Remembering That Day, That Girl, Central Park, & Danceteria

A long time ago, I sat on a blanket and ate luscious food and listened to friends talk about important things and I held a hand of a special gal who I never wanted to go away and is now lost in time. There was always a guitar, and I remember our squire singing the Simon and Garfunkel song bookends. 

"Time it was, and what a time it was, it was 
A time of innocence, a time of confidences 
Long ago, it must be, I have a photograph 
Preserve your memories, they’re all that’s left you"

I remember that day, that girl, that moment, and that song, but it’s all so long ago. No names and shadows of faces. My life is filled with memories like that; photos stuffed in boxes and dressers that remind me just-not-enough of a past that has left me here. It seems, when looking at an old video or photo, that I was always quite innocent (even when I was found guilty). There is always a naivety in the 2D, and I wonder if that’s my biggest problem. I believe I’ve grown afar from the things that made me happy on that Central Park blanket day. Yet the fundamentals, the core of me, is the same. I have lost too much in glitz and glam. It is a day of reflection after Obama and MLK Day, but also because an old friend is in town to say hey. 

George Haas, a door person at a club long gone, will meet and greet old acquaintances. Danceteria was as good as it ever got. Some can argue for Studio 54 or Mudd Club or The World or Paradise Garage or Area (a sort of Danceteria on steroids), but in the annals of club history of which I have served a humble role, Danceteria stands tall. It was the ’80s, and from what I can see from the black and white images, the clothes were mostly ridiculous. But the sex, the drugs, the adventures were unparalleled.

I often say that a club is often great because it hits you at a time of your life that you are ready for it. Danceteria hit me hard. I had hundreds of one night stands there. I woke up in strange places. I had more friends than even Facebook would allow me now. There was chaos and dangerous adventure and girls with hair that could hurt me. I met a wife there.

There are still groups on the internet that converse, tell tall tales and "remember the time…" stories. I try to always look forward. I try to define myself in the time I live and with the work that I do now, but nostalgia. according to Don Draper, comes right after "NEW" with the way it pulls our strings. I’m feeling that pull, and I will go to Lit Lounge tonight to see old George and the dinosaurs that come out to gather. Time has changed us, but like that piano player said in that movie: "The fundamental things apply as time goes by." I believe that. 

George Haas, Haoui, Rudolf, John and so many others put the fun in the fundamentals back at old Dancetera. That other crazy author said you can’t go back again… I’m gonna try.

Get my column in your inbox before anyone else by signing up for the biweekly Good Night Mr. Lewis email blast. 

Don Draper’s Beach Read: Dante’s ‘Inferno’

Season six of Mad Men is currently filming, and at least a few of the cast gets to "work" on the beaches of Hawaii, which I can’t say is a tough break at all. Thanks to our pals over at The Frisky, we got a peek at Jon Hamm and Jessica Pare lounging in some classic swimwear on those white-sand beaches. You know, just relaxin’ and doin’ ’60s beachy things like reading The Inferno, because that’s definitely what people read on vacation back then. Ahh, I miss the olden days when people weren’t so stupid and definitely didn’t read smut like, say, Valley of the Dolls. (C’mon, you think Don Draper is too good for Jacqueline Susann?)

There’s at least one burning question that Mad Men fans might be asking: what’s up with that scrape on Don’s knee? I can only hope that season six involves the return of Brian Batt’s Salvatore Romano, who might finally get the BJ from Don Draper that he’s always dreamed of. And let’s just be thankful for the proof that literally no one—not even Jon Hamm—can possibly look attractive and less awkward while trying to comfortably sit in a chaise lounge. (But goddamn: those thighs!)

Meanwhile, Jessica Pare and the Mad Men crew would like to remind you that she has breasts:

Follow Tyler Coates on Twitter.

What Does Don Draper Read?

All the time you spend in front of the boob tube is time you aren’t filling your brain with book-learnin’. But if the characters you watch on television do a lot of reading, that counts, right? With that in mind, Flavorpill has helpfully complied a list of books enjoyed by our favorite fictional characters.

Mad Men‘s Don Draper enjoyed a good spy novel, such as The Spy Who Came In From The Cold, by John Le Carré, and somewhat surprisingly, the single-woman’s manifesto, The Best Of Everything, by Rona Jaffee. 

