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Updated: 41 min 20 sec ago

The Fall of the House of Usher: Poe’s Classic Tale Turned Into 1928 Avant Garde Film, Scripted by e.e. cummings

8 hours 1 min ago
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_9wYh6OLCy4

Last week, in deference to the approach of Halloween, we featured the complete works of Edgar Allan Poe as Free eBooks and Free Audio Books. If you give them a read, a listen, or both, you’ll discover that few creators, using nothing more than the written word, can disturb quite so effectively as Poe. But his written words have also provided inspiration to frightening works in other media, including the previously featured 1953 British animation of “The Tell-Tale Heart” and, today, the short-film version of “The Fall of the House of Usher.” That 1839 story perhaps most perfectly (and most viscerally) realizes such pet themes of Poe’s as illness, dread, and live burial, and as such has served as material to a great many filmmakers as defiantly lowbrow as Roger Corman and as uncompromisingly idiosyncratic as Jan Švankmajer. But here we offer you one of the most interesting cinematic “Usher”s ever made: James Sibley Watson and Melville Webber’s 13-minute avant-garde adaptation, scripted in part by poet e.e. cummings.

“Despite their importance as leading figures in the film world,” writes Tara Travisano, “Watson and Webber’s work is often overlooked and not given sufficient credit.” Though they got their shooting script from the modernist-influenced cummings, the filmmakers, “not fans of modernism,” “preferred to have their films described as amateur.” Their Fall of the House of Usher, the best-known work they ever produced, “hardly follows a narrative, but is valued for its creative use of repetition and variation and for the film’s dramatic lighting.” And don’t worry if you haven’t read the original story in a while; according to Travisano, Watson and Webber chose to film it because they themselves hadn’t read it in a while, and thus “would be free of its influence.” But after experiencing the brief but unsettling cinematic dream they managed to make out of this half-remembered Poean material, you may want to seek out its influence by going back and reading it again — or listening to it, or trying to sleep and re-dream it for yourself.

You can find Fall of the House of Usher in our collection, 200 Free Documentaries Online.

Related Content:

Download The Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe: Macabre Stories as Free eBooks & Audio Books

Watch the 1953 Animation of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart,” Narrated by James Mason

James Earl Jones Reads Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven” and Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself”

Christopher Walken, Iggy Pop, Debbie Harry & Other Celebs Read Tales by Edgar Allan Poe

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

The Fall of the House of Usher: Poe’s Classic Tale Turned Into 1928 Avant Garde Film, Scripted by e.e. cummings 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 Fall of the House of Usher: Poe’s Classic Tale Turned Into 1928 Avant Garde Film, Scripted by e.e. cummings appeared first on Open Culture.

David Lynch’s Photographs of Old Factories

11 hours 52 sec ago

David Lynch’s break out movie, Eraserhead, is the sort of movie that will seep into your unconscious and stay with you for days or weeks – like a particularly unnerving nightmare. Shot in inky black and white, the film achieves its uncanny power in part because of its setting — a rotting industrial moonscape bereft of nature. Much of the film’s soundtrack is filled with the clanking of distant machines and the hissing of steam escaping pipes.

Lynch’s obsession with the remnants of the industrial revolution have punctuated much of his work since — from the grimy, claustrophobic Victorian streets in The Elephant Man to the opening titles of Twin Peaks to his 1990 avant-garde multimedia extravaganza Industrial Symphony No. 1.

“Well…if you said to me, ‘Okay, we’re either going down to Disneyland or we’re going to see this abandoned factory,’ there would be no choice,” said Lynch once in an interview. “I’d be down there at the factory. I don’t really know why. It just seems like such a great place to set a story.”

Earlier this year, Lynch exhibited at a London gallery a series of photographs he shot of, yes, rotting factories around New York, England and particularly Poland. The subjects of the photos are pretty mundane – a door, a window, a wall – but he imbues them with this odd tone of foreboding and menace. In other words, Lynch makes them seem Lynchian.

“It’s an incredible mood,” Lynch told Dazed Magazine. “I feel like I’m in a place that’s just magical, where nature is reclaiming these derelict factories. It’s very dreamy. Every place you turn, there’s something so sensational and surprising – it’s the Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour. All the cities are looking more and more the same. The real treasures are going away; the mood they create is going away.”

See more photos below and, if you’re so inclined, you can buy the book to the exhibit here.

A door in Lodz, Poland

A window and a real estate opportunity in Lodz

A factory. Lodz, Poland.

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Stanley Kubrick’s Jazz Photography and The Film He Almost Made About Jazz Under Nazi Rule

Young Stanley Kubrick’s Noirish Pictures of Chicago, 1949

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 vice presidents with octopuses on their heads.  The Veeptopus store is here.

 

David Lynch’s Photographs of Old Factories is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don't miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooksFree Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.

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A Quick Introduction to Literary Theory: Watch Animated Videos from the Open University

14 hours 30 min ago
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ahmv9vqPASg

Just what is an author? It might seem like a silly question, and an academic dissection of the term may seem like a needlessly pedantic exercise. But the very variability of the concept means it isn’t a stable, fixed idea at all, but a shifting set of associations we have with notions about creativity, the social role of art, and that elusive quality known as “genius.” Questions raised in the Open University video above—part of a series of very short animated entrées into literary criticism called “Outside the Book”—make it hard to ignore the problems we encounter when we try to define authorship in simple, straightforward ways. Most of the questions relate to the work of French poststructuralist Michel Foucault, whose critical essay “What is an Author?”—along with structuralist thinker Roland Barthes’ “The Death of the Author”—disturbed many a literary critic’s comfortable assumptions about the creative locus behind any given work.

