openculture.comThe Stunt That Got Elvis Costello Banned From Saturday Night Live (1977)One of the defining moments in Elvis Costello's career happened on December 17, 1977, when he appeared on Saturday Night Live. Costello was 23 years old. His debut album, My Aim Is True, had just come out in America a month earlier.1
openculture.comStanley Kubrick’s Annotated Copy of Stephen King’s The ShiningThe web site Overlook Hotel has posted pictures of Stanley Kubrick’s personal copy of Stephen King’s novel The Shining, which is normally kept at the Stanley Kubrick Archive, but has been making the rounds in a traveling exhibition.
openculture.comLeo Tolstoy Creates a List of the 50+ Books That Influenced Him Most (1891)War and Peace, Anna Karenina, The Death of Ivan Ilyich — many of us have felt the influence, to the good or the ill of our own reading and writing, of Leo Tolstoy. But whose influence did Leo Tolstoy feel the most?339
openculture.comIn the Only Surviving Recording of Her Voice, Virginia Woolf Explains Why Writing Isn’t a “Craft” (1937)The literary voice of Virginia Woolf comes to us from a life lived fully in the service of literature, a life devoted, we might say, to the 'craft of writing.' That earnest expression gets tossed around innocently enough in various grammatical forms.
openculture.comThe Rise and Fall of the Great Library of Alexandria: An Animated IntroductionLibrary of Alexandria, northern Egypt, is popularly believed to have been destroyed in a huge fire around 2000 years ago and its voluminous works lost.” Ancient accounts, including those of Julius Caesar himself, that detail the multiple burnings of Alexandria seem to support this story.1
openculture.com“Joe Strummer’s London Calling”: All 8 Episodes of Strummer’s UK Radio Show Free OnlineIconic Clash frontman Joe Strummer passed away a little over ten years ago on December 22nd, 2002. He was 50 years old, and died too soon, leaving his family, friends, and fans reeling with shock and sadness.
openculture.comA Free Course on Dante’s Divine Comedy from Yale UniversityOver the years, we've featured the many drawings that have adorned the pages of Dante's Divine Comedy, from medieval times to modern. Illustrations by Botticelli, Gustave Doré, William Blake and Mœbius, they've all gotten their due. Less has been said here, however, about the actual text itself.
openculture.comWatch M.C. Escher Make His Final Artistic Creation in the 1971 Documentary Adventures in PerceptionIII hung along the walls of my fourth-grade classroom, where I spent many an idle minute or ten staring at its intricate geometry through which squares became birds, birds became lizards, lizards became fish, and it all somehow arrived at the cliff-like edge of a three-dimensional chessboard.37
openculture.comSalvador Dali’s 1978 Wine Guide, The Wines of Gala, Gets Reissued: Sensual Viticulture Meets Surreal ArtPopular food culture is dominated by status symbols of restaurant-inspired consumer kitchenware and appliances, thanks in large part to reality televisions shows about cooking competitions which can make the preparation of haute cuisine seem more accessible to the average home chef than it may actually be.
openculture.comDavid Harvey’s Course on Marx’s Capital: Volumes 1 & 2 Now Available Free OnlineFor many people, the arguments and analysis of Karl Marx’s three-volume Das Kapital (or Capital: A Critique of Political Economy) are as relevant as ever. For many others, the work is a historical curiosity, dated relic, or worse.
openculture.comProducer Tony Visconti Breaks Down the Making of David Bowie’s Classic “Heroes,” Track by TrackThose familiar with David Bowie lore may know one or two things about the recording of his seminal 1978 track “Heroes.” One is that the recording studio did, in fact, look out over the Berlin Wall and the lovers that Bowie saw made it into the lyrics (“I can remember standing by the wall/And the guns shot above our heads/And we kissed as though nothing could fall”).
openculture.comPlaying an Instrument Is a Great Workout For Your Brain: New Animation Explains WhyGet me a piano teacher, stat! When I was a child, my father, enchanted by the notion that I might someday provide live piano accompaniment to his evening cocktails, signed me up for lessons with a mild-mannered widow who---if memory serves---charged 50¢ an hour.
openculture.comA Complete Archive of Vincent van Gogh’s Letters: Beautifully Illustrated and Fully Annotated First published in three volumes in 1914, only 24 years after his death, the letters of Vincent Van Gogh have captivated lovers of his painting for over a century for the insights they offer into his creative bliss and anguish.