Our free Mad Men special issue is now available!

This issue is a bit of an experiment for us — the first free issue we’ve ever released. It’s entirely available, even for non-subscribers, simply by downloading our free app or signing up for a free account over at Bright Wall/Dark Room (email & password are the only requirements) and reading it online.

The issue includes all seven of award-winning writer Erika Schmidt’s Mad Men recaps from the past year, as well as interviews with Pulitzer Prize-nominated critic Matt Zoller Seitz (NYMag/Vulture, RogerEbert.com), Christianity Today‘s chief film critic Alissa Wilkinson, BW/DR’s senior editor Kara VanderBijl, and our art director, Brianna Ashby. If you’re mourning over the loss of Mad Men, this is the place to dive into next—it’s a true plethora of MadMenopolis.

We hope you’ll join the conversation.

There is another approach, though, one that we’ve seen practiced on such diverse series as Game of Thrones, True Detective, The Knick, Masters of Sex, Hannibal, The Americans, and, yes, Mad Men: slow TV. What matters on these series is what’s happening inside the characters, not so much what they’re doing or what’s being done to them. Lay their respective incidents out on a time line, and you realize that things are moving at a rate that is, by the medium’s new standards, fairly methodical. … The title character of Hannibal wasn’t exposed as a serial killer for two seasons, despite having been a direct or indirect participant in at least one gruesome murder per episode; the series is mainly interested in issues of deception, trust, and conflicting moral codes and philosophies, of which the violence is but one expression.
—  Matt Zoller Seitz, The Rise of Fast TV: Why Empire Is the Preferred Script Model, Vulture (17 May 2015)

Hans Koller (February 12, 1921, – December 21, 2003) was an Austrian jazz tenor saxophonist and band-leader. Koller attended the University of Vienna from 1936 to 1939 and served in the armed forces from 1940 to 1946. Following World War II he returned to Vienna and played with the Hot Club of Vienna; in 1950 he emigrated to Germany and formed a small ensemble there. In the 1950′s he played with Freddie Brocksieper, Albert Mangelsdorff, Jutta Hipp, Dizzy Gillespie, Bill Russo, Lee Konitz, Stan Kenton, Eddie Sauter, Benny Goodman, Attila Zoller, Oscar Pettiford, Kenny Clarke, and Jimmy Pratt. From 1958 to 1965 he directed the jazz workshops of the Norddeutscher Rundfunk in Hamburg, returning to Vienna in 1970. Soon after he formed his own ensemble, Free Sound, and later that decade he worked with the International Brass Company. In addition to his playing and band-leading, Koller also composed; among his original works are a ballet entitled New York City, completed in 1968. Koller was also a recognized abstract painters

Editor’s Note:

We’ll be putting out an entirely free Mad Men issue next week, featuring all eight of our weekly recaps from this final season, plus interviews with critics Matt Zoller Seitz and Alissa Wilkinson, and a few other interesting Mad Men related things. (And, as you can see above, artist Brianna Ashby has already started in on the cover!) 

In order to read the free issue, though, you’ll need to either download the free BW/DR app, or set up a free BW/DR account online (email & password are the only requirements). We’re already looking into releasing more free “mini issues” in the future, so setting up an account today will make sure you don’t miss out on a thing. 

And then we can all get back to being unbearably sad about Mad Men ending tomorrow night.

In the finale, there was no question that Don had learned something. You saw him learn it in the group-therapy scene, hearing a man tell a story about being unable to recognize love when it’s given, and unable to love himself because of his feelings of worthlessness. Don’s reaction — crossing the room to embrace the man — felt like a break from the show’s bone-deep skepticism about whether people can change, to what degree, under what conditions, and whether the change can be permanent and genuinely transformative. The man delivering that hug was a man who had previously been uncomfortable with any display of emotion not facilitated by alcohol or drugs or total emotional collapse. Any way you look at it, this was major — possibly a reconciliation of Dick Whitman, the abused and motherless child who always felt abandoned, and Donald Draper, an assumed identity marked by a ruthless self-protective instinct, a religion of selfishness whose core was the belief that you can forget anything, pick up, and start over….

The series excelled at showing us how people think they’re moving forward, yet keep ending up in a place that looks eerily familiar. Don, Roger, Joan, Peggy, and the rest often made what seemed at first glance a core-transforming grand gesture, only to backslide, or realize much later that it was a disguised version of the same self-defeating thing they’d always done.

Mad Men was never so cynical as to say people are never capable of deep and lasting change, only that it requires more sustained concentration, work, and self-inquiry than most of us can manage. The show’s characters tended to be comfort-driven creatures who didn’t know themselves well enough, or understand psychology deeply enough, to repair the damage done by conditioning and trauma, much less the dedication required to follow through on anything they did figure out. 

It suggested that while the leopard cannot change all of its spots, changing one or two might not be out of the question. A lot of epiphanies don’t stick, but one that often does is the realization that other people are in just as much pain as we are at times, and that by reaching out, we momentarily heal ourselves as well as them. Once you’ve learned that lesson, you don’t forget it. It colors all the other problems that you continue to deal with, and suggests solutions to them. Whether you decide to pursue them is, of course, entirely up to you.