In the 18th century, at least in Europe, the author was a highly celebrated cultural figure, a status epitomized by Samuel Johnson’s reverential biography of John Dryden and edition of Shakespeare—and in turn Johnson’s own biography by his amanuensis Boswell. The 19th century began to see the author as a celebrity, with the hype and sometimes tawdry speculation that accompanies that designation. In the mid-twentieth century, even as the idea of the film director as auteur—a singular creative genius—gained ascendance, the inflated role of the literary author came in for a bruising. With Foucault, Barthes, and others like W.K. Wimsatt and Monroe Beardsley—whose essay “The Intentional Fallacy” more or less ruled out biography as a tool of the critic—the author receded and the “text” gained primacy as, in Foucault’s words, a “discursive unit.”

This means that questions of authorship became inseparable from questions of readership, interpretation, and influence; from questions of historical classification and social construction (i.e. how do we know anything about “Byron” except through biographies, documentaries, etc., themselves cultural productions?); from questions of translation, pseudepigraphy, and pen names. Put in much plainer terms, we once came to think of the author not simply as the writer—a role previously delegated to lowly, usually anonymous “scribes” who simply copied the words of gods, heroes, and prophets. Instead, the author became a god, a hero, and a prophet, a godlike creator with a “literary stamp of approval” that grants his or her every utterance on the page a special status; “that makes even the note on Shakespeare’s fridge a work of profound genius.” But that idea is anything but simple, and the critical discussion around it anything but trivial.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sn3cIK0M7QY

Ditto much of the above when it comes to that other seemingly indivisible unit of literature, the book. In the even shorter video guide above, Open University rapidly challenges our commonplace ideas about book-hood and raises the now-commonplace question about the future of this “reading gizmo.” For more “Outside the Book,” see the remaining videos in the series: “Comedy,” “Tragedy,” and “Two Styles of Love.” And for a much more sustained and serious study of the art of literary criticism, delve into Professor Paul Fry’s Yale course below. It’s part of Open Culture’s collection, 1000 Free Online Courses from Top Universities.

Introduction to Theory of Literature – Free Online Video – Free iTunes Audio – Free iTunes Video – Course Materials – Paul H. Fry, Yale

h/t Catherine

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

A Quick Introduction to Literary Theory: Watch Animated Videos from the Open University 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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Behold the Blistering Bass Solos of Cream Bassist and Singer, Jack Bruce (1943-2014)

18 hours 31 min ago
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U0cTwy_p8fU

I’ve written before that every band Eric Clapton’s been involved with could rightfully be called a supergroup. But for my money, there’s only one worthy of the name, and that’s Cream. Since forming a deep attachment to the psychedelic power trio from a young age, I’ve found it especially irksome to see them sometimes billed as “Eric Clapton and Cream.” Drummer Ginger Baker and bassist/singer Jack Bruce are at least as—if not more—talented and interesting as musicians. But though Baker has long been celebrated, though mostly from a safe distance, Bruce, in my opinion, is almost criminally underrated. That may change as tributes and reappraisals pour in after his passing of liver disease this past Saturday at age 71.

We’re likely to hear more Cream than usual, at least, which is never a bad thing. What you may not hear casually is Bruce’s playing in his later years. Like many rock stars of his era, including his Cream bandmates, he never really stopped. But unlike some musicians from the 60s, he only got better with age, adapting his jazz and blues chops to modern takes on the psych rock he helped invent. Not a flashy player, Bruce’s style is characterized by emotive power and a near perfect synthesis of the rhythmic and the melodic. Key to his style is the walking bassline like that on “White Room,” from Cream’s third record, 1968’s double album Wheels of Fire. He plays ‘em literally walking around, or rather strutting. In the video above, see Bruce pull out an amazing solo during a performance of “White Room” at an event called Hippie Fest in 2008.

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

The festival also featured legends Eric Burdon and the Animals and the Turtles but I can only imagine Bruce left the strongest impression on audience members who’d seen him in his prime and those who hadn’t. Watch him rip through another intense solo above in “Sunshine of Your Love,” followed by a blues number recorded earlier in the day at the same concert. Although most of Cream’s lyrics were written by poet and “unofficial fourth member” Pete Brown, the music was mostly Bruce. His range of influences was wide, and his willingness to follow them wherever they led, adventurous. David Fricke at Rolling Stone has a playlist of Bruce’s top ten “Deep Tracks,” including one from early 60s outfit The Graham Bond Organization—which also featured Ginger Baker and virtuoso jazz guitarist John McLaughlin—and several of Bruce’s solo tunes. “If you only know Cream,” writes Fricke in appreciation of Bruce’s versatility,” then stray far, every way you can—as he did.” It’s good advice.

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

Behold the Blistering Bass Solos of Cream Bassist and Singer, Jack Bruce (1943-2014) 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 Behold the Blistering Bass Solos of Cream Bassist and Singer, Jack Bruce (1943-2014) appeared first on Open Culture.

David Bowie and Lou Reed Perform Live Together for the First and Last Time: 1972 and 1997

Mon, 27 Oct 2014 - 7:00 pm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tbxp1hC8vts

I discovered one of my favorite pieces of rock ‘n’ roll memorabilia—a full page ad for the 1983 album from David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust concert film—at a flea market. It’s a nice little piece of history, but a little bit misleading to consumers at the time, since it says, “featuring the single ‘White Light/White Heat.’” As everyone knows, “White Light/White Heat” is not a Bowie single, but a Lou Reed song, one of his many odes to heroin as lead singer of the Velvet Underground. But whatever the admen had in mind in promoting this track over Bowie’s many original hits, the star himself has never been shy about acknowledging his debts. When it comes to Ziggy, “the songwriter who most influenced” the glam rock alien is certainly Reed, as Bowie himself says in this 1977 interview.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N8QNM2sXeHY

