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Never mind the Gene Siskel Film Center's January calendar page, with its steamy shot from The Double Life of Veronique—check out the new "Girls of Croatia" page. When I needled Marty Rubin, the Film Center's good-natured director of programming, about this, he replied, "We at the Film Center are well aware of the Reader's proclivities in this direction, and we have a stock phrase, 'Reader still.' When we're going over the stills for our monthly Gazette, and we come across a particularly juicy one featuring nudity or similar risque content, we say, 'Oh, that's a Reader still!'"
What can I say? You know it's hard out there for a paper / When the cybercompetiton never tapers.
I can't really fault the Film Center for doing whatever works to find patrons. The big studios certainly use sex to draw audiences, the difference being that their product rarely delivers the goods (or anything else for that matter). If you look at any typical month of Film Center programming, there's more healthy honesty about the subject—and probably more genuinely hot sex—than you're liable to find in the same month's general-release offerings. I think the Film Center should go all the way and do a 2007 swimsuit calendar.