He knows when we've been naughty, he knows when we've been nice. He knows why we love Gena Lee Nolin, the bikini-bursting jungle queen of TV's Sheena. Mele Kalikimaka is the way they say Merry Christmas in Hawaii, Gena's old Baywatch hangout. Woo-haa is the way to say thanks to photographer Stephen Wayda, who shot Gena's shape-shifting pictorial.
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Usually a bar known for man-holes isn't attracting anything girlie. Nathans Restaurant in Geargetown is an exception. Nathans' Exploding Manhole, a fiery roof beer float made with 151-proof rum and crème de cacao, makes light of the underground explosions that have plagued local power lines. It's a real blast.
It's hard to depict eroticism on film, particularly moments and feelings that have any amount of kink. That's why fetishists should rejoice that Steve Diet Goedde has delivered The Beauty of Fetish, Volume II (Edition Stemmle), a sequel to his impressive first foray into the ineffable. Here he documents the textures of latex, PVC, leather and other forms of restriction. Goedde avoids the dungeon and seeks out natural settings. Thanks to this effect, the curious underpants and trimmings are no longer silly--they're persuasive and hot.
There's little not to like about the video Anna Kournikova: Basic Elements, My Complete Fitness Guide (Lions Gate). She jumps rope and rolls around with her stability ball in a room whose dominant feature, besides Anna, is an oversize Oriental rug--a Nain? A Tabriz? Dunno. And we have no idea whether her workout or her nutrition tips are effective. None at all. And we've watched the tape a lot.
The next best thing to a woman covered in chocolate is a chocolate covered in woman. That's where the new candy bars from chef Maribel Lieberman come in, just in time for Christmas. Created at Maribel's Sweets in Manhattan, the bars have wrappers printed with pin-up images from the Thirties and Forties. Maribel's chocolates are handmade in the U.S. and France, using a process worthy of a long but female-friendly Miramax movie. They are sold separately or as a boxed set that comes with a display stand. Best of all, there's one for every month--just the way we like it.
Because I was depressed. "Single girls get lonely on all major holidays, and I'm no exception. Romance is in the air, and that is when we realize that we are alone. New Year's Eve, Valentine's Day, even Sweetest Day. These Hallmark moments are when we want to slit our throats in sorrow. We take it personally. We're willing to do just about anything to get a man to notice us. If there is a poor soul you'd like to bag without a big fuss, send her a card, make a phone call and ask her to dinner during the holidays. It's a sure thing." --L.M., Dallas
If you're the kind of guy who wears his heart on his sleeve and his team on his wrist, you'll like the 2001 Schedule Watch from Game Time. The watch comes programmed with a team's schedule and can be updated for future seasons. At the time of each kickoff, the watch's alarm plays the national anthem--the signal to open the bag of cheesy poofs. Sure, you can get it for other teams, but we felt the Jets' watch was appropriate. Wearing it will most likely be the highlight of any Jetshead's season.
The latest in a growing array of nipple accessories, the possum-fur bra insert is available online from the New Zealand Nature Co. No, she's not playing possum--the nipple warmers help women avoid chills and embarrassment on cold days. And if that doesn't work, girls, give us a call. Fleece Navidad!
Mena Suvari staked her claim to the popular imagination when she appeared to us in a dream, nude, swathed in rose petals. That star turn in American Beauty assured her of a loyal fan base for years. Even a slice of Mena can be sweet--her attempts to have phone sex in American Pie 2 made our palm pilots sweat. Mena's a triple threat: She can play the schoolgirl naif, like the a cappella singer who charms Oz in the first American Pie. Or she can up the ante as she did with her faux seductress in American Beauty, bank-robbing cheerleader in Sugar and Spice and daughter of a porn kingpin in American Virgin. And she can put her noble forehead to work in roles that elude most teenyboppers (Musketeer). She'll push the envelope again in the drugged-out Spun, which, given Mena's string of hits, ought to be called American Trainspotting. Before Hollywood fell at her knees, Suvari worked on TV dramas such as ER and Chicago Hope and played bit parts in Nowhere and Kiss the Girls. Mirroring her Kevin Spacey--baiting role in American Beauty--Mena is married to an older man. She got hitched to the cinematographer of Sugar and Spice, who is 16 years her senior.
