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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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!

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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.