Picks and Pans Main: Etc.

updated 12/05/1983 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/05/1983 AT 01:00 AM EST


As far as calendars are concerned, anyway, George Orwell seems to have been wrong; it's we who are watching Big Brother—and medium-size but well-built brother. The feminist counterattack against pinup calendars of women has been so successful that America is aglut with hunks. Voyeurettes will most enjoy Cheeks (Cornerstone, $7.95), in which 11 out of 12 young men throw inhibition—and their pants—to the winds. The boys of Buns (Perigee, $6.95) are men of some celebrity—such as actors Adrian Zmed, Jon-Erik Hexum and Ed Marinaro—but they are clothed. Then there are the by now more traditional A-Hunk-a-Month Calendar (Wallaby, $7.95); Looking Good! (Landmark Calendars, Sausalito, Calif., $7.95); 1984's Hottest Men (Alfresco Calendars, Westwood, Calif., $7.95); Young Stars of Hollywood (JD Productions, Los Angeles, $8.95), where Hexum and his chest hair make another appearance, and California Surfers (California Surfer Ltd., $6.95).

Those searching for traditional pinups can find them. Made in New York (Te Neues Publishing, New York, $14.95) contains classy, seductive pictures by fashion photographer Jacques Malignon; the models include Iman-Haywood and Carol Alt. Alt also appears in the SPORTS ILLUSTRATED Swimsuit Calendar (Little, Brown, $8.95).

There are no calendars, pinup or otherwise, featuring Orwell, but a couple do address his classic novel. The Big Brother Calendar (Price/Stern/Sloan, $4.95) is a 32-by-48-inch poster that cites such events as the beginning of the National Academy of Science's loyalty checks (March 27, 1955). The 1984 Calendar (Point Blank Press, Lansing, Mich., $10.95) includes an essay by Nat Hentoff that exhorts us to vigilance so that "we can look at our television set without being afraid that it is also looking at us."

Paranoia aside, it should be a pretty year, thanks to a fine crop of art calendars. There are especially good ones featuring Impressionists, with Impressionist Masterpieces (Abrams, $14.95), a lovely appointment calendar decorated with the works of, among others, Renoir, Gauguin and Monet. The last gets a solo act on Monet Masterworks (Abrams, $7.95). American Impressionism (Universe, $10.95) includes such artists as John Singer Sargent and Mary Cassatt. Their contemporary, New England realist Winslow Homer (Universe, $7.50), is sumptuously represented on his own. Nineteenth-century Japanese artist Hiroshige is the focus of Ukiyo-?: Pictures of the Floating World (Pomegranate Artbooks, Corte Madera, Calif., $7.95) is an Oriental art calendar for those who might not know they like the genre. Everyone's favorite snouty critic weighs in with Miss Piggy's Art Masterpiece Calendar (Knopf, $6.95), including the slightly Vermeerian Young Lady Adorning Herself with Pearls (and Why Not?).

Outstanding among the photography calendars is Seeing Women (Crossing Press, Trumansburg, N.Y., $6.95), a portfolio by female photographers that omits such figures as Margaret Bourke-White and Imogen Cunningham. It is fascinating anyway. Women in Style (Women's Resources, Philadelphia, $7.95) is flashier, concentrating on female fashion photographers. Ansel Adams (New York Graphic Society, $9.95) does justice to Adams' great Western landscapes.

Show business calendars are often dull. This year is an exception, though. Staying Alive with John Travolta (Fireside, $7.95) and Flashdance (Cornerstone, $7.95) are full of sexy, sharply reproduced stills from those movies. There are appealing cast portraits in Hill Street Blues (Pomegranate, $7.95); The Golden Age of Rock (Pomegranate, $7.95) harks back to '60s giants like Janis Joplin and Otis Redding; and Hollywood Portraits (Universe, $7.95) skims off nifty publicity pictures of such stars as John Wayne and Bette Davis. There are two Marilyn Monroe calendars: The Marilyn Monroe Pinup Calendar (Harmony, $6.95), a compilation of everything from studio stills to an Avedon portrait, and Marilyn '84 (Pomegranate, $7.95), a grainy, not always focused collection by Milton Greene.

Literary lights fare well. The Jane Austen Calendar Diary (Harvest/HBJ, $9.95) celebrates the British novelist with quotes from her works and photographs of places she lived. The Women Writers Calendar (Crossing Press, $6.95) honors, among others, poet Carolyn Forché and novelist-essayist Tillie Olsen. It's a perfect gift for a teenage girl who has a pen and something to say.

The culinary arts are well represented, too, most notably by the James Beard Calendar and Recipe Book of Regional American Food (Workman, $7.95), which includes delightful Primitivist drawings by Massachusetts folk artist Jacob Knight. Cheese Calendar (Workman, $4.95) is part of a tasty series that also offers the Bread Calendar and another oh jams, jellies and conserves. The cheese edition features a recipe a month—Gouda Tartlets for November, for instance.

An enterprising subgroup among sports calendars is a series that focuses on college football at a dozen Southern colleges (Sports Yearbook Co., Oxford, Miss., $7.95 apiece). The calendars focus on one institution (Ole Miss, Texas and Auburn are included), giving records, photographs and quiz questions.

Kids can choose The Macmillan Children's Calendar (Macmillan, $7.95), a trusty perennial full of bright stickers, drawings of trains and, for 1984, a make-it-to-the-White-House game. The Foxfire Calendar (E.P. Dutton, $6.95), compiled by the imaginative Rabun Country (Ga.) High School, tells how to make animal traps and a gourd banjo. Lisbeth Zwerger (Picture Book Studio, $7.95) profits from the Austrian artist's drawings for such children's tales as Hansel and Gretel. Mary Stewart's Merlin (Quill, $6.95) boasts glowingly colorful illustrations by Greg Hildebrandt based on the author's Arthurian trilogy.

Among the calendars with odd themes is Ghosts: A Time Remembered (Ghosts, San Francisco, $9.95), which celebrates World War II fighters—an example, the Lockheed P-38L "Lightning." The Computer Desk Diary (Workman, $8.95) takes note of great moments in computer history—Lord Byron's daughter, Augusta Ada Lovelace, a math genius who worked on plans for a prototype computer, is cited as the world's first programmer. She died in 1854 after a lifetime of indulging herself in math and, later, gambling. Medicine (Abrams, $8.95) features some fascinating illustrations from medical history, like the 18th-century drawing of the preparation of a potion believed to be an antidote to snakebite. A leap year's panoply of notions on romance is offered in 366 Days of Love (Fireside, $6.95). Consider John Barrymore on the subject: "Love is that delightful interval between meeting a beautiful girl and discovering that she looks like a haddock." Or Bertrand Russell: "In the relation of a man and a woman who love each other with passion and imagination and tenderness, there is something of inestimable value, to be ignorant of which is a great misfortune to any human being."

Then there's Calendar (Universe, $2.50). The no-frills model, it has no illustrations, and "First Day of Summer" is among its wordier notations.

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