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Lou Reeds Sings “Blue Christmas” with Laurie Anderson, Rufus Wainwright & Friends

3 hours 18 min ago
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xIYtlzAJUcg

Elvis Presley recorded “Blue Christmas” for his Christmas album in 1957 and made the song something of a holiday classic. In the years to come, “Blue Christmas” would be covered by Johnny Mathis, Johnny Cash, The Misfits, Springsteen, Ringo Starr, Bon Jovi and eventually Lou Reed too. Above, we have Lou performing the song at the Knitting Factory in December 2008. He’s joined on stage by Rufus Wainwright, Martha Wainwright, the McGarrigle sisters, his wife Laurie Anderson, Chaim Tannebaum, and Joel Zifkin. Below, find Lou providing the musical background for Sean Lennon and a host of musicians, who play a stirring version of John Lennon’s “Happy Xmas (War Is Over).” Both clips appear on the DVD A Not So Silent Night.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OU_5FygulzI

 

Lou Reeds Sings “Blue Christmas” with Laurie Anderson, Rufus Wainwright & Friends 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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F for Fake: Orson Welles’ Short Film & Trailer That Was Never Released in America

6 hours 23 min ago
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TMkZWWLHGXU

Ask Orson Welles enthusiasts to name the filmmaker’s masterpiece, and most will, of course, name Citizen Kane. While Welles’ very first feature film may lay credible claim to the title of not just the finest in his oeuvre but the finest film ever made, a growing minority of dissenters have, in recent years, plumped for his last: 1974’s F for Fake. Too truthful to call a fiction film and too filled with lies to call a documentary, it brings together such seemingly disparate themes as authorship, authenticity, art forgery, architecture, and girl-watching into what Welles himself thought of as “a new kind of film,” but which cinephiles might now consider an “essay film,” a form exemplified by the works of, to name a well-known proponent, La jetee and Sans soleil director Chris Marker.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rur4wPupBCg

Alas, Welles revealed F for Fake in 1974 to an unready world: audiences didn’t quite understand it, and what distributors showed interest in buying it didn’t quite offer enough money. The feature finally came out in America in 1976, and for the occasion Welles put together the nine-minute “trailer,” never actually screened in a theater, at the top of the post, a short essay film in and of itself possessed of a similar style to but consisting of no footage from the full-length F for Fake. As with the picture to which it ostensibly offers a preview, Welles made it in collaboration with B-movie cinematographer Gary Graver and his girlfriend Oja Kodar — the one you see posing with the tiger — hoping to tantalize with a suggestion of the dance of truth and falsity the film does around such storied figures as Pablo Picasso, Howard Hughes, and infamous art forger Elmyr de Hory.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ksmjh8LL2zA

In the clip after that, you can hear filmmaker (and something of a Boswell for Welles) Peter Bogdanovich briefly discuss the origin of F for Fake as well as the film’s sheer unusualness. “My favorite moment is when he talks about Chartres, this extraordinary cathedral of Chartres which nobody knows who designed, how its authorship is anonymous and he connects that to the whole idea of authorship and fakery.” That sequence from the full movie appears just above; just below, have another taste in the form of one of its passages on Picasso, featuring Kojar as the artist’s ostensible former mistress. Seem strange? Take Bogdanovich’s words to heart: “If you get on the film’s wavelength and listen to what he’s saying and what what he’s doing, it’s riveting. It takes you along through the rhythm of the cutting, and of Orson’s personality. If you fight it, and you expect it to be a linear kind of thing, then you’re not going to enjoy it.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yF2SLJqJ-tI

You can find more short films by Orson Welles in our collection, 700 Free Movies Online: Great Classics, Indies, Noir, Westerns, etc..

Related Content:

Listen to Eight Interviews of Orson Welles by Filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich (1969-1972)

Orson Welles Explains Why Ignorance Was His Major “Gift” to Citizen Kane

Discover the Lost Films of Orson Welles

Orson Welles Tells Some Damn Good Stories in the Orson Welles’ Sketch Book (1955)

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.

F for Fake: Orson Welles’ Short Film & Trailer That Was Never Released in America 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 F for Fake: Orson Welles’ Short Film & Trailer That Was Never Released in America appeared first on Open Culture.

How William S. Burroughs Used the Cut-Up Technique to Shut Down London’s First Espresso Bar (1972)

10 hours 3 min ago
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AkMhx31FfUc

As we’ve noted before, the English coffeehouse has served as a staging ground for radical, sometimes revolutionary social change. Certainly this was the case during the Enlightenment, as it was with the salons in France. And yet, by the early 20th century it seems, coffee shops in London had grown scarcer and more humdrum. That is until 1953 when the Moka Bar, the UK’s first Italian espresso bar, opened in Soho. On his blog The Great Wen, Peter Watts describes its arrival as “a momentous event”:

London’s first proper coffee shop—one equipped with a Gaggia coffee machine—opened at 29 Frith Street. This was a place where teenagers too young for pubs could come and gather, and it is said by some that the introduction of this coffee bar prompted the youth culture explosion that soon changed social life in Britain forever.

“By 1972,” Watts writes, “coffee bars were everywhere and the teenage revolution was firmly established.” Places like the Moka Bar might seem like the ideal place for countercultural maven William S. Burroughs—a London resident from the late sixties to early seventies—to hobnob with young dissidents and outsiders. Burroughs, who so approvingly refers the possibly apocryphal anarchist pirate colony of Libertatia in his Cities of the Red Night, would, one might think, appreciate the budding anarchism of British youth culture, which would flower into punk soon enough.

But rather than joining the coffee bar scene, the cantankerous Burroughs had taken to frequenting “plush gentlemen’s shops of the area, not to mention the ‘Dilly Boys,’ young male prostitutes who hustled for clients outside the Regent Palace Hotel.” And he had grown increasingly disillusioned with London, fuming, writes Ted Morgan in Burroughs biography Literary Outlaw, “at what he was paying for his hole-in-the-wall apartment with a closet for a kitchen” and at the rising price of utilities. “Burroughs,” Morgan tells us, “began to feel that he was in enemy territory.” And he thought the Moka coffee bar should pay the price for his indignities.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uq_hztHJCM4

There, “on several occasions a snarling counterman had treated him with outrageous and unprovoked discourtesy, and served him poisonous cheesecake that made him sick.” Burroughs “decided to retaliate by putting a curse on the place.” He chose a means of attack that he’d earlier employed against the Church of Scientology, “turning up… every day,” writes Watts, “taking photographs and making sound recordings.” Then he would play them back a day or so later on the street outside the Moka. “The idea,” writes Morgan, “was to place the Moka Bar out of time. You played back a tape that had taken place two days ago and you superimposed it on what was happening now, which pulled them out of their time position.”

