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The Case for Why Captain Beefheart’s Awful Sounding Album, Trout Mask Replica, Is a True Masterpiece

I’ve had Trout Mask Replica in my collection for years. I can’t say I regularly pull it out to give it a listen, but I know I’d never get rid of it. It’s a sometimes impenetrable slab of genius, wrought from endless sessions and then a short burst of recording, led by a man who couldn’t read music, was prone to fits of violent anger, but dammit knew what he wanted. (And Zappa produced.) When I learned later that the house where a lot of this went down was located in the hills behind the ...
Tags: Google, Music, College, America, Ornette Coleman, Vox, Vermont, Wolf, Tom, Facebook Twitter, Dylan, Zappa, Woodland Hills, KCRW, Joshua Tree, Beefheart


Why We Dance: An Animated Video Explains the Science Behind Why We Bust a Move

Has any culture, apart from that of the tiny Utah town in Footloose, done entirely without dancing? It would at first seem that any human need the rhythmic shaking of one's limbs to organized sound fulfills must reside pretty low on the overall priority scale, but anthropology tells us that various human societies started dancing before they got into most every other activity that fills their time today. "Why is this ostensibly frivolous act so fundamental to being human?" asks the Aeon vid...
Tags: Google, Utah, College, France, Neuroscience, Dance, Oxford, Footloose, Seoul, Ramones, Facebook Twitter, Tarr, Durkheim, Colin Marshall, Emile Durkheim, 21st Century Los Angeles


Lawrence Ferlinghetti Turns 100: Hear the Great San Francisco Poet Read “Trump’s Trojan Horse,” “Pity the Nation” & Many Other Poems

It has been a season of mourning for literature: first the death of Mary Oliver and now W.S. Merwin, two writers who left a considerable imprint on over half a century of American poetry. Considering the fact that founding father of the Beats and proprietor of world-renowned City Lights Bookstore, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, turns 100 on March 24th, maybe a few more people have glanced over to check on him. How’s he doing? He's grown "frail and nearly blind," writes Chloe Veltman at The Guard...
Tags: Google, New York, Navy, Washington Post, College, Poetry, San Francisco, Charles, UC Berkeley, Chinatown, Columbia, City Lights, Trump, Coney Island, Ginsberg, Edward Gorey


Oxford’s Free Course Critical Reasoning For Beginners Teaches You to Think Like a Philosopher

Image by Pablo Fernández, via Flickr Commons When I was younger, I often found myself disagreeing with something I’d read or heard, but couldn't explain exactly why. Despite being unable to pinpoint the precise reasons, I had a strong sense that the rules of logic were being violated. After I was exposed to critical thinking in high school and university, I learned to recognize problematic arguments, whether they be a straw man, an appeal to authority, or an ad hominem attack. Faulty arguments ...
Tags: Google, College, Oxford, Online Courses, Philosophy, University of Oxford, Oxford University, Montreal, Facebook Twitter, Talbot, Peter Adamson, Pablo Fernández, Ilia Blinderman, Marianne Talbot Talbot, Free Yale Course 135 Free Philosophy eBooks Oxford


Christopher Hitches Makes the Case for Paying Reparations for Slavery in the United States

There may be no more heretical figure from the last several decades for both the current mainstream political left and right than the late Christopher Hitchens. He has maintained contrarian positions that range from vexing to enraging for nearly every orthodoxy. Contrarianism can seem his one singular consistency in a slide from “socialist to neocon" and some very imperialist views on war, race, culture, and religion. But his one true allegiance, he would say, was to “the principles of f...
Tags: Google, Politics, Greece, College, Atlantic, Britain, United States, Elgin Marbles, Christopher Hitchens, Boston University, Facebook Twitter, Hitchens, Josh Jones, Durham NC Follow


Behold the Anciente Mappe of Fairyland, a Fantastical 1917 Mashup of Tales from Homer’s Odyssey, King Arthur, the Brothers Grimm & More

For most of publishing history, books for children meant primers and preachy religious texts, not mythical worlds invented just for kids. It’s true that fairy tales may have been specifically targeted to the young, but they were never childish. (See the original Grimms' tales.) By the 19th century, however, the situation had dramatically changed. And by the turn of the century, childlike fairy stories and fantasies enjoyed wide popularity among grown-ups and children alike, just as they do toda...
Tags: Google, Art, England, Congress, College, France, Literature, Peter Pan, Brothers Grimm, Belle, Robert Louis Stevenson, Tolkien, Ucla, Pan, Peter, Bernard Sleigh


