Watch Jean Cocteau’s Short Film About the Elegant House He Painted/“Tattooed” on the French Riviera (1952)

“Vil­la San­to-Sospir belongs to Madame Alec Weisweiller,” says the nar­ra­tor. “It dom­i­nates Cape San­to Sospir, the last point on the map before arriv­ing on Cape Fer­rat. The vil­la is sit­u­at­ed on the road to the light­house and its rocks descend to the sea.” So far this could be any of the myr­i­ad pop­u­lar tele­vi­sion hous­es about big, expen­sive hous­es in exot­ic places. Then it turns per­son­al: “It looks out on Antibes, Cannes, Nice, and to the right, Ville­franche, where I have lived for a long time.” The nar­ra­tor is avant-garde writer, artist, and film­mak­er Jean Cocteau; the house is one he and oth­er artists spent twelve years “tat­too­ing.”

Weisweiller, writes Vogue’s Stephen Todd, was “a Parisian socialite and patron of Yves Saint Lau­rent,” and the cousin of Nicole Stéphane, Elis­a­beth in Cocteau’s Les Enfants Ter­ri­bles. “It was Stéphane who intro­duced the two dur­ing film­ing. It was un coup de foudre, the pair of eccentrics hit­ting it off right away.” Invit­ed in 1949 to stay at Weisweiller’s Riv­iera house for a week, Cocteau soon found him­self, as he put it, “tired of idle­ness,” and asked Weisweiller’s per­mis­sion to paint the head of the Greek god Apol­lo above the liv­ing-room fire­place. ”

So delight­ed were the new pals with the result that they decid­ed Cocteau should car­ry on,” writes Todd, quot­ing Cocteau: “I was impru­dent enough to dec­o­rate one wall and Matisse said to me, ‘If you dec­o­rate one wall of a room, you have to do them all.’”

Matisse con­tributed to the dec­o­ra­tion of the house, as did Picas­so and Cha­gall. You can see it in La vil­la San­to Sospir, the 40-minute film he made about the project in 1952, with more recent images avail­able at Atlas Obscu­ra. Most of the house­’s imagery comes from Greek mythol­o­gy, even the entry­way mosaics, one of which depicts the head of Orpheus. Eight years lat­er, Cocteau would return to both Orpheus and Vil­la San­to-Sospir to shoot his final film Tes­ta­ment of Orpheus. “We have tried to over­come the spir­it of destruc­tion that dom­i­nates the time; we dec­o­rat­ed the sur­faces that men dreamed to demol­ish,” says Cocteau in the ear­li­er film. “Per­haps, the love of our work will pro­tect them against bombs.” And even if Vil­la San­to-Sospir should fall, cin­e­ma has pre­served it for all time.

via Dan­ger­ous Minds

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Jean Cocteau Deliv­ers a Speech to the Year 2000 in 1962: “I Hope You Have Not Become Robots”

Jean Cocteau’s Avante-Garde Film From 1930, The Blood of a Poet

The Post­cards That Picas­so Illus­trat­ed and Sent to Jean Cocteau, Apol­li­naire & Gertrude Stein

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.

What Is ASMR? Watch the The New Yorker’s Introduction to the Whispering & Crinkling Sounds That Help Calm Anxiety and Induce Euphoria

ASMR… is it a med­ical con­di­tion? A sex­u­al fetish? A desire for peace and qui­et cou­pled with an inabil­i­ty to turn off YouTube? Maybe all or none of the above?

Maybe you caught Act One of This Amer­i­can Life’s “Tribes” episode, in which nov­el­ist Andrea Seigel describes her pas­sion­ate need for whis­per­ing, and finds a com­mu­ni­ty of peo­ple who need the same. She dis­cov­ered the “tin­gle” ear­ly in life, when a friend came over to inspect her shell col­lec­tion, describ­ing each item in a gen­tle whis­per and pro­vok­ing in Seigel an “autonomous sen­so­ry merid­i­an response,” a euphor­ic reac­tion thou­sands crave as though it were a drug. They get their fix, as we learn in the New York­er video above, from videos in which male and female “ASMR artists” gen­tly han­dle, manip­u­late, and describe objects in low mur­murs.