Today, on the one-year anniversary of Reed’s death, we revisit their creative and personal relationship, a mutual admiration that spanned more than four decades. Not only did Bowie cover Reed’s songs and produce his 1972 solo album Transformer, but he wrote 1971’s “Queen Bitch” as a tribute to Reed and the Velvets. In 1997, Bowie and Reed took the stage together to perform the song. The occasion was Bowie’s 50th birthday celebration at Madison Square Garden, and the all-star lineup that night included Frank Black, Dave Grohl, Sonic Youth, Robert Smith, and Billy Corgan (see the full setlist here). But Reed’s appearance was the most exciting, and in hindsight, most poignant. At the top of the post, see the two old friends play “Queen Bitch,” just above, they do “White Light/White Heat,” and below, Reed’s classic “Waiting for the Man” (they also played Reed’s 1989 “Dirty Boulevard” together).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8DCSOS7AuZc

At the time, Bowie was at “somewhat of a low point” in his career, writes Rolling Stone, though poised for a comeback with the upcoming single (and Trent Reznor-starring video) “I’m Afraid of Americans,” which he played with Sonic Youth that night. But the first time he and Reed shared the stage, in 1972, Bowie was riding high in all his Ziggy Stardust glory and regularly covering Velvet Underground songs on tour. That year, he brought Reed on stage in London for his “very, very first appearance on any stage in England.” Hear them do “White Light/White Heat” in somewhat muffled live audio below. They also played “Waiting for the Man” and “Sweet Jane” together, which you can hear at the bottom of the post.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ik-D-gU60-E

While Bowie seems to have taken every opportunity to lavish praise on his idol, Reed was a bit more understated, though no less sincere, in his appreciation. In 2004, he told Rolling Stone, “We’re still friends after all these years. We go to the occasional art show and museum together, and I always like working with him […] I saw him play here in New York on his last tour, and it was one of the greatest rock shows I’ve ever seen. At least as far as white people go. Seriously.” Seriously, Lou Reed, you are sorely missed.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_2p9Er-3rDA

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

David Bowie and Lou Reed Perform Live Together for the First and Last Time: 1972 and 1997 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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Edward Snowden Explains Why He Blew the Whistle on the NSA in Video Interview with Lawrence Lessig

Mon, 27 Oct 2014 - 3:34 pm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_Sr96TFQQE

Most likely everything you know about Edward Snowden’s unmasking of government surveillance programs has come through an indirect source — meaning, you haven’t had the chance to learn about Snowden’s motivations, thought processes, goals, etc. from Snowden himself. Here’s a chance to change that.

In the video interview recorded on October 20th at Harvard Law School, Lawrence Lessig spent an hour talking with Snowden on a Google Hangout. Lessig, a law professor with dual interests in keeping information open and limiting government corruption, was a natural choice to conduct the interview. However, I wouldn’t say that he gives Snowden a soft interview. He asks some good questions, which gives Snowden the chance to spell out his thinking — to explain the problem he observed while working in the NSA and how he went about addressing it.

One thing that comes across is that Snowden has thought things through. Snowden might not have the credentials of the Harvard Law students in the audience — he got a GED and took a few community college courses, after all — but you get the sense that he could teach a pretty good Introduction to American Government course, if not a thought-provoking seminar on constitutional law. Regardless of what position you take on Snowden, it’s worth watching this interview before you declare final judgement.

via BoingBoing

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Edward Snowden Explains Why He Blew the Whistle on the NSA in Video Interview with Lawrence Lessig 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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On the Importance of the Creative Brief: Frank Gehry, Maira Kalman & Others Explain its Essential Role

Mon, 27 Oct 2014 - 11:38 am

Every project starts with a brief. 

From the layman’s perspective, the project above starts with a bit of self-mythologizing.

Bassett & Partners, the “award-winning, disruptive brand and design strategy firm” and maker of the video above, seems not to subscribe to TED-Ed’s practice of educating viewers from the get-go.

A couple of minutes in, I hit pause in order to do a little research on the word “brief.”

I’m familiar with male underpants (though technically those are plural, even if the garment is singular).

I have the average moviegoers handle on the meaning of legal briefs.

And now I know what the noted architects, illustrator, designer, and ad execs are talking about above! If only they’d referred to it as an elevator pitch, I’d have been on board from the start. Of course, why would they? Only those of us who want to sound all Hollywood call it that.

Whatever you call it, it’s a concise statement that gets right to the heart of what you—or your project—are about. No history. No campaign plans or citations. Just a whole lot of passion and truth tightly packed into a small vessel.

Architect David Rockwell defines a brief as a short-form communication tool from a client.

Art Director John Jay says its purpose is to inspire the creatives…

…without (as per ad exec John Boiler) dictating creative terms. Of all the interviewees, the trucker hatted Boiler exudes the schmooziest, most off-putting Hollywood vibe. I’d rather do lunch with Frank Gehry. Does this make me guilty of comparing apples to oranges, when director (and “disruptive brand and design” strategist) Tom Bassett leveled the playing field by giving them equal time?

Perhaps if Boiler had humbled himself by sharing an experience as heartbreaking as Gehry’s ill-fated Eisenhower Memorial. (Skip ahead to the 16:16 mark if you want to hear how outside opinion can pound context, research, poetry, and many months of thoughtful work to a heap of rubble.)

I love Maira Kalman, but remain unclear as to whether she’s fielding or submitting briefs. If the latter, how do those differ from book proposals?

What if the emotion, creativity, and enthusiastic research that went into Nike’s 1996 Olympics ads resulted in an equally fierce campaign to end hunger in a country with no Olympic teams?

What if the client’s problem was cancer? Could the brief demand a cure? That sounds simple.

Let us acknowledge that most grand scale visions require a fleet of underlings to come to fruition. I wonder what plumbers and electricians would make of seeing their contributions described in such poetic terms.  Never underestimate the power of a soundtrack.

