Way down yonder at Partners & Spade gallery, it got hotter than a Southern cathouse, at last night’s event celebrating the launch of an iPad app that gives access to an archive of every Playboy issue that has ever hit the stands.
Young men of the world, clear your calendars!
Comedian Reggie Watts, who was profiled in the latest issue, was in attendance, sporting his signature giant fro and suspenders. We asked him about his first Playboy experience. “I’m going to guess I was like seven,” Mr. Watts said. Like many boys, he was exposed to the wonders of the centerfold by his father. “We used to go girl watching in Spain. He was in the military, and so we’d go to bars and sit outside and I’d get an orange juice and he’d get a cognac and we’d just watch girls and he would tell me about women,” he explained. (He didn’t mention the articles.)
Secured in thick plastic covers and chained to the center table, iPads were available for eager guests to search the racy trove. The app’s home screen featured a variety of articles from throughout the years, including Drew Barrymore’s 1995 nude spread, adjacent to a 1965 interview with Ayn Rand. (Poor Ayn? Poor Drew?)
The gallery was decked out with vintage Playboy paraphernalia, including books with print collections of early issues. A spectrum of framed centerfolds were hung throughout the gallery, unabashedly baring their southerly personal assets. (How styles have changed!) A montage of American pop-culture, beginning in 1953, was visible on the white-washed brick walls: the theatrically glamorous subjects from the magazine’s early decades gave rise to Seventies-era models donning Afros (both on top and bottom) followed by the sprawled-out, big-haired (just top) centerfolds from the eighties and nineties. Free copies of the August issue — featuring ex-Sheen Goddess Brie Olson on the cover — displayed around the gallery precipitously brought guests into the modern age of the skin trade.
The menagerie of guests included Brooklynites donning an endless repertoire of graphic Ts and ironic necklaces, downright dirty Lower East Siders with visibly greasy hair, clean-cut media buffs bro-ing it up and the requisite, inescapable socialites, who flitted hither and thither, sipping on cocktails and posing for photos. Shoehorned into the small space, the cliques, uneasy bedfellows, nevertheless avoided much co-mingling.
An open bar in the back was almost inaccessible through the swells of people. Guests billowed their shirts trying cool down while waiting for a drink. Those who had been served mixed their cocktails with black drink-stirrers topped with the iconic bunny. The Observer noticed that several had lost an ear, though we tried not to see this as symbolic of the present state of the iconic skin mag (or it’s founder, dare we say it).