Sen­su­al sibi­lance, the sounds of a brush through hair, scis­sors clip­ping, plas­tic qui­et­ly crin­kling, tap­ping, spray­ing… all pro­duc­ing the same effect as Bob Ross’s hap­py lit­tle clouds and trees, a pio­neer­ing source of ASMR, though it had not yet been iden­ti­fied as such.

Many of Ross’s view­ers were not, in fact, aspir­ing artists, but peo­ple who respond­ed to his calm­ing demeanor and the swish­ing sounds of his brush on the can­vas. (Watch all episodes of his show here.) ASMR artist Maria of the YouTube chan­nel “Gen­tle Whis­per­ing” is not only a pur­vey­or of ASMR sounds, she’s also a client who her­self shiv­ers at fin­ger­tips on paper and breathy whis­pers. See one of her videos below (and many more here).

“No one’s been able to unrav­el the bio­chem­istry or the exact phys­i­o­log­i­cal expe­ri­ence that peo­ple are hav­ing,” says Shenan­doah University’s Craig Richard, an ASMR enthu­si­ast. Oxytocin—the “love hormone”—seems to be involved, which may explain why many ASMR videos have a slight­ly sexy feel to them. Sen­sa­tion, touch, and close­ness define the genre (often host­ed by young, con­ven­tion­al­ly attrac­tive women). ASMR videos may adhere to some spe­cif­ic cul­tur­al con­struc­tions, but the phe­nom­e­non seems real enough. And it has a psy­cho­log­i­cal neme­sis, miso­pho­nia, “an extreme dis­like of cer­tain sounds,” such as just those that set ASMR folks a‑tingling.

“How can a sound be so relax­ing for group A,” asks Richard, “and real­ly make group B angry?” Maybe there is a genet­ic com­po­nent, he spec­u­lates. And maybe the pop­u­lar­i­ty of ASMR videos shows a soft­er, G‑rated side of how lone­ly peo­ple meet a need online. ASMR artists “tend to be peo­ple with real­ly kind and car­ing dis­po­si­tions,” says Richard. “You’re brought into this world and this moment with you and anoth­er per­son. And this per­son just seems to real­ly care about you.” Role-play­ing plays a big role in ASMR videos, which can make them seem even more like adult movies.

But it’s not at all about sex, but about inti­ma­cy, calm, and con­nec­tion, which many peo­ple under­stand­ably hunger for in a noisy, alien­at­ing world. As Richard points out, many say that ASMR videos help with anx­i­ety and insom­nia. Stressed-out stu­dents, sin­gle moth­ers, vet­er­ans with PTSD—all have report­ed find­ing peace through ASMR. “Our soci­ety has become quick­er in every pos­si­ble way,” says Maria. “Every­thing is pushed to the top, to the lim­it. ASMR slows down your per­cep­tion of every­thing.” It’s a med­i­ta­tive art, she sug­gests, and an anti­dote to the brain-scram­bling dis­ori­en­ta­tion of con­tem­po­rary life.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Watch Every Episode of Bob Ross’ The Joy Of Paint­ing Free Online: 403 Episodes Span­ning 31 Sea­sons

10 Hours of Ambi­ent Arc­tic Sounds Will Help You Relax, Med­i­tate, Study & Sleep

Hear “Weight­less,” the Most Relax­ing Song Ever Made, Accord­ing to Researchers (You’ll Need It Today)

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

Hunter S. Thompson’s Many Strange, Unpredictable Appearances on The David Letterman Show

An old quote from Joseph de Maistre gets thrown around a lot late­ly: Toute nation a le gou­verne­ment qu’elle mérite—“every nation gets the gov­ern­ment it deserves.” As a his­tor­i­cal claim it is impos­si­ble to ver­i­fy. But the apho­rism has an author­i­ta­tive ring, the unmis­tak­able sound of tru­ism.

