A voiceover of Don Draper reciting the lines leading this post while thumbing through a copy of Frank O’Hara’s Meditations in an Emergency bring one of my favorite episodes of Mad Men to a close. It feels inconceivable that come this Sunday we will begin the final journey we will take with Draper, a powerful character who has presented a contemporary take on the mid-century modern psyche of New York City’s avant-gardists during the 1960s.
The poem cited above celebrates Vladimir Mayakovsky, a Russian Futurist whose work O’Hara regarded highly.
Also a caldron of creativity at the time was the intersecting worlds of design and architecture. A handful of the greatest stars during this time were Ray and Charles Eames, Eero Saarinen, Harry Bertoia, Frank Lloyd Wright, Alvar Aalto, Arne Jacobsen, Florence Knoll, Georg Jensen, Hans Wegner, George Nelson and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, to name but a few.
Matthew Weiner and his Mad Men team got this part right, too, tapping furnishings by some of these visionaries for the vignettes that coalesced into the perfect backdrop for the unfolding of this period drama. Case in point is an episode during the same season in which Don reads O’Hara’s poetry that has Betty Draper reclining on a Barcelona chaise during psychotherapy, her neck primly placed on the black leather bolster so as not to muss her coif.
By creating such a sophisticated representation of the era in design, Weiner’s team has amassed an entirely new audience for the mid-century modern aesthetic that reaches beyond those of us who live, breathe, eat and sleep design heritage.
I’ve been watching to see which savvy manufacturers would realize the style is now a solid fixture on the scene, and it doesn’t surprise me that Currey & Company is chief among these as they unveil new products with a fresh array of mid-century influences at High Point Market in a few weeks.
Currey & Company’s Moorsgate Multi Pendant with six lights made of wrought iron and recycled glass. The two light fixtures I’ve chosen to illustrate this post today exemplify one of the most fascinating things about the era from a design perspective: by the early 60s, the coexistence of disparate expressions were on the radars of enlightened American style-setters.
In hindsight it seemed design was everywhere and a certain political newcomer had something to do with this.
Aphrodite chandelier with 14 lights made of light antique mirror and wrought iron in a gold Granello finish. Walton, who was a contemporary artist, journalist and close friend of the Kennedy family, was an advisor to the First Lady on the redecoration of the White House. This is a perfect example of worlds colliding, which happened with increasing frequency during the 60s.
If you’ve ever doubted why she represents such an arbiter of taste still, consider she was one of the first to gather around her such an eclectic group of advisers, making her forever an early example of the nonconforming female influencer. Even after he’d risen through the ranks at MoMA, his typewriter was always on his kitchen table and the sink was filled with unwashed dishes. Thanks to his popularity, he didn’t need the table for meals; in fact, it was di rigueur for hosts and hostesses to write on their invitations, “Frank will be there!” as a tactic to draw some of the world’s wealthiest collectors and most popular artists to their gatherings. He was following a societal move toward money and glamour that elevated collectors above the artists as influencers; and by the early 60s, he was traveling the world organizing collections for the Museum, visiting and spending time with artists whose names we have come to know as pop and contemporary art’s early movers and shakers, many of them to his credit. His paradoxical legacy—as a globetrotting, bow-tied art-world idol AND the creator of poetry so gritty it would inspire Weiner to use it to reflect the turmoil of a New York City ad man’s disintegrating life—has meant O’Hara’s mystique has remained intriguing during the past nearly five decades since his death. It also makes him superbly modern, accomplishing strikingly for himself (and for Draper) the aspiration he penned in “Mayakovsky.” Four of my favorite lines from the poem are, “I love you. Schuyler found two poems that O’Hara had written while experimenting with Mayakovsky’s brand of symbolism, then folded into a book and forgotten about them. I can see Schuyler rushing around the apartment with O’Hara, trying to help him compose a manuscript from the flotsam and jetsam of papers his friend had tucked into every nook and cranny—a physical chaos on par with Don Draper’s mental mayhem that has been maintained since he came on the scene over seven years ago.
