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Don Draper Goes Medieval! Is Mad Men Don Draper’s “Inferno”?

Man Men - season 6 episoe 1 - don draper reading dantes inferno on the beach

Midway upon the journey of our life
I found myself within a forest dark,
For the straightforward pathway had been lost. . .

Those were the first words we hear Don Draper speak in the season 6 premier of AMC’s hit show, “Mad Men” which aired last night. Dante Alighieri’s legendary Medieval poem is not one’s expected choice to be reading on the beaches of Mauii, but for Don Draper it seems to have opened many questions of himself.

You could even point out that throughout the series, Don has endured through many of the nine circles of sin described in Dante’s “Inferno” (such as gluttony, lust, and sin), so to capture the man of perceived strength and self confidence bring alongside with him a poem about the author’s personal midlife crisis really speaks volumes. Don, however, doesn’t speak for another 10 minutes into the episode.

Dante Alighieri’s “Inferno” is a piece of Dante’s collection of poems known as “The Divine Comedy“. Written between 1308 and his death in 1321, the work is still seen as a pinnacle in literacy for mankind, and is still read today by students and scholars around the world. Split into three parts: Inferno, Purgatoria, and Paradiso; the story tells of the author’s descent into hell before ascending to paradise.

And as Don puts it, “Heaven is a little morbid. How do you get to heaven? Something terrible has to happen”.

As Dante had Virgil at his side, Don has Sterling; and like Dante’s muse Beatrice, Don seems to have found a new muse in his latest mistress who leant him the copy for his vacation. It’s strange life he is living, but luckily he notes he must stop “doing this”, before he never figures it out.

Dantes Purification on the Deserted Shore of Pergatory- The Divine COmedy - Dantes Inferno - Master of the Dominican Effigies (1325 - 1355) - AGO Revealing the Renaissance

We got a chance to see one of first illustrated copies of Dante Alighieri’s “The Divine Comedy” at the Art Gallery of Ontario’s Revealing the Early Renaissance: Secrets and Stories in Florentine Art, by The Master of the Dominican Effigies between 1325 and 1355. Today, it still one of the most important works written.

A season back, or so, Don criticized Universities as a “Medieval” system, in an almost dismissive way, so its interesting to see him now delving into the pinnacle of Medieval philosophy. I guess it’s always good to stay well-rounded. And 800 year old wisdom, is just as good as any.

One of the most famous publications of “The Divine Comedy” featured engravings by French artist Gustave Doré, offering fantastical and surreal visuals to compliment Dante’s classic words. We thought them a wonderful showcase to accompany Don Draper and his voyage of self-discovery, and maybe provide a little insight and intrigue into the world of Dante Alighieri.

Maybe we will go on one too. Anyone want to join us?

Everyone’s got a little figuring out to do.

Why not get lost a little on the way.

Until next time,

{theEye}

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What Will Happen on Mad Men Season 6?

mad men season 6 jessica pare and jon hamm

It’s been a long winter without them, but lucky for us they are back!!!

Mad Men Season 6 finally airs tomorrow night with a special 2-hour season premiere, and all of our favorites back in the swing of their slick, stylish, roller-coaster lifestyles.

So many things happened Season 5, so if you need, there is a sweet video update on the AMC website. Also, expect a lot of surprises and plenty of changes (most especially the hair-dos!).

The cast and crew haven’t revealed much, but we definitely have a ton of questions about where this season will take us, like –

WHAT IS GOING ON WITH DON DRAPER?!

Mad Men Don

Last time we saw Don he was recently married to Megan, handsome as ever, in a sweet downtown pad, and a little down on himself for his cheating ways. How will things turn out for him with that? Will it only get worse? Some shots have emerged of Don and Megan on vacation in Hawaii, but knowing their relationship, things are likely to become volatile on a dime (remember when he left Megan at the Howard Johnson?)

Definitely looking forward to seeing his new office in the brand new space they purchased at the end of last season.

WHAT IS GOING ON WITH MEGAN DRAPER?!

Mad Men Megan

Megan, the vivacious, ex-secretary turned copywriter, young wife of Don Draper was last scene on the fancy set of a commercial she landed, and with her exquisite French beauty, chances are she really will make it as an actress. Or, she may just find herself floundering. Who really knows. Definitely looking forward to her new Priscilla Presley-style hair-do!

Hopefully there will be some new Zsou-Bisou, Bisou . . .

WHAT IS GOING ON WITH SALLY DRAPER?!

