Watch the First Surf Movie Ever Made: A 1906 Thomas Edison Film Shot in Hawaii

Above you can watch what was arguably the first surf movie ever made--the very beginning of a long cinematic tradition that gave us Gidget in 1959, and The Endless Summer in 1966. And lest you think the surf movie reached its zenith during those halcyon days, some would argue that the best surf films were later produced during the aughts--Thicker Than Water (2000), Blue Crush (2002), Step Into Liquid (2003), Riding Giants (2004), etc. And don't forget this great little short, "Dark Side of the Lens."

In 1906, smack in the middle of the aughts of last century, Thomas Edison sent the pioneering cinematographer Robert K. Bonine to shoot an 'Actuality' documentary about life in the Polynesian islands. The blurb accompanying this video describes the scene above: "The first moving pictures of surfers riding waves - Surf Riders, Waikiki Beach, Honolulu -- shows a minute of about a dozen surfers on alaia boards in head-high, offshore surf at what is probably Canoes. These surfers are shot too far away to detail what they were wearing, but they all appear to be in tanksuits."

If you're interested in taking a deep dive into Hawaii's surfing scene, I'd definitely recommend pickup up a copy of Barbarian Days: A Surfing Lifethe memoir by New Yorker writer William Finnegan. It won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize.

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“We Suck” — When Yale Pranked Harvard at the 2004 Big Football Game

On a completely lighter note.

The blurb to the Youtube video above reads as follows: "In 2004, 24 enterprising Yale students created the non-existent "Harvard Pep Squad" for the big Harvard-Yale football game. As the Pep Squad pumped up the Harvard fans, they distributed 1800 pieces of red and white construction papers with the understanding that when all the cards were held up, it would spell "GO HARVARD" See what happens next!"

To get more of the backstory on what happened that day, read this account by the mastermind of the prank as well as this account from a 2005 edition of Yale Daily News.

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Maya Angelou Reads Her Poem, “The Human Family,” in New iPhone Ad Released for the Olympics’ Opening Ceremony

It’s always demoralizing when a favorite song---Iggy Pop’s "Lust for Life" or the Rolling Stones’ "Brown Sugar" come to mind---is co-opted to sell soda or Caribbean cruises.

Poetry, however? I’m not ungrateful to have some smuggled into my day by a commercial carrier whose agenda is somehow less suspect. Would that we lived in a world where the poetry of Ted Hughes or Emily Dickinson might be seen as having the power to sell viewers on a particular brand of pizza or automobile.

It almost seems we do, given the response to "The Human Family,” a new Apple spot showcasing the iPhone’s camera capabilities with a slideshow of portraits submitted by users the world round. The images---already captivating---are made more so by the unmistakeable voice of the late Maya Angelou, whose poem, "The Human Family,” supplies both title and inspiration.

It’s very stirring, as befits an ad debuting during the Olympics' opening ceremony. (I weep that the Super Bowl failed to make the Dr. Angelou commercial parodies of yore a reality.)

The one-minute spot shaves a bit off the poem, but perhaps it is okay to leave a bit behind as a reward for viewers moved to look it up on their own.

The complete text is here. Below, find a non-Apple-sponsored video that matches the same narration to a slideshow featuring the author at various stages of life. The reading will be added to our collection, 1,000 Free Audio Books: Download Great Books for Free.

via Adweek

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Ayun Halliday is an author, illustrator, theater maker and Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine.  Her latest script, Fawnbook, is available in a digital edition from Indie Theater Now.  Follow her @AyunHalliday.

Playing Golf on LSD With Hunter S. Thompson: Esquire Editor Remembers the Oddest Game of Golf

At 3:33 one morning in February 2005, Hunter S. Thompson rang up Bill Murray. "I've invented a new sport," declared the writer to the actor. "It's called Shotgun Golf. We will rule the world with this thing." How do you play it? Why, you "shoot your opponent's high-flying golf ball out of the air with a finely-tuned 12-gauge shotgun, thus preventing him (your opponent) from lofting a 9-iron approach shot onto a distant 'green' and making a 'hole in one.'"

Murray, a known night owl and avid golfer in touch with his own Thompsonian side at least since portraying him in 1980's Where the Buffalo Roam, seemed pleased enough with the idea. Alas, Shotgun Golf never had the chance to become America's new national pastime; Thompson's explanation of it came in the very last column he wrote before his death at the age of 67. Given the, shall we say, colorful life he lived and the drug-and-drink regimen that fueled it to the end, making it to late middle age counts as one of his accomplishments in itself.

We'll never know what exact cocktail of substances inspired Thompson to come up with Shotgun Golf in the first place, but it came at the end of a long personal history of mixing drugs and clubs. Esquire recently ran an excerpt from The Accidental Life, its former editor Terry McDonell's new memoir, about a session of "acid golf" with George Plimpton and the man who wrote Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. No sooner did they arrive at the Aspen Golf Club (and goose sanctuary) than Thompson brought out the essential pre-game supplement: "'Here,' Hunter said, holding out three white tabs of blotter paper with an unfamiliar red symbol on them. 'Eat these.'"

