WBEZ | playboy http://www.wbez.org/tags/playboy Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en No more nudity in Playboy http://www.wbez.org/programs/here-and-now/2015-10-13/no-more-nudity-playboy-113322 <p><div style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/The%20first%20issue%20of%20Playboy%20magazine%20featuring%20Marilyn%20Monroe%2C%20left%2C%20and%20a%20boxed%20DVD%20set%20of%20Playboy%20magazines%20from%20the%201950s%20are%20shown%20in%20New%20York%20on%20Monday%2C%20July%2016%2C%202007.%20%28.jpg" style="height: 399px; width: 620px;" title="The first issue of Playboy magazine featuring Marilyn Monroe, left, and a boxed DVD set of Playboy magazines from the 1950s are shown in New York on Monday, July 16, 2007. (Mark Lennihan/AP)" /></div><div>Playboy magazine will no longer publish images of nude women beginning this spring, though the magazine will still have photographs of women in suggestive poses, according to a statement from Playboy. It&rsquo;s part of a big redesign, and an effort to attract more readers.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The company&rsquo;s chief executive Scott Flanders&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/13/business/media/nudes-are-old-news-at-playboy.html" target="_blank">told The New York Times</a>&nbsp;that the Internet has changed things for his publication. &ldquo;You&rsquo;re now one click away from every sex act imaginable for free. And so it&rsquo;s just passé at this juncture,&rdquo; he said.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><strong>RELATED STORY: <a href="http://www.wbez.org/programs/world/2015-10-13/china-playboy-always-has-been-known-bath-products-113320" target="_blank">I</a><a href="http://www.wbez.org/programs/world/2015-10-13/china-playboy-always-has-been-known-bath-products-113320">n China, Playboy always has been known ... for bath products</a></strong></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><strong></strong><em>Here &amp; Now&#39;s</em> Jeremy Hobson takes a look at this business decision with&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/jasonbellini?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor" target="_blank">Jason Bellini</a>&nbsp;of The Wall Street Journal.</div><p>&mdash;<a href="http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2015/10/13/no-more-nudity-in-playboy" target="_blank"><em> via Here &amp; Now</em></a></p></p> Tue, 13 Oct 2015 16:01:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/here-and-now/2015-10-13/no-more-nudity-playboy-113322 In China, Playboy always has been known ... for bath products http://www.wbez.org/programs/world/2015-10-13/china-playboy-always-has-been-known-bath-products-113320 <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/young%20woman%20walks%20towards%20a%20stage%20to%20be%20photographed%20while%20applying%20for%20a%20job%20as%20a%20Playboy%20bunny%20during%20a%20casting%20in%20Monterrey%20August%207%2C%202013..jpg" style="height: 349px; width: 620px;" title="A young woman walks towards a stage to be photographed while applying for a job as a Playboy bunny during a casting in Monterrey August 7, 2013. (Daniel Becerril/REUTERS)" /></div><div><div><p>Naked women? In China, the Playboy brand stands for quality bath soap.</p></div><p>Really.</p><p>The announcement that Playboy magazine will stop publishing images of nude women, while perhaps a bombshell to middle-aged men in America, means little too much of the world where the brand had different franchise products and connotations.&nbsp;</p><p>China&#39;s got a strong Playboy brand without Hugh Hefner&#39;s parties, centerfolds or, OK, those long, in-depth question-and-answer articles.</p><p>&quot;In China, Playboy is better known for its line of bath products,&quot; says New York Times reporter&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/13/business/media/nudes-are-old-news-at-playboy.html?_r=0" target="_blank">Ravi Somaiya</a>. &quot;Forty percent of their sales come from China, despite the fact that no magazine is published there. It gives you an idea of how strong the brand is.&quot;</p><p>On their website, Playboy&nbsp;<a href="http://www.playboy.com/articles/no-nudity-announcement" target="_blank">wrote</a>:</p><blockquote><p><em>&quot;Last year we re-launched Playboy.com as a safe-for-work site and discovered something about our readers and our identity: The Bunny transcends nudity. Tens of millions of readers come to our non-nude website and app every month for, yes, photos of beautiful women, but also for articles and videos from our humor, sex and culture, style, nightlife, entertainment and video game sections. We are, and always have been, &ldquo;entertainment for men&rdquo; &ndash; with award-winning journalism and fiction to boot. Playboy is a cultural arbiter of beauty, taste, opinion, humor and style.&quot;</em></p></blockquote><p>Somaiya says the move puts them more in line with other magazines like Adult and Louie.