A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, this is what government officials looked like. As if there isn't enough excitement in the Star Wars universe, this summer Bai Ling ignites lightsabers as Senator Bana Breemu in the latest installment of George Lucas's masterwork. Senior Contributing Photographer Stephen Wayda says the force is strong in Bai. "She brought a sexual presence to the shoot," he says. "She is very sexual and erotic in her style and her personality--even the way she dresses has a definite eroticism to it." That sensuality is as clear in Wayda's photos as a laser beam. "She is captivating with her look and her eyes. She plays a lot with her expressions. From behind the camera what really jumps out is her beautiful face, her eyes, her expression--and, most of all, her attitude."
Watching Stacey Hayes, co-host of the Game Show Network's Lingo, we find it hard to tell where the wordplay ends and the foreplay begins. On the show, contestants try to deduce a five-letter word; Stacey's velvety British accent has us thinking saucy, sweet, foxxy, yowza and daamn--and those last three aren't even real words. "I get thousands of letters from the most obscure countries," she says. "People watch Lingo and thank me for helping them learn English." Stacey, 28, shares teaching duty with game show institution Chuck Woolery. "We flirt and have fun," she admits. "We get angry older ladies complaining that it's inappropriate for a man of his age. TV Guide did a picture--they drew little laser beams coming out of his eyes and going directly to my chest." Stacey has been working it since her days as a stand-up comedian--in her act she played a dominatrix. "I wore the black wig, the leather, had the whip, everything. I got more attention as Dominique than as a Hollywood blonde." She has retired the fetish wear, but Stacey insists she'll never dress down. "I'm not a baggy T-shirt and sweatpants kind of chick," she says with a laugh. "I wear sweats, but they're low and velour, and the top matches. I do comfortable, but I rarely don't do cute."
Technology products are not usually known for their attitude, but here's one that wants to get right up in your face. A cooperative venture between Oakley and Motorola, the RAZRWire (price TBA, hellomoto.com) is a pair of shades with built-in Bluetooth so you can talk wirelessly on your cell. Sure, you'll be rocking the Corey Hart look if you take a call at night, but this is an early peek at a not too distant future in which technology finds its way into every possible cranny of your life. Get a pair and let your geek flag fly.
American patriot James Otis, arguing against royal warrants authorizing general search and seizure, stood before the Massachusetts Superior Court in 1761 "in opposition to a kind of power the exercise of which in former periods of history cost one king of England his head and another his throne." Otis was unsuccessful, and the warrants, known as writs of assistance, led a list of indignities that cost the reigning king of England his American colonies. The ultimate subversion of the principle that a man's house is his castle, the writs also led directly to the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution: "the right of the people to be secure, in their persons, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures." Today in Massachusetts, just down the road from Otis's Cape Cod birthplace, what constitutes an unreasonable search is again being debated. This time the argument is shaped not by the equities of a royal tariff on imported molasses (a precursor to colonial rum) but by considerations of a domestic commodity for which the nation's appetite is at least as great: homicide.
Witnesses saw nothing particularly disturbing during the execution of Edward Lee Harper on May 25, 1999 other than a healthy 50-year-old prisoner being killed on an operating table inside the Kentucky State Penitentiary.
From an E-Mail dated May 22, 2004 from the FBI's commander in Baghdad to headquarters, later obtained by the ACLU: "Since [redacted] and my arrival in Iraq, we have been careful to instruct our personnel to use only standard interview techniques that we would utilize back home in our regular work. We are aware that, prior to a revision in the military's operating procedures last week, an Executive Order signed by President Bush authorized the following interrogation techniques: sleep 'management'; use of MWDs (military working dogs); 'stress positions,' such as half squats; 'environmental manipulation,' such as the use of loud music; sensory deprivation through the use of hoods, etc. I have been told that all techniques authorized by the order are still on the table but that stress positions, MWDs, sleep management, hoods, stripping (except for health inspection) and environmental manipulation can be used only if very high-level authority is granted. We will not report these techniques as 'abuse' since we will not be in the position to know whether the authorization was received. We will consider as abuse any beatings or sexual humiliation or touching."
