Dave Grohl Rocks the White House, Plays Band on the Run

Ran­dom thoughts: Has the White House (save last sum­mer’s earth­quake) ever been rocked this hard? And has a rock ‘n roll crowd ever been this restrained? Let’s face it, the rebel­lious­ness of rock and the for­mal­i­ty of high gov­ern­ment make for a fun­ny fit. But that does­n’t take any­thing away from Grohl’s lit­tle gig, and don’t miss my favorite per­for­mance from that night: Elvis Costel­lo singing Pen­ny Lane with a mem­ber of the Unit­ed States Marine band on the pic­co­lo trum­pet.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

The Bea­t­les’ Rooftop Con­cert: The Last Gig

The Bea­t­les: Why Music Mat­ters in Two Ani­mat­ed Min­utes

The Bea­t­les as Teens (1957)

Jim­my Page Tells the Sto­ry of Kash­mir

Terry Gilliam Explains The Difference Between Kubrick (Great Filmmaker) and Spielberg (Less So)

Ter­ry Gilliam has nev­er tried to hide his feel­ings about Hol­ly­wood. “It’s an abom­inable place,” he told The New York Times in 2005. “If there was an Old Tes­ta­men­tal God, he would do his job and wipe the place out. The only bad thing is that some real­ly good restau­rants would go up as well.”

One thing that both­ers Gilliam about Hol­ly­wood is the pres­sure it exerts on film­mak­ers to resolve their sto­ries into hap­py end­ings. In this inter­est­ing clip from an inter­view he did a few years ago with Turn­er Clas­sic Movies, Gilliam makes his point by com­par­ing the work of Steven Spielberg–perhaps the quin­tes­sen­tial Hol­ly­wood director–with that of Stan­ley Kubrick, who, like Gilliam, steered clear of Hol­ly­wood and lived a life of exile in Eng­land. Kubrick refused to pan­der to our desire for emo­tion­al reas­sur­ance. “The great film­mak­ers,” says Gilliam, “make you go home and think about it.”

If you would like to sign up for Open Culture’s free email newslet­ter, please find it here. Or fol­low our posts on Threads, Face­book, BlueSky or Mastodon.

If you would like to sup­port the mis­sion of Open Cul­ture, con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion to our site. It’s hard to rely 100% on ads, and your con­tri­bu­tions will help us con­tin­ue pro­vid­ing the best free cul­tur­al and edu­ca­tion­al mate­ri­als to learn­ers every­where. You can con­tribute through Pay­Pal, Patre­on, and Ven­mo (@openculture). Thanks!

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Ter­ry Gilliam (Mon­ty Python) Shows You How to Make Your Own Cutout Ani­ma­tion

Stan­ley Kubrick’s List of Top 10 Films (The First and Only List He Ever Cre­at­ed)

The Best Ani­mat­ed Films of All Time, Accord­ing to Ter­ry Gilliam

600 Free Movies Online

Mankind’s First Steps on the Moon: The Ultra High Res Photos

In 1961, John F. Kennedy asked a lot of the U.S. space pro­gram when he declared: “I believe that this nation should com­mit itself to achiev­ing the goal, before this decade is out, of land­ing a man on the Moon and return­ing him safe­ly to the Earth.” NASA hit that ambi­tious tar­get with a few months to spare. On July 20, 1969, the Apol­lo 11 land­ed on the moon and Neil Arm­strong and Buzz Aldrin took their famous first steps on the des­o­late lunar sur­face. The orig­i­nal video is grainy, hard to see. But the pho­tos tak­en dur­ing the mis­sion are any­thing but. To cel­e­brate the 40th anniver­sary of the moon land­ing (back in 2009), the folks at Spac­eRip stitched togeth­er a col­lec­tion of high res­o­lu­tion pho­tos from the Apol­lo 11 mis­sion, then set the slideshow to Chopin’s Trois nou­velles études, 2nd in A flat major. You can find this clip housed in our col­lec­tion of Great Sci­ence Videos.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

The Moon Up Close, in HD

Tour­ing the Earth from Space (in HD)

The Best of NASA Space Shut­tle Videos (1981–2010)


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Werner Herzog Gets Shot During Interview, Doesn’t Miss a Beat

Fast for­ward to the 47 sec­ond mark if you want to cut straight to the action.