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

 

On the Importance of the Creative Brief: Frank Gehry, Maira Kalman & Others Explain its Essential Role 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 On the Importance of the Creative Brief: Frank Gehry, Maira Kalman & Others Explain its Essential Role appeared first on Open Culture.

Yoga in an X-Ray Machine

Mon, 27 Oct 2014 - 5:00 am
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wCu14zMZ_1Y

Courtesy of Hybrid Medical Animations comes a high-tech “visual study/exploration of the body in motion.” The goal of the animation was to create a realistic representation of x-rays, while also capturing the beauty of various yoga poses. Looks like they hit the mark on both accounts.

In creating this 3D animation, no x-rays were actually used. No one was exposed to radiation in any way, shape or form. It’s all just animation — sophisticated animation that somehow manages to show “proper bone densities and represent actual bone marrow inside each individual bone.” If you practice yoga, you’ll certainly recognize some of the poses in the clip.

via Twisted Sifter

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Yoga in an X-Ray Machine 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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Stephen Colbert Reads Ray Bradbury Classic Sci-Fi Story “The Veldt”

Mon, 27 Oct 2014 - 1:00 am

I rarely think back to memories from that busywork-intensive containment unit known as American elementary school, but when I do, I usually arrive at listening to a Ray Bradbury story — something about a faraway planet, something about monsoons, I can never remember which one — during read-aloud time. Even then, on some level, I understood that the author of Fahrenheit 451 and The Martian Chronicles (not that I yet had any idea at the time about books like Fahrenheit 451 and The Martian Chronicles) wrote with the human voice in mind. Not necessarily the momentarily defamiliarized voice of a teacher reading to a post-lunch classroom of ten-year-olds, and not necessarily the flawlessly pronouncing and pausing, many-takes-recorded-per-sentence voice of the professional audiobook narrator (though Bradbury’s work did provide material for a few proto-audiobooks), but, perhaps, the voice of the mind. Of all Bradbury’s tales we love to read aloud, few seem quite so effective in this way as “The Veldt.

The story first appeared, according to the web site of public radio station WNYC, in a 1950 Saturday Evening Post “with the title ‘The World the Children Made,’ which is a good description of what goes on in this eerie tale.  It imagines the ‘model home’ of the future, including a programmable nursery that becomes the site of a power struggle. [Fellow speculative writer Neil] Gaiman says that Bradbury’s tale raises complex questions: ‘Are our children our own?,’ and ‘What does technology do to them?'” Public Radio International commissioned no less a speaker than Colbert Report and future Late Show host Stephen Colbert — a satirist highly attuned to the ironies inherent in mankind’s visions of its own future — to read it for their “Selected Shorts” series, and you can hear the whole thing on the Youtube playlist at the top of the post. Given how much progress our pursuit of total automation and virtual stimulation (and our parallel desire to escape those conditions) has made in the past 64 years, “The Veldt” has grown only more relevant. Pair it with “There Will Come Soft Rains,” Bradbury’s other famously read-aloudable story of the home of the 1950 future, for a richly funny and troubling double-feature of the mind.

For another sonic angle on the material, see also our previously-featured radio adaptations of “There Will Come Soft Rains” on Dimenson X and “The Veldt” on X Minus One — or you can hear Leonard Nimoy read both of them in the 1970s.)

And, finally, we observed that Tim Robbins has narrated a new audio version of Fahrenheit 451. It’s available on Audible.com. Here’s how you can get it for free with Audible’s 30-day free trial. Get more details on that here.

Some of the readings listed above appear in our collection, 550 Free Audio Books: Download Great Books for Free.

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

Stephen Colbert Reads Ray Bradbury Classic Sci-Fi Story “The Veldt” 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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Stephen Hawking Starts Posting on Facebook: Join His Quest to Explain What Makes the Universe Exist

Sun, 26 Oct 2014 - 2:34 pm

I have no idea whether there’s intelligent life out there in the universe. But we can at least confirm that there’s a little intelligent life on Facebook, seeing that Stephen Hawking, the world’s best known theoretical physicist, began posting there yesterday. His first status update reads:

I have always wondered what makes the universe exist. Time and space may forever be a mystery, but that has not stopped my pursuit. Our connections to one another have grown infinitely and now that I have the chance, I’m eager to share this journey with you. Be curious, I know I will forever be.

Welcome, and thank you for visiting my Facebook Page. -SH

Join his official Facebook page here. And find/like the official Open Culture page here, where we make it easy to share our daily cultural posts with your family and friends.

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Stephen Hawking Starts Posting on Facebook: Join His Quest to Explain What Makes the Universe Exist 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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Get the New 7-Minute Workout on Your Mobile Device: A Free App from The New York Times

Sun, 26 Oct 2014 - 11:35 am

The New York Times writes: “Ever since [we] published the Scientific 7-Minute Workout in May last year, readers have been writing and tweeting their requests for an updated, more advanced version. For them, the workout became too easy or humdrum, as tends to happen when exercises are repeated without variation. So here it is: a new, more technically demanding regimen, one that requires a couple of dumbbells but still takes only seven minutes.”

According to the Times, these short, intense, efficient workouts strengthen muscle groups throughout the upper body, lower body and torso. And they may well “produce greater gains than an hour or more of gentler exercise.” So if you don’t have a lot of free time….

The Times has notably made the workout available as a free web app that you can access on your phone, tablet or other mobile devices. The app “offers a step-by-step guide to both 7-minute workouts [the old and new ones], offering animated illustrations of the exercises, as well as a timer and audio cues to help you get the most out of your seven minutes.” Click here to access it.