What if we put it anoth­er way? Every age gets the jour­nal­ism it deserves. How does that sound?

I offer as exhib­it one Hunter S. Thomp­son. Only a gonzo time like the late 60s and 70s could have pro­duced the gonzo jour­nal­ist, just as only such a time could have nur­tured the jour­nal­is­tic writ­ing of Tom Wolfe, Ter­ry South­ern, Joan Did­ion, James Bald­win, etc.

Do we find our cur­rent crop of jour­nal­ists lack­ing in moral courage, right­eous fury, death-defy­ing risk-tak­ing, gal­lows humor, lit­er­ary reach, thor­ough­go­ing inde­pen­dence of thought? The fail­ing indus­try may be to blame, one might argue, and with good rea­son.

Or per­haps, with def­er­ence to de Maistre, we have not deserved bet­ter.

The New Jour­nal­ism from which Thomp­son emerged dis­pensed with any pre­tense to “polite neu­tral­i­ty,” as nov­el­ist Hari Kun­zru writes at the Lon­don Review of Books. And “no one took the voice of the jour­nal­ist fur­ther away from ‘neu­tral back­ground’ (or seemed less able to stop him­self from doing it) than Hunter S. Thomp­son.” He exem­pli­fied Esquire edi­tor Lee Eisen­berg’s descrip­tion of the six­ties New Jour­nal­ist as “a lib­er­at­ed army of one.”

Thompson’s “abil­i­ty to artic­u­late the under­cur­rent of ‘fear and loathing’ run­ning through America”—not as a cyn­i­cal spokesper­son, but as some­how both an embod­i­ment and a sur­pris­ing­ly lucid, moral­is­tic observer—“ultimately led to his adop­tion as a kind of sooth­say­ing holy fool for the coun­ter­cul­ture.” In his lat­er years, the leg­end turned his rep­u­ta­tion for excess into a kind of schtick. Or maybe it’s more accu­rate to say that the cul­ture changed but Hunter didn’t, for bet­ter or worse.

As Kun­zru points out, “lat­er in his career the ‘sto­ry’ as inde­pen­dent enti­ty was to dis­ap­pear almost entire­ly from his work, which became a frac­tured series of tales about Hunter (mad, bad and dan­ger­ous) and his behav­ior (inspired, errat­ic, para­noid).” While this shift (and his dai­ly diet) may have dulled his jour­nal­is­tic edge, it made him an ide­al late-night talk show guest, and such he remained, reli­ably, on the David Let­ter­man show for many years.

In the clips here, you can see many of those appear­ances, first, at the top, from 1987, then below it, from 1988. Fur­ther up, see Let­ter­man inter­view Thomp­son in an ‘87 episode inex­plic­a­bly con­duct­ed in a Times Square hotel room. The show was “a strange beast,” writes Vulture’s Ram­sey Ess. “For most of the episode it feels unruly, nerve-wrack­ing, and a lit­tle dan­ger­ous,” all adjec­tives Thomp­son could have trade­marked. Just above, Thomp­son meets Let­ter­man to dis­cuss his just-pub­lished The Rum Diary, the nov­el he worked on for forty years, “a hard-bit­ten sto­ry,” writes Kun­zru, “of love, jour­nal­ism and heavy drink­ing.”

All of Thompson’s appear­ances are unpre­dictable and slight­ly unnerv­ing, and become more so in lat­er years. “Thomp­son would become more dra­mat­ic and more twist­ed,” writes Jason Nawara. “What­ev­er led up to the moment Thomp­son stepped on stage was prob­a­bly far more aston­ish­ing (or ter­ri­fy­ing) than any­thing caught on cam­era. Why is his hand ban­daged? Why is he so para­noid? What is hap­pen­ing? When have you slept last, Hunter?” If late night tele­vi­sion has become safe and bor­ing, full of pan­der­ing pat­ter large­ly devoid of true sur­pris­es, per­haps it is because Hunter S. Thomp­son has passed on. And per­haps, as Nawara seems to sug­gest, every gen­er­a­tion gets the late-night TV it deserves.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Read 11 Free Arti­cles by Hunter S. Thomp­son That Span His Gonzo Jour­nal­ist Career (1965–2005)