Wern­er Her­zog moved to the Unit­ed States in the mid 1990s. He tried liv­ing in San Fran­cis­co, but found it “too chic and leisure­ly.” He gave thought to New York, but real­ized it is “only a place to go [to] if you’re into finances.” Look­ing for “a place of cul­tur­al sub­stance,” he end­ed up in Los Ange­les. The city is “raw, uncouth and bizarre,” but it’s a place of sub­stance,” he con­clud­ed.

By 2006, Her­zog dis­cov­ered that L.A. also has a lit­tle dan­ger going for it. Dur­ing an inter­view with BBC crit­ic Mark Ker­mode, the film­mak­er took a shot from an unknown gun­man armed with an air rifle. No mat­ter. Ker­mode and Her­zog quick­ly relo­cat­ed and con­tin­ued the inter­view. The unflap­pable Her­zog shrugged off the shoot­ing, sim­ply say­ing “It was not a sig­nif­i­cant bul­let. I am not afraid.”

If you would like to sign up for Open Culture’s free email newslet­ter, please find it here. Or fol­low our posts on Threads, Face­book, BlueSky or Mastodon.

If you would like to sup­port the mis­sion of Open Cul­ture, con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion to our site. It’s hard to rely 100% on ads, and your con­tri­bu­tions will help us con­tin­ue pro­vid­ing the best free cul­tur­al and edu­ca­tion­al mate­ri­als to learn­ers every­where. You can con­tribute through Pay­Pal, Patre­on, and Ven­mo (@openculture). Thanks!

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Wern­er Her­zog: Movies Won’t Change the World

Wern­er Her­zog Reads “Go the F**k to Sleep” in NYC (NSFW)

Wern­er Her­zog Los­es a Bet to Errol Mor­ris, and Eats His Shoe (Lit­er­al­ly)

The Thanksgiving Math Lecture: Real Meets Virtual

Matthew Weath­ers teach­es com­put­er sci­ence and math­e­mat­ics cours­es at Bio­la Uni­ver­si­ty in south­ern Cal­i­for­nia, and, while wrap­ping up a lec­ture last week, the talk turned to Thanks­giv­ing and, well, you can watch the rest.

On a more seri­ous note, don’t miss our col­lec­tion of 400 Free Online Cours­es.

Seeing Double: The Lake Twins Meet the Cholmondeley Ladies

Phoebe and Lydia Lake are artists. They’re also iden­ti­cal twins, which means they know a thing or two about sym­me­try. So last year, when they were 20 years old, the Tate Britain decid­ed to film their first encounter with one of the muse­um’s most famous hold­ings, The Chol­monde­ley Ladies, paint­ed some­time around 1600–1610 by an unknown artist. An inscrip­tion describes the ladies as mem­bers of the Chol­monde­ley fam­i­ly (pro­nounced “Chum­ley”) who were born on the same day, mar­ried on the same day and “brought to bed” (gave birth) on the same day. The sharply defined, rigid­ly sym­met­ric com­po­si­tion depicts two very sim­i­lar but not iden­ti­cal women (per­haps fra­ter­nal twins) dressed in exquis­ite Jacobean fin­ery, hold­ing their babies. In his essay, “The Per­cep­tion of Sym­me­try,” arts writer Michael Bird describes his own first reac­tion to the paint­ing when he was a boy:

The two win­try revenants, propped elbow to elbow in bed with their glow­ing babies, made a deep impres­sion. The blanched gor­geous­ness of their out­fits, blood­ed by the hot roy­al red of the chris­ten­ing gowns, was part of it. So was the spooky incon­gruity of vivid faces look­ing out from the pic­ture’s steam-ironed one-dimen­sion­al­i­ty, as though two peo­ple were stand­ing behind it, stick­ing their heads through holes in the board. Main­ly, though, it was their dou­ble­ness.

Striking Posters From Occupy Wall Street: Download Them for Free

Occu­py Wall Street and the glob­al Occu­py Move­ment have inspired some strik­ing art­work. Graph­ic artists from around the world (includ­ing Shep­ard Fairey men­tioned here ear­li­er today) have con­tributed their tal­ents to the move­ment. Many of their posters are avail­able for free or at low cost, either direct­ly from the artist or through orga­ni­za­tions like Occuprint and Occu­py­To­geth­er. You can post them in your town.

