Thursday, April 14, 2016

VIDEO––Shake Your Body (Down To The Ground): The Supercut

'Shake Your Body (Down To The Ground)' is too good an MJ song to be so underplayed. This video is an attempt to remedy that. It's also a companion piece for my previous dance-themed video, 'Last Dance: The Supercut'.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

VIDEO: I've Got The Music In Me (Music Artist Mashup)

'Grab ahold of my blues and just play them.' I began this project in December 2015. We lost two legends featured since I started, so this is now dedicated to David Bowie and Lemmy Kilmister. This video is a celebration of when musical artistry was all about the music––showcasing a great song by Kiki Dee, the first white, female, 'blue-eyed soul singer' from the UK accepted by a Motown label. 

Monday, January 11, 2016

Thank You For My Spine, David Bowie

David Bowie gave me strength of spirit when I set out to shape-shift/fix my back years ago. And again, years later, when we decided to move to Berlin.
A back issue I had as a kid solidified to something problematic by the time I graduated from college. In my early 20s, a recent grad, I was living in New York and realized I should fix my back before it managed to instruct (or obstruct) my life. I luckily had the foresight to know that I didn't want to wake up one day, middle-aged, and realize it was too late to adjust, so I figured I should work fast. I had enormous tension in my back which had gotten to the point where my nerves had grown numb, losing all feeling (a.k.a. I could not feel a chair––or even a cement bench––when I sat down, and it was starting to scare me.)
Turn And Face The Strange
Without guidance, I decided to start my own treatment. It would prove to be a challenge. After years of being extremely self-motivated and working hard in school, here I was––young and in New York––but instead of feeling carefree I had this new, most vital and troublesome responsibility. Nevertheless, I found that I was able to visualize my back in a relaxed state and breathe accordingly to physically achieve that vision. A lot of breathing, expanding my core (instinctually), to the point where I'd get extremely relaxed and all built-up tension would gradually release. But moments later––since I wasn't physically used to having the tension gone––my back would tighten up again and it was painful. This would often lead to a sort of anxiety attack which was physical, not emotional––understandably, since I was trying to expel years of tension trapped within my physical form. 
I listened to Bowie's Hunky Dory album every day during that difficult stage. Bowies' songs and spirit helped and inspired me. It was a physically grueling process but I kept at it.
It's The Freakiest Show
I had already seen that the release of tension was possible in an extreme and transformative way, and I knew it would just take time to adjust to the changes. It took three years of diligence in total until my relaxed back 'stuck' in a way I could maintain. A lengthened back also meant more length to adjust to, and I wanted the process to be gradual enough so that the difference wouldn't freak my friends and family out too much. I was lucky to have the support of my then-boyfriend. It felt like a science-fiction story. The resulting changes were indeed evident––in a good way. It was obvious that the changes in my form were healthy, and of course my quality of life would be so much better with a comfortable back. 
'Cause We Believe In You
To this day I have a comfortable, tension-free back. I've always been thankful for David Bowie for being a source of strength during that difficult time. He gave me courage to do something unusual, but highly necessary. Because of David Bowie, I had more gumption to go through something isolated, shape-shifting, unusual. A metamorphoses. He gave me the figurative spine to correct my physical one.

Just A Mortal With The Potential Of A Superman
I have always been glad I came out on the other side of that experience perfectly fine, in no small part thanks to Bowie and those daily Hunky Dory listenings. A few years later, also while living in New York (by then also free of back tension) I passed Iman pushing their daughter in a stroller in the street in Soho and it made me feel ridiculously happy. 
Will You Stay In Our Lovers' Story?
I often credit Francoise Hardy (who's also had a huge impact on my life) with my marrying a Capricorn, because I Ioved her calm, grounded demeanor. But before her, David Bowie was my favorite Capricorn and I was intrigued by the idea of being with one because of him. So I'm also indebted to him for my being so immediately drawn to the person who would become my husband. 
When we made our decision to move to Berlin a year and a half ago, I had one simple thought: David Bowie. Even at this stage of life, Bowie was an effective inspiration. His love for Berlin gave me courage when it came time to create a new life in this city.
Every year in recent memory I have posted something to celebrate 'Elvis/Bowie day'. But for whatever reason, this year on his birthday I felt like being silent. I had no idea he was not well, I just know something made me take pause. While heartbroken at this loss, I thank him from the bottom of my heart––and my spine––for the quality of life I've been able to have since I fixed my back. On top of all that, there's the music, the films, his incredible legacy. Everything. I hope he is resting peacefully. 

