Tom Waits Curates a 76-Song Playlist of His Own Music: An Introduction to Tom Waits by Tom Waits

If you ever find your­self in an argu­ment about the best Tom Waits songs, say, or best Tom Waits albums, or best Tom Waits peri­od, you now have the lux­u­ry of call­ing Mr. Waits him­self to the stand. Or, at least, you can point to the 76-song playlist below, curat­ed by Waits to mark the re-release of his first sev­en albums, all “orig­i­nal­ly released through Elek­tra Asy­lum Records in the 1970s,” notes Folk Radio UK, “many of which have been long out of print.” (If you don’t have Spo­ti­fy, you can also stream the playlist on iTunes if you have Apple Music.)

All sev­en records have been re-mas­tered and made avail­able dig­i­tal­ly, on CD, and vinyl pre-order at the offi­cial Tom Waits online store. Clos­ing Time, Heart of Sat­ur­day Night, Nighthawks at the Din­er, Small Change, For­eign Affairs, Blue Valen­tine, Heart Attack and Vine…. If you don’t know this first phase of Waits’ career, the titles alone should clue you in to the fact that he spent most of the 70s as a Sina­tra-lov­ing lounge singer, com­pos­ing the sad drunk­en sound of 2 A.M. heart­break at a seedy Hol­ly­wood dive.

This side of Waits sur­vives, of course, in bet­ter-known albums like Sword­fishtrom­bones, Rain Dogs, and Real Gone, but it’s often buried deep with­in the crash­ing, smash­ing, bang­ing, clang­ing sound of his lat­er work (or—in the case of his cov­er of Daniel Johnston’s “King Kong”—beat­box­ing, Tom Waits-style). In the 1987 live ver­sion of Rain Dogs’ “Clap Hands” (top), the first song on Waits’ playlist, he mix­es his reg­is­ters, trad­ing his ear­li­er raspy croon for his lat­er com­mand­ing bark, over cool, lounge‑y Latin-tinged jazz.

“Span­ning decades of mate­r­i­al,” writes Reid McCarter at The Onion’s A.V. Club, the playlist has Waits, “like a growl­ing Vir­gil tak­ing your soft lit­tle hand safe­ly into his gnarled grip,” lead­ing you through his cat­a­log as only he could. Have a quar­rel with his choic­es? “Upset that the first half hour is dom­i­nat­ed by piano bal­lads?” Well, take it up with the man him­self. “Sure­ly,” McCarter taunts, “you must know Tom Waits’ music bet­ter than Tom Waits him­self.”

Of course, we’re always free to dis­agree with the artist’s assess­ment of his work. But if you’re a Waits new­bie, I couldn’t rec­om­mend a bet­ter guide. Alter­nate­ly, you can work your way through his entire cat­a­log from start to fin­ish—stream it all, from Clos­ing Time to his last stu­dio album Bad as Me, here.

via A.V. Club

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Stream All of Tom Waits’ Music in a 24 Hour Playlist: The Com­plete Discog­ra­phy

Tom Waits Makes a List of His Top 20 Favorite Albums of All Time

Tom Waits For No One: Watch the Pio­neer­ing Ani­mat­ed Tom Waits Music Video from 1979

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

Come on Down to David Byrne’s Giant Suit Emporium: We’re Burning Down the House with Savings!

A fun­ny bit of com­e­dy that accom­pa­nied David Byrne’s recent vis­it to The Late Show with Stephen Col­bert, where he per­formed ‘Every­body’s Com­ing To My House,’ the lead track off of his new album Amer­i­can Utopia. Pick up the album. Catch one of his con­certs this sum­mer. And don’t miss his new uplift­ing web site, Rea­sons to Be Cheer­ful.

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!

via @dark_shark

Relat­ed Con­tent:

David Byrne Launch­es the “Rea­sons to Be Cheer­ful” Web Site: A Com­pendi­um of News Meant to Remind Us That the World Isn’t Actu­al­ly Falling Apart

David Byrne’s Grad­u­a­tion Speech Offers Trou­bling and Encour­ag­ing Advice for Stu­dents in the Arts

David Byrne: From Talk­ing Heads Front­man to Lead­ing Urban Cyclist

Philosophy for Beginners: A Free Introductory Course from Oxford University

Phi­los­o­phy does­n’t have to be daunt­ing. Thanks to the Con­tin­u­ing Edu­ca­tion pro­gram at Oxford Uni­ver­si­ty, you can now ease into philo­soph­i­cal think­ing by lis­ten­ing to five lec­tures col­lec­tive­ly called Phi­los­o­phy for Begin­ners. (The video above is admit­ted­ly grainy, so you could always explore the audio options avail­able on iTunes or this Oxford web­site.) Taught by Mar­i­anne Tal­bot, Lec­ture 1 starts with a “Romp Through the His­to­ry of Phi­los­o­phy” and moves in a brief hour from Ancient Greece to the present. Sub­se­quent lec­tures (usu­al­ly run­ning about 90 min­utes) cov­er the fol­low­ing top­ics: log­ic, ethics, pol­i­tics, meta­physics, epis­te­mol­o­gy, and lan­guage.

