What is sexy, anyway? Pictures of Pamela Lee? The photographic
evidence from certain irrepressible newsgroups? Bianca's Smut Shack? Or
is sexy, simply put, attitude? Chutzpah? Following the beat of your own
drummer across the techno-electric-eclectic dreamscape of the Web? For us,
sexy is that certain intangible thing (call it a vibe) that some people
have-especially when they're doing what they do best. Sparks just seem to
fly off them, and before you know it ... hmm, haw, zap, YOWZA! your motor's
running. It's like, "Hey, now that's entertainment!" Here are
20 who are sexy at any modem speed, and those who just
get the redlight! By the RiotGrrls**
Auriea Harvey is a digital artist, programmer, and multimedia
maven with a site so rich you could lose yourself in it. To meet Auriea
is to want to be part of her world, to feel the interface envelop you. While
her artistic sensibilities encompass such traditional arts as painting and
sculpture, at 25 Riea represents a new generation of designers for whom
the digital medium is not secondary. An Indianapolis transplant, she now
lives in NYC's East Village. In her own words: "It is my goal to work
with digital media and see where it takes me where it takes us all."
Riea, darling, we go willingly.
Every cultural movement needs a new religion, and what could
be sexier than an all-out devotion to Slack? For the uninitiated, "the
purest, most sublime Slack obtainable is that derived from simply avoiding
THE CRAP THAT YOU HAVE TO DO. A good example of this is when you do laundry,
but just leave everything in the dryer, picking it out as needed over the
following week." In addition to saving your soul, Bob will officiate
a short-duration marriage between you and any subspecies you prefer. Slack
is definitely sexy!
The Bitch Is Back
As part of the threesome that created the top-notch grrl zine
called Bitch, and one of the handful of women reporters at Wired News, Janelle
Brown has always taken on the geekboy network with her sexy charm and bitchin'
sense of humor. Even when HotWired underwent staff cuts about a year ago,
and Bitch was forced to take a permanent hiatus, there was never any doubt
that Janelle would be back with more grrl-centric news from the firing line.
Maxi, her newest venture, debuted in May and gave Bitch the serious refurb
"... [W]e are redefining logos-the Word which shapes
the World. We are struggling to create a new relationship between being
and doing, through the mediation of this new language." For Mark Pesce
that new language is VRML, the programming language that brings 3D environments
to your 2D monitor. Pesce is an emotional code-slinger who writes about
his code with a passion and intelligence that is nothing if not sexy. Don't
be afraid of his deep geekiness: indulge in it, wallow in it, enjoy. You
may not always agree with him, but could the guy who said "We have
met the Borg and they is us" be anything but a complete turn-on? We
The Sounds of
Anti-porn feminist turned feminist pornographer for the digital
era, Lisa Palac is one grrl who's not afraid to moan. After joining Susie
Bright to publish the lesbian periodical On Our Backs, Lisa was asked in
1991 to launch a new erotic magazine called Future Sex, which quickly became
the defining publication on sex and the new technology. More recently, she's
been involved in the production of an XXX audio series called Cyborgasm
(think CDs with the sound of people doing what comes naturally). "What
makes me so interested in sex? Some say it's a genetic trait or a good way
to shock my mother or a way to get on talk shows. They may be right, but
I also write about sex because it is one of the most important-and interesting-subjects."
He back, he's bad, and he's got a Mac! When Apple hit the
wall last year with record losses and mass layoffs, it decided that perhaps
the "old way" was in fact the right way. Apple executives asked
Steve Jobs, former wunderkind/enfant terrible from Apple's early days, to
come back on board-with his entire NeXT company in tow. There was a big
fuss about this, of course, and for the moment Apple is still suffering
big losses, and spirits are leaden. Can the ex-hippie turned gazillionaire
bad boy turn it all around for Apple? Success is sexy, sure, but the dark
horse is even sexier. Go to it, Stevie baby.
Leslie Harpold is the High Priestess of Alternative Rock Criticism,
a grrly Lester Bangs. A veteran of film and print, Leslie started Smug, one of the sexiest urban Webzines
out there, in January. Producing Smug with a small band of frightfully talented
writers, she also writes the popular RiotGrrl Grrl Beat column. A Midwesterner
now residing in New York's Silicon Alley, Leslie's not just sexy, brilliant,
and urbane but homespun and right friendly to boot. Leslie could give you
a weekend's worth of sordid tales from the rock and roll underground while
baking you cookies and reminding you that some of the nicest people come
out of the Midwest. Armed with a modem and a punker's attitude, she's smug
as she wants to be.