</p><p>&quot;They&#39;re more neutral in which genders they appeal to and they celebrate all forms of decadence,&quot; he says.</p><p>That might be something Hef can hop around.</p><p>&mdash; <em><a href="http://www.pri.org/stories/2015-10-13/china-playboy-always-has-been-known-bath-products" target="_blank">via The World</a></em></p></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 13 Oct 2015 15:38:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/world/2015-10-13/china-playboy-always-has-been-known-bath-products-113320 Socialism served two ways http://www.wbez.org/news/socialism-served-two-ways-113310 <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Democratic%20presidential%20candidate%20Sen.%20Bernie%20Sanders%20%28I-VT%29%20walks%20back%20to%20his%20office%20after%20a%20news%20conference%20on%20better%20wages%20for%20workers%2C%20on%20Capitol%20Hill%20October%206%2C%202015%20in%20Washington%2C%20DC..jpg" style="height: 350px; width: 600px;" title="Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) walks back to his office after a news conference on better wages for workers, on Capitol Hill October 6, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)" /></div><p>We talk about home health care workers receiving federal labor protections; Playboy magazine&#39;s announcement that it will no longer feature photos of nude women; pressure on railroads to improve safety; and what Bernie Sanders has in common with&nbsp;the head of the Labor Party in the UK.</p><p>&mdash; <a href="http://www.marketplace.org/topics/life/mid-day-update/socialism-served-two-ways" target="_blank"><em>via Marketplace</em></a></p></p> Tue, 13 Oct 2015 12:56:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/socialism-served-two-ways-113310 Playboy bunny designer shows his art in Chicago http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-07-06/playboy-bunny-designer-shows-his-art-chicago-112323 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/playboybunnyweb.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" show_artwork="false" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/213496512&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 24px; line-height: 22px;">Playboy bunny designer shows his art in Chicago</span></p><p><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 22px;">At least 40 peo</span><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 22px;">When Hugh Hefner sat down at his kitchen table to lay out the first issue of Playboy magazine in 1953, Art Paul was the guy sitting next to him. Paul became Playboy&rsquo;s art director, and remained in that position until he left in 1982. Since then, he&rsquo;s concentrated on his own fine art work, which can be seen now in the exhibition Art Paul &ndash; Hard Heads, Sweet Knees, Forked Tongues at the Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art. A couple of years ago, WBEZ&rsquo;s Richard Steele visited Paul in his home studio. This is an excerpt from that conversation. They begin by talking about Art Paul&rsquo;s most famous creation: the bunny logo for Playboy. Richard wanted to know&hellip;why a rabbit?</span></p><p><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 22px;"><strong>Guest:</strong> <em>Artist and designer <a href="http://www.aiga.org/fellow-art-paul/">Art Paul</a></em></span></p></p> Mon, 06 Jul 2015 10:32:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-07-06/playboy-bunny-designer-shows-his-art-chicago-112323 'There are few things sadder than throwing your own going-away party': Playboy leaves Chicago http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2012-05/there-are-few-things-sadder-throwing-your-own-going-away-party <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center; "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/4187220864_42a18a66d9_z.jpg" style="width: 620px; height: 543px; " title="(Flickr/a.pham)"></div><p><em>While some media outlets paid tribute to Playboy's official exit from the city of its birth, all was relatively quiet as the company slipped its editorial productions to the West Coast, fully consolidating its operations in Los Angeles where founder Hugh Hefner could keep a close eye on it from his Mansion. Just ask someone who knows: <a href="http://ourmaninchicago.net">Scott Smith</a>&nbsp;spent a year at the institution, and lived to tell of it. Read about it below or listen above:</em></p><p>"There are few things sadder than throwing your own going-away party. But that’s exactly what Hugh Hefner did&nbsp;<a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-perspec-0422-hefner-20120415,0,5717535.story">in the pages of the <em><u>Chicago Tribune</u></em></a>. To mark the departure of <em>Playboy</em> magazine’s editorial operations for Los Angeles, America’s horniest octogenarian threw one last party via an 800 word, misty-eyed eulogy to the company's nearly 60 years in the city of Chicago.