We’re all anxiously awaiting the return of Mad Men in (gasp) 2012 and dealing with the show’s long hiatus in our own ways. We, for instance, drink a martini every Sunday night in honor of Jon Hamm’s stunning jaw line, while repeatedly rewatching last season’s deliciously shocking finale (has it really been a year since Don did the unspeakable and tied the knot with a CANADIAN?). But the super fans of New York’s own Club 60 put anyone who claims to be a real fan to shame. They host regular members-only events inspired by the show, of a sort that would fill die-hard Trekkies with admiration (think authentic full vintage outfits, including undergarments). It’s basically a combination of a Star Wars convention and the endlessly entertaining Native Society. We interviewed a member of Club 60, who graciously agreed to speak with us as long as her name was altered. If the alias she requested isn’t telling, we don’t know what is…
So, tell us a little bit about the club. What’s the premise?
Joan: Well, it’s basically an invite only-club inspired by Mad Men. We’ve been meeting for two years now. Everyone wears clothing inspired by the show, and we have regular parties in locales reminiscent of that era; we all dress up, drink old fashioneds. We have cocktail parties about once a month in people’s apartments, and it’s all very old New York. The music, the food — we usually pick a year and really ground the party in that. The whole concept is nostalgic like the show is, and glamorous because of that nostalgia.
Will you give us a few examples of the places you like to visit?
Hmmm, I don’t want to give too much away! A member hosted a dinner downstairs at 21 a while ago. We had a very rowdy night at Grand Central Oyster Bar, which was featured in Season 1. We’ve gone to Keens Steakhouse before, the Oak Room, a lot of the old hotel bars, basically all of the places mentioned or featured in the show. We tried a three-martini lunch once, which was hilarious. The secrecy is part of what’s so fun about being member, but if you see a group of guys in hats and skinny ties on Thursdays at PJ Clark’s, well… [laughs]
I bet you get together to watch the show, too.
Oh, of course. When it’s actually playing, that is. We meet for all the episodes. It’s been so sad this summer; my Sunday nights have been very depressing! I’ve literally been watching the reruns on AMC, for like the millionth time, with friends. While I think it’s admirable that Matthew Weiner has stuck by his vision so uncompromisingly, it is a real disappointment for the fans to have more than a year gap between seasons, especially after last season’s finale! For us, meeting with other true fans is even more important right now, keeping the show alive. And because Mad Men is based so much in, like, the general feelings of that time period and in 1960s pop culture, there is a lot to fall back on.
So why is the club “exclusive”? How do you become a member?
Well, it’s important to us to vet these people, especially because we’re going to be hanging out with them a lot. First of all, you have to be a real fan. Club 60 is a place for people who truly love this show. A member basically nominates someone he or she thinks would be interested, and we invite them to an event, and if they seem like they’d be a good addition, we invite them to join (the club). Personal style and knowledge of the show are the things we think about before adding a new member.
How many members do you have currently?
Close to 50 actively involved people. We’re all very different and live all over the city, but generally everyone is younger, like 21-35. We have Joans, Rogers, Peggys, Bettys, a lot of would-be Dons, all sorts. It’s pretty evenly split between guys and girls; that’s important to us when adding new people.
So does everyone have a character?
No, not necessarily, but people tend to kind of fall into categories and have favorites. It has a lot to do with dressing — the Bettys and the Joans dress differently. It’s actually like that Mad Men moment: Are you an Audrey or a Marilyn?
What are you?
Oh, I’m definitely a Marilyn.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 28, 2011