Showing posts with label Mad Men. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mad Men. Show all posts

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Feed your head, feed your head

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Don Draper for Magnavox, 1963.

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Don Draper for 3 Chords & the Truth,
after that one party in Malibu.

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Teaching the world to sing, one record at a time

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It may have been something I ate. Still, last night I dreamed that I was Don Draper from Mad Men . . . the post- enlightenment Don Draper who'd like to teach the world to sing (in perfect harmony).

I was with Roger Sterling and my ex-wife Betty (as opposed to my ex-wife, Betty), who wasn't dying of lung cancer anymore. We were obligated to go to some stuffy occasion at some tony, modernistic (circa 1971) apartment in some newish high-rise that looked like all the other newish high-rises.

That detail made it difficult to figure out exactly where we were going. Eventually, we did. And we got there.

Inspiration from a 1964 record sleeve
As expected, the affair was staid, and the guests dull. And stuffy. Fakey, even.
Naturally, being Don Draper, I had a drink or three and for some reason wandered into the kitchen, which wasn't tony or modernistic. It was old, and it was a little shabby.

A gal was in there, dressed like a normal, blue-collar human being -- not a wealthy poseur. She was cooking and pouring drinks. And she was dancing to the music from an old radio or phonograph, I forget which.

I looked back out the kitchen door at the immaculate, expensive and quite sterile condo. I looked back into the kitchen, which wasn't any of that.

I decided the door was a portal into another dimension, and the kitchen was in another world -- a more real world than where I started. Then I walked through another door on the other side of the small kitchen area, and I found myself in a garage or storeroom. (A garage would have been damned interesting, considering high-rise. Then again, alternate dimension . . . so we're good.)

There, a young person was teaching an old, suspendered geezer to do the latest dance . . . to that music that was playing. I may not have known what the hell was going on, but the song had a good beat, and you could dance to it. My self-consciousness wasn't needed here, and it was all good.

WHAT DOES it all mean? Beats me -- I'm no shrink.

Maybe I taught the world to sing after all. Maybe I should have taught the world to dance instead -- though if you've ever seen me dance, you'd probably tell me to stick to the "sing" thing.

For the purposes of this here podcast -- 3 Chords & the Truth -- I'd like to think it's the kitchen . . . and the down-to-earth young woman cookin' and pourin' bourbon-and-Cokes. I'd like to think it's the other young person teaching the old fellow something more contemporary than the Lindy hop.

I dunno, maybe it's the geezer teaching the young'un the Lindy hop.
Either way works.

Any which way you call it, however, it's not the expensive, modernistic apartment full of stuffed shirts acting like a bunch of phonies. Old Don merely endured that kind of thing, and Enlightened Don liked it even less.

And come to think of it, there's not a damn thing "alternate" about the Kitchen Dimension.

Now give me a bourbon-and-Coke and a hug.


Monday, May 18, 2015

Do the Freddy

We bid a fond farewell to Mad Men in a manner that we hope might earn Roger Sterling's enthusiastic approval. Sal Romano certainly would have loved it.

So let's all do the Freddy.

Well, not literally. Eww.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Beer may be hazardous to your manhood

I could be wrong (though I really doubt it), but I think there's a metaphor for contemporary American society squirming around somewhere in this Ohio story.

Also everywhere in this story is a sharp sympathy pain down the groin of every living man . . . and probably a few dead ones, too.

Brace yourselves and read on. Or not.
Lorain Police say a homeless man was Life Flighted to the hospital after cutting off his penis.

Cops were called to the area of East 21st Street and Access Road Tuesday around noon after an unauthorized man was seen on CSX Railroad property.

Officers found the man with his hands and gym shorts covered in blood. He told officers that he had just cut his penis off. According to the police report, he said he tried to use an old rusty saw, but he used a broke bottle when the saw didn't work.

The man told police that "Busch (beer) made me do it."
YOU KNOW WHAT? I'd love to hear a contemporary Don Draper's sponsor pitch to the Busch beer people with that one stuck in his mind. And close to his heart . . . which you know if you're a Mad Men aficionado.
"Gentlemen, I'll probably never see you again, so I have to tell you something.
"I didn't enjoy Busch beer on a sun-splashed sandy beach with a blonde on each arm. That's what every American man would like to think of whenever he pops the top on a cold Busch. Get it? (leer) No, the truth is, I grew up in a whorehouse in Pennsylvania, and I was raised by a stepmother who didn't want me. 

"After I'd go through the pockets of johns while the whore were otherwise, shall we say 'entertaining' them, the girls would pay me off with a cold Busch beer. And I savored every golden drop of that cheap-ass beer because, gentlemen, your beer was the only thing that could kill enough of my brain cells -- dull enough of the psychic pain -- so I could somehow cope with growing up in a whorehouse with a stepmomma who couldn't care less if you lived or died, which, let me tell you, is kind of like cutting your own tallywhacker off with a busted beer bottle. Probably an old Miller High Life bottle. 

