Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Hallowe'en: Witch Venus by Gil Elvgren

The celebration of All Hallows Eve in the UK has increased enormously over the last decade.  When Agent Triple P was a child it was not marked at all.  Indeed Triple P remembers being invited to a Hallowe'en party in Banff in Canda in 1994 and still finding it odd as a peculiarly North American thing.  After all, we have Guy Fawkes night in the UK.  Sadly, the latter is falling out of fashion in the UK due to health and safety concerns over the public letting off large amounts of explosives willy nilly (alright, we know that gunpowder is not technically an explosive) and politically correct notions that burning effigies of Catholics is perhaps not acceptable. 

Anyway, we will be in an Arabian country this evening so we are sure that there will be no Hallowe'en antics at our hotel and certainly no costumes as fetching as S's belly dancing one from that first Hallow'en party in 1994.  So we will just leave you with this nice Gil Elvgren witch and note that she isn't  a real witch as her broomstick is suspended on wires!

Monday, October 25, 2010

New blog: the Seduction of Venus

Just a quick note to highlight our new blog: The Seduction of Venus which can be found here.

It has been created mainly at the urging of our particular friends S and B (otherwise known as the Eastern and Western hemisphere women).

The title picture of the blog is Leda and the Swan by Heinrich Lossow (1843-1897).  The Munich born artist produced  pastiche style rococo-style oils and some more graphic (in every sense) erotic work.

Venus with a snake 4: Lilith by John Collier

Lilith by John Collier (1887)

We have examined the paintings of John Collier previously:

However, one painting we did not look at was Lilith (1887).  This painting, which is currently in the Atkinson Art Gallery, Southport, is quite a large canvas (200cm x 104cm).

Lilith's mytholgical background is complex.  Ultimately it is thought that her background is in Sumero-Babylonian legend which tells of a winged female demon who kills children and endangers women giving birth. 

Babylonian terra cotta relief thought to depict llith (circa 2000BC)

In turn she is close to Lamashtu a Mesopotamian female demon who in turn is very similar to the Libyan Lamia; a female serpent demon we looked at in our piece on Herbert Draper.

Things get more complicated when later Jewish literature known as the midrash (designed to explain inconsistencies in the Old Testament) posits her as Adam's original wife created at the same time as him from the earth.  In these stories Eve only appears on the scene later after Lilith walked out on Adam (Eve was a replacement, in essence). A 13th century Kabbalah text, the Sefer ha-Zohar ("The Book of Splendour") written by the Spaniard Moses de Leon (c. 1240-1305), is coy about why Lilith abandoned Adam.  An earlier 11th century text (the Alpha Betha of Ben Sira (Alphabetum Siracidis, or Sepher Ben Sira)) is more explicit and says that it is because Lilith refused to have sex with Adam as he wanted to be on top.  She said that she was equal to Adam and was not going to be submissive (sounds very like a particular Jewish young lady we used to know!). 

It can be seen how such a woman would appeal to the Victorian appetite for evil women who attempt to dominate men.  Later, in medieaval times she became more associated with the idea of a succubus and personified licentiousness and lust.  Succubi would have sex with men in their sleep causing them to ejacualte in their sleep.  This was used a as way of explaining wet dreams: how else could chaste members of the clergy wake up covered in spunk?  Monks would sleep with a crucifix held over their genitals to ward of these succubi.

Lady Lilith (1864)

Lilith is, much more than Eve, the personification of destructive female sexuality.  Music to the ears of Collier and his contemporaries who loved a bad woman. Dante Garbriel Rossetti had also done a painting of Lilith but she has nothing of the indulgent sensuality of Colliers version. Rossetti's symbolism is more subtle than Collier's.  His painting, which depicts a modern Lilith not the mythological version, shows her surrounded by white roses, symbols of sterile passion and poppies, symbols of death.  More tellingly, she is combing her  long hair.  To Victorians luxuriant, unbound hair on a woman was a symbol of vigourous sexuality; even wantonness.  Rossetti's Lilith is spreading it and displaying it.  Finally, she is presented as uncorsetted; the corset representing discipline and control over a woman's own sexuality

Colliers painting, from two decades later, doesn't feel the need for this symbolism as his Lilith is literally being embraced by sin, in the form of the snake.  The log, unbound hair remains however.

More women with snakes soon.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

September Venus: Mickey Winters

Mickey Winters from September 1962

Well, we did have to go abroad for 10 days or so so am now even further behind. We will try to catch up this week as, at the moment, it looks a bit quieter.

