Open Culture


 

How Can Boccaccio’s 14th Century Decameron Help Us Live Through COVID-19?

I remember reading selections of Giovanni Boccaccio’s Decameron in my early high school years—and I remember reading them as light, bawdy tales about aristocrats in gardens. We were briefly introduced to the frame narrative, set amidst the 1348 outbreak of plague in Florence, which killed off half the city’s population. But the Black Death seemed almost mythological in scope—a phantom on the periphery. As Albert Camus writes in The Plague, a book also appearing on bestseller and recommen...
Tags: Google, College, Edgar Allan Poe, Italy, Literature, Albert Camus, Florence, New Statesman, Facebook Twitter, Nicolas, Josh Jones, Spicer, Florentines, Boccaccio, Durham NC Follow, Andre Spicer


A Free Shakespeare Coloring Book: While Away the Hours Coloring in Illustrations of 35 Classic Plays

From the people who brought you the Victorian Illustrated Shakespeare Archive comes an --a coloring book featuring illustrations of 35 different Shakespeare plays. (All illustrations come from a nineteenth edition of The Plays of William Shakespeare.) The coloring book's creator, Michael Goodman, tell us: "It's obviously free to use and I hope in these days of home schooling parents might find it a simple way to engage their kids with Shakespeare." Access . You can find more free coloring boo...
Tags: Google, Facebook, College, William Shakespeare, Shakespeare, David Lynch, Coloring Books, Facebook Twitter, Michael Goodman, New York Public Library Bodleian Smithsonian


Remembering American Songwriting Legend John Prine (RIP): “A True Folk Singer in the Best Folk Tradition”

“A friend called our new world ‘a ghost ship,’” wrote Nick Cave in a recent installment of his Red Hand Files blog. “She has recently lost someone dear to her and recognizes acutely the premonitory feeling of a world about to be shattered.” The experience has become distressingly common. We have all begun to lose people dear, if not near, to us—artists taken by the disease before their time like Bill Withers, whose “Lean on Me” is now more poignant than ever. Whatever else we’re faced wi...
Tags: Google, Music, Bruce Springsteen, College, Kentucky, Bonnie Raitt, Chicago, Bob Dylan, Sam Smith, Bill Murray, John, Vietnam, Jfk, Nick Cave, Jesus Christ, Jason Isbell


Did a Scottish Poet Invent the F-Word? A 1568 Anthology Compiled Under Plague Quarantine Suggests So

"Wan fukkit funling": as an insult, these words would today land a minor blow at most. Not so in Scotland of the early 16th century, in which William Dunbar and Walter Kennedy, two of the land's well-known poets, faced off before the court of King James IV in a contest of rhyme. The event is memorialized in the poem "The Flyting of Dunbar and Kennedie," one of 400 anthologized in what's known as the Bannatyne Manuscript. Compiled in 1568 by an Edinburgh merchant named George Bannatyne, stuck at...
Tags: Google, Facebook, College, Scotland, Ars Technica, History, Bbc, Language, Ferguson, Edinburgh, Seoul, Kennedy, Steven Pinker, Highland, Facebook Twitter, Dunbar


The Power of Costuming in Film: Pretty Much Pop #38 with Whitney Anne Adams (Happy Death Day, Great Gatsby)

http://podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/traffic.libsyn.com/partiallyexaminedlife/PMP_038_3-24-20.mp3 How does clothing mesh with set design, cinematography, sound design, etc. to create the mood in a film? Whitney designed for and dressed leads and crowds on The Great Gatsby, the Happy Death Day films and several indie flicks. She joins Erica, Mark and Brian to discuss how clothes on screen relate to clothes in life, designing vs. curating, historic vs. modern vs. genre, when costumes get distra...
Tags: Google, Fashion, Podcasts, Film, College, Atlanta, Brian, Whitney, Facebook Twitter, Ruben Diaz, Brian Tyree Henry, Paper Boi, Rebecca Clough, Lindsay Weinberg, Pretty Much Pop, Film Costuming