Daria‘s eponymous sourpuss grumped over heavier reading: The Metamorphasis by Franz Kafka, As I Lay Dying by William Faulker, and more Solzhenistyn and Satre than should be allowed on MTV.

Lisa Simpson enjoyed such varied books as the Harry Potter series and The Brothers Karamazov on The Simpsons while Margo Tenenbaum from The Royal Tenenbaum stuck to plays. And for the reader I would most like to emulate in real life, Rory Gilmore from The Gilmore Girls has a bookshelf (er, well-stocked public library?) of my dreams. Rory loved everything from F. Scott Fitzgerald to Sylvia Plath to J.D. Salinger to Toni Morrison.

And no, I most certainly did not nerd out and bookmark Flavorpill’s Rory page with future ideas of what to read. (Okay, yes I did.)

‘Mad Men’ and Five Other Moments of the Jaguar as Pop Culture Icon

Chances are, your friends who watch Mad Men still haven’t stopped talking about how amazing / intense / dramatic / Drapetacular (a new adjective created by Mad Men fans solely for the purpose of describing this episode) this past week’s episode was. But one fan of the episode is pretty surprising: David Pryor, the Vice President of brand development at Jaguar USA.

The episode, “The Other Woman,” centered on the team at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce trying to land an advertising account with Jaguar. One particularly sleazy Jaguar exec tells Pete Campbell and Ken Cosgrove that he will vote for SCDP to take the account if he can have an evening with office manager Joan Holloway Harris.

Pryor told Advertising Age that he’s “a big fan of the show and it was gratifying to see our brand portrayed,” adding that his team would have probably taken Don Draper’s route of focusing on the best campaign and not trying for anything above board, but he’s confident that people know the situation was embellished and the lecherous exec was a fictional character.

The Mad Men exec and the slogan decided (“At last, something beautiful you can truly own”) may be fictional, but Jaguar’s position as a cultural icon within works of fiction is very real. Here are a few examples of how the luxury car has appeared in popular culture.

The Italian Job
The original heist film, from 1969, was all about cool cars and sweet action, including an appearance from Jaguar. Shenanigans and explosions abounded.

“Jaguar” by The Who
This driving garage-rocker even salutes the “grace, space, pace” slogan the car company used in the ‘60s. Appropriately from their album entitled The Who Sell Out.

Harold and Maude
The ill-fated drive in the last few minutes, the freeze frame, the roar of the engine juxtaposed with the strains of Cat Stevens’s “Trouble.”

Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery
Jaguar was the symbol of “grace, space and pace” in the 1960s, so it only makes sense in a movie that takes a cartoonish, kitschy look at the 1960s for the Jag (a ’61 E-Type, to be precise) to get a similar makeover. Mike Myers’ dentally impaired British spy drives one with a massive Union Jack painted across it and the license plate “SHAGUAR.”

Aimée and Jaguar
This one actually has nothing to with cars, but it is a compelling film depicting a love story not often told through the lens of WW2-era Berlin. The “Jaguar” here refers to the code name of German Jewish Resistance fighter Felice Schragenheim (Maria Schrader) in her love letters to Lilly Wust (Julianne Köhler), the wife of a Nazi officer, “Aimée.” You should watch it. 

Afternoon Links: Jonah Hill & James Franco Join Brad Pitt Production, Lil Wayne Gets A Shoe Deal

● Jonah Hill and James Franco have both signed on to the Brad Pitt-produced drama, True Story. Hill will play New York Times journalist Michael Finkel, and Franco his almost too good to be true subject, murderer and identity thief Christian Longo. [Deadline]

● Don Draper was unfortunately not able to help promote the upcoming season of Mad Men because Don Draper is a fictional character. AMC seems to be doing okay without him, though. [NYT]

● Are Natalie Portman and Benjamin Millepied get hitched while we weren’t watching? As Us Weekly points out, the two wore what appear to be sparkly new wedding rings last night. [Us]

● Jan Bernstien, creator of the Berenstain Bears children’s book series, has passed away at the age of 88. [TMZ]

● "It’s not a Nike or Reebok, I can tell you that much," says Lil Wayne of his forthcoming shoe line. And based on his wild footwear past, we believe it. [Billboard]

● Meet the young guns behind the file sharing sites that help keep your iTunes fresh stocked. [TheFader]