New York­er cov­er artist and book illus­tra­tor Eric Drook­er has cre­at­ed sev­er­al beau­ti­ful posters, includ­ing the one above. You can down­load a high-res­o­lu­tion copy suit­able for print­ing at OccupyTogether.org.

The not­ed Los Ange­les graph­ic artist, car­toon­ist and radio per­son­al­i­ty Lalo Alcaraz cre­at­ed this par­o­dy of the top­pling of the Sad­dam Hus­sein stat­ue in Bagh­dad for Occu­py Los Ange­les. In a mes­sage on his web­site, Alcaraz invites peo­ple to dis­trib­ute the image.

Alexan­dra Clot­fel­ter is a stu­dent of adver­tis­ing design and illus­tra­tion at the Savan­nah Col­lege of Art and Design in Geor­gia. Since donat­ing her design, “The Begin­ning is Near,” to Occuprint.org, it has become one of the most pop­u­lar posters to emerge from the move­ment. In response to requests, Clot­fel­ter is offer­ing a high-qual­i­ty Giclee print for sale, with a por­tion of the prof­its going to sup­port Occuprint­’s project of dis­trib­ut­ing free posters world­wide.

In this poster, Zucot­ti Park is por­trayed as the “Tip of the Ice­berg.” Indeed, the Occu­py move­ment extends to places like Lawrence, Kansas, where mural­ist, print­mak­er and writer Dave Loewen­stein is based. Loewen­stein’s design is avail­able for free at Occuprint.org.

Poster artist Rich Black of Berke­ley, Cal­i­for­nia cre­at­ed this image for Occu­py Oak­land. It’s avail­able for free down­load at Occuprint.org.

To see a vari­ety of Occu­py posters by oth­er artists (and to down­load them for free) you can vis­it Occuprint.org and OccupyTogether.org.

And don’t miss our post ear­li­er today: Shep­ard Fairey Caves In, Revis­es Occu­py Wall Street Poster.

Shepard Fairey Caves In, Revises Occupy Wall Street Poster

Shep­ard Fairey’s famous 2008 Oba­ma “Hope” poster has been the source of count­less imi­ta­tions and par­o­dies. Last week Fairey released his own par­o­dy for Occu­py Wall Street, replac­ing Oba­ma’s head with a hood­ed fig­ure in a Guy Fawkes mask, along with the words, “Mis­ter Pres­i­dent, We HOPE You’re On Our Side.” As Fairey explained on his web­site, “I see Oba­ma as a poten­tial ally of the Occu­py move­ment if the ener­gy of the move­ment is per­ceived as con­struc­tive, not destruc­tive.”

Not every­one agreed. Yes­ter­day, after a series of dis­cus­sions with one of the orga­niz­ers of the pur­port­ed­ly lead­er­less move­ment, Fairey announced he was back­ing down and drop­ping the provoca­tive mes­sage to the pres­i­dent and replac­ing it with “We Are The HOPE.” A few of the move­men­t’s orga­niz­ers report­ed­ly thought Fairey’s poster implied that Occu­py Wall Street either sup­port­ed Oba­ma or was beg­ging for his sup­port.

“As Oba­ma has raised more mon­ey from Wall Street than any oth­er can­di­date in his­to­ry, it would make us naive hyp­ocrites to sup­port him under present cir­cum­stances,” the anony­mous orga­niz­er wrote to Fairey. “As for the design, the fact that you put the 99% inside the Oba­ma O is cross­ing a sacred line. While it def­i­nite­ly looks cool, whether intend­ed or not, this sends a clear mes­sage that Oba­ma is co-opt­ing OWS.”

“I have no inter­est in pan­der­ing to Oba­ma,” respond­ed Fairey. “I see my image as a reminder to him that he has alien­at­ed his pop­ulist pro­gres­sive sup­port­ers.”

But Fairey sub­mit­ted to the pres­sure and changed his design any­way. You can read more about the exchange here, and see the altered ver­sion of Fairey’s poster below.

For more Occu­py Wall Street posters, stay tuned for our post com­ing lat­er today.…

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.