Sweet Jane: Then and Now

The Velvet Underground first released "Sweet Jane" in 1970, and a cool version it was. But, soon enough, Lou Reed launched his solo career, put out a live version of "Sweet Jane" on Rock n Roll Animal (1974), and made the song his own. That same year, Reed performed another funk-laden version in Paris, with Prakash John playing bass and Steve Hunter on guitar. And that's what the vintage video gods are serving up today.

All these years later, Sweet Jane still fires the rock 'n roll imagination. In 2009, Reed performed the anthem with Metallica at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Benefit Concert at Madison Square Garden, and it laid the foundation for a project now coming to fruition -- a collaborative album called Lulu that will drop on October 31st in the US, and November 1 abroad. Reed originally wrote the songs for a play called Lulu, then he brought Metallica into the sometimes emotional project and things just rolled along. In a recent interview with New York Magazine, Reed said, "the version of the Lulu music I did with Metallica is awe-inspiring. It’s maybe the best thing done by anyone, ever. It could create another planetary system. I’m not joking, and I’m not being egotistical." The bar is now officially set high...

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Miss USA 2011: Should Schools Teach Evolution? … or Math?

"Should evolution be taught in schools?" That was the question actually put to participants in the Miss USA pageant held this past June.

In response, MacKenzie Fegan and her friends had some fun with the whole line of thinking, shooting their own mock video in reply. Enjoy, and do know that we heart Miss Vermont...

via BoingBoing

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The Decemberists’ New Video Inspired by Scenes from Infinite Jest

Michael Schur, the co-creator of NBC's Parks and Recreation, has had a long-running fascination with David Foster Wallace's sprawling magnum opus, Infinite Jest.  So when his favorite band, The Decemberists, asked him to shoot a video for their new track “Calamity Song,” he knew the creative direction he wanted to take. And so here it is -- the newly-premiered video that makes "Eschaton" its creative focus. Fans of DWF's novel will remember that Eschaton -- "basically, a global thermonuclear crisis recreated on a tennis court" -- appears on/around page 325. The New York Times has more, and you can also find another version of the video if you're having problems viewing it here.

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Martin Scorsese Documentary on George Harrison Coming This Fall

Martin Scorsese (Raging Bull, Taxi Driver, Goodfellas) has always had a penchant for the rockumentary. In 1978, he directed The Last Waltz featuring the farewell concert of The Band -- a film later called "the greatest rock concert movie ever made." Then, after a hiatus, Scorsese returned to music again, shooting No Direction Home: Bob Dylan (2005) and Shine a Light, a tribute to the Rolling Stones, in 2008.

If you're tackling Dylan and the Stones, then why not go for the trifecta and bring your cinematic talents to bear on The Beatles? And so it shall be. On October 5th and 6th, HBO will air George Harrison: Living in the Material World, a two-part documentary dedicated to the Beatle who long played in the shadow of John and Paul. Scorsese's latest film will feature unseen archival materials and interviews with Paul, Ringo, Eric Clapton, Tom Petty, Terry Gilliam, Phil Spector and others. It will also be co-released with a 400-page hardcover book written by Olivia Harrison, which uses photographs, letters, diaries, and memorabilia to trace the arc of George's life. Can hardly wait. H/T Wired

Note: You can find The Last Waltz and Taxi Driver in our collection of Free Movies Online.

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Anselm Kiefer at Work, Creating His “World of Ruination”

Over Your Cities Grass Will Grow, a newish film directed by Sophie Fiennes, lets you sit back and watch the German artist Anselm Kiefer at work, creating his large-scale "world of ruination." The film has no narration, only some musical accompaniment. And, more than anything, it gives you a direct, unembellished view of Kiefer’s "alchemical creative process" that regularly takes over his studio in southern France. Above, Kiefer puts the finishing touches on, then raises, one of his elaborate creations. The clip, along with others, appears in a larger, more compelling format on the film's official web site. H/T NYRB

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Archive of 9/11 TV Coverage Launches with 3,000+ Hours of Video

The drama of 9/11 unfolded before the world on TV. Even many New Yorkers, myself included, watched the traumatic events on CNN rather than witnessing them firsthand. During the days that followed, we were bombarded with endless replays -- the planes hitting the buildings, the towers aflame and collapsing, the piles of smoking debris left behind. Then, mercifully, the coverage disappeared.

Almost a decade later, the Internet Archive has launched a 9/11 Television News Archive, a resource for scholars, journalists, and anyone interested in the historical record created by television. The archive brings together more than 3,000 hours of television coverage from 20 US and international broadcasters, and the coverage can be segmented by day, time and news provider.

Yet one more reason why we consider the Internet Archive one of the most valuable sites on the web.

via BoingBoing

Biblioburro: Library on a Donkey

For more than a decade, Luis Soriano, a primary school teacher, has traveled the rugged terrain of Colombia by donkey, delivering books to children in hundreds of rural villages. The project, powered by his two donkeys Alfa and Beto, goes by the name "Biblioburro." And it seeks to promote literacy in areas where access to books is not always a given. You can find more information and pictures on the homepage of the Biblioburro project and also make a small donation. A video update shows what these donations are actually used for.

Bonus material: The clip above is part of a 60-minute PBS documentary available in full here. If you are a teacher and want to work with the film in class, you will appreciate this related lesson plan. Biblioburro has even been covered by The New York Times, and there is now a similar project underway in Ethiopia.

By profession, Matthias Rascher teaches English and History at a High School in northern Bavaria, Germany. In his free time he scours the web for good links and posts the best finds on Twitter.

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