Bill Murray Explains How He Was Saved by John Prine

Judging by the outpouring of affection in online comment sections, Chicago folk musician John Prine (may he rest in peace) has helped a great many of his fans through tough times with his humanist, oft-humorous lyrics. Add funny man Bill Murray to the list. Taping a video in support of The Tree of Forgiveness, Prine’s first album of new material in over a decade, Murray recalled a grim period in which a deep funk robbed him of all enjoyment. Though he carefully stipulates that this “bumm...
Tags: Google, Music, NYC, College, Life, Chicago, Bill Murray, Hunter S Thompson, Mars, Rolling Stone, The Washington Post, Montgomery, Thompson, Murray, Facebook Twitter, Kris Kristofferson


Dyson Creates 44 Free Engineering & Science Challenges for Kids Quarantined During COVID-19

A heads up: Dyson has "created 44 engineering and science activities for children to try out while at home during the coronavirus pandemic, from making a balloon-powered car to building a bridge from spaghetti," writes the Dezeen website. They go on to add: "Comprised of 22 science tasks and 22 engineering activities, the Challenge Cards can be completed by children using common household items such as eggs, string and balloons." You can also find a related playlist of videos on YouTube,...
Tags: Google, Facebook, Science, College, K-12, Finland, Dyson, Facebook Twitter, Languages Online, Stanford Online High School


Meet Notorious Art Forger Han Van Meegeren, Who Fooled the Nazis with His Counterfeit Vermeers

People love stories of successful criminals. They must possess some admirable qualities, we assume, some great daring or cunning or keen insight. Myths supplant reality, and we forget about the networks of enablers that help ruthless but not especially bright people succeed. But successful art forgers present us with another case entirely. “Forgers, by nature, prefer anonymity,” notes the site Essential Vermeer 3.0, “and therefore are rarely remembered.” Yet the evidence of their mastery...
Tags: Google, Art, College, Orson Welles, America, History, Johannes Vermeer, Hitler, Jackson Pollock, Facebook Twitter, Delft, Galileo, Sotheby, Vermeer, Josh Jones, Jonathon Keats


Watch the Oscar-Winning Animated Short “Hair Love”

African-American hair has been making headlines for the last few years, usually because another black student has been deemed in violation of the dress code for sporting braids, dreads, or a natural afro. This year’s Oscar-winning animated short, "Hair Love," about an African-American dad’s attempt to stay on top of his 5-year-old daughter’s abundant locks, is the sweet alternative to these upsetting news stories. Little Zuri’s dad, Stephen, doesn’t have to battle clueless or unfair ...
Tags: Google, College, Life, New York City, NFL, Animation, Stephen, Cherry, Facebook Twitter, Chloe, Matthew A Cherry, Ayun Halliday, Greg Kotis, San Francisco Film Festival, Zuri, East Village Inky zine Join Ayun


Classic Songs Re-Imagined as Vintage Book Covers During Our Troubled Times: “Under Pressure,” “It’s the End of the World as We Know It,” “Shelter from the Storm” & More

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, how many of us sought solace from the turbulent 21st century in cultural artifacts of bygone eras? Our favorite records by the likes of the Beatles, Queen, David Bowie; our favorite novels by the likes of Raymond Chandler, Ian Fleming, Philip K. Dick: all of them now possess a solidity that seems lacking in much current popular culture. The work of all these creators has its own kind of artistic daring, and all of it, too, also came out of times troubled in th...
Tags: Google, Art, Facebook, Books, Music, Etsy, College, Current Affairs, David Bowie, Joni Mitchell, Seoul, Lucy, Facebook Twitter, Planet Earth, Alcott, Colin Marshall


A 1665 Advertisement Promises a “Famous and Effectual” Cure for the Great Plague

There is a level of avarice and depravity in defrauding victims of an epidemic that should shock even the most jaded. But a look into the archives of history confirms that venal mountebanks and con artists have always followed disaster when it strikes. In 1665, the Black Death reappeared in London, a disease that had ravaged medieval Europe for centuries and left an indelible impression on cultural memory. After the rats began to spread disease, terror spread with it. Then came the advertisemen...
Tags: Google, Asia, Europe, London, College, Edgar Allan Poe, History, Bbc, Current Affairs, Italy, Albert Camus, Facebook Twitter, Owens, Josh Jones, Gile, Durham NC Follow


Ingenious Improvised Recreations of Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring, Using Materials Found Around the House