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Knight Rider For Halloween (Couple Costume)

This year we dressed as Michael Knight ('high-tech crime-fighter') and Bonnie Barstow ('lead design engineer for Knight Industries') from Knight Rider. KITT was also on hand.

I couldn't resist re-editing the Knight Rider opening to include us. ;)
We had a good time with this theme. Here are a few more photos. 
Knight Rider For Halloween
Knight Rider For Halloween
Knight Rider For Halloween

Friday, June 5, 2015

VIDEO 'Last Dance: The Supercut'

This video showcases the inherent trepidation, exhilaration, and physical thrill of DANCING while highlighting some of the best dancers in films: Ann Reinking, Rita Morena, Cynthia Rhodes, Leslie Browne, Mikhail Baryshnikov––even Bob Fosse himself.

As an editor who’s also a dancer, this was a joy to make. I hope every dancer––or dance enthusiast––will enjoy watching it. The song 'Last Dance’ was featured in the disco film ‘Thank God It’s Friday’. It won an Academy Award for Best Song in 1978.

Dance that dance.

Friday, May 22, 2015

VIDEO: A View To A Kill––Revisited (30th Anniversary Retrospective)

A View To A Kill held its world premiere 30 years ago today on May 22, 1985 at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco. 
This is one of the most derided of the Bond movies, but time has been good to A View To A Kill. So I decided to create a video retrospective of the film for its 30th anniversary. 
Featuring Sir Roger Moore, Duran Duran, John Barry, John Glen, Christopher Walken, Tanya Roberts, Grace Jones, Patrick Macnee––and some of the San Francisco locations used in the film.

Monday, April 13, 2015

VIDEO '7x007: Roger Moore as James Bond'

Sir Roger More played the role of James Bond for the Bond franchise seven times. This video tribute is comprised of 7 short-form music videos. Each segment highlights Moore's presence as 007 within each film, along with its corresponding title song: Live And Let Die, The Man With The Golden Gun, The Spy Who Loved Me ('Nobody Does It Better'), Moonraker, Octopussy ('All Time High'), For Your Eyes Only, and A View To A Kill.

Fellow Moore fans will agree that nobody does it better. Also evident is wherein my 007 film loyalties lie. The Man With The Golden Gun, The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker are showcase pieces here, including memorable sound bites. The Spy Who Loved Me captures all that epitomizes the franchise.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

VIDEO Supercut: A Century Of Leading Ladies

This supercut features a selection of leading ladies from a century of motion pictures (from the 1910s to the 2010s.) Titles in era-appropriate typeface include decade(s) during which each cinema queen reigned. The song is 'She's A Lady' by Tom Jones. 

Notable takeaways: Starting with Ann-Margret, several ladies break the fourth wall, ushering in the new wave; Catherine Deneuve has had most longevity as a leading lady.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Retro Active Compassion: Lifelong Vegetarians

Martha with Paul & Linda McCartney
What Is It Like To Be Vegetarian For Decades?
Being a vegetarian (or a vegan) is not a new, unique, special concept. Plenty of people throughout history have been 100% vegetarian. It's neither complicated, nor difficult. Here is an incomplete list of people of renown who've been vegetarians throughout history; while lengthy, I immediately see some missing.