Talking of behind, September's clear winter is Mickey Winters from September 1962.  Photographed by Don Bronstein in the straw (not hay as the magazine text maintained), she looks like every naughty farmyard fantasy.  She is one of the most inviting Playmates of the sixties.  Who could resist.  Its the naughty straw in the mouth, of course. Mickey was a diminutive 5'0" tall but a rather awe inspiring 36-18-34.  We can't think you would find a Playmate with an 18" waist these days!

Angela Dorian, September 1967

A close runner up was Miss September 1967 Angela Dorian and her splendid hammock shot by Carl Gunther.  She became Playmate of the Year in 1968.  Dorian had an acting career under her real name of Victoria Vetri and was most famous as the cavegirl in Hammer Films' When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth (1971).  Last week the 68 year old Victoria was charged with attempted murder after she shot her boyfriend (can you have a "boyfriend" at the age of 68?) during an argument in their Hollywood apartment.  He is expected to survive but she faces life in prison.

Debbie Ellison, September 1970

Our third selection is another horizontal centrefold (surely the best kind), Debbie Ellison photographed by Pompeo Posar (is that the best name ever for a glamour photographer?).  Apart from the pale charms of Miss Ellison herself we love the muted autumnal palette.  The rug, which adds a lovely tactile quality, reflects the colours of the (vine?) leaves in the background and the inviting looking picnic basket suggests an enjoyable (if perhaps a little chilly) afternoon of dalliance.

Laura Richmond, September 1988 

Our fourth and final horizontal Playmate is the lovely Laura Richmond.  There are three things that draw us in to this photograph.  Firstly, Laura is a natural redhead, a mutation Triple P is particularly fond of.  Secondly, those invitingly conical breasts thrust out of the photograph taken by Stephen Wayda. Finally, its the lacy stockings; very much a fashion item of the period.  Our girlfriend at this time, SA, actually bought this issue for me and promptly went out and bought a pair of stockings just like this when she saw my enthusiaistic reaction to Laura's.  SA, herself, had exactly the same colouring as Laura here (down below; sadly she had dyed the hair on her head blonde).  One of our all time favourite Playmates.

Samantha Dorman, September 1991

Our final selection for September is our sole vertical format centrefold, Samantha Dorman from September 1991.  She gets the nod for her superbly sculpted 36-25-36 torso; beautifully lit by Richard Fegley to catch every smooth contour.  At 5'10" she's also got the legs.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Centrefold Venus of the Month 16: Dawn Shaw, September 1976

Dawn's centrefold

We have a had a request for more images of the voluptuous Dawn Shaw, who, as she was Pet of the Month for September 1976, nicely fills the gap of Centrefold of the Month for September which we didn't have time to post last month. 

Unlike some other Pets, Dawn never reappeared in the magazine which is a shame as she possessed a sensationally ripe body caught perfectly by Earl Miller in his photo shoot.

Even covered they're still impressive!

In reality she was a rather unusual body shape for a Pet at this time; being built more like a Playboy Playmate.

According to the text accompanying her pictorial she was a perfectly believable 38-24-36.  She has a trim waist, a lovely back with one of those elegant clefts down the middle, cute dimples, a world class posterior and, of course, that bust.

Sadly, from Agent Triple P's point of view we don't see nearly enough of her bottom but this superb shot, complete with alarming mid-seventies platform shoes, is fair compensation.

No, it's largely about Dawn's impressive upper works which, given their splendid nature, is sort of understandable we suppose.

We even get some of the tit squeezing that Penthouse pioneered in the sixties.  Part of Guccione's efforts to show his girls preoccupied with their own sexuality (and before more graphic self caressing could be shown) Newsweek rather churlishly wondered if they were not instead "looking for lumps".


Dawn has those large areolae that big busted women often have.  In fact she is built almost exactly like an old girlfriend of Triple P's, SA, who had a very similar look. 

Again, in Triple P's experience, girls with large areolae tend to have nipples that lie flat rather than erect.  SA needed to be licked into prominence but it is not clear how Dawn reached her perky state in these pictures; maybe the self tweaking helped!

One of the best Penthouse shots of the seventies.  Dawn reclines like a particularly naughty nineteenth century odalisque

Another part of Dawn's anatomy that receives some loving attention is her nice bushy pussy.  1976 was the year when Penthouse got into labia big time, having been rather coy about them in the past. 

