Open Culture Blog

Syndicate content
The best free cultural & educational media on the web
Updated: 52 min 56 sec ago

Take The Near Impossible Literacy Test Louisiana Used to Suppress the Black Vote (1964)

2 hours 52 min ago

In William Faulkner’s 1938 novel The Unvanquished, the implacable Colonel Sartoris takes drastic action to stop the election of a black Republican candidate to office after the Civil War, destroying the ballots of black voters and shooting two Northern carpetbaggers. While such dramatic means of voter suppression occurred often enough in the Reconstruction South, tactics of electoral exclusion refined over time, such that by the mid-twentieth century the Jim Crow South relied largely on nearly impossible-to-pass literacy tests to impede free and fair elections.

These tests, writes Rebecca Onion at Slate, were “supposedly applicable to both white and black prospective voters who couldn’t prove a certain level of education” (typically up to the fifth grade). Yet they were “in actuality disproportionately administered to black voters.” Additionally, many of the tests were rigged so that registrars could give potential voters an easy or a difficult version, and could score them differently as well. For example, the Veterans of the Civil Rights Movement describes a test administered in Alabama that is so entirely subjective it measures the registrar’s shrewdness and cunning more than anything else.

The test here from Louisiana consists of questions so ambiguous that no one, whatever their level of education, can divine a “right” or “wrong” answer to most of them. And yet, as the instructions state, “one wrong answer denotes failure of the test,” an impossible standard for even a legitimate exam. Even worse, voters had only ten minutes to complete the three-page, 30-question document. The Louisiana test dates from 1964, the year before passage of the Voting Rights Act, which effectively put an end to these blatantly discriminatory practices. (Though last year’s Supreme Court decision in Shelby vs. Holder means that such tests, or even more slippery means, could ostensibly return in those parts of the country that have made little progress since the sixties). Learn more of the history of Jim Crow voter suppression at Rebecca Onion’s original post here and an update here.

via Slate’s Vault blog

Related Content:

Robert Penn Warren Archive Brings Early Civil Rights to Life

Read Martin Luther King and The Montgomery Story: The Influential 1957 Civil Rights Comic Book

Watch The March, the Masterful, Digitally Restored Documentary on The Great March on Washington

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

Take The Near Impossible Literacy Test Louisiana Used to Suppress the Black Vote (1964) 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 Take The Near Impossible Literacy Test Louisiana Used to Suppress the Black Vote (1964) appeared first on Open Culture.

Stanley Kubrick Faked the Apollo 11 Moon Landing 45 Years Ago, Or So the Conspiracy Theory Goes

6 hours 42 min ago

This week is the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 11 journey to the moon. And while most people will celebrate the event by acknowledging the abilities and courage of Neil Armstrong and company in this landmark of human endeavor, a small, though vocal, group of people will decry the moon landing as a fraud.

In that spirit, French filmmaker William Karel spins an elaborate tale of intrigue in Dark Side of the Moon, which you can see above. The 2002 film posits that the Apollo 11 moon landing was staged by none other than Stanley Kubrick. How else did the director get his hands on a super advanced lens from NASA to shoot those gorgeous candle-lit scenes in Barry Lyndon? The film is slickly produced and features an impressive array of interviewees from Henry Kissinger, to Buzz Aldrin to Christiane Kubrick. Some of the other people interviewed include Jack Torrance and David Bowman. If that’s not a tip off that the whole movie is fake, then the blooper reel at the end drives the point home. Only a lot of people didn’t get the joke. Conspiracy enthusiasts Wayne Green cited the movie as further proof that the moon landing was faked.

Moon hoaxers like to point to The Shining as a confession by Kubrick that he was forced into a Big Lie. In the documentary Room 237, conspiracy theorist and leading Sandy Hook truther Jay Weidner claims as much. And Michael Wysmierski argues the same in The Shining Code 2.0, a feature length video that you can watch below. Or get right to the meat of things here.

And just in case you get swept up in Wysmierski’s loony logic, filmmaker S. G. Collins makes the very compelling argument that the technology simply didn’t exist to fake the moon landing in 1969. Case closed.

Related Content:

Stanley Kubrick’s Very First Films: Three Short Documentaries

Room 237: New Documentary Explores Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining and Those It Obsesses

Rare 1960s Audio: Stanley Kubrick’s Big Interview with The New Yorker

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.

 

Stanley Kubrick Faked the Apollo 11 Moon Landing 45 Years Ago, Or So the Conspiracy Theory Goes 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 Stanley Kubrick Faked the Apollo 11 Moon Landing 45 Years Ago, Or So the Conspiracy Theory Goes appeared first on Open Culture.

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

10 hours 42 min ago

Few writers have inspired so many artists, so deeply and for so long, as Dante Alighieri. His epic poem the Divine Comedy (find in our collection of Free eBooks) has received striking illuminations at the hands of Gustave Doré, Sandro Botticelli, Alberto Martini, and Salvador Dalí — to name only those we’ve featured before here on Open Culture. The names Priamo della Quercia and Giovanni di Paolo may mean relatively little to you right now, but they’ll mean much more once you’ve taken a look at the illustrations featured here and at The World of Dante, which come from an illuminated manuscript of the Divine Comedy at the British Library known as Yates Thompson 36. Produced in Siena around 1450 for an unknown original patron, “the codex belonged to Alfonso V, king of Aragon, Naples, and Sicily,” and includes “110 large miniatures and three historiated initials.” (See all here.) Della Quercia illustrated the Inferno and Purgatorio and all three historiated initials; di Paolo illustrated Paradiso.

“This makes for two distinctly different styles,” continues The World of Dante’s page. “Priamo’s work reflects the more realistic style of late fifteenth-century Florentine painting, an influence which is particularly noticeable in his use of contours and outlines in the depiction of nudes. Giovanni di Paolo’s style is closer to that of late fourteenth-century Sienese artists,” producing results “greatly admired for their visual interpretation of the poem: the artist doesn’t just transcribe Dante’s words but seeks to render their meaning.” The British Library’s medieval manuscripts blog describes it as “certainly a lavish production” that “must have been an expensive undertaking,” given the status of the men doing the illuminating as “two of the preeminent artists of the day.” But when it came to visualizing Dante’s journey, quite literally, to hell and back in 15th-century Italy, no artist ranked too highly. Even today, I can’t imagine any artist reading the Divine Comedy, illuminated or no, without getting a few vivid ideas of their own.

More images can be found on the British Library web site (scroll down the page). A Yale course entirely dedicated to Dante appears in our collection, 1000 Free Online Courses from Top Universities.

Related Content:

Botticelli’s 92 Illustrations of Dante’s Divine Comedy

Gustave Doré’s Dramatic Illustrations of Dante’s Divine Comedy

Alberto Martini’s Haunting Illustrations of Dante’s Divine Comedy (1901-1944)

Salvador Dalí’s 100 Illustrations of Dante’s The Divine Comedy

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.

