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Updated: 14 min 31 sec ago

Roald Dahl’s Touching Pro-Vaccination Leaflet: “It Really is Almost a Crime to Allow Your Child to Go Unimmunised”

1 hour 23 min ago

Generations of us know Roald Dahl as, first and foremost, the author of popular children’s novels like The BFGThe WitchesCharlie and the Chocolate Factory (that book of the “subversive” lost chapter), and James and the Giant Peach. We remember reading those with great delight, and some of us even made it into the rumored literary territory of his “stories for grown-ups.” But few of us, at least if we grew up in the past few decades, will have familiarized ourselves with all the purposes to which Dahl put his pen. Like many fine writers, Dahl always drew something from his personal experience, and few personal experiences could have had as much impact as the sudden death of his measles-stricken seven-year-old daughter Olivia in 1962. A chapter of Donald Sturrock’s biography Storyteller: The Life of Roald Dahl, excerpted at The Telegraph, tells of both the event itself and Dahl’s stoic, writerly (according to some, perhaps too stoic and too writerly) way of handling it.

But good did come out of Dahl’s response to the tragedy. In 1986, he wrote a leaflet for the Sandwell Health Authority entitled Measles: A Dangerous Illness, which tells Olivia’s story and provides a swift and well-supported argument for universal vaccination against the disease:

Olivia, my eldest daughter, caught measles when she was seven years old. As the illness took its usual course I can remember reading to her often in bed and not feeling particularly alarmed about it. Then one morning, when she was well on the road to recovery, I was sitting on her bed showing her how to fashion little animals out of coloured pipe-cleaners, and when it came to her turn to make one herself, I noticed that her fingers and her mind were not working together and she couldn’t do anything.

“Are you feeling all right?” I asked her.

“I feel all sleepy,” she said.

In an hour, she was unconscious. In twelve hours she was dead.

The measles had turned into a terrible thing called measles encephalitis and there was nothing the doctors could do to save her. That was twenty-four years ago in 1962, but even now, if a child with measles happens to develop the same deadly reaction from measles as Olivia did, there would still be nothing the doctors could do to help her.

On the other hand, there is today something that parents can do to make sure that this sort of tragedy does not happen to a child of theirs. They can insist that their child is immunised against measles. I was unable to do that for Olivia in 1962 because in those days a reliable measles vaccine had not been discovered. Today a good and safe vaccine is available to every family and all you have to do is to ask your doctor to administer it.

It is not yet generally accepted that measles can be a dangerous illness. Believe me, it is. In my opinion parents who now refuse to have their children immunised are putting the lives of those children at risk. In America, where measles immunisation is compulsory, measles like smallpox, has been virtually wiped out.

Here in Britain, because so many parents refuse, either out of obstinacy or ignorance or fear, to allow their children to be immunised, we still have a hundred thousand cases of measles every year. Out of those, more than 10,000 will suffer side effects of one kind or another. At least 10,000 will develop ear or chest infections. About 20 will die.

LET THAT SINK IN.

Every year around 20 children will die in Britain from measles.

So what about the risks that your children will run from being immunised?

They are almost non-existent. Listen to this. In a district of around 300,000 people, there will be only one child every 250 years who will develop serious side effects from measles immunisation! That is about a million to one chance. I should think there would be more chance of your child choking to death on a chocolate bar than of becoming seriously ill from a measles immunisation.

So what on earth are you worrying about? It really is almost a crime to allow your child to go unimmunised.

The ideal time to have it done is at 13 months, but it is never too late. All school-children who have not yet had a measles immunisation should beg their parents to arrange for them to have one as soon as possible.

Incidentally, I dedicated two of my books to Olivia, the first was ‘James and the Giant Peach’. That was when she was still alive. The second was ‘The BFG’, dedicated to her memory after she had died from measles. You will see her name at the beginning of each of these books. And I know how happy she would be if only she could know that her death had helped to save a good deal of illness and death among other children.

Alas, this message hasn’t quite fallen into irrelevance. What with anti-vaccination movements having somehow picked up a bit of steam in recent years, it might make sense to send Dahl’s leaflet back into print — or, better yet, to keep it circulating far and wide around the internet. Not that others haven’t made cogent pro-vaccination arguments of their own, in different media, with different illustrations of the data, and with different levels of profanity. Take, for instance, Penn and Teller’s segment below, which, finding the perfect target given its mandate against non-evidence-based beliefs, takes aim at the proposition that vaccinations cause autism:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lhk7-5eBCrs

Related Content:

Read a Never Published, “Subversive” Chapter from Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

The Recipes of Iconic Authors: Jane Austen, Sylvia Plath, Roald Dahl, the Marquis de Sade & More

Colin Marshall hosts and produces Notebook on Cities and Culture and writes essays on cities, language, Asia, and men’s style. He’s at work on a book about Los Angeles, A Los Angeles Primer. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

Roald Dahl’s Touching Pro-Vaccination Leaflet: “It Really is Almost a Crime to Allow Your Child to Go Unimmunised” is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don't miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooksFree Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.

The post Roald Dahl’s Touching Pro-Vaccination Leaflet: “It Really is Almost a Crime to Allow Your Child to Go Unimmunised” appeared first on Open Culture.

Extensive Archive of Avant-Garde & Modernist Magazines (1890-1939) Now Available Online

5 hours 34 min ago

Having once been involved in the founding of an arts magazine, I have experienced intimately the ways in which such an endeavor can depend upon a community of equals pooling a diversity of skills. The process can be painful: egos compete, certain elements seek to dominate, but the successful product of such a collaborative effort will represent a living community of artists, writers, editors, and other masters of technique who subordinate their individual wills, temporarily, to the will of a collective, creating new gestalt identities from conceptual atoms. As Monoskop—“a wiki for collaborative studies of art, media and the humanities”—points out, “the whole” of an arts magazine, “could become greater than the sum of its parts.” Often when this happens, a publication can serve as the platform or nucleus of an entirely new movement.

Monoskop maintains a digital archive of printed avant-garde and modernist magazines dating from the late-19th century to the late 1930s, published in locales from Arad to Bucharest, Copenhagen to Warsaw, in addition to the expected New York and Paris. From the latter city comes the 1924 first issue of Surrealisme at the top of the post. From the much smaller city of Arad in Romania comes the March, 1925 issue 1 of Periszkóp above, published in Hungarian and featuring works by Picasso, Marc Chagal, and many lesser-known Eastern European artists. Just below, see another Paris publication: the first, 1929 issue of Documents, a surrealist journal edited by Georges Bataille and featuring such luminaries as Cuban novelist Alejo Carpentier and artists Georges Braque, Giorgio De Chirico, Salvador Dali, Marchel Duchamp, Paul Klee, Joan Miro, and Pablo Picasso. Further down, see the first, 1926, issue of the Bauhaus journal, vehicle of the famous arts movement founded by Walter Gropius in 1919.

The variety of modernist and avant garde publications archived at Monoskop “provide us with a historical record of several generations of artists and writers.” They also “remind us that our lenses matter.” In an age of “the relentless linearity of digital bits and the UX of the glowing screen” we tend to lose sight of such critically important matters as design, typography, layout, writing, and the “techniques of printing and mechanical reproduction.” Anyone can build a website, fill it with “content,” and propagate it globally, giving little or no thought to aesthetic choices and editorial framing. But the magazines represented in Monoskop’s archive are specialized creations, the products of very deliberate choices made by groups of highly skilled individuals with very specific aesthetic agendas.

