Glamourcon 57: Playboy Playmates, pin-ups and a visit with Hef

Glamourcon is described as a "celebration and marketplace of the glamour arts."  It features dozens of Playboy Playmates from 6 decades as well as many other past and present glamour and pin-up models.  As Playboy's December 1979 centerfold, I've attended quite a few of these get-togethers which, for me, is not only a chance to meet old and new fans and friends, but also to see my fellow Playmates--a reunion of sorts.

Glamourcon 57 was held in Long Beach, Calif, recently with a lot of familiar faces.  I met this month's reigning centerfold Stephanie Branton, Miss August 2014.  I also had a chance to visit with my longtime girlfriend, Patti Connors.  We met as Bunnies together in the St. Louis Playboy Club and have shared a lifetime of memories.

Playboy founder Hugh Hefner (Hef to his friends), has described Patti, Playboy Playmate of the Year  1977 (Patti McGuire), as his favorite centerfold of all time.  She's been married to legendary tennis star Jimmy Connors for more than 30 years.  I asked her what she thought the difference was between Playmates then and now.  "There were a lot more brunettes back then and also more diversity.  Playmates were more down to earth and we were more like a sorority, a family," said Connors.   She remembers Hef from Playboy's Golden Age, the '70's, as "being very intellectual with the heart of a young boy, humorous and charming."

Some super fans have never missed a Glamourcon.  Keith, who supports and promotes Playmates via his Twitter site, SupportPlayboy, was in attendance as well as collector Tom Shimada and fan Brent Simpson, who described his visit to the Playboy Mansion as "Shangri-La."   Another familiar face at Glamourcon was John O'Neill, one of the ultimate dealers of Playboy memorabilia, who started collecting Playboy as a young boy.

Petite, dark haired beauty, Devin Devasquez, was Miss June 1985.  She's an author who's married to soap star/musician Ronn Moss.  He starred as Ridge Forrester on the CBS series The Bold and The Beautiful.  She compared being a "vintage" Playmate to a fine wine.  A highlight of her career was a special interview with another famous pinup, Bettie Page.

Deanna Brooks, Miss May 1998, literally wrote the book on being a Playboy Bunny. She was signing copies of her book, How to Walk, Talk, Tease & Please Like a Playboy Bunny, at the show.

Celebrating 60 years as a Playmate, Dolores Del Monte (Miss March 1954) is a familiar and popular presence at Glamourcon.  She began her Playmate career as a calendar girl just like Marilyn Monroe, who appeared as the first Playboy centerfold.  Dolores also shared her thoughts on the difference between Playmates then and now, "It's another generation and the photos seem to have gone a little too far.  It's different, just different."

Saturday night, a few of us were invited to the Playboy Mansion for a reunion with Hef.  These were girls who've known him a long time and included Patti McGuire, Debra Jensen (January 1978), Monique St. Pierre (Playmate of the Year 1979) and me.  We were thrilled to see him and even though he's not as young as he used to be, he still has the razor sharp wit and intelligence we all know and love.

Hefner, a Chicago native, created an empire that is legendary across the globe and opened the door for some of the most famous names in the world of literature like Ray Bradbury and Ian Fleming.  He was a human rights activist before anyone even knew what this meant as well as a philanthropist for worthy causes.  He recently saved the Hollywood sign from extinction.

I'm thrilled to be a part of the world of Playboy and was glad to see him still happily "hop, hop, hopping along."

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