The Johnny Rotten of
What can we say about Chank Diesel (that he won't sue us over)?
If you give Chank $10 he'll mail you a diskette full of cool fonts-designed
by him, just for you. He'll also give you a free font every week as long
as you promise to pepper your speech with expletives. You see Chank everywhere
and don't even know it. Mister Frisky has been on Taco Bell wrappers. Seen
those new Ocean Spray commercials with Chevy Chase and Bernadette Peters?
Guess who's got their zing? Chank created the font behind the cranberry's
sexy new image. Chank can make anything sexy. Buy his fonts, people. He'll
put the wiggle back in your walk.
Kim Polese is the sugar in your Java, kids, a Mensa-babe whose
potential is only now being tapped as CEO of Marimba. As a counterpoint
to the days when women brought the coffee to the company meetings, Ms. Polese
brought Java to the Net, and did it with the kind of style Bill Gates only
wishes he had. This is one sexy queen bean who could be the first female
software tycoon to pull focus from Redmond. Bill, you get the coffee.
Po Bronson is one of the new breed of young, sexy authors-fresh
to the world of publishing and full of Silicon Valley stories demanding
to be told. To wit, his second novel: The First 20 Million Is Always the
Hardest. No one tells it like Po, with his insight and sense of humor. OK,
so his home page is lame. With his talent and that drop-dead gorgeous face,
Po can't miss; it's as if he were an invention of Madison Avenue. Watch
him become the Bret Easton Ellis of his generation (ousting that unsexy
Douglas Coupland). Po makes the watching easy.
The Science Guy
Since when are science and a guy with a bow-tie not sexy?
Bill Nye was your chem lab partner with the wacky sense of humor. He never
just stood in the back of the lab; he'd make a ruckus, causing thermal reactions
while cracking booger jokes. You can get free science stuff at his Web site,
which is meant for kids. (Natch. It's too exciting for grown-ups.) There's
even a costume closet at his site where you can actually dress Bill up-how
sexy is that?
Amelia Wilson's place on this list is all about NrrdGrrl. NrrdGrrl has design qualities usually lacking
in a grrl resource site, plus the added pizzazz of Grrowl, Amelia's light-hearted
Webzine. A native New Yorker, Amelia is one of the new princesses of Silicon
Alley, a feisty Web designer with passions for hockey and Captain Crunch
who once described herself as the kid in the back of the class too timid
to raise her hand. On the Net, Amelia isn't just raising her hand-she's
leaping off desks and tap dancing through the classroom!
The Man with the FEED
Steven Johnson is the sexiest thing about the Web's smartest
zine. Then again, he may be the sexiest thing about any Web-zine! His solid,
clear voice permeates FEED and has made it a staple of the thinking-person's
Internet. His own editorials are cuts of sexy brilliance, like diamonds
on silk. He holds nothing back, but is never messy or out of touch. Under
Steven's sharp eye, FEED has refused to travel a more commercial route.
He keeps the focus on what FEED is really all about: words. An active participant
in all aspects of FEED, you can find him lurking about the message boards.
Steven Johnson is sexy integrity.
Telling It Straight
A columnist for The New York Times, president of the Technology
& Media Group, Inc., and a board member of the Electronic Frontier Foundation,
Denise Caruso has forgotten more about media issues than most people will
ever know. Calling her a visionary would be too tame; she's practically
a push agent all on her own. Her profile in the book Digerati, by John Brockman,
stands out because she is one of the few of the "cyber-elite"
to tell it like it is. "I refuse to use the word content," she
says. "It's insulting. Artists create art; writers write ideas. The
word will continue to be used, though, because media has become such a huge
commercial enterprise. Everything is becoming a commodity, including art,
Grrls in the Playground
Thank God for Lily James and Susannah Breslin and their PostFeminist
Playground. These grrls don't serve the saucy on the side. No sir, they
drench their work in it. So a word of caution: If you can't stand the idea
of women as sexual creatures, you may be frightened here. The first time
the RiotGrrls met the postfeminists we didn't know how much we had in common,
but after a good healthy ingestion of feminism à la the crunchy,
"earth-tone" set, we realized we were right at home. If their
ideas shock you, you probably need to be shocked. We've said it before,
we'll say it again: Shocking is sexy!