Schuyler would go on to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1980 for a book of his poems, a recognition that eluded O’Hara, who tragically died in 1966 at the age of 40 on a Fire Island beach. The poets and painters who mourned him were the same new establishment who had forever redirected history with their sheer bravado.
Following suit, design’s big names were making news thanks to visionaries like Florence Knoll and D.J. Mid-century modern standouts from Currey & Company include the Babylon Table Lamp, the Hookah Table and the Gilles Chair. Continuing the charge are manufacturers like Currey & Company who pay close attention to heritage of all eras when producing new collections.
Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. There are times when the writers of Grey's Anatomy attempt to explore so many angles -- using live animals to perfect surgical techniques, doctors battling their inner demons or patients suffering from any number of serious ailments -- that sometimes there is a less-than-perfect clarity to the show.

Spike will show all three Omen movies, and Cinemax is showing a mixed back of quality and crap: their line up includes Darkman, Dead Silence, Event Horizon, The Return, Rosemary's Baby, The Hills Have Eyes II, Fear, I Am Legend, Jaws.
If this story was any more awesome, it would come to your house and make breakfast, then wash your car and leave a big stack of fifty-dollar bills under the seat. The Simpsons' eleven-thousandth Halloween special airs this weekend, and includes -- somehow -- a Mad Men parody. There's a sense of desperation hanging over Mackey, who has nothing left to cling to at this point other than his freedom. Once again, I'm pressed for time, which means an abbreviated post on the Mad Men season finale. I was seriously tempted to get all mavericky with you guys and title this recap Grey’s Anatomy: Just Give Me Your Kidney, but I figured it might read like a rather cold and unfeeling public service announcement for organ donation. According to the all-knowing Michael Ausiello (formerly of TV Guide, and now of EW fame), Grey's Anatomy is set to resurrect the deceased Denny Duquette during its Nov. Viewers should note that this is Jeffrey Dean Morgan's second appearance since the season started, as he also made a cameo during the September 25th premiere.
You've probably seen those Direct TV ads that start off like clips from well-known movies, until one of the actors breaks the fourth wall and starts talking to the audience about the benefits of Direct TV vs. TV Watchers got a treat Thursday night as former Saturday Night Live funnyman Will Ferrell made his return to the show's Thursday Night Update as President George Bush. Kind of an uneven episode, which is why I'm sticking to this shorter, bullet-points format rather than writing a normal entry. I did like the way how, once again, the writers set us up to think something was wrong with Jim and Pam, only to fake us out.
A lot of good Creed stuff this week, including his implication that he's leading some sort of Don Draperish existence. As much as I like Michael and Holly together, I doubt they're longed to be together, considering the boss saw them kissing in the final scene. For someone who seems to be obssessed with pop culture, it's amazing how wrong Michael gets it.
I liked the glimpse Dwight gave us into his pre-Angela life, where he was apparently unaware of sheets, monotheism and preventative medicine. If you read this blog on a regular basis, you know how much we -- well, two of us -- love Lost. Second, there's the news that Dominic Monaghan, who left the show on a full-time basis at the end of season three, will do a guest-spot on NBC's hugely enjoyable Chuck, where he'll play another British rock star. I wasn't that into House's main plotline, involving 13, her self-destructive behavior and her one-night stand's mysterious illness.
I did like the subplot involving Wilson (it cracked me up that Wilson obeys the traffic laws of Grand Theft Auto, or at least a game that's supposed to be like GTA). On the other hand, how apropos was it that we kicked things off with the storied and dysfunctional relationship of Meredith and Derek? Moments before The Office began, I caught the close of NBC's grating Kath & Kim, and watched the outlandish, unfunny antics of the two main characters. Maybe I don't watch this show enough -- although I've seen almost every episode -- but was House a bigger jerk than usual last night? Granted, he was dealing with the death of his father -- and I'm noting giving anything away, this was in the previews for the episode -- but he seemed more childish than before. Draper’s odyssey is sublimely representative of the experimentation and chaos of the era, as is O’Hara’s story and poetry, and the work and lives of the artists he gathered around him long before he was an executive at the Museum of Modern Art.
