R.E.M.‘s Final Encore (and an Early Concert from Germany)

They weren’t quite The Bea­t­les, and they did­n’t go out in the same style. (Catch The Bea­t­les’ rooftop gig here.) But R.E.M. gave us 30 good years (ok, maybe 15), and, after call­ing it quits ear­li­er this week, we thought it worth­while to present their final live moments. So here it goes: R.E.M.‘s final encore played in Mex­i­co City back in Novem­ber, 2008. It’s a 36 minute set that fea­tures “Super­nat­ur­al Super­se­ri­ous,” “Los­ing My Reli­gion,” “I Believe,” “Coun­try Feed­back,” “Life and How to Live It,” and “Man on the Moon.”

Thanks to @opedr for the great find and, for good mea­sure, we’re throw­ing in a vin­tage R.E.M. con­cert record­ed in Ger­many in 1985 from the Fables of the Recon­struc­tion tour. These were good old days.


Three “Anti-Films” by Andy Warhol: Sleep, Eat & Kiss

We recent­ly told you the sto­ry. In the mid 60s, Andy Warhol quit paint­ing rather abrupt­ly and began some new adven­tures in mul­ti­me­dia. Tak­ing a quick detour into music, Warhol became the man­ag­er, “pro­duc­er” and over­all patron of the up-and-com­ing band, The Vel­vet Under­ground. But film is where he focused his cre­ative ener­gies.

Between 1964 and 1966, the pop artist shot close to 500 short movies — or what he called “screen tests” — of friends, celebri­ties and mod­els. (Find screen tests of Lou Reed, Nico, Edie Sedg­wick, and Den­nis Hop­per here.) And then he shot a series of longer films, or rather “anti-films,” that chal­lenged the con­ven­tions of film­mak­ing. No three act struc­tures here. Above, we start you off with his first film, Sleep (1963). Orig­i­nal­ly Warhol want­ed to make Brigitte Bar­dot the star, but he even­tu­al­ly set­tled for his friend John Giorno, and you get what the title promis­es. 40 silent min­utes of Giorno’s long slum­ber.

Next in the loose tril­o­gy comes Kiss, a 54 minute film built out of a series of short­er films. It’s all cou­ples kiss­ing. Men & women. Women & women. Men & men. And it’s all silent again.

Then we cap things off with Eat (1964), 40 min­utes of watch­ing the starv­ing pop artist Robert Indi­ana gnaw on a raw mush­room and noth­ing more. The tril­o­gy-ender was first screened at the Wash­ing­ton Square Gallery, along with anoth­er long-take film, Blow Job.…

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Relat­ed Con­tent

4,000+ Free Movies Online: Great Clas­sics, Indies, Noir, West­erns, Doc­u­men­taries & More

The Big Ideas Behind Andy Warhol’s Art, and How They Can Help Us Build a Bet­ter World

Andy Warhol’s 1965 Film, Vinyl, Adapt­ed from Antho­ny Burgess’ A Clock­work Orange

Frank W. Buckles, The Last U.S. Veteran of World War I

Frank Woodruff Buck­les was born on Feb­ru­ary 1st, 1901. At the age of 16, he enlist­ed in the U.S. Army by con­vinc­ing recruit­ing offi­cers that he was, in fact, 21. In this short film, Buck­les recalls this time so long ago and the last year of the Great War. There are two par­tic­u­lar­ly mov­ing pas­sages in this doc­u­men­tary: when he talks about the dif­fi­cul­ties vet­er­ans expe­ri­enced after return­ing home, and when Buck­les voic­es his opin­ions on war in gen­er­al, and par­tic­u­lar­ly war today (“How did we get involved in this thing, Iraq? It was crazy, we have no damn busi­ness in there.”)

Frank died on Feb­ru­ary 27th, 2011, at the age of 110. The last sur­viv­ing U.S. vet­er­an of World War I, he was prop­er­ly laid to rest at Arling­ton Nation­al Ceme­tery (find video of the cer­e­mo­ny here). There are two trib­utes to Mr Buck­les that offer more insight into his life: a short video by the Unit­ed States Depart­ment of Vet­er­ans Affairs and an obit­u­ary in the Wash­ing­ton Post.

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.

