Simone de Beauvoir & Jean-Paul Sartre Shooting a Gun in Their First Photo Together (1929)


In late 2012, an exhi­bi­tion called Shoot! Exis­ten­tial Pho­tog­ra­phy was held in Lon­don. And it traced the his­to­ry of an unusu­al attrac­tion that start­ed appear­ing in Euro­pean fair­grounds after World War I — the pho­to­graph­ic shoot­ing gallery. It worked some­thing like this: A con­tes­tant paid a lit­tle mon­ey, and tried to hit the cen­ter of a tar­get with a gun. If he or she hit the tar­get, a cam­era took a pho­to, and instead of win­ning a lit­tle toy, the con­tes­tant received a snap­shot of him or her­self shoot­ing the gun. Accord­ing to the exhi­bi­tion, this side-show “fas­ci­nat­ed many artists and intel­lec­tu­als in its hey­day, includ­ing Simone de Beau­voir, Jean-Paul Sartre, Man Ray and Lee Miller.” You can see a gallery of pho­tos here. But above, we have a pic­ture of de Beau­voir and Sartre at the shoot­ing gallery togeth­er. Tak­en at the Porte d’Or­léans fair­ground in Paris in June, 1929 — the same year the young philoso­phers met — this pho­to­graph is, accord­ing to the blog Avec Beau­voir, the cou­ple’s first pic­ture togeth­er. Do note that de Beau­voir appar­ent­ly hit the tar­get with her eyes closed. You can click the image to see it in a larg­er for­mat.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Lovers and Philoso­phers — Jean-Paul Sartre & Simone de Beau­voir Togeth­er in 1967

Simone de Beau­voir Explains “Why I’m a Fem­i­nist” in a Rare TV Inter­view (1975)

Philosophy’s Pow­er Cou­ple, Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beau­voir, Fea­tured in 1967 TV Inter­view

Free Phi­los­o­phy Cours­es Online

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Enjoy 15+ Hours of the Weird and Wonderful World of Post Soviet Russian Animation

Back dur­ing the wan­ing years of the Sovi­et Union, ani­ma­tor Alek­san­dr Tatarsky left the state-run stu­dio Écran to form his own ani­ma­tion com­pa­ny called Stu­dio Pilot, the first pri­vate­ly owned com­pa­ny of its kind in Rus­sia. The stu­dio quick­ly made a name for itself by turn­ing out bizarre, sur­re­al and, at times, down­right dis­turb­ing ani­mat­ed shorts. If you went to ani­ma­tion fes­ti­vals dur­ing the Clin­ton pres­i­den­cy, you prob­a­bly saw some­thing from Stu­dio Pilot.

Metafil­ter user “Nomyte,” who clear­ly knows both ani­ma­tion and Russ­ian, put togeth­er an exhaus­tive list of movies on Youtube from Stu­dio Pilot.  A whop­ping 17 hours of footage. Here are a few favorites:

His Wife is a Chick­en (1989)A sur­re­al­ist domes­tic dra­ma tale about a guy who rejects his lov­ing, hard­work­ing wife when he real­izes that, well, she’s a chick­en. Told com­plete­ly with­out words, the film (shown above) mas­ter­ful­ly fus­es every­day banal­i­ty with some tru­ly unnerv­ing bits of weird­ness – like that hor­rif­ic worm dog crea­ture with a human face. I saw this movie at some point in the ear­ly ‘90s and it gave me night­mares.

The Coup  (1991) – An ani­mat­ed polit­i­cal car­toon that — 20 some odd years lat­er — has become a fas­ci­nat­ing his­tor­i­cal doc­u­ment. The short shows a svelte Boris Yeltsin lit­er­al­ly flush away the lead­ers of the doomed 1991 coup attempt­ed against Mikhail Gor­bachev. The inci­dent was the last gasp of the Sovi­et old guard; its fail­ure result­ed in the even­tu­al dis­so­lu­tion of the USSR. As the film’s end title points out, all of the short’s ani­ma­tors were per­son­al­ly involved in fight­ing the coup: “From 19 to 21 of August 1991, all ani­ma­tors who made this film have been [sic] defend­ing the white house of Rus­sia. Only by night on August 21 they could start work­ing on the film.”