One can only tolerate so many educational videos in self-isolation before the brain begins to rebel. Hands-on learning. That's what we're craving. And ultimately, that's what the Getty provides with an addictive challenge to captive audiences on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to re-create iconic artworks using three household objects. Participants are encouraged to look at the Getty's downloadable, digitized collection and beyond for a piece that speaks to them, possibly because of the...
Tags: Google, Art, London, College, Creativity, Museums, House, Johannes Vermeer, Getty, Rembrandt, Jones, Facebook Twitter, Hague, Twitter Facebook, Vermeer, Pearl Earring


“It’s the End of the World as We Know It,” Michael Stipe Proclaims Again, and He Still Feels Fine

It has taken a viral pandemic, and a mountain of tragic folly and more to come, but the internet has finally delivered the quality content we deserve, at least when it comes to celebrities stuck at home. Nightly bedtime stories read by Dolly Parton? Intimate streamed performances from Neil Young, Ben Gibbard, and many, many others, including stars of Broadway and opera house stages? It can feel a little overwhelming, especially for people working, educating, and doing a hundred other thi...
Tags: Google, Music, College, Reagan, Current Affairs, Dolly Parton, Broadway, Michael Stipe, Hopkins, Facebook Twitter, Lenny Bruce, Josh Jones, Joseph McCarthy, Stipe, Durham NC Follow, Lightnin


What is Albert Camus’ The Plague About? An Introduction

Topping lists of plague novels circulating these days, Albert Camus’ 1947 The Plague (La Peste), as many have been quick to point out, is about more than its blunt title would suggest. The book incorporates Camus’ experience as editor-in-chief of Combat, a French Resistance newspaper, and serves as an allegory for the spread of fascism and the Nazi occupation of France. It also illustrates the evolution of his philosophical thought: a gradual turn toward the primacy of the absurd, and aw...
Tags: Google, Europe, Books, London, College, France, China, Literature, Philosophy, Albert Camus, Lombardy, Facebook Twitter, Sartre, Constantinople, Josh Jones, Defoe


Customize Your Zoom Virtual Background with Free Works of Art

Limitations stimulate creativity. While that phrasing is credited to business-management scholar Henry Mintzberg, the idea itself has a long history. We know we work more fruitfully when we work within boundaries, and we've known ever since our capabilities were limited in ways barely imaginable today. With the ongoing coronavirus pandemic having temporarily redrawn the boundaries of our lives, many of us have already begun to rediscover our own creativity. Some have even done it on Zoom, the t...
Tags: Google, Art, Facebook, Technology, College, Venice, Getty, Seoul, Seinfeld, Van Gogh, Carrie Bradshaw, Facebook Twitter, LA County, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Kanagawa, Colin Marshall


HBO Is Streaming 500 Hours of Shows for Free: The Sopranos, The Wire, and More

We live, one often hears, in a golden age of television. But when did this age begin? Scholars of prestige TV drama — a field that, for both professionals and amateurs, has expanded in recent years — tend to point to The Sopranos, which premiered in 1999. In its eight-year run, David Chase's series about a depressed New Jersey mafia boss, a protagonist analyzed in the Behind the Curtain video essay above, set new standards in its medium for craft and complexity. To understand how much of...
Tags: Google, Facebook, Hbo, Television, College, America, Barack Obama, United States, New Jersey, Silicon Valley, David Chase, Seoul, Trump, David Simon, Facebook Twitter, Scott Fitzgerald


Join Choir! Choir! Choir! for a Community Singalong in Isolation

I love ya, and I think maybe if we sing together, well, we’d just feel a little bit better. Give it a try, okay? —Neil Diamond Thus quoth singer-songwriter Neil Diamond on March 23, before launching into his surprisingly sturdy monster hit, "Sweet Caroline," having reworked its lyrics to promote hand-washing and social distancing to help control the spread of COVID-19. He’s not wrong about the therapeutic benefits of group singing. Ditto the imperative to resist gathering publicly, or ev...
Tags: Google, Facebook, Music, London, College, Life, Creativity, Current Affairs, Patti Smith, Brian Eno, Neil Diamond, Goldman, Hyde Park, David Byrne, Don, Facebook Twitter


Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew Turns 50: Celebrate the Funk-Jazz-Psych-Rock Masterpiece