A majority of the publications represented come from the explosive period of modernist experimentation between the wars, but several, like the journal Rhythm: Art Music Literature—first published in 1911—offer glimpses of the early stirrings of modernist innovation in the Anglophone world. Others like the 1890-93 Parisian Entretiens politiques et littéraires showcase the work of pioneering early French modernist forebears like Jules Laforgue (a great influence upon T.S. Eliot) and also André Gide and Stéphane Mallarmé. Some of the publications here are already famous, like The Little Review, many much lesser-known. Most published only a handful of issues.

With a few exceptions—such as the 1923 Japanese publication MAVO shown above—almost all of the journals represented at Monoskop’s archive hail from Eastern and Western Europe and the U.S.. While “only a few journals had any significant impact outside the avant-garde circles in their time,” the ripples of that impact have spread outward to encompass the art and design worlds that surround us today. These examples of the literary and design culture of early 20th century modernist magazines, like those of late 20th century postmodern ‘zines, provide us with a distillation of minor movements that came to have major significance in decades hence.

via Hyperallergic

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William S. Burrough’s Avant-Garde Movie ‘The Cut Ups’ (1966)

Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

Extensive Archive of Avant-Garde & Modernist Magazines (1890-1939) Now Available Online is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don't miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooksFree Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.

The post Extensive Archive of Avant-Garde & Modernist Magazines (1890-1939) Now Available Online appeared first on Open Culture.

Conspiracy Theory Rock: The Schoolhouse Rock Parody Saturday Night Live May Have Censored

9 hours 3 min ago
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z3JLKw0q4kY

You’ve probably seen “Illusion of Choice,” a 2011 infographic detailing how six media conglomerates “control a staggering 90% of what we read, watch, or listen to.” (The entities named are GE, News Corp, Disney, Viacom, Time Warner, and CBS.) Another “Illusion of Choice” infographic from last year documents how “ten huge corporations control the production of almost everything the average person buys.” Are these webs of corporate connection kooky conspiracy theories or genuine cause for alarm? Do the correlations between business entities cause political currents that undermine democracy and media independence? It’s not particularly controversial to think so given the amount of money corporations spend on lobbying and political campaigns. It’s not even particularly controversial to say so, at least for those of us who aren’t employed by, say, Viacom, Time Warner, GE, etc.

But pointing fingers at the corporatocracy may have not gone over so well for famed comedy writer Robert Smigel in 1998 when his recurring animated “Saturday TV Funhouse” segment produced the “Conspiracy Theory Rock” bit above for Saturday Night Live. A parody of the beloved Schoolhouse Rock educational ‘toons of the 70s, “Conspiracy Theory Rock” features a disheveled gentleman—a stereotype of the outsider crackpot—leading a sing-along about the machinations of the “Media-opoly.” Figured as greedy octopi (reminiscent of Matt Taibbi’s “vampire squid”), the media giants here, including GE, Westinghouse, Fox, and Disney, devour the smaller guys—the traditional networks—and “use them to say whatever they please and put down the opinions of anyone who disagrees.” The segment may have raised the ire of GE, who own NBC. It aired once with the original episode but was subsequently pulled from the show in syndication, though it’s been included in subsequent DVD compilations of “Saturday TV Funhouse.”

Now “Conspiracy Theory Rock” is circulating online—amplified by a Marc Maron tweet—as a “banned” clip, a misleading description that feeds right into the story of conspiracy. Editing a sketch from a syndicated comedy show, after all, is not tantamount to banning it. While the short piece makes the usual compelling case against corporate rule, it does so in a tongue-in-cheek way that allows for the possibility that some of these allegations are tenuous exaggerations. Our unwashed presenter, for example, ends the segment mumbling an incoherent non sequitur about Lorne Michaels and Marion Barry attending the same high school. For his part, Michaels has said the segment was cut because it “wasn’t funny.” He’s got a point—it isn’t—but it’s hard to believe it didn’t raise other objections from network executives. It wouldn’t be the first time the show has been accused of censoring a political sketch.

Related Content:

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Schoolhouse Rock at 40: Revisit a Collection of Nostalgia-Inducing Educational Videos

Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

Conspiracy Theory Rock: The Schoolhouse Rock Parody Saturday Night Live May Have Censored is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don't miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooksFree Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.

The post Conspiracy Theory Rock: The Schoolhouse Rock Parody Saturday Night Live May Have Censored appeared first on Open Culture.

Wonderfully Weird & Ingenious Medieval Books

Mon, 1 Sep 2014 - 11:30 pm

Leiden University book historian Erik Kwakkel describes his tumblr site as follows: “I post images from medieval books.” In the words of Samuel L. Jackson on the immortal Snakes on a Plane, you either want to see that, or you don’t. Presuming you do (and given your presumable status as an Open Culture reader, it strikes me as a safe bet) know that Kwakkel doesn’t maintain just any old images of medieval books; his posts tend to highlight the askew, the obscure, and the innovative, further demonstrating that we need not find the “dark ages” dull. At the top of the post, you can see one photo of the several he posted of the biggest books in the world, in this case the “famous Klencke Atlas” from the 16th century. “While they are rare, such large specimens,” writes Kwakkel, “they do represent a tradition. Choir books, for example, needed to be big because they were used by a half circle of singers gathered around it in a church setting. If you are impressed with the size of these objects, just imagine turning their pages!”

Above, we have an example of what Kwakkel calls “Siamese twins,” two books bound as one using an odd binding “called ‘dos-à-dos’ (back to back), a type almost exclusively produced in the 16th and 17th centuries.” You could read one text one way, then turn the thing over and read a whole other text the other way. “You will often find two complementary devotional works in them, such as a prayerbook and a Psalter, or the Bible’s Old and New Testament. Reading the one text you can flip the ‘book’ to consult the other” — no doubt a handy item, given the religious priorities of the average reader in the Europe of that era. The animated image below highlights a related and equally unusual binding effort, a dos-à-dos from the late 16th century containing “not two but six books, all neatly hidden inside a single binding (see this motionless pic to admire it). They are all devotional texts printed in Germany during the 1550s and 1570s (including Martin Luther, Der kleine Catechismus) and each one is closed with its own tiny clasp.”

If this kind of highly vintage, labor-intensive bookmaking gets your blood flowing, make sure to see see also Traité des couleurs servant à la peinture à l’eau, the 700-page 17th-century guide to colors we featured in July, and which Kwakkel covered on his blog back in April: “Because the manual is written by hand and therefore literally one of a kind, it did not get the ‘reach’ among painters — or attention among modern art historians — it deserves.” Just one more reason to appreciate the internet, even if, as a medium, you far prefer the medieval book.

Keep tabs on Kwakkel’s tumblr site for more unusual finds, and don’t miss his other blog, Medieval Fragments, where he and other scholars delve more deeply into the wonderful world of medieval books.

