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Updated: 11 min 25 sec ago

Watch Frank Zappa Play Michael Nesmith on The Monkees (1967)

1 hour 31 min ago
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y_DevsLV5Y8

In December 1967, The Monkees blew their audience’s minds by hosting Frank Zappa, “participant in and perhaps even leader of” the Mothers Of Invention.

Or did they?

The tidal wave of affection that comprises twenty-first century Monkees mania makes us forget that children were the primary audience for The Monkees’ titular sitcom. (One might also say that The Monkees were the sitcom’s titular band.)

But even if the kids at home weren’t sufficiently conversant in the musical underground to identify the special guest star of the episode, “The Monkees Blow Their Minds,” we are.

It’s a joy to see Zappa and The Monkees’ supremely laid back Michael Nesmith (he auditioned for the show with his laundry bag in tow) impersonating each other.

Zappa’s idea, apparently. He’s in complete control of the gimmick from the get go, whereas Nesmith struggles to keep their names straight and his prosthetic nose in place before getting up to speed.

It’s important to remember that it’s not Frank, but Nesmith playing Frank who accuses The Monkees’ music of being banal and insipid.

Zappa himself was a great supporter of The Monkees. “When people hated us more than anything, he said kind things about us,” Nesmith recalled in Barry Miles’ Zappa biography. Zappa attempted to teach Nesmith how to play lead guitar, and offered drummer Micky Dolenz a post-Monkees gig with The Mothers of Invention.

Their mutual warmth makes lines like “You’re the popular musician! I’m dirty gross and ugly” palatable. It put me in mind of comedian Zach Galifianakis’ Between Two Ferns, and countless other loosely rehearsed web series.

After a couple of minutes, Nesmith gets his hat back to conduct as Zappa smashes up a car to the tune of the Mother’s Of Invention’s “Mother People.”

Watch the full episode here, or if pressed for time, perhaps just Zappa’s cameo in the Monkees’ movie Head, as a studio lot bull wrangler who counsels lead singer Davy Jones on his career.

Related Content:

A Young Frank Zappa Turns the Bicycle into a Musical Instrument on The Steve Allen Show (1963)

In One of his Final Interviews, Frank Zappa Pronounces Himself “Totally Unrepentant”

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

 

Watch Frank Zappa Play Michael Nesmith on The Monkees (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 Watch Frank Zappa Play Michael Nesmith on The Monkees (1967) appeared first on Open Culture.

Allen Ginsberg Talks About Coming Out to His Family & Fellow Poets on 1978 Radio Show (NSFW)

4 hours 30 min ago
https://media.sas.upenn.edu/pennsound/authors/Ginsberg/Stonewall%20Nation/Ginsberg-Allen-W-Orlovsky-Van-Oss-And-Hershbezger_02_On-Being-Closeted_Stonewall-Nation_WBFO-.mp3

Recent MacArthur Fellow and poet Terrence Hayes appeared on NPR yesterday to read and discuss his work; he was asked if he found “being defined as an African-American poet” to be limiting in some way. Hayes replied,

I think it’s a bonus. It’s a thing that makes me additionally interesting, is what I would say. So, black poet, Southern poet, male poet — many of those identities I try to fold into the poems and hope that they enrich them.

It seemed to me an odd question to ask a MacArthur-winning American poet. Issues of both personal and national identity have been central to American poetry at least since Walt Whitman or Langston Hughes, but especially since the 1950s with the emergence of confessional and beat poets like Allen Ginsberg. Without the celebration of personal identity, one might say that it’s hard to imagine American poetry.

https://media.sas.upenn.edu/pennsound/authors/Ginsberg/Stonewall%20Nation/Ginsberg-Allen-W-Orlovsky-Van-Oss-And-Hershbezger_03_Untitled-On-Coming-Out-To-His-Father_Stonewall-Nation_WBFO-.mp3

Like Hayes, Ginsberg enfolded his various identities—Jew, Buddhist, gay man—into his poetry in enriching ways. Thirty-six years ago, he gave a radio interview to “Stonewall Nation,” one of a handful of specifically gay radio programs broadcast in 1970s Western New York. In an occasionally NSFW conversation, he discussed the experience of coming out to his fellow Beats and to his family.

At the top of the post, Ginsberg talks about being closeted and having a crush on Jack Kerouac, who was “very tolerant, friendly,” after Ginsberg confessed it. Above he tells a funny story about coming out to his father, then reads a moving untitled poem about his father’s eventual acceptance after their mutual “timidity and fear.” In the segment below, he recalls how the rest of his family, particularly his brother, reacted.

https://media.sas.upenn.edu/pennsound/authors/Ginsberg/Stonewall%20Nation/Ginsberg-Allen-W-Orlovsky-Van-Oss-And-Hershbezger_04_On-Coming-Out-To-His-Family_Stonewall-Nation_WBFO-.mp3

The interview moves to broader topics. Ginsberg discusses his views on desire and compassion, defining the latter as “benevolent and indifferent attentiveness,” rather than “heart-love.” Buddhism pervades Ginsberg’s conversation as does a roguish vaudevillian sensibility mixed with sober reflection. He opens with a long, boozy sing-along whose first four lines concisely sum up core Buddhist doctrines; he ends with a funny, bawdy song that then becomes a dark exploration of homophobic and misogynistic violence.

https://media.sas.upenn.edu/pennsound/authors/Ginsberg/Stonewall%20Nation/Ginsberg-Allen-W-Orlovsky-Van-Oss-And-Hershbezger_06_On-The-Briggs-Amendment_Stonewall-Nation_WBFO-.mp3

Ginsberg and host also discuss the Briggs Initiative (above) a piece of legislation that would have been an effective purge in the California school system of gay teachers, their supporters, even those who might “take a neutral attitude which could be interpreted as approval.” This would preclude even the teaching of Whitman’s “Song of Myself” (or one particular section of it), which, Ginsberg says, “would make the teacher liable for encouraging homosexual activity.” The amendment—one that, apparently, former governor Ronald Reagan strongly opposed—failed to pass. These days such proposals target Ginsberg’s poetry as well, and we still have conversations about the value of things like “benevolent and indifferent attentiveness” in the classroom, or whether poets should feel limited by being who they are.