Mad Men (Season 5)

Last time we saw Sally she had her period, kissed a boy, and started to look and act like a really cool young woman. Let’s hope she keeps it up. Or maybe she’ll get pregnant. That would be a shocker . . .

WHAT ABOUT ROGER STERLING?!

Mad Men Roger

Last season we witnessed Roger Sterling tripping. Literally tripping – on LSD, with Angela Chases’ mom. And he pretty much took to it for the rest of the season, to the point it ripped apart his marriage with Jane. LSD is just one of those things. It didn’t seem to stop him, however, as it seemed to give him a whole new perspective on the way he looked at life. I guess, we’ll just have to stay tuned to see how this new perspective on life affects him this sixth season.

WHAT ABOUT JOAN ?!

Mad Men Joan

Last season Joan was left with a baby, and got back her job at Sterling, Cooper, Draper, Price. She had to deal with some crazy shit, but that didn’t stop this brassy ginger bombshell. Does anything ever? She seems to have secured them a pretty sweet new office space (two stories high), so there will be plenty of things (and people) for her to put into place.

WHAT ABOUT PEGGY?

Mad Men Peggy

Peggy has got herself set up at a new agency, with her own office, and higher paying salary. Everything should be good, but she still has a bit of questioning in herself going on. On top of that, her strange relationship . . . Peggy will probably one of those characters they really have fun with this season.

It’s always fun to see her make mistakes, and try to be as cool as everyone else around her.

AND WHAT ABOUT BETTY???!!!

Mad Men Betty

If anyone forgot, Betty Draper was FAT. Like fat suit, fat. Fat. Fat. Fat. She was doing weight watchers, and trying to watch what she ate, and slowly but surely she was getting a hold of her awkward eccentricities, that she had previously tried to ignore or weigh out. I think she’s gonna come back this season hotter than ever, and probably bitchier too.

Mad Men Season 6 Promo Pictures

I guess the answers to our questions are just 24 hours away, and if you want to know, make sure to tune in for the special 2-hour season premier on AMC at 9/8c ! ! !

Can’t wait to analyze and pick apart this entire new season, so stay tuned for plenty of ‘Mad Men’ goodies!

Until next time!

Sincerely,

{theEye}

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A “Trip To Bountiful” or “The Night Roger Sterling Would Take Acid With Angela’s Mom From ‘My So-Called Life'”

Talk about “Far Away Places”, one of the latest episodes of AMC’s premier show “Mad Men” actually featured two of the show’s main characters hanging out with Angela’s Mom from “My So-Called Life” and embarking on an LSD vacation (to help the marriage, of course)!

We’ve seen them drink, dope, and dose before on the show, always bringing the true moods of the times has become paramount to the show . The year is 1966, and while many of us would associate acid trips and LSD with Woodstock and the hippie movement, the development of Lysergic Acid Diethylamide and the exploration of its properties were anything but psychedelic at this point.

LSD, or Lysergic Acid Diethylamide, was first synthesized in 1938 by Dr. Albert Hoffman in Switzerland.  It wouldn’t be until five years later, Hoffman would unwittingly take the drug himself experiencing the first-ever “trip” . . . EVER!!!

Bicycling home, Hoffman would recall breaking down and believing he had been poisoned by the LSD – also, that his neighbor was in fact a witch! So you can imagine his distress…

The CIA would infamously use LSD as a form of mind control in a series of experiments involved in the controversial Project MKULTRA. This covert project was uncovered by a reporter in 1977 using the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) unveiling that covert units performed series of tests on American and Canadian citizens throughout the 1950s into the 1970s (maybe beyond…spooky, right?!) that included administering LSD for series of days (up to three months) and experiments in electro-shock therapy.

In fact, LSD was also being actively administered to individuals on pharmaceutical levels throughout the 1950s by various doctors around the world. The treatment of many clinical problems such as addiction, anxiety, depression, and a plethera of other psychological “disorders” were being treated with the on set side effects of the drug – the “trip”.

Once administered by a physician, whom himself has taken trips himself up to 40 times (for safety), an individual was let alone to their own vices, often times experiencing life altering epiphanies and self discoveries along the way.

Cary Grant was one such individual who swore by the miracle drug. This wasn’t something kept hidden from the public as many celebrities do presently with various addictions, but was part of a scheduled exercise between himself as a patient of psychiatry. Problems aren’t problems like they are for a man like Cary Grant who praised the techniques and results used to achieve such epic self realization.

