In September of 1935 Paramount Pictures released a nine-minute movie remarkable in several ways. Symphony in Black: A Rhapsody of Negro Life is one of the earliest cinematic explorations of African-American culture for a mass audience. It features Duke Ellington and his orchestra performing his first extended composition.[...]
William Faulkner, 1949:
Almost every year since 1901, the Swedish Academy has apportioned one fifth of the interest from the fortune bequeathed by dynamite inventor Alfred Nobel to honor, as Nobel said in his will, “the person who shall have produced in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction.[...]
Dylan Thomas’s drinking was legendary. Stories of the debauched and disheveled Welsh poet’s epic drinking binges have had a tendency to drown out serious discussion of his poetry.
It’s a legend that Thomas helped promote, as this pencil sketch he made of himself attests.
Frank Lloyd Wright was one of the most admired and influential architects of the 20th century. He was a flamboyant, unabashedly arrogant man who viewed himself from an early age as a genius. Others tended to agree. In 1991, The American Institute of Architects named Wright the greatest American architect of all time.[...]
Here’s an extraordinary film of the great Swiss psychologist Carl Gustav Jung speaking at length about some of his key contributions to psychology. Jung on Film (above) is a 77-minute collection of highlights from four one-hour interviews Jung gave to psychologist Richard I. Evans of the University of Houston in August of 1957.[...]
Rock and roll bands do have a tendency to burn through drummers. The phenomenon has been so noticeable over the years that Spinal Tap did a memorable parody of it. But when Led Zeppelin’s powerhouse of a drummer John Bonham died unexpectedly at the age of 32 on September 25, 1980, there would be no replacing him.[...]
Early in his life, William Faulkner had an epiphany: “I discovered that my own little postage stamp of native soil was worth writing about, and that I would never live long enough to exhaust it.[...]
The film begins at a derelict gas station. A paper sign, peeling from the wall, warns in German that open flames and smoking are dangerous and strictly forbidden. In walks Tom Waits, smoking a cigarette.[...]
Here’s a strikingly unconventional interpretation of Ludwig van Beethoven’s 1806 composition, 32 Variations on an Original Theme in C minor, by the Canadian virtuoso pianist Glenn Gould.[...]
When archivist Stacey Chandler was combing through one of the “Massachusetts” files recently at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston, she stumbled on something unexpected: a letter to Kennedy from an obscure writer named Kurt Vonnegut, volunteering his services on Kennedy’s presidential campaign.[...]