Related Content:

Wearable Books: In Medieval Times, They Took Old Manuscripts & Turned Them into Clothes

Dutch Book From 1692 Documents Every Color Under the Sun: A Pre-Pantone Guide to Colors

Medieval Cats Behaving Badly: Kitties That Left Paw Prints … and Peed … on 15th Century Manuscripts

Dante’s Divine Comedy Illustrated in a Remarkable Illuminated Medieval Manuscript (c. 1450)

Colin Marshall hosts and produces Notebook on Cities and Culture and writes essays on cities, language, Asia, and men’s style. He’s at work on a book about Los Angeles, A Los Angeles Primer. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

Wonderfully Weird & Ingenious Medieval Books is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don't miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooksFree Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.

The post Wonderfully Weird & Ingenious Medieval Books appeared first on Open Culture.

David Lynch’s Musical Play Industrial Symphony No. 1: Dream of The Broken Hearted (1989)

Mon, 1 Sep 2014 - 11:55 am
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1q3v9zT2SG0

It is time, I thought to myself just a couple weeks ago; time, I thought, to watch Twin Peaks again. How I had missed Leland Palmer’s crazed dancing/crying jags, Agent Cooper’s straight-shooting cornball savvy, Audrey Horne’s tongue-in-cheek slinkiness, and the absolute nightmare of Bob. How I had especially missed the haunting score of Angelo Badalamenti and the ethereal interludes of Julee Cruise. Immersed now in the second season, I already mourn the premature end. But you can imagine my delight when I discovered the film above, a Lynch musical play scored by Badalamenti and showcasing the otherworldly voice of Cruise, who appears as “The Dreamself of the Heartbroken Woman.” Cast as the actual heartbroken woman is Lynch stalwart Laura Dern, whose heart is broken over the phone by then-young-heartbreaker Nicolas Cage. Rounding out the cast is another familiar face, Michael J. AndersonTwin Peaks’ “Little Man From Another Place”—appearing here as “Woodsman/Twin A.” Logs are sawn, neon signs flicker, dancers writhe, and Badalamenti’s twisted cool jazz lulls us into bizarre Lynchian neo-noir terrain.

Created as a live show during the filming of Wild at Heart, the play, Industrial Symphony No. 1: Dream of the Broken Hearted, made its on-stage debut at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in 1989. The filmed version above appeared in 1990, the same year Twin Peaks came to television. Much of the music, in fact, came directly from Badalamenti’s score for the upcoming series. Lynch, who wrote the lyrics for the ten Cruise songs, described the piece as “one great big, long mood”—an appropriate way, really, to characterize his entire body of work. “There isn’t much point in trying to decrypt its symbolism,” writes High-Def Digest. It’s “mostly a hodgepodge of images and motifs from the director’s earlier works. What little semblance of narrative construct it has is delivered in a video prologue starring Laura Dern and Nicolas Cage, obviously reprising their ‘Wild at Heart’ characters.” The title “Industrial Symphony” comes from a series of mosaic collages Lynch made while a student at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, and the piece has the feel of a mosaic of Lynchian elements coming together as mostly incoherent performance art. Some viewers may find the almost total lack of narrative sense off-putting, but this is “a must for fans of Cruise,” who delivers some powerfully affecting performances.

via Network Awesome

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Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

David Lynch’s Musical Play Industrial Symphony No. 1: Dream of The Broken Hearted (1989) is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don't miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooksFree Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.

The post David Lynch’s Musical Play Industrial Symphony No. 1: Dream of The Broken Hearted (1989) appeared first on Open Culture.

Read a Never Published, “Subversive” Chapter from Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Mon, 1 Sep 2014 - 5:00 am

50 years after the publication of Roald Dahl’s beloved children’s book, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Guardian has posted online a never-before-published draft of the book’s fifth chapter. It was cut from the first printed editions of Dahl’s classic, writes The Guardian, because it was considered “too wild, subversive and insufficiently moral for the tender minds of British children.” You, the reader living in 2014, will likely have a hard time figuring out what the fuss was about.

The lost chapter, appropriately illustrated by Sir Quentin Blake, begins:

The remaining eight children, together with their mothers and fathers, were ushered out into the long white corridor once again.

“I wonder how Augustus Pottle and Miranda Grope are feeling now?” Charlie Bucket asked his mother.

“Not too cocky, I shouldn’t think” Mrs Bucket answered. “Here – hold on to my hand, will you, darling. That’s right. Hold on tight and try not to let go. And don’t you go doing anything silly in here, either, you understand, or you might get sucked up into one of those dreadful pipes yourself, or something even worse maybe. Who knows?”

Little Charlie took a tighter hold of Mrs Bucket’s hand as they walked down the long corridor. Soon they came to a door on which it said:

THE VANILLA FUDGE ROOM

“Hey, this is where Augustus Pottle went to, isn’t it?” Charlie Bucket said.

“No”, Mr Wonka told him. “Augustus Pottle is in Chocolate Fudge. This is Vanilla. Come inside, everybody, and take a peek.”

The chapter continues at The Guardian.

Related Freebies: If you head over to Quentin Blake’s web site, you can find some items that are “fun & free” — like free e-cards designed by Blakefree wallpaper for your iPhone, iPad and desktop; and free drawings that you can color in. Meanwhile Audible.com offers The Roald Dahl Audio Collection, which features Dahl himself reading sections from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. You can get the collection for free by joining Audible’s 30-day Free Trial program. Please read the details about the Free Trial program here, and know that we have a partnership with Audible.com. So, if you make a purchase, it will help support Open Culture.

via Mental Floss

Read a Never Published, “Subversive” Chapter from Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don't miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooksFree Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.

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Miranda July’s Quirky Film Presents Somebody, the New App That Connects Strangers in the Real World

Mon, 1 Sep 2014 - 1:00 am

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iz13HMsvb6o

Having owned an iPhone for all of one month, I’m still a bit leery of all it can purportedly do for me. Convenience is great, but I’m not sure I’m ready to cede control of all the little tasks, challenges, and puzzles my own imperfect brain has been handling more or less well for nearly half a century.

I don’t hate blundering. And I really like interacting with librarians, local residents, and strangers who might be willing to use my camera to take a group photo in a restaurant or scenic location. 

Filmmaker Miranda July’s just released Somebody is, I suspect, something of a niche app.

If you cringe at the idea of flash mobs, Improv Everywhere, and audience interactive theater, it is most definitely not for you. 

It’s absolutely perfect for me (or will be once I get up to speed on my touchscreen.)

Basically, you take a selfie, create a profile, and wait for a stranger to select you to deliver a live message as his or her proxy. In addition to trawling the area for the designated recipient, you may be called upon to weep, hug, or get on your knees to get that message across.

Will you make a new friend? Probably not, but you will definitely share a moment.

And because no good deed goes unrewarded, your performance will be open to the vagaries of customer review, a humiliation July does not shy from in the promotional video above.

Is this app for real?

Yes, especially if you live in LA, New York, or another culturally rich Somebody hotspot.

If you don’t—or if receiving a message delivered, in all likelihood, by a tech savvy hipster, makes your flesh crawl—you can still enjoy the film as a comment on our digital existence, as well as a reflection of July’s ongoing desire to connect.

Related Content:

Watch Miranda July’s Short Film on Avoiding the Pitfalls of Procrastination

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David Sedaris Reads You a Story By Miranda July

Ayun Halliday is an author, homeschooler, and Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine. Follow her @AyunHalliday

Miranda July’s Quirky Film Presents Somebody, the New App That Connects Strangers in the Real World is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don't miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooksFree Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.

