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Where Are They Now? All of the Characters Mad Men Has Left Behind

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Don Draper is a man who leaves things behind. Though his "mysterious" past is by far the least interesting part of Mad Men (possibly even less interesting than whether Lou Avery's cartoon got picked up by a Japanese studio), it does help explain why Don does the things he does: He learned very early in life that you can get out of any problem by running away from it, claiming that you aren't the person everyone else thought you were, and at least pretending to start over.

As the series prepares to wrap up, Don has left his life yet again, taking a seemingly endless road trip west, toward California. For all that Don has simply abandoned advertising, he's kept in contact with his daughter Sally, the most important person in his life -- but that doesn't mean much to the many, many other people whose lives he has roamed through, leaving a trail of destruction and psychological anguish in a time when therapy was a lot more taboo. Here are a few of those people, along with some guesses about what they've been up to.


Screen Shot 2015-05-15 at 3.23.43 PM.pngBobby Drapers One Through Three

Wait, Who Is That Again? Don's eldest son, who is so unimportant in comparison to Sally that he has been played by no fewer than four actors, without anyone really noticing other than to remark on how boring he is as a character.
Why Don Left: This one isn't so much Don's fault. Not a lot you can do when your son going through puberty involves transforming into a different actor... three times.
Where Are They Now: Huddled together for warmth in the snow, seeking their father's love. In vain.

Screen Shot 2015-05-15 at 3.25.45 PM.pngFrank Keller
Wait, Who is That Again?
Don's accountant! Remember him? Megan had to invite him to the surprise birthday party because Don tries really hard not to let anyone come into his life and has no friends.
Why Don Left: Since he's basically giving away all of his possessions and returning to full-on hobo status, Don probably doesn't need Frank's services anymore. Poor Frank--he was so excited about being invited to Don's "gathering of intimates."
Where Are They Now: Still in the office. Next year's taxes won't do themselves.



Midge

Wait, Who Is That Again? The first woman we ever see Don with during the show! Midge (played by Rosemarie DeWitt) introduces him to Beatnik culture, and generally seemed to find her paramour amusing in his stuffiness.
Why Don Left: She found another man and got into heroin--they were just an incompatible couple, I guess. It happens.
Where Are They Now: Kind of depressing, but... probably dead, right?



Freddy Rumsen

Wait, Who Is That Again? The only person on the show to crawl even deeper into a bottle than Don, Freddy is a former Sterling Cooper copywriter reduced to freelancing, pitching from office to office, sometimes as a front for Don's actual ideas.
Why Don Left: For much of season seven, Freddy is basically the closest thing Don has to a male friend (not that he has many female friends anyway) outside of the boundaries of the SC&P office. But after giving a level-headed, powerful speech trying to get the younger man to quit drinking, Freddy disappeared.
Where Are They Now: In an AA meeting, complaining about Peggy.

Screen Shot 2015-05-15 at 3.36.19 PM.pngDr. Faye Miller
Wait, Who Is That Again? One of Don's girlfriends from season four and an extremely accomplished psychologist who works at a consulting firm doing market research.
Why Don Left: She was too intimidating, and less exciting than his secretary, Megan. Don expected Faye to also be a mother to his children, something she was unprepared for. She might have been the best person Don ever dated, but getting dumped did give Faye the opportunity to level one of the most potent diagnoses of Don--that he "only likes the beginnings of things."
Where Are They Now: Drinking champagne on a yacht with an extremely handsome, compassionate, and intelligent man who makes her very happy and fulfilled. Or not. Who says she needs a husband?


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Welcome to the Art World Lord of the Flies: Everything We Saw and Heard at NYC's Art Fair Openings

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Screen Shot 2015-05-15 at 1.16.56 PM.pngKorakrit Arunanondchai's massage chairs at Frieze

In the middle of New York city's Art Week, it's hard to tell where the art ends and the party begins. Held in hard-to-access locations, like an island (Frieze) or a giant basketball court on the East River (NADA), the fairs become their own isolated ecosystems. Surrounded by so much art, so many art people, and no bodegas for miles, our primal instincts start to show. We start drinking a lot of champagne regardless of the early hour or outrageous prices. We start making bonds and alliances with unlikely fair goers. The leaders begin to emerge. And after hours of being in the same place, the panic sets in. Will you make it on the ferry back? Which one of your allies will split an Uber with you instead? Does anyone have a cigarette!? It's Lord of the Flies, but with million dollar paintings instead of palm trees.

frieze15_3.jpgZachary Leener at Frieze

The day began with a ferry ride to Randall's Island for Frieze's first day open to the public. Most of the VIPs had come for the preview the day before, but there were still some collector types in attendance -- their appearance is easy to pick out in the crowd (bowties and expensive looking hats, usually). The fair had the usual onslaught of neon word art and mirror sculptures ready for Instagramming, but interesting new works by emerging contemporary talent like Math Bass and Zachary Leener gave Frieze an edge that you won't see in a more traditional setting like the Armory art fair. Even more so, a surprising amount of work had an interactive quality. Climb up a velcro half pipe in a velcro suit, take a personality test in the form of a maze created by Aki Sasamoto, sit in Korakrit Arunanondchai's paint splattered  luxury massage chairs; Frieze was like a carnival except you could buy craft beer and an artisanal charcuterie board instead of cotton candy and corn dogs.