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Get the New 7-Minute Workout on Your Mobile Device: A Free App from The New York Times 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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Young Stanley Kubrick’s Noirish Pictures of Chicago, 1949

Sat, 25 Oct 2014 - 10:30 am

When Stanley Kubrick was a mere high school student in April 1945, just after FDR died, he snapped a picture of a news vendor framed on either side by posters announcing the president’s death. He was so excited by the picture that he skipped school to develop it and then marched right into the office of Look magazine. Photo editor Helen O’Brian offered to buy the photo for $25. Displaying his trademark cockiness, Kubrick told her that he wanted to see what price he could get from The New York Daily News. They only offered $10, so Kubrick went with Look. Within a few months, at the age of 17, Kubrick became a staff photographer for the publication.

Below you can see some photographs that Kubrick took in 1949 while on assignment in Chicago. Using the same noirish high-contrast, low-light look that marked his first three movies, he documented all different strata of society from floor traders, to lingerie models, to meat packers to impoverished African-American families. Click  on the images to view them in a larger format. Find a more extensive gallery of images here.

Men working the floor at the Chicago Board of Trade

Lingerie model, wearing a girdle and strapless bra, smoking in an office; in the background a woman sits at a desk

Butcher holding slab of beef in a meat locker

African American mother and her four children in their tenement apartment

Overhead view of the “L” elevated railway

via Mashable

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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 vice presidents with octopuses on their heads.  The Veeptopus store is here.

Young Stanley Kubrick’s Noirish Pictures of Chicago, 1949 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 Beowulf Read In the Original Old English: How Many Words Do You Recognize?

Fri, 24 Oct 2014 - 7:00 am


I was as surprised as most people are when I first heard the ancient language known as Old English. It’s nothing like Shakespeare, nor even Chaucer, who wrote in a late Middle English that sounds strange enough to modern ears. Old English, the English of Beowulf, is almost a foreign tongue; close kin to German, with Latin, Norse, and Celtic influence.

As you can hear in the Beowulf reading above from The Telegraph, it’s a thick, consonant-rich language that may put you in mind of J.R.R. Tolkien’s elvish. The language arrived in Briton—previously inhabited by Celtic speakers—sometime in the fifth century, though whether the Anglo-Saxon invasion was a hostile takeover by Germanic mercenaries or a slow population drift that introduced a new ethnicity is a matter of some dispute. Nevertheless it’s obvious from the reading above—and from texts in the language like this online edition of Beowulf in its original tongue—that we would no more be able to speak to the Anglo-Saxons than we would to the Picts and Scots they conquered.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_K13GJkGvDw

So how is it that both the language we speak and its distant ancestor can both be called “English”? Well, that is what its speakers called it. As the author of this excellent Old English introductory textbook writes, speakers of “Old English,” “Middle English,” and “Modern English” are “themselves modern”; They “would have said, if asked, that the language they spoke was English.” The changes in the language “took place gradually, over the centuries, and there never was a time when people perceived their language as having broken radically with the language spoken a generation before.” And while “relatively few Modern English words come from Old English […] the words that do survive are some of the most common in the language, including almost all the ‘grammar words’ (articles, pronouns, prepositions) and a great many words for everyday concepts.” You may notice a few of those distant linguistic ancestors in the Beowulf passage accompanying the reading above.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y13cES7MMd8

Beowulf is, of course, the oldest epic poem in English, written sometime between the 8th and early 11th century. It draws, however, not from British sources but from Danish myth, and is in fact set in Scandinavia. The title character, a hero of the Geats—or ancient Swedes—travels to Denmark to offer his services to the king and defeat the monster Grendel (and his mother). The product of a warrior culture, the poem shares much in common with the epics of Homer with its code of honor and praise of fighting prowess. Just above, see vocalist, harpist, and medieval scholar Benjamin Bagby perform the opening lines of the poem as its contemporary audience would have experienced it—intoned by a bard with an Anglo-Saxon harp. The modern English subtitles are a boon, but close your eyes for a moment and just listen to the speech—see if you can pick out any words you recognize. Then, perhaps, you may wish to turn to Fordham University’s online translation and find out what all that big talk in the prologue is about.

And for a very short course on the history of English, see this concise page and this ten-minute animated video from Open University.

The image above comes from the sole surviving medieval manuscript of Beowulf, which now resides at the British Library.

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What Shakespeare Sounded Like to Shakespeare: Reconstructing the Bard’s Original Pronunciation

Hear The Epic of Gilgamesh Read in the Original Akkadian, the Language of Mesopotamia

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

Hear Beowulf Read In the Original Old English: How Many Words Do You Recognize? 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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Isaac Asimov Explains the Origins of Good Ideas & Creativity in Never-Before-Published Essay

Fri, 24 Oct 2014 - 3:00 am

Where do ideas come from? The question has always had the potential to plague anyone trying to do anything worthwhile at any time in human history. But Isaac Asimov, the massively prolific and even more massively influential writer of science fiction and science fact, had an answer. He even, in one 1959 essay, laid out a method, though we, the general public, haven’t had the chance to read it until now. The MIT Technology Review has just published his essay on creativity in full, while providing a few contextualizing remarks from the author’s friend Arthur Obermayer, a scientist who invited Asimov on board an “out of the box” missile-defense research project at an MIT spinoff called Allied Research Associates.

“He expressed his willingness and came to a few meetings,” remembers Obermayer, but “he eventually decided not to continue, because he did not want to have access to any secret classified information; it would limit his freedom of expression. Before he left, however, he wrote this essay on creativity as his single formal input.” When Obermayer found it among his old files, he “recognized that its contents are as broadly relevant today as when [Asimov] wrote it” in 1959, describing as they do “not only the creative process and the nature of creative people but also the kind of environment that promotes creativity.” Whether you write sci-fi novels or do military research, make a web series, or work on curing Ebola, you can put Asimov’s methods to use.