I shouldn’t have to tell you that Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew, released fifty years ago this month, is a groundbreaking record. The funk-jazz-psych-rock masterpiece has been handed that award in “best of” lists for half a century. “Bitches Brew is NOT LIKE OTHER records of its time, or any other time,” Rick Frystak announced emphatically on the Amoeba Records blog last year, on the 50th anniversary of the album’s 1969 “hatching” onstage and in the studio. How could it be otherwise? Davis “...
Tags: Google, Music, College, America, Radiohead, Davis, Jazz, Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Npr, Copenhagen, Thom Yorke, Miles, Coltrane, Chick Corea, Facebook Twitter


Dolly Parton Will Read Bedtime Stories to You Every Week

Used to be that Dolly Parton was relegated to the country music community--well loved, adored, but hemmed in by her genre. Certainly Gen X’ers like myself didn’t take her too seriously, and having a theme park named after you in Tennessee? Not too cool. Yet, as we have wandered back into the wretched, burning plains of modern life and found that, yes, Mister Rogers was a good person all along, we have also made space for Dolly Parton. She is a good person, and she is also therefore a Goo...
Tags: Google, Books, UK, College, United States, Tennessee, Dolly Parton, Republic Of Ireland, David Bowie, Rogers, Facebook Twitter, Parton, Dolly, KCRW, Canada Australia, Ted Mills


Pandemic Literature: A Meta-List of the Books You Should Read in Coronavirus Quarantine

Describing conditions characteristic of life in the early 21st century, future historians may well point to such epidemic viral illnesses as SARS, MERS, and the now-rampaging COVID-19. But those focused on culture will also have their pick of much more benign recurring phenomena to explain: topical book lists, for instance, which crop up in the 21st-century press at the faintest prompting by current events. As the coronavirus has spread through the English-speaking world over the past month, pa...
Tags: Google, Facebook, Europe, Books, London, College, Stephen King, Edgar Allan Poe, History, Literature, Guardian, Margaret Atwood, Albert Camus, Seoul, Florence, Michael Crichton


This is What Richard Feynman’s PhD Thesis Looks Like: A Video Introduction

Richard Feynman wasn’t just an “ordinary genius.” He was, according to mathematician Mark Kac “in his taxonomy of the two types of geniuses,” a “magician” and “a champion of scientific knowledge so effective and so beloved that he has generated an entire canon of personal mythology,” writes Maria Popova at Brain Pickings. Many a Feynman anecdote comes from Feynman himself, who burnished his popular image with two bestselling autobiographies. His stories about his life in science are extr...
Tags: Google, College, Physics, Albert Einstein, Princeton, Einstein, Feynman, Manhattan Project, Richard Feynman, Facebook Twitter, James Gleick, Josh Jones, Toby, Durham NC Follow, Gleick, Maria Popova


Why Did LEGO Become a Media Empire? Pretty Much Pop: A Culture Podcast #37

http://podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/traffic.libsyn.com/partiallyexaminedlife/PMP_037_3-19-20.mp3 Why has a children's toy become a brand attached to virtually every media type, partnering with the most ubiquitous franchises, and serving as a pastime for many adult hobbyists who will gut you if you call LEGO a "children's toy." Brian Hirt (our resident AFOL, i.e. adult fan of LEGO) talks with co-hosts Erica Spyres and Mark Linsenmayer about creative play vs. following the printed directions, ...
Tags: Google, Podcasts, Minnesota, College, Lego, Hobbies, Brian, Batman, Facebook Twitter, Maria Popova, Erica Spyres, Jesse Hassenger, John Baichtal, Mark Linsenmayer, Pretty Much Pop, Brian Hirt


Samuel L. Jackson Reads “Stay the F**k at Home”

The 2020 sequel to Go the F–k to Sleep Narrated by Samuel L. Jackson. The reading starts at the 6:10 mark...   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 eBooks, Free Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.
Tags: Google, College, Current Affairs, Samuel L Jackson, Facebook Twitter


Watch Online 75 Short Films from 2020’s South by Southwest Festival

South by Southwest, one of America's biggest cultural events, won't happen this year. The cause, of course, is the coronavirus pandemic, its own status as an event unprecedented in our age evidenced by the fact that South by Southwest has never in its 33-year history been canceled before. When SXSW, as it's now known, launched in Austin, Texas back in 1987, it did so purely as a music festival; cinema came in 1994, when it became the "SXSW Film and Multimedia Conference." Since then quit...
Tags: Google, Facebook, Texas, Film, College, Iraq, America, Austin, Philadelphia, Seoul, Kathryn Bigelow, Mailchimp, Sxsw, Southwest, Austin Texas, Facebook Twitter