Even when they did start to show them they were often lit in such a way that they looked a rather murky brown colour all the better to (nearly) blend in with the dark and bushy pussies of the period.  In fact, UK magazines in this period continued to tint photographs that showed their models' bits in order to push them more into the background.

Dawn's pictorial was really the first when the girl's bits had been displayed in all their healthy, natural pinkness.  Her pussy hair is bushy but not so bushy that she isn't revealed for all to see.

This picture has a Courbet-like quality about it.  Dawn, with her hands behind her head (which helps to pull her bust up) lounges like a Parisienne courtesan displaying herself with an insouciant elan.  Non, je ne regrette rien!

The final aspect of Dawn's pictorial which marks it out from most of those that have gone before is in how many shots she has her fingers on her pussy.  Able now to move on from simple tit squeezing Dawn touches herself more than any previous Penthouse Pet.

Dawn cups it, teases it, strokes it, caresses it but she can't keep her fingers off it.

So Dawn, in many ways is a prototype for most of the Pets that would follow, at least as regards the focus on her pussy.  However she has more than enough other admirable attributes to be more than just  a pretty girl flashing her bits.

Above all she demonstrates something that would become increasingly rare in Penthouse: a smile.  Because if there is anything sexier than a beautiful, naked girl it's a beautiful naked smiling girl. 

Venus Revealed: The Pubic Wars 8 1976 Part 3

America celebrated its bicentennial in July 1976 and this was reflected on the covers of some, but not all, of the leading men's magazines. Gallery failed to produce a celebratory cover but that was because they were too busy trumpeting their first amateur photographic finalist: "the girl next door".  Ironically, Playboy had initially sold its women on the basis that they really were the "girl next door".  However by the mid-seventies their primped and processed Playmates couldn't have been further removed from reality.  Equally, when Penthouse started up in 1965 they proclaimed that all of their Pets of the Month had never posed naked before.  This didn't last long, however, so it was left to Gallery to push undiscovered amateurs as "real" women rather than models.

Genesis had had a nasty case of premature patriotism and had done their girl with the stars and stripes thing for their June issue but still managed to get some red and white stripes onto their cover.

Hustler, needless to say, went further than the others and actually got pubic hair on the cover in a way that even Penthouse wouldn't have risked. The July issue was Hustler's second anniversary one and Larry Flynt, in his editorial, contrasted the US liberal capitalist society with the socialist government in Britain at the time and its public sector dominated approach, high inflation rates and low efficiency. Odd, that Agent Triple P now spends much of his time advising American government bodies on how to work more efficiently by using the private sector compared with their inefficient, old-fashioned, union dominated government.  Britain has certainly changed since the mid-seventies!

Oui didn't go for a bicentennial cover but did have a period costumed pictorial themed around two Tory loyalists attacking a poor patriot girl as she embroidered a rebel flag.

A Oui/Playboy crossover: Somewhere in there are Playmates Ester Cordet (October 1974) and Christine Maddox (December 1973) together with model Gloria Baxter

Much, not very naughty, writhing around followed with, needless to say, the rebel girl winning by dint of pounding her opponents with a pillow!

Playboy went for the full patriotic approach on its cover which featured 1974 Playmate of the Year Cyndi Wood in a dress so see-through that it probably qualifies as the magazine's most extreme pubic cover.

Inside, however, Playmate Deborah Borkman made Playboy's current views on the Pubic Wars quite clear when she was quoted as saying: "Its sad that people would pick up a magazine just to look between someone's legs when there's so much more to appreciate about nudity." So there, Mr Guccione! Deborah herself, however, doesn't quite show everything (but almost) in some of her black and white pictures.

Playboy also got Kris Kristofferson and Sarah Miles to pose for a passionate pictorial which recreated their steamy sex scene from the Mishima-based film The Sailor who fell from Grace with the Sea (1976).

Of all the magazines Penthouse really celebrated the anniversary with their "Bisextennial" (good grief) issue which featured a Stars and Stripes cover and a series of pictorials themed for every century since 1776.


Like Oui they went for an American Revolution period piece for their first pictorial called, with great originality, 1776. Less combative than the Oui effort (perhaps Guccione was still conscious of the British origins of his magazine) it took a "make love not war" approach with an English redcoat being seduced by a couple of lusty American wenches. Photographed by Jeff Dunas it featured one small photograph where one of the girls actually has her finger wrapped around the redcoat's penis in one of their naughtiest "love set" pictures so far.


