Cover girl Denise Richards was shot in the British Virgin Islands by Senior Contributing Photographer Stephen Wayda. "The idea was that Denise is the ultimate girl to be stranded on a deserted island with. So we found a little spit of land all by itself, about 100 yards long and 30 yards wide, out in the middle of the ocean. Since Denise was supposed to be shipwrecked, stylist Rebecca Brough wove a bathing suit out of palms she found on the island. I wanted Denise to look as natural as she would running around on the beach without the camera. And that's what happened. She told me that five days after her return to civilization she was still getting the sand out of her hair. Denise is a great beauty with an incredible innate sexuality, so all it took was a bit of sand, a little water and the sun."
The word relax is not in actress-hostess Tamie Sheffield's vocabulary. "There is no winding down for me," she says. "I'm scared of routine and boredom. I have to be energized, entertained and excited." Tamie's farm-girl roots (Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, anyone?) help her poke fun at the L.A. scene in the play Pieces (of Ass). "I was going to do a monologue called 'Hot Chicks Suck,' but the director said I didn't look bitchy enough," she says. "I look pretty good. I've been in movies such as Intolerable Cruelty and Confidence, but I'm not one of those L.A. chicks who just want to know how much you make and what you can do for them." The questions Tamie asks celebrities in her regular gig as a host of Showtime's The Red Carpet are considerably more provocative--pushing the envelope comes naturally for a girl addicted to exotic travel and extreme sports like hang gliding, white-water rafting and skydiving. "I like going outside the box and being the oddball," she says. "I'm the type of person who can get decked out in a Prada gown for a black-tie affair or stay in a $6-a-night hut on a beach in Thailand. I need a guy who's spontaneous and has lots of energy. As James Dean said, 'Dream as if you'll live forever, and live as if you'll die tomorrow.'"
We all know instinctively that what we read is nobody's damn business but our own--and it's certainly not the government's. The freedom to read what we choose and to choose what we read with no one looking over our shoulder is bound up with the freedom to think independently and critically. You cannot undermine one without crippling the other, and you cannot have a free society and a functioning democracy without both.
These days nearly every type of business in China is big. Name one--phones, cigarettes, cars, petrochemicals, almost anything--and the country's share of it is likely to rank in the top five worldwide. The sex industry is no different. And like so much else in the Chinese economy, it was hardly a business at all before China started experimenting with free markets, beginning in 1978. While in other spheres China often copies the business models of the outside world, its sex trade is uniquely Chinese. There are an estimated 2.8 million sex workers in China. For the most part, they are spared the brutality and stigma that accompany the trade elsewhere. Sex workers also play such an important role in the country's economic development that until recently they were assured an easy pass--and sometimes even support--from government authorities. That may be changing as a result of the one modern innovation the Chinese have been slow to adopt: safe sex.
From a Pledge Sheet by Fuck the Vote (fthevote.com), a project devoted to the belief that "even the most deeply rooted right-wing ideologue can be manipulated by sex": "I, the undersigned, acknowledge that in exchange for physical affection (defined as any contact between consenting adults that entails one, several or all of the following: intercourse, fellatio, cunnilingus, anilingus, manual genital stimulation, use of marital aids or other devices which cause arousal, as well as any other activity that leads to sexual gratification, which by no means implies the necessity of orgasm) from the co-signee, I will cast my vote for any candidate other than George W. Bush."
"Free-Speech" Zones If you expect crowd control to be a problem, move the crowd. That was the strategy at both conventions, where police built cages for dissenters. After the New York Civil Liberties Union sued over the practice, a federal judge ruled that control pens must have exits and that police can't use them to prevent protesters from reaching rallies.
Bernie Mac vs. Chris Rock in Head of State (2003) Playing the Chicago bail bondsman turned running mate of presidential candidate Rock, his little brother, Mac shows up late in the action. Working the flashy suit and advising his baby bro to ditch the red-white-and-blue ties and pinstripes for a tracksuit, Mac is so on fire, you want him to run away with the whole movie. Which he does.