Burroughs also connected the method to the Watergate recordings, the Garden of Eden, and the theories of Alfred Korzybski. The trigger for the magical operation was, in his words, “playback.” In a very strange essay called “Feedback from Watergate to the Garden of Eden,” from his collection Electronic Revolution, Burroughs described his operation in detail, a disruption, he wrote, of a “control system.”

Now to apply the 3 tape recorder analogy to this simple operation. Tape recorder 1 is the Moka Bar itself it is pristine condition. Tape recorder 2 is my recordings of the Moka Bar vicinity. These recordings are access. Tape recorder 2 in the Garden of Eden was Eve made from Adam. So a recording made from the Moka Bar is a piece of the Moka Bar. The recording once made, this piece becomes autonomous and out of their control. Tape recorder 3 is playback. Adam experiences shame when his discraceful behavior is played back to him by tape recorder 3 which is God. By playing back my recordings to the Moka Bar when I want and with any changes I wish to make in the recordings, I become God for this local. I effect them. They cannot effect me.

The theory made perfect sense to Burroughs, who believed in a Magical Universe ruled by occult forces and who experimented heavily with Scientology, Crowley-an Magick, and the orgone energy of Wilhelm Reich. The attack on the Moka worked, or at least Burroughs believed it did. “They are seething in there,” he wrote, “I have them and they know it.” On October 30th, 1972  the establishment closed its doors—perhaps a consequence of those rising rents that so irked the Beat writer—and the location became the Queens Snack Bar.

The audio-visual cut-up technique Burroughs used in his attack against the Moka Bar was a method derived by Burroughs and Brion Gysin from their experiments with written “cut-ups,” and Burroughs applied it to film as well. At the top of the post, see an interpretive “meditation” based on Burroughs’ use of audio/visual “magical weapons” and incorporating his recordings. Above is “The Cut Ups,” a short film Burroughs himself made in 1966 with cinematographer Antony Balch, a disorienting illustration of the cut up technique.

Not limited to attacking annoying London coffeehouse owners, Burroughs’ supposedly magical interventions in reality were in fact the fullest expression of his creativity. As Ted Morgan writes, “the single most important thing about Burroughs was his belief in the magical universe. The same impulse that lead him to put out curses was, as he saw it, the source of his writing.” Read much more about Burroughs’ theory and practice in Matthew Levi Stevens’ essay “The Magical Universe of William S. Burroughs,” and hear the author himself discourse on the paranormal, tape cut-ups, and much more in the lecture below from a writing class he gave in June, 1986.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xKfS1xemH6U

via The Great Wen

Related Content:

When William S. Burroughs Joined Scientology (and His 1971 Book Denouncing It)

William S. Burroughs on the Art of Cut-up Writing

William S. Burroughs Explains What Artists & Creative Thinkers Do for Humanity: From Galileo to Cézanne and James Joyce

William S. Burroughs’ Short Class on Creative Reading (Edit)

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

How William S. Burroughs Used the Cut-Up Technique to Shut Down London’s First Espresso Bar (1972) 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 William S. Burroughs Used the Cut-Up Technique to Shut Down London’s First Espresso Bar (1972) appeared first on Open Culture.

Ideasthesia: An Animated Look at How Ideas Feel

13 hours 44 min ago
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GIF2tssedLI

Danko Nikolic, a researcher at the Max-Planck Institute for Brain Research, has come up with a theory called “ideasthesia,” which questions the reality of two philosophical dualities: 1.) the mind and body, and 2.) sense perception and ideas. Nikolic’s research suggests that these dualities may not exist at all, and particularly that sense perception and ideas are inextricably bound up in one another. If you want to better understand “ideasthesia,” I can’t recommend reading the term’s Wikipedia page. It’s tough sledding. But you can make it through Nikolic’s TED-Ed video released last month. It still requires you to wear a thinking cap. But if you’re reading this site, you’re probably willing to put one on for five minutes.

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Ideasthesia: An Animated Look at How Ideas Feel 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 Ideasthesia: An Animated Look at How Ideas Feel appeared first on Open Culture.

Discover the Church of St. John Coltrane, Founded on the Divine Music of A Love Supreme

Thu, 18 Dec 2014 - 5:30 pm

For some time now, people like poet Robert Graves and countercultural guru Timothy Leary have assumed that ancient religion and mysticism were the products of mind-altering drugs. But in the case of one modern religious experience—the inspiration behind John Coltrane’s holy four-part suite, A Love Supreme—it was the distinct absence of drugs that lit the flame. Like many recovering addicts, Coltrane found God in 1957, after having what he called in the album’s liner notes “a spiritual awakening.” Seven years later, he dedicated his masterpiece, “a humble, offering,” to the deity he credited with “a richer, fuller, more productive life.” No rote hymnal, chant, or psalter, A Love Supreme offers itself up to the listener as the product of intensely personal devotion. And like the ecstatic revelations of many a saint, Coltrane’s work has inspired its own devotional cult—The Church of St. Coltrane.

Presided over by Bishop Franzo King and his wife Reverend Mother Marina King, the Saint John Coltrane African Orthodox Church in San Francisco reminds people, says Bishop King in the short documentary at the top of the post, “that God is never without a witness. St. John Coltrane is that witness for this time and this age.” Dig. The vibe of the Coltrane congregation is “a rapturous out-of-your-head-ness” writes Aeon magazine in their introduction to another short film about the church. And just above, you can meet more of the worshippers—of the music, its creator, and his god—in “The Saxophone Saint,” yet another profile of St. Coltrane’s prodigious religious influence. The congregation, NPR tells us, “mixes African Orthodox liturgy with Coltrane’s quotes” and of course music, and A Love Supreme is “the cornerstone of the [Bishop King’s] 200-member church.”