The post Miranda July’s Quirky Film Presents Somebody, the New App That Connects Strangers in the Real World appeared first on Open Culture.

Download for Free 2.6 Million Images from Books Published Over Last 500 Years on Flickr

Sat, 30 Aug 2014 - 12:32 am

Thanks to Kalev Leetaru, a Yahoo! Fellow in Residence at Georgetown University, you can now head over to a new collection at Flickr and search through an archive of 2.6 million public domain images, all extracted from books, magazines and newspapers published over a 500 year period. Eventually this archive will grow to 14.6 million images.

This new Flickr archive accomplishes something quite important. While other projects (e.g., Google Books) have digitized books and focused on text — on printed words – this project concentrates on images. Leetaru told the BBC, “For all these years all the libraries have been digitizing their books, but they have been putting them up as PDFs or text searchable works.”  “They have been focusing on the books as a collection of words. This inverts that.”

The Flickr project draws on 600 million pages that were originally scanned by the Internet Archive. And it uses special software to extract images from those pages, plus the text that surrounds the images. I arrived at the image above when I searched for “automobile.” The page associated with the image tells me that the image comes from an old edition of the iconic American newspaper, The Saturday Evening Post. A related link puts the image in context, allowing me to see that we’re dealing with a 1920 ad for an REO Speedwagon. Now you know the origin of the band’s name!

I should probably add a note about how to search through the archive, because it’s not entirely obvious. From the home page of the archive, you can do a keyword search. As you’re filling in the keyword, Flickr will autopopulate the box with the words “Internet Archive Book Images’ Photostream.” Make sure you click on those autopopulated words, or else your search results will include images from other parts of Flickr.

Or here’s an easier approach: simply go to this interior page and conduct a search. It should yield results from the book image archive, and nothing more.

In case you’re wondering, all images can be downloaded for free. They’re all public domain.

More information about the new Flickr project can be found at the Internet Archive.

In the relateds below, you can find other great image archives that recently went online.

via the BBC and Peter Kaufman

Related Content:

Folger Shakespeare Library Puts 80,000 Images of Literary Art Online, and They’re All Free to Use

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New York Public Library Puts 20,000 Hi-Res Maps Online & Makes Them Free to Download and Use

The British Library Puts 1,000,000 Images into the Public Domain, Making Them Free to Reuse & Remix

The Rijksmuseum Puts 125,000 Dutch Masterpieces Online, and Lets You Remix Its Art

Where to Find Free Art Images & Books from Great Museums, and Free Books from University Presses

Download for Free 2.6 Million Images from Books Published Over Last 500 Years on Flickr is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don't miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooksFree Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.

The post Download for Free 2.6 Million Images from Books Published Over Last 500 Years on Flickr appeared first on Open Culture.

Fans Reconstruct Authentic Version of Star Wars, As It Was Shown in Theaters in 1977

Fri, 29 Aug 2014 - 8:40 am
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dHfLX_TMduY

I watched Star Wars for the first time in 1977 at the tender age of four. And like a lot of people in my generation and younger, that first time was a major, formative experience in my life. I got all the toys. I fantasized about being Han Solo. And during the summer of ’83, I blew my allowance by watching Return of the Jedi every day for a week in the theater. George Lucas‘ epic space opera is the reason why I spent a lifetime watching, making and writing about movies. And if you asked any movie critic, fan or filmmaker who grew up in the ‘80s, they will probably tell you a similar story.

Over the years though, Lucas succumbed to the dark side of the Force. His prequel trilogy, starting with truly god awful The Phantom Menace (1999), is as visually overstuffed as it is cinematically inert. (Somewhere, there’s a dissertation to be written about how widespread feelings of betrayal from the prequels psychically prepared America for the anxiety and disappointments of the Bush administration.)

Worse, fans who want to console themselves by watching Star Wars as they remember seeing it back in the ‘80s are out of luck. Lucas has been quietly butchering the original movies by adding CGI, sound effects and even whole characters – like (gag) Jar Jar Binks — to successive special edition updates. The problem is these updated versions feel bifurcated. It’s as if two different movies with two different aesthetics were clumsily stitched together. Lucas’ spare, muscular compositions in the original movie sit uneasily next to its cartoony, over-wrought additions. Yet this Frankenstein version is the one that Lucas insists you watch. The original cut is just plain not for sale. Lucas even refused to give the National Film Registry the 1977 cut of Star Wars for future preservation. “It’s like this is the movie I wanted it to be,” said Lucas in an interview in 2004, “and I’m sorry if you saw half a completed film and fell in love with it, but I want it to be the way I want it to be.”

Thankfully, hardcore Star Wars fans are telling Lucas, respectfully, to go cram it. As Rose Eveleth in The Atlantic reports, a dedicated online community has set out to create a “despecialized” edition of Star Wars that strips away all of Lucas’s digital nonsense and restores the movie to its original 1977 state. The de facto leader of this movement is Petr Harmy, a 25-year-old guy from the Czech Republic who with the help of a legion of technically savvy film nerds has pieced together footage from existing prints and older DVD releases to create the Despecialized Edition v. 2.5. (Directions on where you can locate it are here.) Above Harmy talks in detail about how he accomplished this feat. And below you can see some side-by-side comparisons. More can be found on Petr Harmy’s page.

Via The Atlantic

Related Content: 

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Watch the Very First Trailers for Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back & Return of the Jedi (1976-83)

Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyers Break Down Star Wars as an Epic, Universal Myth

Hundreds of Fans Collectively Remade Star Wars; Now They Remake The Empire Strikes Back

Jonathan Crow is a Los Angeles-based writer and filmmaker whose work has appeared in Yahoo!, The Hollywood Reporter, and other publications. You can follow him at @jonccrowAnd check out his blog Veeptopus, featuring one new drawing of a vice president with an octopus on his head daily. 

Fans Reconstruct Authentic Version of Star Wars, As It Was Shown in Theaters in 1977 is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don't miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooksFree Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.

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A 56-Song Playlist of Music in Haruki Murakami’s Novels: Ray Charles, Glenn Gould, the Beach Boys & More

Fri, 29 Aug 2014 - 5:00 am

Last month we featured the particulars of novelist Haruki Murakami’s passion for jazz, including a big Youtube playlist of songs selected from Portrait in Jazz, his book of essays on the music. But we also alluded to Murakami’s admission of running to a soundtrack provided by The Lovin’ Spoonful, which suggests listening habits not enslaved to purism. His books — one of the very best known of which takes its name straight from a Beatles song (“Norwegian Wood”) — tend to come pre-loaded with references to several varieties of music, almost always Western and usually American.  “The Fierce Imagination of Haruki Murakami,” Sam Anderson’s profile of the writer on the occasion of the release of his previous novel 1Q84, name-checks not just Stan Getz but Janáček’s Sinfonietta, The Rolling Stones’ Sympathy for the Devil, Eric Clapton’s Reptile, Bruce Springsteen’s version of “Old Dan Tucker,” and The Many Sides of Gene Pitney. The title of Murakami’s new Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, writes The Week‘s Scott Meslow, references Franz Liszt’s ‘Years of Pilgrimage’ suite, “which plays a central role in the novel’s narrative. The pointed reference isn’t exactly a major detour from Murakami.”

