Open Culture

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Nick Cave Narrates an Animated Film about the Cat Piano, the Twisted 18th Century Musical Instrument Used to Treat Mental Illness Open Culture

What do you imagine when you hear the phrase “cat piano”? Some kind of whimsical furry beast with black and white keys for teeth, maybe? A relative …

Culture

Watch Janis Joplin’s Breakthrough Performance at the Monterey Pop Festival: “One of the Great Concert Performances of all Time” (1967)

“No one to that point had seen a White girl sing the blues like she sang it. And she was a tough Texas girl, she lived really tough, she drank tough, …

Music

Introduction to Philosophy: A Free Online Course

From John Sanders, Professor of Philosophy at the Rochester Institute of Technology, comes <i>Introduction to Philosophy</i>. In 10 lectures, Sanders’ course …

Philosophy

Pink Floyd’s “Echoes” Provides a Soundtrack for the Final Scene of Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey

What happens when you cue up <i>The Wizard of Oz</i> (1939) and Pink Floyd’s <i>Dark Side of the Moon</i> (1973), and play them together? You get something magical. …

Filmmaking

Download Russian Futurist Book Art (1910-1915): The Aesthetic Revolution Before the Political Revolution

Given the image of Communist Russia we’ve mostly inherited from Cold War Hollywood propaganda and cherry-picked TV documentaries, we tend to think of …

Aesthetics

Albert Camus Explains Why Happiness Is Like Committing a Crime—"You Should Never Admit to it” (1959) Open Culture

<i>Note: You can read a translation below.</i><p>Happiness, as it has been conceived for at least the past couple thousand years in Western philosophy, is a …

Culture

Every Page of Depero Futurista, the 1927 Futurist Masterpiece of Graphic Design & Bookmaking, Is Now Online

You can try to dismantle your e-reader, but you can’t unscrew an eBook. Despite having cast his artistic mind, as did his fellow 20th-century Italian …

Graphic Design

NASA’s New Online Archive Puts a Wealth of Free Science Articles Online

Since our website took flight a decade ago, we’ve kept you apprised of the free offerings made available by NASA–everything from collections of …

Culture

Hear Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” Shifted from Minor to Major Key, and Radiohead’s “Creep” Moved from Major to Minor

A few years ago, we shared a version of R.EM.’s 1991 alternative hit “Losing My Religion” as reworked from a minor to a major key through digital …

Guitar Lessons

Buckminster Fuller’s Dymaxion Sleep Plan: He Slept Two Hours a Day for Two Years & Felt “Vigorous” and “Alert”

One potential drawback of genius, it seems, is restlessness, a mind perpetually on the move. Of course, this is what makes many celebrated thinkers …

Culture

How to Tell a Good Story, as Explained by George Saunders, Ira Glass, Ken Burns, Scott Simon, Catherine Burns & Others

All of us instinctively respond to stories. This has both positive and negative effects, but if we don’t understand it about ourselves, we’ve won’t …

Storytelling

Download Animals and Ethics 101: Thinking Critically About Animal Rights (Free)

FYI: Nathan Nobis, a philosophy professor at Morehouse College in Atlanta, recently published <i>Animals and Ethics 101: Thinking Critically About Animal</i> …

Wildlife

An Animated Introduction to McCarthyism: What Is It? And How Did It Happen?

During the 1970s, a young Donald Trump was mentored by Roy Cohn, a brash, take-no-prisoners lawyer, who first came to prominence during the 1950s, …

Culture

Chuck Berry Jams Out "Johnny B. Goode" with Eric Clapton, Keith Richards, John Lennon & Bruce Springsteen Open Culture

The King of Rock and Roll is dead, and, no, I don’t mean Elvis, but Chuck Berry, who proclaimed himself at every opportunity the rightful sovereign. …

Rock & Roll

Watch 70 Movies in HD from Famed Russian Studio Mosfilm

To most international cinephiles, the word Mosfilm immediately brings to mind two towering names in Russian motion pictures: Sergei Eisenstein and …

Culture

Hayao Miyazaki Tells Video Game Makers What He Thinks of Their Characters Made with Artificial Intelligence: “I’m Utterly Disgusted. This Is an Insult to Life Itself”

For a young person in an animation-based field, the opportunity to share new work with director Hayao Miyazaki must feel like a golden …

Animation

Chuck Berry (RIP) Reviews Punk Songs by The Ramones, Sex Pistols, The Clash, Talking Heads & More (1980) Open Culture

When the punk wave broke in the UK and the States in the mid-1970s, it threatened to leave behind the established rock bands that once seemed so …

Rock & Roll

Marshall McLuhan in Two Minutes: A Brief Animated Introduction to the 1960s Media Theorist Who Predicted Our Present

Marshall McLuhan, writes novelist and artist Douglas Coupland, entered the zeitgeist in the 1960s as “a guru or as a villain – as a harbinger of the …

Tears for Fears Sings “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” with Musician Who Created Divine Dulcimer Version of Their Song

The website <i>Twisted Sifter</i> sets the stage for the delightful video above:<p>Last year, musician Ted Yoder uploaded a hammered dulcimer rendition of …

Culture

Hear Prince’s Personal Playlist of Party Music: 22 Tracks That Will Bring Any Party to Life

Many years ago, I took a job as a wedding DJ for a few months to knit ends together in college. Whatever you picture about the job of a wedding DJ, I …

Music

Every Front Page of The New York Times in Under a Minute: Watch the Evolution of “The Gray Lady” from 1852 to Present

Buckling under information overload?<p>The long view can be soothing, as filmmaker Josh Begley proves in just under a minute, above. The data artist …

Journalism

David Lynch’s Twin Peaks Theme Song Gets the Seinfeld Treatment

And, by golly, it works…<p><b>Related Content:</b>

Culture

New Interactive Map Visualizes the Chilling History of Lynching in the U.S. (1835-1964)

Whether we like to admit it or not, the history of the U.S. is in great degree a history of genocide and racist terror. As Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz has …

American History

How Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner Illuminates the Central Problem of Modernity

Of all the societal debates now going on in the West, many have to do with identity: who belongs in which group? Which groups belong in which places? …

Science Fiction

Listen to Grace Slick's Hair

“One pill makes you larger and one pill makes you small…”<p>Sometime in the summer of 2016, this isolated track of Grace Slick’s vocals for “White …

Music

What Did the Voice of Neanderthals, Our Distant Cousins, Sound Like?: Scientists Demonstrate Their “High Pitch” Theory

Scholars have made informed, educated guesses at what Shakespeare sounded like in the original pronunciation. The same applies to what Old Norse …

Culture

Steve Reich is Calling: A Minimalist Ringtone for the iPhone

What if minimalist composer Steve Reich got his hands on the iPhone’s familiar Marimba ringtone? That’s what the website Steve Reich is Calling …

Culture

Rock Band: Hear The Beatles’ “Here Comes the Sun” Played with Electromechanical Instruments That Make Music with Rocks

From Neil Mendoza comes “Rock Band,” an amalgamation of “electromechanical instruments that make music with rocks by throwing them through the air, …

Music

How Filmmakers Like Kubrick, Jodorowsky, Tarantino, Coppola & Miyazaki Use Color to Tell Their Stories

Once upon a time, a film could impress simply by using color at all. Now, with a wider field of visual possibilities open to cinema than ever, …

Filmmaking

An Animated Introduction to Arthur Schopenhauer and How We Can Achieve Happiness Through Art & Philosophy

For many years, as we wrote in a recent post, Friedrich Nietzsche has been misunderstood as a philosophical nihilist and even a proto-Nazi. This is …

Culture