</p><p>He was one of the few who marked the occasion. There was no retrospective in the city’s glossy culture magazines, no historical timeline in either of the daily newspapers. Even television news, which rarely passes on an opportunity to cover newsworthy nudity, didn’t seem particularly interested. Aside from <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/editorials/ct-edit-playboy-20120429,0,7160821.story">an op-ed here</a> or <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-04/playboy-hops-out-chicago-after-60-years-98514">radio segment there</a>, Playboy’s departure from the city of its birth went largely unnoticed.</p><p>Perhaps it’s because you only get one going-away party. Playboy, for its all intents and purposes, left Chicago in the mid-1970s when Hefner – after decades in the first Playboy Mansion on State Street – headed west to establish a new mansion in the Holmby Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles.</p><p>Now, before I go on, I want to offer some disclosure: From March of 2009 to approximately March of 2010, I worked for Playboy.com, first as its Senior Editor and then as is its Director of Content. I stopped working as Playboy.com’s Director of Content when Playboy…<a href="http://newsblogs.chicagotribune.com/towerticker/2010/03/playboycom-takes-off-top-editor.html">asked me to</a>. More specifically, someone from HR ordered me to, in a conversation that featured the words 'severance' and 'can stay until the end of the day…if you want to.' But the year in between was a lot of fun. It’s hard to bear too much ill will toward a job that once asked you to write a script for something called <em>Playboy’s Naked Yoga</em>. Yup, I said a script.</p><p>So any personal animus I might bear toward the organization is tempered with affection. I’m more a fan of Chicago than almost anything and knowing this city was the birthplace of THE iconic magazine brand of the 20th century ought to be a point of pride for anyone who calls Chicago home and particularly for someone like me who’s spent his formative years working in media.</p><p><a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-perspec-0422-hefner-20120415,0,5717535.story">In his <em><u>Tribune</u></em> piece</a>, Hefner offered a detailed highlight reel of the magazine’s first 20 years in Chicago, including the Hyde Park apartment where he laid out the first issue, the first Playboy Jazz Festival in 1959 at the old Chicago Stadium, the first Playboy Club in 1960, and the company’s move into the Palmolive Building in 1965 with nine foot high letters spelling out Playboy. And then the following:</p><p><em>'By the mid-1970s, I moved to Los Angeles, the land where my dreams had come from, but Chicago remained the company’s base, headquartered in the Lake Shore Drive offices we’ve occupied since 1989. Now, after nearly 60 years, the Playboy offices in Chicago have closed as we consolidate our operations in Los Angeles.'</em></p><p>So by Hef’s own admission, there’s been nothing worth mentioning about Playboy’s time in Chicago since the first Bush administration. At least from his point of view.</p><p>And this is exactly the problem with Playboy magazine: It’s all from his point of view and long ago stopped leading the culture in favor of following it. <a href="http://wbnq.com/bruno-mars-is-the-10th-man-ever-to-appear-on-playboy-cover/">Last month’s cover</a> promised features on <em>The Walking Dead</em>, Bruno Mars, Jon Hamm and Meghan McCain. Contemporary? Sure. But territory most other modern major magazines have already covered.</p><p>In the book <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Mr-Playboy-Hefner-American-Dream/dp/0471690597"><em>Mr. Playboy</em></a> author Steven Watts quotes Hefner as saying &nbsp;'I’ve always edited the magazine for myself, on the assumption that my tastes are pretty much like those of our readers.' This was fine when Hef was in his 30s. But now a magazine that’s supposed to be about contemporary culture and aspiration is trapped in amber, held hostage by a 84-year-old man who long ago sought to wall himself off from the concerns <em>of </em>the everyday man.</p><p>I can’t remember where I read it now, but Hefner said he moved into the Chicago mansion, in part, because it allowed him to centralize his work and his social lives. This freed him, he said, from worrying about pedestrian things like how he was going to get to work or what he was going to wear for that day. And I suppose life is easier when you can go to work in your pajamas. But eventually the young men who looked to&nbsp;<em>Playboy</em>, who were it's&nbsp;core audience – and had to worry about things like wearing pants and getting to work on time – realized Hef and his magazine didn’t have much to say to them. I mean, do people still want to visit the Mansion in L.A.? Sure. But people still want to visit Disneyworld. But nobody ever talks about living there.