As Grant explained in 1959 of the New York Herald Tribune:

“I have been born again. I have just been through a psychiatric experience that has completely changed me … I had to face things about myself, which I never admitted, which I didn’t know were there. Now I know that I hurt every woman I loved. I was an utter fake, a self-opinionated boor, a know-all who knew very little. Once you realize that you have all things inside you, love and hate alike, and you learn to accept them, then you can use your love to exhaust your hate … You can relax … Then you can do more than you ever dreamed you could do … That moment when your conscious meets your subconscious is a helluva wrench. You feel the whole top of your head lifting off.”

It would seem Grant had little aversion at all to talking about it, and quickly appearing in interviews and stories for The London Daily Mirror, The LA Times, and other national publications including a hilarious bit in Ladies Home Journal and Good Housekeeping headlining “How LSD Changed Cary Grant’s Private Life” to America’s housewives and bolting LSD and psychological transformation into public consciousness.

Grant wouldn’t be the only movie star to take the “trip”- other famous “patients” included James Coburn, Clare Booth Luce, Charles Brackett, and even the million dollar mermaid herself- Esther Williams who said that:

“This LSD trip … explained so much about my life’s script … [It was] such a breakthrough for me.””

Bet you never would have thought!

Hundreds of books were also written about the subject- all in hopes that LSD had the key. The magic cure to the impossible! The answer to all the meaning of one’s life necessary. Unfortunately, no sooner did the trend for LSD therapy catch on as it was quickly halted by the outlawing of LSD October 6, 1966 after nearly 40,000 patients treated by the psychedelic and literally thousands of scientific studies on the now illicit substance.


Good thing Roger and Jane caught on seemingly months before it’s demise from clinical and psychiatric care. Though still illegal, there are handfuls of individuals who would argue for LSD and its benefits. After all, every man must at some point come face to face with himself, and if life is a journey, having the ability to harness in on elements of your being is powerful. So if LSD can truly facilitate an out of body experience, and the journeyman is of sound mind, no doubt the results could be fantastic.

Recently Dyan Cannon has described her life with Cary Grant, and his obsession with LSD. Her account also includes many eyebrow-raising details of the matinee idol, we otherwise would never have guessed.Just as we always say at The Eye of Faith-  “Everything is not always as it seems”, and so is the case with the seemingly cavalier Grant.

Not surprisingly, the doctors prescribing their methods to Cary Grant were eventually apprehended for their own misuse of the psychedelic drug they had been prescribing. However, this did not stop the fascination with the psyche, and the undeniable portal LSD was giving people into their mind.

It’s powerful stuff potent enough to make someone legitimately go crazy. But, you gotta love how Roger handles his experience. You could almost imagine Roger having a Cary Grant penis rocket ship blast-offing from Earth kind of trip, but the Sterling actually pulls it off from beginning to end, and seems genuinely refreshed from his voyage of discovery.

John Slattery adds great panache and humor to the role, as he always does, and as surprising as it seems, is one of the most probable characters to be put in this situation. Poor Jane, always misunderstood and painfully misguided, if only LSD was really the answer to everything. At least they give her a great sense of style.

Totally feeling the Cleopatra inspiration on Jane’s hair, a very popular movie that was released in 1963, but received a shit load of publicity and press due to Liz’s mood swings and passionate affair with co-star Richard Burton.  There probably wasn’t a shred of paper that didn’t have a story on the now infamous production. Good to see it rubbing off, as it seems most things in magazines do- LSD included.

And if you haven’t seen the episode yet, you got to! Definitely award-worthy on all accounts! Just what everyone loves from the talented team at “Mad Men”. AMC has the clip of Roger and Jane taking acid, so click here if you dare.

Really had a lot of fun writing about this one! Never thought the day would come I could watch Roger Sterling take acid with Angela’s mom. I’d say, things are pretty sweet!

Would love to hear your take! It’s really cool how context shapes perception. The kid definitely seems happy, so what’s the deal?!

Would you take LSD with Angela Chase’s mom? Was Cary Grant totally off his rocker? What do you think? Let us know!

Sincerely,

{[THE EYE]}

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Vintage Close Up – Mad Men at the HoJo

(Photo Courtesy of AMC)

If you’ve ever had the pleasure of staying at a Howard Johnson, you undoubtedly recognize that sense of comfort you automatically feel when you hear the ring of that iconic name.

Created in 1925 by Howard Johnson himself, a $2,000 loan would help open a small drugstore/soda shop. The quick thinking entrepreneur would soon find huge success with ice cream recipes developed by Johnson himself that would catapult the Howard Johnson name to the tips of the tongues of America.

From ice cream, the Howard Johnson name soon founded restaurants all across the United States, becoming the largest restaurant chain in America. Furthering their name in American comfort and charm, the brand soon began opening Howard Johnson hotels all across the highways of America.

