Sunday, January 31, 2016

Lust in Space by Earl Miller

The next Love Set in Penthouse, Lust in Space, would be their sixth and final group pictorial of the seventies.  All of these, apart from the very first, Bawdy Bathers, would feature two women and one man.

It appeared in the October 1978 issue and was photographed by Earl Miller.  With the arrival of the two big budget science fiction films of 1977, Star Wars and Close Encounters of the Third Kind many of the men's magazines would present science fiction themed couples sets over the next few years.  In fact, Penthouse, ahead of the trend, had already had one, 2076, in their July 1976 issue.

More importantly for Bob Guccione, the space-themed pictorial matched with the preview of his new science magazine Omni, which launched that month.  The idea of his wife, Kathy Keeton, this mixture of popular science, science fiction and the supernatural ran until Keeton's death in 1997 and after carrying on as a web only presence for a few month essentially folded in April 1998.

 We have a few outtakes from the pictorial but will incorporate them into the main post, this time, rather than adding them at the end.

The text tells the story of an astronaut who has had to beam down from his spaceship to the surface of the planet Nymphon in the Phi Delta Pubis quadrant.  The text seems to have been more inspired by Star Trek than Star Wars.  Anyway the astronaut passes out as soon as he reaches the surface of the planet.

Needless to say, when the astronaut regains his consciousness he finds himself in the presence of two beguiling aliens.  Penthouse would present more exotic aliens in the future but these were the first and they certainly look striking.   Perhaps their bald look was inspired by publicity shots of Persis Khambatta, as alien Ilia, in Star Trek The Motion Picture, which would premier two months later, 

The two aliens recover the unconscious astronaut and take him to their space base.  Eschewing the normal metallic foil and plastic look they seem to have decorated their dwelling with embroidered panels in the manner of a bedspread.

This was a large couples pictorial with twenty photographs spread over twelve pages giving the photographic editors plenty of space to tell the story properly.

Whatever, our be-feathered alien chicks (perhaps they are related to the bird people from Buck Rogers) soon have our astronaut's helmet off and set to work on his spacesuit.

However, they have time to take a break and indulge in some avian-girl teasing.   Their abbreviated leather costumes owe more, perhaps, to fantasy than contemporary science fiction but the two (unnamed) models carry them off beautifully.

Next, the two space chickens brandish what the astronaut, in his first person narrative, describes as whips although the tails don't really seem to have the requisite stiffness to be successfully invigorating.

Men's magazines at the time were really only just dipping their toes into the BDSM water, which had yet to become a more mainstream part of visual erotica (Penthouse's pioneering fetish pictorial My Funny Valentine had not been followed up).  Still, the aliens go through the motions of beating and then insisting on some whip kissing,  It's not quite as convincing as that shown in the previous boy/girl/girl pictorial (also by Miller) Any Sport in a Storm (trooper) from November 1977.

Rather more extreme is this shot of our astronaut being abused by the heels of the space babes' shoes.  This is certainly the first male/female S&M shot  involving shoes in Penthouse.

This auto-erotic shot reveals that the girls' outfits, being made from straps are divided at the crotch.

This fact explains how the astronaut is able to, apparently, penetrate them while they both keep their clothes on.

The astronaut's penis is never visible in this shoot and in these pictures he is covered by the girls' whips.   This is likely because the astronaut is played by Earl Miller's assistant, Tom Swanson, not a professional model.

The final sequence has the space babes dispensing with their abbreviated costumes and revealing their nether regions for the first time.  The astronaut watches as they indulge in a little light lesbian pussy caressing before he teases them with their own whip.

Finally, after a nice bottom kissing photo, we get the most explicit sex position shot of the pictorial which also includes, unusually at this time for a Love Set, a strong anal shot.

This is a visually striking set and the girls, whoever they are, look very good indeed despite the (well done) bald/feather effect.  As was usual for group pictorials at this time it's not quite as explicit as the conventional couples sets of the time.  The light S&M element and fantasy setting is a precursor of many of the Love Sets from the nineties.

PS: Space Buggy has pointed out this illustration from Guccione's own Omni magazine, dating from 1980.  It is obvioulsy based upon one of the pictures from the pictorial (sixthe from the top).

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Marianela Nuñez in Carmen

Triple P enjoyed watching Carlos Acosta's ballet version of Bizet's Carmen on TV over Christmas (although the critics weren't convinced).  Carmen was played by splendid Royal Ballet Principal Marianela Nuñez who spent much of the ballet dressed in this enticing little black lacy number.