Screen Shot 2015-05-15 at 1.19.43 PM.pngChloe Wise at Division Gallery

But after a while, this high-end art Ferris wheel isn't fun anymore. You miss your real friends, not just your art island allies, and you really want a taco. After a lot of anxiety over how to get back to Manhattan, it's a dream to be at the opening of NADA, the New Art Dealers Association contemporary fair held at the East Village's Basketball City. Free to the public and hosting a slew of young galleries showing exceptional emerging artists, NADA is like the Brooklyn of art fairs. There was a relaxed atmosphere where artists, gallerists, collectors and viewers co-habitated, milling around the booths with considerably less anxiety than Frieze.

frieze15_2.jpgSiebren Versteeg at Bitforms gallery

Many artists showing at the fair like Chloe Wise, Daniel Heidkamp, and Genieve Figgis were in attendance, hanging out drinking on the East River, listening to a mariachi band play. From Corey Escoto's polaroids at Regina Rex, to a great collection of works including Figgis and Heidkamp at Half Gallery, to a painting robot by Siebren Versteeg at Bitforms gallery and a giant vagina painting by Betty Tompkins at Louis B. James gallery, the variety of work was as satisfying as the fair's overall unpretentious vibe.


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I Tested the $50 Light Treatment That Makes You Trip Balls

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Screen Shot 2015-05-15 at 2.20.28 PM.pngPhoto via Facebook.

Ever since witnessing a bad mushroom trip at 14, I've had one drug rule: no psychedelics when I'm in a bad emotional place. It's a good rule in theory -- responsible, even -- but in practice I'm 1000% more unhinged after taking mental inventory of myself. It's a Virgo thing, or an anxiety thing, or an "Am I Too Old For Drugs" thing. I have to wonder if people in good emotional places even bother with this level of masochistic self-assessment, or drugs in general.
 
I asked myself this question as I made my way to the Aspire Center for Health and Wellness in NYC. A month ago I'd received an email from the center, subject line: Get High without Drugs (& Unlock Creativity). Click bait for ex-stoners. Click click click. Inside was an announcement that the Lucia No. 03 Hypnogogic Light Machine was coming to town for two days. The light's website told me it "allows an immersion into your own inner consciousness; a place of unimaginable peace and beauty."
 
Except, on the day of my appointment, my inner consciousness was a pile of hot garbage. In recent months, my anxiety has become so pronounced that I can no longer pretend it's a trendy version of stress. My jaw is perma-clenched; I'm ever aware of my heart rate; my stomach acid sends stabs of pain up the left side of my body. If I had scheduled an actual drug trip, I would've called out sick. As I rode the subway, I wondered if the light would induce the heart attack my anxiety tells me is lurking in my future. Would an EMT volunteer have to wheel me out of the Aspire Center for Health and Wellness on a gurney?
 
File under: Toxic drug thoughts.
 
*******
 
There are two women in the waiting room. One has wet hair and takes a selfie with an iPad. The other is Allison. She's a US distributor for the Lucia light, petite with a broad smile and long hippy hair. Her Good Vibe Game is so strong that I take some of my anxiety and give it to her to hold.

She hands me the iPad so I can sign an e-waiver. It warns that I might experience the following during the half-hour session: fluttering of the eyes; the feeling of transcending my body; seeing visions and symbols; and in the case of undiagnosed epilepsy, a seizure. The form also asks what I hope to gain from this experience. I check the "creative inspiration,""spiritual experience," and "out of body experience" boxes. I gloss over "relaxation," because never.
 
I'm taking my iPad selfie when the wet-head girl speaks. "I'm going next, right? Because I've been waiting here..." Allison explains that my appointment is next; hers is after mine. "So I have to wait even longer? I've already been waiting an hour!," Wet-head says. Allison reminds her she didn't actually book an appointment, that they're squeezing her in. Wet-head sucks her teeth. I wonder if she knows there are rules to tripping, that she needs to be cool or risk emotional annihilation. My chill is quickly escaping.
 
Allison pulls me out of the room and the aggro spell is broken. Allison reminds me of high school and puka shells. I want to build a time machine with her.
 
She asks me what music I'd like to listen to during the light experience. I know it has to be slow -- too fast and my heart will explode. She plays some meditative music for me and I ask her to play Grimes, instead. I want Visions but Allison puts on Halfaxa by mistake and I don't want to make a fuss. We're waiting in the hallway while the guy before me wraps up. He is recapping every detail with Allison's assistant, his voice soaked in awe. "Man, that was incredible... is it really over? I can't believe it's over. Dude... when I asked you to turn up the visuals... my mind is blown, man." I picture him in jersey shorts and a t-shirt, maybe a visor, a post-frat bod. When he emerges, though, he is slight, wearing office attire and Ira Glass glasses. He scuttles past me and down the stairs, back into his own bleak reality.
 
*******
 
I'm seated in a small room in front of what looks like a spotlight. Allison tells me we'll do a light trip for two minutes and then check-in. Then we'll do a medium trip for three minutes and check-in. The remainder of the 30-minute trip will depend on how I react to the trial runs.

According to inventors Dr. Engleburt Winkler and Dr. Dirk Proeckl (those are their real names), the Lucia Light "is a high-tech instrument that, due to its light rhythms, can initiate electrical activities in the brain which lead to a reorientation in the functional network of neurons." Lucia Light sends white light through the "traveler's" retina, toward the pineal gland (a.k.a. the Third Eye). "If the gland is brought back to its optimum state of health," the doctors posit, "the brain is in a better position to activate a range of healing powers, whether they be physical, spiritual, or both."

