In Stolen ScreamsSimon Cooper tracks the investigation into the bold August 2004 theft in Oslo of Edvard Munch's painting The Scream. "I always like stories that involve cops and robbers and a bit of glamour," he says. "There is definitely a veneer of class to art theft. And the connections between art theft and other sorts of crime are very exciting—it's The Thomas Crown Affair meets Heat."
Gloria Velez has sexed up plenty of rap videos, but don't tell her that rhyming is a boys-only gig. "I started out dancing in videos for Jay-Z, Ja Rule and Sisqó. People think video girls just know how to look pretty and shake their ass," she says. "I really had to prove myself. Hip-hop isn't a look, clothes or a color. It's a movement and a culture." With a song on the upcoming Clover G Records compilation album and her 14-track Mixtape CD (available at gloriavelez.com), 26-year-old Gloria is all over the mike. "You've got to give people more than just one type of flow," she says. "I can rap fast or slow and sexy. I like to mix in a little rock, Latin and down south so people who don't even like hip-hop will listen." And to paraphrase a past crossover diva, no money man can win this single mom's love. "My son is my little big man, my life, so you have to share me, not take care of me," she says. "I want a man to be spiritual and grounded—my best friend. Sometimes I like to be in control. Sometimes I like to be controlled. It all depends on what mood I'm in. Who doesn't like sex?" Gloria's appeal has earned her spots on Chappelle's Show and Playboy TV, as well as tags such as "the Pamela Anderson of hip-hop" and Triple Threat. "Very few women have beauty, brains and talent," she says. "I've got the ear candy and the eye candy—you can't go wrong."
I'm a car-audio installer. An instructor at a training conference told me that clitoral resonance is 33 hertz, give or take, depending on the woman's weight. This means that anything vibrating 33 times per second will cause the clitoris to resonate. Howard Stern made an example of this in Private Parts when he got a woman off by having her sit on a speaker, and just about any woman will respond to a bass note at that frequency if your subwoofer can play that low. Is there any truth to this?—J.B., Yuma, Arizona
In 1861 a conservative agrarian society was in militant rebellion against an urban industrial one. Watching the election returns last November, one was tempted to see an image, distorted but clearly recognizable, of the Civil War, as city after city went for Kerry, the countryside was solidly for Bush, and the suburbs—especially the outer suburbs—tipped the balance in favor of the Republicans. It wasn't red states against blue states so much as flaming red rural areas rising up against the big cities, and it was happening all over the country, on the supposedly liberal coasts as well as in the supposedly conservative heartland.
God reaches down from the heavens to influence our health, if you believe a Columbia University study published in the Journal of Reproductive Medicine. It concludes that women undergoing in vitro fertilization are twice as likely to get pregnant if strangers pray for them.
The film Kinsey has done more than educate moviegoers about the science, determination and hucksterism of Alfred Kinsey. Like a bolt of lightning in a classic horror flick, it has revived a long-dormant band of Kinsey haters. They had no platform until the film began to garner critical acclaim; now they seem to be everywhere, serving as "fair and balanced" foils to impugn Kinsey's visionary research and slander him as a pedophile.
In a 2003 Supreme Court decision that struck down state sodomy laws, a dissenting justice observed that, under the reasoning of the majority, obscenity laws should also be invalidated. Antiporn activists, seeing this as a sign that opposing porn solely on moral grounds has no future, adopted a "scientific" strategy, claiming that watching people have sex causes brain damage. "Pornography causes masturbation, which causes the release of naturally occurring opioids," psychiatrist Jeffrey Satinover told a Senate committee. "It does what heroin can't do." Mary Anne Layden, who runs a sexual-trauma program, said porn is worse than cocaine because coke leaves your system but erotica stays forever. Judith Reisman (left) called for funds to study "erototoxins," taking the notion that sex is dirty to the cellular level. A new war on drugs has been declared—and the drug is sex.
In 1998 Johnny Bitter, owner of Johnny Burrito in Charlotte, North Carolina, started setting aside from the register cash that had been defaced with doodles, slogans or rubber-stamp prints. After collecting about 250 bills, he launched uglymoney.com. "It's a cost-effective way to get your message seen by many people, who, even if they disagree, are almost forced to pass it along," he says. And he's right: The U.S. Bureau of Printing and Engraving says a bill can be folded and unfolded 4,000 times before it's unusable. A sampling of Bitter's currency is below, along with a "gay dollar" posted at cruelty.com and a bill stamped by New York City artist David Greg Harth after the 9/11 attacks. It's illegal to deface bills so they are unfit for use or to place ads on them. That's what prompted the feds to warn Godoffmoney.com to stop selling rubber stamps with its web address and the words Keep Church and State Separate.