King cites the titles of the suite’s four movements—“Acknowledgement,” “Resolution,” “Pursuance,” and “Psalm”—as the basis for his form of worship: “It’s like saying, ‘Father, Son and Holy Ghost.’ It’s like saying Melody, harmony and rhythm.’ In other words, you have to acknowledge and then you resolve and then you pursue, and the manifestation of it is a love supreme.” The Kings founded the church in 1969, but their introduction to the power of Coltrane came four years earlier when they saw him perform at the San Francisco Jazz Workshop, an experience they describe on their website as a “sound baptism.” Since its inception, they tell us, the church “has grown beyond the confines of San Francisco to include the whole globe. Every Sunday, the congregation includes members and visitors from throughout the world.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vCIbpCtC0lc

That diverse assembly recently filled the sanctuary of San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral for a service in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Coltrane’s A Love Supreme on Monday, December 8th. Just above you can see Bishop King open the service. His inspired delivery should convince you, as it did New York Times reporter Samuel Freedman, that “the Coltrane church is not a gimmick or a forced alloy of nightclub music and ethereal faith. Its message of deliverance through divine sound is actually quite consistent with Coltrane’s own experience and message.” Hear for yourself in the film below of Coltrane playing A Love Supreme live in Antibes, France, the only live performance of the piece he ever gave.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_qt435yF2Qg

Related Content:

John Coltrane Performs A Love Supreme and Other Classics in Antibes (July 1965)

John Coltrane’s Handwritten Outline for His Masterpiece A Love Supreme

Watch John Coltrane Turn His Handwritten Poem Into a Sublime Musical Passage on A Love Supreme

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

Discover the Church of St. John Coltrane, Founded on the Divine Music of A Love Supreme 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 Discover the Church of St. John Coltrane, Founded on the Divine Music of A Love Supreme appeared first on Open Culture.

Noam Chomsky Almost Appeared on Saturday Night Live During the 90s

Thu, 18 Dec 2014 - 11:55 am

Image by jeanbaptisteparis

There are those guest hosts on Saturday Night Live who immediately become exemplary cast members they fit in so well. I’m thinking mostly of Alec Baldwin. Then there are those—certain pop stars and athletes—who are too awkward even to make for unintentional humor. Sometimes the show will choose a host for obvious cultural or political reasons, whether or not that person has any sense of humor whatsoever. Lorne Michaels even once considered asking notoriously stiff then-presidential candidate Mitt Romney to host in 2012, a prospect that excited no one except maybe Romney.

Given the show’s many questionable choices, it’s maybe not too surprising that it would consider asking an academic to host. Some extroverted public intellectuals, like Cornell West and Slavoj Zizeck, are natural entertainers. But that they would think of Noam Chomsky—known for his rumpled sweaters and incisive, unsparing geopolitical analysis, delivered in the driest monotone this side of Ben Stein’s Ferris Bueller’s Day Off character—is, well, pretty odd.

It does make a little bit more sense considering that they only asked Professor Chomsky to play himself on the show, not deliver a monologue or do impersonations. According to his assistant Bev Stohl, the show called sometime in the late 90s and told her that the “writers had written a loose script for Noam. The only thing he needed to do was show up on the set and play it straight, answering the questions that were put to him. Sort of like, ‘I’m Noam Chomsky, and I play myself on TV.’” Mostly, writes Stohl on her blog, “I liked the idea of Noam appearing in mainstream media, something that was just beginning to happen in small ways in the 1990’s.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-96ioKzDZd8

And how did Chomsky himself feel about the request? It seems he was vaguely familiar with the show and open to the idea. His wife, on the other hand, was not. “After a brief exchange” with her, writes Critical Theory, “he informed Stohl that ‘Carol says no.’” We’ll never know if we were “robbed of either the greatest SNL skit ever” or spared “another terribly unfunny segment,” but the question of whether Chomsky can be funny is still an open one. Matthew Alford at The Guardian writes that during the Q&A after a lecture he attended, “Chomsky was successful not only at conveying his radical political message but also at raising belly laughs from the audience with dark-laced, insightful humour about his politics.” Alford says he measured “a laugh every couple of minutes—very high for a public intellectual but of course not close to the professional comic’s benchmark of one gag every 20 seconds.” He offers some typical Chomsky-an one-liners, such as:

“[The Bush administration’s] moral values are very explicit: shine the boots of the rich and powerful, kick everyone else in the face, and let your grandchildren pay for it.”

“If you’ve resisted the temptation to tell the teacher ‘you’re an asshole’ which maybe he or she is, and if you don’t say ‘that’s idiotic’ when you get a stupid assignment… you will end up at a good college and eventually with a good job.”

And “It’s to the point where Ronald Reagan could put on his cowboy boots and cowboy hat and declare a national emergency because the national security of the United States was in danger from the government of Nicaragua… whose troops were two days from Texas.”

Above, you can catch a glimpse of the lighter side of Chomsky.

via Critical Theory

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Filmmaker Michel Gondry Presents an Animated Conversation with Noam Chomsky

Noam Chomsky Spells Out the Purpose of Education

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

Noam Chomsky Almost Appeared on Saturday Night Live During the 90s 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 Noam Chomsky Almost Appeared on Saturday Night Live During the 90s appeared first on Open Culture.

John Cage Performs Water Walk on US Game Show I’ve Got a Secret (1960)

Thu, 18 Dec 2014 - 5:00 am
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B9vvrSyAPuw

Back in 2011, we featured John Cage’s 1960 television performance of his piece Water WalkIts video quality may have left something to be desired, but now, thanks to the YouTube channel of Bard College’s Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts, you can watch the entire ten-minute segment in much crisper quality than most surviving programs from that era. This unlikely happening occurred on I’ve Got a Secret, the long-running occupation-guessing game show whose guest roster also included chess prodigy Bobby Fischer, “fifth Beatle” Pete Best, and fried-chicken icon Colonel Harland Sanders. For this particular episode, wrote Dan Colman in our earlier post, “the TV show offered Cage something of a teachable moment, a chance to introduce the broader public to his brand of avant-garde music.”