The truth is, no one has researched the mystic properties of the pineal gland to the extent that they've studied its medical properties. The other truth is, once that light turned on in front of my closed eyelids, I began to experience a three-drug bender for the price of one. ($50, in this case.)
 
Here are the three highs I experienced:
 
Phase 1, Molly: The music rolls on, the lights throb, and my eyelids flicker. Hard. If you've ever taken a touch too much Molly, you'll recall the almost-enjoyable eye spasms that come with. But I'm not on Molly. I'm sober, and I'm having a hard time dissolving into the moment. Instead I sit erect, trapped inside the light, trying to manage the uncontrollable fluttering of my eyelids. I clutched a cup of water in my hands, the water my security blanket. My heart was quaking. The visuals were subtle, like when you think there's a stranger sitting at the foot of your bed but it's actually just a shadow. 
 
Phase 2, Shrooms: The visuals are constant and strong. I've got control of my breathing now. The keyed-up anxiety I felt during Phase 1 has dissipated. Now I'm slumped down in my chair, sitting like a propped-up potato. I laugh as Fantasia-like dancing knives spin around on a tiny spice rack in front of a maroon backdrop.
 
Phase 3, Weed: This phase began once the show was over. The music turns off, the light still bright but not flickering. It takes me a full minute to understand it's over. Allison and her assistant wear knowing smiles when I open my eyes, ask me how I liked it. I become aware that we were all in the same room watching two different scenes unfold: I saw bursts of color and shape and movement, they saw me tweaking out, moving through various stages of tension and relaxation. I begin to share my experience, gesticulating and forgetting the cup of water in my hands, which splashes onto the floor. We all giggle. Outside, my lungs feel wide open thanks to the deep breathing I did during Phase 2. My jaw is soft. My heartburn is undetectable. For the first time in a long time, I'm relaxed.
 
The feeling stays with me on the commute home. I contemplate meditation -- is that how people relax without drugs or hypnogogic lights? I might have to try it, or try harder than I have. (Later that week, Allison will tell me over email that NYC will soon have a permanent Lucia Light, so maybe I'll stick with that.) When the train arrives at my stop, I walk to El Loco Burrito and place an order of nachos for my phantom munchies. Everything in its right place.
 
Stephanie Georgopulos is the author of Some Things I Did for Money. Follow her on Twitter.

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Scenes from British Airways 'Listen Up' Launch Concert

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Last night, British Airways threw a party-concert combo at Brooklyn's Villain space to celebrate the beginning of its "Listen Up" campaign, connected to an online platform of the same name that lets users share music and discover artists in the UK scene. The event succeeded in blurring different genres, with gospel singer Leon Bridges, British bluesman Jamie N Commons, Bear's Den (a band that includes a member of Mumford and Sons), and legendary DJ Pete Tong -- a lineup that Tong described as "eclectic." The presence of the artists at a set location for an airline might sound strange, but British Airways "ship half the DJs around the world all the time" according to Tong, allowing for a live music experience that has become increasingly relevant even as sharing and transmitting music digitally becomes easier. Take a look at pics from the party, including shots of the performances and guests like model Ashley Smith, Cory Kennedy and singer Wynter Gordon, below.


Jasmine Solano, Ashley Smith, Brandee Brown and Wynter Gordon


Leon Bridges


Jamie N Commons


Pete Tong


Pete Tong, Leon Bridges, Jamie N Commons, Andrew Davie, Kevin Jones and Joey Haynes


Tennessee Thomas


Farrah Krenek


Dee Jackson


Rachel Iwanyszyn


Pete Tong


Leon Bridges


Cory Kennedy


Kitty Cash


Jamie N Commons


Jeanette Hayes


Laidback Luke and Gina Turner


Elle Varner


Bear's Den

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Watch Solange Perform "Rise," a Brand New Song She Wrote for Ferguson and Baltimore

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Break out the hallelujah hands emojis because Solange just debuted a new song last night at a party for HBO's Bessie Smith biopic, Bessie. The track, "Rise," was dedicated to the Ferguson and Baltimore in light of the protests over the respective deaths of Michael Brown and Freddie Gray at the hands of police officers and is supposedly going to appear on her next, still-untitled album. Set to a pulsing dreambeat and twinkling piano keys, Solange uses a light-touch with the vocals, creating a moody, emotion-laden soul jam in the process. Give it a watch, above.

[h/t Stereogum]

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Watch Rick and Morty Kill the Simpsons

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One of many reasons that you do not watch The Simpsons is that, besides the fact that it now no longer has the voice of Harry Shearer, its best moments are often the couch gags--quick clips that you can watch online without requiring the context of the rest of an episode. Like the late night shows you also talk a lot about but likely do not watch, the quality comes in brief moments, like the couch gag from this Sunday's season finale. In the bit, Rick and Morty, the title characters of Rick and Morty, a hilarious show that you definitely should watch, accidentally kill the Simpsons and try to remedy their mistake. As is par for the course with Rick and Morty, it is funny, weird, meta, and somehow affecting all at once. Was there ever an animated show like that before? I can't remember.


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Everything We Know (So Far) About Taylor's Swift "Bad Blood" Video

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Taylor Swift is gearing up to release the most-anticipated music video of 2015. Her next single "Bad Blood," from her chart-topping 1989 album, is a star-studded affair featuring a wide range of celebrities in television, music, and fashion including Lena Dunham, BFF Karlie Kloss, and Kendrick Lamar. To help you prepare for the premiere on Sunday, here's a guide to everything we know (so far!) about the clip.