Dante’s Divine Comedy Illustrated in a Remarkable Illuminated Medieval Manuscript (c. 1450) 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 Dante’s Divine Comedy Illustrated in a Remarkable Illuminated Medieval Manuscript (c. 1450) appeared first on Open Culture.

The Night When Miles Davis Opened for the Grateful Dead in 1970: Hear the Complete Recordings

Tue, 22 Jul 2014 - 2:00 pm

What’s that, you ask? Did Miles Davis open for the Grateful Dead at the Fillmore West? In what world could such a thing happen? In the world of the late sixties/early seventies, when jazz fused with acid rock, acid rock with country, and pop culture took a long strange trip. The “inspired pairing” of the Dead with Davis’ electric band on April 12, 1970, “represented one of [promoter] Bill Graham’s most legendary bookings,” writes the blog Cryptical Developments. I’ll say. Davis had just released the groundbreaking double-LP Bitches Brew and was “at somewhat of an artistic and commercial crossroads,” experimenting with new, more fluid compositions.

Aggressive and dominated by rock rhythms and electric instruments, the album became Davis’ best seller and brought him before young, white audiences in a way his earlier work had not.  The band that Davis brought into the Fillmore West, comprising [Chick] Corea, [Dave] Holland, soprano sax player Steve Grossman, drummer Jack Dejohnette, and percussionist Airto Moreira, was fully versed in this new music, and stood the Fillmore West audiences on their ears.

I can only imagine what it would have been like to see that performance live. But we don’t have to imagine what it sounded like. You can hear all of Davis’s set below. In his autobiography, Davis described it as “an eye-opening concert for me.” “The place was packed with these real spacy, high white people,” he wrote, “and when we first started playing, people were walking around and talking.” Once the band got into the Bitches Brew material, though, “that really blew them out. After that concert, every time I would play out there in San Francisco, a lot of young white people showed up at the gigs.”

Did the Dead become a crossover hit with jazz fans? Not exactly, but Davis really hit it off with them, especially with Jerry Garcia. “I think we all learned something,” Davis wrote: “Jerry Garcia loved jazz, and I found out that he loved my music and had been listening to it for a long time.” In his autobiography, the Dead’s Phil Lesh remembered having his mind blown by Davis and band: “As I listened, leaning over the amps with my jaw hanging agape, trying to comprehend the forces that Miles was unleashing onstage, I was thinking What’s the use. How can we possibly play after this? […] With this band, Miles literally invented fusion music. In some ways it was similar to what we were trying to do in our free jamming, but ever so much more dense with ideas – and seemingly controlled with an iron fist, even at its most alarmingly intense moments.” You can stream the Dead’s full performance from that night below. Think what must have been running through their minds as they took the stage after watching Miles Davis invent a new form of music right before their eyes.

Related Content:

Miles Davis Plays Music from Kind of Blue Live in 1959, Introducing a Completely New Style of Jazz

Jerry Garcia Talks About the Birth of the Grateful Dead & Playing Kesey’s Acid Tests in New Animated Video

In 1969 Telegram, Jimi Hendrix Invites Paul McCartney to Join a Super Group with Miles Davis

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

The Night When Miles Davis Opened for the Grateful Dead in 1970: Hear the Complete Recordings 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 Night When Miles Davis Opened for the Grateful Dead in 1970: Hear the Complete Recordings appeared first on Open Culture.

The First Animations of Mike Judge, Creator of Beavis and Butt-head & Office Space (1991)

Tue, 22 Jul 2014 - 11:55 am

Mike Judge first became famous for creating the crude and crudely drawn cartoon series Beavis and Butt-head (find complete episodes online here). The show was about two high school burnouts whose running commentary on the latest music videos was so boneheaded and baldly vulgar that you couldn’t help but laugh. Prissy culture warriors pointed to the show as yet another symptom of America’s decline while legions of stoned college students gleefully tuned in. In 1998, Judge made the jump to live action features with Office Space, a hilarious, if uneven, take on the banalities of American corporate culture. It’s one of those movies that no one saw in the theater but, thanks to cable, everyone of a certain age can quote. (“If you can come in on Saturday, that would be great.”) Currently, he is the creator for the hit HBO series Silicon Valley.

Judge started in animation after working for a spell as first a computer programmer and then a blues bassist. After seeing an animation cel on display in a local movie theater in 1989, he ran out and bought a Bolex 16mm camera and started making movies. Two years later, he was producing odd, thoroughly unpolished animated shorts that made the rounds in film festivals, eventually launching a career in Hollywood.

Above is a short about Milton, the nebbish stapler-obsessed cubicle dweller who was the genesis for Office Space. Stephen Root played him in the movie. His boss is the same passive-aggressive prick as in the movie though played with less unctuous zeal as Gary Cole’s performance. The short proved to be such a success that MTV’s Liquid Television ordered more.

Next is The Honky Problem, about an emotionally unbalanced country singer named ‘Inbred Jed.’ He wants you to know that he is really, really, really happy to be playing at a remote trailer parker populated by a bunch of characters out of a David Lynch movie. In fact, if it weren’t for the jokey voice over at the end, this short is creepy enough to almost pass for an episode of Lynch’s own animated series, Dumbland.

And there’s this short also from 1991 called simply Huh?, which pits the shrill against the oblivious.

You can find more Animations in our collection, 675 Free Movies Online: Great Classics, Indies, Noir, Westerns, etc..

Related Content:

Dumbland, David Lynch’s Twisted Animated Series (NSFW)

Watch All of Terry Gilliam’s Monty Python Animations in a Row

Tim Burton’s The World of Stainboy: Watch the Complete Animated Series

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.

The First Animations of Mike Judge, Creator of Beavis and Butt-head & Office Space (1991) 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 First Animations of Mike Judge, Creator of Beavis and Butt-head & Office Space (1991) appeared first on Open Culture.

T.S. Eliot Reads Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats & Other Classic Poems (75 Minutes, 1955)

Tue, 22 Jul 2014 - 8:40 am

Not only did T.S. Eliot draw the cover for the first edition of his Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, featured yesterday, he even read it aloud for the audiobook edition. You may think the time of the audiobook, now a popular form on digital audio devices everywhere, must have begun long after the time of Eliot had already ended. (Eliot died in 1965.) But as we know from having previously featured their mid-1970s albums of Leonard Nimoy reading Ray Bradbury, the record label Caedmon positioned themselves well ahead of the audiobook game. Using recordings made from readings given in London in 1955, Caedmon managed to release albums of Eliot speaking his own work aloud. Today we offer you T.S. Eliot Reads T.S. Eliot, made available via Spotify. The 18 tracks, running some 75 minutes, mostly features Eliot reading from Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats. But he also recites a handful of other classic poems. (If you need Spotify, you can download the software here):

Other audio editions of Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats (some including a score) would come out later, but, for many Eliot enthusiasts, nothing else can quite match hearing the man himself introduce the likes of Rum Tum Tugger, Mr. Mistoffelees, and Bustopher Jones. Listeners in most geographies should be able to access the Spotify playlist. But if you live in Canada and South Africa (where some readers have reported problems) we can recommend that you listen (or re-listen) to Eliot’s readings of his modernist masterpieces “The Waste Land” and “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”, plus his Four Quartets. And if, by chance, you feel like hearing Eliot’s verse but not Eliot’s voice, how about letting Bob Dylan take over reading duties?

