Playboy turns 50 with Bunny exhibit and worldwide party

At nearly 84 years old, Hugh Hefner's image as a playboy may be worn out, but the empire the entrepreneur created --
Playboy magazine, the Playboy Club and its iconic Playboy Bunny -- turns 50 and is celebrating with year-long events and two new clubs.

(Relaxnews) -

At nearly 84 years old, Hugh Hefner's image as a playboy may be worn out, but the empire the entrepreneur created - Playboy magazine, the Playboy Club and its iconic Playboy Bunny - turns 50 and is celebrating with year-long events and two new clubs.

Festivities include a Playboy party at all 50 Playboy Clubs around the world on the same night, June 20, as well as an art exhibit, clothing line, and commemorative merchandise.

The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania will show Playboy Redux: Contemporary Artists Interpret the Iconic Playboy Bunny, March 27-June 19. The museum and Playboy commissioned more than 20 contemporary and street artists to do a makeover for the Bunny of the future.

In a variety of media from photography and painting to sculpture, illustration and video, the new looks are created by artists Gary Baseman, Scott Anderson, Jeremy Kost, Tara McPherson, Kalup Linzy, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Chitra Ganesh, Ludovica Gioscia, Yumiko Kayukawa, Hiroki Otsuka, Vadis Turner, Saya Woolfalk, O Zhang, and more.

The first Playboy Club opened in 1960 in Chicago, Illinois, growing into a successful worldwide chain in several countries. Representing the sexy Playboy ethos, the clubs featured iconic Playboy Bunnies, waitresses who served cocktails until 1988. The Club at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas reopened in 2006 with the Playboy Bunny.

Patterned after the company's tuxedo-clad rabbit mascot, the satin bunny suit consists of a cotton tail, collar, cuffs, and rabbit ears. Former Bunnies included Deborah Harry (singer Blondie), model/actress Lauren Hutton, Monty Python comedian Carol Cleveland, and feminist author Gloria Steinem, as an undercover journalist for a 1983 book.

The 2.5 million club members or "key holders," have enjoyed entertainment at nightclubs featuring performers, such as Ray Charles, Dizzy Gillespie, Bette Midler, and Muddy Waters, and comedians Bill Cosby, Bob Hope, and Steve Martin.

On June 10, Playboy will host the World's Sexiest Party, a global anniversary event at 50 Playboy Clubs in 50 cities, including London, Hong Kong, Chicago, Las Vegas, and Johannesburg.

Plans to open two more venues in 2010 are set in Miami, Florida and Cancun, Mexico. The June 2010 issue of Playboy magazine pays tribute to the legacy, with sneak preview images of the new clubs.

Products created for the 50th anniversary range from vintage-inspired t-shirts, Bunny-inspired lingerie, and "The Hef" loveseat. Merchandise will be available at www.playboyclubstore.com and retail outlets, Ann Summers and Top Man in the UK and Urban Outfitters in the US.

Playboy anniversary: www.Playboy.com/Bunny50

Warhol Museum: www.warhol.org

RC

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