I've been 100% vegetarian, and then vegan, for a solid lifetime at this point––despite the fact that no one immediately around me has been. It's not a lifestyle I acquired from or consistently shared with anyone. Good thing I was never concerned with 'fitting in' and never gave the alienation aspect much thought. I'd always had a live and let live, free-will attitude, so I was never too concerned with other people's choices. Nor were they with mine, since I never really talked about it.

Being a vegetarian was never a 'phase' or a decision, it's just who I am and I never felt like it was a big deal. However, if one were to 'calculate' the number of lives spared by my dietary choices, being a vegetarian/vegan in itself can be a rather significant animal rights contribution (approximately 4,700 beings designated as 'farm animals' have been spared in my case.)

The vegetarian McCartney family on their farm in the 1970's
I feel increasingly discomforted that, given our access to information and exposure to what goes on in the sadistic meat and dairy industries, more people are not becoming vegetarian/vegan (and at a faster rate.) This global love of animal flesh, en masse, supports monstrous industries and a human obsession with 'culture' and 'traditions'. Not reality, not truth.

Entire cultures throughout human history have lived as vegetarians. Longtime vegetarian and animal rights activist Mary Tyler Moore once said she believes a meat-free diet will sooner or later be the norm. "It may take a while,” she told Time magazine. "But there will probably come a time when we look back and say, 'Good Lord, do you believe that in the 20th century and early part of the 21st, people were still eating animals?'"

Animal rights activist/lifelong vegetarian Mary Tyler Moore
Hard to believe we're no closer to this eventuality now than back when MTM said it. Her past optimism is similar to mine during my 20's, and we share the same beliefs. But my optimism has waned in recent years. Today, apathy and ignorance are inexcusable. People consciously choose cruelty when they have other choices. Which is unsettling for me, personally. 

Think to how long ago The Smiths recorded 'Meat Is Murder'. Morrissey has been an impressive pioneer, speaking out on the topic of this exploitative behavior without fail, while others haven't. 
The Smiths, Meat Is Murder; Morrissey has been consistent
The reason these outdated behaviors, ones entirely lacking respect for the nature and the lives of our fellows, have continued––and even expanded to outlandish, mass proportions––is that there are bullying industries out there who want to profit from the choices people are willing to make.
Paul & Linda McCartney, lifelong vegetarians/animal rights activists
All anyone really needs to do to make a big difference is to stop supporting those industries immediately. And to say something about it. Live and let live (and free will) applies to all species. So I do talk about it these days. I stayed quiet for a very long time. 
Paul McCartney continues to share the compassionate message
I'll take this one out with lifelong vegetarian and animal rights activist Paul McCartney with his co-veggie, Linda McCartney––who together raised anti-fur/anti-cruelty fashion designer Stella McCartney.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Retro Active Compassion: Respect For (Non-Human) Animals In 1990's TV/Films

Jingle All The Way (1996); Frasier; Switch (1991); Grosse Pointe Blank (1996)
Compassion in Mainstream 1990's TV/Films (Following Decades of Activism)
I had only seen 'Grosse Pointe Blank' (1996) once, years ago. I watched it again recently and noted how its rhythm, screenplay, soundtrack all have a distinctively 90's feel. All in the best way possible. 

I also appreciated something else: Several times in the course of the film, the characters express concern and compassion for animals. In dialog, alone. For example, when the two leads are getting reacquainted after a 10-year gap, John Cusack's (professional assassin) character explains he doesn't have a wife but he has a very nice cat, and when Minnie Driver's character tells him that's not the same thing, he responds: 'You don't know my cat. It's very demanding.' To that, Driver's character asks (baffled): 'It? You don't know if it's a boy or a girl?' To which he replies: 'I respect its privacy.' For someone who believes in respecting all species –– because non-humans are their own persons, not things –– this pointed dialog in the midst of conversation in an action-comedy film was refreshing to hear. 