Gone with the Wind (1998) – Noth­ing about romance dur­ing the Civ­il War here. Instead, this movie is about, once again, a chick­en. The short ani­ma­tion is a macabre tale about a boiled bird that comes back from the dead and strug­gles to return to its orig­i­nal unplucked state. You won’t look at eggs in quite the same way again.

2+1= (2003) – A light­heart­ed com­e­dy about dinosaurs in love.

If you want to see the com­plete list of Stu­dio Pilot ani­ma­tions, check it out here. Many more great ani­mat­ed shorts can be found on our list of Free Ani­mat­ed Films, part of our big­ger col­lec­tion 4,000+ Free Movies Online: Great Clas­sics, Indies, Noir, West­erns, Doc­u­men­taries & More.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Watch Dzi­ga Vertov’s Unset­tling Sovi­et Toys: The First Sovi­et Ani­mat­ed Movie Ever (1924)

Two Beau­ti­ful­ly-Craft­ed Russ­ian Ani­ma­tions of Chekhov’s Clas­sic Children’s Sto­ry “Kash­tan­ka”

Watch Sovi­et Ani­ma­tions of Win­nie the Pooh, Cre­at­ed by the Inno­v­a­tive Ani­ma­tor Fyo­dor Khitruk

Jonathan Crow is a Los Ange­les-based writer and film­mak­er whose work has appeared in Yahoo!, The Hol­ly­wood Reporter, and oth­er pub­li­ca­tions. You can fol­low him at @jonccrow.

Watch Six TED-Style Lectures from Top Harvard Profs Presented at Harvard Thinks Big 5

Har­vard has a few propo­si­tions it would like you con­sid­er. Take, for exam­ple, the one expound­ed on above by Robert Lue, whose titles include Pro­fes­sor of the Prac­tice of Mol­e­c­u­lar and Cel­lu­lar Biol­o­gy, Richard L. Men­schel Fac­ul­ty Direc­tor of the Derek Bok Cen­ter for Teach­ing and Learn­ing, and the fac­ul­ty direc­tor of Har­vardX. As an Open Cul­ture read­er, you might have some expe­ri­ence with that last institution—or, rather, dig­i­tal institution—which releas­es Har­vard-cal­iber learn­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties free in the form of Mas­sive Open Online Cours­es (or MOOCs). You’ll find some of them on our very own reg­u­lar­ly-updat­ed col­lec­tion of MOOCs from great uni­ver­si­ties. Per­haps you haven’t enjoyed tak­ing one, but you may well do it soon. What, though, does their increas­ing pop­u­lar­i­ty mean for uni­ver­si­ties, one of the old­est of the tra­di­tion­al indus­tries we so often speak of the inter­net “dis­rupt­ing”? Lue, who offers eight and a half min­utes of the choic­est words on the sub­ject, would like you to con­sid­er the MOOC’s moment not one of dis­rup­tion for the uni­ver­si­ty, but one of “inflec­tion, and ulti­mate­ly a moment of poten­tial trans­for­ma­tion.”

Lue’s argu­ment comes laid out in one of the six brief but sharp lec­tures from Har­vard Thinks Big 5, the lat­est round of the famed uni­ver­si­ty’s series of TED-style talks where “a col­lec­tion of all-star pro­fes­sors each speak for ten min­utes about some­thing they are pas­sion­ate about.” Jef­frey MironSenior Lec­tur­er and Direc­tor of Under­grad­u­ate Stud­ies in the Depart­ment of Eco­nom­ics and senior fel­low at the Cato Insti­tute, has a pas­sion for drug legal­iza­tion. In his talk just above, Miron tells us why we should recon­sid­er our assump­tions about the ben­e­fits of any kind of drug pro­hi­bi­tion — or at least, the ben­e­fits we just seem to assume it brings. And as we rethink our posi­tions on the role of gov­ern­ment in drug use and tech­nol­o­gy in the uni­ver­si­ty, why not also rethink the role of large news orga­ni­za­tions — and large orga­ni­za­tions of any kind — in our lives? Below, Nic­co Mele, Adjunct Lec­tur­er in Pub­lic Pol­i­cy at the Shoren­stein Cen­ter at Har­vard’s Kennedy School, explains why all kinds of pow­er, from man­u­fac­tur­ing san­dals all the way up to gath­er­ing news, has and will con­tin­ue to devolve from insti­tu­tions to indi­vid­u­als.