David Lynch Teaches Creativity and Film: A New Online Course

How many of us became David Lynch fans while first watching one of his films? And how many of those fans also left filled with the desire to make a film themselves? Though the long-circulating term "Lynchian" puts a name to Lynch's distinctively stimulating and disturbing cinematic style, it increasingly seems that no filmmaker, no matter how skilled, can quite pull off that style but Lynch himself. But even if you can never be the man who directed the likes of Eraserhead, Blue Velvet, a...
Tags: Google, Hollywood, Film, College, David, Online Courses, Bob, Seoul, David Lynch, Werner Herzog, Facebook Twitter, Lynch, Mulholland Drive, Colin Marshall, 21st Century Los Angeles, Facebook David Lynch


Mythos: An Animation Retells Timeless Greek Myths with Abstract Modern Designs

Designer Stephen Kelleher and animator Chris Guyot present "Mythos," an animation that tells timeless stories--Greek myths--with simple abstract designs. Here's how they describe this project where the ancient unexpectedly meets the modern: For centuries the Greek Myths have been used as cautionary tales and teaching tools for people both young and old. These stories convey deep wisdom about the human condition which continue to resonate with us. I wanted to honor these ancient stories by i...
Tags: Google, Facebook, Twitter, California, College, Animation, Zeus, Ideo, Facebook Twitter, Demeter, Daedalus, Midas, Hilma, Persephone, Klint, Dionysus


Virginia Woolf & Friends Name Their Favorite and Least Favorite Writers in a Newly Unearthed 1923 Survey

Celebrity Twitter can be fun… sometimes…. Tabloids still have mass appeal, albeit mainly on the web. But for those who want to see the introverted and bookish caught off-guard and off the cuff, times are a little tough. Writers can more easily control their image than actors or pop stars, naturally. Most aren’t nearly as recognizable and subject to constant pop culture surveillance. Literary scandals rarely go beyond plagiarism or politics. Sometimes one might wish—as in the days of mean drunks...
Tags: Google, College, Virginia, West, Literature, Vox, James Joyce, Henry James, Kennedy, Virginia Woolf, Thompson, Marcel Proust, Facebook Twitter, Virgil, Joyce, Dostoevsky


Isaac Asimov Predicts the Future of Civilization–and Recommends Ways to Ensure That It Survives (1978)

When we talk about what could put an end to civilization today, we usually talk about climate change. The frightening scientific research behind that phenomenon has, apart from providing a seemingly infinite source of fuel for the blaze of countless political debates, also inspired a variety of dystopian visions, credible and otherwise, of no small number of science-fiction writers. One wonders what a science-fictional mind of, say, Isaac Asimov's caliber would make of it. Asimov died in...
Tags: Google, College, Stanford, United States, Sci Fi, Seoul, Mount Everest, Facebook Twitter, Isaac Asimov, Asimov, Edmund Hillary, Paul Ehrlich, Colin Marshall, Tenzing Norgay, 21st Century Los Angeles, Computerization Global Co


The Gnarly Surf Rock of Dick Dale (RIP): Watch the Legend Play “Misirlou,” Surfin’ the Wedge,” and “Pipeline” (with Stevie Ray Vaughan)

The Endless Summer is over. The archetypal 1966 surf documentary might have been scored by The Sandals, but the sound and the cultural dominance of surf culture would perhaps never come into being, and may not have survived the decade, without Dick Dale, who died on March 18th at the age of 81. His gnarly, menacing guitar on songs like “Miserlou” and “Pipeline” turned a fad dominated by the teen anthems of The Beach Boys and Annette Funicello’s post-Mouseketeers bikini and beehive into g...
Tags: Google, Music, Washington Post, College, Jimi Hendrix, United States, Quentin Tarantino, Dick Dale, Wray, Facebook Twitter, Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Dale, Annette Funicello, Josh Jones, Durham NC Follow


Bohemian Rhapsody’s Bad Editing: A Breakdown

Bohemian Rhapsody may have won the Oscar for Best Editing. But video essayist Thomas Flight isn't persuaded. In a 13-minute video, Flight deconstructs a 104-second clip from the biopic, revealing the excessive 60 cuts that make up the scene. That translates into a dizzying cut every 1.8 seconds on average. For Thomas Flight, Bohemian Rhapsody is nothing short of a “masterclass in bad editing.” For you, Flight's video offers a nice short crash course in film editing. According to The Wash...
Tags: Google, Facebook, Benedict Cumberbatch, Film, Washington Post, College, Facebook Twitter, WaPo, HANNAH, John Ottman, Dexter Fletcher, Ottman, Thomas Flight, Johnny Cash David Bowie Janis Joplin Frank Sinatra