Hunter S. Thompson’s Deca­dent Dai­ly Break­fast: The “Psy­chic Anchor” of His Fre­net­ic Cre­ative Life

How Hunter S. Thomp­son Gave Birth to Gonzo Jour­nal­ism: Short Film Revis­its Thompson’s Sem­i­nal 1970 Piece on the Ken­tucky Der­by

Hunter S. Thomp­son Chill­ing­ly Pre­dicts the Future, Telling Studs Terkel About the Com­ing Revenge of the Eco­nom­i­cal­ly & Tech­no­log­i­cal­ly “Obso­lete” (1967)

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

Watch the Original TV Coverage of the Historic Apollo 11 Moon Landing: Recorded on July 20, 1969

Dur­ing a recent din­ner a few friends and I found our­selves rem­i­nisc­ing about for­ma­tive moments in our col­lec­tive youth. The con­ver­sa­tion took a decid­ed­ly down­beat turn when a nation­al­ly tele­vised moment we all remem­bered all too well came up: the 1986 explo­sion of the space shut­tle Chal­lenger. Like mil­lions of oth­er schoolkids at the time we had been glued to the live broad­cast, and became wit­ness­es to hor­ror. “It was NASA’s dark­est tragedy,” writes Eliz­a­beth How­ell at, an acci­dent that “changed the space pro­gram for­ev­er.”

The con­trast with our par­ents’ indeli­ble mem­o­ries of a tele­vised space broad­cast from sev­en­teen years ear­li­er could not be stark­er. On July 20, 1969, the nation wit­nessed what could eas­i­ly be called NASA’s great­est tri­umph, the Apol­lo 11 moon land­ing, which not only real­ly hap­pened, but was broad­cast live on CBS, with com­men­tary by Wal­ter Cronkite and for­mer astro­naut Wal­ly Schirra and live audio from Mis­sion Con­trol in Hous­ton and Buzz Aldrin him­self, “whose job dur­ing the land­ing,” Jason Kot­tke writes, “was to keep an eye on the LM (lunar module)’s alti­tude and speed.”

We don’t hear much from Neil Armstrong—“he’s busy fly­ing and furi­ous­ly search­ing for a suit­able land­ing site. But it’s Arm­strong that says after they land, ‘Hous­ton, Tran­quil­i­ty Base here. The Eagle has land­ed.’” Kottke’s fas­ci­nat­ing descrip­tion of the events points out details that height­en the dra­ma, such as the fact that Armstrong’s heartrate “peaked at 150 beats per minute at land­ing” (his rest­ing heartrate was 60 bpm). At around 10 min­utes to land­ing, the astro­nauts link to Mis­sion Con­trol cut out briefly, which must have been ter­ri­fy­ing.

“Then there were the inter­mit­tent 1201 and 1202 pro­gram alarms, which nei­ther the LM crew nor Hous­ton had encoun­tered in any of the train­ing sim­u­la­tions.” These turn out “to be a sim­ple case,” notes NASA, “of the com­put­er try­ing to do too many things at once.” Giv­en that the Lunar Module’s com­put­er only had 4KB of mem­o­ry, this is hard­ly a sur­prise. What is aston­ish­ing is that such a rel­a­tive­ly prim­i­tive machine could han­dle the task at all.

The film view­ers saw on their screens was not, of course, a live feed—CBS did not have cam­eras in space or on the moon—but rather an ani­ma­tion.

The CBS ani­ma­tion shows the fake LM land­ing on the fake Moon before the actu­al land­ing — when Buzz says “con­tact light” and then “engine stop”. The ani­ma­tion was based on the sched­uled land­ing time and evi­dent­ly couldn’t be adjust­ed. The sched­uled time was over­shot because of the crater and boul­ders sit­u­a­tion men­tioned above.

