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October 2018 Featured Book

PLAYBOY’S HUGH HEFNER

Empire of Skin

By Darwin Porter and Danforth Prince

Love him or hate him, Hugh Hefner, founder of Playboy and the most famous publisher in America, deserves to have his own shocking life explored in every tantalizing chapter.

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In the wake of his death at the age of 91 in 2017, that has been achieved with the release this month of Blood Moon’s latest celebrity biography, Playboy’s Hugh Hefner, Empire of Skin.

Compiling the life story of this hedonist was a daunting task. It travels through 65 years of the mogul’s life. Before it was over, it was not only Hef who changed: So did much of America—especially its social mores.

This scrawny kid from the suburbs of Chicago returned from a gig as a soldier in World War II and for a while tried to fit into a traditional role of the Eisenhower years. It included marriage, children, and a working family man. Eventually, he decided that life was not for him.

In 1953, on a shoestring budget of $500 (funds he borrowed from his deeply religious Nebraska-born mother), he launched the first edition of Playboy with Marilyn Monroe as its nude centerfold. Crafted and compiled at his kitchen table, it was an immediate success.

Within a decade, he was hailed as the father of the sexual revolution that swept across America during the tumultuous 1960s. His trademark, a horny bunny, became the symbol of a new lifestyle and a new breed of (male) American consumers. It advocated that sex could be enjoyed without a marriage license.

Playboy was very different from the skin rags that had preceded it. He solicited articles from the top writers of America, hired the best cartoonists, and selected incredibly beautiful young women who were willing to gracefully share their (otherwise) hidden charms with the world.

European filmmakers and photographers were years ahead of Americans in their depiction of the undraped female form. Encouraged by Europe’s less rigorous censorship policies, Hef ran provocative pictures of Sophia Loren, Brigitte Bardot, and Gina Lollobrigida.

As the magazine’s fame grew, many American celebrities agreed to pose undraped: Pamela Anderson, Joan Collins, Anna Nicole Smith, Jayne Mansfield, Drew Barrymore, Farrah Fawcett, and—much to the horror of her parents, Ronald and Nancy Reagan—Patti Davis.

Hef also launched “bromances” with Frank Sinatra, Warren Beatty, Tony Curtis, Jack Nicholson, John Lennon, Mick Jagger, and Sammy Davis, Jr., all of which are described in this new book.

Soon, other publishers wanted to cash in on Hefner’s spiraling success, most notably Bob Guccione’s Penthouse. Guccione engaged Hef in what became known as “The Pubic Wars,” a widely publicized conflict involving to what degree a skin mag might display nipples and “the Delta of Venus.”

During long-running battles with blue-nose censors, Hef became a cultural warrior, taking on militant feminists, and Jerry Falwell and the Moral Majority. Hef’s most frightening and powerful enemy, President Ronald Reagan, wanted to eradicate Playboy, even though the former president himself had once posed “undraped” for an art class when he was much younger.

Eventually, Hef won all his legal battles, and went on to survive sex scandals, vicious attacks in the press, lawsuits, doomed love affairs, a half-dozen “kiss-and-tell” memoirs from disgruntled Playmates, and two failed marriages. He found time to establish an empire that swept the world with memorabilia, bedtime merchandise, Playboy Clubs, hedonistic resorts, and gambling casinos.

In his final years, he married a beautiful young woman, his third bride, who was sixty years his junior. “There is nothing wrong with a man marrying a girl who could be his great-granddaughter.”

Just when you might have thought that Playboy Clubs were a relic of the past, a vintage anachronism where our fathers went to be entertained, some of them, reconfigured and updated, are coming back. One is already thriving in London and another reopened this autumn in Manhattan after a 30-year absence. The guest of honor on opening night was none other than Martha Stewart.

In reference to the brand’s postmodern reincarnation, a spokeswoman said: “The times have changed, but not what Playboy stands for: Freedom, freedom of choice, freedom of sexuality, and freedom from discrimination.”