You may think that stars don't love company, that they instead prefer splendid isolation where nothing glitters that isn't them. Not so. Stars are forever combining into constellations and galaxies where they vie to outdazzle one another. The stars we gather here-young ones such as Jessica and Britney and eternal beauties such as Halle and Pam-are modern models of luminosity, their stellar sexiness having ignited a million billion flashbulbs. That is truest of this year's sexiest star, Paris Hilton, whose magnetic attractiveness can disrupt any man's internal compass. She has triumphed in prime time, web time and fashion ads and on the best-seller list. Are there any unconquered quarters remaining? This year Paris takes on the movies; on the big screen her uptown-underground allure will surely draw even more admirers.
Webber looks around, his face pushed out of shape, one cheekbone lower than the other. One of his eyes is just a milk-white ball pinched in the red-black swelling under his brow. His lips, Webber's lips, are split so deep in the middle he's got four lips instead of two. Inside all those lips, you can't see a single tooth left.
Once again, music stands at a turning point. As has been the case since the advents of the player piano and the jukebox, technology drives the art in a different direction. Today iTunes, Pro Tools, P2P and ring tones provide the impetus for a new form of music. The song has supplanted the album as the format of our era. Considering that albums are mostly little more than overpriced expressions of self-important excess, that isn't a bad thing. With the exception of the period between Sgt. Pepper's in 1967 and In Utero in 1993, American popular music has been dominated by the song. Now that the historical aberration of the LP has ended, we can return to that remarkable tradition. We can listen to Avril's "My Happy Ending" and not bother with her album. And songs are made by producers, not artists. Much as they did during the reigns of Sam Phillips and Phil Spector, producers have taken artistic control from musicians. This may or may not turn out to be a good development. But nearly everyone will agree that we're ready for a change.
It's September in Los Angeles. Johnny Ramone, 55, is dying of cancer at home. The Chucks are back in their box; the black leather has been hung up; that old Mosrite ax is behind Plexiglas. For some reason Rob Zombie is there. And Eddie Vedder, John Frusciante, Lisa Marie Presley, Vincent Gallo and an assortment of young Coppolas (including Rooney singer Robert Carmine). They've gathered to pay their last respects or some facsimile thereof. Even Talia Shire is there. "Only in L.A.," someone says, either during or after the fact. It's the media. Because they're there too, naturally.
When you're a rock star, life consists of a few seminal moments: discovering Never Mind the Bollocks, losing your virginity, playing your first show and selling out the Garden seven nights in a row. (The first three are relatively easy, but few can do number four.) Because it's more fun to talk about sex than that other stuff, we cornered a few candid musicians and asked them the million-dollar question: How did you lose your virginity? If they could remember what they were listening to when the action went down, all the better. Now, do you remember your first time?
For the past 48 years we've asked our readers to select their favorite musicians and recordings from the previous year. The ballot has been simplified over time, and we've adjusted it to reflect new musical genres. But Jazz has always held a special spot in the Playboy lifestyle. this year, in addition to honoring our 13 music poll winners, we embrace our commitment to this great American art form by naming our first Playboy Jazz artist of the year, pianist Jason Moran.
David Bowie has sustained his illustrious career by creating a series of extraordinary juxtapositions to refresh his music and image: Ziggy Stardust versus the Thin White Duke, glam wizard versus blue-eyed-soul singer, down-and-out in Berlin versus decked out in New York. And amazingly—given that he made his earliest recordings when now long defunct acts like the Monkees, Herman's Hermits and the Hollies dominated the charts—Bowie remains capable of making new music that matters. (Way back when, he changed his name from Davey Jones because of the Monkee with the same name.) This chameleon first enchanted America in 1972 with his Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars album and tour—a stage act still considered a benchmark for outrageous showmanship. When he tired of that persona, he moved on to others, catalogued in his string of diverse hits: "Rebel Rebel," "Fame," "Golden Years," "Heroes," "Under Pressure," "Let's Dance." Then he founded an indie band, Tin Machine, and eventually tackled electronic music. As a producer Bowie helped other artists—including the Stooges, Lou Reed and Mott the Hoople—reach new peaks. The success of Bowie's most recent tour proves his star is still bright. Wham, bam, thank you, ma'am.