The romance comic genre was born shortly after World War II and petered out in the Seventies. A typical love comic was a sexist tearjerker featuring prim but foxy women. In other words, it was a perfect distraction for a generation intent on suppressing the inner slut. In Truer Than True Romance (Watson-Guptill), Jeanne Martinet replaces the narration and thought balloons of old comics to tell amusing new stories. We like Too Dumb for Love--the cartoon cutie in a conical bra left us feeling really stupid.
Rachid Taha's Made in Medina (Mondo Melodia) arrives simultaneously with Cheb Mami's Dellali. It was Mami's 1999 duet with Sting, Desert Rose, that spurred the rai revival and made Taha's U.S. deal possible. Long a star on the European dance circuit, the Algerian exile rocks with intensity, raging against the machine with a conviction that breaks the language barrier.
Leonard Cohen's first studio album in a decade, 10 New Songs (Columbia), features his raspy bass voice at its seductive best. His lyrics make relationships mysterious, even mystical, which is testimony to his poetic powers.
Stone Gossard didn't want his solo album, Bayleaf (Epic), to sound too much like his band, Pearl Jam. His edgy guitar is at the core of his sound, and most of the songs on this disc would fit nicely on Pearl Jam's next CD. But the quirky singing and arranging are pure Gossard.
Rock renegade Iggy Pop has made a punk masterpiece with Beat Em Up (Virgin). L.O.S.T. offers unsubtle echoes of In-a-Gadda-da-Vida. Savior promises to "watch me walk on water away from here." You might call it genius, but I would never insult the Ig like that.
If you think that James Brown's rep is based on his explosive dance jams, think again. Before the funk flowed, Brown was an intense, raspy-voiced love man. The evidence can be found on Ballads (Polydor).
Back to Blue-Eyed Soul (Zacoda) is the Basement Tapes of high-pitched heartbreak. The great falsetto singer David Lasley, best known for backing James Taylor, put this together by rummaging through his 35-year career. It features Detroit doo-wop, an Aunt Jemima jingle, obscure singles and previously unreleased material. Call it the best Smokey Robinson CD of the 21st century.
Suzanne Vega's Songs in Red and Gray (A&M) is sublime. Songs of loss and self-discovery, sung in a haunting voice, are balanced between introspection and passion. This is her finest work since her debut.
Res is no aspiring R&B queen or hip-hop MC. Instead, her debut, How I Do (MCA), showcases an eclectic style with a pop core. The highlight here is Golden Boys, where a beautiful melody supports Res' bitter lyric about the vanity of a celebrity ex-boyfriend.
Spanner Banner's Real Love (Heartbeat) is R&B-styled reggae that owes a lot to Michael Jackson and Prince. But Banner is still one of Bob Marley's children, and most of these tunes were hits in Jamaica.
Bluegrass picker Earl Scruggs has friends in ragged but right places. On Earl Scruggs and Friends (MCA Nashville), devotees such as Elton John and Johnny Cash appear alongside the wicked banjo player, who in the Forties put the punch behind Bill Monroe's plaintive sounds. Cash collaborates with Don Henley on the hymn Passin' Thru, but it's actor Billy Bob Thornton who does Cash's Ring of Fire proud, supported by Scruggs' deep blues runs and Glen Duncan's spiraling fiddle.