For Water Walk, Cage rounded up a variety of “instruments” all to do with that liquid — a bathtub, a pitcher, ice cubes in a mixer — and the unconventional symphony they produce culminates in the Rube Goldbergian mixing of a drink, the sipping of which the composition dictates about two and a half minutes in. Naturally, Cage being Cage, the piece incorporates audience reaction noises; when host Gary Moore warns him that certain members of the studio audience will laugh, Cage responds, “I consider laughter better than tears.”

You can learn more about this intersection of far forward-thinking artistry and the midcentury televisual mainstream in Laura Paolini’s piece “John Cage’s Secret,” available at johncage.org. “At that moment in 1960, a rupture was being deepened,” Paolini writes. “High art and low were becoming more and more comfortable with one another over the airwaves. At this moment, as the screens glow their blue auras into the homes of North America, everyone sees something they haven’t seen before. And everyone has an opinion about it.” And those opinions, I like to think Cage would have said, only extend the art further.

Related Content:

John Cage Performs Water Walk on “I’ve Got a Secret” (1960)

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Hear Joey Ramone Sing a Piece by John Cage Adapted from James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake

Watch a Surprisingly Moving Performance of John Cage’s 1948 “Suite for Toy Piano”

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 Cage Performs Water Walk on US Game Show I’ve Got a Secret (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 John Cage Performs Water Walk on US Game Show I’ve Got a Secret (1960) appeared first on Open Culture.

How to Defeat the US with Math: An Animated North Korean Propaganda Film for Kids

Thu, 18 Dec 2014 - 1:34 am
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ujtp-70zQME

Yes, North Korea won yesterday. Threatening 9/11-like violence, the DPRK scared Sony and America’s four largest theater chains into pulling the plug on the release of The Interview. And, just like that, Americans lost their right to watch their own propaganda films — even dumb funny ones — in their own theaters. But, don’t despair, we can still watch propaganda films from North Korea on YouTube — like the vintage animation for children above. You don’t need to understand what’s being said to get the gist. Take your schoolwork seriously, bone up on your geometry, and you can launch enough missiles to force America into submission. True, geometry doesn’t put you in a good position to hack corporate computers. But seemingly you can get that help from China.

via The Week

Related Content: 

Donald Duck’s Bad Nazi Dream and Four Other Disney Propaganda Cartoons from World War II

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How the CIA Turned Doctor Zhivago into a Propaganda Weapon Against the Soviet Union

 

How to Defeat the US with Math: An Animated North Korean Propaganda Film for Kids 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 Defeat the US with Math: An Animated North Korean Propaganda Film for Kids appeared first on Open Culture.

Watch Adam Savage Build Barbarella’s Space Rifle in One Day

Thu, 18 Dec 2014 - 12:05 am
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QWiqr-lwYA0

In a new video by Tested, Adam Savage (model maker, industrial designer and television personality) shows you how to build a replica of the space rifle from the 1968 sci-fi film Barbarella. To design the replica, Savage had only one document to work with — a photograph showing Jane Fonda holding the gun, which originally appeared on the cover of a 1968 issue of LIFE Magazine. The 77-minute video above takes you inside Savage’s build process, moving from start to finish. If DIY is your thing, you won’t want to miss it.

via Digg

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Watch Adam Savage Build Barbarella’s Space Rifle in One Day 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 Adam Savage Build Barbarella’s Space Rifle in One Day appeared first on Open Culture.

Lennon or McCartney? 550 Artists Answer the Essential, Timeless Question

Wed, 17 Dec 2014 - 5:00 pm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kSwUzM_nTGM

Lennon & McCartney — the two musicians came together and composed the most important songbook of the last 50 years. Early on, John and Paul wrote many of their songs together — songs like “She Loves You” and “Eight Days a Week.” Later, as they describe it here, the dynamic changed: one would write the bulk of a song; the other would give it a listen and work out the kinks, adding the right melody, or removing a particularly corny verse. Although the two shared writing credits for all Beatles songs, Lennon principally wrote “Strawberry Fields Forever,” “Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown),” and “Come Together.” McCartney gave us “Eleanor Rigby,” “Hey Jude,” “Let It Be,” and “Penny Lane.” Depending on which you like, you might put yourself in the Lennon or the McCartney camp.

Along the way, we’ve all been asked to take a side, and that applies to musicians too. Above, you can find a 34 minute compilation where musicians and artists — from Lady GaGa to David Byrne — make their pick. And below, in the comments, you’re invited to tell us where you fall — with John or Paul, and why?

Or who is going to offer up George, who, for my money, released the best of the Beatles’ solo albums?

via Metafilter

Related Content:

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Lennon or McCartney? 550 Artists Answer the Essential, Timeless Question 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 Lennon or McCartney? 550 Artists Answer the Essential, Timeless Question appeared first on Open Culture.

Patti Smith’s Musical Tributes to the Russian Greats: Tarkovsky, Gogol & Bulgakov

Wed, 17 Dec 2014 - 10:59 am
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A5tcP-g5Qo4

In 2010, Patti Smith won a National Book Award for her memoir Just Kids, making her, by my count, the only Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member to land that prize. Of course, she’s also the only person I can think of who has appeared in both a movie by Jean-Luc Godard (Film Socialisme) and an episode of Law and Order. And she’s definitely the only rocker out there who has a personal invite from the Pope to play at the Vatican.

Back in the mid-‘70s, Smith fused the noise and urgency of punk rock with spoken word poetry and created something unlike anything before or since. She performed with such intensity on stage that she looked like a modern day shaman in the midst of an ecstatic revelry. Yet she had a literary sensibility that made her stand apart from most of her fellow proto-punks at CBGBs. (The Ramones are awesome but no one is going to parse the lyrics of “Beat on the Brat with a Baseball Bat.”) The B-side track of Smith’s first single, “Piss Factory,” describes the unrelenting tedium she experienced working at a factory before she swiped a copy of Illuminations by French poet Arthur Rimbaud.

While making Film Socialisme with Godard, she conceived of her latest album, Banga, released in 2012. When she started writing songs, she was, as she said in an interview, very interested in Russian culture.