In the photo above, taken by Herbert Rusche in 1978, you can see Ginsberg (left) with his long-time partner, the poet Peter Orlovsky (right).

via PennSound

Related Content:

The First Recording of Allen Ginsberg Reading “Howl” (1956)

Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg & Margaret Mead Explain the Meaning of “Beat” in Rare 1950s Audio Clips

“Expansive Poetics” by Allen Ginsberg: A Free Course from 1981 (Edit)

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

Allen Ginsberg Talks About Coming Out to His Family & Fellow Poets on 1978 Radio Show (NSFW) 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 Allen Ginsberg Talks About Coming Out to His Family & Fellow Poets on 1978 Radio Show (NSFW) appeared first on Open Culture.

Photos of Jean-Paul Sartre & Simone de Beauvoir Hanging with Che Guevara in Cuba (1960)

8 hours 1 min ago

In 1960, Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir ventured to Cuba during, as he wrote, the “honeymoon of the revolution.” Military strongman Fulgencio Batista’s regime had fallen to Fidel Castro’s guerilla army and the whole country was alight with revolutionary zeal. As Beauvoir wrote, “after Paris, the gaiety of the place exploded like a miracle under the blue sky.”

At the time, Sartre and de Beauvoir were internationally renown, the intellectual power couple of the 20th century. Beauvoir’s book, The Second Sex (1949), laid the groundwork for the feminism movement, and her book The Mandarins won France’s highest literary award in 1954. Sartre’s name had become a household word. The philosophy he championed – Existentialism – was being read and debated around the world. And his political activism — loudly condemning France’s war in Algeria, for instance — had given him real moral authority. When Sartre was arrested in 1968 for civil disobedience, Charles de Gaulle pardoned him, noting, “You don’t arrest Voltaire.” As Deirdre Bair notes in her biography of Beauvoir, “Sartre became the one intellectual whose presence and commentary emerging governments clamored for, as if he alone could validate their revolutions.” So it’s not terribly surprising that Fidel Castro wined and dined the two during their month in Cuba.

Cuban photographer Alberto Korda captured the couple as they met with Castro, Che Guevara and other leaders of the revolution. One picture (above) is of Guevara in his combat boots and trademark beret, lighting a cigar for the French philosopher. Sartre looks small and unhealthy compared to the strapping, magnetic revolutionary. Sartre was apparently impressed by the time he spent with the guerilla leader. When Che died in Bolivia seven years later, Sartre famously wrote that Guevara was “not only an intellectual but also the most complete human being of our age.”

Later, Korda caught them as they were guided through the streets of Havana. And as you can see (below), that iconic image of Guevara, later plastered on T-shirts and Rage Against the Machine album covers, is on that same role of film.

When the couple returned to Paris, Sartre wrote article after article extolling the revolution. Beauvoir, who was equally impressed, wrote, “For the first time in our lives, we were witnessing happiness that had been attained by violence.”

Yet their enthusiasm for the regime cooled when they returned to Cuba a year later. The streets of Havana had little of the joy as the previous year. When they talked to factory workers, they heard little but parroting of the official party line. Beauvoir and Sartre ultimately denounced Castro (along with a bunch of other intellectual luminaries like Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Octavio Paz) in an open letter that criticized him for the arrest of Cuban poet Herberto Padillo.

You can read more about the life and photography of Alberto Korda in the 2006 book, Cuba: by Korda.

Photos above by Alberto Korda.

via Critical Theory

Related Content: 

Philosophy’s Power Couple, Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir, Featured in 1967 TV Interview

Jean-Paul Sartre Breaks Down the Bad Faith of Intellectuals

Walter Kaufmann’s Classic Lectures on Nietzsche, Kierkegaard and Sartre (1960)

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 Veeptopus store is here.

Photos of Jean-Paul Sartre & Simone de Beauvoir Hanging with Che Guevara in Cuba (1960) 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 Photos of Jean-Paul Sartre & Simone de Beauvoir Hanging with Che Guevara in Cuba (1960) appeared first on Open Culture.

A Crash Course on Psychology: A 30-Part Video Series from Hank Green

12 hours 1 min ago
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vo4pMVb0R6M

Novelist, educator, and vlogger John Green has drawn a lot of press lately, including but not limited to New Yorker profile by Margaret Talbot, in the wake of the film version of his popular young-adult novel The Fault in Our Stars. But we here at Open Culture can say we featured him before that magazine of cultural record did: in 2012 we posted his Crash Course in World History, and last October, his Crash Course on Literature. If you keep up with this site, you probably know Green less as a coming-of-age-tragedy-writing “teen whisperer” (in the words of the New Yorker) than as the mile-a-minute, constantly wisecracking, but nevertheless wholesome teacher you never had. You may not know that he has an equally educational brother named Hank, who first came to internet prominence in a back-and-forth video series of John’s devising called Vlogbrothers, which Talbot describes as “less a conversation than an extended form of parallel play.”

Now you can find Hank, possessed of a similarly fast and funny delivery style, prepared to inform you on a whole range of other subjects, teaching crash courses just like John does. At the top of the post, we have his 30-part Crash Course in Psychology, in which he covers everything about the study of the human mind from sensation and perception to the theory of the homunculus to remembering and forgetting to language to depression. (You can watch the series from start to finish above.) Psychology has long ranked among the most popular undergraduate majors in American universities, and given humanity’s ever-increasing curiosity (and gradually accumulating knowledge) about the workings of its brains, that shouldn’t come as a surprise. But those of us who felt compelled to pick a more “practical” course of study back in college, can now turn to Hank Green, who offers us a surprisingly thorough psychological grounding with only about five hours of “lecturing” — much less than the major would have taken us, and with many more corny jokes. Perhaps the course will help you understand why we laugh at them anyway.

via Devour

Related Content:

Free Online Psychology Courses

A Crash Course in World History

Crash Course on Literature: Watch John Green’s Fun Introductions to Gatsby, Catcher in the Rye & Other Classics

How To Think Like a Psychologist: A Free Online Course from Stanford

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 Crash Course on Psychology: A 30-Part Video Series from Hank Green 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 Crash Course on Psychology: A 30-Part Video Series from Hank Green appeared first on Open Culture.

The Last Saturday: A New Graphic Novel by Chris Ware Now Being Serialized at The Guardian (Free)

Wed, 17 Sep 2014 - 6:48 pm

Thought you might like a heads up that The Guardian has started publishing on its web site The Last Saturday, “a brand new graphic novella by the award-winning cartoonist Chris Ware, tracing the lives of six individuals from Sandy Port, Michigan.” It will be published in weekly episodes, with a new installment appearing on this page every Saturday.  The innovative comic book artist, known for his graphic novels Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth and Building Stories, will be getting some good support from the , which should make it quite the visual experience.

via Kottke

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Download 15,000+ Free Golden Age Comics from the Digital Comic Museum

The Last Saturday: A New Graphic Novel by Chris Ware Now Being Serialized at The Guardian (Free) 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 Last Saturday: A New Graphic Novel by Chris Ware Now Being Serialized at The Guardian (Free) appeared first on Open Culture.