Playboy’s Hugh Hefner, Empire of Skin (ISBN 978-1-936003-59-4) is the latest book by celebrity biographers Darwin Porter and his co-author, Danforth Prince. Softcover, with 550 pages, it contains hundreds of photos, and scads of commentary. Be sure to listen to his radio interview with Anita Finley. For more information about Porter’s ongoing literary opus, click on www.BloodMoonProductions.com; check out Blood Moon Productions on Facebook; or contact DanforthPrince@gmail.com.

 

Roberta McCain

The Influence of a Mother is Powerful

Part One of Two

Often overlooked is the influence McCain’s mother, Roberta, now 106 years old had on his upbringing and political life. She has outlived the child she still calls “Johnny,” whose death she faced once before when he was shot down over Vietnam and presumed lost.

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Roberta, who lives in Washington, spent years crisscrossing the globe, often alongside her identical twin sister, Rowena, eager for whatever spontaneous adventure came next. She has ridden through the Jordanian desert in the dark of night, hopped a ferry to Macau and trekked through Europe on less than $5 per day.

Roberta and Rowena grew up traveling the country with their father, a successful oil wildcatter who retired young to raise his children. The family would travel for weeks, sometimes along the California coast or by the banks of the Great Lakes. Those trips would later serve as the blueprints for what Sen. McCain described as his mother’s “mobile classroom”—one that could show her children the world’s wonders in ways a four-walled classroom could not.

Recipe of the Month:

Creamy Green Pea and Cashew Butter Soup

Courtesy of VegKitchen

A delectable, high-protein puree featuring cashew butter and green peas in a base of white beans or silken tofu, this is a nearly-instant soup. It’s a treat when you crave fresh soup but don’t have the time for a lot of chopping and simmering. Serve with a crusty bread.

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Serves 6; Prep time: 20 mins; Cook time: 10 mins

Ingredients:

• 2 cups unsweetened rice milk

• ½ cup cashew butter

• 15-to 16-ounce can great northern or cannellini beans (drained and rinsed), or one 12.3-ounce package firm silken tofu

• 16-ounce bag frozen green peas, thawed and steamed until just tender (see note)

• 1 to 2 teaspoons good-quality curry powder, to taste

• 1 to 2 teaspoons minced fresh or jarred ginger

• 1 medium tomato, diced

• 1 to 2 scallions, minced

• ¼ cup minced fresh cilantro or parsley

• 2 tablespoons lime juice, or to taste

• Dried hot red pepper flakes or sriracha sauce to taste, optional

• Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Instructions:

1. Combine ½ cup of the rice milk with the cashew butter, silken tofu, and half of the peas in the container of a food processor. Process until smoothly pureed.

2. To serve at room temperature or chilled, transfer the puree to a serving container, then stir in the remaining ingredients, including the reserved peas.

3. Let stand at room temperature or in the refrigerator for an hour or two, if time allows, to let the flavors blend.

4. To serve hot or warm, transfer the puree to a small soup pot. Add all the remaining ingredients, stir together, and heat until just warmed through or piping hot, but there’s no need to bring to a boil.

5. Whether serving cold or hot, adjust the consistency with a little more rice milk if the soup is too thick, and adjust all the seasonings—lime juice, hot stuff, salt, and pepper—to your taste. — VegKitchen

 

Thank you for your help with my book. You folks are wonderful.
I am indebted to you,
Respectfully,
Joseph J. Berardino COL, USAF, (Ret.)

Joe Berardino

Author, "Death in the Midnight Sky... Fighting the Mighty Gunship in Combat... A Memoir"

Thank you so much [for the radio interview]. I enjoyed it thoroughly and you are an EXCELLENT interviewer :O)

Josh Hoffman

Partner and Founder, Health Synergy, Boca Raton

Hi Dan, Thank you and Anita for giving me an outlet to let people know about my books. It has been a terrific experience and one that I’ll cherish for a long time.

Best regards,

Jorge Reyes

Jorge G. Reyes S.

Author, JUSTIFIED RETRIBUTION

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