It happens to every man at some point in his life. And while it can be worrisome, it's also perfectly normal and nothing to be ashamed of. All you did was outgrow your stereo. But now that your ears have matured and it's painful to listen to Mahler's Third Symphony or Shellac's At Action Park through that tinny, pumped-up, artificial-sounding insult on your shelf, you're worried. Worried that you'll have to drop six figures on your next system to be satisfied. Well, there's something you should know: High-end audio equipment doesn't need to be insanely expensive. Regular old expensive will do just fine. In other words, yes, you have to drop some dough, but as Richard Hardesty, editor of Audio Perfectionist Journal (audio Perfectionist.com), puts it, "you don't need to take out a second mortgage to afford a high-quality stereo. The highest price tags are seldom an indicator of the highest quality." Just don't try explaining that to the staff at most audiophile snob shops, whose sole mission is to make sure you walk out the door significantly lighter than when you walked in. What they won't tell you is that you can get 90 percent of the sound quality for a tenth of what they'd like to fleece you for. Put it this way: The system we've assembled here costs around $20,000, and it's a steal. We'd put it up against a typical $200,000 setup without thinking twice.
Last year Katharine Walter, mother of beautiful 19-year-old Jillian Grace, wrote a letter to Howard Stern. She told him her daughter's dream was to be a Playboy Centerfold and asked him for an evaluation. Stern did not become America's favorite shock jock by being slow to seize opportunity. "I've got to get this broad on the phone, at least," he said. "My dream in high school was to do tons of coke, but my mom didn't go out and score for me." Stern was joking about the last part (we think), but soon Jillian and her mom had trekked from Washington, Missouri to the Stern show in New York. Almost immediately everyone in the studio—including Playboy Senior Photo Editor Kevin Kuster, who also flew in for the occasion—became enamored with Jillian's radiant smile, knockout natural body and soft-spoken, girl-next-door appeal. "Most women who come in here never end up in Playboy," said Stern. "They think they're hot, and they're not. Jillian looks like a Playmate to me in every sense of the word. Boom!" Hef agreed, and Stern got dubbed Deputy Editor for his scouting skills.
A rebel group in Colombia broke into a convent and rounded up all the nuns. The guerrilla leader announced, "We have been in the jungle for months without female companionship. We apologize in advance, but we are going to have sex with every single one of you."
Deborah Gibson cares about you. She wants to know if your cappuccino is foamy enough and if the heat lamp outside Buzz Coffee, a favorite place of hers on the Sunset Strip, is keeping you toasty. To make you smile she will peel off her stretchy blue sweater just to show you the even stretchier baby tee—the one with Thumper the rabbit on it—underneath. And when there's a break in the conversation, the girl will close her eyes, take a breath and sing to you. Sweetly, teasingly, almost in a whisper.
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 42, 45–48, 98–100, 120–125 and 166–167, check the listings below to find the stores nearest you.
How many pints of Guinness have I had in my life?" Fergal Murray asks as he loafs in an armchair at Gravity Bar, a stylish watering hole that looks out over the city of Dublin. "Well, one a day for 25 years is about 10,000. Figure you have to double that. Then probably double it again." There's a pause as he takes in the view. "About 50,000, I'd say." For the past 10 years Murray has served as brewmaster at Guinness's historic St. James's Gate facility in Dublin, where every drop of the stout drunk in America is made. By some accounts the 42-year-old is the most important man in Ireland. His job is to make sure every pint of Guinness you drink tastes as it did 249 years ago, when the company was founded. Suffice it to say that he makes friends quickly at the pub. "Grown men have cried when they've met me," he says. Though the affable brewer seems to take it all in stride, he's quite particular about the way his stout should be served. The seven rules for pouring a Guinness: (1) Use a clean, dry pint glass. (2) Pour at a 45-degree angle with the tap nozzle half an inch from the glass. (3) Stop pouring when the pint is three fourths full. (4) Let it settle for 119.5 seconds, give or take a few tenths. (5) Top off slowly to get a rounded head. (6) Drink. (7) Repeat as necessary.
Playboy (ISSN 0032-1478), March 2005, volume 52, number 3. 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 email@example.com.
Christy Hemme—You've seen the world wrestling entertainment superstar as a Man Show Juggy Dancer, a muscle-and-fitness model and the winner of spike TV's Raw Diva Contest. But you've never seen her like this. An exclusive all-nude pictorial.