Given the writer’s increasing reliance on music and the notion of “songs that literally have the power to change the world,” to say nothing of his “ability to single-handedly drive musical trends,” it can prove an illuminating exercise to assemble Murakami playlists. Selecting 56 tracks, Meslow has created his own playlist (above) that emphasizes the breadth of genre in the music incorporated into Murakami’s fiction: from Ray Charles to Brenda Lee, Duke Ellington to Bobby Darin, Glenn Gould to the Beach Boys. Each song appears in one of Murakami’s novels, and Meslow even includes citations for each track: “I had some coffee while listening to Maynard Ferguson’s ‘Star Wars.’” “Her milk was on the house if she would play the Beatles’ ‘Here Comes the Sun,’ said the girl.” “Imagine The Greatest Hits of Bobby Darin minus ‘Mack the Knife.’ That’s what my life would be like without you.” “The room begins to darken. In the deepening darkness, ‘I Can’t Go For That’ continues to play.” It all coheres in something to listen to while exploring Murakami’s world: in your imagination, in real life, or in his trademark realms between. 

To listen to the playlist above, you will first need to download Spotify. Please note that once you mouse over the playlist, you can scroll through all 56 songs. Look for the vertical scrollbar along the right side of the playlist.

Photo above is attributed to “wakarimasita of Flickr”

via The Week

Related Content:

Read 5 Stories By Haruki Murakami Free Online (For a Limited Time)

A Photographic Tour of Haruki Murakami’s Tokyo, Where Dream, Memory, and Reality Meet

Haruki Murakami’s Passion for Jazz: Discover the Novelist’s Jazz Playlist, Jazz Essay & Jazz Bar

In Search of Haruki Murakami, Japan’s Great Postmodernist Novelist

Haruki Murakami Translates The Great Gatsby, the Novel That Influenced Him Most

Colin Marshall hosts and produces Notebook on Cities and Culture and writes essays on cities, language, Asia, and men’s style. He’s at work on a book about Los Angeles, A Los Angeles Primer. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

A 56-Song Playlist of Music in Haruki Murakami’s Novels: Ray Charles, Glenn Gould, the Beach Boys & More is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don't miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooksFree Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.

The post A 56-Song Playlist of Music in Haruki Murakami’s Novels: Ray Charles, Glenn Gould, the Beach Boys & More appeared first on Open Culture.

Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd, Traffic & Other Bands Play Huge London Festival “Christmas on Earth Continued” (1967)

Fri, 29 Aug 2014 - 1:00 am
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fuw-P0fqsns

A truly spectacular event, 1967’s “Christmas on Earth Continued”—a super-concert described in one promo poster as an “All Night Christmas Dream Party”—gets sadly remembered as the last major show Syd Barret played with Pink Floyd—ending the set dazed and motionless onstage, his arms hanging limp at his sides. Barrett’s breakdown wasn’t the only thing that kept this massive happening, “the last gasp of the British underground scene,” from taking off as it should have.

As the blog Marmalade Skies recalls, the concert, held in the “vast London Olympia,” had “hopelessly inadequate” publicity.” This, and a “particularly severe winter freeze” meant sparse attendance and “financial disaster for the organizers.” In addition, a planned film of the event failed to materialize, “owing to poor picture quality of the footage.”

Despite all this, it seems, you really had to have been there. The lineup alone will make lovers of 60s psych-rock salivate: Jimi Hendrix Experience, Eric Burdon, Pink Floyd, The Move, Soft Machine, Tomorrow… The Who didn’t make it, but the unbilled Traffic did. We’re lucky to have some of the footage from that winter night. Check out Traffic below (with a very young Steve Winwood), playing “Dear Mr. Fantasy.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pYo_qw2EvKQ

Liberal England blogger Jonathan Calder calls the Traffic clip “priceless” and quotes Marmalade Skies’ vivid description of the nights festivities:

Soft Machine, with Kevin Ayers resplendent in pre-punk black string vest, climaxed with the ultimate Dada version of ‘We did it again’ as Robert Wyatt leapt into a full bath of water, that just happened to be on-stage with them! At least, we assumed it was water. 

Tomorrow powered through their unique mix of heavily Beatles influenced psychedelia. During ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ Twink (drums) and Junior (bass) performed a mimed fight whilst being subjected to the most powerful strobe light effects I’ve ever witnessed. Steve Howe was a revelation, moving from raga to classical to Barrett – style anarchy with an almost arrogant ease. 

Traffic, still with Dave Mason, even performed ‘Hole in my shoe’. Steve Winwood was into his white cheesecloth period, and their music was so unlike anything else around that they occupied a totally original space. The song, ‘Here we go round the Mulberry Bush’ was very typical of their trippy, watery sound at that time. 

Hendrix – voom! All light shows were killed for his performance. Noel Redding was constantly niggling Jimi, playing bass behind his head as Jimi performed his tricks with his guitar. It was the first time I saw Hendrix with his Gibson Flying Arrow, and the tension on-stage produced some electrifying music.

At the top of the post see Hendrix in backstage footage, effortlessly coaxing some beautiful 12-bar blues from that Gibson flying V. The film clips of him onstage—blowing an obviously very turned-on audience’s collective mind—will convince you this was the only place on earth to be on December 22, 1967.

And that fateful Floyd performance? We don’t seem to have any film, but we do have the audio, and you can hear it below, slightly sped up, it seems. The band were debuting their new 3D lightshow, which—as much as Barrett’s sad loss of his faculties—left quite an impression on the crowd. One anonymous commenter on Calder’s blog, who claims to have seen been in attendance at the tender age of 18, writes, “I was so impressed with the Soft Machine and Pink Floyd lightshows that I bought an old movie projector from a thrift shop and me and my flatmate spent hours putting color slides into the projector grate and watched them melt psychedelically on the wall.” No doubt impressionable youngsters all over the UK indulged in similar kinds of good clean fun, with Piper at the Gates of Dawn on the hi-fi. If like me, you were born too late to experience the zenith of the psychedelic 60s, then flip off the lights, let your trippiest screen saver take over, and listen to Pink Floyd deconstruct themselves below.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UflCJe_0mhQ

via Liberal England

Related Content:

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Jimi Hendrix Plays the Beatles: “Sgt. Pepper’s,” “Day Tripper,” and “Tomorrow Never Knows”

Pink Floyd Plays With Their Brand New Singer & Guitarist David Gilmour on French TV (1968)

Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd, Traffic & Other Bands Play Huge London Festival “Christmas on Earth Continued” (1967) is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don't miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooksFree Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.

The post Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd, Traffic & Other Bands Play Huge London Festival “Christmas on Earth Continued” (1967) appeared first on Open Culture.

The Right and Wrong Way to Eat Sushi: A Primer

Thu, 28 Aug 2014 - 11:29 am
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=auLmekEsaak

Vice.com’s food channel, Munchies, spent time with Naomichi Yasuda and learned the dos and don’ts of eating sushi. And they kindly summarized some practices that are permitted and verboten.

  1. It’s okay to use your fingers to eat cut sushi rolls.
  2. Don’t combine ginger and sushi, or ginger and soy sauce. Ginger is a palate cleanser in between bites.
  3. When dipping sushi into soy sauce, dip fish-side down.
  4. Never shake soy sauce off of sushi. That’s like shaking your wanker in public.