Lec­ture One: A Romp Through the His­to­ry of Phi­los­o­phy from the Pre-Socrat­ics to the present day

Lec­ture Two: The Philo­soph­i­cal Method: Log­ic and Argu­ment

Lec­ture Three: Ethics and Pol­i­tics

Lec­ture Four: Meta­physics and Epis­te­mol­o­gy

Lec­ture Five: Phi­los­o­phy of Lan­guage and Mind

You can find more cours­es by Tal­bot in our col­lec­tion of Free Online Phi­los­o­phy Cours­es, a sub­set of our meta col­lec­tion, Phi­los­o­phy for Begin­ners: A Free Intro­duc­to­ry Course from Oxford Uni­ver­si­ty.

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:

Oxford’s Free Intro­duc­tion to Phi­los­o­phy: Stream 41 Lec­tures

Oxford’s Free Course A Romp Through Ethics for Com­plete Begin­ners Will Teach You Right from Wrong

Down­load 100 Free Online Phi­los­o­phy Cours­es & Start Liv­ing the Exam­ined Life

A His­to­ry of Phi­los­o­phy in 81 Video Lec­tures: From Ancient Greece to Mod­ern Times

The Entire Archives of Rad­i­cal Phi­los­o­phy Go Online: Read Essays by Michel Fou­cault, Alain Badiou, Judith But­ler & More (1972–2018)

Death: A Free Phi­los­o­phy Course from Yale

135 Free Phi­los­o­phy eBooks

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The History of the U.S. Civil War Visualized Month by Month and State by State, in an Infographic from 1897

There’s been a lot of hand­wring­ing over the i‑Generation’s lack of map read­ing skills.

While we’re at it, let’s take a cold, hard look at the Gild­ed Age info­graph­ic, above.…

… and con­clude that peo­ple who live in glass hous­es should stop reach­ing for stones.

Pub­lished in 1897 by the Com­par­a­tive Syn­op­ti­cal Chart Com­pa­ny, this now unfath­omable doc­u­ment–His­to­ry of the Civ­il War in the Unit­ed States: 1860–1865–achieved its goal of squeez­ing the max­i­mum amount of con­tent onto a sin­gle sheet.

This is in direct oppo­si­tion to today’s gen­er­al­ly accept­ed rules for cre­at­ing suc­cess­ful info­graph­ics, one of which is to sim­pli­fy.

Anoth­er holds that text should be used spar­ing­ly, lest it clut­ter up strong visu­als. Con­sumers have a lim­it­ed atten­tion span, and for con­tent to be con­sid­ered share­able, they should be able to take it in at a glance.

Mod­ern eyes may be for­giv­en for mis­tak­ing this chart for the world’s most con­vo­lut­ed sub­way map. But those aren’t stops, friend. They’re minor engage­ments. Blood­i­er and bet­ter-known bat­tles are delin­eat­ed with larg­er circles—yellow cen­ters for a Union vic­to­ry, pale green for Con­fed­er­ate.

The fastest way to begin mak­ing heads or tails of the chart is to note that each col­umn is assigned to a dif­fer­ent state.

The ver­ti­cal axis is divid­ed into months. Notice all the neg­a­tive space around Fort Sumter.

And the con­stant entries in Vir­gini­a’s col­umn.

The pub­lish­er not­ed that the loca­tion of events was “entire­ly gov­erned” by this time scale.

You’ll have to look hard for Lincoln’s assas­si­na­tion.

Con­sumers who pur­chased the His­to­ry of the Civ­il War in the Unit­ed States 1860–1865 pre­sum­ably pored over it by can­dle­light, sup­ple­ment­ing it with maps and books.

It would still make a superb addi­tion to any his­to­ry teacher’s class­room, both as dec­o­ra­tion and the tin­der that could ignite dis­cus­sion as to how we receive infor­ma­tion, and how much infor­ma­tion is in fact received.