I like my travels to be akin with my studies, and so when I started being smitten with Bulgakov and started reading a lot of Russian literature and then watching a lot of Tarkovsky, being very immersed in Russian culture, I got some jobs in Russia. … But I’ve always done that. We have very idiosyncratic tours – I always make sure that the band does well financially, but a lot of our tours are based on things that I’m studying, and I’ll make choices as to where we go so that I can see something special.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wv9rIQFTO7U

The title track of the work, Banga, is taken from a minor character in Mikhail Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita – Pontus Pilate’s extremely loyal dog who waited centuries for his master to come to heaven. Fun fact: Johnny Depp played drums on this track.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BcR3I3Qk1XU

According to the liner notes, the album’s first single, “April Fool” was inspired by novelist Nikolai Gogol. As John Freeman notes in the Moscow Times, a number of lines from the song evoke the writer.

We’ll race through alleyways in tattered coats” is a fairly clear reference to Gogol’s short story “The Overcoat,” while “we’ll burn all of our poems” begs to be considered a nod to the fact that Gogol famously burned the second volume of his great novel “Dead Souls.” That work, one of Russia’s funniest and darkest, is conjured in the lines, “We’ll tramp through the mire when our souls feel dead. With laughter we’ll inspire them back to life again.

And the track “Tarkovsky (The Second Stop Is Jupiter)”, not surprisingly, evokes images from the films of cinematic auteur Andrei Tarkovsky – specifically, his metaphysical sci-fi epic Solaris along with Ivan’s Childhood. Hear the track at the top of this post, and watch Tarkovsky’s films online here.

In case you thought that the album was just about Russians, her song “This is the Girl” is about the life and death of Amy Winehouse, “Fuji-San” is a tribute to the massive 2011 Tohoku earthquake, and “Nine” is a birthday present to Johnny Depp.

Related Content: 

Watch Patti Smith Read from Virginia Woolf, and Hear the Only Surviving Recording of Woolf’s Voice

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Patti Smith Documentary Dream of Life Beautifully Captures the Author’s Life and Long Career (2008)

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 lots of pictures of badgers and even more pictures of vice presidents with octopuses on their heads.  The Veeptopus store is here.

Patti Smith’s Musical Tributes to the Russian Greats: Tarkovsky, Gogol & Bulgakov 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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Johnny Cash’s Christmas Specials, Featuring June Carter, Steve Martin, Andy Kaufman & More (1976-79)

Wed, 17 Dec 2014 - 8:30 am
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KX6h4ZJniv4

Johnny Cash, outlaw country singer and defiant man in black, comes carefully packaged for many people through the merchandising of his life and image. From t-shirts to posters, documentaries to award-winning biopics, we know about his ornery prison concerts, drug use and arrests, noble championing of the disenfranchised, and dramatic story of pain and redemption. We marveled at the mystique around the aged Cash in his late-life revival. But many of us know little about another side of the man—Johnny Cash, genial TV personality.

If you happened to have been glued to the tube during the seventies and eighties, however, you would know this Johnny Cash well from his cameo appearances on Columbo and Little House on the Prairie. You’d have seen him shilling for Amoco during the gas crisis of the early 70s—a gig he took on during a serious career slump. You’d have maybe caught his recurring role on Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman, his turn on 1985 mini-series North and South (as John Brown, naturally), as well as a number of film appearances. And that’s not to mention Cash’s own, short-lived variety show, which ran from 1969-71.

If this rather commercial, mainstream Cash seems at odds with the legend, wait till you see The Johnny Cash & Family Christmas Show, which ran each year from 1976-79. Here, writes Dangerous Minds, “Cash gamely refashioned himself as a family-friendly country music TV host” in the vein of Porter Wagoner. It is decidedly “far from the middle-finger Johnny Cash or Folsom Prison Blues”—closer instead to Hee Haw’s Buck Owens and Roy Clark (who appears in the first special at the top). After his marriage to June Carter in 1968, many of his ventures featured the two as a singing duo. Here, they aren’t just man and wife, but “family,” meaning “many of June and Johnny’s wide-ranging clan of relatives are featured.

We’re also treated to appearances from Tony Orlando and Cash’s spiritual mentor Billy Graham (’76), Jerry Lee Lewis (’77), Kris Kristoferson and Steve Martin (’78), and even Andy Kaufman, in character as Taxi’s Latka Gravas (’79). Yes, these may be country corny as all get-out, but they’re also really fun. We get charming, informal goof-offs with June and Johnny, lots of Vegas style comedy bits and lounge routines, and, of course, some stellar musical performances. After his dramatic late-sixties conversion, Cash remained staunchly evangelical to the end of his days. (Hear him read The New Testament here.) But rather than rail at secularists in his Christmas specials, he treats the holiday as a laid-back occasion for food (“snake ‘n’ potatoes”), laughs, friends and family, and all-star sing alongs by the fire. Hop on over to Dangerous Minds to see all four specials.

via Dangerous Minds

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The First Episode of The Johnny Cash Show, Featuring Bob Dylan & Joni Mitchell (1969)

Johnny Cash Reads the Entire New Testament

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

Johnny Cash’s Christmas Specials, Featuring June Carter, Steve Martin, Andy Kaufman & More (1976-79) 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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Hear Neil Gaiman Read A Christmas Carol Just as Dickens Read It

Wed, 17 Dec 2014 - 1:00 am

Image by New York Public Library

Last Christmas, we featured Charles Dickens’ hand-edited copy of his beloved 1843 novella A Christmas Carol. He did that hand editing for the purposes of giving public readings, a practice that, in his time, “was considered a desecration of one’s art and a lowering of one’s dignity.” That time, however, has gone, and many of the most prestigious writers alive today take the reading aloud of their own work to the level of art, or at least high entertainment, that Dickens must have suspected one could. Some writers even do a bang-up job of reading other writers’ work: modern master storyteller Neil Gaiman gave us a dose of that on Monday when we featured his recitation of Lewis Carroll’s “Jabberwocky” from memory. Today, however, comes the full meal: Gaiman’s telling of A Christmas Carol straight from that very Dickens-edited reading copy.