Asimov first investigates the origin of ideas by looking to The Origin of Species. Or rather, he looks to what you find within it, “the theory of evolution by natural selection, independently created by Charles Darwin and Alfred Wallace,” two men who “both traveled to far places, observing strange species of plants and animals and the manner in which they varied from place to place,” both “keenly interested in finding an explanation for this,” and both of whom “failed until each happened to read Malthus’s ‘Essay on Population.'” He finds that “what is needed is not only people with a good background in a particular field, but also people capable of making a connection between item 1 and item 2 which might not ordinarily seem connected.” Evolutionary theory seems obvious only in retrospect, he continues, as

The history of human thought would make it seem that there is difficulty in thinking of an idea even when all the facts are on the table. Making the cross-connection requires a certain daring. It must, for any cross-connection that does not require daring is performed at once by many and develops not as a “new idea,” but as a mere “corollary of an old idea.”

It is only afterward that a new idea seems reasonable. To begin with, it usually seems unreasonable. It seems the height of unreason to suppose the earth was round instead of flat, or that it moved instead of the sun, or that objects required a force to stop them when in motion, instead of a force to keep them moving, and so on.

A person willing to fly in the face of reason, authority, and common sense must be a person of considerable self-assurance. Since he occurs only rarely, he must seem eccentric (in at least that respect) to the rest of us. A person eccentric in one respect is often eccentric in others.

Consequently, the person who is most likely to get new ideas is a person of good background in the field of interest and one who is unconventional in his habits. (To be a crackpot is not, however, enough in itself.)

Once you have the people you want, the next question is: Do you want to bring them together so that they may discuss the problem mutually, or should you inform each of the problem and allow them to work in isolation?

The essay puts forth an argument for isolation (“Creation is embarrassing. For every new good idea you have, there are a hundred, ten thousand foolish ones, which you naturally do not care to display”) and a set of best practices for group idea generation, as implementable in the Allied Research Associates of the 1950s as in any organization today. If you can’t trust Asimov on this subject, I don’t know who you can trust, but consider supplementing this newfound essay with Ze Frank’s thematically related video “Brain Crack” (linguistically NSFW, though you can watch the PG version instead), which deals, in an entirely different sensibility, with the question of where ideas come from:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0sHCQWjTrJ8

via io9

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

Isaac Asimov Explains the Origins of Good Ideas & Creativity in Never-Before-Published Essay 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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Louis CK Crashes Zach Galifianakis & Brad Pitt’s Very Awkward Interview

Thu, 23 Oct 2014 - 11:41 pm

Apparently, the bad part about scoring an interview with the President is it kind of makes you blasé for sitting down with anybody else. Not that Zach Galifianakis of Between Two Ferns deserved his tete-a-tete with Obama, or for that matter Bart Pit … Bradley Pitts … Brad Pitt, star of 2013’s 12 Years a Salve (sic).

(The Onion’s fictional “Outside Scoop” entertainment columnist, Jackie Harvey, has nothing on the almost-as-fictional Galifianakis when it comes to murdering names)

Yes, this interviewer is petty, combative, and utterly lacking in grace, but his interviewee, the celebrity who turns stone-faced and sullen almost immediately is no prize either.

Everyone’s miserable, even comedian Louis CK, whom Galifianakis summons with a few bars of his popular sitcom’s theme song. Moods seem on the verge of lifting when Galifianakis brings up Pitts’ starring role in “Benjamin Buttons,” but it doesn’t last. Inevitably, there are references to Pitt’s famous wife, as well as his ex, an earlier Between Two Ferns guest. (She’s no Tila Tequila…)

This is a different dynamic than the one Borat shared with certain incredulous, intelligent subjects. It’s a given that Pitt’s in on the joke. And it would seem that both gentlemen have something they’d like to get across regarding the dirty business of celebrity interviews.

Journalist Janice Turner, took a similar position when she wrote of her nightmarish 2013 interview with actor Rhys Ifans for the London Times:

The game is you listen politely while they plug their film, bang on about their ‘method’, the brilliance of their co-stars and directors etc. Then in return you hope they will offer up — without you having to prod and pester like some celebrity stalker — the tiniest nugget of anecdote, a shard of light upon their real selves.

Because they hate the game too, and particularly since it is mainly conducted in hotel suites, you feel as if you’re engaged in an odd form of prostitution, one where it remains unclear who is the hooker and who the john.

Her perspective brings a certain purity to the Galifianakis-Pitt Ferns stand-off. Certainly, neither of them is playing the game.

If you want to learn how to conduct a horrible interview, watch Galifianakis.

If you want tips on how to make it worse, watch Pitt.

And if you want to be a movie star, seek ways to laugh at yourself without breaking character.

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

Ayun Halliday is the creator of The Mermaid’s Legs, a trauma-filled Hans Christian Andersen reboot playing this week in NYC. See it! And follow her @AyunHalliday

Louis CK Crashes Zach Galifianakis & Brad Pitt’s Very Awkward 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.

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New Animated Web Series Makes the Theory of Evolution Easy to Understand

Thu, 23 Oct 2014 - 12:08 pm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GhHOjC4oxh8

When it comes to matters of broad scientific consensus, I’m generally inclined to offer provisional assent. Like everyone else, I have to rely on the expertise of others in matters outside my ken, and in many cases, this rational appeal to authority is the best one can do without acquiring the relevant qualifications and years of experience in highly specialized scientific fields. In the case of evolution, I happen to find the evidence and explanations nearly all biologists proffer much more persuasive than the claims—and accusations—of their mostly unscientific critics. But as we know from recent survey data, a very large percentage of Americans reject the theory of evolution, at least when it comes to humans, though it’s likely a great many of them—like myself—do not know very much about it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lIEoO5KdPvg