It’s spot-on in its tone, as the “catastrophe” of O’Hara’s and Draper’s personalities prove, making them both model citizens of their time—a slice of history that conjures up a cocktail of images we now see as signifying a new American age replete with its own art and literary royalty dubbed the New York School. The blending of Bauhaus and Scandinavian sensibilities, European Modernism and American ingenuity were swirling like a vortex to create a watershed moment for new thinking.
I was particularly taken by the lighting I saw as the company’s creative director Cecil Adams previewed the new collections with me.

When she went shopping for contemporary art for her new home, even the bohemian poets and artists took notice. He had suggested the gallery as a perfect choice because it was renowned as being a hotbed for the most cutting-edge contemporary art in a city known for such. Culturally, it was both challenging—civil rights and gay rights among the explosive points—and expansive—censorship gave way to poets and artists being able to express themselves even in the edgy terms O’Hara and company now personify.
Consider the fact that Henry Francis du Pont also advised the First Lady on her White House makeover.
And as eclecticism and paradox infiltrated more layers of modern life, design grew to be the personal reflection of our very selves it is today.
Schuyler suggested they meld these with two other short poems in his disheveled piles to create one composition. By daring to force a departure from the status quo, they created a new style that forever changed art and literature’s landscapes. This season is no different for this Atlanta-based company, which has showrooms around the country, as the new products being released call to mind the glory days of Mad Men, designs inspired by du Pont’s renowned Winterthur Collection and other stylistic periods. Fortunately, the central theme of teaching that has wound its way through the season has proved ultimately fascinating and also paved the way for some much-needed comic relief. The FOX Reality Channel, meanwhile, will show something called The Search for the Next Elvira. At the end of last week's episode, Dunder Mifflin CFO David Wallace found out Michael and Holly were dating.
According to Entertainment Weekly's Michael Aussiello, Mad Men's Jon Hamm is in talks to do a multi-episode guest spot on 30 Rock later this season. His family wants nothing to do with him, he's turned in his badge, and Ronnie really seems to be on the fence. For more in depth looks, I'll point you to fellow Tribune blogger Maureen Ryan and Alan Sepinwall of the Newark Star Ledger. House firing 13 was a non-starter; we knew she'd be back within an episode or two, if not by the end of the episode. Or more specifically, with really naked Derek really waiting behind closed doors for Mer, only to be dragged into playing referee between the ever-bickering Izzie and Alex. The choice of this poem by this poet for this drama is one of many brilliant moves Matthew Weiner, the television series’ creator, has made during the show’s storied history as we move toward the end of an era with its final episodes. I can’t imagine two satellites of influence farther apart than the American collector and horticulturist, and the contemporary artist who escorted Jackie Kennedy into that art gallery. Thank you, Jackie O! Though Frank O’Hara never lived in posh digs, his influence on those who did was substantial. It’s interesting, isn’t it, that when we think about those who have left and are leaving legacies, the plumb lines back through history often match up so seamlessly? Had to get that out of the way, less some PETA fanatics feel the need to accuse me of endorsing violent trauma on helpless animals. The star of TV's best drama -- who showed good comedic skills on SNL last week -- on TV's best comedy.
The blog Tirico Sauve has come up with a bunch of other suggestions for future commercials.
She actually did pretty well (guest spots by non-entertainers can be brutal, as anyone who's ever seen Ralph Nader's SNL appearances can tell you).
At the start of the episode, Michael and Darryl agree to help her move, and Michael promises they'll see each other every weekend.

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