Explore a larg­er, zoomable ver­sion of the map here.

via Slate

Relat­ed Con­tent:

A Free Course from Yale on the U.S. Civ­il War

Watch Vet­er­ans of The US Civ­il War Demon­strate the Dread­ed Rebel Yell (1930)

Visu­al­iz­ing Slav­ery: The Map Abra­ham Lin­coln Spent Hours Study­ing Dur­ing the Civ­il War

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

What Happened When Stephen Hawking Threw a Cocktail Party for Time Travelers (2009)

Who among us has nev­er fan­ta­sized about trav­el­ing through time? But then, who among us has­n’t trav­eled through time? Every sin­gle one of us is a time trav­el­er, tech­ni­cal­ly speak­ing, mov­ing as we do through one sec­ond per sec­ond, one hour per hour, one day per day. Though I nev­er per­son­al­ly heard the late Stephen Hawk­ing point out that fact, I feel almost cer­tain that he did, espe­cial­ly in light of one par­tic­u­lar piece of sci­en­tif­ic per­for­mance art he pulled off in 2009: throw­ing a cock­tail par­ty for time trav­el­ers — the prop­er kind, who come from the future.

“Hawking’s par­ty was actu­al­ly an exper­i­ment on the pos­si­bil­i­ty of time trav­el,” writes Atlas Obscu­ra’s Anne Ewbank. “Along with many physi­cists, Hawk­ing had mused about whether going for­ward and back in time was pos­si­ble. And what time trav­el­er could resist sip­ping cham­pagne with Stephen Hawk­ing him­self?” ”

By pub­lish­ing the par­ty invi­ta­tion in his mini-series Into the Uni­verse With Stephen Hawk­ing, Hawk­ing hoped to lure futur­is­tic time trav­el­ers. You are cor­dial­ly invit­ed to a recep­tion for Time Trav­ellers, the invi­ta­tion read, along with the the date, time, and coor­di­nates for the event. The the­o­ry, Hawk­ing explained, was that only some­one from the future would be able to attend.”

Alas, no time trav­el­ers turned up. Since some­one pos­sessed of that tech­nol­o­gy at any point in the future would the­o­ret­i­cal­ly be able to attend, does Hawk­ing’s lone­ly par­ty, which you can see in the clip above, prove that time trav­el will nev­er become pos­si­ble? Maybe — or maybe the poten­tial time-trav­el­ers of the future know some­thing about the space-time-con­tin­u­um-threat­en­ing risks of the prac­tice that we don’t. As for Dr. Hawk­ing, I have to imag­ine that he came away sat­is­fied from the shindig, even though his hoped-for Ms. Uni­verse from the future nev­er walked through the door. “I like sim­ple exper­i­ments… and cham­pagne,” he said, and this cham­pagne-laden sim­ple exper­i­ment will con­tin­ue to remind the rest of us to enjoy our time on Earth, wher­ev­er in that time we may find our­selves.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Watch Stephen Hawking’s Inter­view with Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Record­ed 10 Days Before His Death: A Last Con­ver­sa­tion about Black Holes, Time Trav­el & More

Stephen Hawk­ing (RIP) Explains His Rev­o­lu­tion­ary The­o­ry of Black Holes with the Help of Chalk­board Ani­ma­tions

The Lighter Side of Stephen Hawk­ing: The Physi­cist Cracks Jokes and a Smile with John Oliv­er

Pro­fes­sor Ronald Mal­lett Wants to Build a Time Machine in this Cen­tu­ry … and He’s Not Kid­ding

What’s the Ori­gin of Time Trav­el Fic­tion?: New Video Essay Explains How Time Trav­el Writ­ing Got Its Start with Charles Dar­win & His Lit­er­ary Peers

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.

Animated Map Shows How the Five Major Religions Spread Across the World (3000 BC — 2000 AD)

Hin­duism, Judaism, Bud­dhism, Chris­tian­i­ty, Islam.… Claims to ancient ori­gin and ulti­mate author­i­ty notwith­stand­ing, the world’s five major reli­gions are all of recent vin­tage com­pared to the cou­ple hun­dred thou­sand years or more of human exis­tence on the plan­et. Dur­ing most of our pre­his­to­ry, reli­gious beliefs and prac­tices were large­ly local­ized, con­fined to the ter­ri­to­r­i­al or trib­al bound­aries of indi­vid­ual groups.

