Coursera Partners with Leading Universities to Offer Master’s Degrees at a More Affordable Price

If you’re a regular Open Culture reader, you’re already familiar with Coursera, the ed tech company, which, since its founding in 2012, has given the world access to online courses from top universities–e.g. courses on Roman Architecture (Yale)Modern and Postmodern Philosophy (Wesleyan), and Buddhism and Neuroscience (Princeton). And you’ve perhaps noticed, too, that Coursera has recently bundled certain courses into “Specializations“–essentially areas of concentration–that let students specialize in fields like Deep Learning and Data Science.

But what if students want to deepen their knowledge further and get a traditional degree? In what perhaps marks the beginning of a significant new trend, Coursera has partnered with leading universities to offer full-fledged graduate degrees in a more affordable online format. As described in the video above, HEC Paris (the #2 business school in Europe) now offers through Coursera’s platform a Master’s in Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Designed for aspiring entrepreneurs, the program consists of 20 courses (all online) and takes an estimated 10-16 months to complete. The total tuition amounts to 20,000 Euros (roughly 23,500 U.S. dollars), a sum that’s considerably less than what executive education programs usually cost.

For students looking for a broader education in business, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has launched an entire MBA program through Coursera. Consisting of 18 online courses and three capstone projects, the iMBA program covers the subjects usually found in b-school programs–leadership, strategy, economics, accounting, finance, etc. The complete curriculum should take roughly 24 to 36 months to complete, and costs less than $22,000–about 25%-33% of what an on-campus MBA program typically runs.

(The iMBA is actually one of three degree programs the University of Illinois has launched on Coursera. The other two include a Masters in Accounting (iMSA) and a Master of Computer Science in Data Science (MCS-DS).)

Now, in case you’re wondering, the diplomas and transcripts for these programs are granted directly by the universities themselves (e.g., the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and HEC Paris). The paperwork doesn’t carry Coursera’s name. Nor does it indicate that the student completed an “online program.” In short, online students get the same transcript as bricks and mortar students.

Finally, all of the degree programs mentioned above are “stackable”–meaning students can (at no cost) take an individual course offered by any of these programs. And then they can decide later whether they want to apply to the degree program, and, if so, retroactively apply that course towards the actual degree. Essentially, you can try things out before making a larger commitment.

If you want to learn more about these programs, or submit an application, check out the following links. We’ve included the deadlines for submitting applications.

If you would like to get Open Culture post’s via email, please sign up for our free email newsletter here.

And 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 cultural and educational materials to learners everywhere. You can contribute through PayPal, Patreon, Venmo (@openculture) and Crypto. Thanks for your support!

Note: Open Culture has a partnership with Coursera. If readers enroll in certain Coursera courses, it helps support Open Culture.

Related Content:

New Deep Learning Courses Released on Coursera, with Hope of Teaching Millions the Basics of Artificial Intelligence

MOOCs from Great Universities (Many With Certificates)

Stream Joni Mitchell’s Complete Discography: A 17-Hour Playlist Moving from Song to a Seagull (1968) to Shine (2007)

In “Fear of a Female Genius,” a recent essay on Joni Mitchell, Lindsay Zoladz explains why “one of the greatest living artists in popular music still isn’t properly recognized.” If you’re thinking that has something to do with gender bias, it does. But there’s so much more to Mitchell’s complex story. Those who fully embrace her are an eclectic group with leanings, like Mitchell, toward folk, jazz, classical, and instrumental music worldwide: sometimes all at once. Despite occasional breezy plainspokenness, she never makes for easy listening.

Her albums take us on winding journeys through peculiarly evocative lyrical tableaus, rich with unexpected, even jarring, images. Even the most accessible songs—for example, Court and Spark’s Burt Bacharach-like “Help Me”—spin like vertigo-inducing roller coasters, little gyres powered by boundless creative energy. Her most popular tunes glow with a worldly-wise intensity all their own. Hear them all, from 1968’s Song to a Seagull to 2007’s Shine, in the 18-hour Spotify playlist below. Or access it directly here.

