It's a very, very MAD world.

My latest (and greatest) television obsession is AMC's Mad Men, a show centered around the advertising industry in the early sixties. I know, unless you're already interested in the critical art form known as advertising, you wouldn't expect to take a liking to this show, but trust me, watch one episode and you'll be mesmerized.

The main theme of the show is really the role of women. At this time in our country's history, they were expected to make nothing more of themselves than housewives and mothers. They were taught to be curvy pieces of eye candy, told by their mothers and grandmothers to "tease, but never give it up until you have successfully reeled him in."

The show focuses on the character of Donald Draper (aka - Dick Whitman), creative director at ad agency Sterling-Cooper with a troubled past and a sugar-coated present/future alongside his bombshell wife, Betty, and their two small children.

Supporting characters include Peter Campbell, the brown-noser/potential blackmailer that everyone loves to hate, and Peggy Olson, the young, determined secretary turned copy writer.

Aside from the show being brilliantly written and elegantly shot, it manages to accurately portray the ideological snap-snot of what is arguably recognized as the most destructive decade America has ever experienced.


Ladies of Alt Rock

Is it just me, or do Erika Wennerstrom and Kim Gordon share some sort of resemblance?

Maybe it's just the fact that they're both overtly successful middle-aged women, each embodying an undeniable talent with a guitar in hand.

Gordon, at age 56, is not only a lead guitarist/vocalist for no wave/alt rock gods, Sonic Youth, but she's also a visual artist, curator, wife, mother AND she has her very own clothing line, Mirror Dash. However, the main reason why she's at the top of my 'people to be like' list is because of her admirable relationship with Thurston Moore, fellow band mate and her husband of 27 years. I have a shit-ton of respect for the couple because recent events in my life have proven what I've been told my entire life - relationships suck, marriage is a bitch and it takes way more effort than most people are willing to give. Their remarkable bond is an exception. They love each other in a loveless world.

End of soapbox monologue.

On to Erika Wennerstrom. This lady is a powerhouse. Her voice envelopes and epitomizes every aspect of blues-rock. Wennerstrom is lead guitarist, vocalist and pianist for a newer-on-the-scene, somewhat-underground band called Heartless Bastards. I've, personally, had the honor of seeing them play twice. They opened for Jenny Lewis at Stubb's in Austin June of last year, and I also saw them last October when they opened for Wolfmother. Both performances were absolutely memorable and disappointment-free.


Variation on the Word Love by: Margaret Atwood

This is a word we use to plug
holes with. It's the right size for those warm
blanks in speech, for those red heart-
shaped vacancies on the page that look nothing
like real hearts. Add lace
and you can sell
it. We insert it also in the one empty
space on the printed form
that comes with no instructions. There are whole
magazines with not much in them
but the word love, you can
rub it all over your body and you
can cook with it too. How do we know
it isn't what goes on at the cool
debaucheries of slugs under damp
pieces of cardboard? As for the weed-
seedlings nosing their tough snouts up
among the lettuces, they shout it.
Love! Love! sing the soldiers, raising
their glittering knives in salute.

Then there's the two
of us. This word
is far too short for us, it has only
four letters, too sparse
to fill those deep bare
vacuums between the stars
that press on us with their deafness.
It's not love we don't wish
to fall into, but that fear.
this word is not enough but it will
have to do. It's a single
vowel in this metallic
silence, a mouth that says
O again and again in wonder
and pain, a breath, a finger
grip on a cliff side. You can
hold on or let go.