The rest of the Har­vard Thinks Big 5 line­up includes Senior Lec­tur­er on Edu­ca­tion Kather­ine K. Mer­seth advo­cat­ing careers in teach­ing,  Pro­fes­sor of Mol­e­c­u­lar and Cel­lu­lar Biol­o­gy Jeff Licht­man advo­cat­ing “chang­ing the wiring in your brain,” and African Amer­i­can Stud­ies pro­fes­sor and Hiphop Archive at Har­vard Uni­ver­si­ty found­ing direc­tor Mar­cyliena Mor­gan advo­cat­ing a rich­er study of what grown-ups used to call, with a groan, “rap music.” You can read more about the talks and the pro­fes­sors giv­ing them at the Crim­son, before watch­ing and decid­ing whether to agree with them, dis­agree with them, or sim­ply con­sid­er — in oth­er words, to think. The videos are also avail­able on iTune­sU.

Kather­ine K. Mer­seth

Jeff Licht­man

Mar­cyliena Mor­gan

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Har­vard Presents Free Cours­es with the Open Learn­ing Ini­tia­tive

Har­vard Thinks Green: Big Ideas from 6 All-Star Envi­ron­ment Profs

Har­vard Thinks Big 4 Offers TED-Style Talks on Stats, Milk, and Traf­fic-Direct­ing Mimes

Har­vard Thinks Big 2012: 8 All-Star Pro­fes­sors. 8 Big Ideas

Har­vard Thinks Big 2010

Col­in Mar­shall hosts and pro­duces Note­book on Cities and Cul­ture and writes essays on cities, lan­guage, Asia, and men’s style. He’s at work on a book about Los Ange­les, A Los Ange­les Primer. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

Bruce Springsteen and Pink Floyd Get Their First Scholarly Journals and Academic Conferences


When I first entered col­lege in the mid-‘90s, the phe­nom­e­non of pop cul­ture stud­ies in acad­e­mia seemed like an excit­ing nov­el­ty, bound to the ethos of the Clin­ton years. Often inci­sive, occa­sion­al­ly friv­o­lous, pop cul­ture stud­ies made acad­e­mia fun again, and rein­vig­o­rat­ed the world of schol­ar­ly pub­lish­ing and col­lege life in gen­er­al. All man­ner of fan­dom ruled the day: we took class­es in hip hop videos and Buffy the Vam­pire Slay­er, Ala­nis Mor­ris­sette rede­fined irony, and near­ly every­one got hired right after grad­u­a­tion (see for ref­er­ence the cult clas­sic 1994 film PCU). These days I don’t need to tell you that the prospects for new grads are con­sid­er­ably reduced, but I’m very hap­py to find aca­d­e­m­ic soci­eties and jour­nals still orga­nized around TV shows, fan­ta­sy nov­els, and pop music. Today we bring you two exam­ples from the world of Clas­sic Rock & Roll Stud­ies (to coin a term). First up we have BOSS, or “The Bian­nu­al Online-Jour­nal of Spring­steen Stud­ies.”

Spring­steen Stud­ies is not new. In fact, a mas­sive Spring­steen sym­po­sium called “Glo­ry Days”—joint­ly spon­sored by Vir­ginia Tech, Penn State, and Mon­mouth Uni­ver­si­ty—has tak­en place twice in West Long Branch, New Jer­sey since 2005 and is cur­rent­ly prepar­ing for its next event. BOSS, how­ev­er, only just emerged, the first schol­ar­ly Spring­steen jour­nal ever pub­lished. The first issue will appear in June of this year, and the edi­tors are now solic­it­ing 15 to 25 page aca­d­e­m­ic arti­cles for their Jan­u­ary, 2015 issue. Describ­ing them­selves as a “schol­ar­ly space for Spring­steen Stud­ies in the con­tem­po­rary acad­e­my,” BOSS seeks “broad inter­dis­ci­pli­nary and cross-dis­ci­pli­nary approach­es to Springsteen’s song­writ­ing, per­for­mance, and fan com­mu­ni­ty.” Spring­steen schol­ars: check the BOSS site for dead­lines and con­tact info.