Eliot’s reading of Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats will be added to our collection, 550 Free Audio Books: Download Great Books for Free.

Related content:

T.S. Eliot Illustrates His Letters and Draws a Cover for Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats

Listen to T.S. Eliot Recite His Late Masterpiece, the Four Quartets

T.S. Eliot Reads His Modernist Masterpieces “The Waste Land” and “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”

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

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.

T.S. Eliot Reads Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats & Other Classic Poems (75 Minutes, 1955) 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 T.S. Eliot Reads Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats & Other Classic Poems (75 Minutes, 1955) appeared first on Open Culture.

The New Yorker Web Site is Entirely Free This Summer (Until It Goes Behind a Paywall This Fall)

Tue, 22 Jul 2014 - 1:00 am

Yesterday, The New Yorker magazine published “A Note to Readers,” announcing the new strategy behind its web site. The site now has a different look and feel. It will also be governed by a new set of economics, which will include putting the entire site behind a paywall. The editors write, “in the fall, we [will] move to a second phase, implementing an easier-to-use, logical, metered paywall. Subscribers will continue to have access to everything; non-subscribers will be able to read a limited number of pieces—and then it’s up to them to subscribe. You’ve likely seen this system elsewhere—at the Times, for instance—and we will do all we can to make it work seamlessly.”

But, until then, the site won’t be half open (as it has been during recent years). It’ll be entirely open. Again, the editors write: “Beginning this week, absolutely everything new that we publish—the work in the print magazine and the work published online only—will be unlocked. All of it, for everyone. Call it a summer-long free-for-all. Non-subscribers will get a chance to explore The New Yorker fully and freely, just as subscribers always have.”

What should you read while The New Yorker is open? I’d focus on the old stuff, which will presumably get locked up too. Here are a few quick suggestions: Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood serialized in the pages of the magazine in 1965; J.D. Salinger’s January 1948 publication of his enduring short story “A Perfect Day for a Banana Fish;” and, of course, Hannah Arendt’s original articles on “the Banality of Evil”?  If you have problems reading the text (in the latter two cases), be sure to click the pages to zoom in.

via GalleyCat

 

The New Yorker Web Site is Entirely Free This Summer (Until It Goes Behind a Paywall This Fall) 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 New Yorker Web Site is Entirely Free This Summer (Until It Goes Behind a Paywall This Fall) appeared first on Open Culture.

Stephen Fry Explains the Rules of Cricket in 10 Animated Videos

Mon, 21 Jul 2014 - 11:52 am

Founded in London in 1787, The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) began publishing The Laws of Cricket in 1788, and later became the governing body of the game. More than two centuries later, the MCC has passed governing responsibilities to The International Cricket Council. But it still publishes The Laws of Cricket and helps young players and casual fans learn more about the bat-and-ball game that dates back to early 16th-century England, if not before. And let’s face it, if you didn’t grow up in a country that figured into the British Empire, you can probably use a primer. Or maybe 10 animated ones narrated by actor, writer, cricket lover and occasional umpire Stephen Fry. Click the play button on the video above, and you can watch the collection of animations, covering everything from what happens when a “wicket is down” to when the “batsman is out his ground.” When you’re done, you can enjoy some other Fry narrations we’ve featured in blog posts past. See the “relateds” below.

Related Content:

Stephen Fry Reads Oscar Wilde’s Children’s Story “The Happy Prince”

Stephen Fry Introduces the Strange New World of Nanoscience

Stephen Fry Explains Cloud Computing in a Short Animated Video

Stephen Fry Reads the Legendary British Shipping Forecast

Stephen Fry Explains the Rules of Cricket in 10 Animated Videos 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 Stephen Fry Explains the Rules of Cricket in 10 Animated Videos appeared first on Open Culture.

Sun Ra’s Full Lecture & Reading List From His 1971 UC Berkeley Course, “The Black Man in the Cosmos”

Mon, 21 Jul 2014 - 8:40 am

 

http://blog.sensitiveskinmagazine.com/wp-content/audio/Ra-Sun_Berkeley-Lecture_1971.mp3

A pioneer of “Afrofuturism,” bandleader Sun Ra emerged from a traditional swing scene in Alabama, touring the country in his teens as a member of his high school biology teacher’s big band. While attending Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University, he had a out-of-body experience during which he was transported into outer space. As biographer John Szwed records him saying, “my whole body changed into something else. I landed on a planet that I identified as Saturn.” While there, aliens with “little antenna on each ear. A little antenna on each eye” instructed him to drop out of college and speak through his music. And that’s just what he did, changing his name from Herman Blount and never looking back.

Whether you believe that story, whether Sun Ra believes it, or whether his entire persona is a theatrical put-on should make no difference. Because Sun Ra would be a visionary either way. Combining Afrocentric science fiction, esoteric and occult philosophy, Egyptology, and, with his “Arkestra,” his own brand of free jazz-futurism that has no equal on earth, the man is truly sui generis. In 1971, he served as artist-in-residence at UC Berkeley and offered a spring semester lecture, African-American Studies 198, also known as “Sun Ra 171,” “The Black Man in the Universe,” or “The Black man in the Cosmos.” The course featured readings from—to name just a few—theosophist Madame Blavatsky, French philosopher Constantin Francois de Chasseboeuf, black American writer and poet Henry Dumas, and “God,” whom the cosmic jazz theorist reportedly listed as the author of The Source Book of Man’s Life and Death (otherwise known as the King James Bible).

Now we have the rare opportunity to hear a full lecture from that class at the top of the post. Listen to Sun Ra spin his intricate, bizarrely otherworldly theories, drawn from his personal philosophy, peculiar etymologies, and idiosyncratic readings of religious texts. Hearing him speak is a little like hearing him play, so be prepared for a lot of free association and jarring, unexpected juxtapositions. Szwed describes a “typical lecture” below:

Sun Ra wrote biblical quotes on the board and then ‘permutated’ them—rewrote and transformed their letters and syntax into new equations of meaning, while members of the Arkestra passed through the room, preventing anyone from taping the class. His lecture subjects included Neoplatonic doctrines; the application of ancient history and religious texts to racial problems; pollution and war; and a radical reinterpretation of the Bible in light of Egyptology.

Luckily for us, some sly student captured one of those lectures on tape. For more of Professor Ra’s spaced out presentation, see the Helsinki interview above, also from 1971. And if you decide you need your own education in “Sun Ra 171,” see the full reading list from his Berkeley course below, courtesy of the blog New Day.