Later, when Dan Akroyd's character (Grocer) meets with Cusack's (Blank) for a surprise breakfast, they discuss the controversial error Cusack's character made during a previous job which cost an innocent dog, called Budro, his life. Cusack's character is noticeably upset and says: 'Budro was never a target. Budro was acting on instinct. I would never hurt an animal. I'm offended at the accusation.' Another welcome surprise. This is how two tough assassins can talk in an action-comedy film? Seems like a different world than the one we have today when people shamelessly brag about 'hunting' and killing other species in various capacities. But the clincher was how they ordered their breakfasts! Here's the script from the point when the waitress enters the scene:

WAITRESS: Hi, my name is Melanie. Let me tell you about some of our specials. Today there's the Alfalfa on My Mind. That's our featured omelet. Or there's Gatsby's West Egg Omelet. If in the mood for something different, there's the I Left My Heart in San Francheezie.
BLANK: What'll you have? 
GROCER: Two poached eggs. Scrape off the milky white stuff. Hash browns well done. English muffin for the bread, and a coffee.
BLANK: Wholegrain pancakes and an egg-white omelet, please.
WAITRESS: What would you like in your omelet?
BLANK: Nothing in the omelet.
WAITRESS: That's not technically an omelet.
BLANK: I don't wanna get in a semantic argument. I just want the protein, all right?

Their  options and their choices are not vegan –– but it's all decidedly vegetarian. This is a far cry from what any action-comedy film would include in a food discussion between two manly assassins. There would be plenty of talk about slaughtered animals without the slightest semblance of concern for their welfare. I was frankly amazed to hear this sort of food conversation casually taking place in a mainstream film. And it wasn't that their vegetarian food choices were an issue. This was obviously just normal for these characters.

This past Christmas, my husband and I decided to watch a Christmas movie we hadn't seen before. We were in the midst of watching a 90's mainstream (awkward, inconsistent) family film called 'Jingle All The Way', starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, when something remarkable happened; a supporting character emphatically told a woman on the street: 'You shouldn't wear fur!' Just like that. In a mainstream-Arnold Schwarzenegger-family-comedy-from-the-90's. The lady was undoubtedly considered a villain. 

And then I remembered: This was typical in the 90's. And, as I've shared in frustration before, animal rights activists in the 70's (and 80's) made terrific strides to help alleviate any interest in fur until it seemed only the cruel, heartless older woman was the sole participant in a bygone industry. So what happened?

I saw this again in one of the most successful and mainstream TV shows for the 90's, 'Frasier'. In one episode, Frasier mentions how he knows Maris will react dramatically (as the never-seen but oft-discussed Maris was prone to do.) He says: "She doesn't deal with confrontation very well. I once questioned the political correctness of her serving veal. An hour later, we found her locked in the garage with the engine running on her golf cart!' A TV character known to be food snob was willing to discuss the cruelty involved in serving veal in the 90's. We never hear anything remotely like this on TV today. So again, what happened?

Here's another example I noticed recently in the midst of what I consider to be a dismally bad film. In the film 'Switch' starring Ellen Barkin, the character played by JoBeth Williams wears a fur coat, and an alarmed woman passerby stops her and says: "Do you know how many poor animals they had to kill to make that coat!?" Again, this relatively mainstream Blake Edwards film was released in 1991. Following diligent activism decades prior, the 1990's upheld an existing narrative and everyday people were disenchanted by the entitled and self-serving woman who was willing to wear a fur coat. So what happened since, allowing the fur industry to seep back into fashion?

With these separate, random examples, it's quite obvious that compassion reached the masses decades ago, despite the fact that today we have far more knowledge and exposure to the tragic cruelties that exist in industries that exploit the lives of non-human animals. I am so proud of the activists who struggled to build that level of awareness so that people were choosing to be relatively conscious back in the 90's. It's heartbreaking that a couple of decades later, we see how entitlement and greed came back full force to eliminate all of the progress that was made before, taking us many steps backwards. 

Indeed, we should be looking back at the 90's and seeing how much we have progressed from that time to be coexisting respectfully along with our fellow Earth-dwellers –– instead, we have this. Things are for worse today. Farm factories, fur factories, even canned hunting factories. It's truly abominable to see where we are today. Those struggling to encourage a compassionate lifestyle must constantly swim against a tide of overwhelming force. 