Unlike most schol­ar­ly jour­nals, BOSS is open-access, so fans and admir­ers of all kinds can read the sure-to-be fas­ci­nat­ing dis­cus­sions it fos­ters as it works toward secur­ing “a place for Spring­steen Stud­ies in the con­tem­po­rary acad­e­my.” Spring­steen Stud­ies’ advo­ca­cy appears to be working—Rutgers Uni­ver­si­ty plans to add a Spring­steen the­ol­o­gy class, cov­er­ing Springsteen’s entire discog­ra­phy, and oth­er insti­tu­tions like Prince­ton and the Uni­ver­si­ty of Rochester have offered Spring­steen cours­es in the past.

In anoth­er first for a spe­cial­ized pop cul­ture field, the first-ever aca­d­e­m­ic con­fer­ence on the work of Pink Floyd will be held this com­ing April 13 at Prince­ton Uni­ver­si­ty. Called “Pink Floyd: Sound, Sight, and Struc­ture,” the event promis­es to be a mul­ti-media extrav­a­gan­za, fea­tur­ing as its keynote speak­er Gram­my-award win­ning Pink Floyd pro­duc­er and engi­neer James Guthrie. (See Guthrie and oth­ers dis­cuss the pro­duc­tion of the sur­round-sound Super Audio CD of Wish You Were Here in the video above). In addi­tion to Guthrie’s talk, and his sur­round sound mix of the band’s music, the con­fer­ence will offer “live com­po­si­tions and arrange­ments inspired by Pink Floyd’s music,” an “exhi­bi­tion of Pink Floyd cov­ers and art,” and a screen­ing of The Wall. Papers include “The Visu­al Music of Pink Floyd,” “Space and Rep­e­ti­tion in David Gilmour’s Gui­tar Solos,” and “Sev­er­al Species of Small Fur­ry Ani­mals: The Genius of Ear­ly Floyd.” Admis­sion is free, but you’ll need to RSVP to get in. The town of Prince­ton will join in the fes­tiv­i­ties with “Out­side the Wall,” a series of events and spe­cials on drinks, din­ing, art, and music.

While these events and pub­li­ca­tions may seem to locate pop cul­ture stud­ies square­ly in New Jer­sey, those inter­est­ed can find con­fer­ences all over the world, in fact. A good place to start is the site of the PCA (“Pop Cul­ture Asso­ci­a­tion”), which hosts its annu­al con­fer­ence next month in Chica­go, and the Inter­na­tion­al Con­fer­ence on Media and Pop­u­lar Cul­ture will be held this May in Vien­na. Pop cul­ture and media stud­ies still seem to me to be par­tic­u­lar prod­ucts of the opti­mistic ‘90s (due to my own vin­tage, no doubt), but it appears these aca­d­e­m­ic fields are thriv­ing, despite the vast­ly dif­fer­ent eco­nom­ic cli­mate we now live in, with its no-fun, belt-tight­en­ing effects on high­er ed across the board.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Bruce Spring­steen Exhi­bi­tion Held in Philadel­phia; It’s Now Offi­cial, The Boss is an Amer­i­can Icon

Heat Map­ping the Rise of Bruce Spring­steen: How the Boss Went Viral in a Pre-Inter­net Era

Watch Doc­u­men­taries on the Mak­ing of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon and Wish You Were Here

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

The World Concert Hall: Listen To The Best Live Classical Music Concerts for Free


While the Inter­net may not have helped glob­al music sales, it’s cer­tain­ly been a boon for fans want­i­ng to lis­ten to oth­er­wise-inac­ces­si­ble music, espe­cial­ly clas­si­cal music. We often post clas­si­cal musi­cal finds on Open Cul­ture. Take for exam­ple this com­pendi­um of freely down­load­able music from over 150 clas­si­cal com­posers, this open ver­sion of Bach’s Gold­berg vari­a­tions and all of Bach’s organ works, and then this col­lec­tion of 85,000 free clas­si­cal scores. Today, we bring you anoth­er fan­tas­tic resource: the World Con­cert Hall.