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Gaiman read to a full house at the New York Public Library, an institution known for its stimulating events, holiday-themed or otherwise. But he didn’t have to hold up the afternoon himself; taking the stage before him, BBC researcher and The Secret Museum author Molly Oldfield talked about her two years spent seeking out fascinating cultural artifacts the world over, including but not limited to the NYPL’s own collection of things Dickensian. You can hear both Oldfield and Gaiman in the recording above. But perhaps the greatest gift of all came in the form of the latter’s attire for his reading: not only did he go fully Victorian, he even went to the length of replicating the 19th-century literary superstar’s own severe hair part and long goatee. And School Library Journal has pictures.

The story really gets started around the 11:25 mark. Gaiman’s reading will be added to our list of Free Audio Books. You can find the text of Dickens’ classic in our collection, 700 Free eBooks for iPad, Kindle & Other Devices.

via Den of Geek/BrainPickings

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O Frabjous Day! Neil Gaiman Recites Lewis Carroll’s “Jabberwocky” from Memory

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.

Hear Neil Gaiman Read A Christmas Carol Just as Dickens Read It 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 Neil Gaiman Read A Christmas Carol Just as Dickens Read It appeared first on Open Culture.

David Lynch’s Music Videos: Nine Inch Nails, Moby, Chris Isaak & More

Tue, 16 Dec 2014 - 5:00 pm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5lTVohhONFg

David Lynch gets sound like few other directors. There’s an unforgettable scene in Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me where Laura Palmer leads her best friend Donna Hayward into what looks like a den of iniquity for lumberjacks. It’s filled with burly men and cheap women grinding to music blaring from the speakers. Lynch lets the music roll right over top the dialogue. It was a shocking choice back in 1992 but it was the right one. The banter was intentionally banal and obscure. The grotesque faces, the ominous crimson lighting and, most of all, that utterly hypnotic music are all you need to tell the story, creating a mood of dread and decadence. The scene is a stunning fusion of image, sound and editing in an otherwise flawed work.

Since that movie, Lynch became more and more interested in the possibilities of sound design. He eventually ditched film altogether for a career in music. So perhaps it shouldn’t come as a surprise that, along with creating at least three cinematic masterpieces, one of the most influential TV series ever made, and a string of television commercials, Lynch has also made a handful of music videos. You can watch them above and below.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OrRdnNr-9bo

Lynch’s first music video was for “I Predict” by the band The Sparks. It was made back in 1982 when MTV was still in its infancy and Lynch’s career was just taking off. Perhaps for that reason, the video has little of the stylistic obsessions that mark his later work. No weird flashing lights. No smoke or fire. No hollow-eyed models. Instead Lynch goes for a more direct, if silly, form of surrealism – a guy (band member Ron Mael) with a Hitler mustache in drag doing a striptease. Does it feel Lynchian? No, not really. But it’s still kind of distressing.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q7zQlsLgYhg

There are two videos for Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Games.” One, which was on heavy rotation on MTV, was shot by Herb Ritts and featured Isaak and supermodel Helena Christensen rolling around half-naked in the Hawaiian surf. And then there is Lynch’s video made as a tie-in to his strange, Wizard of Oz obsessed noir Wild at Heart, which has much less nudity – which is odd considering the movie is pretty much non-stop boinking. Instead, the video is pretty straightforward – just Isaaks and the band playing the tune intercut with shots from the flick.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1RN6pT3zL44

After Mulholland Drive, Lynch turned his back on celluloid film, preferring the endless possibilities of digital. His enthusiasm for this new technology resulted in a flurry of projects including Dumbland, a crudely animated series presented in stark black and white. The video of Moby’s “Shot in the Back of the Head” is a moodier animated work but it is definitely in the same vein. Check it out above.

Lynch’s video for Nine Inch Nail’s “Came Back Haunted” can quite literally mess with your head. The piece is packed with flashing red and white lights and as a result comes with the following warning: “This video has been identified by Epilepsy Action to potentially trigger seizures for people with photosensitive epilepsy. Viewer discretion is advised.” You have been warned.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=caWXt9lCVrc

And finally here’s a music video for Lynch’s own song called appropriately “Crazy Clown Time.” Not only is the video a catalogue Lynch’s obsessions – Americana, naked women, fire – but it also features Lynch singing, who, after a bunch of effects, sounds like a castrated Keebler Elf.

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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 lots of pictures of badgers and even more pictures of vice presidents with octopuses on their heads.  The Veeptopus store is here.

David Lynch’s Music Videos: Nine Inch Nails, Moby, Chris Isaak & 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 David Lynch’s Music Videos: Nine Inch Nails, Moby, Chris Isaak & More appeared first on Open Culture.

Moviedrome: Filmmaker Alex Cox Provides Video Introductions to 100+ Classic Cult Films

Tue, 16 Dec 2014 - 11:32 am
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RrPWoXx8VM8

If you happened to pass the 1990s in Britain as a certain sort of alternative and/or obscurantist cinephile, you know BBC2’s Moviedrome, which, albeit belonging to the proud old tradition of the television movie show, showed primarily cult films. But what makes for a cult film, anyway? A cult film “has a passionate following, but does not appeal to everyone.” Yet cult film status “does not automatically guarantee quality,” nor does the box office money a picture either made or failed to make. But we can categorize all cult films under certain genres, and often more than one, given their “tendency to slosh over from one genre into another, so that a science fiction film might also be a detective movie, or vice versa,” all sharing the common themes of “love, murder and greed.”

Those words come straight from Repo ManWalker, and Sid & Nancy director Alex Cox, a cult filmmaker of no small renown. He also hosted Moviedrome, providing much more than the standard movie-show framing of and introduction to the night’s feature. At the top of the post, we have his opening segment for Edward G. Ulmer’s cheap but astonishingly enduring 1945 film noir Detour, which you can chase with the film itself just above. You may also remember Carnival of Souls, which we featured in full as one of Time Out London‘s 1oo best horror films — well, Cox ably gave Moviedrome primer on that one as well, describing it as one of the most influential cult movies of its kind ever made.