There were, how­ev­er, cam­eras mount­ed on the Lunar Mod­ule, and that 16mm footage of the land­ing, which you can see above, was lat­er released. And then there’s that moon walk (which real­ly hap­pened), which you can see below—blurry and indis­tinct but no less amaz­ing.

Just a lit­tle over eight years “since the flights of Gagarin and Shep­ard,” NASA writes, “fol­lowed quick­ly by Pres­i­dent Kennedy’s chal­lenge to put a man on the moon before the decade is out,” it hap­pened. Arm­strong, Aldrin, and Michael Collins land­ed on the moon. Arm­strong and Aldrin walked around and col­lect­ed sam­ples for two hours, then returned safe­ly to Earth. In a post-flight press con­fer­ence, Arm­strong called the suc­cess­ful mis­sion “a begin­ning of a new age,” and it was, though his opti­mism would seem almost quaint when a cou­ple decades lat­er, the U.S. turned its sights on weaponiz­ing space.

Read more about this extra­or­di­nary event at NASA and Kot­tke.

via Kot­tke

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Stan­ley Kubrick’s Daugh­ter Vivian Debunks the Age-Old Moon Land­ing Con­spir­a­cy The­o­ry

The Source Code for the Apol­lo 11 Moon Land­ing Mis­sion Is Now Free on Github

Neil Arm­strong, Buzz Aldrin & Michael Collins Go Through Cus­toms and Sign Immi­gra­tion Form After the First Moon Land­ing (1969)

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

The Discipline of D.E.: Gus Van Sant Adapts a Story by William S. Burroughs (1978)

Every­one who’s read Jack Ker­ouac knows what it means to go vis­it the sage Old Bill Lee. And even many who haven’t read Ker­ouac know who Old Bill Lee real­ly was: inno­v­a­tive writer, Beat Gen­er­a­tion elder states­man, and sub­stance enthu­si­ast William S. Bur­roughs. Gus Van Sant, who had imbibed from the coun­ter­cul­ture ear­ly on, paid his own vis­it to Old Bill Lee a few years after grad­u­at­ing from the Rhode Island School of Design. On a recent episode of WTF, Van Sant tells Marc Maron how, hav­ing read a Bur­roughs essay called “The Dis­ci­pline of DE” back in Prov­i­dence, he looked Bur­roughs up in the New York City phone book, called him, and paid him a vis­it — not just because Ker­ouac’s char­ac­ters did it, but because he want­ed the rights to turn the sto­ry into a film.

The result­ing nine-minute short puts images to Bur­roughs’ words. “DE is a way of doing,” says its nar­ra­tor Ken Shapiro, who had direct­ed the tele­vi­sion-satriz­ing cult film The Groove Tube a few years ear­li­er. “DE sim­ply means doing what­ev­er you do in the eas­i­est most relaxed way you can man­age, which is also the quick­est and most effi­cient way, as you will find as you advance in DE.”

We then see var­i­ous cin­e­mat­i­cal­ly illus­trat­ed exam­ples of DE in action, includ­ing  “the art of ‘cast­ing’ sheets and blan­kets so they fall just so,” pick­ing up an object by drop­ping “cool pos­ses­sive fin­gers onto it like a gen­tle old cop mak­ing a soft arrest,” and even gun fight­ing in the old west as prac­ticed by Wyatt Earp, the only gun fight­er who “ever real­ly grasped the con­cept of DE.”

Van Sant com­plet­ed The Dis­ci­pline of DE, his sixth short film, in 1978. Just over a decade lat­er he would cast Bur­roughs in a high­ly Old Bill Lee-like role in his sec­ond fea­ture Drug­store Cow­boy, bring­ing him back a few years lat­er for Even Cow­girls Get the Blues. Van Sant adapt­ed both of those films from nov­els, as he’s done in much of his fil­mog­ra­phy. Trav­el­ing Europe with a film club after col­lege, he told Maron, he got the chance to vis­it famed auteurs like Fed­eri­co Felli­ni, Lina Wert­müller, and Pier Pao­lo Pasoli­ni. It was Pasoli­ni to whom he explained his own ambi­tion in film­mak­ing: “to trans­late lit­er­a­ture into film.” Paolin­i’s less-than-encour­ag­ing response: “Why would you do that? Why would you both­er?” Yet Van San­t’s dri­ve to make cin­e­ma “more mal­leable, like the nov­el,” has served him well ever since, as — if he adheres to it — has the dis­ci­pline of DE.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