The Beatles’ Rooftop Concert: The Last Gig Filmed in January 1969

On a cold day in Jan­u­ary 1969, The Bea­t­les, who had­n’t played live since 1966, took to the rooftop of the head­quar­ters of Apple Records, locat­ed at 3 Sav­ile Row, in cen­tral Lon­don. And there they played an impromp­tu last gig, much to the delight of Lon­don­ers on near­by rooftops … and to the cha­grin of the police.

At the time, The Bea­t­les were record­ing their album, Let It Be, and the rooftop show let them run through var­i­ous tracks from that last effort. Songs played dur­ing the set include “Get Back,” where the Bea­t­les were accom­pa­nied by Bil­ly Pre­ston on the key­boards, and “Don’t Let Me Down,” “I’ve Got A Feel­ing,” “One After 909,” and “Dan­ny Boy.” And final­ly “Dig A Pony” and anoth­er ver­sion of “Get Back.” We have the last song above. Watch a full playlist of videos here.

Famous­ly, The Bea­t­les’ live lega­cy ends with the police shut­ting down the show (it was a noise vio­la­tion, you know?) and John Lennon utter­ing the immor­tal words, “I’d like to say thank you on behalf of the group and our­selves, and I hope we passed the audi­tion.” That’s going out in style…

Foot­note: It’s not clear which band played the first rooftop con­cert, but one thing is for sure. Jef­fer­son Air­plane played their own rooftop gig on Decem­ber 7, 1968, and Jean-Luc Godard filmed it. Once again, the police pay a friend­ly vis­it. Watch it here.

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David’s Diary: The New David Sedaris App for Apple & Android

A lit­tle David Sedaris on your mobile device? Yes, please!

Last week, Hachette Dig­i­tal released David’s Dairy, a new app that brings six ani­mat­ed short films inspired by David Sedaris’ diary to your Apple and Android devices. The films are short — most run about 45 sec­onds. They’re char­ac­ter­is­ti­cal­ly quirky and art­ful­ly designed. And the com­plete app costs runs only $1.99. But, at min­i­mum, you get the longest video in the col­lec­tion here for free and then this:

Bonus Mate­r­i­al: In our col­lec­tion of Free Audio Books, you will find two read­ings by David Sedaris. Here they go:

  • “The Mouse and the Snake” from Squir­rel Seeks Chip­munk: A Mod­est Bes­tiary — Free MP3
  • “Solu­tion to Saturday’s Puz­zle” from When You Are Engulfed in Flames - Free MP3

And, you can always down­load a com­plete David Sedaris book (in audio) by tak­ing advan­tage of Audible.com’s Free Tri­al offer.

The Aurora Borealis Viewed from Orbit (and What Creates Those Northern Lights?)

Ear­li­er this week, NASA astro­naut Clay­ton Ander­son tweet­ed a 14 sec­ond time-lapse film of the Auro­ra Bore­alis tak­en from the Inter­na­tion­al Space Sta­tion. The short clip called to mind a more exten­sive view of the North­ern Lights shot by Don Pet­tit, also work­ing in the ISS, back in 2008. (Watch above.) And it raised the basic ques­tion: What caus­es the Auro­ra Bore­alis any­way?

The beau­ti­ful nat­ur­al phe­nom­e­non starts deep inside the core of the sun, and the rest of the sto­ry gets explained in a five minute ani­mat­ed video cre­at­ed by Nor­we­gian film­mak­er Per Byhring and the Physics Depart­ment at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Oslo.

Both clips now appear in our col­lec­tion of 125 Great Sci­ence Videos.

via Coudal Part­ners Blend­ed Feed and Brain­Pick­ings

This is Real Democracy

The Israeli mashup artist Ophir Kutiel, oth­er­wise known as Kuti­man, strikes again. His lat­est cre­ation, “This is Real Democ­ra­cy,” offers a mul­ti­me­dia com­men­tary on the messy state of world affairs. Which way will bank­rupt democ­ra­cies and nascent demo­c­ra­t­ic move­ments take us? It’s unclear and a lit­tle unnerv­ing, or per­haps a reminder of Churchill’s famous dic­tum “Democ­ra­cy is the worst form of gov­ern­ment, except for all those oth­er forms that have been tried.” The mashup cap­tures that sense in its own unique way…