The next pictorial entitled, 1886, was a girl/girl set by a photographer going under the name of Gajda. Two ladies in Victorian clothes undress each other, kiss and towards the end get quite friendly indeed. The picture above, which features one of the models with her fingertip on the other's open vulva, was the most explicit lesbian shot they had featured so far.


Pet of the Month Helen Lang appeared under the title 1976 and her pictorial featured a record number of spread legs and faux masturbation shots. This sensuous set, photographed by Earl Miller, really was the prototype of what was to follow in the rest of the seventies and onwards where the girl's vulva was the focus of most of the pictures.

Helen goes for it

Up until this point, Penthouse had almost sneaked these pictures in to the magazine but Helen has her legs wide apart in eleven out of her eighteen pictures (including the centrefold) and has her fingers on her pussy in five pictures.


Finally, leaping 100 years into the future in a pictorial called, wait for it, 2076. Earl Miller produced the first of what would be many science-fiction themed pictorials in Penthouse. Using rather space-age lighting it is often difficult to perceive what is going on but in one picture Miller has his spaceman cupping his spacegirl's mound in the magazine's most explicit female genital touching picture to date.

Omni first issue October 1978

Bob Guccione was a science fiction fan and less than eighteen months later he would start to publish Omni, a magazine which mixed considerable and high quality science fiction content with wider (largely specultaive) science articles. It was in an Omni magazine that William Gibson coined the word "cyberspace" and as far back as 1983 was predicting enormous amounts of content would be available online. It was a labour of love for Guccione who designed the early covers and the magazine's logo. The magazine was published until 1995. Associate editor and the person Guccione entrusted the magazine with was his wife Kathy Keeton. Keeton was a hugely influential part of the development of Penthouse.

Kathy Keeton in Penthouse in 1966

In an early issue of Penthouse in the mid sixties (volume 1 number 10) Penthouse had published a pictorial on strippers at the London club, Casino de Paris.  Feauturing heavily in the pictorial was a dancer named Kathy Keeton.  Guccione went along to see her act. At the time, overwhelmed by the success of his magazine, he was looking for new staff to help him out and top of his list was an advertising manager. He found the South African, former Royal Ballet dancer to be intelligent, driven, tough (her grandmother had been a commando in the Boer War) and with a good understanding of finance. He offered her the advertising manager job, which she took, even though it paid less than half what she could earn as a dancer. She recognised an opportunity, though, and within a few years had built a solid financial foundation for the magazine and a permanent place in Guccione's life, despite having to share him with a long string of Pets.

August saw Playboy displaying its first non-photographic cover since January 1974. During the period since then they had tended to copy the Penthouse approach to covers featuring rather conventional photographs of  girls but now obviously felt confident enough to go their own way once more.

Linda sits on it

The August issue had a pictorial of rather small and not that interesting black and white Helmut Newton pictures and that month's Playmate, Linda Beatty kept her nether regions very much to herself.  Linda would go on to appear as one of the Playmates in the USO show depicted in Apocalypse Now (1979) under her real name, Linda Carpenter.

Close but not touching

The pictorial sensuality in the issue came from a feature entitled Sex in the great outdoors. This featured a number of couples (and one threesome) having simulated rumpy-pumpy at a number of picturesque locations in the American countryside. In one photograph the man is nearly, but not quite, as hands on as in the previous month's Penthouse photograph. It was, however, by Playboy's standards a pretty racy pictorial.

The picture where two naked women are kissing whilst the man appears to take one girl from behind was as strong as anything from The Pubic War period. For a magazine that had told its advertisers the year before that it would be dialling back on the naughtiness this was a pretty racy pictorial.

Same sex, different races for Oui

In fact, it was far racier than the girl/girl set in Playboy's supposedly racier sister publication Oui.  Although this pictorial featured an inter-racial theme the two girls were really rather chaste; with no actual kissing going on.

August's Penthouse featured one of Agent Triple P's favourite Pets, the wonderful natural redhead that was Victoria Lynn Johnson.

It would be only two and a half years later that Agent Triple P would be faced with his first bright orange pussy; one that we remained attached to in every way for over a year. So there is a special resonance attached to the spectacular picture above!

Victoria also gave us Penthouse's most explicit masturbation shot to date. There doesn't seem to be much faux about this picture by Stan Malinowski. Victoria would try and make a go of it as an actress but didn't achieve much other than stripping off under a waterfall and getting attacked by a giant bear in the ursine Jaws rip-off, Grizzly (1976). Her most memorable performance also featured faux masturbation as she was Angie Dickinson's body double in the notorious shower scene opening of Brian De Palma's Dressed to Kill (1984).