The idiosyncratic beauty of Mitchell’s music, woven from shimmering tonal patterns, shifting polyrhythms, and odd timings and tunings, defies the labels we might apply. “I think when you listen to Court and Spark,” says Barney Hoskyns, editor of a new anthology of writing about Mitchell, “you can’t really sit there and say, ‘Well this is just pop music.’ You have to think of it on a level with the greatest art that’s been done in the last hundred years.” If Bob Dylan “is sort of Shakespeare,” Hoskyns says, “then Joni Mitchell is Milton… or Dante,” two writers whose labyrinthine verse often poses significant challenges for readers.

These kinds of “crass analogies,” as Hoskyns terms it, might seem off-putting and pretentious. But if it seems like Mitchell’s name appears more in the company of famous men than women, it’s an association she made herself.  “Most of my heroes are monsters, unfortunately,” she has said, “and they are men.” Pablo Picasso, Miles Davis, Charles Mingus, whose surname Mitchell took for the title of her tenth album…. “This kind of male-hero worship,” writes Zoladz, “has made Mitchell a difficult figure to some feminist critics.”

Indeed, there is something “internet-proof” about Mitchell—her “unruliness” and unwillingness to remain in one place, to play the roles assigned her, to adopt hip stances, pander, or deny herself the freedom to move in unfamiliar artistic directions, making discoveries and risking missteps more cautious artists would avoid.

Chuck Mitchell, the estranged ex-husband and musical partner who seemed to resent her incredible talent, called her odd tunings “mystical.” But she resists the characterization of her playing as strange. “How can there be weird chords?” she asks; “these chords that I heard inside that suited me—they feel like my feelings.” As much as her work has emerged from her admiration of male heroes and collaborators, it has also been defined by escape from the restrictions men in her life might place on her, from Mitchell to Graham Nash, whose marriage proposal she declined. “As much as I loved and cared for Graham,” she remembered later, “I just thought, I’m gonna end up like my grandmother, kicking the door off the hinges, you know what I mean? It’s like, I better not.”

Albums like Hejira—her version of an Arabic word meaning something like “journey to a better place”—and The Hissing of Summer Lawns, with its nightmare vision of domesticity, document Mitchell’s release from the snares of marriage. But it has been difficult for the 21st century to come to terms with her for other reasons. Her casual appropriation of cultural tropes and her decision to appear in literal blackface, not only at a Halloween party but on the cover of 1977’s Don Juan’s Reckless Daughter, have been called marks of poor taste, at best. Her albums became increasingly experimental in the late 70s, showcasing a pastiche of influences and guest musicians overlaying her already unusual musicality, and alienating many of her fans.

As she left behind the “confessional” voice of albums like 1971’s critically-vaunted Blue and headed into weirder territory, she lost listeners and critics, who savaged abstract projects like The Hissing of Summer Lawns, only to find, forty years later, that these were essential works of art pushed aside by the weight of expectation. Mitchell had been pushing against that weight her entire life. Like some other uniquely talented guitarists—Django Reinhardt, Tony Iommi—her style developed around a disability, in her case a left hand weakened by the polio she had as a child in Canada. “So she invented her own way of playing,” writes Zoladz, and invented her own way of being in the music business and the world at large. “For good and at times for ill, Joni Mitchell believes she is a genius.” Spend some time with her discography and you may find it hard to disagree with her.