</p><p>A couple years ago, Playboy’s CEO said the company <a href="http://www.foliomag.com/2010/playboy-reduces-headcount-again">was going to shift to</a>&nbsp;'brand management' as its core strategy with an emphasis on opening new Playboy Clubs around the world. Essentially, Playboy as a company was going to be about being Playboy. The trouble is, the modern Playboy brand – particularly the clubs – isn’t all that strong. Last year’s NBC TV show <em>The Playboy Club</em> – a show about its Hefnerian heyday that essentially said life stopped being cool after the 1960s – <a href="http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/nbc-cancels-playboy-club-brian-williams-rock-center-241714">got yanked off the air after three episodes</a>. Rumors of <a href="http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20110827/ISSUE01/308279979/playboy-club-returning-to-chicago-after-two-decade-hiatus">a Chicago Playboy Club re-opening</a> after a 20 year absence <a href="http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20110827/ISSUE01/308279979/playboy-club-returning-to-chicago-after-two-decade-hiatus">turned out to be</a> little more than trumped-up publicity for the show. And even The Playboy Club casino at the Palms in Las Vegas <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/news/nation/11342271-418/playboy-club-at-las-vegas-casino-to-close-in-june.html">is closing</a>. It sounds like a bad joke. 'Your mama’s so dumb she couldn’t even keep a Playboy Club open in Las Vegas.'</p><p>Two events last year symbolized Playboy’s reversal of fortune over the past couple decades and its reaction to it. First, Playboy <a href="http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/playboy-enterprises-inc-announces-agreement-with-manwin-related-to-television-and-digital-businesses-126844663.html">sold off its online business to a company called Manwin</a>. You’ve probably never heard of Manwin but they run a whole bunch of websites that offer free porn on the Internet. It’s exactly the kind of company that’s made it hard for Playboy to make money online. So hard that Playboy decided to get out of the business altogether then turn around and sell it to the very people who put them in that position in the first place. Also notable: Hefner’s decision to take Playboy from a publicly-traded company available on the New York Stock Exchange to <a href="http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/hugh-hefner-takes-playboy-private-164379">a private company controlled largely by him</a>. It was yet another example of Hef doing everything he can to turn inward keep his world free from external forces.</p><p>So if this week’s end of Playboy’s party in Chicago was met with a collective shrug it shouldn’t have been a surprise. The party’s location was really far away and seemed like it’d been over for a while now. Plus, Hef was the only one on the list."</p><p><a href="http://thepapermacheteshow.com/" target="_blank">The Paper Machete</a><em>&nbsp;is a weekly live magazine at the Horseshoe in North Center. It's always at 3 p.m., it's always on Saturday, and it's always free. Get all your</em>&nbsp;The Paper Machete Radio Magazine<em>&nbsp;needs filled&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/tags/paper-machete" target="_blank">here</a>, or download the podcast from iTunes&nbsp;<a href="http://itunes.apple.com/podcast/the-paper-machete-radio-magazine/id450280345" target="_blank">here</a>.</em></p></p> Thu, 03 May 2012 15:13:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2012-05/there-are-few-things-sadder-throwing-your-own-going-away-party Playboy hops out of Chicago after 60 years http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-04/playboy-hops-out-chicago-after-60-years-98514 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/best%20Hef%20roller%20skating%20scan0052.jpg" style="float: right; height: 406px; width: 300px;" title="Hugh Hefner rollerskating with Playboy Bunny Candace Jordan. (All photos courtesy of Candace Jordan)" /></div></div><p>Nearly 60 years after the first issue of <em>Playboy</em> was put together in Hugh Hefner&rsquo;s Hyde Park kitchen, the enterprise will complete its gradual migration to the Left Coast when it closes its Chicago headquarters at the end of the month. The last of the 170-some remaining Chicago employees will transition to Los Angeles, where Hefner himself moved in the mid-&#39;70s. Though Hef still thinks of the Gold Coast when he remembers Playboy&rsquo;s golden era.</p><p>&ldquo;It was the beginning of so much for America and for Playboy. And it was all happening right there on the Near North Side. That was my kingdom,&rdquo; Hefner <a href="http://timeoutchicago.com/things-to-do/features/14923155/the-real-playboy-club?page=0,5" target="_blank">recently said</a> of Chicago in the 1960s during an interview with <em>Time Out Chicago&rsquo;s</em> John Slania of Chicago in the 1960s.