Flickr image by sarahinvegas
Looking more like a seasoned Maurice Chevalier or elder statesman than Bathrobe Erectus, Playboy founder Hugh Hefner received a standing ovation at the Gene Siskel Film Center at the screening of Hugh Hefner: Playboy, Activist and Rebel this weekend.
The movie, directed by Brigitte Berman, is the latest to chronicle Chicago history at the Art Institute's new film center. Earlier this year, Disturbing the Universe about Chicago 8 lawyer extraordinaire William Kunstler was shown and last year Radical Disciple: The Story of Father Pfleger was screened, attended by Chicago's second most famous son, David Axelrod.
Anyone who grew up before Reagan, in Chicago or both will delight at the forgotten cultural icons director Brigitte Berman revives: Dick Gregory, Lenny Bruce, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Count Basie, Louis Armstrong, Sammy Davis Jr., William F. Buckley, Dick Cavett, David Steinberg and many more.
TV clips from "hifi, party record and hootenanny" days on Playboy's Penthouse and Playboy After Dark feature folk singers Pete Seeger and Joan Baez.
Who knew Playboy sponsored one of the biggest jazz festivals in history? Who knew it sent the Playboy jet to retrieve Vietnam orphans who bunnies, out of costume, nurtured back to health? Who knew Playboy supported Children of the Night, a group that helps runaways evade prostitution or that Hef went to Northwestern?