Not only is Michael Chertoff the new head of Homeland Security, he just got in line to become commander in chief. The Presidential Succession Act of 1947 established the order, with Cabinet members arranged by the date their agencies were created. If the president becomes incapacitated, dies or resigns, the first U.S.-born official on the list who is alive and well serves until the next national election. In these uncertain times, it's good to have backup.
Each day for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is like every other. It's hard for him to distinguish Monday from Tuesday. His life has regularity now, an intentional changelessness that stands in contrast to his years on the run. He has lost a lot of weight since he's been inside, and his interactions are limited to the same small group of Americans. By now, two years into his imprisonment, the man who devised the 9/11 attacks has to realize who holds the upper hand. His days of first-class travel are over. The Central Intelligence Agency now defines his life. The man known to investigators as KSM is one of 11 high-value detainees held in a secret location--possibly Al Jafr prison in Jordan's southern desert.
<p>With her raven-black hair, electric blue eyes and racecourse curves, Tiffany Fallon is a modern version of the classic pinup. Now, thanks to your overwhelming support, she is also Playmate of the Year 2005. Fresh off the plane from her home in Nashville, she is warm and even bubbly as she describes how her life has changed--or hasn't changed--since she became a Playmate. "I like to stay grounded," she says. "I've found that if you kill people with genuine kindness, you're going to get more results. I try to bring that approach to L.A. and my work. I love going out to parties, but I also like the quality of life in Nashville. When I'm home, I'm square."</p>
I arrived at the bar at Maui's Kapalua Bay Hotel an hour behind schedule, having spent the morning on a dive trip. Surveying the grassy knoll that rolls out from the row of bar stools and slices into the sea, I saw a woman lying on a beach chair in a black bikini, looking about as hot as the Polynesian sun hanging over my shoulder. She had sunglasses on and a drink in her hand, and there was an empty chair next to hers. I walked over.
The 2002 movie Reign of Fire depicts a time in the near future when gigantic fire-breathing dragons have conquered the world and the few human survivors struggle to stay alive. In one scene a couple of adults, bereft of modern entertainments, seek to amuse the children by reenacting Star Wars.
Lucille is obsessed with love's great mystery. When she and Larry first moved to this pretty neighborhood, her notion of love was inextricably tied up with marriage and family. Larry, whose business career had taken off when he cornered the market on disposable wearables, was feeling ecstatically full of himself (Top of the world, Ma! he liked to exclaim, rearing high above her when about to have his orgasm, which was always a thrilling moment for her as well and brought on an orgasm of her own, or something like one), and their lovemaking was delightfully spontaneous and lighthearted. One of the products he had in his portfolio was candy panties, of which he was sent samples, and not only did he like to eat them off her, he also wore them (he was so cute in those thin little things!) and let her do the same. They tasted like cotton candy, and licking them off seemed both very sophisticated and like being a child again at the circus. They simply had fun and, almost as an afterthought, had children, whom they also loved, and she thought this was how it would be until they got old and loved each other in another, quieter way and devoted themselves to their grandchildren.
<p>Since Kara Monaco appeared last August in our Women Behind Bars pictorial featuring sexy bartenders, guys wandering near her watering hole in Orlando, Florida have been unusually thirsty. "People come in every night wanting me to sign something for them," she says. "The owners loved it, and while I thought it was sweet, it got a little overwhelming." Kara, who describes herself as "a bit shy and reserved until you get to know me," found a way to deflect some of the attention. "I have a co-worker who looks enough like me that people think we're sisters," she says. "At one point, when someone came in and asked, 'Are you Kara from Playboy?' I said, 'Oh no, she's right over there.' She got to play my body double. It was funny."</p>
A man went to his doctor and said, "When I got up this morning I instinctively put on a pair of white gloves and called my wife Minnie. On the way to work I couldn't help singing, 'Hi ho, hi ho, it's off to work I go.' And at the office I called my boss Grumpy. What's the matter with me?" "Isn't it obvious?" the doctor said. "You're having Disney spells."
We are besieged by images of infidelity. Turn on the television and you can feast on betrayal. Desperate housewives play into a national mania as they fool around with pool boys, pipe menders, clients and their neighbors' husbands. On Maury Povich's show, the betrayed rant, rave, throw chairs or discuss the results of DNA tests. On Cheaters, suspicious lovers hire goon squads to track down errant partners. If it weren't for adultery and fooling around, television would be ESPN and the Weather Channel 24/7.