Friday, January 2, 2015

Greed Slaughters Innocents: Haunting Tragedy of Badfinger Still Resonates

Heartbreaking Plight of Badfinger, Not Unlike That of Other Exploited Animals

Innocents who suffered terribly for the sins of those in power, Badfinger were like factory farm animals of the music industry in the 1970's. This footage (below) is deeply sad if you look closely. They are so pale. There is no joy behind their eyes. Here was the first group to be signed by Apple Records (until Stan Polley tricked them into leaving and ruined them.) They were incredibly respected by their peers for years. And yet, they appear embarrassed on camera. It's the look of poverty.

They were working on recordings at a country home where this promotional footage was filmed. At the time when this was shot, they couldn't afford much food, let alone spiffy clothes. They certainly don't look like hit-making rock stars, although they very much were. They seem weak as they play their instruments. And they are painfully shy in the exterior shots. 
Theirs is the darkest 'behind the music' nightmare story. These sensitive, gentle artists did not put up a fight or make their struggles public. They were so young. They had hit records. They should have been enjoying their success. Their records sold big, made a few greedy people plenty of money. There's such joy in this 'power-pop' song; 'No Matter What' would soon be shooting up the charts.
The band was trapped into evil contracts by abusive management. And no one helped them. There were those who could have helped them. (People knew, but kept quiet, kept living their good lives.) Those who knew (Macca? Lennon? Nillson?) must have carried plenty of guilt for after sweet and talented Pete Ham killed himself, following years of this trouble. Pete Ham felt responsible for his bandmates and worried that he couldn't take care of his little family financially, all whilst he had hits on the radio.

Imagine hearing your chart-topping songs everywhere –– even one that became a 'standard' recorded 200+ times by other artists, 'Without You' –– and being too poor to buy a pint at the pub. They were famous rock stars unable to afford to care for their loved ones. Meanwhile, their contemporaries partied, rode around in limos and wasted all their money. The two guys from Swansea and two from Wales who made up Badfinger were trapped in music industry hell. Tom Evans offed himself some time after Ham.

This is so-called 'humanity'. Those in power (i.e. Big AG –– and in the case of Badfinger, evil Stan Polley) take advantage of those who are gentle. The ones who should be defended, and protected. Not slaughtered. Human greed is a serial killer as every industry proves. The fact that we live in a world in which sadistic factory farms, canned hunting farms, fur farms, etc. are legal is beyond disturbing.

Meanwhile, the blissfully ignorant choose to remain blind to all of this suffering. Apathy helps maintain the cycle of cruelty. There is no difference which species suffers quietly. It's always tragic, always preventable. One only has to look to see.

Badfinger is the band that died for all the sins of the music industry. Just one industry in this sick, twisted world filled with humans who destroy one another –– and more troubling, humans choosing to destroy the lives of all other species.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

MTM-Style Dress (Mary Richards | The Mary Tyler Moore Show | Season 1)

While I was in the process of putting together my final 'dress up & review' for the mid-season finale of 'Mad Men' –– a series published at recently –– I dabbled with the year 1970 again. This dress has the semblance of a blouse, belt, and long skirt combo, but it is actually a one-piece gown. The dress immediately reminded me of MTM's mid-western American style on 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show'.

Mary Richards (Mary Tyler Moore) wore a very similar look for her (disastrously funny) party in the wonderful S1E2 episode, 'Today I Am A Ma'am'. The episode aired on September 26, 1970. Despite being only the second episode of the esteemed sitcom, it is one of the funniest of the entire series –– which ran from 1970 until 1977. 

In it, Mary and Rhoda (Valerie Harper) fret over being single and having crossed over into the 'ma'am' territory. They decide to invite dates to Mary's apartment on the fly. Rhoda invites someone she barely knows, only to realize that she had unwittingly invited a married couple as her 'date'. Hilarity ensues.