It's peculiar year when the three most talked about films--The Passion of the Christ, Fahrenheit 9/11 and Kill Bill Vol. 2--are virtually sexless. Fortunately, Mel Gibson, Michael Moore and Quentin Tarantino weren't the only directors working. The year's best film about sex was Bernardo Bertolucci's The Dreamers, which tells the story of an American and a French brother and sister who discover sex in the politically enraged Paris of 1968. Michael Pitt shows the young American's intelligence and naïveté, and Eva Green demonstrates why it sometimes seems that nothing on earth is more like a goddess than a 19-year-old woman. Much attention fell to Vincent Gallo's The Brown Bunny, a strange but frequently dull film most notable for Chloë Sevigny's on-screen fellatio. Far more attention should be paid to more provocative and thoughtful films such as Catherine Breillat's Sex Is Comedy and Roger michell's The Mother. But sex is too important to be left to philosophers. Sex is fun in Wimbledon (featuring a sweaty and fit Kirsten Dunst) and Eurotrip (get the unrated version on DVD). For sexy star power, see how Leonardo DiCaprio, Gwen Stefani, Kate Beckinsale and Cate Blanchett portray Hollywood's golden age in The Aviator. Charlize Theron, in Head in the Clouds, makes us forget how she looked in Monster, and Halle Berry makes Catwoman worth watching. Finally, recall the face of Diane Kruger, who plays Helen in Troy; it may not exactly launch a thousand ships, but surely her marina will never lack for a dinghy.
Will you look at this beautiful bastard. Just look at him. Makes you feel better when you do, right? That's Dean all over. That's what he does without doing anything, what he does without actually even breathing anymore, come to think of it. Dead, he's still just that good. Never had a care, not him. Problems weren't his to ponder or possess. Never wanted you to have any, either. You were his pally--everybody was, whether he knew them or not. For instance, just the other day his grandkid Alex Martin told me, "For the first 15 years of my life, I thought my name was Pally." About which what's not to like? He was crazy, too. Frank Sinatra said so, which made it true. "My friend Mr. Dean Martin," Sinatra said, "if he was in a casket, he would sit up and get funny, this guy. I'm serious." (Sinatra's problem was he was always serious. Said Dean, simple as could be, "Frank takes things seriously. I don't.") Dean saw things funny, famously. "How did all these people get in my room?" he'd ask onstage, gazing through drooped lids at those who came to love him so nice. To be in Dean's room, well, that was all you ever wanted--real easylike, metaphysical, very comfortable place, plenty warm, transcendent, cool, not too exciting (Sinatra was all about the exciting ring-a-ding whatever the hell it was), always sexy, always fun, just right. "I was loose as a deuce; I was as light as a kite," he sang with some pretty little French broad 50 years ago on a record called "Relax-Ay-Voo." You probably heard it, sounding timeless as air, in a Microsoft commercial not so long ago, since this is the ultimate object of modern life, to relax-ay-voo, what with the world forever going to hell and all, which is why we can never get too far away from Dean's room, no matter how dead he is.
Dear George Bush, Thank you for the truck-load of junk food. I ate the entire Whitman's Sampler in one sitting, then I took all the Moon Pies apart and built a 17-decker-a personal record! Sometimes I wonder if you're fattening me up to make me less photogenic, which would enhance my raving-lunatic persona, which would discredit my movies, which would make the Iraq war look like a good idea, which would make you look like a good president. Nah--couldn't be. Just being paranoid, I guess. Big daddy has a sweet tooth--keep it coming.
Pompeo Posar was the dean of Playboy Photographers, with 65 published Playmate Centerfolds and 40 Playboy covers to his credit. He traveled the world for the magazine, shooting celebrities, fashion, food, cars and, most of all, beautiful women. Thousands of beautiful women. He loved them, and they loved him. His greatest talent wasn't his technical expertise with cameras and lights. It was his charm.
Tales of Accumulation & Excess the Incredible Adventures of the Collector
Glen David Gold
So one evening in 1997, a comic-book artwork restorer named Rick returned to me a piece I'd sent him more than a year earlier. He returned it only under duress. More precisely, he was limping and had a black eye.