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

But Cox talked about a lot more than filmmakers some might describe as schlocky and exploitative; he also talked about the likes of Alfred Hitchcock, who took schlock and exploitation to its highest point of cinematic artistry. Last year, we featured an examination of Hitchcock’s sleight-of-hand in the making of Rope, the suspense master’s supposedly cut-free tale of killing and deception. Just above, in Cox’s intro for the film, you can hear more about why this film made the cut, as it were, into Moviedrome‘s league of “cult and weirdo type movies.” You can learn about many more such disreputable-yet-reputable pictures through Cox’s many segments posted to Youtube, as well as in the full text of his Moviedrome Guide available on his “free stuff” page. The Moviedrome faithful might also consider having a look at this gallery of films from the show’s Alex Cox years, and the exegetic Tumblr blog Moviedromer.

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The 10 Hidden Cuts in Rope (1948), Alfred Hitchcock’s Famous “One-Shot” Feature Film

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.

Moviedrome: Filmmaker Alex Cox Provides Video Introductions to 100+ Classic Cult Films 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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Susan Sontag’s List of 10 Parenting Rules

Tue, 16 Dec 2014 - 8:30 am
View image | gettyimages.com

Parenting is difficult. I don’t need to tell you this—those of you who face the challenge daily and hourly. Those of you who don’t have heard your friends—and your own parents—do enough complaining that you know, in theory at least, how raising humans is rough business all around. Paradoxically, there is no rulebook for parenting and there are hundreds of rulebooks for parenting, seemingly a new one published every day. In my admittedly limited experience as the parent of a young child, most such guides have diminishing returns next to the direct lessons learned in the fray, so to speak, through trial after trial and no small amount of error.

But we do benefit from the wisdom of others, especially those who record their experiments in child-rearing with the precision and thoughtfulness of Susan Sontag. In the list below, made by a 26-year-old Sontag in 1959, we see how the young mother of a then 7-year-old David Rieff approached the job. The son of Sontag and sociologist Philip Rieff (“pop,” below), whom Sontag married at 17 then divorced in 1958, David has written a memoir of Sontag’s painful final days. He also edited her journals and notebooks, which contained the following rules.

  1. Be consistent.
  2. Don’t speak about him to others (e.g. tell funny things) in his presence. (Don’t make him self-conscious.)
  3. Don’t praise him for something I wouldn’t always accept as good.
  4. Don’t reprimand him harshly for something he’s been allowed to do.
  5. Daily routine: eating, homework, bath, teeth, room, story, bed.
  6. Don’t allow him to monopolize me when I am with other people.
  7. Always speak well of his pop. (No faces, sighs, impatience, etc.)
  8. Do not discourage childish fantasies.
  9. Make him aware that there is a grown-up world that’s none of his business.
  10. Don’t assume that what I don’t like to do (bath, hairwash) he won’t like either.

While Rieff has described his relationship with Sontag as “strained and at times very difficult,” it seems to me that a parent who adhered to these rules would create the kind of supportive structure children need to thrive. The remainder of Sontag’s journal entries show us a deeply introspective, self-conscious writer, and yet, writes Emily Greenhouse at The New Yorker, her work as a whole offers “surprisingly little of her own direct experience” and she never undertook an autobiography. Yet, this short list of parenting rules gives us a great deal of insight into the perspicacity and compassion she brought to her role as a mother, qualities most of us could use a bit more of in our daily parenting struggles.

The list above appears in the new book Lists of Note, the follow up to Shaun Usher’s Letters of Note, both compilations of his extensive online archives of personal notes and correspondence from famous and interesting people. Download a preview of the book and purchase a hardcover copy, just in time for Christmas, at Waterstones.com (if you live in the UK).

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See Films Made by Susan Sontag and a List of Her 50 Favorite Films (1977)

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“Nothing Good Gets Away”: John Steinbeck Offers Love Advice in a Letter to His Son (1958)

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

Susan Sontag’s List of 10 Parenting Rules 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 Susan Sontag’s List of 10 Parenting Rules appeared first on Open Culture.

Alfred Hitchcock Conducts a Politically Incorrect Sound Test on the Set of Blackmail (1929)

Tue, 16 Dec 2014 - 5:00 am
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Z8mSwzSQQk

Above we have a young Alfred Hitchcock on the set of Blackmail (1929), conducting a rather naughty sound test with actress Anny Ondra (1929).

In case you don’t know the backstory, Blackmail was originally meant to be a silent film. However, with talkies becoming the rage, Hitchcock decided mid-stream to make the film a talkie. That decision didn’t come without its own problems. Anny Ondra, a Czech actress, spoke English with a heavy accent and couldn’t pass as a Londoner in the film. So Hitchcock performed some cinema magic and had English actress Joan Barry dub Ondra’s lines. In those days, dubbing couldn’t take place in post-production. It all had to happen in real-time. Thus, as the camera rolled, Barry stood outside the frame and spoke the dialogue into a microphone, while Ondra pantomimed the words. Throughout, Hitchcock directed Ondra while listening to Barry through a pair of headphones.

You can watch Blackmail (Britain’s first talkie feature film) online here or find it in our collection of 23 Free Hitchcock Films Online.

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Alfred Hitchcock Conducts a Politically Incorrect Sound Test on the Set of Blackmail (1929) 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 Alfred Hitchcock Conducts a Politically Incorrect Sound Test on the Set of Blackmail (1929) appeared first on Open Culture.

AC/DC Plays at an Australian High School in 1976: Watch Some of the Earliest Footage of the Band

Mon, 15 Dec 2014 - 2:30 pm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gy89lFK-2W4

Here’s a tweet I saw today: “As if you need more than one AC/DC record….”

Ha! ‘Cause they all sound the same, right? To the casual fan perhaps. But is this really a bug? Consistency, after all, can be a virtue, maybe especially in rock ‘n’ roll, that most inconsistent of musical arenas. For AC/DC—-wrote a Rolling Stone review of their 2008 album Black Ice—“rock is sacred… and no band short of the Ramones has so militantly refused to reach beyond the basics of the form.”

While the title of the band’s newest record, Rock or Bust, heralds more of the glorious same, there have been, you may know, some significant personnel changes. The saddest is the retirement of stalwart rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young, who has dementia. The most sensational is the possible departure of drummer Phil Rudd, arrested in November on charges of drug possession and attempting to hire a hitman.