Hear Bob Dylan’s Unedited & Bewildering Interview With Nat Hentoff for Playboy Magazine (1965)

Wed, 17 Sep 2014 - 5:29 pm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I-nO64wpfeQ

In the fall of 1965, six months after Bob Dylan freaked out the folkies at Newport, he sat down with Village Voice music critic and columnist Nat Hentoff for an interview for Playboy. Like Dylan himself, the resulting conversation, as published in February, 1966, is by turns illuminating and completely confounding. Topics shift abruptly, words take on unfamiliar meanings, and for all of the many strong opinions Dylan seems to express, it’s remarkable how little he actually seems to say, since he takes back almost everything as soon as he says it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vse26CHEPhQ

The verbal tangles of his answers take many philosophical turns. Dylan defines the contemporary art scene, saying “Art, if there is such a thing, is in the bathrooms; everybody knows that. […] I spend a lot of time in the bathroom. I think museums are vulgar. They’re all against sex.” Asked “why rock ‘n’ roll has become such an international phenomenon,” Dylan waxes ontological: “I can’t really think that there is any rock ‘n’ roll. Actually, when you think about it, anything that has no real existence is bound to become an international phenomenon.”

The bizarre nature of the published exchange is classic, comically aloof, mid-sixties Dylan—so much in character we can imagine Cate Blanchett’s serpentine Dylan in I’m Not There saying the lines. But the print version of the conversation is streamlined and lucid compared to the unedited, taped conversation Dylan and Hentoff had the year prior before an editor pared it down. As music site All Dylan has it, “to call them versions ignores the fact that they are totally different interviews.”

The original take, which you can hear above in two parts, was much messier, and stranger.  Dylan often sounds like he’s not answering questions so much as putting words together in sentence-like forms. His speech takes on the qualities of abstract expressionism—recursive, and pointedly vague. We might assume he’s really stoned, except for a long-winded speech about how passé it is to smoke pot.

Well, I never felt as if there’s an answer through pot. I don’t want to make this, kind of, a drug interview or anything, like. LSD like… once you take LSD a few times… I mean, LSD is a medicine. You know, you take it and you know… you don’t really have to keep taking it all the time. It’s nothing like that. It’s not that kind of thing, you know, whereas pot, you know, nobody’s got any answers through pot. Pot’s, you know, not that kind of thing. I’m sure that the people that say that the people who figure they got their answers through pot, first of all, those people who say that, they’re just inventing something. And the people that really actually think that they got their answers through pot, probably never even smoked pot, you know. I mean, it’s like… pot is, you know…who smokes pot any more, you know, anyway? 

Ever noncommittal, Dylan deflects a question about his relationship with Johnny Cash, saying “I can’t really talk about it too much,” but assuring Hentoff that he likes Cash “a lot. I like everything he does really.” If Dylan gives as much as he takes away in the published interview, he does so doubly in this unedited version, and it’s oddly fascinating, even—and especially—when he decides to stop making words make sense. The taped interview was, in fact, the second interview Hentoff conducted with Dylan. After seeing an edited transcript of the first attempt, Dylan insisted that Hentoff interview him again over the phone. Hentoff turned on his tape recorder and immediately “realized I was going to be the straight guy,” he tells John Whitehead, “Dylan was improvising surrealistically and very funny.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mnl5X5MQKTg

Vulture ranks the Playboy interview at number one in their list of “The 10 Most Incomprehensible Bob Dylan Interviews of All Time.” It must have been a tough call. At number 10, they have the Time magazine interview from that same year, which you can see in the clip above from 1967′s Don’t Look Back. Dylan is confrontational, almost theatrically angry, but he is mostly clear on the details. He ends the interview with a cryptic joke, comparing himself to opera singer Enrico Caruso: “I happen to be just as good as him—a good singer. You have to listen closely, but I hit all those notes.”

via All Dylan

Related Content:

Bob Dylan Reads From T.S. Eliot’s Great Modernist Poem The Waste Land

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Bob Dylan Finally Makes a Video for His 1965 Hit, “Like a Rolling Stone”

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

Hear Bob Dylan’s Unedited & Bewildering Interview With Nat Hentoff for Playboy Magazine (1965) 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 Hear Bob Dylan’s Unedited & Bewildering Interview With Nat Hentoff for Playboy Magazine (1965) appeared first on Open Culture.

Drunk Shakespeare: The Trendy Way to Stage the Bard’s Plays in the US & the UK

Wed, 17 Sep 2014 - 11:10 am
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1FZGFEbFrZI

You might be familiar with Drunk History, the web series turned Comedy Central show that reenacts the ramblings of inebriated hipsters trying to recount events like the Watergate scandal or the Burr-Hamilton duel. Well, apparently, a growing number of theater troupes have decided that the best way to stage Shakespeare in this age of social media and shortening attention spans is to get everyone involved drunk. The audience and the actors. One such group is called, aptly, Drunk Shakespeare, which describes itself as “a company of professional drinkers with a serious Shakespeare problem.” Each audience member is given a shot of whiskey at the beginning of each performance. The actors reportedly drink much more and actually have to get breathalyzed before the show. You wouldn’t want Henry V to pass out before the Battle of Agincourt, would you? The Wall Street Journal did a short video piece about the group. You can watch it above.

Another group, the New York Shakespeare Exchange, dispenses with the stage altogether. Instead, they host a regular pub crawl/ theatrical performance called ShakesBEER. In one of the many drinking establishments in New York, actors in contemporary dress do scenes from Hamlet and Othello amid patrons clutching pints of lager. You can watch some of their shows above.

Another example is The Inis Nua Company, which took the basic idea of Drunk History and swapped out the history with Romeo and Juliet. Check out below. Or, maybe if you’re across the pond, you will want to check out Sh*t- Faced Shakespeare at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. It features “An entirely serious Shakespeare play… with an entirely shit-faced actor.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DB2M5yp7As8

But the real question is where will all this crazed mixing of high culture and mind altering substances end? Will someone do Inebriated Ibsen? Stoned Chekhov? Moliere on Molly? Tripping balls Beckett? It’s a slippery slope.

via The Wall Street Journal

Related Content:

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Take a Virtual Tour of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre

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 Veeptopus store is here.