Watch the episode on

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Brady Bunch Blow-Up (Video)

My latest video creation –– 'Brady Bunch Blow-Up' –– is heavy and far-out. Super-dad Mike Brady helps his son Greg uncover a bad referee call! Antonioni might as well have directed the episode of 'The Brady Bunch' entitled 'Click'. 

Monday, June 2, 2014

Red, White and Blue (Bandanna) Dress | The Mad Men Mid-Season Finale

(Originally published for Vintage Fashion at
THE LOOK~ The dress looks like a giant bandanna: Red, white, blue, and all-American. The look I went for was 'Made in the U.S.A.' This is sportswear. My hairstyle remains a nod to a Brit, Jean Shrimpton. But the cut of this dress is very 1969 California girl (strikingly similar, even, to what Bonnie wore on her shopping spree in S7E6.)

While the 1960s were heavily influenced by British and French pop culture juggernauts––The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Mary Quant, Shrimpton, Twiggy, Bardot, etc.–– the decade that immediately followed was all about the Americans.
In the 1970s, where 'Mad Men' is heading fast, British bands channeled American country-western, and rhythm and blues. One British band decided to call themselves America. The Eagles soared. Karen Carpenter's voice graced the airwaves. Steve McQueen was the world's biggest movie star. Mary Tyler Moore, 'The Brady Bunch' and 'Charlie's Angels' took over television.
Speaking of which, there were those natural blondes: Farrah Fawcett, Cheryl Tiegs, Christie Brinkley. Fresh-faced, tan, sporty. Their look was all the rage, and Halston was the king of fashion.
The transition from the 1960s to the 1970s brought about a cultural shift towards all things sporty and American––but 'Mad Men' has always decidedly been about Americans. Megan, the Canadian, has been one of few exceptions, and we might see much less of her when the show returns. The other notable foreigner was Lane Price, who worried about the status of his residency in the U.S. until he (sadly) let his British stiff-upper-lip mentality get the best of him. And since the mid-season finale aired over Memorial Day weekend, this red, white, and blue bandanna dress also felt like a great fit for that American holiday. Especially because Vietnam War continues to loom heavy in 1969. What else might this dress signify?

THE ANECDOTE~ The 'Mad Men' mid-season finale, entitled 'Waterloo', notably features the moon landing––a major coup for The United States. Apollo 11 landed on the moon on July 20, 1969. (My personal connection with this is substantial: my father was an aerospace engineer for NASA in the early-to-mid-1960s. His mission was helping to build the Apollo space shuttle.)

Meanwhile, when thinking about this bandanna dress, I started to think about biker counterculture in 1969. We're sure to see or hear about Altamont when 'Mad Men' returns next year, either peripherally or directly. The Altamont Speedway Free Festival took place on December 6, 1969, and it came to symbolize the final nail in the casket of the peace-and-love movement of the late-1960s.
But let's take a closer look at July, 1969, where the mid-season finale left off... 'Easy Rider' was released on July 14, 1969, exactly one week before the moon landing. Now it all makes sense. We know Ted Chaough goes to the movies. It's very likely he saw 'Easy Rider' the week it was released. Right before his big move of frightening clients while flying them in his plane. And what about his being adamant about wanting out of the advertising industry altogether?

Supposing someone like Ted had just seen 'Easy Rider'––kindly, idealistic Ted would've certainly identified with Peter Fonda's character, Wyatt, who was also called Captain America(!). As in, the captaining of a plane. Just like Ted. Or the captain of a space shuttle on its way to the moon.
'Easy Rider' had a profound impact on men who longed for personal freedom, men who fancied the idea of being cowboys riding away on steel horses. While Ted's predicament could have been explored much more deeply, there didn't seem to be adequate time to explore every vital character's life in the span of those seven episodes. He was undoubtedly displaying this particular type of longing before he reluctantly agreed to 'sell out' again for the sake of the other partners.

