Until recently, most of what had been written about Ernie Kovacs highlighted his use of special effects and his penchant for visual humor. But as Jonathan Lethem notes in Kovacs's Gift (May), enough material survives and has finally been collected that "the secret needn't be a secret any longer." Instead of watching only fragments, we can now enjoy Kovacs's entire programs, which are like personal visits. His gift was the ability to speak to one person at a time through what he called the "intimate vacuum" of television. Critics focus on Kovacs's connection with viewers because it's hard to explain to the uninitiated why the Nairobi Trio, Mr. Question Man, Martin Krutch, Public Eye or most of Kovacs's other work is funny. As Lethem discovered, it's easier to show them. Ben Model New York, New York
The elation of the Egyptian people that Shashank Bengali portrays in Scenes From a Revolution (May) reflects the misery they endured under decades of Hosni Mubarak's repressive rule. Egyptians now face the challenge of building a state that will respect basic human rights, starting with the abolition of laws that restrict free speech and association and limit political participation. Unfortunately, members of the ruling Supreme Military Council, all Mubarak-era generals, are having their critics arrested, rushing them through military trials and sentencing them to prison. Most recently the generals targeted blog-ger Maikel Nabil Sanad, who received a three-year sentence because he dared criticize their leadership. Clearly, there is much work to be done, and the international community must do its part by condemning Egyptian authorities who remain stuck in the dark days of the past.
I love entertainers as much as the next guy, but given the historic quality and depth of the Playboy Interview, it's fantastic to hear from people such as Barney Frank (May), Helen Thomas (April), Deepak Chopra (March) and Frank Gehry (January). Their voices are the ones that always get my attention.
Thank you for an excellent April issue. I am thrilled with the poignant fiction from Jennifer duBois (The Passenger) and stunned by the beauty of Playmate Jaclyn Swedberg (Born to Be Wild). Always much appreciated!
Thank you for finally recognizing the University of Central Florida in Playboy's Top Party Schools (May). But how can you describe our football team as "unexceptional"? We finished the season ranked in the top 25. The only other school on your list with a ranked team is Wisconsin.
With her bronze, taut exterior and her compulsive need for adrenaline, the surf Betty is the modern sea goddess. (The Greeks can have their sirens.) Lately, however, cynics have complained that today's female surfers are better known for their looks than their athletic abilities—they're more Anna Kournikova than Annika Sorenstam. But Anastasia Ashley, the 2010 Women's Pipeline Pro champion, couldn't care less; at competitions she unapologeti-cally prefers bikinis to the traditional wet suit. "By its nature surfing is sexy," she says, "because you do it in your swimsuit. I love the sport because it's both physically demanding and physically appealing. Plus, spending most of my day in a bikini isn't a bad thing."
WHEN ERROL FLYNN was shopping around his memoir in the 1950s, he wanted to call it In Like Me. Instead the title became My Wicked, Wicked Ways. Publication, however, remained elusive until shortly after his death, at which time the book became a runaway hit—but of course. In celluloid form the Tasmanian-born devil was famous for donning puffy pirate shirts (1935's Captain Blood) and verdant bandit regalia (1938's The Adventures of Robin Hood). But in real life Flynn displayed a yachtsman's sartorial bent, inspired by his upbringing among what he termed "seafaring folk." When entertaining on his yacht harbored in Port Antonio, Jamaica, he dressed like a sea captain of industry, sporting shawl-collar sweaters, fisherman's caps, ascots, colorful scarves and khakis. (Socks were verboten.) Luckily, the new heritage movement has preserved Flynn's summer style: Polo and Gant carry cotton shawl-coltar cardigans that almost replicate Flynn's own selection. And outfitters such as Filson, ASOS, J. Crew, Duncan Quinn, Aubin & Wills and Baird McNutt provide the scarves, fisherman's caps, chinos and Irish linen button-downs. It's a nautical look as suitable for an island rum run as it is for a landlocked Fourth of July lawn party.
At least for the summer, Jasper Johns has swapped canvas for cotton. Johns, whose career bridges abstract expressionism and pop art, is among several renowned artists (e.g., Yoshitomo Nara) who have designed beach towels for the Art Production Fund, a nonprofit public arts organization in New York City. Each limited-edition work sells online (S95, artproductionfund.org), at select Standard Hotels and through a partnership with Art Basel Miami.
THE BAR I work at, the Bar in Lincoln, Nebraska, is considered the place you make your last stop of the night. So by the time people get here, they aren't always in their right mind and have a tendency to throw their inhibitions to the wind. Let's just say I have seen my fair share of bare ta-tas. GROWING UP in Nebraska, I had a pet cow and two pet sheep. They were birthday presents from my grandpa. IT'S PRETTY obvious how to get on a bartender's good side: Tip early and often. I don't work for free! YOU CAN tell a lot from a man's drink order. A beer means he's in it for the long haul, a double means he wants to get frisky and a shot means he's ready to party.