The Lou Reed Archive Opens at the New York Public Library: Get Your Own Lou Reed Library Card and Check It Out

This past October marked the fifth anniversary of Lou Reed’s death. This month marks what would have been his 77th birthday. It seems like as good a time as any to revisit his legacy. As of this past Friday, anyone can do exactly that in person at the New York Public Library. And they can do so with their own special edition NYPL Lou Reed library card. The NYPL has just opened to the public the Lou Reed Archive, “approximately 300 linear feet,” the library writes in a press release, “of paper r...
Tags: Google, Music, New York, College, Edgar Allan Poe, Brooklyn, Nypl, Literature, Andy Warhol, Ornette Coleman, Lincoln Center, Archives, Lou Reed, New York Public Library, Laurie Anderson, Reed


How Does the Rorschach Inkblot Test Work?: An Animated Primer

A frightening monster? Two friendly bears? Say what!? As anybody with half a brain and the gift of sight knows, the black and red inkblot below resembles nothing so much as a pair of gnomes, gavotting so hard their knees bleed. ...or perhaps it’s open to interpretation. Back in 2013, when Open Culture celebrated psychologist Hermann Rorschach’s birthday by posting the ten blots that form the basis of his famous personality test, readers reported seeing all sorts of things in Card 2: A u...
Tags: Psychology, Google, College, Nazis, New York City, Neuroscience, Lewis Carroll, Alice, Yale University, Facebook Twitter, Searls, Hermann Rorschach, Rorschach, Ayun Halliday, Damion Searls, Rorshach


Take a Journey Inside Vincent Van Gogh’s Paintings with a New Digital Exhibition

Vincent van Gogh died in 1890, long before the emergence of any of the visual technologies that impress us here in the 21st century. But the distinctive vision of reality expressed through paintings still captivates us, and perhaps captivates us more than ever: the latest of the many tributes we continue to pay to van Gogh's art takes the form Van Gogh, Starry Night, a "digital exhibition" at the Atelier des Lumières, a disused foundry turned projector- and sound system-laden multimedia space i...
Tags: Google, Art, Japan, Technology, College, Paris, Seoul, Arles, Van Gogh, Facebook Twitter, Vincent Van Gogh, Gogh, Auvers, Colin Marshall, Van Gogh Starry Night, 21st Century Los Angeles


College Bribery, DoorDash Pay, and Captain Marvel: Best Gizmodo Stories of the Week

The tech world found itself embroiled in another appalling controversy when a white supremacist gunman entered two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand on March 15 and opened fire, killing at least 50 people and wounding scores of others in an attack apparently calculated for maximum effect on social media and …Read more...
Tags: Iphone, Health, Google, Meat, Food, Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, Comics, Science, Technology, Movies, Medicine, Labor, Climate Change, College, Disney


An Animated Introduction to Friedrich Nietzsche’s Life & Thought

There’s no shame if you’ve never known how to pronounce Friedrich Nietzsche’s name correctly. Even less if you never remember how to spell it. If these happen to be the case, you may be less than familiar with his philosophy. Let Alain de Botton’s animated School of Life video briefly introduce you, and you’ll never forget how to say it: “Knee Cha.” (As for remembering the spelling, you’re on your own.) You’ll also get a short biography of the disgruntled, dyspeptic German philosophe...
Tags: Google, College, Nazis, Philosophy, Alain De Botton, Elizabeth, Facebook Twitter, Josh Jones, Friedrich Nietzsche, University of Basel, Nietzsche, Babich, de Botton, Durham NC Follow, Dionysus, Arthur Schopenhauer Richard


The CIA’s Rectal Tool Kit for Spies–Created for Truly Desperate Situations During The Cold War

Though global espionage remains a going concern in the 21st century, somehow the popular stories we tell about it return again and again to the Cold War. Maybe it has to do with the demand those mostly pre-digital decades made upon the physical ingenuity of spies as well as the tools of spycraft. Take, for instance, one particularly ingenious CIA-issued tool kit on display at the International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C. "Filled with escape tools," says the Spy Museum's web site, "thi...
Tags: Google, Facebook, Technology, College, Washington, History, Britain, Cia, John Le Carre, Seoul, Facebook Twitter, International Spy Museum, Colin Marshall, 21st Century Los Angeles, Spy Museum, Atlas Obscura Related Content