The video above just begins to scratch the surface. If you head over to TheSushiFAQ, you can find a long list of rules and suggestions that will round out your sushi-eating etiquette. Here are some additional tips to keep in mind: Never put wasabi directly in the shoyu dish. And know that Sashimi is only to be eaten with your chopsticks, not with your hands. Got it? There will be a quiz tomorrow.

via Kottke/Munchies

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The Right and Wrong Way to Eat Sushi: A Primer is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don't miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooksFree Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.

The post The Right and Wrong Way to Eat Sushi: A Primer appeared first on Open Culture.

Ludwig Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Gets Adapted Into an Avant-Garde Comic Opera

Thu, 28 Aug 2014 - 8:40 am
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=57PWqFowq-4

Ludwig Wittgenstein, enfant terrible or idiot savant? A student of the great Bertrand Russell and protégé of renowned mathematician and logician Gottlob Frege, the angry young upstart’s Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus put both elder thinkers on notice: The days of their comfortable assumptions were numbered, in a series of austere, cryptic aphorisms and symbolic propositions that make very little sense to those of us who lack the prodigious intellects of Russell and Frege. While Wittgenstein is often dismissed, writes Paul Horwich at New York Times’ philosophy blog “The Stone,” as “self indulgently obscure,” perhaps the real reason many academic philosophers reject his work is that it renders them superfluous. Philosophy, Wittgenstein obliquely claimed in his half-mystical, hyper-logical treatise, “can’t give us the kind of knowledge generally regarded as its raison d’être.”

http://ubumexico.centro.org.mx/sound/numminen_ma/wittgenstein/MA_Numminem_-_01_The_World_Is.mp3

Given the Tractatus’s firebombing of an entire area of human endeavor, it’s no surprise it hasn’t fared well in many traditional departments, but that hasn’t stopped Wittgenstein’s work from finding purchase elsewhere, influencing modern artists like Jasper Johns, the Coen Brothers, and, not least surely, Finnish avant garde composer and musician M.A. Numminen. This odd character, who caused a stir in the 60s by setting sex guides to music, took it upon himself to do the same for many of the Tractatus’s propositions, and the results are, well…. Listen for yourself. At the top of the post, we have video of Numminen performing the fifth and final movement of his Tractatus suite—the famous final proposition of that strange little book: “Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent” (“Woven man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen”). Numminen sings this in German, in his high-pitched, creaking voice. The rest of the suite he sings in English. Just above, hear the first movement, “The World Is…,” and below, hear movements 2-4, “In Order To Tell…,” “A Thought Is…,” and “The General Form Of A Truth Function.” He even sings the symbols, in breathless transcription. You can stream and download the full suite at Ubuweb and follow along at the Tractatus hypertext here.

http://ubumexico.centro.org.mx/sound/numminen_ma/wittgenstein/MA_Numminem_-_02_In_Order_To_Tell.mp3

 

http://ubumexico.centro.org.mx/sound/numminen_ma/wittgenstein/MA_Numminem_-_03_A_Thought_Is.mp3

 

http://ubumexico.centro.org.mx/sound/numminen_ma/wittgenstein/MA_Numminem_-_05_The_General_Form_Of_A_Truth_Function.mp3

Should Numminen’s tinpan alley-like compositions strike you as a particularly ridiculous setting for Wittgenstein’s genius, fear not; the Motet below (“Excerota Tractati Logico-Philosophici”), by composer Elisabeth Lutyens, treats the eccentric German’s work with a great deal more reverence.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6tVjyYY4hRg

via Leiter Reports

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Photography of Ludwig Wittgenstein Displayed by Archives at Cambridge

Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

Ludwig Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Gets Adapted Into an Avant-Garde Comic Opera is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don't miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooksFree Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.

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John Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme” Played With Bagpipes: The Artistry of Rufus Harley

Thu, 28 Aug 2014 - 5:00 am
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZmaicurzPb0

I submit to you the proposition that a sufficiently masterful composition can survive in not just any key, but any context, any time, any sensibility, or any instrumentation. To allow you to evaluate this proposition, I submit to you John Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme.” The saxophonist’s half-hour suite, an artistic freedom-embracing hymn to the higher power Coltrane saw as having imbued him with not just life but a formidable skill on his instrument, came as an eponymous album from Impulse! Records in 1965. (Listen here.) Having won innumerable accolades in the near-half-century since, it now seems to have a permanent place on everyone’s list of the greatest jazz recordings of all time. About such a pillar of a work, only one question can remain: how would it sound on the bagpipes?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PnvAu3C0Gb4

Here to satiate your curiosity comes Rufus Harley, the first jazz musician ever to take up the Scottish great Highland bagpipe as his main, er, horn. At the top of the post, you can hear him play a bit of “A Love Supreme” live on that signature instrument. He would also work other well-known pieces into his act, such as “Amazing Grace,” a song most commonly played in funerals. And indeed, it took a funeral to turn Harley on to the bagpipe’s untapped potential. “Moved by the pipes of the Black Watch Scottish Marching Band who were playing for the funeral of slain President John F. Kennedy in November, 1963,” says his bio at Hip Wax, he lined up “a $120 set of pipes from a pawn shop and help from musician-teacher Dennis Sandole,” and “the world’s only jazz bagpipist was on his way” — to places like the CBS game show I’ve Got a Secret, three years later, an appearance you can watch just above. You can learn more about Harley’s remarkable life and surprisingly funky career on Jazz City TV’s The Original Rufus Harley Story below.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zeAsSgPBmO0

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The World According to John Coltrane: His Life & Music Revealed in Heartfelt 1990 Documentary

Colin Marshall hosts and produces Notebook on Cities and Culture and writes essays on cities, language, Asia, and men’s style. He’s at work on a book about Los Angeles, A Los Angeles Primer. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

John Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme” Played With Bagpipes: The Artistry of Rufus Harley is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don't miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooksFree Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.

The post John Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme” Played With Bagpipes: The Artistry of Rufus Harley appeared first on Open Culture.

Watch the Films of the Lumière Brothers & the Birth of Cinema (1895)

Thu, 28 Aug 2014 - 1:00 am
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DEQeIRLxaM4

When Auguste and Louis Lumière unveiled their invention, the Cinématographe, at the Salon Indien du Grand Café in Paris on December 28, 1895, the art form of film was born. Prior to that, other inventors looked for ways to photographically capture motion in a commercially successful way but failed. Thomas Edison, for instance, hawked a device called the Kinetoscope that looked a bit like a View-Master strapped to a pulpit. It was big, bulky and, most importantly, offered an experience to a single viewer at a time. The Cinématographe, on the other hand, projected images on a wall, creating, for the first time ever, a movie audience.

The Lumière brothers screened 10 short films that night, each running about 50 seconds long. They are, as you might expect, about as primitive as you can get. Basic elements of cinema like editing or camera movement were decades away from evolving into the cinematic grammar that we take for granted today. You can see some of those early films above.

The Lumière brother’s first film was called Workers Leaving The Lumière Factory in Lyon (La Sortie des usines Lumière à Lyon) and that’s entirely what the short shows: a single static shot of dozens of men and women, all of whom seem to be wearing hats, leaving a factory for the day. It is a documentary in its most elemental form.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IooPPi1YzkM

Above is The Waterer Watered (L’Arroseur arrosé), cinema’s first comedy. It shows a gardener watering some plants before a naughty kid steps on the hose, cutting off its flow. When the gardener looks down the nozzle, the kid takes his foot off the hose and Bam! — the world’s first example of someone getting punked on camera.