I n a recent Saturday, 35 guests arrive I at an unassuming brownstone on a . Brooklyn residential street that on this evening doubles as an epicurean sanctuary. In the kitchen, Daniel and Alicia, the evening's co-chefs, outline the six-course menu: aru-gula soup topped with roe and radish coins, sous vide eggs on a bed of roasted-garlic farro and prosciutto, caramelized foie gras with poached pear and so on. "The whole thing takes us 30 hours," says Daniel as Alicia scrutinizes a pan of pork-belly chunks submerged in their own anise-infused fat. "The adrenaline keeps you going."
Roger Bossard (a.k.a. the Sodfather), builder of many pro sports fields and head groundskeeper for the Chicago White Sox, knows turf like Sinatra knew swing. He suggests ambitious home owners try manicuring their front yards with Toro's Greensmaster 1000 reel mower ($7,980, toro.com). "If you want to stripe your lawn like we do at U.S. Cellular Field, you need a reel mower. Unlike on typical rotary-blade models, a horizontal bed knife and cylindrical reels cut the grass. It's easy to adjust the bed knife. All it takes is the click of a dial—no wrench or screwdriver necessary. It's expensive, but it's like buying a car—you're paying for a Mercedes."
If you find yourself in Washington, D.C. on a Friday night, leave immediately. Because it's an industry town full of transplants, the city sleeps on weekends. Instead, come back on Tuesday. That's when all the power and influence take to the streets for their spoils. 6:55 p.m. For indigenous cuisine (shellfish) eat where the indigenous peoples (Washingtonians) congregate: Hank's Oyster Bar, a tiny bistro in Dupont Circle that serves large crustaceans. 8:10 p.m. Until recently, the U Street Corridor, situated in a famous African American neighborhood, was the place to be. These days it's the H Street Corridor, which locals swear appeared out of nowhere. Check out the Pug, a pugilist-themed dive bar, and Granville Moore's, a gastro pub known for its selection of Belgian beers and moules frites. 10 p.m. Within the District's confines, nobody makes a racket like The Wire's Anwan Glover, who on any given night can be found playing go-go | music (a blend of funk, R&B and spoken word) with his long-standing group, the Backyard Band. 12 a.m. Republicans are party people too! Exhibits A and B: the Bayou, "D.C.'s Cheers on steroids." according to a Republican strategist cum playboy fixer; and George, a private list-only nightclub near Georgetown's high-end retail haven.
In past years we've noticed a wonderful trend in American industry: a movement away from mass production toward handcrafted products from make-it-or-break entrepreneurs who love what they do. Boats, bikes, beer, fashion. The latest: distilleries tucked into small cities and towns, preparing liquors with handmade pot stills like in the old days. Here are a few faves. If they're not on the shelves at your liquor store, do something about it. From left:
PIONEER MODEL AVIC-Z130BT ($1,200 PLUS INSTALLATION, $100 TO $200)
This is the closest we've come to driving KITT-David Hasselhoff's microprocessor-equipped Trans-Am in Knight Rider. Pioneer's latest, which you can buy and have installed at select stares nationwide, connects to your smart-phone and uses a free app called Aha that turns Facebook and Twitter into radio stations. In short, your car will read recent posts to you as you drive. Hungry? The system has approximately 12 million points of interest plugged in, and you can call one up via voice recognition. Say "Find me Mexican food," and the system will locate the nearest spot, read Yelp reviews and give directions. The AVIC-X930BT model also has a traffic tuner and a DVD system.
SKI LODGES In the northern Lake Tahoe area, the median price of vacation homes was down 29 percent from year end 2007 to year end 2010, according to the local Coldwell Banker brokerage. Condo prices were down 40 percent. Likewise, Vail is laden with unsold luxury condos after a trio of hotel-and-residence projects—a Four Seasons and a Ritz-Carlton among them—completed construction late last year.
The 1980s repurposed sex on the beach as a drink, but our innate urge to get it on amid surf and sand started far earlier. "Our ancestors dispersed around the earth 70,000 years ago by following the shorelines out of Africa, which means we've been having sex on the beach since time immemorial," says Christopher Ryan, author of Sex at Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality. But it was self-preservation— the ocean served as a strong food source—not the allure of long walks on the beach and spectacular sunsets that motivated early humans to seek out seaside shelter. "Beautiful beaches are inherently erotic, but they're also primordial because they connect us to our primitive rhythms," Ryan adds. And so, heed the call of the tide—it's human nature.