For peo­ple groups in the British Isles a thou­sand years ago, for exam­ple, the Lev­ant may as well have been anoth­er plan­et. How is it that Britain became a few hun­dred years lat­er one of the most zeal­ous­ly glob­al evan­ge­liz­ers of a reli­gion from Pales­tine? How is it that an Indi­an sect, Bud­dhism, which sup­pos­ed­ly began with one man some­time in the 5th Cen­tu­ry B.C.E., became the dom­i­nant reli­gion in all of Asia just a few hun­dred years lat­er?

Answer­ing such ques­tions in detail is the busi­ness of pro­fes­sion­al his­to­ri­ans. But we know the broad out­lines: the world’s major reli­gions spread through impe­r­i­al con­quest and forced con­ver­sion; through cul­tur­al exchange of ideas and the adap­ta­tion of far-off beliefs to local cus­toms, prac­tices, and rit­u­als; through migrant and dias­po­ra com­mu­ni­ties mov­ing across the globe. We know reli­gions trav­eled back and forth through trade routes over land and sea and were trans­mit­ted by the painstak­ing trans­la­tion and copy­ing by hand of dense, lengthy scrip­tures.

All of these move­ments are also the move­ments of the mod­ern glob­al­ized world, a con­struct that began tak­ing shape a few thou­sand years ago. The spread of the “Big 5” reli­gions cor­re­sponds with the shift­ing of mass­es of humans around the globe as they formed the inter­con­nec­tions that now bind us all tight­ly togeth­er, whether we like it or not.

In the ani­mat­ed map above from Busi­ness Insid­er, you can watch the move­ment of these five faiths over the course of 5,000 years and see in the span of a lit­tle over two min­utes how the mod­ern world took shape. And you might find your­self won­der­ing: what will such a map look like in anoth­er 5,000 years? Or in 500? Will these glob­al reli­gions all meld into one? Will they with­er away? Will they splin­ter into thou­sands? Our spec­u­la­tions reveal much about what we think will hap­pen to human­i­ty in the future.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

5‑Minute Ani­ma­tion Maps 2,600 Years of West­ern Cul­tur­al His­to­ry

70,000+ Reli­gious Texts Dig­i­tized by Prince­ton The­o­log­i­cal Sem­i­nary, Let­ting You Immerse Your­self in the Curi­ous Works of Great World Reli­gions

Har­vard Launch­es a Free Online Course to Pro­mote Reli­gious Tol­er­ance & Under­stand­ing

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

Spike Lee Teaching an Online Course on Independent Filmmaking: The Course Is Now Officially Live

FYI: If you sign up for a Mas­ter­Class course by click­ing on the affil­i­ate links in this post, Open Cul­ture will receive a small fee that helps sup­port our oper­a­tion.

When Spike Lee makes a movie, peo­ple talk about it. Peo­ple talked in 1986 when he made the black-and-white indie com­e­dy She’s Got­ta Have It; they talked even more when he came out with Do the Right Thing a few years lat­er; they talked, with sharply divid­ed opin­ion, about his most recent pic­ture, the crime-themed musi­cal Chi-Raq; and they’re already talk­ing about his upcom­ing Black Klans­man, and not just because of the title. Lee has man­aged to remain cul­tur­al­ly and artis­ti­cal­ly rel­e­vant through­out a career of more than thir­ty years and count­ing, and his new online course at Mas­ter­class just might let us in on how he’s done it.

“When you’re an inde­pen­dent film­mak­er, and mak­ing films out­side Hol­ly­wood, that’s hard,” says the long Brook­lyn-based Lee in the trail­er for the course above. “You have to pray on bend­ed knee at the church of cin­e­ma.” But even as an aspir­ing auteur with a pock­et-change bud­get — Lee remem­bers well when he “was a cater­er, the pro­duc­er, the direc­tor, the screen­writer, act­ed in it, and I was the first AD” on his first fea­ture — you already pos­sess “tools that can help you tell a sto­ry”: height­en­ing dynam­ic cam­er­a­work to height­en the emo­tions, for instance, or writ­ing char­ac­ters with strong beliefs to inten­si­fy the con­flicts of the sto­ry. He used such tech­niques when he start­ed out, and he still uses them today.