Jesscia Alba- Domino.jpg
The Theme is Sin City
2005's neo-noir film Sin City is the perfect theme to demonstrate the contrast between Swift's "All American Girl' persona and the song's darker subject matter about the singer's bitterness over a failed friendship. To add legitimacy, Sin City's own Jessica Alba will make a cameo as "Domino."

Lena Dunham- Lucky Flori.jpg
The Cast
Swift revealed on Twitter that each actor/actress choose their own character's name and persona. Here is the list of the entire cast involved: 

Taylor Swift as Catastrophe 
Karlie Kloss as Knockout
Jessica Alba as Domino
Zendaya as Cut-Throat
Cara Delevingne as Mother Chucker
Hayley Williams as The Crimson Curse
Lena Dunham as Lucky Fiori
Kendrick Lamar as Welvin Da Great
Ellie Goulding as Destructa X
Ellen Pompeo as Luna
Lily Aldridge as Frostbyte 
Serayah as Dilema 
Martha Hunt as HomeSlice
Mariska Hargitay as Justice
Hailee Steinfeld as The Trinty 
Gigi Hadid as Slay-Z

Karlie Kloss- Knockout.jpg
There Will Be a Battle Between Catastrophe and Knockout
Real-life BFF's Swift and Karlie Kloss will battle it out in a showdown that some think is really based on the alleged beef between Swift and rumored enemy, Katy Perry (who's said to be subject of the song). Swift revealed to Rolling Stone that the song was about another female artist, saying, "She would come up to me at award shows and say something then walk away, and I would think, 'Are we friends, or did she just give me the harshest insult of my life?'" In the same article, she referenced a conflict from 2013 concerning the poaching of backup dancers from her world tour. "She basically tried to sabotage an entire arena tour. She tried to hire a bunch of people out from under me," says Swift, who didn't reveal any names in the article.

Watch the official teaser for "Bad Blood" above and watch the official premiere at the 2015 Billboard Music Awards on Sunday, May 17th live on ABC, starting at 8pm EST. It'll be a good pre-game before the Mad Men finale.

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Meet Your New Favorite Instagram, "Badly Drawn Models"

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Artist Sean Ryan, of Instagram accounts Badly Drawn Authors and Badly Drawn Rappers is expanding his Badly Drawn empire with new account, Badly Drawn Models.

Though these models have are some of the most symmetrical, perfect faces on planet earth, via Ryan, their mugs look like microwaved baseball mitts.

The account has over 20,000 followers and is gaining steam by the day. It also apparently  comes with the blessing of everyone featured, which, so far, has included Cara Delevingne, Karlie Kloss and Kendall Jenner among others. Ryan told Dazed, "None of the models that I've drawn have asked me to take their picture down or told me that they hate it, so I guess that's a positive."

Check out Dazed's full Q&A and more of Ryan's work here.

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The Best, Worst and Weirdest of the Week

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Kanye West.jpg
Best Fairytale: Kanye West's Bound 2Gether. Artist Zak Tebbal transformed lyrics from West's "Bound 2" into this Dr. Seuss-inspired fairytale children's book. The story tells how Kanye and his "chick" Kim find love together. --Tené Young

Lupita.jpg
Best Transformation into a Real-Life Mermaid: Lupita Nyong'o at the Cannes Film Festival --T.Y.

Most Creative Diss of the Week: Hanksy's Neighborhood Watch signs. Street artist Hanksy placed mock neighborhood watch signs with Tyga's face around Calabasas High School to show his disapproval of the 25-year-old rapper's alleged relationship with 17-year-old Kylie Jenner. Why? "I just think it's fucked, she's only 17,"replied Hanksy. -- T.Y.


Best Video of the Week: Blockbuster's 90s Training Video. Proof why it's best to leave some things in the past. (We're looking at you, VCRs.) -- T.Y.


Best Drake-inspired College Final: If You're Reading This It's Too Late (film). NYU student Chris Cole created a brilliant short film chronicling the meaning of life as an obsessive Drake fan for his film class final. Although he hasn't received his grade back yet, we give him an A+! -- T.Y.and Gary Pini

romneyholyfield.jpg
Fight of the Century:Romney vs. Holyfield. It's happening. It's a real thing. Oh... did you think I was going to say something about Mayweather-Pacquiao? That pales in comparison. -- Evan Siegel





Realest Tweets of the Week:
Mira Gonzalez live-tweeting watching Star Wars. I've included some of my favorites above. -- E.S.

Screen Shot 2015-05-15 at 7.51.46 PM.pngMost Unnecessary 90s Remake of the Week: The Craft. Sony announced this week that they're rebooting the film. We can't have anything nice. -- Elizabeth Thompson

Screen Shot 2015-05-15 at 4.56.27 PM.pngWay to Get High of the Week: This crazy $50 light treatment that's totally legal and that our writer Stephanie Georgopulos likened to being high on molly then shrooms then marijuana. -- Abby Schreiber



Cutest Video of the Week: This one of a baby reacting to being fed avocado. Avocados are such odd fruits. This video also reminded me that babies don't know how to eat. -- E.S.

picassoblur.jpg[Image via Aruna D'Souza]

Art News of the Week: Christie's sold over $1 billion of art in 3 days. I'm much more interested, however, in Fox News' report. Always keeping their demographic in mind, they blurred out the boobs in a Picasso painting. Wait, what? -- E.S.