Just over a cen­tu­ry after the first radio per­for­mance of Rug­gero Leoncavallo’s “Il Pagli­ac­ci,” and Pietro Mascagni’s “Cav­al­le­ria Rus­ti­cana” were broad­cast live from the Met­ro­pol­i­tan Opera House in 1910, the World Con­cert Hall has made it its mis­sion to bring free live clas­si­cal con­certs to the world. The web­site con­tains a col­lec­tion of links to free radio per­for­mances each week, allow­ing lis­ten­ers to tune into live con­certs per­formed across the globe. You can browse per­for­mances accord­ing to the site’s sched­ule, or choose from a selec­tion of clas­si­cal radio sta­tions in a large num­ber of coun­tries. As you might expect, the U.S has the largest selec­tion by far, with 80 sta­tions. But for more curi­ous music lovers, World Con­cert Hall also offers a taste of what oth­er fans are lis­ten­ing to in oth­er coun­tries, like Chi­na, Japan, and Israel.

Inter­est­ed in check­ing out Mendelssohn’s con­cer­to for vio­lin, piano, and strings at Brus­sels’ Klara Fes­ti­val (today, 7pm, GMT) or Iri­na Ior­daches­cu and the Roman­ian Radio Nation­al Orches­tra per­form­ing Tchaikovsky’s last works (Fri­day, 5pm, GMT)? Lis­ten to your heart’s con­tent at World Con­cert Hall.

Ilia Blin­d­er­man is a Mon­tre­al-based cul­ture and sci­ence writer. Fol­low him at @iliablinderman, or read more of his writ­ing at the Huff­in­g­ton Post.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, Visu­al­ized in a Com­put­er Ani­ma­tion for Its 100th Anniver­sary

Debussy Plays Debussy: The Great Composer’s Play­ing Returns to Life

The Genius of J.S. Bach’s “Crab Canon” Visu­al­ized on a Möbius Strip

New­ly Dis­cov­ered Piece by Mozart Per­formed on His Own Fortepi­ano

Thomas Edison & His Trusty Kinetoscope Create the First Movie Filmed In The US (c. 1889)

Thomas Edi­son is undoubt­ed­ly America’s best-known inven­tor. Nick­named “The Wiz­ard of Men­lo Park” for his pro­lif­ic cre­ativ­i­ty, Edi­son amassed a whop­ping 1093 patents through­out his life­time. His most impor­tant inven­tions, such as the incan­des­cent light bulb and the phono­graph, were not mere­ly rev­o­lu­tion­ary in and of them­selves: they led direct­ly to the estab­lish­ment of vast indus­tries, such as pow­er util­i­ties and the music busi­ness. It is one of his less­er known inven­tions, how­ev­er, that led to the pro­duc­tion of the first film shot in the Unit­ed States, which you can view above.

The film, called Mon­keyshines, No. 1, was record­ed at some point between June 1889 and Novem­ber 1890. Its cre­ation is the work of William Dick­son, an employ­ee of Edison’s, who had been in charge of devel­op­ing the inventor’s idea for a new film-view­ing device. The machine that Edi­son had con­ceived and Dick­son engi­neered was the Kine­to­scope: a large box that housed a sys­tem that quick­ly moved a strip of film over a light source. Users watched the film whiz by from a hole in the top of the box, and by using sequen­tial images, like those in a flip-book, the Kine­to­scope gave the impres­sion of move­ment.


In the film, which Dick­son and anoth­er Edi­son employ­ee named William Heise cre­at­ed, a blur­ry out­line of an Edi­son labs employ­ee moves about, seem­ing­ly danc­ing. The above clip con­tains both Mon­keyshines, No. 1, and its sequel, appar­ent­ly filmed to con­duct fur­ther equip­ment tests, known as Mon­keyshines, No. 2. HD video, this is not. Despite hav­ing the hon­or of being the first films to be shot in the US, the Mon­keyshines series has gar­nered an unen­thu­si­as­tic reac­tion from present-day crit­ics: the orig­i­nal received a rat­ing of 5.5/10 stars at IMDB. The sequel? A 5.4.