Pachelbel’s Canon Played by Train Horns

Because we all need a mental health break these days. Couple it with a version played on a rubber chicken when you're done... Would you like to support the mission of Open Culture? Please consider making a donation to our site. It's hard to rely 100% on ads, and your contributions will help us continue providing the best free cultural and educational materials to learners everywhere. Also consider following Open Culture on Facebook and   Twitter and  sharing intelligent media wit...
Tags: Google, Facebook, Japan, College, Jimi Hendrix, Chile, Beethoven, Canon, Random, Facebook Twitter, Pachelbel, Kottke Related Content, Train Horns


Simulating an Epidemic: Using Data to Show How Diseases Like COVID-19 Spread

Disease modeling as a science has come into its own lately, for heartbreakingly obvious reasons. What may not be so obvious to those of us who aren't scientists is just how critical data can be in changing the course of events in an outbreak. Virus outbreaks may be “acts of God” or acts of unregulated black markets and agribusinesses, but in either case, statistical models can show, concretely, how collective human activity can save lives—and show what happens when people don’t act toget...
Tags: Health, Google, Science, College, Data, Current Affairs, The Washington Post, Facebook Twitter, Stevens, Josh Jones, Durham NC Follow, Kevin Simler, Harry Stevens, Nicholas Jewell, Mathematical Sciences Research Institute


Good Medicine: The Band’s Classic Song, “The Weight,” Sung by Robbie Robertson, Ringo Starr & Special Guests from Around the World

Robbie Robertson’s “The Weight,” the Band’s most beloved song, has the quality of Dylan’s impressionistic narratives. Elliptical vignettes that seem to make very little sense at first listen, with a chorus that cuts right to the heart of the human predicament. “Robertson admits in his autobiography,” notes Patrick Doyle at Rolling Stone, “that he struggled to articulate to producer John Simon what the song was even about.” An artist needn’t understand a creation for it to resonate with l...
Tags: Google, Music, Japan, College, Los Angeles, Current Affairs, Rolling Stone, Bahrain, Ringo Starr, Facebook Twitter, Robertson, Dylan, Doyle, Allman Brothers, Josh Jones, Robbie


Explore the Entire World–from the Comfort of Quarantine–with 4K Walking Tours

Many of us right now are sheltering in place, or in quarantine, dreaming of that day when we can once again travel the world. And that day will come, friends, that day will come. But until then, there are already several YouTube channels set up to provide you with a chance to go on walking tours around the world, with only the sounds of the environment in your headphones. I was alerted to this by good friend Phil Gyford, who found this via Sarah Pavis (via FaveJet), and provided several ...
Tags: Google, London, College, Stanford, Russia, New York City, Italy, Brazil, Shinjuku, Bangkok, Tuscany, Facebook Twitter, Falls Church Virginia, West End of London, Elmo, MRT


Download Classic Works of Plague Fiction: From Daniel Defoe & Mary Shelley, to Edgar Allan Poe

The apotheosis of prestige realist plague film, Steven Soderburgh’s 2011 Contagion, has become one of the most popular features on major streaming platforms, at a time when people have also turned increasingly to books of all kinds about plagues, from fantasy, horror, and science fiction to accounts that show the experience as it was in all its ugliness—or at least as those who experienced it remembered the events. Such a work is Daniel Defoe’s semi-fictional history “A Journal of the Plague Ye...
Tags: Google, Europe, Books, London, College, Edgar Allan Poe, History, Britain, Moscow, Literature, Isaac Newton, Algeria, Albert Camus, Catherine, Marseilles, Lisbon


Take a 3D Tour Through Ancient Giza, Including the Great Pyramids, the Sphinx & More

Imagine the pyramids of ancient Egypt, and a vivid image comes right to mind. But unless you happen to be an Egyptologist, that image may possess a great deal more vividness than it does detail. We all have a rough sense of the pyramids' size (impressively large), shape (pyramidical), texture (crumbly), and setting (sand), almost wholly derived from images captured over the past century. But what about the pyramids in their heyday, more than 4,500 years ago? Do we know enough even to beg...
Tags: Google, Facebook, Technology, College, History, Harvard, Architecture, Egypt, Nile, Seoul, Giza, Facebook Twitter, Khufu, Great Pyramid Of Giza, Khafre, Colin Marshall