Related Content:

Hear the 150 Greatest Albums by Women: NPR Creates a New Canon of Albums That Puts Women at the Center of Music History

For Joni Mitchell’s 70th Birthday, Watch Classic Performances of “Both Sides Now” & “The Circle Game” (1968)

Vintage Video of Joni Mitchell Performing in 1965 — Before She Was Even Named Joni Mitchell

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

The Raven: a Pop-up Book Brings Edgar Allan Poe’s Classic Supernatural Poem to 3D Paper Life

You know a story has staying power not just when when we keep telling it decades and even centuries after its composition, but when we keep telling it in new forms. Even when Edgar Allan Poe set his literary sights on writing a poem that would win both high critical praise and a wide popular audience back in 1845, he could hardly have imagined that it would still bring haunted delight to its readers, listeners and even viewers more than 170 years later. But The Raven does endure, not just in the various celebrity readings we’ve featured here on Open Culture but in numerous illustrated editions, a beloved Simpsons segment, and now even a pop-up book.

Though The Raven: a Pop-up Book, illustrated and designed by Christopher Wormell and David Pelham, adapts Poe’s work of supernatural verse into a perhaps unexpected medium, it does so with thoroughness indeed.

Flip through it as do the hands in the video above, you’ll find springing to paper life before you not just the poem‘s lovelorn narrator and the talking crow who pays him a visit, but every element of the setting as well, from the furniture and other objects of the narrator’s study — the velvet chair, the books, the bust of Pallas, the locket with the image of lost Lenore — to the seaside castle in which this vision of the story locates it.

Those of us who haven’t opened a pop-up book since childhood might be surprised to see how far its art has come. Not only would the illustrations of The Raven: a Pop Up Book hold up in a mere two dimensions as well, they interlock in three to form relatively complex geometric structures, ones that sometimes move with an almost eerie hint of naturalness. (You may, as I did, want to watch the narrator open his locket-holding hand more than once.) What’s more, the design allows viewing from more than one angle, providing details that those who only look at the book straight on will never see. Using the archaic apostrophe of which Poe himself might have approved, Boing Boing’s Cory Doctorow recommends the book “if you’re gearing up for Hallowe’en and want to get your kids in the spirit of things” — and especially if those kids wrongly believe themselves too old for pop-up books or too 21st-century for Poe. Get your copy of  The Raven: a Pop Up Book here.

Related Content:

Gustave Doré’s Splendid Illustrations of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven” (1884)

Édouard Manet Illustrates Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven, in a French Edition Translated by Stephane Mallarmé (1875)

A Reading of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven” in 100 Celebrity Voices

Edgar Allan Poe’s the Raven: Watch an Award-Winning Short Film That Modernizes Poe’s Classic Tale

The Simpsons Present Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven,” and Teachers Now Use It to Teach Kids the Joys of Literature

Hear Classic Readings of Poe’s “The Raven” by Vincent Price, James Earl Jones, Christopher Walken, Neil Gaiman, Stan Lee & More

1,000 Free Audio Books: Download Great Books for Free

Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities and culture. His projects include the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

The Women of the Blues: Hear a Playlist of Great Blues Singers, from Bessie Smith & Etta James, to Billie Holiday & Janis Joplin

Everybody gets the blues but not everybody gets the blues the same. Women get some serious blues. Black women get some very serious blues. Bessie Smith maybe had the most deep and soulful blues anyone ever had: “Crazy Blues,” “Down Hearted Blues,” “Careless Love Blues,” “Empty Bed Blues,” “Black Water Blues,” “Gulf Coast Blues,” and “St. Louis Blues,” which also happens to be the title of her only known film appearance, as well as one of the earliest talkies in cinema history. (See a transporting acapella performance from the film above.)

Released in 1929, the “flawed, but absolutely essential” film frames Smith’s character through the lyrics of composer W.C. Handy, widely considered the “father of the blues” for his popularization of the form. But Smith was more than an ancestor—she was royalty. The press in her day called her the “Empress of the Blues.”

Smith “comes off as a force of nature,” writes Mark Cantor, “whose startling power is rivaled in 1920s jazz and blues only by Louis Armstrong.” Like Armstrong, her influence is incalculable. Sadly, the year she made her film appearance is also the year of her decline, when the Great Depression hit her—and the record business—hard, and the very medium she helped launch, sound film, crippled the Vaudeville venues that made her career.