Though Lee seems more than will­ing to talk about his meth­ods, you can’t ful­ly under­stand any film­mak­er unless you under­stand that film­mak­er’s influ­ences. And so we offer you Lee’s list of 95 essen­tial movies every aspir­ing direc­tor should see, expand­ed from his orig­i­nal list of 87, drawn up to hand out to the grad­u­ate-school class­es he’s taught. Fea­tur­ing mul­ti­ple works from direc­tors like Aki­ra Kuro­sawa, Alfred Hitch­cock, Fed­eri­co Felli­ni, John Hus­ton, and Stan­ley Kubrick, the first ver­sion of the list runs as fol­lows:

Tak­en to task for that list’s lack of female film­mak­ers, Lee came up with these addi­tions:

  • The Piano — Jane Cam­pi­on (1993)
  • Daugh­ters of the Dust — Julie Dash (1991)
  • The Hurt Lock­er — Kathryn Bigelow (2008)
  • Sug­ar Cane Alley - Euzhan Pal­cy (1983)
  • The Seduc­tion of Mimi — Lina Wert­muller (1972)
  • Love and Anar­chy - Lina Wert­muller (1973)
  • Swept Away - Lina Wert­muller (1974)
  • Sev­en Beau­ties — Lina Wert­muller (1975)

Lee’s Mas­ter­class on film­mak­ing joins the site’s oth­er offer­ings on the same sub­ject from auteurs no less dis­tinc­tive than Mar­tin Scors­ese and Wern­er Her­zog. Though all three became major film­mak­ers at dif­fer­ent times and under dif­fer­ent cir­cum­stances — and end­ed up with very dif­fer­ent cin­e­mat­ic sen­si­bil­i­ties — they all, as Lee might put it, pray at the same church.

And just as it takes the per­spec­tive of many the­ol­o­gists to get a sense of the inef­fa­ble essence of the divine, so it takes the per­spec­tive of many film­mak­ers to get an inef­fa­ble essence of cin­e­ma. You could take all three cours­es with Mas­ter­class’ $180 all-access pass, or you could pay $90 for just Lee’s. Either way, you’ll learn how he made She’s Got­ta Have It for a then-dirt-cheap $175,000, but these days you could sure­ly go out and shoot your own film after­ward for not much more than the cost of the Mas­ter­class itself. It’s still hard out there for an indie film­mak­er, mind you; just not quite as hard as it was.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

How Spike Lee Got His First Big Break: From She’s Got­ta Have It to That Icon­ic Air Jor­dan Ad

Spike Lee’s List of 95 Essen­tial Movies – Now with Women Film­mak­ers

Mar­tin Scors­ese to Teach His First Online Course on Film­mak­ing

Wern­er Her­zog Teach­es His First Online Course on Film­mak­ing

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 MC5’s Wayne Kramer Demonstrates the Correct & Official Way to Play “Kick Out the Jams” on the Guitar

If you’re an aspir­ing gui­tar play­er, you’re in luck. In the age of YouTube, there’s no short­age of tal­ent­ed YouTu­bers who will teach you how to play the gui­tar parts of your favorite songs. How to play George Har­rison’s gui­tar solo on “Let It Be”? This video has every lit­tle detail cov­ered. Mean­while, oth­er videos neat­ly map out the fin­er points of Pink Floy­d’s “Wish You Were Here” or Led Zep­pelin’s “Stair­way to Heav­en.” Pick your favorite song, and chances are some­one has cre­at­ed a primer.

Then occa­sion­al­ly you run into videos like this–a tuto­r­i­al straight from the artist him or her­self. Above, Wayne Kramer, co-founder of Detroit’s ur-punk band, the MC5, sets the record straight and shows you the authen­tic way to play the 1969 anthem, “Kick Out the Jams.” “There are guys out there try­ing to show you how to play ‘Kick Out the Jams,’ and they’re all get­ting it wrong,” says Kramer. “They’re all mess­ing it up. None of them are doing it right, and I’ve had enough.” So here is the “the prop­er, cor­rect and offi­cial way” to play it. Let the les­son begin.

For good mea­sure, he includes the lyrics and chords in the YouTube blurb:

You can find more lessons from Pro­fes­sor Kramer here.

This fall, Kramer will be launch­ing a 50th anniver­sary MC5 tour and also releas­ing a mem­oir enti­tled The Hard Stuff: Dope, Crime, the MC5, and My Life of Impos­si­bil­i­ties. You can pre-order it now.

For a very dif­fer­ent set of gui­tar lessons, see: James Tay­lor Teach­es You to Play “Car­oli­na in My Mind,” “Fire and Rain” & Oth­er Clas­sics on the Gui­tar.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

The MC5 Per­forms at the 1968 Chica­go Demo­c­ra­t­ic Nation­al Con­ven­tion, Right Before All Hell Breaks Loose

Pete Seeger Teach­es You How to Play Gui­tar for Free in The Folksinger’s Gui­tar Guide (1955)

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