"Frankly, if I had my way, I'd tell you not to advertise your beer at all. Because if Busch beer is good enough to kill the pain of growing up in a whorehouse . . . if it's good enough to anesthetize you while you cut off your own tallywhacker, it will sell itself with no help from Sterling Cooper and Partners. 

"Gentlemen, thank you for your time. I'm going around the corner to get loaded."

Monday, April 16, 2012

Do the Freddy

Click on photo for higher resolution.
Click here for PDF of magazine.

Continuing on the theme of TV snark . . . behold this 1955 ad in Broadcasting-Telecasting magazine, a sort of birth announcement for my hometown's second television station, WBRZ.

Although, it does kind of tell you much of what you need to know about
Channel 2. And Baton Rouge.

First, there is a difference between what you come to expect out of Madison Avenue and
what you come to expect out of the Manship family. Second, the Manships never would have hired Don Draper. Third, this ad is enough to make Freddy Rumsen pee his pants.

THERE ARE Mad Men, and then there are madmen.

"Advertise on Channel 2. We'll give your account to the crazed love child of Count Macabre and Orene Muse!"

You don't get this because you had to be there.
Trust me.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

So square they have corners

June 1966: In New York, "Mad Men" Don Draper and Harry Crane are backstage at a Rolling Stones concert. Harry's trying to land the Stones for a TV commercial -- "Heinz is on my side." Yes, he is.

Meantime, four-cornered Don waits in the corridor and quizzes a flirty teenage girl about the ascendant youth culture. The only thing he gets out of the encounter is --
perhaps -- a slight contact high from all the pot smoke.

Harry inhales directly and lands the Stones for the TV spot. Only it wasn't the Rolling Stones . . . try the Trade Winds

"Why do you think they call it dope?

A THOUSAND-SOMETHING miles to the west, the radio men of Omaha's KBON also want to know what the deal is with this teen-culture thing. They come up with a great idea -- basically, "Hey, guys! Let's put on a show!"

This explains the above advertisement in the
Central High Register. And as Megan said to Don before he set off to see "the most dangerous band in the world," the KBON folk leave no doubt that they're so square they have corners.

They would have known this had they "asked the teenager" before placing that ad.

Like, who is that supposed to be anyway?
Fatty Arbuckle and Harold Lloyd?

BEATS the hell out of me. Maybe I can ask a "telephone gal."

They always know what's going on.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Who needs radio? Not Mad Men

Back when Top-40 radio was in on the national conversation, it could take a song from a TV show and turn it into a hit record.

The last time I
remember this happening was in the mid-1990s when Friends debuted on the small (and low-def) screen. And now?What is this "radio" that you speak of?

Don Draper, superb Mad Man ad man that he is, don't need no stinkin' radio to stir the cultural pot. He just needs a TV show, iTunes and social media.

And now, a mere 24 hours after appearing on the HD screen in living rooms across America, the new Mrs. Draper -- otherwise known as actress Jessica Paré -- had taken her remake of the Mad Men-era "Zou Bisou Bisou" to No. 109 on the iTunes "Top Songs" chart with a bullet.

Or at least an
amazing pair of . . . uhhh . . . fishnet stockings.

OH, you also can buy "Zou Bisou Bisou" as a 7-inch vinyl single on the Mad Men website.

From the
Chicago Sun-Times:
Showing a lot of leg — and chutzpah — the new Mrs. Megan Draper (Jessica Pare) delivered a sexy serenade to her husband at his surprise 40th birthday party, purring the early ’60s French pop song “Zou Bisou Bisou.”

The French-Canadian chanteuse’s performance made the unflappable Don Draper blush and his co-workers’ jaws hit the floor, while the Twittersphere lit up and countless viewers were infected with an earworm that sounds like Scooby Dooby Doo.

“At the time, I was like, ‘I can’t believe I’m new on this show and the first thing I have to do is an entire song-and-dance routine for the whole cast of “Mad Men,’’ ’ ” said Pare, who catapulted from a peripheral character last season to center stage in Sunday’s premiere. The two-hour episode drew a series-high 3.5 million viewers, a 21 percent increase over last season’s premiere.
MAINTENANT, MES AMIS, je te présente la version 1961 de «Zou Bisou Bisou» par chanteuse anglaise Gillian Hills:

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Bonne anniversaire à moi

Happy birthday to me.

A wonderful three-martini and duck à l'orange dinner on the town with my honey and dear friends.

Kicking back and listening to the 1957 Julie London album I bought from the used-record bins earlier in the day.