The Egyptian Book of the Dead

Radix

Alexander Hislop: Two Babylons

The Theosophical works of Madame Blavatsky

The Book of Oahspe

Henry Dumas: Ark of Bones

Henry Dumas: Poetry for My People eds. Hale Charfield & Eugene Redmond, Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press 1971

Black Fire: An Anthology of Afro-American Writing, eds. Leroi Jones & Larry Neal, New York: William Morrow 1968

David Livingston: Missionary Travels

Theodore P. Ford: God Wills the Negro

Rutledge: God’s Children

Stylus, vol. 13, no. 1 (Spring 1971), Temple University

John S. Wilson: Jazz. Where It Came From, Where It’s At, United States Information Agency

Yosef A. A. Ben-Jochannan: Black Man of the Nile and His Family, Alkibu Ian Books 1972

Constantin Francois de Chasseboeuf, Comte de Volney: The Ruins, or, Meditation on the Revolutions of Empires, and the Law of Nature, London: Pioneer Press 1921

The Source Book of Man’s Life and Death (Ra’s description; = The King James Bible)

Pjotr Demianovitch Ouspensky: A New Model of the Universe. Principles of the Psychological Method in Its Application to Problems of Science, Religion and Art, New York: Knopf 1956

Frederick Bodmer: The Loom of Language. An Approach to the Mastery of Many Languages, ed. Lancelot Hogben, New York: Norton & Co. 1944

Blackie’s Etymology

Countless other free courses from UC Berkeley can be found in our collection, 1000 Free Online Courses from Top Universities.

via Dangerous Minds

Related Content:

Herbie Hancock Presents the Prestigious Norton Lectures at Harvard University: Watch Online

Sonic Youth Guitarist Thurston Moore Teaches a Poetry Workshop at Naropa University: See His Class Notes (2011)

Space Jazz, a Sonic Sci-Fi Opera by L. Ron Hubbard, Featuring Chick Corea (1983)

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

Sun Ra’s Full Lecture & Reading List From His 1971 UC Berkeley Course, “The Black Man in the Cosmos” 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 Sun Ra’s Full Lecture & Reading List From His 1971 UC Berkeley Course, “The Black Man in the Cosmos” appeared first on Open Culture.

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

Mon, 21 Jul 2014 - 5:00 am

I like old newspaper, smoothing it out to read about what was happening on the day an older relative packed away the good crystal or some other fragile tchotchke.

Traveling in India, I dug how the snacks I purchased to eat on the train came wrapped in old book pages. When my traveling companion realized he had lost his journal, there was comfort in knowing that it would be reincarnated as cones to hold delicious chana jor garam.

Taking a thrift store frame apart, I was thrilled to discover that behind the previous owners kittens in a basket print lurked a homemade Mother’s Day card from the 40′s and a calendar page that noted the date someone named David quit drinking. (I sent it along to Found Magazine.)

What I wouldn’t give to stumble upon a dress lined with a 13th-century manuscript. Or a bishop’s miter stiffened with racy 13th-century Norse love poetry!

Apparently, it’s a rich tradition, putting old pages to good use, once they start feeling like they’ve outlived their intended purpose. The bishop likely didn’t know the specifics on the material that made his hat stand up. I’ll bet the  sisters of the German Cistercian convent where the dress above originated were more concerned with the outward appearance of the garments they were stitching for their wooden statues than the not-for-display lining.

As Dutch art historian Erik Kwakkel explains on his medievalfragments blog, the invention of the Gutenberg press demoted scads of handwritten text to more proletarian purpose. Ultimately, it’s not as grim as it sounds:

the dismembered books were to have a second life: they became travelers in time, stowaways… with great and important stories to tell. Indeed, stories that may otherwise not have survived, given that classical and medieval texts frequently only come down to us in fragmentary form. The early history of the Bible as a book could not be written if we were to throw out fragment evidence.

Related Content:

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

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

Archive of Handwritten Recipes (1600 – 1960) Will Teach You How to Stew a Calf’s Head and More

The British Library Puts Online 1,200 Literary Treasures From Great Romantic & Victorian Writers

Wearable Books: In Medieval Times, They Took Old Manuscripts & Turned Them into Clothes 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 Wearable Books: In Medieval Times, They Took Old Manuscripts & Turned Them into Clothes appeared first on Open Culture.

T.S. Eliot Illustrates His Letters and Draws a Cover for Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats

Mon, 21 Jul 2014 - 1:00 am

Like so many poets, Thomas Stearns Eliot could write a fine letter. Unlike quite so many poets, he could also illustrate those fine letters with an amusing picture or two. The T.S. Eliot Society’s web site has several examples of what the author of “The Waste Land” could do when he got thinking visually as well as textually. At the top of the post, we have a cover he drew for a book of his own, Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, a well-known work of Eliot’s in its own right but also indirectly known and loved by millions as the basis of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical Cats. Well before this satirical feline material attained such grand embellishment for and far-reaching fame on the stage, it took its first, humble public form in 1939. Had you bought Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats then, you would have bought the one above, with Eliot’s hand-drawn cover. (It runs $37,000 now.) The very next year, a new edition came out fully illustrated by Nicholas Bentley. The inimitable Edward Gorey took his turn with the 1982 edition, and the latest, published in 2009, features the art of German illustrator Axel Scheffler.

Above and below, you can see a couple more surviving examples of what Eliot could do with pen and ink, albeit not in a context necessarily intended for publication. While Eliot’s actual handwriting may not make for easy reading, even if you can read the German in which he sometimes wrote, his drawings vividly display his impressions of the people presumably mentioned in the text. I’d have taken such pains, too, if I had the expectation some 20th-century men of letters seemed to that their collected correspondence would eventually see print. Yet Eliot himself went back and forth about it, “torn over whether to allow public access to his private letters after his death,” writes Salon’s Kera Bolonik. “‘I don’t like reading other people’s private correspondence in print, and I do not want other people to read mine,’ he said in 1927. But six years later, he admitted he had an ‘ineradicable’ desire for his letters to reach a wider audience. ‘We want to confess ourselves in writing to a few friends, and we do not always want to feel that no one but those friends will ever read what we have written’” — or see what we have drawn.

Related Content:

Listen to T.S. Eliot Recite His Late Masterpiece, the Four Quartets

T.S. Eliot Reads His Modernist Masterpieces “The Waste Land” and “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”

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

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.

T.S. Eliot Illustrates His Letters and Draws a Cover for Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats 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 T.S. Eliot Illustrates His Letters and Draws a Cover for Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats appeared first on Open Culture.

Why Tattoos Are Permanent? New TED Ed Video Explains with Animation

Sun, 20 Jul 2014 - 10:29 am

For the last three decades my right ankle has been the site of a deeply botched tattoo. It was supposed to be a yin yang, but with every passing year, it looks more and more like a cancerous mole. The drunken Vietnam Vet who administered it barely glanced at the design taking shape on my once virgin skin as he chatted with a pal. I was too intimidated to say, “Um…is it just me or are you filling in the white circle?” (I convinced myself that he knew what he was doing, and the ink would recede as it healed. Needless to say…)

My pathetic, little yin-ya’ is an embarrassment in an era of intricate four-color sleeves and souped up rockabilly gorgeousness, but I confess, I’ve grown fond of it. The fact that I have an out-of-balance symbol for balance permanently engraved onto my body is far more appropriate than the poorly grasped  flash art could have been. It’ll be with me til the day I die.