There really was something about the combination of black lace and very toned , pale thighs that worked very well.

Even better, at one point Acosta has Carmen tied up in a jail cell, treating her with the caution you would apply to a wild animal, which, of course, she is.

Marianela Nuñez was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, started dancing at the age of three and ballet school at the age of six (she is now 33).  She joined the Royal Ballet School in 1997, joined the company the following year and became a principal dancer in 2002 at the age of twenty.

Cuban born dancer/choreographer Acosta looks suitably ecstatic in his clinches with the lovely Marianela.

Nuñez (top) with Zenaida Zanowski in The Seven Deadly Sins

This isn't the first time Nuñez has appeared on stage in her underwear.  Back in 2007 she caused a stir in the Royal Ballet's production of Kurt Weill's The Seven Deadly Sins.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Dinner at Eight by Jeff Dunas

If ever there was a pictorial which summed up the difference between erotica and pornography, something which many people today seem unable to understand, it is the Penthouse Love Set Dinner at Eight by Jeff Dunas.

This appeared in Penthouse's July 1978 issue and was the first (of only two) boy/girl pictorials that year.  There had been four in 1975, 1976 and 1977 so it was something of a rarity that year.  Why Penthouse had cut down on its couples pictorials we are not sure.  It may have been because it didn't want to get into a battle with Hustler (who had five couples pictorials that year) over who could be the most explicit.

This was one of Penthouse's most elegant couples sets, exuding period character and beautifully caught by Jeff Dunas.  It had a mixture of  the Golden Age of Hollywood and the Great Gatsby about it and is in complete contrast to the cheap looking, over-lit material that passes for couples sets in magazines today.

Our heroine is supposedly the hostess of a grand party which has just finished leaving her and her chosen man alone in the house.  She agrees to meet him in the drawing room.

The girl is Lori Wagner who was so memorable in another Penthouse couples pictorial The Duel in December 1975.  She would go on to appear in the notorious Caligula (1979).  This passionate kissing shot is pure classic Hollywood.

In fact, the text describes them as looking like Valentino and Harlow.  They indulge in some effectively arousing kissing and caressing as Wagner loses her dress.  Dunas' murky lighting really does conjure up the image of a late night tryst in a darkened room of a big house.

Her back arched, he caresses one breast while she strokes the nipple of the other with her thumb.

More breast caressing here but also what is believed to be the first unequivocal erection in a Penthouse Love Set.  There is nothing salacious in this; it is just a perfectly natural reaction to the gorgeously glowing Lori.

This one, however, seems to show a slight failure of nerve on the part of Penthouse.   Lori is patently grasping his erection here but it appears that it has been artificially obscured with shadow.  It's still a passionate, if theatrical, shot with him holding that Penthouse staple, long pearls, in his teeth.

He has lost his undershirt, the inclusion of which is a nice piece of period detail in itself.  All men in the period depicted in the pictorial would have worn these.  It was, reputedly, only when Clarke Gable appeared without one in It Happened One Night (1934) that the wearing of these plummeted.  

She straddles his now naked thigh and, in the process, presents what at the time would have been called her fundament.  Dunas has the couple go through a series of striking poses; their bodies illuminated against the dark background with the lampshade presenting the only real flash of colour,

The composition throughout this piece is marvellous and many of the poses are more like modern dance than the actual realistic positions a passionate couple would indulge in.  In particular there is striking use of the hands throughout.

This is a wonderful anticipatory shot.  One of Lori's hands, fingers spread, caresses his hand on her hip as she strokes her own hand in turn.  She gazes, not at her partner but away from him as if her senses are focussed on touch alone as he kisses his way up her inner thigh to that prominent golden fleece.

Again, Lori surrenders to the touch of his tongue as he reaches his goal.  This was easily the most explicit cunnilingus shot to appear in Penthouse to date.

There is only the one copulatory shot and it is a rear entry one with Lori's head not even visible just the two bodies in matching poses.  Her stocking is wrinkled around her knee as if to demonstrate the level of her abandon.  Her hand is between her thighs; either caressing or guiding.

This is one of Penthouse's most successfully erotic couples sets and shows what a truly great photographer Dunas was.  Sadly, there seems to have been some dispute between Dunas and Penthouse and none of his pictorials appear on the Penthouse website, meaning that there are no outtakes from this particular set.

We will try to get our next Love Set up this week.