Posts Tagged: Leonard Bernstein

The Mystery Of The 1969 Naked Esquire Photo Shoot

It sounds preposterous, and it is. But the story of Esquire's grand plan to shoot a bevy of distinguished men and women in the altogether is, so far as I know, true. Here's the first paragraph of the unbylined, unheadlined story from the February 1970 edition of The Los Angeles Advocate:

Amazing! But how is it possible there is no record of these scandalous plans, save for a microfilm'd squib in a West Coast gay rag? (Go ahead and look. You will find nothing.) Before consigning this to the realm of the urban legend—albeit a legend that no one seems to know—I ran it by Gerald Clarke, Capote's [...]


Leonard Bernstein's Subversive 'Mass'

The New Yorker's Alex Ross filed a Freedom of Information Act request on Leonard Bernstein and received the late conductor's "eight-hundred-page F.B.I. file, memos from the files of Richard Nixon's Plumbers, and several lively excerpts from Nixon's White House tapes." In an ongoing series, he looks at how Bernstein's political beliefs and activities were monitored and interpreted by the FBI and the Nixon administration, particularly the "threat posed by 'Mass'-that multimedia, polystylistic spectacle in which Leonard Bernstein dramatized his struggle with God and fame." It makes for very interesting reading.