Longer, actually, to judge by the decorative markings of an 8000 -year-old Peruvian mummy.

I feel fortunate to have developed tender feelings for my bush league modification. Claudia Aguirre’s TED-Ed lesson “What Makes Tattoos Permanent,” above, does not make an easy case for removal.

In the words of your grandma, don’t embellish your birthday suit with any old junk.

Your gang affiliation may feel like a forever-thing now, but what if you decide to switch gangs in a few years? Erasing those memories can be painful. Ask Johnny “Winona Forever” Depp.

Dolphins may strike you as peaceful, spiritual creatures, but I’ll bet there are ways to appreciate them that don’t involve having one punctured through your epidermis at 50-3000 micro-wounds per minute. 

Choose wisely! If you’re veering toward a Tasmanian devil or a rose, do yourself a favor and browse the Museum of Online Museums. Feel a kinship with anything there? Good! Once you’ve figured out how to best feature it on your hide, take Aguirre’s anatomy-based quiz. See if it’s true that you’ll be barred from burial in a Jewish cemetery. Your tattoo artist will likely be impressed that you cared enough to do some research. Watch a couple of episodes of the Smithsonian’s Tattoo Odyssey for good measure.

Then lay in a tube of Preparation H, and prepare to love whatever you wind up with. It’s a lot easier than the pain of regret.

Related Content:

Get Ancient Advice on Losing Weight, Sobering Up, Removing a Tattoo & More at Ask The Past

TED ED Animation Gives You a Glimpse of What Life Was Like for Teenagers in Ancient Rome

Ayun Halliday is up to her eyeballs in Bye Bye Birdie and so should you be. Follow her @AyunHalliday

Why Tattoos Are Permanent? New TED Ed Video Explains with 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 Why Tattoos Are Permanent? New TED Ed Video Explains with Animation appeared first on Open Culture.

In Dark PSA, Director Richard Linklater Suggests Radical Steps for Dealing with Texters in Cinemas

Sun, 20 Jul 2014 - 3:00 am

At the Alamo Drafthouse cinemas, they don’t mess around. They tell you right on their web site, “We have a zero-tolerance policy towards talking and texting during the movie. If you talk or text, you will receive one warning. If it happens again, you will be kicked out without a refund.” And they apparently mean it. Want some proof? Here’s Exhibit A – a clip that mocks a customer who apparently got kicked out of their “crappy” theater in Austin, Texas for texting. Then there’s Exhibit B above — a sardonic Alamo Drafthouse video featuring indie filmmaker Richard Linklater suggesting radical steps for dealing with the type of people found in Exhibit A. It’s all a bit of dark humor (of course). But here’s something that’s not a joke. You can watch Linklater’s breakthrough 1991 film, Slacker, free online. You can also hear the Texas native talk about his new film Boyhood on Fresh Air here.

Parting words: Don’t mess with Texas, particularly filmmakers in Texas.

via Gawker/@Sheerly

Related Content:

Watch Free Online: Richard Linklater’s Slacker, the Classic Gen-X Indie Film

An Anti, Anti-Smoking Announcement from John Waters

David Lynch’s Unlikely Commercial for a Home Pregnancy Test (1997)

In Dark PSA, Director Richard Linklater Suggests Radical Steps for Dealing with Texters in Cinemas 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 In Dark PSA, Director Richard Linklater Suggests Radical Steps for Dealing with Texters in Cinemas appeared first on Open Culture.

George Harrison Wrote His Last Letter to Austin Powers Creator Mike Myers, Asking for a Mini Me Doll (2001)

Sat, 19 Jul 2014 - 1:45 pm

In a band full of extroverted goofballs and pranksters, George Harrison was the quiet one, the serious Beatle, the straight man and introspective mystic, right? Not so, according to Travelling Wilburys bandmate Tom Petty, who once countered the “quiet Beatle” sobriquet with “he never shut up. He was the best hang you could imagine.” Not so, according to Harrison himself, who once said “I think I’ve had an image, people have had a concept of me being really straight cause I was the serious one or something. I mean, I’m the biggest lunatic around. I’m completely comical, you know? I like craziness. I had to in order to be in the Beatles.”

It’s true that Harrison disliked fame and its trappings and dove deeply into life’s mysteries. In his final televised interview, he is contemplative and, yes, deeply serious. And while some of the stories of the end of his life are heartbreaking—like that of the oncologist who allegedly showed up unannounced at the dying Beatles’ door and cajoled him into signing an autograph when he could barely write his name—the story of the last letter he ever wrote made me smile. According to Mike Myers, creator of Wayne’s World and the sixties spoof Austin Powers franchise, that letter arrived in his hands on the very day of Harrison’s death, delivered via private investigator as Myers and crew shot the third of the Powers films.

Harrison wrote but never mailed the short note a month before his death in November, 2001. In it, he reveals his love for Austin Powers, particularly the “Mini Me” character from The Spy Who Shagged Me (played by Verne Troyer)—a miniature clone of Powers’ nemesis Dr. Evil. In a GQ interview, Myers quotes from the letter: “…sitting here with my Dr. Evil doll…I just wanted to let you know I’ve been all over Europe for a mini-you doll.” Harrison also jokingly corrected Myers’ Liverpudlian: “Dr. Evil says frickin’ but any good Scouser dad will tell you it’s actually ‘friggin’ as in a ‘four of fish and finger pie,’ if you get my drift.”

The “Scouser dad” reference was particularly poignant for Myers, whose parents come from Liverpool. “You don’t know what The Beatles were in my house,” Myers told WENN news, “They were everything. Liverpool was poorish and it was rough and all of a sudden it was cool to come from this town, so my parents were eternally grateful.” Harrison returned the gratitude, writing “thanks for the movies, so much fun,” a sentiment Myers reacts to with “Dude, I can’t even.” And really, what could else could you say? “To get this letter,” and on the very day of Harrison’s passing no less, “was unbelievable,” said Myers, “It hits you and it can knock you off your feet.”

As for that reputation for seriousness? I don’t know about you, but from now on, when I think of the last days of George Harrison, I won’t think of his opportunistic doctor, or his turning down the OBE, or even that fateful final performance on VH1. I’ll imagine him sitting on the couch with a Dr. Evil doll, writing Mike Myers to request a Mini Me.

Related Content:

Bob Dylan and George Harrison Play Tennis, 1969

George Harrison in the Spotlight: The Dick Cavett Show (1971)

Phil Spector’s Gentle Production Notes to George Harrison During the Recording of All Things Must Pass

Here Comes The Sun: The Lost Guitar Solo by George Harrison

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

George Harrison Wrote His Last Letter to Austin Powers Creator Mike Myers, Asking for a Mini Me Doll (2001) 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 George Harrison Wrote His Last Letter to Austin Powers Creator Mike Myers, Asking for a Mini Me Doll (2001) appeared first on Open Culture.