But as a layperson with an admittedly rudimentary science education, I’m always grateful for clear, simple explanations of complex ideas. This is precisely what we get in the video series Stated Clearly, which harnesses the power of web animation as an instructional tool to define what the theory of evolution is, and why it explains the observable facts better than anything else. Stated Clearly’s tagline is “science is for everyone,” and indeed, their mission “is simple”: “to promote the art of critical thinking by exposing people from all walks of life, to the simple beauty of science.” The video at the top gives us a broad overview of the theory of evolution. The animation just above presents the evidence for evolution, or some of it anyway, in clear, compelling terms, drawing from at least two of the many independent lines of evidence. And below, we have a Stated Clearly take on natural selection, an absolutely key concept of evolutionary biology, and one regularly misunderstood.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0SCjhI86grU

After watching these three shorts, you might agree that what is “often considered a complex and controversial topic” is “actually a very simple concept to understand.” In layman’s terms, at least. In fact, artist, narrator, and creator of the series, Jon Perry, admits that he himself has no formal scientific training. “He believed,” his bio states, “that if he could create just one good animation on his own, scientists and educators would realize the potential of this project and help him create more.” And indeed they have. Stated Clearly has a distinguished panel of science advisers and partners that include the Center for Chemical Evolution, Emory University, Georgia Tech, NASA, and the National Science Foundation. Learn much more about Stated Clearly’s goals and affiliations, or lack thereof, at their website. And below, see the fourth video of the series, “Does the Theory of Evolution Really Matter?,” which addresses the practical, real world implications of evolutionary theory, and scientific literacy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hqepQGOYKZ0

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

New Animated Web Series Makes the Theory of Evolution Easy to Understand 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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All of H.P. Lovecraft’s Classic Horror Stories Free Online: Download Audio Books, eBooks & More

Thu, 23 Oct 2014 - 8:30 am
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vqIxCqayQok

We cannot properly speak of horror fiction without mentioning the name H.P. Lovecraft, any more than we could do so without speaking of Edgar Allan Poe, whose complete works we featured in a post yesterday. Even now, as some of Lovecraft’s really vicious attitudes have come in for much critical reappraisal, the Lovecraftian is still a dominant form. Winners of the World Fantasy Award receive a bust of the author, and dark modern masters like Stephen King and Joyce Carol Oates admit that Lovecraft was “the twentieth century’s greatest practitioner of the classic horror tale” and “an incalculable influence on succeeding generations of writers of horror fiction.” His work, writes Salon, has influenced “everyone from the Argentinian metafictionist Jorge Luis Borges to the film director Guillermo del Toro, as well as untold number of rock bands and game designers.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1b0defrZ3UA

The early twentieth century author spent almost his entire life in the New England of his birth, drawing on its many oddities in obscure stories published in pulp magazines—notably the influential Weird Tales. Hypochondriac, hyper-sensitive, and reclusive in later life, Lovecraft survived on a dwindling inheritance and never achieved much recognition. But in death, he has spawned a formidable cult who immerse themselves in a universe created from references to the occult, demonology, and various mythological archetypes. However overwrought his prose, Lovecraft’s work can be situated in a long literary tradition of influence, and a Lovecraft circle continued to expand his vision of scientific and supernatural horror after his death.

Central to the Lovecraft cosmos are “The Old Ones,” a collection of powerful primordial beings, and their cult worshipers, first introduced in “The Call of Cthulhu” in 1926. At the top of the post, you can hear a dramatic reading of the story by Garrick Hagon. Just above hear a radio dramatization of “The Colour Out of Space,” which was collected in The Best American Short Stories in 1928, one of the few of Lovecraft’s works to receive such an honor in his lifetime. You’ll find much more Lovecraft read aloud on YouTube, including classic stories like “The Dunwich Horror,” “At The Mountains of Madness,” and “The Horror at Red Hook.”

Listening to Lovecraft is an excellent, as well as convenient, way to experience his work. His florid, often archaic, and melodramatic descriptions lend themselves perfectly to aural interpretations. Luckily for us, we have not one, but two audio book collections of nearly everything Lovecraft ever wrote. Just above, stream his complete public domain works, and see the Internet Archive for another audiobook set of his collected works. One of the reasons audio of Lovecraft is so plentiful is that most of his work is in the commons. SFF Audio has yet another huge collection of Lovecraft stories read aloud, downloadable as MP3s. Finally, if you somehow can’t find what you’re looking for at any of those links, you’re bound to at The World’s Largest H.P. Lovecraft Audio Links Gateway.

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Should listening to Lovecraft whet your appetite for more, you may just be ready to start reading. Although Lovecraft’s fiction features what may be some of modern literature’s most dreadful monsters, the horror in his work is mostly existential, as characters confront a vast, malevolent and thoroughly alien universe that has no regard for human life whatsoever. But the persistent bleakness and doom of his vision is countered by an inexhaustibly rich imagination. In one of the opening sentences of “The Call of Cthulu,” Lovecraft writes, “the most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents,” perhaps the truest description of his own fictional cosmos. Lovecraft scholars and fans spend lifetimes sifting through his massive storehouse of weirdness. Whether you’re inclined to join them in the deep end, or just dip in a toe, you can find all of Lovecraft’s published work in various forms at the locations below.

Given these resources, you should have no trouble becoming a Lovecraft expert by Halloween. Or, at the very least, picking out a few of his scariest stories to listen to and read aloud around a flickering jack o’ lantern or your collection of Cthulhu figurines.

Lovecraft’s works permanently reside in our twin collections: 550 Free Audio Books: Download Great Books for Free and 600 Free eBooks for iPad, Kindle & Other Devices

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

All of H.P. Lovecraft’s Classic Horror Stories Free Online: Download Audio Books, eBooks & 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.