Drunk Shakespeare: The Trendy Way to Stage the Bard’s Plays in the US & the UK 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 Drunk Shakespeare: The Trendy Way to Stage the Bard’s Plays in the US & the UK appeared first on Open Culture.

The Avant-Garde Project: An Archive of Music by 200 Cutting-Edge Composers, Including Stravinsky, Schoenberg, Cage & More

Wed, 17 Sep 2014 - 5:00 am

Every sphere of recorded music, from late-1960s folk to Philadelphia hip-hop to Japanese jazz (a personal pursuit of mine), has its crate-diggers, those happy to flip through hundreds — nay, hundreds of thousands — of obscure, forgotten vinyl albums in search of their subgenre’s even obscurer, more forgotten gems. This holds especially true, if not in number than in avidity, for enthusiasts of the 20th-century classical-experimental-electroacoustic tradition that The Avant-Garde Project takes as its preservation mandate. The site offers material “digitized from LPs whose music has in most cases never been released on CD, and so is effectively inaccessible to the vast majority of music listeners today.” To the best of the Archive’s knowledge, the LPs are all currently out of print, and all the music is extracted with an analog rig that ranks as “near state-of-the-art, producing almost none of the tracking distortion or surface noise normally associated with LPs.”

http://ubumexico.centro.org.mx/sound/agp/AGP150/Schoenberg-Arnold_String-Trio-op45_1978_01.mp3

The Avant-Garde Project’s efforts, the archive of which you can browse here (or alphabetically by composer, or through choice samplers, or through the “AGP top twenty,” or through the founder’s personal favorites), has borne a great deal of fruit so far, especially from such music-history class favorites as Arnold Schoenberg, whose String Trio performed by the Los Angeles String Trio you can hear above, and Igor Stravinsky, whose Symphony of Psalms you’ll find below. Everything in the Avant-Garde Project’s archive comes downloadable as torrents of Free Lossless Audio Codec (FLAC) files. This audiophile’s compression format of choice requires a bit of special but easily obtained software to play or burn to CDs, all of which you can get explained here (with even more information here). Those who’d like to keep it simple (if not quite as aurally pristine) can listen through a smaller version of the archive at Ubuweb. Either way, you’ll enjoy all the artistic richness of rare 20th-century classical-experimental-electroacoustic music with none of the digging.

http://ubumexico.centro.org.mx/sound/agp/AGP149/Stravinsky-Igor_Symphony-of-Psalms-Canticum-Sacrum_1975_01.mp3

Related Content:

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Interviews with Schoenberg and Bartók

Hear Theodor Adorno’s Avant-Garde Musical Compositions

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.

The Avant-Garde Project: An Archive of Music by 200 Cutting-Edge Composers, Including Stravinsky, Schoenberg, Cage & 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 The Avant-Garde Project: An Archive of Music by 200 Cutting-Edge Composers, Including Stravinsky, Schoenberg, Cage & More appeared first on Open Culture.

Literary Critic Northrop Frye Teaches “The Bible and English Literature”: All 25 Lectures Free Online

Wed, 17 Sep 2014 - 1:00 am
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dc2Q6YMB6E8

One reason I’m glad for having had a childhood religious education: it has made me conversant in even some of the most obscure stories and ideas in the Christian Bible, which is everywhere in English literature. Not only was the King James translation formative for early modern English, but stories like that of King David and his son Absalom have furnished material for great works from John Dryden’s dense political allegory “Absalom and Achitophel” to William Faulkner’s dense modernist fable Absalom, Absalom!  Then, of course, there’s so much of the work of Blake, Shakespeare, and Milton to account for. Without a fairly solid grounding in Biblical literature, it can be doubly difficult to make headway in a study of the secular variety.

The students of highly regarded Canadian literary critic Northrop Frye found this to be true. As a junior instructor, Frye had difficulty getting his class to understand what was going on in John Milton’s Paradise Lost because so many of the Biblical allusions were lost on them. (It’s a hard enough poem to grasp when you get the references.) “How do you expect to teach Paradise Lost,” said the chair of Frye’s department, “to people who don’t know the difference between a Philistine and a Pharisee?” Responding to this gap in cultural literacy, Frye designed and taught “The Bible and English Literature.” The entire, videotaped course from a 1981 session at the University of Toronto is available online in 25 lectures.

It’s very much a treat to sit in on these lectures. Frye’s work on myth and folktale in English literature is still nearly definitive; his 1957 Anatomy of Criticism, though picked apart many times over through the decades, retains an authoritative place in studies of literary archetypes and rhetoric. Frye’s lectures on the Bible focus on what he sees as its “narrative unity,” due in part to “a number of recurring images: mountain, sheep, river, hill, pasture, bride, bread, wine and so on.” He also spends a good deal of time, at least in his first lecture above, discussing church history, theological and critical conflicts, and the history of various translations. The UToronto site includes full transcripts of each lecture, and the entire course promises to be enlightening for students of literature, of the Bible and church history, or both.

The Bible and English Literature will be added to our list of Free Online Literature Courses and Free Online Religion Courses, part of our larger collection, 1000 Free Online Courses from Top Universities.

Related Content:

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Discover Thomas Jefferson’s Cut-and-Paste Version of the Bible, and Read the Curious Edition Online

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

Literary Critic Northrop Frye Teaches “The Bible and English Literature”: All 25 Lectures 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.

The post Literary Critic Northrop Frye Teaches “The Bible and English Literature”: All 25 Lectures Free Online appeared first on Open Culture.

Why We Love Repetition in Music: Explained in a New TED-Ed Animation

Tue, 16 Sep 2014 - 2:54 pm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1lo8EomDrwA

Our favorite pop songs have a repeating chorus. You can pretty much bank on that. But, as it turns out, repetition isn’t just a phenomenon in Western music. You’ll find it in many forms of music across the globe. Why is this the case? What makes repetition a fairly universal feature in music? In a new TED-Ed video, Elizabeth Hellmuth Margulis, Professor and Director of the Music Cognition Lab at the University of Arkansas, “walks us through the basic principles of the ‘exposure effect,’ detailing how repetition invites us into music as active participants, rather than [as] passive listeners.” The animation was done by Andrew Zimbelman.

