Playboy's L.A. Pop-Up Celebrates New "Woke" Iteration of Men's Magazine

The Gathery
The Playboy L.A. pop-up.

A Roxane Gay lecture; a "Free the Nipple" debate; and a panel on the "future of masculinity." This isn't your dad's (or Hef's!) version of the legendary lad mag.

The Playboy Club is back, sort of. 

For the next three days, the legendary men's magazine — whose founder Hugh Hefner died in 2017 at age 91 — is hosting something it's calling "the Playhouse" in a colorful, mid-Century structure in West Hollywood.

The event is meant to help kick off the all-new Playboy magazine, which has been re-conceived as a quarterly amid the exit of Cooper Hefner, Hugh's son, from the top post at the company. 

Forget the bottle blondes that once populated the pages of the magazine (as well as the boudoirs of the Playboy Mansion). The new version of Playboy, overseen by executive editor Shane Michael Singh, aims to take a decidedly post-Hef approach to the brand. Yes, Playboy's gone woke.

"Today, we strive to be more inclusive, stretching and redefining tired and frankly sexist definitions of beauty, arousal and eroticism," the editors write in an introductory letter to the winter 2019 issue.

The Playhouse, which kicks off on Thursday evening with a VIP event and then opens itself to the public for programming from Friday through Sunday, aims to transport readers "inside the pages of its magazine" with a "series of stimulating events and conversations."

Some of the events on the schedule might earn a double-take from Gloria Steinem, the doyenne of modern American feminism, who made her name posing undercover as a Playboy Bunny back in 1963.

For example, Roxane Gay, the best-selling author of books like Bad Feminist and Hunger, is hosting a "wide-ranging discussion on feminism, media and digital culture." Gay was profiled in the winter issue.

Another panel, "The Future of Masculinity," will be moderated by Singh — whose Twitter bio describes himself as "gay enough" — and will feature a discussion on what it means to be a man with actors Nico Tortorella and Sarunas J. Jackson in attendance.

Yet another event features Lina Esco, the founder of the "Free the Nipple" campaign; the women's toplessness movement was the subject of the magazine's winter cover.

And at "The Sex Amendment," Johanna Maska, a former Obama administration aide, makes a case that the Equal Rights Amendment urgently needs to be ratified — and that the U.S. Constitution should finally guarantee equality to both sexes. 

All of the panels and events are free and open to the public (ages 21 and up). Register for the events here.