A restaurant owner who touts his eateries as forward-thinking is raising money with a decidedly old-fashioned strategy: he’s hawking a sexy pin-up calendar featuring his waitresses.
Habana Outpost proprietor Sean Meenan, whose Fort Greene restaurant is known for its futuristic solar-powered chandelier, rainwater-flushing toilets, and bicycle-powered blender, is releasing his first ever “Habana Girls” calendar (yes, “girls”) just in time for the holiday shopping season.
“I really like the old Mexican calendar girls,” said Meenan. “I’d been looking at those and … was extra, extra inspired. I wanted it to be kind of sexy, but fun, too.”
The old-school approach features some New Age touches: the calendar is printed on recycled paper with vegetable ink, and offers conscientious oglers ways to reduce their “carbon footprint.”
More important, each page in the 2008 calendar is decorated with shots of women in Meenan’s employ, from the seductive photo of Mayaan Matari (Ms. May) in low-rise, really short Daisy Dukes and a navel-baring flouncy white top; to the (slightly) more modest image of Ms. April, Darcy Le Fleming.
Then again, Muriel (Ms. February) posed in an itty-bitty white top, baring most of her stomach, suggestively flourishing a plate of grilled corn near her skin-tight white pants.
Meenan said the calendar’s goal is to raise money for Habana Works, Meenan’s non-profit that runs free sustainable design workshops.
The calendar also promotes his business — but who cares about that now? There’s sex to sell!
In creating a pin-up calendar, Meenan isn’t just emulating a Mexican tradition or trying to be Sports Illustrated with a menu. Pin-up calendars have a long history in America, according to Maria Buszek, the author of “Pin-up Grrrls: Feminism, Sexuality, Popular Culture.”
“The pin-up is this genre of what I call sexual portraiture that emerged in the 19th century, when there was this conflation of [print] media and the emergence of women in the public sphere, women who were more and more insistent on their own sexuality,” said Buszek, who is also art history professor at the Kansas City Art Institute.
Indeed, according to Buszek (and in contrast to the stereotypes of feminists as dour and anti-sexuality), the history of pin-ups is actually a history of feminism.
“You saw women taking control of their representation, including the pin-up and including pornography,” said Buszek.
That’s certainly true in the case of Meenan’s pin-up calendar, where all of the women volunteered and chose their own attire.
“We’re trying to be progressive and look forward through environmentalism, but at the same time, we’re trying to be old school New York,” said Meenan.