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via Laughing Squid

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Why We Love Repetition in Music: Explained in a New TED-Ed Animation 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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“The Civil War and Reconstruction,” a New MOOC by Pulitzer-Prize Winning Historian Eric Foner

Tue, 16 Sep 2014 - 11:30 am
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OaYig6cm64k

It ended in early April 149 years ago. But it begins again on Wednesday. Columbia University’s “The Civil War and Reconstruction,” the latest salvo in the MOOC wars, opens Wednesday, September 17, for free to the world – a 27-week series of three courses on the nonprofit edX platform taught by Eric Foner, the university’s Pulitzer-Prize winning history professor and one of the world’s leading experts on 19th-century America. You can enroll for free here.

“If you want to know where the world you’re living in today comes from,” Foner says in the series promotional trailer,  “you need to know about the Civil War era.“  Headline issues of the moment – black-white race relations first among them, but also more general issues of equal justice under law, the power and proper role of government, and how lawmakers should deal with extremism, terror, and violence – all find roots in this conflict and its aftermath, a four-year war that saw approximately 700,000 Americans killed, and scores more injured, at the hands of their countrymen.

Foner’s general history books on the subject have sold thousands of copies – his new work on the underground railroad publishes in January – and he’s the author of the leading American history textbook taught in U.S. high schools.  He’s crossed over from academe into mainstream media in other ways – with appearances on The Daily Show with John Stewart, The Colbert Report, The Charlie Rose Show, Bill Moyers’s Journal, and more.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Whnw3mX7dWo

Columbia’s effort in free history education on screen dates back decades – as Foner makes clear in the promo video. Columbia’s history professors Richard Hofstadter and James Patrick Shenton reached thousands of people in their books and lectures, with Shenton even teaching a 76-part survey course on WNET Public Television called “The Rise of the American Nation” – which premiered in 1963!  But many of the great lecturers from this university – literary critics and scholars Jacques Barzun and Lionel Trilling, art historian Meyer Shapiro, and others – were never filmed systematically, and Foner, who will formally retire from teaching in a few years, was determined to ensure his courses were recorded, well-produced, and preserved for posterity – and available as educational resources to all.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Wia0FIkzUY

The series, generously supported by Columbia’s provost, historian John Coatsworth, is produced by the Columbia Center for New Media Teaching and Learning (CCNMTL), coincidentally celebrating its 15th anniversary this year. It’s the university’s first set of online courses on edX, after more than a dozen MOOCs on Coursera – and with more to come on both.  The course promises some tantalizing new perspectives on the world then and now – as their two highlights reels show above.

Come & enlist – oops! – that is, enroll – today!

Peter B. Kaufman works at the Columbia Center for New Media Teaching and Learning and is Executive Producer of Intelligent Television and YouTube’s Intelligent Channel

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“The Civil War and Reconstruction,” a New MOOC by Pulitzer-Prize Winning Historian Eric Foner 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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The Historic LSD Debate at MIT: Timothy Leary v. Professor Jerome Lettvin (1967)

Tue, 16 Sep 2014 - 8:30 am
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gq3Fp-xp0l0

On May 3, 1967, Dr. Timothy Leary, that high priest of hallucinogens, faced off in a debate with MIT professor Dr. Jerome Lettvin about LSD in MIT’s Kresge Auditorium. Leary spent the debate in the lotus position, dressed in a white gown, beads and bare feet. The very picture of a counter culture icon. Lettvin, on the other hand, cuts a distinctly conservative figure, sporting a short-sleeved white shirt, a skinny tie and thick-framed glasses. On first blush, the debate might look like a stereotypical clash between the hip versus the square, but it ended up being much more interesting than that. Lettvin, who proved to be at least as charismatic as Leary, more than held his own against the man Richard Nixon once called “the most dangerous man in American.” You can watch the full debate above.

Leary speaks for the first half of the video. For those familiar with his routine, little of what you see will come as a surprise. He argues that LSD is a “a way of life and a sacrament and a sacrament is something that gets you high.” He goes on to cite groundbreaking figures like Einstein, Newton and William James who struggled to understand reality and consciousness. “The real goal of the scientist is to flip out,” he said to a packed auditorium filled with future scientists. “I don’t know if LSD is good or bad. It’s a gamble. It’s a risk. The sacrament is always a risk. … What isn’t? But LSD is the best gamble in the house.” Aiding him with his argument is a psychedelic picture show featuring a steady stream of images including ocean waves rolling backward, children bouncing on trampolines, and a man in a goatee eating soup, all set to a soundtrack by Ravi Shankar.

“Tim, your argument is exceedingly seductive,” Lettvin concedes at the beginning of his presentation (it begins around the 30:30 mark), which had none of the visual razzamatazz of Leary’s spiel. “I feel like this man is [in] the hands of the devil.”

Lettvin, however, proves not to be your standard anti-drug scold. At one point in the debate, he proclaims, “I can conceive of no more immoral thing than has been done by the government in the wholesale banning of drugs. … There’s a fundamentally monstrous thing about forbidding rather than reasoning people out.” And that’s exactly what Lettvin set out to do — reason the audience against taking acid. “The question is not scientific but moral,” he says. LSD has the potential to rob takers of their critical faculties, rendering them permanently spaced out. “The price seems a little steep to pay. You are settling for a permanent second rate world by the abnegation of the intellect.”

Lettvin’s performance is all the more impressive because he had little time to prepare. The faculty member who was originally slated to debate Leary bowed out at the last moment, and organizers scrambled to get someone, anyone, to face down the famed guru. Lettvin reportedly came straight from the lab to the auditorium and he even had to borrow a tie. Too bad Leary didn’t have a spare Nehru jacket.

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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 @jonccrow. And check out his blog Veeptopus, featuring one new drawing of a vice president with an octopus on his head daily.  The Veeptopus store is here.

The Historic LSD Debate at MIT: Timothy Leary v. Professor Jerome Lettvin (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.

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Partisan Review Now Free Online: Read All 70 Years of the Preeminent Literary Journal (1934-2003)

Tue, 16 Sep 2014 - 5:00 am

Founded by William Phillips and Philip Rahv in February of 1934, leftist arts and politics magazine Partisan Review came about initially as an alternative to the American Communist Party’s publication, New Masses. While Partisan Review (PR) published many a Marxist writer, its politics diverged sharply from communism with the rise of Stalin. Perhaps this turn ensured the magazine’s almost 70-year run from ’34 to 2003, while New Masses folded in 1948. Partisan Review nonetheless remained a venue for some very heated political conversations (see more on which below), yet it has equally, if not more so, been known as one of the foremost literary journals of the 20th century.