Leonard Bernstein Awkwardly Turns the Screws on Tenor Jose Carreras While Recording West Side Story (1984)

What have we here? Evidence that the Maestro is a monster? Or a behind the scenes reminder that Arrested Development’s wannabe actor Tobias Fünke is not too far off base when he says that to make it in “this business of show, you have to have the heart of an angel and the hide... of an elephant.” Both? Neither? Any way you slice it, the recording session above is not for your typical cast album. West Side Story, with a book by Arthur Laurents, music by Leonard Bernstein, and lyrics b...
Tags: Google, Music, New York, College, New York City, Theatre, Vienna, Stephen Sondheim, Broadway, Opera, Verona, Maria, Public Domain, Bernstein, Tony, Natalie Wood


Natalie Portman Teaches a MasterClass in Acting

This week, MasterClass rolled out its latest course--Natalie Portman teaching a 20-lesson class on acting. The upstart educational venture writes: One of her generation’s most versatile performers, Academy Award-winning actor Natalie Portman has been captivating audiences for decades. Since her on-screen debut at age 12, she’s worked with some of cinema’s most celebrated directors and showcased her skills through unforgettable roles in Black Swan, Jackie, and the Star Wars franchise. Hav...
Tags: Google, Film, College, Robin Williams, Bob Dylan, Online Courses, Jamie Foxx, Natalie Portman, Jackie, Facebook Twitter, Portman, Natalie, Ray Charles Natalie Portman, Jackie Kennedy Cate Blanchett, Jodie Foster Samuel L Jackson


When William Faulkner Set the World Record for Writing the Longest Sentence in Literature: Read the 1,288-Word Sentence from Absalom, Absalom!

Image by Carl Van Vechten, via Wikimedia Commons “How did Faulkner pull it off?” is a question many a fledgling writer has asked themselves while struggling through a period of apprenticeship like that novelist John Barth describes in his 1999 talk "My Faulkner." Barth “reorchestrated” his literary heroes, he says, “in search of my writerly self... downloading my innumerable predecessors as only an insatiable green apprentice can.” Surely a great many writers can relate when Barth says, “it was...
Tags: Google, Europe, Books, Maryland, Writing, College, Washington, Literature, Guinness Book of World Records, Lincoln, Sherman, Jonathan Coe, Jones, William Styron, Facebook Twitter, Beckett


Watch an Animated Score for Steve Reich’s Minimalist Piece “Clapping Music“–and Try Your Hardest to Follow Along

Steve Reich’s Clapping Music is one of the simplest scores of modern classical music, and as you might soon find out, one of the most difficult to perform. Written in 1972 while on a European tour and after a night of mediocre flamenco, Clapping Music is for two players. One claps a steady rhythm (technically an African Bell Rhythm). A second performer claps in unison in the same pattern for eight bars. At the end of the eighth bar, the second performer goes out of sync for one eighth no...
Tags: Google, Music, College, Steve Reich, Reich, Facebook Twitter, KCRW, Ted Mills, London Sinfonietta, Anne Teresa, Reed Phase, Keersmaeker Asked


When William Faulkner Set the World Record for Writing the Longest Sentence in Literature: 1,288 Words from Absalom, Absalom!

Image by Carl Van Vechten, via Wikimedia Commons “How did Faulkner pull it off?” is a question many a fledgling writer has asked themselves while struggling through a period of apprenticeship like that novelist John Barth describes in his 1999 talk "My Faulkner." Barth “reorchestrated” his literary heroes, he says, “in search of my writerly self... downloading my innumerable predecessors as only an insatiable green apprentice can.” Surely a great many writers can relate when Barth says, “it was...
Tags: Google, Europe, Books, Maryland, Writing, College, Washington, Literature, Guinness Book of World Records, Lincoln, Sherman, Jonathan Coe, Jones, William Styron, Facebook Twitter, Beckett


Jack Kerouac’s “Beat Paintings:” Now Gathered in One Book and Exhibition for the First Time

Most of us enter Jack Kerouac's world through his 1959 novel On the Road. Those of us who explore it more deeply thereafter may find much more than we expected to: Kerouac's inner life came out not just in his formidable body of written work, but in spoken-word jazz albums, fantasy baseball materials, and even paintings. Though Kerouac has now been gone for nearly half a century, it wasn't until just last year that his works of visual art were brought together: Kerouac: Beat Painting did it in ...
Tags: Google, Art, Milan, College, Literature, Road, Jack Kerouac, Kerouac, Seoul, Truman Capote, First Time, Facebook Twitter, Bandera, Colin Marshall, David Barnett, Pope Paul VI