Smith’s tragic end after a car accident in 1937 was immortalized in Edward Albee’s 1959 The Death of Bessie Smith. Her voice lives on forever—in her recordings and through singers from Billie Holiday to Janis Joplin—who paid for her gravestone in 1970. (See Joplin’s phenomenal “Ball and Chain,” from the Monterey Pop Festival, further up.) Bessie Smith may have been Empress, but another Smith needs mention as the Foremother.

Despite its origins in Southern Black life and culture, until 1920, notes NPR, “no black singer had been recorded doing a blues song.” That changed when Mamie Smith recorded “Crazy Blues.” Like Bessie, she also appeared in a 1929 talking film, Jailhouse Blues. (See her above mime to the title song, about that age-old problem, the “no good man.”)

A number of female singers haven’t made it into the canon, itself largely produced—as critics like Lisa Hix and Amanda Petrusich have shown—by the selection bias of an insular community of collectors. But you can hear many incredible, less-famous women of the blues appear in the Spotify playlist further up, in the company of more famous names like Bessie and Mamie Smith, Holiday, Joplin, Memphis Minnie, Ma Rainey, Etta James, and Dinah Washington. Blues hounds will likely recognize most, if not all, of these names. More casual fans will be in for a treat. (Note one mistake: the artist Bumble Bee Slim was a man.)

Everyone should know Koko Taylor, whose fierce growls and howls set Willie Dixon’s “Wang Dang Doodle” on fire further up in 1967 (with Little Walter). And Etta James—whose “I’d Rather Go Blind,” above, gives me chills from start to finish—should have a constellation named after her, she’s so deservedly a star. We’re less likely to hear the name Viola McCoy these days (singing Bessie Smith’s “Back Water Blues,” below), whose style of blues sounds dated but whose voice is as fresh as ever. Likely born Amanda Brown, she sang under a handful of aliases in the 20s and 30s, none of them household names.

Dozens more names appear on the playlist—Ida Cox, Alberta Hunter, (unfortunately no Big Mama Thornton or Sister Rosetta Tharpe)—all of them fabulous in their own way. Given this incredibly rich tradition of female blues vocalists it should come as no surprise that women are currently keeping the blues alive, whether it’s the rock-soul revivalism of the Alabama Shakes’ Brittany Howard or the raw power of Susan Tedeschi, whose “earthy, soulful belting,” writes The Washington Post’s Richard Harrington, is reminiscent of “Koko Taylor, Aretha Franklin and Janis Joplin,” who can all trace their musical lineage directly back to Bessie and Mamie Smith.

Related Content:

Women of Jazz: Stream a Playlist of 91 Recordings by Great Female Jazz Musicians

Stream 35 Hours of Classic Blues, Folk, & Bluegrass Recordings from Smithsonian Folkways: 837 Tracks Featuring Lead Belly, Woody Guthrie & More

The History of the Blues in 50 Riffs: From Blind Lemon Jefferson (1928) to Joe Bonamassa (2009)

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

Calm Down & Study with Relaxing Piano, Jazz & Harp Covers of Music from Hayao Miyazaki Films

Calling all pediatric dentists!

Cat Trumpet, aka musician and anime lover Curtis Bonnett, may have inadvertently hit on a genius solution for keeping young patients calm in the chair: relaxing piano covers of familiar tunes from Studio Ghibli’s animated features.

The results fall somewhere between pianist George Winston’s early 80s seasonal solos and Ryuichi Sakamoto’s soundtrack for the film Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence. Let us remember that most of these tunes were fairly easy on the ears to begin with. Composer Joe Hisaishi, who has collaborated with director Hayao Miyazaki on every Studio Ghibli movie save Castle of Cagliostro, isn’t exactly a punk rocker.