Did the Wayback Machine Catch Russian-Backed Rebels Claiming Responsibility for Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17?

Sat, 19 Jul 2014 - 12:02 pm

If you’re a long-time reader of Open Culture, you know all about Archive.org — a non-profit that houses all kinds of fascinating textsaudiomoving images, and software. And don’t forget archived web pages. Since 1996, Archive’s “Wayback Machine” has been taking snapshots of websites, producing a historical record of this still fairly new thing called “the web.” Right now, the Wayback Machine holds 417 billion snapshots of web sites, including one page showing that “Igor Girkin, a Ukrainian separatist leader also known as Strelkov, claimed responsibility on a popular Russian social-networking site for the downing of what he thought was a Ukrainian military transport plane shortly before reports that Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 had crashed near the rebel held Ukrainian city of Donetsk.” (This quote comes from The Christian Science Monitor, which has more on the story.) Girkin’s post was captured by the Wayback Machine at 15:22:22 on July 17. By 16:56, Girkin’s post was taken offline — but not before Archive.org had its copy.

To keep tabs on this story, follow Archive’s Twitter and Facebook pages.

Did the Wayback Machine Catch Russian-Backed Rebels Claiming Responsibility for Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17? 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 Did the Wayback Machine Catch Russian-Backed Rebels Claiming Responsibility for Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17? appeared first on Open Culture.

Akira Kurosawa & Gabriel García Márquez Talk About Filmmaking (and Nuclear Bombs) in Six Hour Interview

Fri, 18 Jul 2014 - 3:30 pm

You know you’re doing something right in your life if the Nobel Prize-winning author of 100 Years of Solitude talks to you like a giddy fan boy.

Back in October 1990, Gabriel García Márquez sat down with Akira Kurosawa in Tokyo as the Japanese master director was shooting his penultimate movie Rhapsody in August - the only Kurosawa movie I can think of that features Richard Gere. The six hour interview, which was published in The Los Angeles Times in 1991, spanned a range of topics but the author’s love of the director’s movies was evident all the way through. At one point, while discussing Kurosawa’s 1965 film Red Beard, García Márquez said this: “I have seen it six times in 20 years and I talked about it to my children almost every day until they were able to see it. So not only is it the one among your films best liked by my family and me, but also one of my favorites in the whole history of cinema.”

One natural topic discussed was adapting literature to film. The history of cinema is littered with some truly dreadful adaptations and even more that are simply inert and lifeless. One of the Kurosawa’s true gifts as a filmmaker was turning the written word into a vital, memorable image. In movies like Throne of Blood and Ran, he has proved himself to be arguably the finest adapter of Shakespeare in the history of cinema.

García Márquez: Has your method also been that intuitive when you have adapted Shakespeare or Gorky or Dostoevsky?

Kurosawa: Directors who make films halfway may not realize that it is very difficult to convey literary images to the audience through cinematic images. For instance, in adapting a detective novel in which a body was found next to the railroad tracks, a young director insisted that a certain spot corresponded perfectly with the one in the book. “You are wrong,” I said. “The problem is that you have already read the novel and you know that a body was found next to the tracks. But for the people who have not read it there is nothing special about the place.” That young director was captivated by the magical power of literature without realizing that cinematic images must be expressed in a different way.

García Márquez: Can you remember any image from real life that you consider impossible to express on film?

Kurosawa: Yes. That of a mining town named Ilidachi [sic], where I worked as an assistant director when I was very young. The director had declared at first glance that the atmosphere was magnificent and strange, and that’s the reason we filmed it. But the images showed only a run-of-the-mill town, for they were missing something that was known to us: that the working conditions in (the town) are very dangerous, and that the women and children of the miners live in eternal fear for their safety. When one looks at the village one confuses the landscape with that feeling, and one perceives it as stranger than it actually is. But the camera does not see it with the same eyes.

When Kurosawa and García Márquez talked about Rhapsody in August, the mood of the interview darkened. The film is about one old woman struggling with the horrors of surviving the atomic attack on Nagasaki. When it came out, American critics bristled at the movie because it had the audacity to point out that many Japanese weren’t all that pleased with getting nuked. This is especially the case with Nagasaki. While Hiroshima had numerous factories and therefore could be considered a military target, Nagasaki had none. In fact, on August 9, 1945, the original target for the world’s second nuclear attack was the industrial town of Kita Kyushu. But that town was covered in clouds. So the pilots cast about looking for some place, any place, to bomb. That place proved to Nagasaki.

Below, Kurosawa talks passionately about the legacy of the bombing. Interestingly, García Márquez, who had often been a vociferous critic of American foreign policy, sort of defends America’s actions at the end of the war.

Kurosawa: The full death toll for Hiroshima and Nagasaki has been officially published at 230,000. But in actual fact there were over half a million dead. And even now there are still 2,700 patients at the Atomic Bomb Hospital waiting to die from the after-effects of the radiation after 45 years of agony. In other words, the atomic bomb is still killing Japanese.

García Márquez: The most rational explanation seems to be that the U.S. rushed in to end it with the bomb for fear that the Soviets would take Japan before they did.

Kurosawa: Yes, but why did they do it in a city inhabited only by civilians who had nothing to do with the war? There were military concentrations that were in fact waging war.

García Márquez: Nor did they drop it on the Imperial Palace, which must have been a very vulnerable spot in the heart of Tokyo. And I think that this is all explained by the fact that they wanted to leave the political power and the military power intact in order to carry out a speedy negotiation without having to share the booty with their allies. It’s something no other country has ever experienced in all of human history. Now then: Had Japan surrendered without the atomic bomb, would it be the same Japan it is today?

Kurosawa: It’s hard to say. The people who survived Nagasaki don’t want to remember their experience because the majority of them, in order to survive, had to abandon their parents, their children, their brothers and sisters. They still can’t stop feeling guilty. Afterwards, the U.S. forces that occupied the country for six years influenced by various means the acceleration of forgetfulness, and the Japanese government collaborated with them. I would even be willing to understand all this as part of the inevitable tragedy generated by war. But I think that, at the very least, the country that dropped the bomb should apologize to the Japanese people. Until that happens this drama will not be over.

The whole interview is fascinating. They continue to talk about historical memory, nuclear power and the difficulty of filming rose-eating ants. You can read the entire thing here. It’s well worth you time.

via Thompson on Hollywood H/T Sheerly

Related Content: 

Watch Kurosawa’s Rashomon Free Online, the Film That Introduced Japanese Cinema to the West

Andy Warhol Interviews Alfred Hitchcock (1974)

Listen to François Truffaut’s Big, 12-Hour Interview with Alfred Hitchcock (1962)

Akira Kurosawa & Francis Ford Coppola Star in Japanese Whisky Commercials (1980)

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.