Rub-a-dub dub for Vicky in Dressed to Kill

August's Penthouse followed on from the Bicentennial July issue by also presenting four, rather than the usual three, pictorials. Appearing first in the magazine was a young lady going under the name of Colleen Carney. Miss Carney had particularly prominent labia which were lingered on by photographer Timothy John. In one full page picture Miss Carney reveals very open labia showing that Penthouse had caught up again with Hustler. Was she the first girl in the magazine to display stimulated vulva?  Probably.

An excited Colleen Carney

The third pictorial, The Sculptor, was another period boy/girl love set but was rather less explicit than some that had gone before. The attention to detail in set and props continued Penthouse's high standard in this area. They obviously retained some pretensions to art.

The final August pictorial featured one Rhianna Post in another genitally focussed set by Jeff Dunas. Miss Post, again, is seen with her fingers exploring her nether regions and one of these shots, from the rear, is one of the magazine's strongest such pictures to date.

Fingering fun for Rhianna

Rhianna's real name was Henrietta Post and she was twenty three when this pictorial was shot. A very petite 5'2" she was later chosen by Bob Guccione to travel to Rome to film some of the added hardcore content he inserted into his troubled epic, Caligula.

In the picture below, from the additional scenes Guccione shot for Caligula, Henrietta/Rhianna is on the right watching April 1975 Pet Signe Berger service an Italian actor. Apparently Henrietta filmed an identical scene to Signe but it never made it into the finished film.

September saw another more graphically interesting cover for Playboy.  Inside was another version of the cover's rabbit head logo which could be used as an iron-on tee shirt logo!

September's Playmate was Whitney Caine (real name Julie Anderson) photographed in surprisingly explicit style by Phillip Dixon.  Dixon had also shot the labia revealing shots of Ann Pennington in March 1976 as well as the July 1976 Playmate, Deborah Borkman.

Whitney would abandon her art studies at UCLA to eventually become a disciple of Adi Da Samraj, a guru and spiritualist originally born as the rather more prosaic Franklin Albert Jones and known under a number of other names too, including Bubba Free John.   She became one of his nine "wives" and moved with him to live, with a group of about 40 followers, on the Fijian island of Naitauba, purchased by a wealthy follower from the actor Raymond Burr.

Whitney shows some tail

Whitney's splendid picture above is one of, if not the, most explicit rear-end shots Playboy has ever published.

There was more surprising post-Pubic War labia flashing in a pictorial entitled The Girls of Washington, photographed by David Chan.  Marianne Sears, above, was a receptionist while Carolyn Grubbs (below) was looking for a job as an air hostess.

It is rather surprising, really, that girls who were, essentially, ordinary women, rather than models, would pose for such explicit pictures. Either that or they had a nasty shock when the chosen images were printed!

Again, these pictures were racier than those in supposedly "continental" publication Oui.   September's cover presented a girl called Erica whose  pictures inside would have been naughty in 1974 but, just two years later, looked rather tame compared with what Penthouse was doing.

Erica in Spetember's Oui

September's Hustler put pubic hair on the cover again in, probably, their most explicit cover ever.

September's Penthouse carried on with its recent policy of having four pictorials which they had only recently introduced for the July issue.

The first pictorial, by Earl Miller,  featured a young lady called Sienna depicted with her finger firmly on the button and showing her bits in most of her photographs.

Sienna, September 1976

Miller also photographed September's Pet of the Month, the voluptuous Dawn Shaw, who was photographed with her hand on her groin five times including a nicely erotic but not explicit centrefold.

Dawn Shaw enjoys herself

The third young lady that issue was one Derna Wylde who demonstrates a relatively recent phenomenon in the magazine to show a girl's labia in its natural pink colour rather than muted down to a less prominent dark brown.

Derna's in the pink

The fourth pictorial featured stills from an arty, psychological, porn film (only in the seventies!), Through the Looking Glass (1976) directed by Jonas Middleton.  The film mixed porn actors with conventional actors and was, by all accounts rather effective.

This still, published in the US edition, was cropped in the UK version to remove the offending male member. The angle makes it hard to decide if it is erect or not but you suspect it just may be.

September's Gallery demonstrated that even they were joining in with the faux masturbation trend.

Gallery girl has fun

So, quite a steamy summer for America's Bicentennial.  Autumn would bring a new head for Playboy magazine as they attempted to stop the slide whilst Penthouse continued to go from strength to strength.