Saturday, April 18, 2015

Under a tree by Fédor Rojankovsky (1891-1970)

Al fresco sex month continues with this rather charming pen and ink and watercolour picture by Fédor Stépanovitch Rojankovsky.  Coincidentally, Agent Triple P had his sexual initiation in an identical way, also under a tree, which is, perhaps, why we like this picture so much. 

The apple picking brother and sister (left) and My cousin the lumberjack (right)

Unfortunately, we don't know the actual title of this illustration which dates from a book called Petit Carnet Champtre which was published in 1936.  The other illustrations from it in this post we do have the titles for.  There were 25 illustration in all but, sadly, we have had no luck tracking any of the others down yet.

The Tramp

If they look rather like x-rated children's book illustrations it is no surprise because Rojankovsy was most famous for his children's illustrations.  We'll look at Rojankovsky in more detail another time.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Hymne d'Amour by Auguste Levêque.

We have featured a painting of a couple by Belgian artist Auguste Levêque (1866-1921), previously.  Painted in 1901 this large oil (1.78 x 2.33 m) is remarkably frank for the period.  Like the previous painting we posted there is something rather post-coital about it.  It was exhibited in the Triennial Exhibition in Brussels in 1903.

At last after a dismal and cold three months, it is starting to feel like summer is on the way here and we had 77 degrees yesterday. So we thought this would be a good theme for the next few weeks: Al fresco lovemaking.  More outdoor sex soon!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Pas de Deux by Earl Miller

Time for another of Penthouse's girl/girl Love Sets and here we have a particularly effective one from Earl Miller.  Regular readers will notice that we have changed the layout of The Seduction of Venus to allow for larger images, especially those in horizontal format.  We have updated all the older posts with bigger pictures (you have to do it picture by picture!) and have changed the title picture from what our zoologically challenged friend S called "the duck fucker painting" to a detail of Mars and Venus by Louis-Jean-François Lagrenée 

This pictorial appeared in the September 1977 issue of Penthouse which featured Lucia St Angelo as Pet of the Month, whose pictorial you can see on our Venus Observations site here.

 Now, although these pictorials rarely bothered with chronological consistency or continuity this pictorial actually features two quite separate set ups and costumes.  We start off, as the title suggests, with the girls in ballet clothes, which are always evocative. 

There is something about toned legs emerging from underneath a tutu which always sets Triple P off and we have had several girlfriends in the past who were both keen dancers and enjoyed attending the ballet.  One, in particular was very flexible.  

There are no actual dance poses in this so it is all obviously meant to be post training.   These days ballet dancers are recognised as very fit, strong, highly trained artistic practitioners.  Their seductive image existed from the start, however.  In the nineteenth century, when the form was still developing, ballerinas, especially in the great French theatres, were not much more than prostitutes, trying to attract the eye of a wealthy admirer who would pay for their companionship for the night, after the performance.  Indeed, the top dancers of the Paris Opera ballet would not even appear on stage until the second act as the rich young men from the Jockey Club wouldn't arrive at the theatre, to gaze upon the uncovered legs of the dancers, until the second act so they could have dinner first.  So strong was the rule that each opera had to have a ballet in the second act, that when Berliox realised his opera Les Troyans would have to be split into two, because of its length, he had to ensure there was a ballet in each second act or incur the displeasure of the audience.

Unlike in most Penthouse pictorials our ballerinas aren't named, as the text is entirely made up of passages from The Song of Bilitis by Pierre Louÿs published in 1894.  We have discussed these poems before, in a post on the art of  Suzanne Ballivet.  The extracts in Penthouse come from the second of the three parts of the work, Elegies, which looks at lesbian love.

Once they have divested each other of their clothes and ballet shoes they indulge in some quite suggestive oral action on a couple of chairs.  The dark haired girl, in this section, wears her hair in a couple of blue ribbons.

This shot isn't quite as explicit as it appears at first glance as the blonde is actually licking the inside of the dark haired girl's thigh but suggestion is everything for Penthouse at this stage.  Considering the problems they had with another Earl Miller pictorial, The Lady and the Stableboy, a few months previously, they must have been being careful in their implied cunnilingus pictures, in case they got banned in Canada again.

There is implied fingering action in this one but it also very carefully shot.  Actual girl/girl finger penetration wouldn't be shown in Penthouse until 1993.