It sounds like a new club drug, but "pixie dust" is what IBM Research scientists call their latest innovation. It dramatically increases a hard drive's storage capacity. Who cares? Anyone who edits digital video footage on his computer, or uses a PC to warehouse photographs or music files. Likewise, anyone who maxes out the storage on their TiVo systems will appreciate the power of pixie dust. In fact, this breakthrough, known as antihero-magnetically coupled media in geek-speak, could allow you to stash a library's worth of DVD-quality movies and music on a single hard drive. Pixie dust uses a thin layer of a precious metal known as ruthenium to squeeze more gigabits of data into each square inch of a hard disk. Today's typical hard drives store up to 20 gigabits per square inch. By comparison, IBM's new Travelstar disk drives for notebooks, which feature antiferro-magnetically coupled media, increase per-square-inch storage density to 25.7 gigabits. That doesn't sound like much improvement, but IBM predicts data densities of 100 gigabits per square inch by 2003--or computers with four times the storage capacity of current models. Desktop computers could come with 400 GB hard drives capable of housing the equivalent of 400,000 books. Notebook computers could have 200 GB of storage, the equivalent of 42 DVDs (or more than 300 CDs) and handheld personal computers using IBM's one-inch Microdrive could have six GB of memory (capable of storing 13 hours of compressed digital video or eight full-length movies). IBM isn't talking prices yet. However, the company does claim pixie dust technology will quadruple only the capacity--not the cost--of tomorrow's machines.
You won't find some of the best new stereo brands in the listening room at your electronics store. Companies such as Outlaw Audio and Hsu Research sell their high-end home theater products online, creating a new category called web brands. You won't be able to test items before you bring them home (though most companies offer a 30-day return), but you'll save serious cash, since prices don't include the markup tacked on by distributors and retailers. For example, Hsu sells its VTF-2 subwoofer for $500--even though models with similar specifications go for $3000 in stores. Outlaw Audio's 1050 is a 6.1-channel receiver with Dolby Digital and DTS decoding that can output 65 watts per channel. At $500, Outlaw's receiver costs about a third of a store brand with similar specifications. Our favorite web brand: Better Cables. From the company's website, customers can order handmade cables for S-video, audio interconnects, RGB video and other connection types. The silver-plated cables output a high-quality signal to improve sound and picture quality for DVD players, HDTVs and other electronics. Prices range from $50 to about $400, depending on connection type and length.
Snapping the guard's neck was the easy part--now where do you stash the body? That's a problem you'll encounter in Konami's Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, sequel to the original PlayStation game. As mercenary Solid Snake, you'll need stealth, not a fast trigger finger, to get past terrorists and destroy a superweapon. Our advice: Stuff the body into a storage locker. If you're more bloodthirsty, try helping Dante, the main character of Capcom's new game Devil May Cry. To keep Satan from reclaiming the earth, you'll have to destroy his hell spawn with a magic sword, two pistols and a shotgun. Bring a strong stomach.
Marisa Coughlan. What does she do for an Encore after Freddy got fingered? "Play a female cop in Super Troopers, and the queen bee of a sorority in the dark comedy Pumpkin."The best part about playing off-the-wall comedy characters: "It's freeing in a way, because in real life I don't think I'm all that crazy. If you met me, you wouldn't think so either. That's probably why I'm an actor." Does she worry about being typecast? "Right from the get-go, in Teaching Mrs. Tingle, I got to go in all these crazy directions and do all this fun stuff. That's the way I was established, and it's been fairly consistent that I've done those kinds of roles. Most girls have to work hard to prove they can do that. Still, I would like to play a serious--or normal--role at some point." How does she deal with disappointment? "Quite well at this point [laughs]. I expect a movie to bomb, I expect it to be awful, and if anything other than that happens, I'm elated." How has a midwestern girl dealt with Hollywood? "To be honest, I've met the nicest, most wonderful people out here. I've been pleasantly surprised by a world that's not as sinister as people perceive it to be from a distance." Her comedy role model: "Catherine O'Hara. If I were to continue I doing comedic stuff, I would feel blessed to do work similar to what she has done."
