T.S. Eliot reads from The Wasteland, one of the great poems of the last century. It begins famously:
APRIL is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
A little life with dried tubers.
Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five was published back in 1969, and the anti-war sci fi novel quickly became a classic. (The book now appears, for example, on Time Magazine’s list of All Time 100 Novels.) Whether you’ve read the novel or not, you’ll want to check this out.[...]
In the early days of cinema, censorship was commonplace in America, and even slightly suggestive film clips wound up on the cutting room floor. Now, at long last, some clips are finally reaching the silver screen. In 2007, a filmmaker found cut scenes in an old theater somewhere in Pennsylvania, and, with them, produced a short film.[...]
There’s big news coming out of Europe today. After 16 years and $10 billion, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is finally beginning to collide subatomic particles. If you’re wondering what this all means, let me turn your attention to a yearlong course that we’re offering in Stanford’s Continuing Studies program (my day job).[...]
As we mentioned two weeks ago, Tony Judt, a prominent historian and public intellectual, has been grappling with ALS (otherwise known as Lou Gehrig’s disease) since 2008. With the disease now taking its toll, Judt has gone more public and started publishing with more urgency.[...]
The Sistine Chapel in the Vatican. It’s one of the triumphs of Renaissance painting. The chapel’s walls were frescoed by Raphael, Bernini, and Sandro Botticelli. And then, between 1508 and 1512, Michelangelo painted the chapel ceiling, covering some 12,000 square feet, decorating it with 300 figures from nine Book of Genesis scenes.[...]
Warnings of dictatorship are nothing new in America. We have them now, and we’ve had them before, and we’ve even had them come from the intelligentsia at times.[...]
Originally from Paraguay, Joaquin Baldwin moved to LA and started studying at The UCLA Animation Workshop, where he directed this short animated film, Papiroflexia (Spanish for “Origami”). The film ended up being a finalist at the Cannes Film Festival in 2008.[...]
I had no idea that Marlon Brando was much of a writer, but this 1955 letter to Tennessee Williams is superb. Perhaps I just can’t help identifying him with Stanley Kowalski of the “Napoleonic code,” Stella!” and “Hoity-toity, describin’ me like a ape.” Especially interesting is his attitude towards success.[...]