Full Lecture and Reading List From Sun Ra’s 1971 UC Berkeley Course, “The Black Man in the Cosmos”

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A pioneer of “Afrofuturism,” bandleader Sun Ra emerged from a traditional swing scene in Alabama, touring the country in his teens as a member of his high school biology teacher’s big band.


George Harrison Wrote His Last Letter to Austin Powers Creator Mike Myers, Asking for a Mini Me Doll (2001)

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In a band full of extroverted goofballs and pranksters, George Harrison was the quiet one, the serious Beatle, the straight man and introspective mystic, right? Not so, according to Travelling Wilburys bandmate Tom Petty, who once countered the “quiet Beatle” sobriquet with “he never shut up. He was the best hang you could imagine.


Blues Guitar Legend Johnny Winter Shines Live on Danish TV (1970)

≡ Category: Music |1 Comment

“Out of all the hopped-up Caucasians who turbocharged the blues in the late Sixties,” writes Rolling Stone, “Texas albino Johnny Winter was both the whitest and the fastest.


The Sex Pistols Do Dallas: A Strange Concert from the Strangest Tour in History (January 10, 1978)

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“Johnny Rotten and Sid Vicious were both punched in the face by girl fans as the Sex Pistols performed today deep in the heart of Texas.” That was the lede for the English newspaper The Evening News covering the Pistol’s concert at The Longhorn Ballroom in Dallas, TX on January 10, 1978.


The Ramones, a New Punk Band, Play One of Their Very First Shows at CBGB (1974)

≡ Category: Music |1 Comment

“Ramones Reunion Nearly Complete,” announced The Onion just about ten years ago, after the death of the band’s guitarist Johnny Ramone.


Watch The Hire: 8 Short Films Shot for BMW by John Woo, Ang Lee & Other Popular Filmmakers (2002)

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If there’s ever a Mad Men: The Next Generation, count on a 40-ish Sally Draper to psych a conference room full of BMW execs out of the tried-and-true formula for luxury automobile ads in favor of a groundbreaking, nightmarish, pre-YouTube web series.


“Weird Al” Yankovic Releases “Word Crimes,” a Grammar Nerd Parody of “Blurred Lines”

≡ Category: Comedy, Music |9 Comments

When “Weird Al” Yankovic is in the zone, he can spin a parody that is better than the original. He took R. Kelly’s preposterous pop soap opera “Trapped in the Closet” and turned it into “Trapped in the Drive Thru,” one of the best portraits of everyday suburban ennui I’ve ever come across.


Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock: The Complete Performance in Video & Audio (1969)

≡ Category: Music |5 Comments

What must it have been like to have been at Woodstock? Like, really have been there, not just watched the film or the 2009 movie about Woodstock, not just have gone to any of the several million muddy, druggy outdoor festivals that proliferated in Woodstock’s wake, but really been there, man? I’ll never know.


Discover the Music Vault: A Massive YouTube Archive of 13,000 Live Concert Videos

≡ Category: Music, YouTube |2 Comments

The 90s are back to stay, not only in Seinfeld Emojis, and not only in Portland, but also in the glossy trappings of mass media retrospectives. We can add to VH-1’s I Love the 90s the new National Geographic survey “The ‘90s: The Last Great Decade?,” seemingly made by people who experienced the period in a bunker, surrounded by TVs.


Percussionist Marlon Brando Patented His Invention for Tuning Conga Drums

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Maybe you knew about Marcel Duchamp’s passion for chess. But did you know about Marlon Brando’s passion for conga drums? Longtime fans may have first picked up on it in 1955, when the actor gave a microwave-link television tour of his Hollywood Hills home to Edward R. Murrow on Person to Person.


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