This is the last of the ballet shots and is the only one in the pictorial  which clearly shows the girls labia.  One of several kissing shots in the pictorial.

In the other pictures in the pictorial the two girls are dressed quite differently, in lingerie, and are on a different set (or a differently dressed one).  It's nice to see them smiling!

In fact, while we think the dark haired girl is the same one from the ballet pictures we think the blonde is a quite different girl.  She has much shorter, straighter hair and different nipples.

Whoever they are, there is  a lot of nice caressing going on in what is a nicely tactile sequence.  The blonde has a lovely bottom!

This photograph is actually the only one where the girls appears full frontal ,making you wonder whether these picture might have been set shot some years before.

Another couple of nice, intimate kissing shots add to the romantic atmosphere portrayed in the poems accompanying the piece.

Thy lips descend upon my lips.  All thine unbound hair follows them like a caress after a kiss.  It glides over my left breast, it hides mine eyes from me.

Another face between the legs shot but here the blonde does appear to have her mouth at least on the dark-haired girl's pubic hair if not actually lower. 

In this final shot the dark haired girl does have her mouth snugly between the blonde's bottom cheeks.  So this is a successful girl/girl pictorial, particularly in the non-ballet pictures which give us some nicely sensual kissing and caressing.  But whether there are two, three or even four girls we are not quite sure!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Red Hot in Alex

One of Agent Triple P's favourite films set in World War 2 is Ice Cold in Alex (1958), an almost perfect drama set in North Africa.  Ever since we first saw this still of stars John Mills and Sylvia Syms we thought it carried a strong erotic charge and it still does.   In fact the amount of skin she is displaying here was too much for the British film censor who cut the scene so this amount of exposure does not appear in the finished film.  It just demonstrates that you can have an erotic picture without it being explicit.

Syms plays an army nurse stuck with a group of misfit troops struggling through the wartime desert in an ambulance to reach Alexandria and an "ice cold" beer.  She never looks anything less than gorgeous throughout, dressed in her uniform and usually glistening with sweat.

She can crank Triple P's handle any day

The heat was real as it was shot on location in the desert, although in Libya, not Egypt, as post Suez crisis Egypt would have been difficult for a British film crew at the time.

In the final scene of the film our heroes get their beers and the look on Sym's face is one of pure desire.  In fact it was very good acting on her part as she couldn't stand lager and they had to use the real stuff for it to look right on camera.  John Mills got through fourteen glasses of Carlsberg before they had the scene in the can.  

In the original novel, the beer is American Rheingold but the producers felt the name was too Germanic.  In reality, as Denmark was occupied by the Germans in WW2, they would not have been able to get Carlsberg in Alexandria.  More likely they would have had the local beer, which Agent Triple P used to drink in Egypt, Stella (not to be confused with Stella Artois), which Triple P's father also used to drink during his service in Egypt in WW2.

Friday, April 3, 2015

How the breast was won by David Deahl

Well, after an overlong break from Penthouse pictorials we are able to move on to the next one chronologically.  The reason for the long interval since the last one, The Lady and the Stableboy which we posted last July, is that we could not locate the particular issue of Penthouse which contained this pictorial. 

We knew we had it but Agent Triple P's collection is contained in approximately 135 file boxes plus three piles, two feet high, of around 300 more magazines.  Somehow the Penthouse July 1977 issue was not in the box it was supposed to be in.  However, last weekend we sorted out the piles of loose copies and, inevitably, almost at the bottom of the final pile there it was!  The issue also features the lovely Christine Davray as the Pet of the Month and as we are a July centrefold in arrears we have scanned her and will post her in Venus Observations shortly.

The pictorial itself is rather an atypical one for Penthouse.  It is a period piece set in the Old West and features a well done saloon bar set which they refer to in the text as the Last Chance Cafe (oddly).

The pictorial is a straightforward linear narrative.  Saloon girl Tootsie LaRolle likes the look of the white-hatted stranger Slick Shuffle.  However, Deadeye Glaucoma (good grief), the villain of the piece and Tootsie's suitor is not too impressed and pulls a gun on Slick.

Slick suggests that they play cards for Tootsie instead and soon wins the first hand, at which point Tootsie takes off her stockings.

The villain is none too impressed with the strangers continuing winning ways, especially as every time Slick wins a hand Tootsie removes more of her clothes.  He suspects foul play and draws his pistol.