Giving It Away
CGI scripts are cool, but to the tyro Webmaster they're also
a source of aggravation and confusion. Enter Matt Wright, a truly groovy
geek and founder of Matt's Script Archive, the largest repository for freeware
CGI scripts on the Net. So what's sexy about CGI and Matt? Well, Matt is
only 18 years old. In between finishing high school and picking out where
he's going to college, he's done jobs for the likes of Hewlett-Packard.
In Matt's own words, "I am addicted to the Internet and the World Wide
Web, but hey, it's better than being hooked on drugs, ain't it?" Just
say "yes" to Matt.
Money, it goes without saying, can be intoxicating and very
sexy, and money is the sea in which Ann Winblad swims. She's the better
(well, sexier) half of Hummer Winblad Venture Partners, which holds about
$95 million in current venture capital investments. Got an idea that'll
change the world? See Ann and company. If none of that adds up to sexy to
you, consider this: She used to date Mr. Bill. (Gates, that is.) Why'd they
split up? Only Ann knows, and she ain't saying. Discretion is sexy.
Scott Rosenberg edits 21st, Salon magazine's best feature: a tech-savvy section
with the edginess that Wired used to have. Scott's columns have a bite that
has been missing from most techno-writing since the counterculture edged
into the mainstream. He keeps his edge reading Phillip K. Dick and listening
to Elvis Costello. He may have a picture of his cat on his home page, but
given his superior cred, we even find that kind of sexy.
Girl in Every Galaxy
Captain Kirk sexy? You betcha! Kirk may be kitsch, but if you
live on Earth you know who he is. He leered at the female ensigns, slept
around, picked fights, all of it. But, damn convention, even with a hair
weave and a paunch he still has it. Remember the green captain's shirt they
introduced to make Kirk stand out a little more? Wowee did he look hot in
that (which is how more than one alien grrl lost her virginity). Why Kirk
instead of Picard? Repeat after me those three little words: "flying
leg kick." Goosebumps!
Mom always said there were plenty of fish in the sea. Here's
a catch of some of the fouler ones. Our picks for the unsexiest folks on
the Internet, these are, by and large, the people who think they're hot
but most definitely are not. If your browser starts to head in the direction
of their sites, head straight for the Back button-and a cold shower.
Mighty keeper of the alt.sex FAQ, writer of "erotic science
fiction," and master of the Canonical Hanky Code (if you don't know,
you don't want to), "Elf!!!" posts voluminously to any group related
to sex, however remotely, and archives these gems of sexual wisdom at his
site. Naughty Elf!
Natasha "the sexgoddess"
She's one hot babe of a sexologist, this Natasha, and she's
got the Playboy pictorial and talk-show credits to prove it. Check out her
online dating service, if your idea of fun is a little hot chat with the
sort of guy whose favorite video is Natasha's "Acquire the Skills of
the Ultimate Lover."
Pictured online with President Clinton, this purveyor of super-heated
New Age platitudes exudes that "special" seer's look. As in, she
doesn't blink. Be sure to study her treatise ostensibly directed at her
sex-object-du-jour, Dorion Sagan. What d'ya think, Dorion? Restraining order?
Her arched-eyebrow visage hovers over her weekly Salon column,
The Awful Truth, a self-referential, desperately hip homage to Cintra's
life and times. As her bio puts it, she "was reigning bitch princess
of the San Francisco theater demimonde." The operative word there is
In an online excerpt from her next "book," the former
grande dame of Mondo 2000 confuses a work-camp for self-absorbed techno-weenies
(the South Park neighborhood of San Francisco) with certain important centers
of sexual sensation. It's all about as sexy as a cello-wrapped diskette.
Smug head man of Wired Ventures, Inc., Louis Rosetto is the
industry's head cheerleader, a master of overstatement who wrote in the
mag's first issue that today's technology portended "social changes
so profound their only parallel is probably the discovery of fire."
Wired? Or just wack-o?
See Joel with his basting brush and mixing bowls! See Joel
grinning like an idiot whilst reclining with his (remarkably cute) fian-cée!
See Joel in his swim trunks! Seen enough? With three newsgroups devoted
to him, Joel is proof that sex appeal is not a prerequisite for such an
Sen. Jesse Helms
Jesse Helms has a home page? Yessiree. "Do let me know
when I can be helpful to you," he says here. Well, Jesse, not anytime
soon, and certainly not in the bedroom. Helms is so sexually disoriented
he once held up an agriculture bill (that's right, agriculture) over the
issue of gay rights. (Maybe he'd sway our views if he posted some pictures
detailing the produce-sexuality connection.)
**The RiotGrrls are Nikki Douglas, Venus D. Wyld, Lola Simon, and Sushie