None of this was addressed in 'Waterloo', but I strongly suspect Matthew Weiner and the 'Mad Men' writers were alluding to this counterculture mentality (one further catalyzed by the mainstream popularity of 'Easy Rider') via Ted Chaough's behavior.
THE REVIEW~ ‘Waterloo’, the mid-season finale of ‘Mad Men’, begins and ends with Bert Cooper. We first see Cooper sitting alone, watching the televised lift-off of Apollo 11. He stares in awe as the space shuttle launches, then utters a childlike, happy sigh.
Cut to Ted Chaough, captaining his small plane, containing two nervous fellas from Sunkist. They talk about the Apollo 11 mission; Ted suggests that the astronauts might die, before he shuts off the engine mid-flight. While the clients freak out, Ted shrugs and says: ‘You wanted to go up in the plane. We went up in the plane.’ Cutler and Pete (needless to say) are furious with Ted when they discuss the incident later on the phone; Ted explains that he doesn’t want to die, he only wants out of the business.
Betty’s college friend, Caroline, arrives at the Francis home along with her entire family. This visit must be Betty’s way of driving home the fact that she went to college to Henry, and to her kids; she’s following up on her earlier declaration of intellect by introducing physical evidence of her academic history. Caroline has two sons: a nerdy teenager named Neil (in a much-too-direct correlation with Apollo 11) who’s upset because he can’t find his telescope, and the older teenager –– a tan and highly athletic type named Sean who’s considering football scholarships. Sean and Sally give each other the heavy look-over when introduced. Betty reminds Bobby that he has a telescope and Neil’s face lights up. Back at SC&P, The Burger Chef team meets for a final run-through of their big pitch. When Harry asks, Don recommends that he take the partnership deal he’s been offered, without negotiating. If only Harry had run out to sign those papers, then and there.
Peggy gets a date with Nick, the handsome repairman installing her drop ceiling tiles at home. ‘It’s so hot in here,’ she says. Ceilings in this episode (again, too-directly) allude to the space pioneers heading to the moon, as well as the glass ceilings that female pioneers like Peggy are tackling. Betty chats with Caroline in the kitchen; when the subject of Don comes up, Betty explains their current relationship: ‘I’m starting to think of him as an old, bad boyfriend. Someone a teenage anthropologist would marry.’ As if on cue, shirtless Sean (or mini-Don Draper) walks into the kitchen. Sally (or mini-Betty) also stops by, sporting a freshly styled ‘big’ hairdo and makeup on her way to life-guarding.
Clueless Meredith (apart from her obvious social limitations, the poor girl also has notably terrible taste in clothes) shows Don the Cutler-initiated ‘breach-of-contract’ letter –– which will quickly escalate into huge changes at the agency. Don, furious, confronts Cutler, then calls out all of the partners from their offices. When Harry shows up, Joan reminds him he’s not a partner yet. Bert yells at Cutler: ‘You had no right to put my name on that!’ They take a vote to keep Don. Pete is also infuriated by Cutler’s tactless move. Despite being the only other partner to vote against Don, Joan disapprovingly tells Cutler: ‘You shouldn’t have done that.’ Peggy has an emotional moment with Julio, the neighbor boy to whom she’s been a surrogate mother. He tells her he has to move away to Newark and that he doesn’t want to go. They hug and cry. While her ceiling now looks pristine, some aspects of Peggy’s inner life still need attention.
Don calls Megan, who's sitting on her deck in a bikini, drinking white wine, reading a script. She also has a telescope nearby. It's another thematic image –– one of looking out into the distance or the future –– that repeats in this episode. When Don brings up the possibility of a permanent move to L.A., something Megan seemed to have wanted for so long, she essentially ends their marriage on the phone.
There will be speculation as to why Megan did this: why now, why this way? But Megan is pragmatic, focused. There has been a distinctive pattern with Megan during this season, and it rings true with a determined actress trying to make it in Hollywood. As an unknown starlet, being married would've never been a great selling point in landing her a role. Sad as it is to say, Megan is more focused on her career than on saving her marriage. 