Tootsie kicks the gun up and thereby gives a quick flash of her fur in doing so while the sheriff arrives to corral Deadeye.

All the shots in the pictorial so far have been shot from just two points of view.  A wide angle view of the saloon and a closer shot of the table and the two chairs the card players sit at.  We can't think of another Penthouse pictorial which frames its action in such a limited way.  This was the only Penthouse pictorial by photographer David Deahl who, as a seventeen year old photography student in Iowa, had his first work accepted into the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art.   A year after this he provided the cover picture for Life magazine's 1978 re-launch as a monthly magazine.  Today he runs a successful advertising commercials film company.

Finally, with Deadeye out the way Slick and Tootsie get it together in the least erotically charged Love Set ever.  It's a shame as the young lady is rather lovely but Deahl obviously had no idea what a Penthouse couples set should be like at  the time and it's no surprise he wasn't invited back.  In fact, with its gurning models this looks much more like some of the "comedy" couples sets being seen in Oui during this period.  Fortunately the next boy/girl set, Sea Song, has a lot more passion.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Hustler Fantasy No 5 with Jamie Gillis and Serena December 1979

Our particular friend S, from Vancouver, has told us off for not posting a pictorial here for some time and said that as it was Valentine's weekend Triple P had to "do something about it".  She also said that I needed to post another magazine pictorial and that it needed to be "raunchy"!

Now I need to post another in my chronological series of Penthouse pictorials but, for various reasons, we do not have physical access to the appropriate magazines at present (something we intend to rectify this week) so while looking through what we could get at, we found our box of Hustler magazines from the seventies.  That certainly qualifies as raunchy we thought, flicking through them for inspiration.  Then we found the perfect set, considering Fifty Shades of Grey has just opened, from the December 1979 issue

S hasn't seen the film yet (Part of it was shot in Vancouver, inevitably) but suspects that it "won't be sexy enough".  Indeed, although it has been given an 18 rating in Britain (no one under the 18 allowed into the cinema) in Canada it has been given an 18A (meaning minors can see it if accompanied by an adult).  Because of this, one cinema in British Columbia says it won't be showing the film, according to S,  as minors can legally get in.  The 18 in Britain will be because of the S&M element as the UK censors don't like sexualised violence at all.  In France it has received a 12 certificate, meaning it must be very anodyne! 

Anyway we found this interesting S&M pictorial featuring Jamie Gillis and his then girlfriend, Serena, going through the motions most enthusiastically for Suze Randall.  It, at least, deals with the objections about the film (and the book) of some in that it has the woman giving it out as well as taking it.

Indeed, in these initial pictures from the magazine itself, it is very much the woman in control in most of the photographs.  This is something of a wince making shot, if you are a man anyway.  The heels on those boots look potentially very painful!

Notable for the time was the level of arousal Mr Gillis was displaying, following a period of the softer option in Hustler.  No messing around for the formidable Miss Randall!

Only in this, the final two page spread from the magazine, does Mr Gillis seem to be taking control. Perhaps Serena feels less empowered without her striking high-heeled boots!

Anyway, we also have some outtakes, which are rather more extreme, on the fetish front, than the pictures that appeared in the magazine.  Fetish-themed shoots were still very unusual in men's magazines at the time and for many readers these shots would have been the first glimpse into an unknown world.

Indeed, the genesis behind this pictorial was, according to Hustler,  because of the number of requests the magazine was receiving asking for information on S&M (or BDSM, as it is less elegantly known these days) and, in particular, where to buy the clothes and equipment.  We have to say that Serena's ensemble in this is indeed very, er, very striking.

The pictorial showcase the products sold in a shop called The Pleasure Chest on Santa Monica Boulevard. Founded in 1971 in New York and originally catering to the gay community, by the end of the seventies The Pleasure Chest became the first sex shop to create a boutique atmosphere and target couples. Nearly forty five years later the business is still going and still has a store on Santa Monica Boulevard.  

Indeed, Agent Triple P was invited to go and visit the place by a young lady he picked up in the bar of a hotel in Beverly Hills.  Actually, she picked him up as she was attracted by his accent, she said, (that and the fact, no doubt, that we were dropping a lot of money on Champagne).  