</p><p>At the beginning of 1960, <em>Playboy&rsquo;s</em> monthly circulation topped one million. The Playboy Club opened its doors at 116 E. Walton Street in February of the same year. And buzzing mere blocks away, the original 72-room Playboy Mansion on North State Parkway stood as the third vertice of the Playboy triumvirate. University of Missouri history professor and author of <em>Hugh Hefner: Mr. Playboy: Hugh Hefner and the American Dream</em> <a href="http://history.missouri.edu/people/watts.html" target="_blank">Steven Watts</a> told <em>Afternoon Shift</em> that he thought that Hef and his cohorts thought of the mansion and club as &ldquo;bringing the magazine to life.&rdquo;</p><p>For 60 cents&mdash;and a little imagination&mdash;revelers could experience the Playboy lifestyle. But only keyholders and high rollers had access to the club, the booze and the bunnies. And the door of the mansion featured a brass plate on the front door with the Latin inscription <em>si non oscillas, noli tintinnare</em>, or &ldquo;If you don&rsquo;t swing, don&rsquo;t ring.&rdquo;</p><p>Longtime <em>Chicago Sun-Times</em> film critic <a href="http://blogs.suntimes.com/ebert/2010/10/entertainment_for_men.html" target="_blank">Roger Ebert</a> wrote that the map of his &ldquo;emotional geography shifted toward Chicago&rdquo; the moment he laid eyes on a friend&rsquo;s father&rsquo;s collection of <em>Playboy</em>s:</p><blockquote><p>&ldquo;The women we found in those other magazines had no existence apart from their pages. They came into the world full-blown as we saw them, wearing polka-dot bikinis or holding Japanese umbrellas, and after the photo was taken they ceased to exist. They didn&#39;t come to work, go home from work, eat, sleep, sneeze, or have any corporeal existence. They were pin-ups. The women in Playboy were real, and lived only 135 miles from Urbana, Illinois, and in some unlikely but thinkable universe I might meet them.&rdquo;</p></blockquote><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/EyesCover.jpg" style="float: left; width: 300px; height: 459px;" title="Candace Jordan's eyes on the cover of 'Playboy'" />Ebert vowed to make it to Chicago&mdash;and to visit the Mansion&mdash;and he did. So did <a href="http://www.candidcandace.com/" target="_blank">Candace Jordan</a>; only she didn&rsquo;t visit the mansion, she lived there. In the fall of 1974 she moved into one of the Bunny dormitories found on the upper floors of the Mansion. She began working the door at the Playboy Club and was soon noticed by the magazine&rsquo;s photographers and designers. A few years later she was a centerfold; and a few months after that, she was on the cover of the February 1980 issue. The shot was a close-up of Candace&rsquo;s icy blue eyes peering out from under a white fur hat; the image went on to win a national design award. Candace went on to become a society columnist and fabulous staple of Chicago&rsquo;s posh party scene.</p><p>Playboy has left an indelible impression on Chicago and vice versa. Hef recently <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-perspec-0422-hefner-20120415,0,5717535.story" target="_blank">penned his own goodbye</a> to the city in a column for the <em>Chicago Tribune:</em></p><blockquote><p>&quot;I like to think the magazine&#39;s presence provided the city with an edge, a reminder to the rest of America that the first steps of a sexual revolution took place at a card table at 6052 S. Harper Ave., ran wild in a State Street mansion and grew into a global presence on Michigan Avenue visible to anyone driving down Lake Shore Drive. Together we took those ideals of sexual liberation from Loop newsstands to the farthest edges of the planet. Playboy could not have happened anywhere else but Chicago.&quot;<br /><br />Before the enterprise hopped out of town forever, Professor Watts and Candace Jordan joined Steve Edwards on <em>Afternoon Shift</em>. They were also joined by Carolyn Bronstein, associate professor at DePaul University&#39;s College of Communication and author of <a href="http://www.cambridge.org/us/knowledge/isbn/item6038447/?site_locale=en_US" target="_blank"><em>Battling Pornography: The American Feminist </em><em>Anti-Pornography Movement, 1976-1986</em>.</a><br />&nbsp;</p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/With%20Hef%201976%20scan0050.jpg" title="" /></div><p>&nbsp;</p></blockquote></p> Tue, 24 Apr 2012 16:39:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-04/playboy-hops-out-chicago-after-60-years-98514 Evaluating Playboy's waning Chicago presence http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-10-25/evaluating-playboys-waning-chicago-presence-93460 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//segment/photo/2011-October/2011-10-25/CB8AE1A35F04D82775CC51D5233A.