SyFy has scored monster ratings with a funny formula: Pit a giant aquatic creature against a self-deprecating celebrity for a hearty serving of meta-cheese. In Mega Python vs. Gatoroid, 1980s pop tarts-playboy models Debbie Gibson and Tiffany play an animal activist and a ranger, respectively, who sharpen their claws on each other as the titular beasts wreak - havoc in the Everglades.
Vivian Wu was named one of People magazine's 50 Most Beautiful People in 1990, three years after her debut in The Last Emperor. In 1996's The Pillow Book (pictured), Wu wows as a model in search of new cultural pleasures via various lovers. See her beautify Snow Flower and the Secret Fan in theaters.
When the TV show Heroesfizzled./nFomous swooped in and saved our love of story lines involving normal folks becoming su-perheroes. In inFamous 2 (PS3), Cole, a bike messenger who developed electrical superpowers in the original game, travels to New Marais to unlock the potential of his abilities and face an evil known as the Beast. He finds the city locked down by an antimutant militia and must glide along electric wires, blast lightning bolts and adapt to new powers to reach his goal. With great power comes killer karma, and decisions players make influence the story, making Cole a celebrated hero or hated villain. Rescue police officers and they'll fight alongside Cole, but send a cable car crashing into a militia compound and the people will tend to turn against you. VVVV
In The Dating Game for Facebook, you build an avatar and play the classic TV show against friends as either a contestant or a panelist. After you finish all three rounds, including "Question and Answer" and "Word Association," each player's identity is revealed.
TNT's newest show stars Noah Wyle as a history nerd Leading the resistance against lizard-like Skitters and Transformer-esque Mechs. Falling Skies shares the humanity-is-fucked vibe of The Walking Dead, but because the executive producer is Steven Spielberg, it's far more
Brad Paisley's eighth studio album, 'This Is Country Music, proves what his seventh, sixth and fifth did as well: He's the preeminent country star of this era. He writes with wit. and.invention (has anyone else ever rhymed cancer with Jesus is the answer?), plays snappy don't-try-this-at-home guitar solos and loves ballads about Mama as much as songs about margaritas and sunscreen. Is 38 top young to receive a lifetime achievement award? VVVV
Three women were changing in the women's locker room of their country club when a naked man came in wearing a bag over his head. He ran past them, allowing each to get a good look at his cock, and then he ran out.
Lynne Austin burst onto the scene 25 years ago this month as Miss July 1986. She was named the original Hooters Girl, and it takes a very special lady to stand out in that pool of talent. With her wit and 35-inch bust she became an instant favorite with playboy fans. She also appeared on a Married With Children episode aptly titled "Her Cups Runneth Over." Lynne has continued to work with Hooters and even co-hosts the Hooters Nation Morning Show weekdays on the radio in Tampa.
While playing Rockstar Games' L.A. Noire we noticed that the smoldering hot Doris West looked familiar. It turns out Miss August 1998 Angela Little plays digital Doris, who inhabits a glamorous but shady 1940s Los Angeles protected by detective Cole Phelps—portrayed by Mad Men's Aaron Staton (inset). Angela also shares billing with Robert Loggia in The Great Fight and True Blood's Tara Buck in The Life Zone, two feature films set for release this year.
Forget Superman—the world now has Bustice! PMOY 2007 Sara Jean Underwood unleashed the sexy new superhero in a G4 Attack of the Show short. The well-endowed heroine fights crime and aids citizens in distress, sans special powers, cars or gadgets. She simply uses her two weapons of mass seduction to "bust" criminals. In other news, crime is on the rise.
As if she needed further validation, PMOY 2010 Hope Dworaczyk was invited to the 2011 Beautiful People Party hosted by Paper magazine and Guess. But Hope has more than just her looks going for her, as demonstrated by her lengthy tenure on The Celebrity Apprentice. The savvy brunette was the 10th contestant axed by the show's lead
Mitch Nelson's nipple-grid cover is a clever idea (Reader Response, March). Along with creating censorship buzz, it might convince people that a female nipple is nothing to get worked up about, even if it appears during a Super Bowl broadcast. As the Playboy Advisor has said, "Seeing a tit never hurt anyone."
I'm 64 years old, healthy and happy. I grew up in rural New Jersey, in the heart of Revolutionary War country. I was a Boy Scout, attended Sunday school, performed in the school band, joined the gun club and married at the age of 18. Yet for my entire adult life I have been declared a criminal and an enemy in the war on drugs because I like to smoke a plant. A plant! And pol-
Last year USA Today, citing an investigation by the Star Tribune in Minneapolis, reported "a growing number of debtors are finding themselves locked up over unpaid balances." It added, "Though it's not illegal to be in debt, collectors are resorting to stronger tactics during the recession." If it's not illegal to be in debt, how can they be arresting people?