PR first published James Baldwin’s “Sonny’s Blues” in Summer 1957 and two of T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets in 1940, for example, as well as Delmore Schwartz’s brilliant story “In Dreams Begin Responsibilities” in a 1937 issue that also featured Wallace Stevens, Edmund Wilson, Pablo Picasso (writing on Franco), James Agee, and Mary McCarthy. “More a literary event,” writes Robin Hemley at The Believer, “than a literary magazine,” even issues sixty or more years old can still carry “the punch of revelation.”

Now you can assess the impact of that punch by accessing all 70-years’ worth of issues online at Boston University’s Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center. BU began hosting the magazine in 1978 after it moved from Rutgers, where founding editor William Phillips taught. Now the university has finished digitizing the entire collection, in handsome scans of vintage copies that readers can page through like an actual magazine. The collection is searchable, though this function is a little clunky (all links here direct you to the front cover of the issue. You’ll have to navigate to the actual pages yourself.)

In a post on the Gotlieb Center project, Hyperallergic points us toward a few more highlights:

In art, Partisan Review is perhaps best known as the publisher of Clement Greenberg, who contributed over 30 articles from 1939 to 1981, most notably his Summer 1939 essay entitled “Avant-Garde and Kitsch.” (Greenberg even made a posthumous appearance in the Spring 1999 issue.) Beyond Greenberg’s voluble legacy we encounter such landmark texts as Dwight Macdonald’s “Masscult and Midcult,” from the Spring 1960 issue, and Susan Sontag’s “Notes on ‘Camp’” from Winter 1964, as well as the seminal popular-culture criticism of Robert Warshow (his essay on the Krazy Kat comic strip in the November-December 1946 issue is especially great) and the work of Hilton Kramer, the conservative iconoclast who went on to found The New Criterion.

Partisan Review also served as an outlet for George Orwell, who lambasted leftist pacifists—calling them, more or less, fascist sympathizers—in his series of articles between January 1941 and the summer of 1946, which he called “London Letters.” (See here and here for two examples.) Orwell did not hesitate to name names; he also reported in 1945 of the “most enormous crimes and disasters” committed by the Soviets, including “purges, deportations, massacres, famines, imprisonment without trial, aggressive wars, broken treaties….” These things, Orwell remarked “not only fail to excite the big public, but can actually escape notice altogether.”

Partisan Review, however, was not aimed at “the big public.” Its “rarified principles,” writes Sam Tanenhaus of Slate—who calls PR “Trotskyist” for its interventionist boosterism—“attracted only 15,000 subscribers at its peak.”PR began in the age of the “little magazine,” a “term of honor” for the small journals that nurtured the high culture of their day, and which seem now so antiquated even as beleaguered publishers keep pushing them out to preciously small cliques of devoted readers. But charges of elitism can ring hollow, and given all we have to thank “little magazines” like Partisan Review for, it would probably behoove to pay attention to their successors.

h/t Hyperallergic

Image via Book/Shop

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

Partisan Review Now Free Online: Read All 70 Years of the Preeminent Literary Journal (1934-2003) 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 Partisan Review Now Free Online: Read All 70 Years of the Preeminent Literary Journal (1934-2003) appeared first on Open Culture.

David Bowie & Brian Eno’s Collaboration on “Warszawa” Reimagined in Comic Animation

Tue, 16 Sep 2014 - 1:00 am
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FODvjYoVEi8

If you want to talk about David Bowie, you’ll sooner or later have to talk about Brian Eno. That music producer, visual artist, technological tinkerer, and “drifting clarifier” hasn’t had a hand in all the image-shifting rock star’s work, of course, but what collaborations they’ve done rank among the most enduring items in the Bowie catalog. “I’m Afraid of Americans,” which Eno co-wrote, remains a favorite of casual and die-hard fans alike; the 1995 Eno-produced “cybernoir” concept album 1.Outside seems to draw more acclaim now than it did on its release. But for the highest monument to the meeting of Bowie and Eno’s minds, look no further than Low, and Heroes, and Lodger, which the two crafted together in the late 1970s. These albums became informally known as the “Berlin trilogy,” so named for one of the cities in which Bowie and Eno worked on them. Oh, to have been a fly on the wall during those sessions.

Animators the Brothers McLeod have given us just that perspective in the cartoon above. It opens in September 1976 at the Château d’Hérouville, the “northern Frenchland” studio which hosted the bulk of Low‘s recording sessions. These three and a half minutes, in which Bowie, Eno, and producer Tony Visconti lay down a couple of takes for what will become “Warszawa,” one of the album’s most memorable tracks, come loaded with gags just for the Bowie-Eno enthusiast. The cartoon Bowie (voiced uncannily by comedian Adam Buxton) sports exactly the look he did in the Man Who Fell to Earth publicity photo repurposed for Low’s cover. Eno offers Bowie a piece of ambient music, explaining that, if Bowie doesn’t like it, “I’ll use on one of my weird albums” (like Music for Bus Stops). Visconti constantly underscores his doing, as a producer, “more than people think.” And when Bowie and Eno find themselves in need of some creative inspiration, where else would they turn than to the infallible advice of Oblique Strategies — even if it advises the use of “a made-up language that sounds kind of Italian”?

via Biblioklept

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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.

David Bowie & Brian Eno’s Collaboration on “Warszawa” Reimagined in Comic Animation 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 Bowie & Brian Eno’s Collaboration on “Warszawa” Reimagined in Comic Animation appeared first on Open Culture.

20 Free Essays & Stories by David Sedaris: A Sampling of His Inimitable Humor

Mon, 15 Sep 2014 - 8:30 am
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hPfg20k5TE8

My first exposure to the writing of David Sedaris came fifteen years ago, at a reading he gave in Seattle. I couldn’t remember laughing at anything before quite so hard as I laughed at the stories of the author and his fellow French-learners struggling for a grasp on the language. I fought hardest for oxygen when he got to the part about his classmates, a veritable United Nations of a group, straining in this non-native language of theirs to discuss various holidays. One particular line has always stuck with me, after a Moroccan student demands an explanation of Easter:

The Poles led the charge to the best of their ability. “It is,” said one, “a party for the little boy of God who call his self Jesus and… oh, shit.”

She faltered, and her fellow countryman came to her aid.

“He call his self Jesus, and then he be die one day on two… morsels of… lumber.”