Many listeners report that the playlist helps them stay focused while studying or doing homework. Others succumb to the emotional riptides of childhood nostalgia.

Tender prenatal and newborn ears might prefer Cat Trumpet’s even gentler harp covers of seven Ghibli tunes, above.

Meawhile, the Japan-based Cafe Music BGM Station provides hours of jazzy, bossa-nova inflected Studio Ghibli covers to hospitals, hair salons, boutiques, and cafes. You can listen to three-and-a-half-hours worth, above. This, too, gets high marks as a homework helper.


Cat Trumpet’s Relaxing Piano Studio Ghibli Complete Collection

00:00:03 Spirited Away – Inochi no Namae

00:04:14 Howl’s Moving Castle – Merry Go Round of Life

00:07:16 Kiki’s Delivery Service – Town With An Ocean View

00:09:31 The Secret World of Arrietty – Arrietty’s Song

00:13:29 Laputa Castle In The Sky – Carrying You

00:17:05 Porco Rosso – Theme

00:19:55 Whisper of the Heart – Song of the Baron

00:22:33 Porco Rosso – Marco & Gina’s Theme

00:26:19 Only Yesterday – Main Theme

00:29:07 From Up On Poppy Hill – Reminiscence

00:34:12 Spirited Away – Shiroi Ryuu

00:37:06 Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind – Tori no Hito

00:41:14 Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind –  Kaze no Densetsu

00:43:25 My Neighbor Totoro – Kaze no Toori Michi

00:47:48 Castle of Cagliostro – Fire Treasure

00:51:38 Princess Mononoke – Tabidachi nishi e

00:53:07 Tales From Earthsea – Teru’s Theme

00:58:17 My Neighbor Totoro – Tonari no Totoro

01:02:35 Whisper of the Heart – Theme

01:06:03 Ponyo – Rondo of the Sunflower House

01:10:34 Howl’s Moving Castle – The Promise of the World


Cat Trumpet’s Relaxing Harp Studio Ghibli Collection Playlist

00:03 Spirited Away – Inochi no Namae

04:01 Spirited Away – Waltz of Chihiro

06:43 Howls Moving Castle – Merry Go Round of Life

09:45 Howl’s Moving Castle – The Promise of the World

13:15 Laputa Castle In The Sky – Main Theme

16:55 Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea – Main Theme

20:15 Tonari no Totoro – Kaze no Toori Michi


Cafe Music BGM’s Relaxing Jazz & Bossa Nova Studio Ghibli Cover Playlist (song titles in Japanese)

0:00 海の見える街  〜魔女の宅急便/Kiki’s Delivery Service

4:10 もののけ姫  〜もののけ姫/Princess Mononoke

7:28 君をのせて 〜天空の城ラピュタ/Laputa, the Castle of the Sky

11:09 風の通り道 〜となりのトトロ/My Neibour Totoro

16:26 ひこうき雲 〜風立ちぬ/THE WIND RISES〜

19:48 空とぶ宅急便 〜魔女の宅急便/Kiki’s Delivery Service

25:05 人生のメリーゴーランド

〜ハウルの動く城/Howl’s Moving Castle

28:07 いつも何度でも 〜千と千尋の神隠し/Spirited Away

32:08 となりのトトロ 〜となりのトトロ/My Neibour Totoro

36:40 さんぽ 〜となりのトトロ/My Neibour Totoro

38:40 崖の上のポニョ 〜崖の上のポニョ/Ponyo

42:08 ねこバス 〜となりのトトロ/My Neibour Totoro

46:06 旅路 〜風立ちぬ/THE WIND RISES

49:16 アシタカとサン 〜もののけ姫/Princess Mononoke

53:38 おかあさん 〜となりのトトロ/My Neibour Totoro

58:19 旅立ち 〜魔女の宅急便/Kiki’s Delivery Service

1:02:25 風の谷のナウシカ 〜風の谷のナウシカ/Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind

1:06:59 やさしさに包まれたなら 〜魔女の宅急便/Kiki’s Delivery Service


Tune in to Cat Trumpet’s Spotify channel for his relaxing takes on Disney and anime, as well as Studio Ghibli. They are available for purchase on iTunes and Google Play, or enjoy some free downloads by patronizing his Patreon. He takes requests, too.

