SAG Awards ‘Mad Men’ Swag Gets Love SAG Judges Lacked

VH1's Calderone Lists Top 15 Albums Of 2013

The Screen Actors Guild Awards Holiday Auction, an online charity event conducted Dec. 5-15, was winding down last week with some cable-related tchotchkes doing their part to help kids and voiceover artists, among others.

AMC’s Mad Men failed to get any love from the SAG Awards judges: no nods for best actor, female actor (“actress” is out) or ensemble (there are no supporting actor awards). The fans were sharing some love, though, with 12 bids ($127.50 at press time) for a swag bag from the swaggering, cocktail-swilling Madison Avenue set.

Still, that seemed a little low for DVDs of seasons 1-4, a crew Tshirt, a Sterling Cooper & Partners mug, and a season 5 Blu-ray set signed by creator Matthew Weiner and the cast. Oh, and that “certificate of authenticity.” The Wire would like to see the certification of authenticity for the judges that snubbed the show.

Appropriately, FX’s Sons of Anarchy was generating a lot of auction action, with 44 bids for a signed DVD set of seasons 1-5. Going price: $202.50. A signed script drew 19 bids and was up to $76.

Fans were psyched for USA Network’s Psych, which had generated 33 bids and a high offer of $260 for its swagaliciousness, comprising a Psych laptop bag, a Psych trading card set, a Psych binder, a signed copy of ‘Psych’s’ Guide to Crime Fighting for the Totally Unqualified, the complete seventh season of Psych on DVD, two medium-sized T-shirts, a cast-signed photograph and — OK, everybody together now — “a partridge in a pear tree!”

A set of four VIP tickets to a taping of TV Land’s Hot in Cleveland and an autographed script had drawn 11 bids with a high bid of $152.50. A signed script for TV Land’s Happily Divorced was still an affordable $32, while a signed script for FX’s American Horror Story had scared up $135.

In other SAG auction news, apparently watching E! News blanket the red carpet before the awards show is hot in Hollywood. The press-time high bid for four front-row seats on the red carpet “across from the E! News Outlet” was $650.

Proceeds from the holiday auction, which ended Sunday (Dec. 15), benefit children’s literacy, emergency relief to union members, video and audio preservation, scholarships and workshops, and the operation of the Actors Center and the Don [“In a World...”] LaFontaine Voice-Over Lab.

SAG will also conduct a red carpet bleacher seats auction (Jan. 2-7), and a Jan. 16-26 auction for seats at the awards ceremony.

VH1 Topper Calderone Picks Top Albums From Strong 2013

With a few shopping days still left, The Wire was pleased to receive (and pass along) a list of the top music albums of 2013 from VH1 president Tom Calderone, whose career started out in alternative-rock radio before then-MTV Networks chief Judy McGrath recruited him into the MTVN fold.

“The cool thing about this year was an immense diversity,” Calderone told The Wire. “Not everything sounded the same.

“You could look at Kurt Vile and John Grant as quote-unquote singer-songwriters, but coming with a totally different perspective on how they get their words across,” he continued. “On the other side you have the power of the women this year. Whether it’s M.I.A., who basically did the album that [Lady] Gaga should have done. Then you have three sisters from California who started a family band, Haim, and all of a sudden became international superstars and now are starting to take over the United States. That has been fun to watch.”

He also enjoyed seeing established artists such as Arctic Monkeys produce “probably their most seminal, important album in their career” and the likes of Yo La Tengo and Jay-Z continue a process of reinvention.

Herewith, the list, and some commentary from Calderone:

1. Arctic Monkeys: AM.

2. M.I.A: Matangi.

3. The 1975: Self-titled debut album. “Very simply produced, but complex lyrics, complex layers of sound.”

4. Jay-Z: Magna Carta Holy Grail. “Really edgy. His rhymes are great in this one.”

5. The Palma Violets: 180. “When you listen to them they sound more jingle-jangle pop, but they are full-on a rock band. They are just disruptive for all the right reasons.”

6. Foals: Holy Fire. “I’m really impressed with the way they have taken on an incredibly complex production style and made it into their own.”

7. Haim: Days Are Gone.

8. The National: Trouble Will Find Me. “For me, it’s all about [Matt Berninger’s] voice. And this album is really, really strong.”

9. Sleigh Bells: Bitter Rivals. “They rock out as hard as Muse does but add a little more hip-hop and topicality to their music.”

10. Parquet Courts: Light Up Gold. “Clever is the best way to describe them. I’m just really impressed with them.”

11. Peace: In Love. “If John Hughes was still making movies today, he would be using Peace as one of his bands, particularly this song called ‘Lovesick.’ ”

12. Kurt Vile: Wakin on a Pretty Daze.

13. John Grant: Pale Green Ghosts.

14. Yo La Tengo: Fade.

15. Chvrches: The Bones of What You Believe. “They’ve had a lot of really great singles but this is the first time they’ve put together a strong, strong record, and I think this one’s going to through for the next year or so.”

— Kent Gibbons