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>When the TV series <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1797475/" target="_blank"><em>The Playboy Club</em></a> was axed earlier this month, the move suggested <em><a href="http://www.playboyenterprises.com/" target="_blank">Playboy</a></em> may no longer be ready for primetime. <em>Playboy</em> has been in Chicago since 1953 when Hugh Hefner first started to publish the storied men’s magazine. But recent moves indicated that the company’s interests lay elsewhere. The founder and other top brass are mostly in Los Angeles and <em>Playboy’s</em> potential for growth has long been in TV production and licensing, not publishing. Lynne Marek reports on Playboy Enterprises for <em><a href="http://www.chicagobusiness.com/" target="_blank">Crain’s Chicago Business</a></em> so <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> caught up with her Monday to talk about the company's future in Chicago. She started by saying that even though “Hef” is on the West Coast, the company still has some presence here in his hometown.</p></p> Tue, 25 Oct 2011 15:30:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-10-25/evaluating-playboys-waning-chicago-presence-93460 Five Things Learned During A Strange Evening At The Playboy Mansion http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-07-28/five-things-learned-during-strange-evening-playboy-mansion-89764 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//npr_story/photo/2011-July/2011-07-28/1129296_wide.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>As far as I know, Playboy TV has never done a press tour event before, but this year, they're bringing on some new content aimed at "couples." (I interpret this to mean that they would like to befriend women.) And to introduce it, they decided to throw a press event at the Playboy Mansion, which is how I wound up sitting on a shuttle bus Wednesday night wearing a silvery wristband with a Playboy bunny logo on it.</p><p>We toured the mansion in little groups, we nibbled on finger food (the corn dogs were, I have to admit, pretty good), and we watched warily as beautiful people who were definitely not television critics (or writers of any kind) flashed their tans at each other. I don't really have a narrative here, but I can tell you five things I learned from my visit.</p><p><em>Hugh Hefner has a zoo. </em>Now, I know that many people know this, particularly those who watched a lot of the reality show <em>The Girls Next Door</em>, which took place right there at the mansion. I, on the other hand, never watched <em>The Girls Next Door</em>, ever. EVER. So for me, the zoo was rather surprising. There is a big cage full of little monkeys, and our tour guide (Pilar, a Playmate from 2004, who did a great job) tells us that Hefner is also a "bird collector." Some of these birds are peacocks, which walk around the grounds saying something that, no lie, sounds like "HELP! HELP!" (Apparently, there was a whole <em>Girls</em> episode about the peacocks. As I said, I didn't watch it.)</p><p></p><p><em>The grotto is not sexy. </em>There's a lot of legend surrounding the grotto, which is basically a big artificial cave with whirlpools in it. And, of course, next to the whirlpools, there are big mats, which are generously referred to as "mattresses," which we are told are here so people can "take naps." At the moment this is revealed, this crew of TV critics is <em>standing</em> on one of these mattresses. That's right. At the Playboy Mansion, they "take naps" on it, and I am standing on it. At exactly this moment, as I am balancing on a "napping" mattress with my hand on the fake stone ceiling to balance (that's what Pilar says she always does), one of my favorite writers from press tour, whom I haven't seen yet this year, comes over and gives me a hug. "I'm hugging you in the grotto!" she says, which really makes me laugh.</p><p>But the grotto, in general, is a little depressing, and not just because of articles like <a href="http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2011/04/mystery-illness-tied-to-playboy-mansions-famed-grotto.html" target="_blank">this</a>. It's really hot and humid, like a locker room at the Y. Being hugged in the grotto is about as much physical contact as I would ever want with another person in there, just because it's so ... dank and sweaty. (I would be the first person in grotto history to actually take a nap. My squareness, it is epic.)</p><p><em>There are inflatable floaties in the pool. </em>Say what you will about the Playboy Mansion; they like their inflatable pool toys. And there is nothing remotely suggestive about that. There are just a lot of pool toys. Inflatable whale, patriotic-themed inner tube, the whole nine yards. The whole nine yards of inflatable pool toys, that is.