The Band Everyone Thought Was The Beatles: Revisit the Klaatu Conspiracy of 1976

In 1976, hundreds of diehard Beatles fans became convinced that the mysterious album 3:47 EST by the band Klaatu was actually a new release from The Beatles in disguise, after a DJ in Providence, Rhode Island played one of its songs on the radio. Shortly afterward, Steve Smith discovered the album at the newspaper he worked for, Rhode Island’s The Providence Journal, listened to it, and became immediately intrigued. The album contained no photographs, no identifying information at all, a...
Tags: Google, Music, California, College, Toronto, Paul Mccartney, Smith, Steve Smith, Rhode Island, Ringo Starr, Beatles, Starr, Mccartney, Lennon, Cbc, Facebook Twitter


William Faulkner’s Review of Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea (1952)

Images via Wikimedia Commons In the mid-20th century, the two big dogs in the American literary scene were William Faulkner and Ernest Hemingway. Both were internationally revered, both were masters of the novel and the short story, and both won Nobel Prizes. Born in Mississippi, Faulkner wrote allegorical histories of the South in a style that is both elliptical and challenging. His works were marked by uses of stream-of-consciousness and shifting points of view. He also favored titanically lo...
Tags: Google, Books, Mississippi, Yahoo, College, Washington, Time, Los Angeles, New York Times, Paris, Hemingway, Ernest Hemingway, Facebook Twitter, Hollywood Reporter, Lee University, FAULKNER


Buckminster Fuller Rails Against the “Nonsense of Earning a Living”: Why Work Useless Jobs When Technology & Automation Can Let Us Live More Meaningful Lives

We are a haunted species: haunted by the specter of climate change, of economic collapse, and of automation making our lives redundant. When Marx used the specter metaphor in his manifesto, he was ironically invoking Gothic tropes. But Communism was not a boogeyman. It was a coming reality, for a time at least. Likewise, we face very real and substantial coming realities. But in far too many instances, they are also manufactured, under ideologies that insist there is no alternative. But let’s a...
Tags: Google, Art, Politics, Technology, Education, College, Economics, Creativity, Sxsw, Marx, Facebook Twitter, Josh Jones, Bill Black, Kottke, Fuller, Buckminster Fuller


An Animated Introduction to the Famous Thought Experiment, the “Trolley Problem,” Narrated by Harry Shearer

You don't have to get too deep into the study of ethics before you run across the trolley problem. It comes up so readily that it hardly needs an introduction: a runaway train is on course to collide with and kill five people working on the tracks, but you can pull a lever that will switch it to another section of track on which stands only one person. Do you pull it? According to a purely utilitarian interpretation, you should, since one life lost surely beats five lives lost. But faced...
Tags: Google, College, Animation, Philosophy, Seoul, Aristotle, Harry Shearer, Facebook Twitter, BBC Radio, Philippa Foot, Nelsen, Colin Marshall, 21st Century Los Angeles, Facebook An Animated Introduction, Eleanor Nelsen, Sartre Oxford


Discover the Great Medieval Manuscript, the Book of Kells, in a Free Online Course

Last week, we called your attention to the digitization of the Book of Kells, one of the great manuscripts from the medieval period. The digitized manuscript, we should note, comes accompanied by another great resource--a free online course on the Book of Kells. Both digital initiatives are made possible by Trinity College Dublin. The six-week course covers the following topics: Where and how the manuscript was made The social context from which the manuscript emerged, including early me...
Tags: Google, Art, Facebook, College, History, Ireland, Online Courses, Facebook Twitter, Trinity College Dublin, Kells, Bibliothèque Nationale de France


Why Should We Read Sylvia Plath? An Animated Video Makes the Case

In “Morning Song,” from Sylvia Plath’s posthumous 1965 collection Ariel, published two years after her suicide, a newborn infant is a “fat gold watch.” Among the incessant lists of adjectives in both her work, “fat” is one that stands out, appearing often, in several synonyms, as a celebration of abundance and real anxiety over weight gain and a general too-muchness. In the same poem, the baby is a work of art, a “new statue.” Its mother, on the other hand, is in one stanza a cloud effac...
Tags: Google, UK, London, College, Poetry, Literature, Time Magazine, Ariel, Sylvia Plath, Ted Hughes, Robert Lowell, Facebook Twitter, Hughes, Durham NC, Josh Jones, Plath



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