Ilia Blin­d­er­man is a Mon­tre­al-based cul­ture and sci­ence writer. Fol­low him at @iliablinderman, or read more of his writ­ing at the Huff­in­g­ton Post.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Thomas Edi­son and Niko­la Tes­la Face Off in “Epic Rap Bat­tles of His­to­ry”

Magi­cian Mar­co Tem­pest Daz­zles a TED Audi­ence with “The Elec­tric Rise and Fall of Niko­la Tes­la”

A Brief, Ani­mat­ed Intro­duc­tion to Thomas Edi­son (and Niko­la Tes­la)

Thomas Edi­son Recites “Mary Had a Lit­tle Lamb” in Ear­ly Voice Record­ing

In 1968, Stanley Kubrick Makes Predictions for 2001: Humanity Will Conquer Old Age, Watch 3D TV & Learn German in 20 Minutes


Image by Moody Man, via Flickr Com­mons

1968. Rev­o­lu­tion was in the air and the future seemed bright. That year, Stan­ley Kubrick released his mas­ter­piece 2001: A Space Odyssey – a big-bud­get, exper­i­men­tal rumi­na­tion on the evo­lu­tion of mankind. The film was a huge box office hit when it came out; its mind-bend­ing meta­physics res­onat­ed with the culture’s new­found inter­est in chem­i­cal­ly altered states and in spir­i­tu­al­i­ty.

In the Sep­tem­ber issue from that year, Play­boy mag­a­zine pub­lished a lengthy inter­view with Kubrick. Even at a time when pub­lic fig­ures were sup­posed to sound like intel­lec­tu­als (boy, times have changed), Kubrick comes across as insane­ly well read. Dur­ing the course of the inter­view, he quotes from the likes of media crit­ic Mar­shall McLuhan, Win­ston Churchill, and 19th Cen­tu­ry poet Matthew Arnold along with a hand­ful of promi­nent aca­d­e­mics.

Kubrick is char­ac­ter­is­ti­cal­ly cagey about offer­ing any expla­na­tions of his enig­mat­ic movie but he does read­i­ly expound on philo­soph­i­cal ques­tions about God, the mean­ing of life (or lack there­of) and the pos­si­bil­i­ty of extrater­res­tri­al life. But per­haps the most inter­est­ing part of the 17-page inter­view is his vision of what 2001 might look like. It’s fas­ci­nat­ing to see what he got right, what might be right a bit fur­ther into the future, and what’s com­plete­ly wrong. Check them out below:

“With­in ten years, in fact, I believe that freez­ing of the dead will be a major indus­try in the Unit­ed States and through­out the world; I would rec­om­mend it as a field of invest­ment for imag­i­na­tive spec­u­la­tors.”

“Per­haps the great­est break­through we may have made by 2001 is the pos­si­bil­i­ty that man may be able to elim­i­nate old age.”

“I’m sure we’ll have sophis­ti­cat­ed 3‑D holo­graph­ic tele­vi­sion and films, and it’s pos­si­ble that com­plete­ly new forms of enter­tain­ment and edu­ca­tion will be devised.”

“You might have a machine that taps the brain and ush­ers you into a vivid dream expe­ri­ence in which you are the pro­tag­o­nist in a romance or an adven­ture. On a more seri­ous lev­el, a sim­i­lar machine could direct­ly pro­gram you with knowl­edge: in this way, you might, for exam­ple, eas­i­ly be able to learn flu­ent Ger­man in 20 min­utes.”

“I believe by 2001 we will have devised chem­i­cals with no adverse phys­i­cal, men­tal or genet­ic results that can give wings to the mind and enlarge per­cep­tion beyond its present evo­lu­tion­ary capacities…there should be fas­ci­nat­ing drugs avail­able by 2001; what use we make of them will be the cru­cial ques­tion.”

“The so-called sex­u­al rev­o­lu­tion, mid-wifed by the pill, will be extend­ed. Through drugs, or per­haps via the sharp­en­ing or even mechan­i­cal ampli­fi­ca­tion of latent ESP func­tions, it may be pos­si­ble for each part­ner to simul­ta­ne­ous­ly expe­ri­ence the sen­sa­tions of the oth­er; or we may even­tu­al­ly emerge into poly­mor­phous sex­u­al beings, with male and female com­po­nents blur­ring, merg­ing and inter­chang­ing. The poten­tial­i­ties for explor­ing new areas of sex­u­al expe­ri­ence are vir­tu­al­ly bound­less.”