(After all, being self-absorbed is a prerequisite for success in Hollywood.) While Megan had it in her to be an empathetic, connected human being, successful in some other type of creative field, this is the path she has chosen. And she is trying to stick with it. With their bi-coastal marriage, she felt like she could juggle both worlds; when Don offers to move (something she claimed she wanted, during times of frustration over her career) she immediately cuts off that part of her life in favor of the other. Which is why she cries and looks so terribly sad (and terribly sorry) when she tells him: ‘You don’t owe me anything.’ She feels guilty, because this is her choice. And she still loves Don. But again: she is being pragmatic. It’s a crushing scene for Don, and for those of us who rooted for them.
Roger and Bert have their final conversation, in which Bert is intentionally discouraging enough to compel Roger to rise to the occasion and prove himself a leader. Bert mentions Napolean and Waterloo. The Burger Chef team flies to Indianapolis. Pete compares Ted to Lane Price and suggests that Don heads up the L.A. office, and Don lets Pete know that ‘there’s no reason to go to L.A.’ Pete realizes Don and Megan have ended it and gives us another Pete Campbell nugget: ‘Marriage is a racket!’
The moon landing happens. Everyone watches Neil Armstrong take his first steps on the moon from their respective homes, with their respective families. Important to note: every member of the Burger Chef team watching TV together from their Indiana hotel room (Pete, Harry, Peggy, and Don) would have watched the moon landing alone, otherwise. So, as Peggy’s Burger Chef pitch suggests, Burger Chef even brought this team together, in this moment, as a pseudo-family.
Roger and his family watch together, minus ‘Marigold’. Bert Cooper watches with his maid, and he says what becomes his last word on the show (until he sings us out): ‘Bravo.’ At Betty’s house, Sean sours the mood for everyone by sharing a popular sentiment among angst-ridden youth of the time: the cost of this mission was too steep. Don, being the loving father he is, calls to speak with his children so they may share this important memory together. Sally (ever the teenage girl) immediately adopts the cynical P.O.V. Sean just blurted out, but Don quickly manages to reverse this by asking Sally if she wants her little brothers to think that way.
Roger also receives a phone call in the midst of the moon landing and finds out that Bert Cooper, his father figure, has passed away. Cutler’s determination to rid the agency of Don, which he immediately mentions again, prompts Roger to take action against Cutler’s vision of the future, which consists solely of computers instead of people. (‘It’s the agency of the future.’) Speaking of futures, out in the backyard, Sally kisses the teenage scientist named Neil as if to reverse any indication that she is like her mother, someone who makes herself pretty and adopts a handsome guy’s thoughts instead of thinking for herself. When she kisses Neil, she offers herself hope that she has another future in store. Roger tells Don about Bert and they console one another. Don tells Peggy to deliver the Burger Chef pitch. Despite her trepidation, he insists she’s ready. He believes in her. Don is certainly doing everything right, and it’s inevitable that his luck is about to change.
And that change (for the future) does come, in the form of Roger as leader. Roger makes a deal with McCann Erickson to buy out SC&P. Meanwhile, Peggy delivers a flawless pitch and wins the Burger Chef account.
The next day, Roger tells the partners they will be rich if they take the McCann deal. When Joan finds out just how rich, she’s immediately on board, and ecstatic. (Harry pops in for the meeting, but misses the boat, again. A huge boat this time. ‘I’ll take the deal! But he's too late.) Cutler argues against the deal, and Don. Again. Roger explains: ‘All they care about is me, Don and Ted.’ Ted insists he doesn’t want to be in the business. But Don talks Ted into it by candidly describing his own recent struggles in trying to regain his career. They move to vote and everyone, including Cutler, votes yes. To everyone's surprise. But Cutler explains: ‘It’s a lot of money!’ Consistent indeed.
The mid-season finale ends with a surreal ‘soft sock’ dance and song by Bert Cooper. It's an appropriate send-off for an actual song-and-dance man: ‘The moon belongs to everyone. The best things in life are free!’