, telephone and even picture frames. Electronics manufacturers hope the fusion will free your PC from the confines of your home office via a new category of online-enabled Net appliances---a streamlined version of your PC used strictly for web-browsing and e-mail. The latest Net appliances from Intel, IBM and Netpliance resemble computers but are intended for use in any typically nonwired room, such as your (concluded on page 212)Nothing But Net(continued from page 170) kitchen. Setup is a snap---plug in the phone connection and power cord. The devices are fairly inexpensive, around $300 to start, but don't expect to download music or print. They don't have hard drives or peripheral connections.
Here's the chance to dazzle whoever plunges his hand into a Christmas stocking. Don't stand on ceremony. Surprise yourself. The silver plated-and-lizard skin S.T. Dupont lighter that's pictured here does more than fire up your favorite smokes. It's also a "pinger" (a special spring emits a distinctive ping when the lighter is flipped open). Other stocking stuffers on our yule-tide shopping list include Nikon 6 x 15 retro-style binoculars that would be right at home in an Indiana Jones movie (as well as at the opera), Bang and Olufsen snug-fitting earphones and a B&O key ring that also doubles as a remote control. Go small, but think big. After all, it's Christmas.