And below you can see the Lumière’s most famous early short, screened in early 1896. It shows a train arriving at a station. The camera was placed right at the edge of the platform so the train sweeps past the frame on a strong, dynamic diagonal. Legend has it that audiences thought that the train was coming straight at them and panicked. That’s probably not true but it did, for the first time, demonstrate the visual drama that can be created by a well-placed camera.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1dgLEDdFddk

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Jonathan Crow is a Los Angeles-based writer and filmmaker whose work has appeared in Yahoo!, The Hollywood Reporter, and other publications. You can follow him at @jonccrowAnd check out his blog Veeptopus, featuring one new drawing of a vice president with an octopus on his head daily. 

Watch the Films of the Lumière Brothers & the Birth of Cinema (1895) is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don't miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooksFree Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.

The post Watch the Films of the Lumière Brothers & the Birth of Cinema (1895) appeared first on Open Culture.

The Five Best North Korean Movies: Watch Them Free Online

Wed, 27 Aug 2014 - 5:00 pm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ey2fvPtBsiA

According to official propaganda, Kim Jong-Il was a remarkably impressive individual. He learned to walk when he was just three weeks old; he wrote 1,500 books while at university; and, during his first and only game of golf, he scored 11 holes in one. Yet for some reason becoming the world’s first North Korean professional golf player didn’t seem to interest Kim. He wanted to make movies. So, in 1978, while his father Kim Il-Sung was still the country’s supreme leader, Kim set out to modernize the film industry of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

“The North’s filmmakers are just doing perfunctory work,” Kim said to South Korean film director Shin Sang-ok. “They don’t have any new ideas…their works have the same expressions, redundancies, the same old plots. All our movies are filled with crying and sobbing. I didn’t order them to portray that kind of thing.”

Of course, Kim’s bold plan to jumpstart the industry was to kidnap Shin and his wife, both celebrities in South Korea. He was abducted in Hong Kong and, when he had the temerity to try to escape, he ended up spending four years toiling in prison, subsisting on little more than grass and a little rice. Eventually, Shin was approached by Kim and given an offer he dare not refuse: make movies in North Korea.

Like the films cranked out in China during the height of the Cultural Revolution, North Korean movies are largely propaganda delivery systems designed exclusively for a domestic audience. After Shin’s kidnapping, DPRK movies started to get just a bit less didactic. Simon Fowler, who writes probably the only English-language blog on North Korean cinema, just wrote an article for The Guardian where he selected the best films to come out of the Hermit kingdom. You can watch a few of these movies here and find the others at The Guardian. They might be goofy, maudlin and ham-fisted, but for movie mavens and aficionados of Communist kitsch, they are fascinating.

Perhaps the most important North Korean movie ever is The Flower Girl (1972). Watch it above. Set during Japan’s colonial occupation of Korea, the film follows a young woman who endures one injustice after another at the hands of the Japanese before Kim Il-Sung’s army marches into her village and saves the day. The movie set the template for many of the movies to come afterwards. As Fowler writes, “the importance of The Flower Girl within the DPRK cannot be overestimated. The star, Hong Yong-hee, adorns the one won bank note in North Korea, and is revered as a national hero. Although not always an easy watch, those wanting to learn more about the average North Koreans’ sensibilities could do far worse than to watch this picturesque but tragic film.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E2dG5BQOVhI

Hong Kil Dong (1986) is clearly one of the movies Shin Sang-ok influenced; it foregrounded entertainment over ideology, a rarity at that point in the country’s film history. The movie is about a character from Korean literature who, like Robin Hood, not only robs from the rich and gives to the poor but knows how to deliver a beatdown. Hong plays out like a particularly low-budget Shaw Brothers kung fu spectacle with plenty of flying kicks, sword play and wire work.

And finally, there’s Pulgasari (1985), North Korea’s attempt at making a kaiju movie. Set in feudal times, the film is about a statue that comes to life, grows to monstrous proportions and, unable to sate its unquenchable thirst for metal, starts to smash things. Shin managed to get technical help for the movie from Toho, the same Japanese studio that cranked all those Godzilla movies. In fact, they even got veteran kaiju actor, Kenpachiro Satsuma, to don a rubber suit for this movie. Years later, Pulgasari was released in Japan about the same time as Roland Emmerich’s god awful Hollywood remake of Godzilla (not to be confused with Gareth Edward’s god awful Hollywood remake from earlier this year). Satsuma publically stated what a lot of Japanese privately thought – Pulgasari is better than Emmerich’s big-budget dud.

Not long after Shin completed Pulgasari, he and his wife managed to escape in Vienna thanks to the help of the CIA and a host of other unlikely parties.  Kim Jong-Il might have had super human abilities, but talent retention did not seem to be one of them.

You can watch the three films listed above, plus Marathon Runner and Centre Forward over at  The Guardian.

More free films can be found in our collection, 700 Free Movies Online: Great Classics, Indies, Noir, Westerns, etc..

via Coudal

Related Content:

Kim Jong-il’s Godzilla Movie & His Free Writings on Film Theory

North Korea’s Cinema of Dreams

Jonathan Crow is a Los Angeles-based writer and filmmaker whose work has appeared in Yahoo!, The Hollywood Reporter, and other publications. You can follow him at @jonccrowAnd check out his blog Veeptopus, featuring one new drawing of a vice president with an octopus on his head daily. 

The Five Best North Korean Movies: Watch Them Free Online is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don't miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooksFree Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.

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David Lynch Takes the ALS Ice Coffee Bucket Challenge

Wed, 27 Aug 2014 - 3:40 pm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uvkqr-S-1Ac

Thanks to Laura Dern, David Lynch took the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. And, of course, there’s a twist — which involves a double shot of espresso and Lynch playing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” on the trumpet. If you ever wondered what Lynch looks like without his classic quiff, you won’t want to miss this one minute bit.

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David Lynch Takes the ALS Ice Coffee Bucket Challenge is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don't miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooksFree Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.

The post David Lynch Takes the ALS Ice Coffee Bucket Challenge appeared first on Open Culture.

Andy Warhol’s 85 Polaroid Portraits: Mick Jagger, Yoko Ono, O.J. Simpson & Many Others (1970-1987)

Wed, 27 Aug 2014 - 11:24 am

Polaroid photography, which looked about to fade out forever for a while there, has in recent years made a comeback. Chalk it up, if you must, to a grand revaluing wave of the physically analog in our age of digital ephemerality — the same tide on which enthusiasm for vinyl, zines, and even VHS tapes has risen again. But we must acknowledge that Andy Warhol, in a sense, got there first. It hardly counts as the only matter on which the mastermind of the Factory showed prescience; take, for instance, his quip about everyone in the future getting fifteen minutes of fame, a prediction which, as Jonathan Lethem put it, has in our present hardened into “drab processional.” Some of these very 21st-century people now enjoying (or enduring) their own fifteen minutes — most of them presumably not even born within Warhol’s lifetime — surely keep a Polaroid camera at hand. They acknowledge, on some level, what the consummate 20th-century “pop artist” sensed: that the ostensibly cheap and disposable, including self-developing film used for untrained vacation snapshots and mere reference material for “real” works of art, has its own kind of permanence.