Dramatic as these headline-making shifts may be, neither of them match the devastating loss of the band’s first singer, Bon Scott, who died in 1980. While debates about his replacement Brian Johnson may rage interminably, there’s no question that Scott, writes one critical advocate, “helped create the identity and template the band still uses to this day.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KBj4CIwXjpY

In the videos here, you can see a very early version of that template in 1976, after the release of their first major album, High Voltage. The album tour was AC/DC’s introduction to the stadium circuit—they traveled the world opening for established rock monsters like Black Sabbath, Kiss, Cheap Trick, and Aerosmith. But these clips give us a glimpse of them on a much humbler stage, St. Albans High School in their native Australia.

At the top of the post, see “It’s a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock ‘n’ Roll),” the second to last song in the set. Before it gets going, we hear the band tuning up and Scott bantering with the screaming crowd. Above, we have the ridiculously titled “She’s Got Balls.” The film may be grainy, the sound muddy, and the camera angles confused, but the schoolboy-uniform clad Angus Young’s crazed strut and Bon Scott’s cocky wail—two features without which it seems AC/DC would not exist—are clearly evident. Fun to see here too are some forgotten quirks like Scott’s bagpipes on “It’s a Long Way to the Top.”

One fan remembers the show as “a defining moment in one’s upbringing. Loud, raw and aggressive, just the way it should be.” Despite the shocks to its lineup, judging by a recent appearance playing “Rock or Bust,” AC/DC’s still got the juice, puns shamelessly intended. As one Youtube commenter remarks, “old people can sure rock.” Click here for a touching tribute to the beloved and much-missed Malcolm Young.

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

AC/DC Plays at an Australian High School in 1976: Watch Some of the Earliest Footage of the Band 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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Animated Louis CK Shows Demonstrates How “Animation Lets You Do Anything”

Mon, 15 Dec 2014 - 2:00 pm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aTzyudfuUtk

Fatherhood is a fertile subject for comedian Louis C.K.

Kids do say the darnedest things, but Louis’ observations reveal the depth of his investment.

He lit out after standardized testing and the Common Core on Twitter.

He made a passionate case against giving kids smartphones to Conan O’Brien.

Is it any wonder that the “dumber, funnier” version of himself he created for his TV show is preoccupied and often thwarted by his responsibilities as the single dad of two young daughters?

(Real life may provide inspiration, but the writer and star displays appropriate boundaries when he says that his actual daughters are markedly different characters than their TV counterparts.)

But the knife of fatherhood cuts both ways. Louis’ troubled relationship with his own dad gets less attention than the father-daughter bond, but it’s there in his work. The prospect of spending time with his estranged father causes the fictional Louis to vomit at the dinner table in season three.

The animated approach seen above, gives Louis more control over the situation. Animation, like reading, makes possible flights of fancy wherein children—including grown ones like Louis—can do “absolutely anything.” Flying and using a rainbow as a slide are among the fantastical activities the 2-D Louis samples. Meanwhile, the quality of his narration conveys an underlying distaste for the sort of canned “imaginative” suggestions foisted on children by well-meaning educational programmers.

Left to their own devices, most kids will come up with scenarios and powers far weirder than anything peddled to them by an adult. Why “swim through the ocean like a fish” when you can anthropomorphize your elderly father as a malevolent spider, lodged in your chest, pooping out regular little “infestations of hate”?

Animation lets you go all the way, and C.K. certainly does, lopping off heads, and (SPOILER!) inadvertently Bonnie and Clyding himself from within.

Someone’s made a lot of progress since the 90’s, when he used his time on Dr. Katz’s animated couch to discuss K-Mart and Chips Ahoy.

For a less packaged, non-animated take on Louis’ dad, check out the interview he did with Howard Stern, below.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W5gbwIuj9I4

Related Content: 

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20-Year-Old Louis CK Performs Stand Up (1987)

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

Animated Louis CK Shows Demonstrates How “Animation Lets You Do Anything” 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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Watch Carl Sagan & Richard Dawkins Present the Royal Institution’s Famous Christmas Lectures

Mon, 15 Dec 2014 - 11:30 am
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BdXtjNSDi4s

If only someone could have invented the internet by 1825. Not only would we have reached unimagined realms of communication by now, but we would have a full 189 years of Christmas lectures to stream online at our leisure. A production of the Royal Institution in the United Kingdom, the Christmas lectures began with the educational endeavors of electromagnetism and electrochemistry pioneer Michael Faraday. Between 1827 and 1860, Faraday gave the first Christmas lectures on the London grounds of the Royal Institution, holding forth on subjects like chemistry, electricity, and matter in an effort to get the general public excited about science. According to one of his soundest principles of lecturing, “a flame should be lighted at the commencement and kept alive with unremitting splendour to the end.” Generations of scientific lecturers have stepped forward to light and keep that splendid flame to this day.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dw4w1UsOafQ

At the top of the post, we have the first of Carl Sagan’s six Christmas lectures on Earth, Mars, and our solar system from 1977. Just above, you can watch the first of Richard Dawkins’ 1991 Christmas lecture series entitled Growing Up in the Universe. Though Sagan and Dawkins ostensibly geared their lectures toward kids — just as Faraday intended his scientific spectacles for a “juvenile audience” — don’t let that turn you off if you’ve already reached adulthood. In fact, grown-ups may stand to gain more than kids, given our tendency to binge-watch. Why not give yourself an educational holiday treat by plowing through the past several years of Christmas lectures archived at the Royal Institution’s web site? This Christmas, they’ve got professor Danielle George on “how the spark of your imagination and some twenty first century tinkering can change the world” — so get ready to gather ’round with all the future world-changers you know, young or old.

Related Content:

Carl Sagan Presents Six Lectures on Earth, Mars & Our Solar System … For Kids (1977)

Growing Up in the Universe: Richard Dawkins Presents Captivating Science Lectures for Kids (1991)

Carl Sagan Explains Evolution in an Eight-Minute Animation

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.

Watch Carl Sagan & Richard Dawkins Present the Royal Institution’s Famous Christmas Lectures 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 Carl Sagan & Richard Dawkins Present the Royal Institution’s Famous Christmas Lectures appeared first on Open Culture.