(Sourced from Slate)

This week’s episode of Mad Men capitalizes on this icon of nostalgia. When Megan and Don Draper find themselves at a Howard Johnson restaurant and all of it’s kitschy retro glory, ironically the famous ice cream doesn’t sit well with uber-current and cultured Megan.

She finds the orange sherbert tastes like perfume. Don thinks “What does she know?!”, and get’s weirdly defensive. Poor guy. It’s easy to see Don’s obsession with it all.

(Source: AMC)

A character like Don, who’s every fiber of being is his success with marketing, can’t NOT believe in this world. Howard Johnson epitomizes everything that is true America.

An every man’s fateful success story, Howard Johnson epitomizes this American Dream. A dream so many men, including Don, find themselves mindlessly chasing at the expense of those closest to them in their lives.

Is it worth it? Just ask Don.

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Close Up: “Mad Men” Season 5 – Ties, Rings, and Things

They always say: “God is in the Details” and every time there is the opportunity to watch AMC‘s pinnacle of television drama, “Mad Men” we are boldly reminded of this fact! So here goes our “Close Up” of some of the ties, rings, and things the men are wearing this season.

Five episodes into the long awaited fifth season (almost a year and a half!) and Matthew Weiner and his talented team have already lifted the bar, and continue to raise it as the seconds count down on each new episode.

Full of all the racism, sexism, cigarette smoking, adultery, feminism, and homophobia that characterizes the era, Mad Men has made success from context and exploited it against our own. It’s fun to see the evolution of the characters, changing or not changing with the ticking of the clock.

The men of Sterling Cooper Draper Price (Say that three times fast) haven’t much changed, but the evolution is there in their wardrobe. We are beginning to see the times liberating the characters and their style. There is a casualness, a cool that stemmed in America from the Beat movement, and an undeniable pull from the European art flicks of Fellini and the French New Wave.

Speaking of French New Wave, we have the bright return of talented Canadian actress Jessica Paré as Megan, Don’s new 20-something wife. Pare is such a talent; so charismatic, and just strikingly gorgeous. She had her screen debut in Denys Arcand’s “Stardom” where she played a normal Canadian girl who becomes a high fashion supermodel. [FASHION LOVERS WATCH TRAILER]

On the other end of the scale, Betty is still around residing in her “haunted mansion” (a grim corner property definitely rivaling the Gothic grandeur of the house in American Horror Story ) with her politician husband, and three children. With a house that big, it’s no surprise Betty is feeling engulfed by this new marriage.

Everyone is worried about her, mostly because she’s fat.  Compared to the dainty used to be model Grace Kelly look-a-like, this Betty is shocking. It’s really fun to see her like this, though. Count on an Emmy Award for those prosthetics! Absolutely Freaky! My guess is she’ll stay this way for a while.

One of the other delights is definitely Sally Draper. She’s no little girl anymore. She’s in that fantastic age where your mind is opening to different facets of the life that surrounds you. Growing up is hard, and I’m guessing this isn’t going to come naturally to her. Especially between homes, the dynamic between her parents is definitely straining, and she’s managed to pick up some angst and attitude from them on the way.

Vanity Fair‘s James Wolcott made his case for T.V. over the movies of today in a recent article:

As movie theaters switch from film to digital projection, home flat-screens take up a wall, Blu-Ray discs exhume masterpiece-painting volumes of color and intricate detail from popular releases, and the unholy moviegoing experience cries out for human-pest control, cinema has lost its sanctuary allure and aesthetic edge over television, which as a medium has the evolutionary advantage. Movies will never die, not as long as a director like Terrence Malick can make every green blade of grass sway like the first dance of creation, but TV is where the action is, the addictions forged, the dream machine operating on all cylinders. As I write this, the Academy Awards are a few days away, with The Artist the odds-on best-picture winner. Does anyone think The Artist is better than Mad Men?

I guess everyone knows the answer to that… And if this season is any proof, Wolcott is definitely onto something! Mad Men indeed transports you, and the best part is it doesn’t ask you to go any farther than your living room to take a trip through time.

Mad Men is truly such a treat. It is really the perfect dichotomy of performance, writing, and production. After an episode, or entire day, there are definitely a million things you can take away. For a true vintage nut, this latest season of Mad Men is off to a great new start, and it’s hard to get enough!

[End Credits Song from Ep 4. “Mystery Date” – “He Hit Me (And It Felt Like A Kiss)” by Gerry Goffin & Carole King]

Until next time,

-The Eye

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