Tune in to Cafe Music’s BGM Spotify channel for Studio Ghibli jazz, in addition to some relaxing Hawaiian guitar jazz and a selection of nature-based mellow tunes. They are available for purchase on iTunes.

Related Content:

Insanely Cute Cat Commercials from Studio Ghibli, Hayao Miyazaki’s Legendary Animation Shop

Hayao Miyazaki Picks His 50 Favorite Children’s Books

How the Films of Hayao Miyazaki Work Their Animated Magic, Explained in 4 Video Essays

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

Bob Dylan Plays Tom Petty’s “Learning to Fly” Live in Concert (and How Petty Witnessed Dylan’s Musical Epiphany in 1987)

While performing in Denver this past weekend, Bob Dylan paid tribute to Tom Petty, playing a cover of his 1991 track, “Learning to Fly.” Most will remember their time together in the Traveling Wilburys. But really their relationship was cemented before that, when the musicians embarked on the long True Confessions Tour in 1986. That’s when Dylan lost his mojo and nearly ended his career, then suddenly found new inspiration again, all while Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers shared the same stage.

In his 2004 memoir, Chronicles: Volume 1, Dylan laid out the scenario:

I’d been on an eighteen month tour with Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers. It would be my last. I had no connection to any kind of inspiration. Whatever had been there to begin with had all vanished and shrunk. Tom was at the top of his game and I was at the bottom of mine. I couldn’t overcome the odds. Everything was smashed. My own songs had become strangers to me. It wasn’t my moment of history anymore. There was a hollowing singing in my heart and I couldn’t wait to retire and fold the tent. One more big payday with Petty and that would be it for me. I was what they called over the hill…. The mirror had swung around and I could see the future – an old actor fumbling in garbage cans outside the theatre of past triumphs.

Everything finally came to a head one night when Dylan performed with Petty and the Heartbreakers in Locarno, Switzerland. He writes again in Chronicles, “For an instant, I fell into a black hole… I opened my mouth to sing and the air tightened up–vocal presence was extinguished and nothing came out.” Panicked, Dylan used every trick to get started. Nothing worked, until, he then cast his own “spell to drive out the devil.” That’s when “Everything came back, and it came back in multidimension.” A complete “metamorphosis had taken place.” He adds: “The shows with Petty finished up in December, and I saw that instead of being stranded somewhere at the end of the story, I was actually in the prelude to the beginning of another one.” Without out it, we wouldn’t have Oh MercyTime Out of Mind, Love and Theft, or Modern Times.

You can watch footage of the epiphany concert on Youtube. It took place on October 2, 1987–thirty years and three days before Petty’s death on October 5, 2017.

If you would like to get Open Culture post’s via email, please sign up for our free email newsletter here.

And 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 cultural and educational materials to learners everywhere. You can contribute through PayPal, Patreon, Venmo (@openculture) and Crypto. Thanks for your support!

Related Content:

A 17-Hour, Chronological Journey Through Tom Petty’s Music: Stream the Songs That Became the Soundtracks of Our Lives

Watch Tom Petty (RIP) and the Heartbreakers Perform Their Last Song Together, “American Girl”: Recorded on 9/25/17

Bob Dylan & The Grateful Dead Rehearse Together in Summer 1987: Hear 74 Tracks

How Saxophones Are Made: Two Short Films (Including One by Sesame Street) Take You Inside Saxophone Factories

Many of us, handed a saxophone, wouldn’t have the first clue about how to play it properly, and almost none of us would have any idea at all about how to make one. Then again, those of us of a certain generation might feel an old memory coming back to the surface: hadn’t we once witnessed the inner workings of a saxophone factory? We did if we ever happened to catch the classic 1980 Sesame Street short above which shows the saxophone-making process in its entirety, beginning with flat sheets of metal and ending up, two minutes later, with jazzily playable instruments — just like the one we’ve heard improvising to the action onscreen the whole time.

