Charles & Ray Eames’ Short Film on the Mexican Day of the Dead (1957)

≡ Category: Film |4 Comments

As much fun as Americans have on Halloween, we could learn a thing or two from the Mexicans. Their Día de los Muertos, the celebration of which spans October 31 to November 2, gets more elaborate, more serious, and somehow more jovial at the same time.

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Happy Halloween! Louis Armstrong Performs Skeleton in the Closet (1936)

≡ Category: Film, Museums, Music |Leave a Comment

Should you happen to be in the vicinity of Corona, Queens this Halloween afternoon, the Louis Armstrong House Museum will be welcoming trick-or-treaters ’til 6pm.

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Springsteen’s Favorite Books & Reading List

≡ Category: Books, Music |Leave a Comment

Image by Michele Lucon, via Wikimedia Commons
Bruce Springsteen will make his debut as a children’s author next Tuesday, with the release of Outlaw Pete. In advance of that literary event, The New York Times interviewed Springsteen about the books on his reading list and his literary tastes.

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Vintage Photos of Veterans of the Napoleonic Wars, Taken Circa 1858

≡ Category: History, Photography |3 Comments

Historians have debated for centuries how Napoleon Bonaparte managed to turn the same men who once overthrew a king in the name of liberté, égalité  and fraternité into a formidable fighting force devoted to an emperor. But that’s precisely what he did.

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44 Essential Movies for the Student of Philosophy

≡ Category: Film, Philosophy |60 Comments

What comes to mind when you hear the phrase “philosophical film”? The Matrix, most likely, an obvious example of a movie—or franchise—that explores timeless questions: Who are we? What is reality? Are our lives nothing more than elaborate simulations programmed by hyperintelligent supercomputers? Okay, that last one may be of more

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Did Bach’s Wife Compose Some of “His” Masterpieces? A New Documentary Says Yes

≡ Category: Film, Music |2 Comments

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You may have heard of, or indeed read, Australian conductor Martin Jarvis’ 2011 book Written By Mrs. Bach, which investigates the question of whether Johann Sebastian Bach‘s “cello suites were composed by the German musician’s second wife, Anna Magdalena Bach.

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Man Hauls a Piano Up a Mountain in Thailand and Plays Beethoven for Injured Elephants

≡ Category: Life, Music |7 Comments

If we’ve featured Jazz for Cows on Open Culture, then why not Classical Music for Elephants? Actually, they’re not just any elephants featured above. They’re old, injured, handicapped, sometimes blind elephants who live in the mountains of Thailand.

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Charlie Chaplin Does Cocaine and Saves the Day in Modern Times (1936)

≡ Category: Film |Leave a Comment

When you think of drug movies, flicks like Easy Rider, Drugstore Cowboy and pretty much everything by Cheech and Chong might spring to mind. Add to this list Charlie Chaplin’s masterpiece Modern Times. In the movie, Chaplin’s iconic Little Tramp character does a whole lot of blow and ends up a better man for it.

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Modern Art Was Used As a Torture Technique in Prison Cells During the Spanish Civil War

≡ Category: Art, History |7 Comments

We’ve all got those friends or family members who consider “modern art” a form of torture.

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H.P. Lovecraft Gives Five Tips for Writing a Horror Story, or Any Piece of “Weird Fiction”

≡ Category: Literature, Writing |3 Comments

Image by Lucius B. Truesdell, via Wikimedia Commons
Though the term “weird fiction” came into being in the 19th century—originally used by Irish gothic writer Sheridan Le Fanu—it was picked up by H.P. Lovecraft in the 20th century as a way, primarily, of describing his own work.

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