</p><p><em>Everything has the logo. Everything. </em>As we were driving in on the shuttle that brought us from the hotel to the party, I spotted a ladder off in some bushes beside the road. You could barely see it; it was just a wooden stepladder somebody was using for some yardwork purpose or another (or ... for naps in the woods, I guess, although ... never mind). It was painted red, and down the leg of the ladder, there were little Playboy logos in black. That bunny head is ubiquitous, I tell you that.</p><p><em>Yes, it feels vaguely like being in Dirty Narnia. </em>Look, being at press tour always brings me in contact with a lot more super-white teeth and super-tanned skin and super-tiny women and super-shiny-chested men than I encounter in my day-to-day life — and I'll have you know, a lot of them are really, really nice people. They're just ... L.A.</p><p>This is Different. With a capital D. The actual Playboy women are one thing; they're just sort of hot Hollywood types, and although their dresses are very short and very tight, they give off that vibe that Playboy is always trying to give off, that it's sexy but playful and not sad. As I said, everybody liked Pilar — not only did she know a lot about the house, but her reference to a bedroom as a "dormitory" led to a discussion about how Spanish was her first language, and she lost her accent as a result of aggressive speech therapy pushed on her as a kid in public school in Texas, where she was also forced to become right-handed instead of left-handed. Who knew that happened that recently? But she was a woman you could chat with.</p><p>There are other people at the party, though, who seem a little more ... down on their luck. They don't look so happy. These are the women whose dresses are actually riding up to the point where their behinds are hanging out the bottoms of their dresses. (None of the actual Playboy-branded women would be caught dead in that state, I don't think.)</p><p>At some point on the tour, we actually start ribbing Pilar about all the rooms that she tells us are for napping, including one room that is designed to be like the back of a van, so that the floor is the mattress. The repeated references to napping seem both oddly cutesy and terribly important to how they do things here. It's okay to show a bunch of reporters a little outbuilding that has basically just pinball machines and beds, but you have to <em>say </em>"napping."</p><p>And it just gets more and more otherworldly. At one point, one-time supermodel and veteran of <em>America's Next Top Model, The Surreal Life, </em>and <em>Celebrity Rehab </em>Janice Dickinson comes up to me and one of my press tour friends to tell us about her new Playboy TV show, which I'm pretty sure she refers to as <em>Celebrity Sex Tapes</em> (it's actually called <em>Celebrity Sex Tales</em>) where she says she'll talk about some of the famous men she's slept with. In a way, I admire the fact that she doesn't say she's going to talk about all the men with whom she took naps.</p><p>Parts of the show are animated.</p><p>After that, I was ready to head back to the hotel. <div class="fullattribution">Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. <img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1311868116?&gn=Five+Things+Learned+During+A+Strange+Evening+At+The+Playboy+Mansion&ev=event2&ch=93568166&h1=TCA+2011,Unclassifiable,Monkey+See,Pop+Culture,Arts+%26+Life&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=138783898&c7=1048&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1048&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20110728&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c31=138703588,126678995,93568166&v31=D%3Dc31&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></div></p></p> Thu, 28 Jul 2011 07:01:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-07-28/five-things-learned-during-strange-evening-playboy-mansion-89764 'Chicago Code' is canceled; city loses $25 million http://www.wbez.org/story/chicago-code-canceled-city-loses-25-million-86390 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2011-May/2011-05-11/THE CHICAGO CODE Illinois Governor Pat Quinn (L) visits the set of THE CHICAGO CODE Thursday, September 16 in Chicago. Also pictured Executive Producer Shawn Ryan (C) and Jennifer Beals (R).jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Fox Broadcasting Company announced the cancellation of five new shows this season on Tuesday, <a href="http://www.hitfix.com/blogs/whats-alan-watching/posts/fox-cancels-the-chicago-code">including&nbsp;<em>The Chicago Code</em></a>, a police drama set and filmed locally.</p><p>Rich Moskal, director of the Chicago Film Office, reported that production of the pilot and first 12 episodes of <em>Chicago Code</em> generated an estimated $25 million for the city in production-related costs.</p><p>“Losing that is disappointing,” Moskal said. “What’s tremendous about television series like <em>Chicago Code</em> is how consistently they’re contributing to the local economy.”