Golden-age Sesame Street always did well with revealing how things were made in a characteristically mesmerizing way, as also seen around the same time in an even more widely remembered two minutes in a crayon factory. Both it and the saxophone workshop, though they use plenty of technology, look like quaintly, even charmingly labor-intensive operations today: in almost every step shown, we see not just a machine or tool but the human (or at least a part of the human) operating it.

And it turns out, on the evidence of the 2012 video from the Musical Instrument Museum just below, that the art of saxophone-making hasn’t changed as much in the subsequent decades as we might imagine.

With its more than ten minutes of runtime, the MIM’s video shows in a bit more detail what actually happens inside a modern saxophone factory, namely that of woodwind and brass instrument maker Henri Selmer Paris, whose saxophones have been played by Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Paul Desmond, Sonny Rollins and Coleman HawkinsAnd while some of the equipment clearly grew more advanced in the 32 years since the Sesame Street short, the overall process remains clearly recognizable, as does the concentration evident in the actions and on the faces of all the skilled workers involved, albeit on a much larger scale. The day when we can 3D-print our own saxophones at home — the culmination of the industrial evolutionary process glimpsed in two different stages in these videos — will come, but it certainly hasn’t come yet.

via Laughingsquid

Related Content:

Watch Nina Simone Sing the Black Pride Anthem, “To Be Young, Gifted and Black,” on Sesame Street (1972)

Watch Herbie Hancock Rock Out on an Early Synthesizer on Sesame Street (1983)

Watch Jazzy Spies: 1969 Psychedelic Sesame Street Animation, Featuring Grace Slick, Teaches Kids to Count

Learn How Crayons Are Made, Courtesy of 1980s Videos by Sesame Street and Mr. Rogers

Glass: The Oscar-Winning “Perfect Short Documentary” on Dutch Glassmaking (1958)

Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities and culture. His projects include the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

Jack Kerouac’s Hand-Drawn Cover for On the Road (1952)

This falls under the category, “If you want it done right, you have to do it yourself.”

In 1950, when Jack Kerouac released his first novel, The Town and the City, he was less than impressed by the book cover produced by his publisher, Harcourt Brace. (Click here to see why.) So, in 1952, when he began shopping his second novel, the great beat classic On the Road, Kerouac went ahead and designed his own cover. He sent it to a potential publisher A.A. Wyn, with a little note typed at the very top:

Dear Mr. Wyn:

I submit this as my idea of an appealing commercial cover expressive of the book. The cover for “The Town and the City” was as dull as the title and the photo backflap. Wilbur Pippin’s photo of me is the perfect On the Road one … it will look like the face of the figure below.


Wyn turned down the novel, and it wouldn’t get published until 1957. It would, however, become a bestseller and be published with many different covers through the years. They’re all on display here.

If you would like to get Open Culture post’s via email, please sign up for our free email newsletter here.

And 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 cultural and educational materials to learners everywhere. You can contribute through PayPal, Patreon, Venmo (@openculture) and Crypto. Thanks for your support!

Note: This fine drawing appeared on our site back in 2012.

Related Content:

Jack Kerouac’s On The Road Turned Into Google Driving Directions & Published as a Free eBook

Four Interactive Maps Immortalize the Road Trips That Inspired Jack Kerouac’s On the Road

The Music from Jack Kerouac’s Classic Beat Novel On the Road: Stream Tracks by Miles Davis, Dexter Gordon & Other Jazz Legends

« Go BackMore in this category... »
Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.