Akira Kurosawa & Gabriel García Márquez Talk About Filmmaking (and Nuclear Bombs) in Six Hour Interview 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 Akira Kurosawa & Gabriel García Márquez Talk About Filmmaking (and Nuclear Bombs) in Six Hour Interview appeared first on Open Culture.

Blues Guitar Legend Johnny Winter Shines Live on Danish TV (1970)

Fri, 18 Jul 2014 - 12:23 pm

“Out of all the hopped-up Caucasians who turbocharged the blues in the late Sixties,” writes Rolling Stone, “Texas albino Johnny Winter was both the whitest and the fastest.” While brother Edgar hung a synthesizer around his neck and explored Southern rock’s outer weirdness, Johnny stuck closer to roots music, playing with blues greats like Mike Bloomfield, Junior Wells, and Muddy Waters (he produced three Grammy-winning Waters albums). Despite, or because of, his blues bona fides, Winter was always a stalwart in the rock scene. He played Woodstock, often covered Chuck Berry, Dylan, and The Rolling Stones, and released several albums with his own band.

Winter passed away Wednesday in his hotel room in Zurich at age 70. In tribute, we bring you the full performance above of Winter with his band on Danish TV in 1970. See Winter’s brilliant thumb-picking style on full display as he and the band rip through “Mama Talk to Your Daughter,” “Johnny B. Goode,” “Be Careful With a Fool,” and “Mean Town Blues.” Want to learn some Johnny Winter magic? Check out this video guitar lesson with the man himself. And just below, see a trailer for a new Winter documentary, Johnny Winter: Down and Dirty, that premiered at SXSW this past March.

Related Content:

Muddy Waters and Friends on the Blues and Gospel Train, 1964

‘Boom Boom’ and ‘Hobo Blues’: Great Performances by John Lee Hooker

Animated: Robert Johnson’s Classic Blues Tune Me and the Devil Blues

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

Blues Guitar Legend Johnny Winter Shines Live on Danish TV (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 Blues Guitar Legend Johnny Winter Shines Live on Danish TV (1970) appeared first on Open Culture.

What Goes Into Ramen Noodles, and What Happens When Ramen Noodles Go Into You

Fri, 18 Jul 2014 - 1:00 am

Here in South Korea, where I’ve stayed for about a month, I’ve noticed people eating quite a lot of instant ramen noodles. And not just out of those pre-packaged cups you pour hot water into, which we all remember from our student days. They put the stuff in everything, especially the dishes you least expect. They’ve made something of a national culinary art form of throwing instant ramen into various traditional stews and soups, thus significantly raising the status of that ultimate low-status food. But when we talk about ramen without the “instant” in front of it, it can suddenly take us straight into the realm of the gourmet: the Ivans and the Momofukus of the worlds, for instance. In the short video above, you can see what kind of highly non-instant process Sun Noodle, the supplier to those fine U.S.-based ramen houses and others, goes through to make a first-class product.

But why pay for the best when the cost of a single meal at Momofuku could buy all the instant ramen you’d ever need? Perhaps the project above from artist and TEDxManhattan video presenter Stefani Bardin will go some way to answering the question. In it, she uses a gastrointestinal camera pill to record what it looks inside our bodies when we eat “whole foods” — hibiscus Gatorade, pomegranate and cherry juice Gummi Bears, homemade chicken stock with handmade noodles — versus when we eat “processed foods” — blue Gatorade, regular Gummi Bears, and, yes, good old instant ramen. For a far more pleasant follow-up to that harrowing visual experience, revisit how to make instant ramen courtesy of Japanese animation director Hayao Miyazaki, which we featured last year. And if it gets you feeling ambitious, why not find some more challenging ramen recipes on Cookpad, the Japanese cooking site newly launched in English? Or do as the Koreans sometimes do and combine it with fish cake, eggs, and a slice of American cheese — if you can stomach it.

via Kottke

Related Content:

How to Make Instant Ramen Compliments of Japanese Animation Director Hayao Miyzaki

Cookpad, the Largest Recipe Site in Japan, Launches New Site in English

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.

What Goes Into Ramen Noodles, and What Happens When Ramen Noodles Go Into You 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 What Goes Into Ramen Noodles, and What Happens When Ramen Noodles Go Into You appeared first on Open Culture.

The Sex Pistols Do Dallas: A Strange Concert from the Strangest Tour in History (January 10, 1978)

Thu, 17 Jul 2014 - 3:01 pm

“Johnny Rotten and Sid Vicious were both punched in the face by girl fans as the Sex Pistols performed today deep in the heart of Texas.” That was the lede for the English newspaper The Evening News covering the Pistol’s concert at The Longhorn Ballroom in Dallas, TX on January 10, 1978. It proved to be one of the strangest, most contentions shows in one of the strangest, most contentious tours in rock history. You can watch it above. All 37 minutes.

By the time of the concert, the Sex Pistols were already notorious in the U.K.  They had released a single – “God Save the Queen” – that called Britain’s head of state a fascist on the date of her Silver Jubilee. The single became a huge hit in spite of – or perhaps because of – it getting banned by the BBC. They famously hurled obscenities at a chat show host on live TV.  But to be fair, host Bill Grundy literally asked for it. “You’ve got another five seconds,” he told Johnny Rotten and company. “Say something outrageous.” They did.

Though the band started out as an elaborate Situationist-inspired performance art piece dreamed up by megalomaniac manager Malcolm McLaren, they evolved beyond just being a stunt.  Their music was loud, aggressive and gleefully nihilist with lines like “And I wanna be anarchist, I get pissed, destroy!” That music and that attitude touched some deep simmering well of cultural discontent — be it lower class frustrations, dissatisfaction with consumer culture or some darker primal urge to burn everything down. Their music resonated.

For their 1978 tour of the United States, McLaren wasn’t interested in building a fan base. He was interested in pissing people off. So the tour completely bypassed seemingly obvious tour stops, like New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, in favor of places like Memphis, Tulsa and San Antonio – none of which were exactly hot beds for punk. A famous picture of the marquee of the Longhorn Balloon shows the Pistols listed alongside Merle Haggard, giving you a feel for just how weird this tour was. Prior to the concert, Sid Vicious confessed his fears to a reporter about playing in Dallas. “They killed Kennedy here and everybody has warned us that the people are crazy. I think there’s a real danger that this is the town where I am going to be blown away.” (Weird historical side note: The Longhorn Ballroom was owned for a spell by Jack Ruby, the guy who shot Lee Harvey Oswald.)

The police were also reportedly worried. The Dallas police department had a SWAT team ready just in case the show turned into a riot. It didn’t, but just barely. The audience was equally split between hardcore fans – for example, Lamar St. John, the woman who decked Sid Vicious in the nose, drove from Los Angeles to see the show – and skeptical locals who wanted to see what the fuss was all about. As one Dallas paper wrote, “most of the people last night came to see the people who came to see the Sex Pistols.”