The Birth of Film: 11 Firsts in Cinema

Today, we’re rewind­ing the video­tape to the ear­ly days of cin­e­ma. We’re start­ing in 1878 and then mov­ing for­ward, watch­ing eleven cin­e­mat­ic firsts, the moments when entire tra­di­tions in film were born. The first hor­ror film. The first west­ern. The first sci-fi film. And all of the rest. Some films we have fea­tured here before, oth­ers not. All appear in our col­lec­tion of 400 Free Movies Online. Sit back and enjoy…

If you’re look­ing for the first movie ever made, you can look back to The Horse In Motion, cre­at­ed by Ead­weard Muy­bridge in 1878. Muy­bridge was asked by Leland Stan­ford (rail­road mag­nate, Cal­i­for­nia sen­a­tor, race-horse own­er, and even­tu­al founder of Stan­ford Uni­ver­si­ty) to answer a pop­u­lar­ly debat­ed ques­tion: When a horse trots, do all four hooves leave the ground simul­ta­ne­ous­ly? Muy­bridge’s stop motion film made it clear that they do.

A great film tra­di­tion – the West­ern – start­ed in 1903 with The Great Train Rob­bery, Edwin S. Porter’s 10 minute film that com­bined west­ern themes with inno­v­a­tive cin­e­mat­ic tech­niques (nar­ra­tive sto­ry­telling, par­al­lel edit­ing, minor cam­era move­ment, loca­tion shoot­ing, etc.). The film famous­ly took its inspi­ra­tion from an event that became the stuff of leg­end: Butch Cassidy’s 1900 train heist, which end­ed with Cas­sidy blow­ing open a safe and escap­ing with $5,000 in cash. Start­ing in the 1920s, John Wayne began shoot­ing the first of many West­erns and took the genre to new heights. You can find 25 Free John Wayne Films right here.

A year before the Wright broth­ers launched the first air­plane flight in 1903, Georges Méliès, a French film­mak­er with already 400 films to his cred­it, direct­ed a film that visu­al­ized a much big­ger human ambi­tion – land­ing a space­craft on the moon. Loose­ly based on works by Jules Vernes (From the Earth to the Moon) and H. G. Wells (The First Men in the Moon), A Trip to the Moon (Le voy­age dans la lune) invent­ed one of our favorite cin­e­mat­ic gen­res – the sci­ence fic­tion movie. Today, many film crit­ics con­sid­er Méliès’ short movie an endur­ing clas­sic. The Vil­lage Voice ranked it #84 on its list of the 100 Best Films of the 20th Cen­tu­ry, and you’ll almost cer­tain­ly rec­og­nize the icon­ic shot at the 4:44 mark.

Chalk anoth­er one up for Georges Méliès. Even before he brought sci-fi to motion pic­tures, Méliès shot Le Manoir du Dia­ble, or The Haunt­ed Cas­tle, in 1896, which many now con­sid­er the first hor­ror movie. In this three minute film, a bat flies into a medieval cas­tle, turns into Mephistophe­les, then gets chased away by a cru­ci­fix. There you have it, the essen­tial ingre­di­ents of the vam­pire film.

100 years ago, J. Sear­le Daw­ley wrote and direct­ed Franken­stein. It took him three days to shoot the short, 12-minute movie (when most films were actu­al­ly shot in just one day). It marked the first time that Mary Shel­ley’s lit­er­ary cre­ation was adapt­ed to film. And, some­what notably, Thomas Edi­son had a hand (albeit it an indi­rect one) in mak­ing the film. The first Franken­stein was shot at Edi­son Stu­dios, the pro­duc­tion com­pa­ny owned by the famous inven­tor.

In ear­ly 1920, Robert Wiene pre­miered in Berlin his silent film The Cab­i­net of Dr. Cali­gari. Ever since, crit­ics have lav­ished praise upon Cali­gari, call­ing it a mod­el of Ger­man expres­sion­ist film, the great­est hor­ror film of ear­ly cin­e­ma, and an impor­tant influ­ence on direc­tors lat­er work­ing in the film noir tra­di­tion. And, what’s more (spoil­er alert), Wiene’s film intro­duced the first ‘twist end­ing’ to cin­e­ma. Today, you can watch this ground­break­ing film in its entire­ty above, or by down­load­ing it from the Inter­net Archive.

Get more cin­e­mat­ic firsts after the jump.


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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.