A brief affair followed, conducted during two successive visits to Los Angeles, about six weeks apart.  The ropes appeared on the second visit, much to our concern, although, fortunately she behaved impeccably, we parted on good terms and she still sends us Christmas greetings seven years later.  Oh, we never did get to The Pleasure Chest though!

The lady in question, who was a slight Chinese American, however, was interested in tying up Triple P.  This was a new experience, as our only previous experiences of this sort of behaviour had been of the lady wanting to be bound: something that went very much against Triple P's upbringing in a family dominated by strong professional women.

The first lady had to do some persuading on Triple P that she actually wanted to be tied up, eventually taking us into a curtain shop and buying red velvet curtain cords for the job.  She didn't want to be gagged, though and we cannot see the point of things like these ball gags.  We like our women to be vocal

Actually, to be fair, the lady wasn't the first who asked to be tied up.  There was one occasion when a girlfriend at university asked to be tied to our bed while we went in search of chocolate for her "to build the pleasurable anticipation".  Unfortunately, we got waylaid, as we have mentioned before, and said lady had relieved herself on our floor in the interim.  Fortunately, we didn't have a carpet but there were no tying up games with her after that. It took ages to mop up, given the nearest running water was on the floor below and the toilets were four floors below.   

In these shots, as we can see, Serena has dispensed with all of her fetish gear in place of rather conventional stockings which, from an artistic point of view, we think was a mistake.

One of the issues with some fetish photography we have seen, is the difficulty in getting any sense of motion in the whips, canes and what have you.  This often makes illustrations more effective than photographs in this area.  Randall does get some motion in the cat of nine tails in the bottom (!) shot however.

More high heel threatening here as we have Serena back in the full gear.  There is a lot of full-on anal display by Serena in this set.

In the final sequences Serena is very much in charge and Mr Gillis' excitement is patently obvious; something that makes the whole pictorial rather more authentic then some others in the magazine's recent history.

Now we do admit to having had some fun with riding whips but the more extreme forms of S&M are, on the whole, something of a mystery to Triple P.

We haven't read Fifty Shades of Grey because, apart from it being a women's book, we gather that it is rather turgid.  Fundamentally, too, we are suspicious of men who seem to think the imposition of pain and the exercise of control in a sexual relationship is anything that should be seen in a healthy sexual relationship.  It seems that in the book and the novel it is all in one direction.  Does the woman ever tie up the man?  The idea of the "weaker" sex taking control by force is, at least, more interesting as a concept.  

The idea of women only being fulfilled when they are dominated and beaten reminds us of a series of fantasy (in every meaning of the word) books about a planet called Gor, written by John Norman.  These started as a fairly harmless rip-off of the John Carter books by Edgar Rice Burroughs, where a man is transported to another world, where slave girls are prevalent.  By the later books, however, the stories became incredibly repetitive and tedious tales of earth women being brought to the planet and discovering a sexual satisfaction they had never known at home by being enslaved and abused.

Well, something about this has tapped into the fantasies of a lot of women, however, and the box office will be interesting on what has been a fairly critically panned film.  Most reviewers point out how the audiences for the film seem to be almost entirely women.  Interestingly, the only women I have met who enjoy being tied up and beaten are the strongest and most successful.  Does it say more about perceived weakness in men than submission in women?  Are you man enough to act like a man?  It is an intriguing discussion I will be exploring with some of my female friends over the next weeks, as I know several who are planning to see the film.

Interestingly, Britain's biggest hardware store, B&Q, sent a memo to all its staff, last week, telling them to be aware of the likelihood of enquiries about "rope, cable ties and tape".   It seems they were caught out by the demand when the book was released several years ago, so are making a copy of Fifty Shades of Grey available to the staff at each branch so they can deal "sensitively" with enquiries.   Given B&Q famously employ many more staff over fifty years old than most UK retailers this could be most interesting!  It could just be a cunning plan to sell more rope at a quiet time of year for the home improvement market, however!  Frankly, if this gets British people to be more sexually adventurous and open about different things in the bedroom, then this has got to be a good thing.  Although, no doubt, our increasingly puritannical press will throw up there hands in horror and we await the inevitable first school playground S&M story for them to be appalled at.

Anyway, this pictorial climaxes as it properly should, with Serena, still patently in charge, getting what she wants.  Lets hope many more couples around the world (apart from those countries where the film has been banned) have more sexy fun as a result, meaning that the film and the novel, however dreadul, have done something worthwhile.