As you can see from the video, Johnny Rotten, who spent much of the show looking like a tweaker in the throes of a demonic possession, wasted few opportunities to ridicule the audience. “I see that we have a whole section of the silent majority around there,” he sneered. As the band worked its way through the set list, culminating in a blistering rendition of “Anarchy in the U.K.,” the audience hurled beer cans, tomatoes, garbage and the occasional punch at the stage. It’s not clear if the people who were doing the throwing were fans or irate cowboys. Such is the world of punk. Sid Vicious, the band’s outrageous if utterly untalented bassist, jumped around on stage and occasionally contributed some atonal backing vocals. After the punch, he let his nose bleed and soon he was covered in blood. “The bass player rubbed blood over his face and chest,” wrote the Evening News, “so that he looked like a demented cannibal.”

“Sid was really fucked up. Really drunk,” recalled writer Nick Barbaro. “He played for a while without his guitar plugged in. He played for a while with a fish. I think somebody threw it up there, a bass or something. People seemed pissed at him. He’d spit on the audience; they’d spit on him. That’s what you did. There was this element of, ‘You paid to see us play?’”

Four days later, the band broke up. “This is no fun. No fun at all. Ever feel like you’ve been cheated?” Rotten wearily said on stage in San Francisco, the Sex Pistol’s final concert, before walking off stage and quitting the band. Vicious was dead a year later from a heroin overdose.

Related Content:

Sex Pistols Frontman Johnny Rotten Weighs In On Lady Gaga, Paul McCartney, Madonna & Katy Perry

Johnny Rotten’s Cordial Letter to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: Next to the Sex Pistols, You’re ‘a Piss Stain’

Malcolm McLaren: The Quest for Authentic Creativity

The History of Punk Rock

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.

The Sex Pistols Do Dallas: A Strange Concert from the Strangest Tour in History (January 10, 1978) 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 Sex Pistols Do Dallas: A Strange Concert from the Strangest Tour in History (January 10, 1978) appeared first on Open Culture.

Charles Bukowski Rails Against 9-to-5 Jobs in a Brutally Honest Letter (1986)

Thu, 17 Jul 2014 - 2:45 pm

Charles Bukowski—or “Hank” to his friends—assiduously cultivated a literary persona as a perennial drunken deadbeat. He mostly lived it too, but for a few odd jobs and a period of time, just over a decade, that he spent working for the United States Post Office, beginning in the early fifties as a fill-in letter carrier, then later for over a decade as a filing clerk. He found the work mind-numbing, soul-crushing, and any number of other adjectives one uses to describe repetitive and deeply unfulfilling labor. Actually, one needn’t supply a description—Bukowski has splendidly done so for us, both in his fiction and in the epistle below unearthed by Letters of Note.

In Bukowski’s first novel Post Office (1971), the writer of lowlife comedy and pathos builds in plenty of wish-fulfillment for his literary alter ego Henry Chinaski. Kyle Ryan at The Onion’s A.V. Club sums it up succinctly: “In Bukowski’s world, Chinaski is practically irresistible to women, despite his alcoholism, misogyny, and general crankiness.” In reality, to say that Bukowski found little solace in his work would be a gross understatement. But unlike most of his equally miserable co-workers, Bukowski got to retire early, at age 49, when, in 1969, Black Sparrow Press publisher John Martin offered him $100 a month for life on the condition that he quit his job and write full time.

Needless to say, he was thrilled, so much so that he penned the letter below fifteen years later, expressing his gratitude to Martin and describing, with characteristic brutal honesty, the life of the average wage slave. And though comparisons to slavery usually come as close to the level of absurd exaggeration as comparisons to Nazism, Bukowski’s portrait of the 9 to 5 life makes a very convincing case for what we might call the thesis of his letter: “Slavery was never abolished, it was only extended to include all the colors.”

After reading his letter below, you may feel a great deal more sympathy, if you did not already, with Bukowski’s life choices. You may find yourself, in fact, re-evaluating your own.

8-12-86

Hello John:

Thanks for the good letter. I don’t think it hurts, sometimes, to remember where you came from. You know the places where I came from. Even the people who try to write about that or make films about it, they don’t get it right. They call it “9 to 5.” It’s never 9 to 5, there’s no free lunch break at those places, in fact, at many of them in order to keep your job you don’t take lunch. Then there’s OVERTIME and the books never seem to get the overtime right and if you complain about that, there’s another sucker to take your place.

You know my old saying, “Slavery was never abolished, it was only extended to include all the colors.”

And what hurts is the steadily diminishing humanity of those fighting to hold jobs they don’t want but fear the alternative worse. People simply empty out. They are bodies with fearful and obedient minds. The color leaves the eye. The voice becomes ugly. And the body. The hair. The fingernails. The shoes. Everything does.

As a young man I could not believe that people could give their lives over to those conditions. As an old man, I still can’t believe it. What do they do it for? Sex? TV? An automobile on monthly payments? Or children? Children who are just going to do the same things that they did?

Early on, when I was quite young and going from job to job I was foolish enough to sometimes speak to my fellow workers: “Hey, the boss can come in here at any moment and lay all of us off, just like that, don’t you realize that?”

They would just look at me. I was posing something that they didn’t want to enter their minds.

Now in industry, there are vast layoffs (steel mills dead, technical changes in other factors of the work place). They are layed off by the hundreds of thousands and their faces are stunned:

“I put in 35 years…”

“It ain’t right…”

“I don’t know what to do…”

They never pay the slaves enough so they can get free, just enough so they can stay alive and come back to work. I could see all this. Why couldn’t they? I figured the park bench was just as good or being a barfly was just as good. Why not get there first before they put me there? Why wait?

I just wrote in disgust against it all, it was a relief to get the shit out of my system. And now that I’m here, a so-called professional writer, after giving the first 50 years away, I’ve found out that there are other disgusts beyond the system.

I remember once, working as a packer in this lighting fixture company, one of the packers suddenly said: “I’ll never be free!”

One of the bosses was walking by (his name was Morrie) and he let out this delicious cackle of a laugh, enjoying the fact that this fellow was trapped for life.

So, the luck I finally had in getting out of those places, no matter how long it took, has given me a kind of joy, the jolly joy of the miracle. I now write from an old mind and an old body, long beyond the time when most men would ever think of continuing such a thing, but since I started so late I owe it to myself to continue, and when the words begin to falter and I must be helped up stairways and I can no longer tell a bluebird from a paperclip, I still feel that something in me is going to remember (no matter how far I’m gone) how I’ve come through the murder and the mess and the moil, to at least a generous way to die.

To not to have entirely wasted one’s life seems to be a worthy accomplishment, if only for myself.

yr boy,

Hank

via Flavorwire

Related Content:

Charles Bukowski: Depression and Three Days in Bed Can Restore Your Creative Juices (NSFW)

“Don’t Try”: Charles Bukowski’s Concise Philosophy of Art and Life

The Last (Faxed) Poem of Charles Bukowski

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

Charles Bukowski Rails Against 9-to-5 Jobs in a Brutally Honest Letter (1986) 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 Charles Bukowski Rails Against 9-to-5 Jobs in a Brutally Honest Letter (1986) appeared first on Open Culture.