In the 1930’s as the U.S.plunged into the Great Depression, Hollywood’s designated role was to take your mind off your troubles, with beautiful dancing Ziegfield girls. Historians may look at the current issue of W Magazine as the current equivalent. W, in case you don’t know is pitched at the wives of the Monied Crowd and the fashion business. This feature, entitled Summer Camp, is shot by Bruce Weber and is as close to pornography as the Conde Nast empire has ever published. But more than that, it depicts an important late empire portrait of decadence that Nero would have envied. Weber, who made the wonderful documentary, Lets Get Lost, on the Junkie trumpet player Chet Baker, is clearly trying to push the envelope with Sy Newhouse in the videos that accompany the project. With the exception of one Helmut Newton like image, the pictures are more countercultural than kinky. But there is no avoiding a Miami culture, built on the pleasure principle.
I am tempted to make some comparisons to a year exactly 40 years ago, 1968, but I am afraid it would do no one any good.