The scene eventually ended up in print in “Jesus Shaves,” a story in Sedaris’ third collection, Me Talk Pretty One Day. You can read it free online in a selection of three of his pieces rounded up by Esquire. Sedaris’ observational humor does tend to come out in full force on holidays (see also his reading of the Saint Nicholas-themed story “Six to Eight Black Men” on Dutch television above), and indeed the holidays provided him the material that first launched him into the mainstream. When Ira Glass, the soon-to-be mastermind of This American Life, happened to hear him reading his diary aloud at a Chicago club, Glass knew he simply had to put this man on the radio. This led up to the big break of a National Public Radio broadcast of “The Santaland Diaries,” Sedaris’ rich account of a season spent as a Macy’s elf. You can still hear This American Life‘s full broadcast of it on the show’s site.

True Sedarians, of course, know him for not just his inimitably askew perspective on the holidays, but for his accounts of life in New York, Paris (the reason he enrolled in those French classes in the first place), Normandy, London, the English countryside, and growing up amid his large Greek-American family. Many of Sedaris’ stories — 20 in fact — have been collected at the web site, The Electric Typewriter, giving you an overview of Sedaris’ world: his time in the elfin trenches, his rare moments of ease among siblings and parents, his futile father-mandated guitar lessons, his less futile language lessons, his relinquishment of his signature smoking habit (the easy indulgence of which took him, so he’d said at that Seattle reading, to France in the first place). Among the collected stories, you will find:

For the complete list, visit: 20 Great Essays and Short Stories by David Sedaris. And, just to be clear, you can read these stories, for free, online.

Note: If you would like to download a free audiobook narrated by David Sedaris, you might want to check out Audible’s 30 Day Free Trial. We have details on the program here. If you click this link, you will see the books narrated by Sedaris. If one intrigues, click on the “Learn how to get this Free” link next to each book. In the spirit of full disclosure, let me add that we have a partnership with Audible. So if you start a free trial with them, it helps support Open Culture.

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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.

20 Free Essays & Stories by David Sedaris: A Sampling of His Inimitable Humor 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 20 Free Essays & Stories by David Sedaris: A Sampling of His Inimitable Humor appeared first on Open Culture.

Hear Demo Recordings of David Bowie’s “Ziggy Stardust,” “Space Oddity” & “Changes”

Mon, 15 Sep 2014 - 5:00 am
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vAX5hiKXnFg

These days “demo tapes” are often radio-ready recordings, and bands often record one before they’ve even played their first gig. It’s a recent development, a byproduct of the revolution in affordable home recording technology. For most of the history of rock and pop music, demos were raw sketches, preserving ideas, tempos, changes, moods, but not at all ready to air. Listening back to demo versions of songs we already know well can be like excavating strata underneath a site like Stonehenge. Sometimes you find nothing but sediment. Sometimes you find another Stonehenge. Take for example John Lennon’s hypnotic demo recordings of “Strawberry Fields Forever,” the Beatles’ acoustic White Album demos, or Roger Waters’ early demos of The Wall. Intriguingly rough gems all.

Today we bring you demo recordings of another artist whose work typically bespeaks polish and studio panache. As in the past, songwriters today still push play on cheap voice recorders—or expensive iphones—and capture new songs on the fly. But nobody today writes like Bowie did in his “Ziggy Stardust” phase. At the top of the post, hear Bowie’s solo acoustic demo recording of that song. You’ll find it on the second CD of the 30th Anniversary edition of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, which also includes a demo version of “Lady Stardust” and two versions of “Moonage Daydream” and “Hang on to Yourself” by “Arnold Corns,” the original name of Ziggy. I’ve heard more solo acoustic versions of “Ziggy” than I’d care to remember, played by earnest coffee-shop crooners and guitar-bearing party guests. But Bowie’s original demo I could listen to again and again.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hw4CpNqwZK4

While the “Arnold Corns” incarnations of Ziggy Stardust songs definitely fall into the category of not-Stonehenge, the 1969 demo recording of “Space Oddity” has a very monumental feel indeed—if that monument were 2001’s enigmatic Monolith. Set here to clips from that film, it seems like the perfect accompaniment to the glossy foreboding of Kubrick’s space vision. This drumless arrangement sounds somehow more contemporary than the recording we’ve heard countless times. It also sounds much closer to the psychedelic folk on the rest of the Space Oddity album, a collection of songs many Bowie fans, myself included, greatly admire, but which his first audience didn’t take to so readily. “Space Oddity” went through at least one more iteration before landing on the album. Hear the slightly more funked-up version, and see its awkward video, below.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D67kmFzSh_o

Perhaps no song other than “Ashes to Ashes” so well articulates the creative destruction of Bowie’s many rock star personae—and the toll those metamorphoses take—than 1971’s “Changes.” But it’s a song written and recorded early in his career, before Ziggy Stardust, the character that first broke him into superstardom. The song appears on Hunky Dory in a recording with the Stardust band—Mick Ronson, Trevor Bolder, and Mick Woodmansey—but it’s such a Bowie-centric lyric that it outlasted hundreds of costume changes and served as the obvious choice of title for the 1990 compilation Changesbowie.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4oPpO_6EXEE

Does the piano demo above reveal an alternate pre-history? Not really. The handclaps and odd vocalizations are half-formed ideas at best, and the poor audio quality is not a feature. But what it does demonstrate, as do all of the rough recordings above, is that Bowie is Bowie—a stellar songwriter and vocal performer—whether captured on a cheap home tape machine or the best studio equipment money can buy. Studio wizardry of the present can do things producers forty years ago could only dream about, but no amount of technology can substitute for raw musical talent, nor for the long years of practice Bowie endured.

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

Hear Demo Recordings of David Bowie’s “Ziggy Stardust,” “Space Oddity” & “Changes” 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 Hear Demo Recordings of David Bowie’s “Ziggy Stardust,” “Space Oddity” & “Changes” appeared first on Open Culture.

Young Joni Mitchell Performs a Hit-Filled Concert in London (1970)

Mon, 15 Sep 2014 - 1:00 am
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cKdPU48jtQ8

It’s hard to imagine the young lady seen performing her own songs on the BBC in the video above twerking or even tweeting, for that matter. The utterly unadorned quality of this performance suits the now-legendary purity of her youthful voice.

Woe, the deleterious effects of her longtime cigarette habit.

Now, back to 1970, when just shy of 27, Joni Mitchell played a hit-filled set to a British studio audience, despite a “little London flu” she alludes to more than once.

If it seemed unpretentious at the time, it’s even more so now, nary a laser beam or back up dancer in sight. No costume changes. Barely any makeup. Just Joni, her guitar, her piano, and a nifty custom dulcimer made by “a dynamite girl who lives in California.”

