John Wilcock

Other Scenes

NEW YORK—The tremendous pace at which the so-called sexual revolution is moving leaves us all a little dizzy. It’s only a matter of weeks since Jim Buckley and Al Goldstein broke away from the New York Free Press to found a new unabashedly sexual tabloid called Screw. Now Screw, after seven issues is selling 50,000 copies (at 35 cents each) and is about to go weekly.

The New York Review of Sex, whose major assets have been high-quality paper (better reproductions) and such mind-blowers as a close-up of Ultra Violet’s snatch and Sam Edwards’ pseudonymously-written column about sex-and-politics, is close on its heels in both circulation and potential income.

Marvin Grafton, The Rat’s ad manager, launched another sex tabloid named Pleasure and a fourth, Kiss, is on the way from the EVO stable. Inevitably there’ll be others and just as inevitably the fast-moving world of offset publishing will move into and exploit other neglected areas.

Meanwhile, poet Lennox Raphael and producer Ed Wode try to figure out what all the fuss is about over “Cher’ Just because they put on a play which has fucking in it—which is where everybody is at right now—there’s all this commotion and old-fashioned legal shit.

All you had to do was go to the special performance that was put on for the press after the initial bust to see how important this story is: at least 100 “members of the press” crammed into the tiny Free Store to watch, drool over and record, in minute detail, this precedent shattering production.

Miles of film was shot, hundreds of stills were taken but all that was seen in print or TV were the same old “safe” shots (no tits or ass) that have always been shown.

Where is the Establishment press at? One of the answers, of course, is somebody like Helen Gurley Brown who was hired as Hearst’s sexpert-in-residence, after her book Sex & the Single Girl proved she knew a little more about sex than the average typist (but still considerably less than anybody the slightest bit hip).

As the years have gone by, the gap between what Helen Gurley Brown knows about sex and what is really happening has grown so much wider that today she sounds like some naive high school chick (except, of course, that high school chicks these days are fucking when they’re 12 years old). It’s fitting that the Hearst organization should regard her as an authority because it confirms that they’re still at least two years away from what’s really going on.

Why do dinosaurs like Hearst publications fold (Editors’ Note: Like Eye Magazine which has stopped publication) while young, vigorous new papers spring up and expand so rapidly? Well, you don’t need an answer to that question unless you’re in menopause.

By the way, to return to the play “Che!” for a moment, author Lennox Raphael says that he regards it as merely a curtain raiser, a sort of tantalizing hors d’ouevres so to speak, and you should see the NEXT two plays he’s already written. Obviously it’s not going to be long before people who go to the theatre will be attending a fuck-in just like you might have gone to the Roman baths for the evening with your groovy, uninhibited friends.

Which brings us to the movies. While the squares are being repeatedly conned on 42nd Street by 12-minute beaver pictures (you’d think they’d at least overlay the straight girly shots with a fantasy sequence) or hyped-up nudist frolics, the little old ladies and Cosmopolitan readers are lining up to pay $4.50 for an excruciatingly dull Swedish film containing one brief fucking sequence.

Sally Kirkland and Rip Torn look like being the first two stars to actually demonstrate sixty-nine commercially in a commercially released flick although it’s rumored that the producers of the little epic are quite uptight about this particular sequence.

Sally, a lovely leggy actress with lots of straight Actors Studio gigs behind her, is also my bet for the girl-most-likely-to-bare-all on television too. She’s a natural for whoever decides to launch the first nude commercial.


Fifth Estate #77, April 17–30, 1969