A preview of the cover art for our upcoming “Mad Men: The Final Season” issue, by artist Brianna Ashby.  

The full (free) issue will be released on Thursday, and will include all seven episode recaps from Erika Schmidt, as well as interviews with Matt Zoller Seitz, Alissa Wilkinson, BW/DR Senior Editor Kara VanderBijl, and Art Director Brianna Ashby.


Zoller Attila: After Glow #ZollerAttila #AttilaZoller #Zoller #Attila #AfterGlow #After #Glow #Jazz #Guitar #TimeLapse #Time #Lapse #Sun #Moon #Sky #Cloud #Clouds #Weather #Wind #Music #Video #MusicVideo #Film #Sunset #Day #Night #World #Life #Ikozosseg #Hungary

LoveSurf Girl Chelsea Cruz getting her yoga on in Laguna Beach

We had an incredibly successful LoveSurf Girl Shoot yesterday in Orange County! Thank you to all that could be a part of it, and a special thanks to Isaac Zoller, our Cinematographer, Cyrus Polk on Aerial Shooting, and our photographer Morgan Chapman. We can’t wait to share the footage!



LoveSurf Girl Photoshoot was originally published on LoveSurf Life+Style


One episode left before the end of an era (or two).

‘If you think of Mad Men less as a very long story than a set of short stories or story-songs with the same characters, moving forward in time in chronological order while not necessarily feeling obligated to sum things up for us in a neat and tidy way, the traditional expectations about endings seem less burdensome. What matters more on a show like this isn’t the ending per se, but the end note: In other words, it’s less about what happens than the mood of it, the way that final note sustains.’ Matt Zoller Seitz for Vulture

Joyce Carol Oates Did Not Care for the Mad Men Finale

Last night, Mad Men came to a close and it ended on an ohm. Many critics praised the final episode. (New York magazine’s Matt Zoller Seitz gave the episode five stars out of five.) Others, however, did not: This morning, literary giant Joyce Carol Oates took to Twitter to unleash an incisive, no-holds-barred takedown of the episode and the show. “Years I have been defending “Mad Men” against vociferous critics,” she wrote, “now I can see their point of view. Storyline just flat, uninspired by end.” Like scribbled notes in the margins of your college short story, Oates’s tweets are an unflinching autopsy of the final episode of Mad Men. Future critics, take note:

“Mad Men” replicates ending of “Sopranos”: iconic male figure, not unlike Gatsby, but less realized than Gatsby, dissolves before our eyes.

— Joyce Carol Oates (@JoyceCarolOates) May 18, 2015

Nothing in “Don Draper’s”/Dick Whitman’s character would lead him to Esalen-like ending. Tone uncertain: fatuous, or serious? Neither works.

— Joyce Carol Oates (@JoyceCarolOates) May 18, 2015

Suggest that “Don Draper” reconstitutes himself, returns & creates fatuous Coke ad? Would have to be executed visually, not by inference.

— Joyce Carol Oates (@JoyceCarolOates) May 18, 2015

Suggest that “Don Draper” reconstitutes himself, returns & creates fulsome Coke ad? Hardly an “ending” after 11 years.

— Joyce Carol Oates (@JoyceCarolOates) May 18, 2015

However, the “Coke” ending does bear (inadvertent?) resemblance to bitter-ironic ending of “Full Metal Jacket” w/ Mickey Mouse song triumph.

— Joyce Carol Oates (@JoyceCarolOates) May 18, 2015

Very brief, ironic glance of Betty at end, calmly smoking cigarette. Ravages of 60′s living manifest only in her, not others? (Not Roger?)

— Joyce Carol Oates (@JoyceCarolOates) May 18, 2015

Seen at a little distance, the great TV epics depict characters: Tony Soprano, Walter White, & now Don Draper. Storylines are but framings.

— Joyce Carol Oates (@JoyceCarolOates) May 18, 2015

(Was I alone in wondering at the stupefying length of the Megan story? & now her “crazy” mother, with Roger? forced & contrived?)

— Joyce Carol Oates (@JoyceCarolOates) May 18, 2015

Interesting how, in final episodes, the women w/ whom Don Draper had been involved, some of them quite striking & individual, are not evoked

— Joyce Carol Oates (@JoyceCarolOates) May 18, 2015

“Don Draper” as Gatsby-figure (self-invented & -named, duplicitous) seems in retrospect a character in search of a single defining act.

— Joyce Carol Oates (@JoyceCarolOates) May 18, 2015

Creator of “Mad Men” could not discover a single profound/ dramatic defining act for “Don Draper” w/ which to conclude saga.

— Joyce Carol Oates (@JoyceCarolOates) May 18, 2015

But of all these TV series only “Breaking Bad’ was truly cinematic. All others like filmed stage plays w/ much dialogue, interiority.

— Joyce Carol Oates (@JoyceCarolOates) May 18, 2015

By end of “Mad Men” challenge was to complete “Don Draper” trajectory memorably, which almost happens in telephone scene w/ Betty.

— Joyce Carol Oates (@JoyceCarolOates) May 18, 2015

The post Joyce Carol Oates Did Not Care for the Mad Men Finale appeared first on Vogue.

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