"If I'm feeling depressed about the quality of current films, I watch The Hustler or Some Like It Hot," says director and documentarian Michael Apted. "And if I want my soul uplifted, I'll watch Fellini's 8-1/2 or Visconti's Rocco and His Brothers. Those are the four films I carry with me if I find I can't watch any more drivel." As for documentaries, Apted says, "I prefer Night and Fog by the French film-maker Alain Resnais. It's about Nazi concentration camps, and it's simply outstanding."
You work in close quarters for weeks on end, looking your buffed best in designer clothing and professional makeup. What are the odds there's going to be romance on a movie set? Let's do the math. Penelope Cruz + Tom Cruise = Vanilla Sky (2001): Hollywood's hot homonym isn't Cruise's first romp: He dumped wife Mimi Rogers when he met Nicole Kidman during of Days of Thunder (1990). Gwyneth Paltrow + Luke Wilson = The Royal Tenenbaums (2001): Talk about kissing your sister. Wilson, playing her brother, somehow overlooked that fact when he started dating willowy Paltrow. We would, too.
Almost Famous Unfitted: The Bootleg Cut (DreamWorks, $27) is a laudably exhaustive three-disc set of the 2001 Oscar winner. Director Cameron Crowe's autobiographical film depicts the tipping point in his prodigious early teens when he landed a writing assignment from Rolling Stone that meant going on the road with a touring rock band. Crowe's affection for the music and the moment is contagious--and the effect survives the 36 minutes added for Almost Famous Untitled, the director's cut provided on this set's first disc (the theatrical version appears on disc two). The third disc is an audio-only collection featuring six "unreleased" tracks from the film's fictional band, Stillwater.
Boogeymen (Universal/FlixMix, $20) is a two-hour greatest hits of modern horror scenes--the "good parts" of 17 slasher favorites, digitized for your pleasure. Freddy, Jason, Leatherface, Michael, Ghostface, Pinhead, Chucky, even Camilla, the sexy tree-siren from The Guardian, haunt the crisply produced disc. Robert Englund provides commentary, and optional on-screen factoids give additional Info. Two hours--plus of bonus material includes a link to more chilling stuff on the web. The torture scene in Hellraiser never looked so appetizing.
Our Long national dream is over, and the first war of the 21st century has begun. When the war will end, nobody knows, but September 11, 2001 will live in our history as a day of iniquity. It showed us the best and the worst of manhood.
Lesley Waters is best known in the UK as a television chef and culinary educator. She was the head teacher at London's prestigious Leith's School of Food and Wine and became a popular BBC cook-show host. She currently has her own TV series, Flavors From Abroad. Her new book, How to Cook (Ryland Peters & Small), is useful and beautifully photographed. She breaks down her recipes first by method (boiling, poaching, grilling, etc.) and then by food groups (soups, salads, seafood, fowl, meat). Her approach is sensible and accessible--and, as the seared beef salad with horseradish dressing here can attest, the results are appetizing. The appealing photography is by Peter Cassidy.
Comfortable ski boots. It sounds like an oxymoron. But--surprise--Kneissl of Kufstein, Austria offers the Rail, a new soft ski boot (pictured below). It combines a solid plastic skeleton with a comfortable shell and a warm liner braced with stainless steel. According to Kneissl, the boot slips on and off easily, even in frigid weather, and all the sensitive areas of the foot are supported in a soft, formfitting material. Price: about $400 a pair. • Topical "Viagra." The pharmaceutical company NexMed is developing Alprox-TD, a cream for guys with erectile dysfunction that works in 10 to 20 minutes, versus an hour or so for the little blue pill. About 2500 lucky men are currently testing the product, with 83 percent reporting positive results. If you can't wait for Alprox-TD to go on sale here (maybe another year at least), it's currently sold in China under the name Befar. • House swapping. Trading-homes.com is the website for anyone who wants to swap their humble abode with someone else for vacation purposes. Listing on the website or in the thrice-yearly directory costs $65. The site also supplies tips to help members make the necessary arrangements. • Great martini glasses. Do you like the stemware Sex and the City's Samantha serves martinis in? It's Orrefors' Intermezzo pattern ($118 a pair).