Surely, it's the oldest trick in the book. Man cooks dinner for woman, thinking he'll be rewarded for his toil and that he'll have her for dessert. But it's such an old trick, it's practically a lost art. In our office alone, tales of failure abound. One guy lops off his thumb and loses it in the folds of his lasagna. Another guy ignores his date the entire evening as he crashes around the kitchen, tenser than the trout he's got in the oven as he wades through the snowdrifts of flour he's spilled on the floor.
On a cold spring Monday afternoon in 1955, Michael Corleone summoned Nick Geraci to meet him in Brooklyn. As the new don entered his late father's house on Long Island to make the call, two men dressed like grease monkeys watched a television puppet show, waiting for Michael's betrayer to deliver him and marveling at the tits on the corn-fed blonde puppeteer.
Florida-born Tiffany Fallon has a Dixie flair for putting everyone at ease, which explains how she has sashayed from one career choice to the next. "I dare myself to try things," she says. The 30-year-old earned a college degree in sports management and now gives the inside scoop on college football recruiting as a host at Rivals.com. "I'm a sports fanatic," she says. "In high school I played volleyball and soccer and ran track. After I moved to Atlanta I became a Falcons cheerleader. We went to the Super Bowl in 1999 against the Broncos and lost, but I was happy just to be there. I had never cheered or danced professionally before." Her next adventure involved entering the Miss USA pageant, where, as Miss Georgia USA 2001, she finished as second runner-up. "The idea to do a pageant came after I worked as a flight attendant," she says. "I enjoyed being social with the passengers. I tried to look tailored--to be a throwback to the good old days. Sometimes I'd get in trouble because my skirt was too short or my hair wasn't right. I'd be like, 'I'm just trying to look fabulous, people!'"
We know NBA basketball is boring. But after the U.S. Dream Team embarrassed itself in the 2002 World Championship and then in this year's Olympics, we also realize that the NBA isn't quite as good as it's cracked up to be. Spoiled, self-interested superstars, lackadaisical effort over an interminable season and--as revealed in Athens--flawed fundamentals from players who make careers out of thunder dunks but can't hit a jump shot have cast a cloud over America's game.
How High School Players Have Changed the College Game
College basketball has clearly suffered as a result of the many great players who have left school early for the NBA. No university is immune to the phenomenon, as even coach Mike Krzyzewski and Duke have learned in recent seasons. Perhaps more troubling is the trend of high school stars skipping college altogether. A prep star one day, an NBA multi-millionaire the next. Certainly not every high school kid who sets his sights on instant NBA stardom can successfully make the leap, but it's hard to blame those who are good enough for taking the money. In fact, baseball and hockey players bypass college to turn pro all the time. Still, for fans of college basketball, something has been lost. The first player to skip college and turn pro was Moses Malone, who was drafted by the American Basketball Association in 1974. In 1975 Philadelphia selected Darryl Dawkins in the NBA's first round, and Atlanta picked Bill Willoughby a round later. But the trend didn't hit its stride until 1995, when Minnesota drafted Kevin Garnett--a rare blend of intelligence, skill and athleticism in a six-foot-11 frame--and opened the flood-gates. Twenty-nine players have since been drafted, with many failing to make the adjustment, succeeding only in cashing a paycheck. And even those who have been unqualified successes have needed a few seasons to make an impact. Because of this, teams' motives for drafting players straight out of high school have changed. Now, similar to the baseball draft, players are selected more for their potential than for what they can contribute right away. While no high school student this year has the apparent talent of a LeBron James or a Kobe Bryant, several will no doubt be taken in the draft, continuing the trend.
The year in music wasn't as bad as we had expected. Beastie boys released their first CD in six years. U2 had its CD ganked at a photo shoot. Usher, Lil Jon and Ludacris had everyone shouting "yeah!" Kanye West and Twista put chi-town hip-hop on the map. Gorgeous Country Crooners Gretchen Wilson and Julie Roberts came pouring out of Nashville. And there was nary a boy band in sight (unless you count the hives). If you ignore concert venues, the music business showed signs of revival. Behind the scenes, a merger made Sony-BMG the second-largest record company in the world (Vivendi's Universal Music Group is first), with combined sales of more than $8 billion. What made your 2004 unforgettable? Vote by tearing out this paper ballot or going to playboy.com.