Passing the time as she tunes this last instrument, she mentions that the upcoming song, “California,”concerns an adventure to which she’d recently treated herself. She’d written it before her return, as a sort of postcard home. Meaning that that park bench in Paris, France was barely cold! This is way more exciting to me than a bevy of hair extensions, served with a practiced snarl and a side of auto tune.

A girlish giggle and dignified bow seal the deal. Classy!

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

 

 

Young Joni Mitchell Performs a Hit-Filled Concert in London (1970) 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 Young Joni Mitchell Performs a Hit-Filled Concert in London (1970) appeared first on Open Culture.

How to Jump the Paris Metro: A Witty, Rebellious Primer from New Wave Director Luc Moullet (1984)

Mon, 15 Sep 2014 - 12:54 am
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TmA56pXb4D8

Luc Moullet, a French New Wave filmmaker and long-time critic for the Cahiers du cinéma, makes films “known for their humor, anti-authoritarian leanings and rigorously primitive aesthetic.” Case in point, the 1984 short film Barres, which comically documents the best ways to jump the Paris metro. It’s something of a sport in Paris. Arguably the sport most Parisians really take part in. Unlike other versions of the film on the web, this one has English subtitles. Enjoy.

h/t ubuweb

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How to Jump the Paris Metro: A Witty, Rebellious Primer from New Wave Director Luc Moullet (1984) 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 How to Jump the Paris Metro: A Witty, Rebellious Primer from New Wave Director Luc Moullet (1984) appeared first on Open Culture.

81-Year-Old Professor Charlie Warner Goes to Burning Man: A Short Documentary (NSFW)

Sun, 14 Sep 2014 - 9:54 pm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ho9umwLzyJA

Charlie Warner. He’s an 81-year-old media professor and former media executive from New York. He’s had bone marrow cancer. (It’s now in remission.) He had open-heart surgery. He still has diabetes. And yet he made the journey to the Burning Man festival, in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert, to experience something transcendent. And the festival didn’t disappoint. Filmmaker Jan Beddegenoodts documented Warner’s experience in a short film called Charlie Goes to Burning Man. You can watch the touching short in an embedded format above. But it’s even better to go to the film’s website, where you can view it in a visually-appealing, full-screen format. Be warned: It’s Burning Man, so there are some Not Safe for Work (NSFW) moments in the film.

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81-Year-Old Professor Charlie Warner Goes to Burning Man: A Short Documentary (NSFW) 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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Eight Free Films by Dziga Vertov, Creator of Soviet Avant-Garde Documentaries

Sun, 14 Sep 2014 - 1:00 am

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ZkvjWIEcoU

Has any filmmaker, of any era, had more influence on documentaries than Dziga Vertov? We know the early 20th-century Soviet cinema theorist and director of avant-garde non-fiction films has a place high in the documentary pantheon by virtue of his 1929 Man with a Movie Camera alone. We’ve previously featured that motion picture’s rise to Sight and Sound‘s designation of the eighth greatest of all time, and if you didn’t watch it free online then, you can do so above now. Just after that, we featured his unsettling Soviet Toys, the first animated film ever made in that then-nation. But given that the age of Vertov’s work — not that time has diminished its aesthetic relevance or excitement — has brought it into the public domain, why stop there?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=on5Ufl14N7s

Today we offer a roundup of all the Dziga Vertov movies currently viewable free online, a collection that allows you to watch and judge for yourself whether he and his collaborators succeeded in making a dent in what he called “the film drama, the Opium of the people.” Despite the thoroughly low-tech nature of these pictures, even by documentary standards, you may find yourself moved after having watched them — not necessarily by the Soviet causes he sometimes extolled, but by his cinematic rallying cry: “Down with bourgeois fairy-tale scenarios. Long live life as it is!”

  • Kino Eye (1924) Vertov’s first documentary not made from found footage journeys, according to a contemporary newspaper, “from the Pioneer camp, through the peasant courtyards, through the fields, through the markets and slums of the town, with an ambulance car to a dying man, from there to workers’ sports grounds, and so on and so forth, peering into all the little corners of social life.”
  • Soviet Toys (1924) A “cartoon” that, in the words of our own Jonathan Crow, “displays [Vertov's] knack for making striking, pungent images,” “yet those who don’t have an intimate knowledge of Soviet policy of the 1920s might find the movie — which is laden with Marxist allegories — really odd.”
  • Kino-Pravda #21 (1925) Also known as Lenin Kino-Pravda, “a special, longer-than-usual issue of [newsreel] Kino-Pravda,” as the Harvard Film Archive describes it, “in which Vertov jumps with boldness and ease between newsreel and drawn animation to illustrate Soviet Russia’s way up under Lenin’s leadership, the decline in Lenin’s health, and the year elapsed since his death.”
  • A Sixth Part Of The World (1926) A mixture of newsreel and found footage that, according to the Internet Archive, the film depicted “through the travelogue format [ … ] the multitude of Soviet peoples in remote areas of USSR and detailed the entirety of the wealth of the Soviet land,” making “a call for unification in order to build a ‘complete socialist society.’”
  • Stride, Soviet! (1926) “What began as a commission by the sitting Moscow Soviet for a promotional movie,” says the Harvard Film Archive, “was transformed by Vertov into something else entirely: a film experiment, an emotional film – anything but a picture that would help the Mossovet be reelected.”
  • The Eleventh Year (1928) A celebration of “the tenth anniversary of the October Revolution” which, according to the Harvard Film Archive, presents that decade of socialism “in the eyes of a left-wing artist of the twenties” as “a radical social experiment [ … ] required to be presented in a radically experimental way.”
  • Man with a Movie Camera (1929) “Made up as it is of ‘bits and pieces’ of cities from Moscow to the Ukraine,” writes Senses of Cinema‘s Jonathan Dawson, it “remains a perfect distillation of the sense of a modern city life that looks fresh and true still,” “the strongest reminder that, in spite of the extraordinary pressures on his personal and working life, Vertov was one of the greatest of all the pioneer filmmakers.”
  • Three Songs About Lenin (1934) Also known as Three Songs of Lenin and Three Songs Dedicated to Lenin, a delivery of exactly what the title promises — but with a Vertovian stylistic slant.

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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.

Eight Free Films by Dziga Vertov, Creator of Soviet Avant-Garde Documentaries 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 Eight Free Films by Dziga Vertov, Creator of Soviet Avant-Garde Documentaries appeared first on Open Culture.