Rap Jam of the Week: Mystery rapper Leikeli47's "Drums II Clean." You can watch the brand new video, above, and be sure to catch her performing in NYC at Mercury Lounge on Tuesday, May 26th! -- A.S.

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Janet Jackson Announces New Music and a Tour

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Janet Jackson, who hasn't released an album since 2008, announced last night in a video she shared on twitter that she has new music planned for this year. In the 50-second clip, she promises "new music, a new world tour, a new movement" in her signature breathy whisper.  Ms. Jackson, for the nasty, turns 49 today. We are celebrating with the only photo of her in existence that matters:

Sliding into your DMs like... #TGIF

A photo posted by Paper Magazine (@papermagazine) on



Check out Jackson's announcement tweet below:

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At Least Amy Schumer Will Be On This Year's Soul-Decimating Season of "The Bachelorette"

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Do the Bachelorette producers know what a rotten, terrible, no good, very bad thing they're doing by having 25 men choose who will be this year's Bachelorette between finalists Kaitlyn and Britt? Of course they do, and in an attempt to really "lean in" on it Amy Schumer is going to appear on an upcoming episode.



Schumer is the definition of "killing it" right now, putting out searing feminist sketches like "Football Town Nights,""Last F*ckable Day" and her episode-long remake of 12 Angry Men, "12 Angry Men Inside Amy Schumer." Much like Jimmy Kimmel did with is Bachelorette appearance last season, she'll accompany the chosen bachelorette (please be Kaitlyn) and her brood on a date. She's appearing on the show in two weeks, and there is truly no way it won't be remarkable. Just so much raw material.

For a series ostensibly about a woman choosing who she'd' like to marry, this season, the bros will immediately reject one woman by choosing who to meet first, which is the answer to "what is the worst way we could do this."

Meanwhile, I'll be recapping the season for Papermag.com, and I spent some time looking at the bios of contestants. Here are some preliminary superlatives.


Most Likely to Stalk Chris Martin: Brady


430.1x1.jpgOut of anyone in the world, Brady is most impressed by Chris Martin. (Coldplay is his favorite band.) His mom came in second.

Most Likely to be Bad at Sex: Shawn E.


shawne430.1x1.jpgShawn is an "amateur sex coach." It doesn't matter how you interpret that (he's either bad at his job or hangs out with a bunch of teenagers) because Shawn E. is also wearing a small pendant on a leather band.  

Biggest Grapes of Wrath Fan:JJ

jj430.1x1.jpg

One of the eras that JJ particularly likes is the 1930's, because a time that was defined by the most severe economic collapse we've ever had, sounds like fun. Break out the bathtub gin and drink to forget, folks.

Can Get It: Ian

Ian430.1x1.jpgIan is tall, one of his favorite movies is Taken, and he has an intriguing scar on his arm. Ian could get it.

Bring it on, bros! The premiere episode airs this Monday, May 18th on ABC, so buy a lot of rose. Definitely more than you think you need.



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The Sunday Funnies

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Fact. [FYouNoFMe]

tumblr_nhfnsmVuP11qa8rqdo1_1280.pngtumblr_nhfnsmVuP11qa8rqdo2_1280.pngtumblr_nhfnsmVuP11qa8rqdo3_1280.pngReal life Channing quote from 2012. [FYouNoFMe]


The tiny, traumatized "yes, I saw" at the end. That child will never be the same. [Mlksshk]

Picture 146.pngSummer's here! [The Onion]

tumblr_n7qehd5w1k1qcdstro1_500.jpgSeriously [AfternoonSnoozeButton]


ICYMI: Amy Schumer's skewering of every flirty late-night talk show interview with a kooky young actress is perfect.
 tumblr_nlqoep6J2a1qavvvjo1_500.jpgEmergency regret. [AfternoonSnoozeButton]


This 2-year-old rapping gibberish is FIRE. [ArabelleSicardi]
 
tumblr_no8kw7rouy1qe0wclo1_1280.jpgGo team! [TheClearlyDope]

Picture 147.pngDefinitely,1000% not gay. Never gay. No way gay. [FYouNoFMe]


Great teamwork. [TastefullyOffensive]

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Watch Rihanna Slay on SNL

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Rihanna closed out SNL's 40th season with two slay x slay to the fire degree performances of "Bitch Better Have My Money" and "American Oxygen." HER BRAND-NEW FOREIGN CAR EVEN MAKES AN APPEARANCE. Watch above and below.

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Watch Taylor Swift's New Cameo-Packed "Bad Blood" Video

Watch Kanye's Censored-to-Shit Performance on the Billboard Awards

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Current Paper cover star Kanye West performed SWISH's "All Day" and Yeezus'"Black Skinhead" on the Billboard Awards Sunday night, but you'd never know it because ABC censored most of the song. This ridiculous, mostly-muted version is how it aired on television -- your WiFi isn't being patchy again. Watch above.

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Watch Kanye's Censored-to-Shit Performance on the Billboard Awards

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Current Paper cover star Kanye West performed SWISH's "All Day" and Yeezus'"Black Skinhead" on the Billboard Awards Sunday night, but you'd never know it because ABC censored most of the song. This ridiculous, mostly-muted version is how it aired on television -- your WiFi isn't being patchy again. Watch above.