Ten years ago Nasir Jones busted out of Long Island City's Queensbridge projects with a masterpiece, Illmatic. With its stripped-down East Coast sound and moral complexity, Illmatic altered the course of hip-hop. Over the past decade Nas has tried, with varying success, to recapture the magic of that first release. In 2.001 he found himself in the middle of a bombastic feud with fellow New Yorker Jay-Z, which seemed to revive Nas's career. In 2002 he returned strong with God's Son, which pointed the way to a new, mature style.
Throughout her career Denise Richards has embraced uninhibited and often outré parts. She battled giant space bugs in her breakout role in 1997's Starship Troopers, then went on to play a murderous Lutheran beauty queen in Drop Dead Gorgeous and nuclear scientist Christmas Jones (who shows James Bond that Christmas comes more than once a year) in The World Is Not Enough. But in her role as a trust fund nympho in Wild Things, Denise, along with guidance counselor gone bad Matt Dillon and goth fox Neve Campbell, set the standard for on-screen three-ways. Never in the history of cinema has an actress worn 750 milliliters of champagne so well. When we sat down with this radiant 33-year-old, our first question was, naturally, about her spectacular sapphic liplocks. "Those were the only love scenes I've ever done with a girl," she says. "The director said, 'Please have a drink before you do the pool scene,' so we went into Neve's trailer and made margaritas. We just went for it. We had to." Now that Denise is married to Charlie Sheen, are the sex scenes more awkward? "I had more fun doing one with Neve than I have with a guy," she says. "With a girl you can be comfortable and laugh or say, 'Hey, I don't want this part to show. Can you move your hand?' She's a much better kisser than some of these guys, and her lips are softer. But Charlie and I don't get jealous. I'm sure if I had an explicit love scene coming up we would discuss it at length, but we haven't come to that bridge yet."
Below is a list of retailers and manufacturers you can contact for information on where to find this month's merchandise. To buy the apparel and equipment shown on pages 46, 51--54, 106--111, 126--128, 154--161 and 224--225, check the listings below to find the stores nearest you.
The closest Jake Burton Carpenter has come to dying was not on a mountain. Nearly 30 years ago, when he was making snowboard prototypes, a couple of the new contraptions rocketed out of his pin router and right through a wall. "Man, it was scary," he laughs. "I was a total loser in shop class." Carpenter has come a long way since the days when he'd load up his station wagon with boards to hawk at trade shows and ski resorts. (Pictured at left is an early Burton board.) Snowboarding is now one of America's fastest-growing sports, Burton Snowboards holds a third of the market it created, and Carpenter--generally credited with inventing the pastime--is a hero to the millions who strap in every year. "I never dreamed it would get as big as it did," he says. "I just thought I could make a living doing something cool." While active in the running of his company, he still gets 100 days of slope time a year, along with 60 days of surfing. Last year he took his family on a 10-month, six-continent surfing-and-snowboarding tour. Now 50, he is in many ways the same chill NYU grad who left Manhattan for New England 27 years ago--living day to day and taking it all in stride. "If I got buried in an avalanche tomorrow," he says, "I would have no regrets."
Playboy (ISSN 0032-1478), December 2004, volume 51, number 12. Published monthly by Playboy in national and regional editions, Playboy, 680 North Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, Illinois 60611. Periodicals postage paid at Chicago, Illinois and at additional mailing offices. Canada Post Canadian Publications Mail Sales Product Agreement No. 40035534. Subscriptions: in the U.S., $29.97 for 12 issues. Postmaster: Send address change to Playboy, P.O. Box 2007, Harlan, Iowa 51537-4007. For subscription-related questions, call 800-999-4438, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Blood, Sweat and Wages--The border factories called Maquiladoras may be harmful to both humans and nature--think black cough, prostitution and pitiful wages. When our reporter conducts a personal investigation, it proves more difficult than he expected. by William T. Vollmann