No, it wasn't exactly akin to Don Draper's surprise party on Mad Men tonight, with the big crowd of people, hepcats smoking weed on the balcony and the ooh la la burlesque en français. If it were, I'd probably end up, at age 51, having a heart attack just like Roger Sterling did a couple of seasons back.

And -- as the paramedics loaded me into the rescue squad -- I'd be thinking "Well, that was stupid. And I don't even like slutty French burlesque."

No, I'm a quiet roast duck and martinis kind of guy, content to spend the evening with friends and with my new wife . . . of almost 29 years. (No, seriously, I don't think the woman ages. Let's see Draper's trophy wife in 1994, eh?.) That suits me -- just like the '50s jazz on the old record player.

And I don't have to worry whether the rescue squad will let me take my martini to the hospital in a go cup.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

3 Chords & the Truth: Desperate for d'lovely

Pardon me if I'm a bit fed up with shooting and anger and death and strife and mayhem.

It was a bad week in Omaha. You've heard why.

I don't know about you, but I've got to get away, and I'm doing my best to take 3 Chords & the Truth with me this week. I thought I'd start off about half a century or so ago and take it from there -- "there" being a time and place where we at least pretended to be civilized, and kids shooting up schools were unheard of.

An era of madmen could do worse than drowning its sorrows with a hi-fi full of Mad Men music.

Like I said, that's our starting point this week on the Big Show.

TO TELL YOU the truth, if all our popular culture can conjure anymore is booty calls, bling and poppin' caps in random ass, I may just take up permanent residence in the Wayback Machine. I gotta get away.

We gotta get away. We gotta learn a new way of living before all we know is dying.

I'll think about
that later. Now I need to remember that times were simpler -- not perfect . . . just not quite as insane as today's default existence. Now I need to remember when lovely trumped angry, at least in the culture's official box score.

Back during a time when I still could be shocked.

I need to get away for a bit. Yes, indeed. I'm reckoning you do, too.

FOR SOME of you, this week's 3 Chords & the Truth will be a trip to a familiar and beloved destination, one where the rough edges have been smoothed out by the amazing grace of passing time. For others of you, it might be a journey of discovery.

But, at any rate, it ain't here. It ain't the fresh tragedies of a new year -- 2011 -- when you'd think we'd know better.

Welcome to a touch of class from years long past. Back when men wore hats . . . and it was really bad form to bust a cap in your neighbor's ass.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

LSU: 'It's toast(ed)'

Once again, the first episode of Mad Men explains everything. Or at least many things.

Take the new marketing campaign of my college alma mater, Louisiana State University.

The university --
and I assume we can still call it a university for now -- has taken grievous budget hits over the past 20 months or so as Louisiana continues to slash its bloated budget . . . in all the places it cannot afford to slash. As it turns out, the $42 million in cuts is just a warm-up for the $75 million butchering the state demands it outline by today.

And now, with all this going on, LSU is trying to figure out how to sell a shell of its former self . . . which, frankly, already was puny compared to many state universities around the country. They're calling it
"Love purple, live gold."

In other words, university leaders are rolling out a new ad campaign designed not only to use purple prose to spray paint a dessicated turd gold, but also convince prospective students all over America to take a big bite out of what just might hurt their post-collegiate prospects.

After reading this story in The Daily Reveille, the LSU student newspaper, I'm thinking they better have found someone as sharp as Don Draper to sell a suspecting public the academic equivalent of cancer sticks:
People often associate budget cuts with the University, but administrators are looking to create a new, hopeful image to brand the University: “Love purple, live gold.”

Herb Vincent, University associate vice chancellor for University Relations and senior associate athletic director, said the campaign was focused on the color gold, which represents excellence, achievement and prestige.

“Purple, passion — we love what we do, and we’re excited about research. Band is excited about sporting events,” said Jewel Hampton, University art director, who coordinated task force efforts for the campaign. “Gold is about hitting the gold standard of excellence. It’s more focused on presenting who we are to prospective students.”

In such a difficult economic time, Vincent said it’s difficult but necessary to brand the University with a new image now.

“The campaign is mostly about who LSU is and trying to define LSU based on the community that makes up this University,” Hampton said. “In that sense, the challenge we have in communicating for LSU every day is this private market of 16- to 20-year-old prospective students.”

Chancellor Michael Martin said it’s an ideal time to brand the University with a new message.

“People are trapped with old images and old phrases,” Martin said. “[The new campaign] is to recognize the place is always changing.”

Martin said once people mull over “love purple, live gold,” they’ll reflect on what it means to them.

“To me, if you embrace and invest yourself here, you’ll live better as a result of it,” Martin said. “Invest in a great education experience, and every part of life will be enriched.”
"AND YOU KNOW what happiness is? Happiness is . . . a billboard on the side of the road that screams with reassurance that whatever you're doing, it's OK."