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Morgan Spurlock, Werner Herzog & Other Stars Explain Economic Theory in 20 Short Films

Thu, 23 Oct 2014 - 5:00 am
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p9gMZRcC36o

Morgan Spurlock is a filmmaker who has long found catchy ways of getting his point across. For his breakout movie, Super Size Me (available on Hulu), he sought to illustrate just how truly awful fast food is for you by subsisting solely on McDonald’s for a month. His diet literally almost killed him. Not long after the movie came out, McDonald’s started adding more healthy options to its menu. In POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, Spurlock looked to make a documentary about product placement in movies by financing the doc entirely through product placement. (That movie gets pretty meta fast.) And most recently, Spurlock has launched We The Economy: 20 Short Films You Can’t Afford To Miss. As you might surmise, the series tries to explain economics to the masses by releasing 20 short films made by a host of different stars and filmmakers, including Amy Poehler, Tony Hale, Sarah Silverman and Maya. The whole project will be released in theaters and on VOD but the shorts have also been released in advance on Youtube. You can watch Spurlock’s segment, called “Cave-o-nomics,” above. Seeking to answer the question “What is an economy?” Spurlock dresses up as a caveman struggling to increase his material wealth by swapping spears for meat.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tUkXMZ0vtBE

The clear stand out of the bunch, however, is Ramin Bahrani’s “Lemonade War.” Bahami tackles the potentially dreary issue of business regulation by telling a tale of two rival lemonade stands. One is run by a corrupt slob – played by Patton Oswalt — and the other is run by a whip smart ten-year-old girl. Though the girl doesn’t have the money or connections that her rival has, she more than makes up for it with moxie and business acumen. This, sadly, proves to be not enough. When she calls the government regulator about some of her rival’s truly unhygienic practices, she discovers the regulator is in her competition’s pocket and soon she’s driven out of business. Things look hopeless for her until a neighborhood hero, played by none other than Werner Herzog (!), comes to her rescue. With the little girl in tow, he confronts the slob and regulator with his trademark malevolent Teutonic lilt. “If Mr. Smith could go to Washington today,” he declares, “he would filibuster you back into your big bang wormhole you have slithered out of.” The two simply cower in the face of Herzog’s Old Testament wrath. If only Herzog could deliver similar fusillades against the board of Goldman Sachs.

You can watch more segments of We The Economy here — or find them in our collection, 700 Free Movies Online: Great Classics, Indies, Noir, Westerns, etc..

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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 vice presidents with octopuses on their heads.  The Veeptopus store is here.

Morgan Spurlock, Werner Herzog & Other Stars Explain Economic Theory in 20 Short 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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H.G. Wells, Arthur Conan Doyle & Other British Authors Sign Manifesto Backing England’s Role in WWI

Thu, 23 Oct 2014 - 1:00 am

Thinkers have said a great deal about the relative might of the pen and the sword—often one well-known phrase in particular—but still, the subject of intellect versus might remains a matter of active inquiry. But what if might harnesses intellect? What if those who live by the pen pick up their writing tool of choice to endorse the national use of weaponry infinitely more powerful than all the swords ever forged? This very thing happened in the Britain of 1914: “FAMOUS AUTHORS DEFEND ENGLAND’S WAR,” read the headlines, and University of Ottawa English professor Nick Milne has more historical analysis of the event in the first post of “Pen and Sword,” a series focusing on British Propaganda at the open educational resource World War I Centenary: Continuations and Beginnings.

“In September of 1914,” writes Milne in a version of the post up at Slate, “as the armies of Europe were engaged in the Race to the Sea and the stalemate of the trenches loomed, Rudyard Kipling, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and other British authors collaborated on a remarkable piece of war propaganda. Fifty-three of the leading authors in Britain — a number that included Thomas Hardy and H.G. Wells — appended their names to the ‘Authors’ Declaration.’ This manifesto declared that the German invasion of Belgium had been a brutal crime, and that Britain ‘could not without dishonour have refused to take part in the present war.'” Other men of letters the War Propaganda Bureau could convince to sign on, in addition to Kipling, a fellow rarely called insufficiently patriotic, included “defender of unorthodox thought by unorthodox methods” G.K. Chesterton.

You can take a close-up look at the complete list of signatories with their brief bios, as well as the signatures themselves, by clicking at the image of the New York Times page up above. (Then click again to zoom in.) England may not, in the event, have lost the First World War, but the buoyancy its writers provided its fighting spirit had little to do with it. Germany “responded to the declaration by bringing together an even larger assortment of artists, authors, and scientists to sign the Manifesto of the Ninety-Three, an astounding document which denied any German wrongdoing in Belgium and bewilderingly accused the Allies of ‘inciting Mongolians and negroes against the white race.'”

Several of the British writers involved, most notably H.G. Wells, eventually developed a public cynicism toward the war. “The unity of vision and purpose the declaration so strongly implied,” as Milne mildly puts it, “did not endure.”

via Slate

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

H.G. Wells, Arthur Conan Doyle & Other British Authors Sign Manifesto Backing England’s Role in WWI 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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Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey Gets a Brand New Trailer to Celebrate Its Digital Re-Release

Wed, 22 Oct 2014 - 5:12 pm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lfF0vxKZRhc

If you’re in the UK, get ready for Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. 46 years after its original release, it’s returning to theatres near you in a digitally-restored format, starting on November 18. (Find dates and locations here.) To celebrate the re-release of this “philosophically ambitious, technically innovative and visually stunning cinematic milestone,” the British Film Institute has created a new trailer (above). Down below, we have the original 1968 trailer (which I prefer) and some good background items on the film itself.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E8TABIFAN4o

Related Content:

1966 Film Explores the Making of Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (and Our High-Tech Future)

James Cameron Revisits the Making of Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey

Stanley Kubrick’s List of Top 10 Films (The First and Only List He Ever Created)

Stanley Kubrick’s Very First Films: Three Short Documentaries

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

Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey Gets a Brand New Trailer to Celebrate Its Digital Re-Release 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 Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey Gets a Brand New Trailer to Celebrate Its Digital Re-Release appeared first on Open Culture.