“Look­ing into the dis­tant future, I sup­pose it’s not incon­ceiv­able that a semi­sen­tient robot-com­put­er sub­cul­ture could evolve that might one day decide it no longer need­ed man.”

For such a famous­ly pes­simistic film­mak­er, Kubrick’s vision of the future is remark­ably groovy – lots of sex, drugs and holo­graph­ic tele­vi­sion. He wasn’t, of course, the only one out there who thought about the future. You can see more bold pre­dic­tions below:

Isaac Asi­mov Pre­dicts in 1964 What the World Will Look Like Today — in 2014

Arthur C. Clarke Pre­dicts the Future in 1964 … And Kind of Nails It

Wal­ter Cronkite Imag­ines the Home of the 21st Cen­tu­ry … Back in 1967

The Inter­net Imag­ined in 1969

Mar­shall McLuhan Announces That The World is a Glob­al Vil­lage

Jonathan Crow is a Los Ange­les-based writer and film­mak­er whose work has appeared in Yahoo!, The Hol­ly­wood Reporter, and oth­er pub­li­ca­tions. You can fol­low him at @jonccrow.

David Bowie Talks and Sings on The Dick Cavett Show (1974)

I can think of very few taste­ful phe­nom­e­na to have come to promi­nence in the sev­en­ties, but David Bowie’s albums and Dick Cavet­t’s talk shows both make the short list. In the mid­dle of that decade, Bowie cer­tain­ly made the tele­vi­sion rounds; we pre­vi­ous­ly fea­tured his 1975 appear­ance oppo­site Cher, and today we have his appear­ance oppo­site Cavett from the pre­vi­ous year. “David Bowie is a super­star in a cat­e­go­ry that has nev­er actu­al­ly been defined,” says the host about the rock­er, to audi­ence cheers, “because as soon as a crit­ic tries to say what he is, he changes, like a chameleon.” It seems that Bowie, then at the height of his self-trans­for­ma­tive ten­den­cies, could reduce even the most elo­quent man on tele­vi­sion to that not-quite-accu­rate cliché. As the for­mer host told Esquire thir­ty years after this broad­cast, “Does­n’t a chameleon exert tremen­dous ener­gy to become indis­tin­guish­able from its envi­ron­ment?”

Yet Cavett ulti­mate­ly holds his own with Bowie, a feat I doubt many of the rest of us could pull off then or now. The appear­ance involves more than just music; while Bowie does per­form, he also sits down to talk, some­thing that his fans had­n’t yet seen him do in 1974. To many of them, he remained for the most part a mys­tery, albeit an astute­ly rock­ing one. “Who is he? What is he?” Cavett rhetor­i­cal­ly asks the crowd. “Man? Woman? Robot?” In the event, they dis­cuss his school days, his ride on the Trans-Siber­ian Rail­way, the unfor­get­table Dia­mond Dogs cov­er arthis step back from “glit­ter,” why oth­er peo­ple would have feared inter­view­ing him, and whether he pic­tures him­self at six­ty (in the far-flung year of 2007). How easy to for­get, in this age when we can often con­verse with our idols by mere­ly send­ing them an @ reply on Twit­ter, how much a show­man like Bowie could leave to our imag­i­na­tions. He remains admirably secre­tive by today’s stan­dards, but back in the sev­en­ties, any­thing he said would have come as a rev­e­la­tion — espe­cial­ly if prompt­ed by no less art­ful a con­ver­sa­tion­al­ist.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

David Bowie and Cher Sing Duet of “Young Amer­i­cans” and Oth­er Songs on 1975 Vari­ety Show

David Bowie Sings ‘I Got You Babe’ with Mar­i­anne Faith­full in His Last Per­for­mance As Zig­gy Star­dust

David Bowie Releas­es Vin­tage Videos of His Great­est Hits from the 1970s and 1980s

David Bowie Recalls the Strange Expe­ri­ence of Invent­ing the Char­ac­ter Zig­gy Star­dust (1977)

David Bowie’s Top 100 Books

Col­in Mar­shall hosts and pro­duces Note­book on Cities and Cul­ture and writes essays on cities, lan­guage, Asia, and men’s style. He’s at work on a book about Los Ange­les, A Los Ange­les Primer. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

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