Even now, more than 40 years after her death, Marilyn Monroe is the vamp who just keeps on vamping--the enduring gold standard of sex appeal. Of course, Marilyn was never just a sex symbol, any more than she was just a star, just an image or even just a cultural icon. She was, to use a term that is often applied metaphorically to celebrities but has a literal application to Marilyn, a goddess--the goddess of a near-religious cult (in the film Tommy, the Who posits a Church of Marilyn Monroe) with relics (Christie's auction house sold her driver's license for $145,000), a hymn (Elton John's "Candle in the Wind"), apocrypha and a biblical text that practically everyone in the world knows by heart. She even has her own crucifixion (her mysterious death in 1962 at the tender age of 36) and an ongoing resurrection. New caches of photographs are always being discovered, and new biographies are always being written. In fact, there is so much Marilyn effluvia that one compelling new book, The Many Lives of Marilyn Monroe, by Sarah Churchwell, an American-born scholar teaching in England, is a biography of the biographies, a text of the texts. As Marilyn once said of herself in what Churchwell uses as her epigraph, "You're always running into people's unconscious." Obviously Marilyn still does.
Not long ago tawny Chinese actress Bai Ling opened her eyes on a new sunny day, in her own bedroom, in her own house in Santa Monica, California, which is not far from the ocean, and lay there, perfectly naked, listening to birds. She was 34 and a fixture on the L.A. party scene, always dressed in as little as possible. Back in China she had once been in the People's Liberation Army. She'd also once been in a mental institution. More recently, as an actress, she'd played a villain in Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. Shortly she would appear in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, the last of the series; The Beautiful Country, opposite Nick Nolte; and a new Ben Affleck vehicle, Man About Town. At the moment, though, she was telling a little about herself, speaking rapidly in fractured English, and it was, in all ways, quite revealing because that's just the way she is.
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 38, 53--56, 128--135 and 178--179, check the listings below to find the stores nearest you.
Only the son of legendary outlaws Jessi Colter and Waylon Jennings could get away with the nickname Shooter. Nashville native Shooter Jennings (born Waylon, like his dad), 25, is putting his name to good use by taking aim at the scene his parents helped put on the map. His debut album, Put the O Back in Country (Universal South), is a back-to-basics attempt to rescue country music. "It's all about cowboy hats and million-piece bands now," he says. "The shit on country radio is not real." This fall moviegoers will get a taste of this good old boy's act as well. Jennings will play his father in the Johnny Cash biopic Walk the Line, starring Joaquin Phoenix, which will hit theaters in November. "It was trippy to be playing him when he was my age," Jennings says. "I got to see just a glimpse of how he lived. There was this apartment we were doing a scene in because Johnny and Waylon had an apartment together in Memphis at one time. It was totally trashed, and I was like, 'Hey, this ain't too far off from what my apartment looked like a couple of years ago!' "
What makes Chicago's Alinea arguably the most highly anticipated restaurant to open in the U.S. this year? With the kind of traditional training Wisconsin-bred chef Grant Achatz, 31, has had, even his résumé would taste succulent. He's a former sous-chef at the French Laundry, a bar-none foodie mecca in California's Napa Valley. He gained a national reputation by heading up Trio restaurant, outside Chicago. With his new venture, which opened in May, he's swinging for the fences. The idea: to deconstruct your dinner and rethink every ingredient, combining the kind of mad science that has taken hold of couture kitchens in Europe with classic techniques that have survived through the ages. The mind games begin the moment you take your seat. A four-hour feast with 30-odd miniature courses might begin with a PB&J (pictured) reimagined as whispers of toast encasing peanut butter and peeled grapes. Various vapors and foams will follow to complement meats and pastas. Achatz begins one dish with lush ravioli, then adds a Rauschenberg spin, infusing the hollow not with cheese or meat but with black-truffle air. "It's innovative," he explains, "but you can't get much more grounded than pasta and truffle." Hungry? Curious? Good luck with that reservation.
Playboy (ISSN 0032-1478), June 2005, volume 52, number 6. 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.
The Fall of the House of Brando--In the days after Marlon Brando's death, accolades regarding his brilliant career were everywhere. But there was a dark side to the news too: Friends and family battling over his estate, creating a story as complex and sad as the actor himself. By Peter Manso