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Nicki Minaj Danced Like Slay-Barbie at the Billboard Music Awards

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Nicki Minaj's Billboard Awards performance, which included "Night Is Still Young,""Hey Mama" and David Guetta clapping in his DJ booth, featured a little twerking and lots of straight-armed   moves where it appeared that Nicki didn't have working elbows. Just like her personal hero, Barbie. It didn't join her "Anaconda" performance at the VMAs last year in the Award Show Slay Hall of Fame, but her moves are really somethin' no less.

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Petra Collins on the Final Installment of Her Making Space Video Series And Giving Voices to Girls

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For third and final installment of her BB Dakota-sponsored"Making Space" series, Internet art darling and Rookie affiliate Petra Collins takes her directorial debut to the Southwest, where she meets three young women carving out places for themselves in the world of dance.

Collins explores how their craft has become a vehicle for fostering self-esteem and an acceptance of one's identity. Made in collaboration with her sister and soundtracked by Dev Hynes, the series is filled with tight shots and washed-out lighting and gives us a glimpse of what it's really like to be a teenage girl today. 

We caught up with Collins ahead of the series' launch party at LA's MAMA Gallery to talk about the inspiration for her series, sisterly bonds and stereotyping, as well as what it was like to switch up her role behind the camera and even explore her own ties to dance. Paper is debuting the final installment of the Making Space series, which you can watch below.
 

Why take a roadtrip through the South and Southwest? What were you expecting to find there? 

The South's always been somewhere I wanted to go and I've never been. I've traveled basically almost everywhere in the US, and it's always fascinated me, especially with politics. It's very opposite of what I'm used to. I'm from Canada, and it's just very liberal and chill there. And why did you choose to focus this entire series on dancers? I actually used to dance pretty hardcore. When I was around 16 I had a really bad accident with my knee and I had to get surgery and the doctors said I wouldn't be able to dance anymore, and that was just heartbreaking because that was something I wanted to do with my life. And my younger sister is a dancer, she's studying to be a dance teacher, so we wanted to revisit dance for this series, because it's something I loved and something she loves. 

On that note, do you think traveling around with your sister helped flesh out the film's emphasis on female camaraderie?

Yeah, totally. I had my two best friends with me on the road too and it kind of just gave the interviews a more warm, personal feeling. How'd you find these girls? We actually found everyone from Instagram. And we kind of just looked for people who had the most interesting stories. One of the girls you interview says she's often told "You don't look like you would dance," as if a dancers look one way and only one way. That negativity of presumption was a moment in the film that really stuck out to me. Talk to me a little about how that kind of stereotyping has affected your work. I guess it's always sort of hard to be taken seriously as a young girl doing something...especially when you're working and trying to build a career for yourself because there isn't really a place for young women, or even women almost, in the professional world. So it was really hard for me in the beginning when I was like 16 or whatever, trying to get my work out there. And I guess, it's still sometimes hard, because the art world, or the world in general, is still a boys' club. Especially now that I'm moving to directing, which is a job where you really have to boss people around, sometimes it's hard to have people listen to you. 

How different has film-making been from photography? 

Oh my God, it's so different. Because with photography you have to say everything in that one image and that's it and that's the story and everyone can interpret it the way that they want. But with film you have to consider so many different things like sound and movement and time. So it's a totally different discipline, but I'm really trying to learn. 

The film also mentions the Internet and its possibilities. How do you think being online has affected feminism in 2015? 

For me it's a big part of how I got to where I am today. I think the Internet has been a really important platform in young girls and women's lives because it has the opportunity to create spaces for women, by women. The Internet creates the opportunity to make your own platform for yourself, instead of having to ask for permission or go through the system. Rookie is a really great example. It's such an amazing network for young women's success and like a bigger...I don't like the word 'army,' but...you know, you can connect with other people from around the world. 

Like a support system. 

Totally.

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Premiere: Listen to Sizzy Rocket's Biting Girl-On-Girl Anthem, "Bestie"

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Rising indie pop star Sizzy Rocket is back with a brand new BabyDaddy-produced single which takes her signature tongue-in-cheek spit and melds it with a sweet, synth-laden hook, making for a song worthy of as much buzz as her viral Beastie Boys'"Girls" cover.

Written on the fly about an actual encounter with her "bestie," Sizzy plays with typically "male" tropes and flips the narrative, painting herself as the womanizer who isn't afraid to explore her sexuality and take what she wants. We caught up with Sizzy, who you can hear on Flosstradamus' new single "Don't Trip" with Run the Jewels, and who is currently writing with Diplo and DJ Khalil, to talk feminism, flaunting her body and creating an entire hook out of the word "fuck." 

 
Tell me a little about the process of writing "Bestie." Did you set out to do something with a tongue-in-cheek narrative? 

Actually, when I first got to the studio that day I intended on writing something darker and more serious -- I think I referenced "Zero" by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. But Scott [Hoffman aka producer BabyDaddy] pulled up that synth sound, the one you hear in the beginning, and I just started writing these really hilarious lyrics about something that had actually happened to me the night before. The song materialized in like, an hour and we were just laughing and having so much fun with it. I never come to the studio with a clear concept or pre-written lyrics because I want my songs to happen spontaneously - the best ones usually happen that way. 

A lot of your work (like last year's cover of the Beastie Boys'"Girls") addresses an industry double standard that tends to pit female sexual agency against "catering to the male gaze." How does "Bestie" tackle this issue? 