The Duluth Trading Co. carries irresistible guy stuff. Check out the titanium and aluminum hammer pictured above that virtually eliminates shock normally transferred back to your arm (about $125). It's next to a leather plumber's bag from the Czech Republic that can tote camera equipment, a laptop or Gatorade and PowerBars (about $100). The curious gizmo below the hammer is a treasure hunter's tool. Its blade is welded to the handle at a right angle to give you better leverage (about $35). The 22-inch machete is perfect for blazing a trail through a bamboo jungle (about $40, including the leather scabbard). Last, the Pentagon Elite pocketknife by SOG has been dubbed by Duluth "the monster truck of tactical folders" (about $85).
"We wanted a look that re-created the carefree fun of the Sixties California surf wagons," said Trevor Creed, Chrysler's senior vice president of design. So for 2002, Chrysler will offer a PT Cruiser Woodie edition with a medium oak woodgrain that is framed with light ash moldings on the doors, quarter panels and liftgate. The woodie applique will be an $895 option on all 2002 PT Cruiser models. Also new will be a Dream Cruiser Series 1 limited edition that's Inca gold with metallic sparkle, a "Dream Cruiser Series 1" chrome badge on the liftgate and an individually numbered plaque on the dashboard--plus additional Inca gold interior trim. Only 7500 will be built. It should cost around $23,000. A Dream Cruiser Series 2 will follow.
Los Angeles Lakers guard Derek Fisher (top right) is part owner of a clothing company that will offer a casual line by next fall. "A lot of people expected me to do athletic clothing, but it's going to be casualwear similar to that of Ralph Lauren Polo or Tommy Hilfiger," says Fisher. "When I dress I wear an undershirt. More than likely it's a tank, because if I take off my shirt I like to show off my arms." Lakers guard Brian Shaw (bottom right) is 6'6" tall, so he relies on Los Angeles designer Ron Finley to create a wardrobe that fits him. (Finley's company is named Drop Dead.) "I don't like wearing ties, so I throw on a suit with a T-shirt underneath," says Shaw. He wears a size 14 shoe by Noutschka. His favorite is a shoe boot made of a stretchy material. "It looks great with both casualwear and formalwear."
Two days after the attack on the World Trade Center, the Reverend Jerry Falwell (founder of the Moral Majority) joined the Reverend Pat Robertson (founder of the Christian Coalition) on the Christian Broadcasting Network's 700 Club. At a time when most Americans were shocked by the actions of religious zealots, we were witness to the excesses of our homegrown prophets. Two months after the tragedy, the remarks still rankle.
It was the year of the belly button. As if guys didn't already have enough to drool over, the female navel joined Ts and As and legs as totemic targets. Pop moppets Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera (not to mention Jennifer Lopez) pushed plunging waistlines down to the base cleft. However, our favorite laplander has to be TV host Brooke Burke. Now there's a winking omphalos for you. Elsewhere, 2001 saw models turned actresses such as Kylie Bax and Angelica Bridges turning up in Playboy. Guys got tougher--like Ben Affleck, who takes on Tom Clancy's character Jack Ryan. But the most encouraging sign is the strength of the bare market--Summer Altice and Brande Roderick vying to be the next Pam or Carmen. So enjoy the celestial bodies, and we'll see you in the coronary care unit.
Teen Pop Still Saturated the Airwaves in 2001, But the appearance of the White Sripes, Alicia keys, Ours, Lucinda Wlliams and Travis makes us think that singers and songs are making comebacks. Speaking of comebacks, Who had a bigger year than the fab four with 1? If everything old is new again, The Bluegrass Revival -- sparked by Patty Loveless, O Brother, where art thou? And Dolly Parton -- Is roots music for the soul. We've revised the poll, so look for some new categories and musicians. Then sharpen those pencils. Or go to playboy.com and vote.