</p><p>Moskal says despite the attention paid to the film industry, shooting a television series can be far more lucrative for a city than a movie. &nbsp;That's, in part, because a television show creates work and purchases goods and services over an extended period of time. &nbsp;But he said the local acting community was probably the most visible beneficiary of the <em>Code</em>’s presence, calling the new roles created every episode a tremendous opportunity for actors. &nbsp;</p><p>Even so, all is not lost for Chicago.</p><p>"We're in a fortunate position of not having all our eggs in one basket," Moskal said.&nbsp;</p><p>That's because <em>Chicago Code</em>&nbsp;is not the only show being filmed in Chicago right now. &nbsp;The new&nbsp;Starz show&nbsp;<em>Boss,&nbsp;</em>starring Kelsey Gramer as a fictional Chicago mayor<i>, </i>began filming a few weeks ago, as did the highly touted <em>Playboy </em>from NBC. Moskal believes signs look good for <em>Playboy</em>'s future, given its “cool factor” (the show has piggybacked off the current popularity of <em>Mad Men</em> by looking at the lives of Playboy bunnies in the 1960s).</p><p>Moskal also mentioned <a href="http://www.thefutoncritic.com/news/2011/04/20/starz-kelsey-grammers-boss-announces-casting-and-start-of-production-today-331213/20110420starz01/"><em>Powers</em></a>, a pilot about detectives who deal with superhero homicides, based off the comic of the same name. <em>Powers </em>is attached to FX, and is set to start filming in July.&nbsp;</p><p>On Tuesday, Governor Pat Quinn met with Kelsey Grammer and the producers of <em>Boss </em>to celebrate the opening of a new film and television studio at Cinespace Chicago Film Studios. The state is investing $5 million in the project, which will become the largest facility of its kind outside of Hollywood and &nbsp;has enough space to accommodate three to six productions at a time. It's estimated to create thousands of new jobs.</p><p>In 2010, the Illinois Film Office (IFO) reported $161 million in spending, and more than 8,000 job hires. Managing Director of IFO,&nbsp;Betsy Steinberg, said that though they were disappointed with the cancellation&nbsp;of&nbsp;<em>Chicago Code</em>, IFO was not concerned about the future of Cinespace.</p><p>"You know,&nbsp;series television is not for the faint of heart. It’s always, always a rollercoaster.&nbsp;The studio is, I believe, going to be busy regardless," Steinberg noted. "[The cancellation] does not spell disaster for the community."</p><p><em>The Chicago Code</em> was critically well-received, and starred Jennifer Beals as the police department's first female superintendent. It paid homage to Chicago's corrupt political history with several character arcs, including one that featured Delroy Lindo as&nbsp;a corrupt alderman. Its ratings had been waffling, however, for several weeks, leaving its future uncertain.</p><p>Responding to the news of cancellation last night, creator Shawn Ryan, a native of Rockford, IL, tweeted that <em>The Chicago Cod</em>e will be finishing out its season, with the final two episodes airing in the next two weeks.</p><p>"Fox suits loved the show, but have a business to run," <a href="http://twitter.com/#%21/ShawnRyanTV">he tweeted</a>.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><em>Updated 5/11/11 @10:40pm&nbsp;</em><em>Previous version was updated to correct typographical errors and to reflect that the Fox announcement was made on Tuesday.</em></p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 11 May 2011 16:29:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/chicago-code-canceled-city-loses-25-million-86390 Vice president's home stand-in for Playboy mansion http://www.wbez.org/story/dawes-house/vice-presidents-home-stand-playboy-mansion-83939 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2011-March/2011-03-18/dawes-house-evanston-2009.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The home of a former U.S. vice president Charles G. Dawes will morph into the Chicago Playboy Mansion for television.</p><p>The Charles Gates Dawes House in Evanston will be filmed next week by crews from Twentieth Century Fox TV for the NBC television pilot <em>Playboy</em>, about women working as Playboy bunnies for the Chicago club in 1963.</p><p>Evanston History Center Executive Director Eden Pearlman says show producers asked some time ago about using the interior of Dawes House. The real Playboy Mansion was located on North State Street in Chicago and was home to Hugh Hefner from 1959 until the mid 1970s, when he moved to Los Angeles.</p><p>Pearlman says crews will be using some rooms on the first floor of Dawes House, but primarily the library. The CTA&nbsp;is also <a href="http://www.transitchicago.com/travel_information/service_changes/weekend.aspx">rerouting several downtown bus routes</a> this weekend to accomodate filming.</p></p> Fri, 18 Mar 2011 20:02:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/dawes-house/vice-presidents-home-stand-playboy-mansion-83939