"Bestie" is a tricky one because instead of fighting the male gaze and pointing to it, I chose to embody it. I love the idea of the American man, that masculinity, that machismo. There's a very intense masculine side to my art and I love taking on roles in my songs that are usually reserved only for men -- the kingpin, the heartbreaker, the CEO, the rockstar, and in this case, the womanizer. I think "Bestie" in particular sheds light on the specific issue you mentioned by making a parody of the male gaze and applying it to my own girl-on-girl situation. But don't get me wrong, I take my femininity very seriously too. I want to look a certain way and flaunt my body and post nude pictures and talk about kissing girls because it makes me feel sexy and I am empowered by it, not because I'm trying to please a certain audience. 

You also make some really interesting stylistic choices in the song, because while it's very accessible at first listen, there's obviously a strongly sardonic vibe underlying the entire track, expletives and all. Can you talk a little about that? 

I love the dichotomy of a sweet melody with a biting lyric -- something that makes you want to rewind and say, "Uhhhh did she just say that?" Pop music has a reputation for being very safe and I wanted to see how far I could push it, like, writing a hook completely composed out of the word "fuck." I want to make sure that I'm always bringing something to the pop conversation, whether it's exploitative or cynical or racy. I'm inspired by shock and camp, which I think pop artists usually stray from. The goal is to startle you, and turn you on, and make you uncomfortable so you can learn something about yourself from your reaction. Underneath that layer of sweetness and accessibility there is definitely something darker, violent even -- with "Bestie" it's about sexual identity, reaction and how I'm supposed to behave as a pop star. 


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We Dissect Last Night's Mad Men Finale

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tumblr_nojb6zFEyx1qi532yo6_500.gifPAPER editors Abby Schreiber and Eric Thurm go deep (very deep) into Mad Men's much-talked about series finale. Read their thoughts on what happened in the episode and the show's legacy and share your opinions in the comments below or tweet to Abby and Eric.

Abby Schreiber: Did you like the ending? Did you think it was satisfying?

Eric Thurm: I don't think it was satisfying at all, but I also don't think it was supposed to be? My strongest reaction immediately after the credits rolled was feeling royally trolled -- the entire seventh season has been spent trying to get me to invest in Don and maybe think that he could change and be a better person, and then at the crucial moment Matthew Weiner sucker punched me with the Coke ad.

Abby: I had the opposite reaction. At first I thought the episode was pretty 'ho-hum,' the kind of episode that would have been fine mid-season but I thought the Coke ad tie-in was brilliant! I agree that it did feel like we were played but on the other hand, it feels more realistic to me that Don would not have the capacity to change that completely and abandon his ego and former drives.

Eric: Yeah, I'm not suggesting that the gut punch is necessarily a *bad* thing, just that I was really upset about it for a while. Like, it's pretty artistically impressive to stick to your guns at the end and say something so horrifying, but it's also... you know... horrifying. I find the idea that Don goes on this whole journey so he can have a good ad idea repulsive. But then again, I'm not sure why, exactly -- for most of the show's run -- it's treated as exciting when Don has a brainstorm. Did you find it thrilling instead of awful?

Abby: I think from the perspective of a viewer invested in the character, I thought it was awful but from the perspective of a viewer invested in the show at large -- and interested in Matthew Weiner's way of thinking / storytelling -- I thought it was pretty thrilling. So I'm conflicted. In a lot of ways, I think what was thrilling was when the lightbulb moment went off in *my* head at the very end and I was like, "HE WENT BACK TO MCCANN AND DID THE COKE AD!" That feeling of 'solving the puzzle' (even though many, many people did, too), was thrilling in and of itself and, to me, part of what made it satisfying was also its confirmation that for all of his alcoholism, abandonment issues and general fucked up-ness, Don's still a brilliant marketer.

Eric: Confirming Don's identity as an ad man makes sense to me as a way of thinking through the finale, and it's probably a dramatically satisfying one, just one that also feels very depressing. The way I'm increasingly looking at Don's plot is something like "man has his quest for personal fulfillment subsumed by capital," a description that I think fits pretty much all of the buttons on the other characters. Joan rejects a life of leisure (and cocaine) with Richard, even though she never has to work another day in her life and her son is taken care of. She's just all about the hustle for its own sake. Meanwhile, Peggy and Stan finally give in to an obvious case of transference and realize that the closest they'll come to happiness is an office romance. Good for them?

Abby: Yeah, I thought the Peggy-Stan ending was a little like Matthew Weiner's way of giving some candy to the audience. One thing I was thinking about last night and tweeted was the idea that all three of those characters were, in their own ways, like the man at the group therapy session who describes being ignored by his family. Don, Peggy and Joan each feel like they need to fight to be seen the way that they want to be seen and that plays into their respective endings: for all her burgeoning feminism and career ambition, Peggy wants to be seen as a romantic partner; for all her sex appeal, Joan wants to be seen as a smart career woman; Don wants to be seen as a powerful, respectable man. In some ways they're all running away from their pasts: their pasts as the homely secretary (Peggy), as the mistress (Joan) and as the son of a prostitute (Don).

Eric: I think it's interesting, then, that the character with what I would say is the most unambiguously satisfying ending is also the one who embraces the past the most: Pete Campbell (love you, Pete). Pete's level of self-awareness, both in last week's episode and in his final interactions with Peggy, is pretty staggering. He knows that no one likes him, he knows why, and he knows that he's never going to do better in life than a partner who loves him and understands him and wants to help raise his child. (Also, he has a sweet job at Learjet, which helps.) Where Don seems like he's trying to exorcise his past, or at the very least transmute it into ad copy, Pete views it as something he can overcome through understanding. (In case it is not obvious, Pete is my favorite character on the show and I am very pleased that his ending was so well done.)