Before long, McDonnell feels himself "peacefully soaring." Then the session, which also involves a fair bit of drinking, comes down to a high-stakes putt: "We were all in for $1,000, Hunter said." Thompson, despite painstaking minutes spent lining it up, "missed the putt by about a foot and, charging after it, let out a howl as he winged his putter into the pond. The geese started honking and Hunter ran back to the cart, pulled the 12-gauge from his golf bag and fired over the geese, and they lifted off the pond like a sparkling cloud of gray and white feathers."

"It occurred to me as I watched the glitter blend into the fading sky,' writes McDonnell, "that having a story to tell about acid golf with Hunter and George was probably good for my career." You can watch a video on that story at the top of the post. And what, finally, have we learned from it? In the company of Hunter S. Thompson, even plain old acid golf called for a shotgun.

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Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities and culture. He’s at work on a book about Los Angeles, A Los Angeles Primer, the video series The City in Cinema, the crowdfunded journalism project Where Is the City of the Future?, and the Los Angeles Review of Books’ Korea Blog. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

“Muhammad Ali, This Is Your Life!”: Celebrate Ali’s Life & Times with This Touching 1978 TV Tribute

Tonight, we pass along the sad news that Muhammad Ali, one of the great athletes and personalities of our time, has passed away at the age of 74. Having battled Parkinson's Disease for decades, his passing doesn't come as a complete surprise. But, for anyone who remembers Ali in his prime, this news will certainly come as a blow. There is perhaps not a better way to remember Ali's life and times than to watch the 1978 episode of This Is Your Life, the long-running TV show that followed this format:

Each week, an unsuspecting celebrity would be lured by some ruse to a location near the studio. The celebrity would then be surprised with the news that they are to be the featured guest. Next, the celebrity was escorted into the studio, and one by one, people who were significant in the guest's life would be brought out to offer anecdotes. At the end of the show, family members and friends would surround the guest, who would then be presented with gifts.

This show (recorded in England in this case) is an endearing tribute to the champ, all the more moving to watch now because Ali is gone. The highlight comes around the 38 minute mark, when Smokin Joe Frazier, Ali's great rival, pays a surprising visit.

Muhammad you will be missed.

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Bruce Lee’s Only Surviving TV Interview, 1971: Lost and Now Found

Bruce Lee's TV acting career began in 1966, when he landed a part in The Green Hornet. (Watch his thrilling audition here). But it took another five years before he gave his first--and, it turns out, only television interview in English. For 25 minutes in December 1971, the martial arts star sat down with Pierre Berton, a Canadian journalist, in Hong Kong. And their conversation covered a fair amount of ground – Lee's success starring in Mandarin films .... despite only speaking Cantonese; his difficulty developing a career in a country still hostile toward China; and his work training other Hollywood stars in the martial arts.

Taped in 1971, the interview aired only once, then went missing, and wasn't found until 1994, when it finally aired again as a TV special called ''Bruce Lee: The Lost Interview'.' First featured on Open Culture in 2011, the recording is now considered his only surviving on-camera interview and/or his only meaningful interview conducted in English. A somewhat restored version can be viewed on Vimeo here.

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The Great White Way is littered with flops.

Critic Frank Rich eviscerated a 1988 musical based on Stephen King’s Carrie, lamenting that a potential camp masterpiece wound up as “a typical musical-theater botch.”

Producer David Merrick pulled the plug on a 1966 musical adaptation of Breakfast at Tiffany’s starring Mary Tyler Moore long before its official opening night, thus sparing the drama critics and the public “an excruciatingly boring evening.”

And then there is 1970’s Big Time Buck White, activist Oscar Brown, Jr.’s adaptation of Joseph Dolan Tuotti’s play. It featured Muhammad Ali---temporarily benched from boxing for draft evasion---in the titular role of a militant lecturer, delivering a Black Power message to a character named Whitey.

The primarily white Broadway-going audience that embraced the countercultural “Tribal Love-Rock Musical” Hair two years earlier withheld its love. In a colorblind world, we might be able to chalk that up to the champ’s sub-par singing chops or some clunky lyrics, but it would be a mistake to turn a blind eye to the political climate.

(Eight years later, Ain’t Misbehavin’, a tribute to Fats Waller and the Harlem Renaissance was a bonafide hit.)

Big Time Buck White ran for just seven performances, posting its closing notice well in advance of its January 18th appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show, above.

These days, the producers would probably scramble to find a replacement, but Sullivan, a staunch supporter of Civil Rights, honored the booking, commanding his studio audience to give the costumed players “a fine reception.”

Afterward, the champ thanked Sullivan for inviting him and “the group” so that viewers who didn’t get a chance to could see "what type of play i was participating in.”

A bit of trivia. Playbill credits actor Donald Sutherland, in the role of Black Man. He may be a movie star, but he’s something of a Broadway flop himself, his only other credit that of Humbert Humbert in 1980’s Lolita, People Magazine’s Bomb of the Year.

Above is another scene from the musical, shared by Ali’s admirer, Mike Tyson.

via Messy N Chic

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- Ayun Halliday is an author, illustrator, and Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine. Follow her @AyunHalliday

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