A Letter to Don Draper: You Used to Be Cool

Dear Don Draper,

You used to be cool. Sure, you were a bad person — a raging misogynist, for one. You arrived home stinking of foreign perfume and bourbon, and flopped face-down on your marital bed without regret. Your wife Betty sat awake in the dark, smoking and cursing your existence. You were a shitty husband, perhaps the shittiest husband in the history of television. But you know this already; you’re an ad man. You’ve seen the market research, studied the online recaps or the articles in women’s magazines. You were an equally shitty father. Your kids cowered when you came home. They hid in their rooms. Hell, everyone was scared of you, not just your kids. Employees and employers, friends and family, young women and slightly older young women, all feared you. Sometimes it seemed like you were even afraid of yourself, of who you’d become and what you might do next. And you were right to be afraid, Don. (Massive spoilers ahead.)

And yet, we couldn’t turn away. Like that flight attendant you accidentally picked up on your way to Cleveland or wherever, you charmed our pants off. We knew you were naughty, but you scowled in a skinny tie to perfection, sipped tobacco smoke like it was fine wine, stared deeply at us with those tired, knowing eyes. Maybe it was your mysterious past that drew us in. Or your longing to escape the status quo. I mean, how could we blame you for cheating on your bourgeois life with that beatnik from the Village, or the Jewish department store magnate — while Betty sat at home, sniffing in a matching skirt-suit? You had your own life. You were on the cusp, the fringe. New York City in the sixties. So what if you voted for Nixon? Your suits were impeccable, ad campaigns ingenious. You were cunning, insightful, handsome. And how cute was it when you read Frank O’Hara?

But since last night, it’s like I don’t even know you. When did you go soft? When did you stop being the ruthless cad we knew and enjoyed? You did something weird last night, Don, and I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to forgive you. You got mushy on me. I should have seen it coming when you cried that time, and everyone started putting pictures of you crying in different situations on the Internet. I should have seen it coming when you started writing in that diary, or when you started swimming laps to “clear your head.” It was too soon for you to get reflective. That’s not supposed to happen until the ’70s. You’re not the yoga type. When you put the ad in The Times about the dangers of smoking, I called it a brilliant business move, but also insincere, calculating, purposely hypocritical. We watched you light up in celebration of your innovative, slippery tactics, and knew you hadn’t changed.

But you fooled us, Don Draper. Last night, you saw a woman make your children smile, and your vision went misty. You told her you loved her, and I think you actually meant it. You were honest about your past, hopeful for the future, and pathetically sentimental.

So why the sea change? I think I know the answer, and it’s not good news: I think you have a brain tumor. At first I thought someone had slipped ecstasy into your drink in California, but then your act continued upon your return, and I knew that you were dying. Brain tumors often make people act irrationally. They make you giddy and loving. Don’t worry: these feelings aren’t real. Go to a doctor, maybe it’s not too late. Maybe you have one more season of solitary misery mixed with drunken sexual escapades. Maybe this engagement, like the tumor, is only temporary. But maybe not. Cancer is a quick enemy. But you are strong, and I have faith.

So goodbye, Don. If I don’t see you next season, I will see you in my dreams.

Sincerely Yours,

Adam Wilson

Cara Buono Is Delusional About Don Draper

Ever wonder who’s behind the tough blonde market researcher who’s currently giving Don Draper the Girl Friday treatment on Mad Men? Vulture has a good interview up on their site with Cara Buono, the actress who plays marketing genie Dr. Faye Miller on the show. If you’ll recall, she also had the difficult task of replacing Adriana on the last season of The Sopranos. Her Mad Men role, however, is far tougher.

As Faye, Buono must contend with the newly sensitive but still ass-o-holic Don Draper. She must portray an independent, self-sufficient, sharp-tongued smartie-pants who will not cook for a man, but will still wear four-inch heels, sport well-coiffed flaxen waves, and a perfectly pressed skirt-suit while getting her rocks off in the Draper bachelor pad. Buono is handling the role exceptionally well, but I’m a bit concerned over her optimism about the future of her character’s relationship with Draper. “I’m sure that an intimate relationship is developing with Don, and they’re both starting to really care about each other, and starting to think of a family. What would that be like?” she wonders aloud. Intimate relationship? Really caring? Does she not watch Mad Men? This is Don Draper we’re talking about, here! Sounds like Buono — like her character, and like every other female character on the show — has been lulled by the Draper charm.