And they still have ahead of them the highlight and the finale of their trip, a night out with two Chicago based Playmates.  They have already seen photo spreads of sultry Suzi Schott (August 1984), and Carole Ficatier is scheduled to appear in the center pages of the year-end holiday issue of December 1985. Also accompanying them are me and some of my charming female staff. We are dining at Tony Ramo’s Restaurant and Jazz Club, or was it Andy’s Jazz Club? Don’t hold me to his one, because my memory about the exact venue is a bit fuzzy.

Earlier in the week, they have spent some days in Los Angeles and have been treated to the Dodgers’ game, with hot dogs, beers and all and are given a grand tour of Playboy Mansion West. Following my trip earlier in the year to Tokyo, we have embarked upon an ambitious push to regain some of our lost readers and acquire some new ones.

Connecting Jazz with Playboy  and its Playmates is a well thought out itinerary to showcase the Americana and the World of Playboy. Jazz has always been a part of Playboy in that Hefner (Hugh) himself has been a serious aficionado since his youth. So much so that in addition to  having featured many a jazz musicians on his earlier television show, Playboy’s Penthouse and in-house performances at Chicago Playboy Mansion, the magazine sponsored its first Playboy  Jazz Festival in 1959 to celebrate its 5th anniversary. Come Playboy’s 25th birthday in 1979, it  has become an annual cultural phenom, now permanently housed at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, something that invariably gets Hefner out of his self-contained Mansion and out in the front row of the open air concert hall. In a recent interview to coincide with the Festival’s 35th anniversary, he said to Jeff Weiss of Bizarre Ride blog: “I would hope my championing of jazz will be remembered in a connective way with what’s unique about Playboy and my own legacy. As a musical form, jazz represents the same liberation and freedom that America represents in its most ideal form.”

And if not exactly co-incidental, Japan has been one of the most passionate Jazz countries outside of the United States. One of mine and the world’s most favorite Japanese scribes – Haruki Murakami, often links Jazz with his characters and at one time even owned and ran a Jazz bar of his own in Tokyo.

●●●

At Tony Ramo’s, or Andy’s,  the tables are set up in a way that each one of us could face the Jazz band to play that night. My staff and the two Playmates interspersed between the readers. Tonight’s dinner is planned to be more informal than the one at Playboy Club. Keeping up with the general theme of the Americana as portrayed in the magazine’s lifestyle features,  we want the contest winners also to have a real taste of the newly emerging California wines – in 1985, still something of a joke for the wine snobs of the world.

We have assigned Suzi and Carole to order wines for the group. Suzi, the younger of the two at twenty four, has grown up in Chicago’s western suburb of Addison, Illinois and is more likely to have ordered,  as she puts it herself:  “I will go into a restaurant and order a root beer or Dr. Brown’s black cherry soda” than vintage wines. She is not of the wine know-how and is coached by me and the sommelier about the wine list and the rituals of ordering and approving a bottle of wine.

Pages: 1 2 3