Abby: That's a good point. Maybe there's something there about how fulfillment cannot be found by escaping your past.You have to accept it and integrate it into your present, instead. (Now I sound like a Psychology 101 student.) Let's talk about Joan for a minute. Did you like how things ended with her?

Eric: I am... unsure.

Abby: Part of me wanted to be like "rah rah!" because she chose a career over a man and is going to be this kick-ass independent woman but part of me was sorry that she won't have a partner. (But, also, Richard seemed like a douche-with-a-capital 'D'.)

Eric: I totally understand why it's so satisfying to think about her being successful with her own production company, and being her own boss -- she becomes an avatar of a very particular type of feminism by the end of the show. And when she tells Peggy "The partnership is just for you," my heart melted a little bit. (I think that is how I will propose one day.) But I wonder whether the final beats of the story weren't rushed just a little bit. It's very clear that she has a good thing going with Richard, a man who has seemed to mostly accept and love Joan exactly for who she is. It's slightly less clear why Joan wants to go back to work. Certainly, she enjoys being a boss and carving out some power for herself within the workplace (given how many times she's been burned by men). But I guess I am just unsure whether Joan independently values working, or just wants to be financially secure? If it's the latter, I don't see the point of her ending. If it's the former, that's depressing in the same way as Don's plot. (With good reason.)

Abby: Right. I think she didn't like the idea of being another 'kept woman.' But, I agree, it was a little depressing.

Eric: To pull back a little bit, I feel like there are, in general, two types of series finales for TV shows: the "THIS IS THE END" finale and the "life goes on" finale. One totally wraps up the world of the show, or at least puts a definitive button on the stories of the characters, and the other gently nudges you out of the show, even though you can guess at the shenanigans everyone will get up to once you're gone. "Person to Person" feels like an unbelievably grim version of the "life goes on" finale, in part because of Joan being pulled, by inertia, back into the workforce. For Don, life goes on exactly the way it did at the beginning of the series -- he's a prized executive at an advertising agency pitching a famous campaign.

Abby: In some ways, the only person who has a trajectory that you probably couldn't have predicted and who, arguably, developed and grew the most was Peggy. Say what you will about the cheesiness of her ending up with Stan but that was out of character for her in some sense.

Eric: How so?

Abby: Well I think that she gave up the opportunity to further her career so she could be with Stan (whether she was aware of that motivation initially or not) and to so completely open up and expose her emotions and vulnerabilities like that was something we hadn't gotten to see from her.

Eric: Hmmm I didn't see it that way. Whatever problems you have with the industry, I think it's pretty clear that Stan is right in their first conversation -- Peggy loves advertising, and she has an incredibly specific career goal (to be the creative director of a big agency). Going to work with Joan in a related, but ultimately kind of tangential field felt more like a pipe dream to me than something Peggy would actually do. After all, she seems to be doing just fine at McCann! (Her and the tentacle porn.)

Abby: That's true. Finally, let's pour one out for Betty. I know the plot point was introduced last week but did you like (that's probably the wrong word for it) the choice to have her get a more definitive (and so, so sad!) ending?

Eric: I don't know if I like the decision to give Betty a death sentence (it occasionally felt like the writers were punishing her), but I do think it was spectacularly handled. She gets to demonstrate all of the qualities that make her so formidable, have dynamite interactions with her kids and with her ex-husband, for once in her life actually get to be clear about what she wanted and have it executed. (It doesn't hurt that January Jones did maybe the best acting she will ever do.)

Abby: Well said!

Eric: I'm not sure that a character *needed* to get lung cancer, but I also appreciate the way Betty handled it. One of my roommates, who has had cancer twice, actually went out of his way to mention how pleased he was with her general attitude.

Abby: There's something really awful about the idea that it took a terminal illness for Betty to become a better parent/person but I liked that eleventh hour growth just the same. I just feel so sad for the kids. Poor baby Gene!

Eric: Oh yeah, we haven't talked about Sally!

Abby: SALLY

Eric: Kiernan Shipka tha gawd. Her ability to mimic January Jones' mannerisms is just spectacular.

Abby: Do you think that she'll grow up fast and be a super driven, responsible adult after having lost her mother at a young age and (probably) taking care of her younger brothers or do you think she'll fall off the deep end and be, like, a cokehead in the 70s/80s etc. I can't decide...

Eric: There are not many fictional characters I feel confident making statements about like this, but: Sally is going to be just fine. She's really intelligent and mature and empathetic, seems to have a much better relationship with her step-father, and, I think, no matter what Don does, he'll always be there for her.

Abby: She'd have turned 60 last year. Whoa.

Eric: What do you think the finale will do for the show's legacy as a whole? Will it change the way people think about the show?

Abby: I'm not sure if the finale will change peoples' thoughts about the series. I think it'll be remembered, along with The Sopranos and Breaking Bad, as one of the ultimate shows featuring an anti-hero and Don's ending cemented that legacy.

Eric: I'm not so sure if Don is an antihero, but I do agree that the finale won't do much to change the reputation of the show. Probably the most important thing about Mad Men (at least for me) is that it's aggressively non-linear -- you can view it as a loosely connected collection of stories about similar characters that generates its own system of meaning and is concerned with the same set of ideas, but it doesn't have to "stick the landing" in the way that, say, Breaking Bad did. So no matter what people end up thinking of "Person to Person," we'll always have (Joan) Harris.

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