80+ year old Playboy magazine mogul Hugh Hefner, flanked by his new twin girlfriends Karissa and Kristina Shannon, made an in-store appearance with author Steven Watts at Book Soup here in LA last night to promote and sign copies of the new book Mr. Playboy: Hugh Hefner and the American Dream. Looks like homie ain’t wasting no time introducing the world to his new “lady loves” since it was revealed earlier this month that Hef had broken up with former girlfriend Holly Madison (and, most likely, Kendra Wilkinson and Bridget Marquardt). Here are a few pics from last night’s in-store appearance and a bit of information about the book:
“Mr. Playboy: Hugh Hefner and the American Dream” (Wiley, 544 pages, $29.95), by Steven Watts: In 1953, Hugh Hefner was a young man in Chicago with an unimpressive resume and big plans. He would start a men’s magazine geared toward young urbanites such as himself with lifestyle tips and racy pictures. He would call it “Stag Party.” A legal snag forced a last-minute name change to “Playboy,” but Hefner stayed true to the idea. The magazine quickly became a huge success and gave new meanings to the words playmate, bunny and centerfold. Hefner — with his pipe, his pajamas and a girl on each arm — became a symbol of the sexual revolution. But a symbol of what? Hefner is either the swingingest hep cat, a pornographer, a sexual liberator or a lecher, depending on the observer. Watts aims to give a full account of the man, his magazine and their place in social history. Hefner cooperated, giving the author access to everything from his personal scrapbooks to a 1972 memo from a Playboy administrative assistant on the Rolling Stones’ four-day romp at the old Chicago Playboy mansion (they left behind burned towels and clogged pipes; it’s unclear why). Watts presents Hefner’s life as a sort of X-rated Horatio Alger story. A boy growing up in the Midwest falls in love with the fantasy world of movies. As a young striver, he creates his own fantasy world with Playboy. Then he moves into the world he created, leaving a wife and kids for the swinging life. Watts argues that Playboy is more than a girlie magazine: It “comprised a historical force of significant proportions.” It’s arguable whether Hefner mostly made waves or rode them. But it’s clear that Hefner took seriously his role in offering a philosophy to counteract Puritanism. When Hefner calls himself a missionary, he’s not punning. Along with the naked women, Playboy early on featured the likes of Dave Brubeck on jazz, Evelyn Waugh on abstract expressionism and an interview with philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre … Oh, and Hefner really, really likes sex. Women come and go from his round bed like the sheets were made of Flubber. It just never stops. Even into his old age, the Viagra-fueled magnate stays on the prowl. Watts reveals that Hefner narrowly avoided an ironical death when he almost choked on a partner’s sex toy. A quick-thinking Playmate saved him with a chest compression.
… Annnnd, I think that’s enough info, thank you very much. The Playboy empire is a fascinating one and the man behind the Bunnies is just as fascinating. But when you see him now, as an 80+ year old man, clinging to 20-year old buxom beauties who wouldn’t touch him with a 10-foot pole if he didn’t have fame and wealth, well it’s just not as impressive as it may have been at one time. Don’t get me wrong, the man deserves props for living his life to the fullest and enjoying the zest of life for as long as he can. But sometimes, like with the introduction of these new twin sister girlfriends, I think Hef looks more foolish than pimpish. For his sake, I hope that the Shannon twins are schooled in CPR … you know, in case another one of those “choking on a sex toy” or worse incidents happen again.
[Photo credit: Splash News; Source]