Here we have a selection of Warhol’s own works of Polaroid photography, a medium he took up around 1970 and used to further his interest in portraiture. The University of California, Berkeley Art Museum, just one of the institutions to put them on display, says that “these images often served as the basis for his commissioned portraits, silk-screen paintings, drawings, and prints.” The wide subset they showed “reveals that superstars were not the only figures that Warhol photographed with his Polaroid Big Shot, the distinct plastic camera he used for the majority of his sittings. Over half of those who sat for him were little known or remain unidentified.” Whether of Mick Jagger, Yoko Ono, O.J. Simpson, Debbie Harry, himself, a row of bananas, or someone faintly recognizable yet ultimately unnamable, each of Warhol’s Polaroids remains “fully identified with the artwork that ultimately grew out of it; the face depicted becomes a kind of signifier for larger cultural concepts of beauty, power, and worth.”

You can see at least 85 of Warhol’s polaroid portraits at a site called These Americans.

Now what would Warhol, a known early enthusiast of computer art, have said about the arrival of Instagram filters meant to make our instantaneous, high-resolution digital photos look like Polaroids again?

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Colin Marshall hosts and produces Notebook on Cities and Culture and writes essays on cities, language, Asia, and men’s style. He’s at work on a book about Los Angeles, A Los Angeles Primer. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

Andy Warhol’s 85 Polaroid Portraits: Mick Jagger, Yoko Ono, O.J. Simpson & Many Others (1970-1987) is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don't miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooksFree Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.

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How to Listen to the Radio: The BBC’s 1930 Manual for Using a New Technology

Wed, 27 Aug 2014 - 8:30 am

Click to enlarge

A comparison between the invention of radio and that of the Internet need not be a strained or superfical exercise. Parallels abound. The communication tool that first drew the world together with news, drama, and music took shape in a small but crowded field of amateur enthusiasts, engineers and physicists, military strategists, and competing corporate interests. In 1920, the technology emerged fully into the consumer sector with the first commercial broadcast by Westinghouse’s KDKA station in Pittsburgh on November 2, Election Day. By 1924, the U.S. had 600 commercial stations around the country, and in 1927, the model spread across the Atlantic when the British Broadcasting Corporation (the BBC) succeeded the British Broadcasting Company, formerly an extension of the Post Office.

Unlike the Wild West frontier of U.S. radio, since its 1922 inception the BBC operated under a centralized command structure that, paradoxically, fostered some very egalitarian attitudes to broadcasting—in certain respects. In others, however, the BBC, led by “conscientious founder” Lord John Reith, took on the task of providing its listeners with “elevating and educative” material, particularly avant garde music like the work of Arnold Schoenberg and the Second Viennese School. The BBC, writes David Stubbs in Fear of Music, “were prepared to be quite bold in their broadcasting policy, making a point of including ‘futurist’ or ‘art music,’ as they termed it.” As you might imagine, “listeners proved a little recalcitrant in the face of this highbrow policy.”

In response to the volume of listener complaints, the BBC began a PR campaign in 1927 that sought to train audiences in how to listen to challenging and unfamiliar broadcasts. One statement released by the BBC stresses responsible, “correct,” listening practices: “If there be an art of broadcasting there is equally an art of listening… there can be no excuse for the listener who tunes in to a programme, willy nilly, and complains that he does not care for it.” The next year, the BBC Handbook 1928 included the following castigation of listener antipathy and restlessness.

Every new invention that brings desirable things more easily within our reach thereby to some extent cheapens them… We seem to be entering upon a kind of arm-chair period of civilisation, when everything that goes to make up adventure is dealt with wholesale, and delivered, as it were, to the individual at his own door.

It’s as if Amazon were right around the corner, and, in a certain sense, it was. Like personal computing technology, the wireless revolutionized communications and offered instant access to information, if not yet goods, and not yet on an “on-demand” basis. Unlike Tim Berners-Lee’s World Wide Web, however, British commercial radio strove mightily to control the ethics and aesthetics of its content. The handbook goes on to elaborate its proposed remedy for the potential cheapening of culture it identifies above:

The listener, in other words, should be an epicure and not a glutton; he should choose his broadcast fare with discrimination, and when the time comes give himself deliberately to the enjoyment of it… To sum up, I would urge upon those who use wireless to cultivate the art of listening; to discriminate in what they listen to, and to listen with their mind as well as their ears. In that way they will not only increase their pleasure, but actually contribute their part to the improvement and perfection of an art which is yet in its childhood.

It seems that these lengthy prose prescriptions did not convey the message as efficiently as they might. In 1930, BBC administrators published a handbook that took a much more direct approach, which you can see above. Titled “Good Listening,” the list of instructions, transcribed below, proceeds under the assumption that any dissatisfaction with BBC programming should be blamed solely on impatient, slothful listeners. As BBC program advisor Filson Young wrote that year in a Radio Times article, “Good listeners will produce good programmes more surely and more certainly than anything else… Many of you have not even begun to master the art of listening. The arch-fault of the average listener is that he does not select.”

GOOD LISTENING

Make sure that your set is working properly before you settle down to listen.

Choose your programmes as carefully as you choose which theatre to go to. It is just as important to you to enjoy yourself at home as at the theatre.

Listen as carefully at home as you do in a theatre or concert hall. You can’t get the best out of a programme if your mind is wandering, or if you are playing bridge or reading. Give it your full attention. Try turning out the lights so that your eye is not caught by familiar objects in the room. Your imagination will be twice as vivid.

If you only listen with half an ear you haven’t a quarter of a right to criticise.

Think of your favourite occupation. Don’t you like a change sometimes? Give the wireless a rest now and then.

All maybe more than a little condescending, perhaps, but that last bit of advice now seems eternal.

via WFMU

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Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

How to Listen to the Radio: The BBC’s 1930 Manual for Using a New Technology is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don't miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooksFree Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.

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Brian May’s Homemade Guitar, Made From Old Tables, Bike and Motorcycle Parts & More

Wed, 27 Aug 2014 - 1:18 am
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cPD7_hQk7hk

It’s called “The Red Special.” Or sometimes “The Fireplace.” That’s the guitar that Brian May (guitarist of Queen and physics researcher) began building with his father circa 1963, when Brian was about 16 years old. Lacking money but not ingenuity, the father-son team built the guitar using materials found around the home. The neck of the guitar was fashioned from an 18th-century fireplace mantel, the inlays on the neck from a mother-of-pearl button. For the body, they used wood from an old oak table. Then the bricoleurs combined a bike saddlebag holder, a plastic knitting needle tip, and motorbike valve springs to create a tremolo arm. It’s a kind of magic! But here’s perhaps the most amazing part of the story. The resulting guitar wasn’t a rickety novelty. May used The Red Special during Queen’s recording sessions and live performances, and he still apparently plays a restored version today. If you find yourself inspired by this DIY story, you can head over to BrianMayGuitars and buy your own Red Special replica.

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Brian May’s Homemade Guitar, Made From Old Tables, Bike and Motorcycle Parts & More is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don't miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooksFree Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.

The post Brian May’s Homemade Guitar, Made From Old Tables, Bike and Motorcycle Parts & More appeared first on Open Culture.