The Mak­ing of Drug­store Cow­boy, Gus Van Sant’s First Major Film (1989)

William S. Bur­roughs’ “The Thanks­giv­ing Prayer,” Shot by Gus Van Sant

William S. Burrough’s Avant-Garde Movie ‘The Cut Ups’ (1966)

William S. Bur­roughs’ Home Movies, Fea­tur­ing Pat­ti Smith, Allen Gins­berg, Steve Busce­mi & Cats

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.

What Is Stoicism? A Short Introduction to the Ancient Philosophy That Can Help You Cope with Our Hard Modern Times

The word “sto­ic” (from the Greek stoa) has come to mean a few things in pop­u­lar par­lance, most of them relat­ed direct­ly to the ancient Greek, then Roman, phi­los­o­phy from which the term derives. Sto­ic peo­ple seem unmov­able. They stay cool in a cri­sis and “keep calm and car­ry on” when oth­ers lose their heads. For sev­er­al, per­haps obvi­ous, rea­sons, these qual­i­ties of “calm, resilience, and emo­tion­al sta­bil­i­ty” are par­tic­u­lar­ly need­ed in a time like ours, says Alain de Bot­ton in his School of Life video above.

But how do we acquire these qual­i­ties, accord­ing to the Sto­ics? And what philoso­phers should we con­sult to learn about them? One of the most pro­lif­ic of Sto­ic philoso­phers, the Roman writer and states­man Seneca, advised a typ­i­cal course of action. In a let­ter to his friend Lucil­ius, who feared a poten­tial­ly career-end­ing law­suit, Seneca coun­seled that rather than rest­ing in hopes of a hap­py out­come, his friend should assume that the worst will come to pass, and that, no mat­ter what, he can sur­vive it.

The goal is not to make Deb­bie Down­ers of us all, but to con­vince us that we are stronger than we think—that even our worst fears need­n’t mean the end of the world. Seneca’s sto­icism is a thor­ough­go­ing real­ism that asks us to account for the entire range of pos­si­ble outcomes—even the absolute worst we can imagine—rather than only those things we want or have pre­vi­ous­ly expe­ri­enced. In this way, we will not be caught off-guard when bad things come to pass, because we have already made a cer­tain peace with them.

Rather than a pes­simistic phi­los­o­phy, Seneca’s thought seems entire­ly prac­ti­cal, a means of pierc­ing our pleas­ant illu­sions and com­fort­able bub­bles of self-regard, and con­sid­er­ing our­selves just as sub­ject to mis­for­tune as any­one else in the world, and just as capa­ble of endur­ing it as well.

To par­take of Seneca’s wis­dom your­self, con­sid­er read­ing this online three-vol­ume col­lec­tion of his let­ters, The Tao of Seneca. And for a longer list of Sto­ic thinkers, ancient and mod­ern, see this post from Ryan Hol­i­day of the Dai­ly Sto­ic, a blog that offers use­ful Sto­ic advice for con­tem­po­rary peo­ple.

Relat­ed Con­tent:   

Three Huge Vol­umes of Sto­ic Writ­ings by Seneca Now Free Online, Thanks to Tim Fer­riss

An Ani­mat­ed Intro­duc­tion to Friedrich Nietzsche’s Philo­soph­i­cal Recipe for Get­ting Over the Sources of Regret, Dis­ap­point­ment and Suf­fer­ing in Our Lives

An Ani­mat­ed Intro­duc­tion to Epi­cu­rus and His Answer to the Ancient Ques­tion: What Makes Us Hap­py?

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

Rare Photos of Frida Kahlo, Age 13–23

“Before they were famous” pho­tos are a click­bait sta­ple, espe­cial­ly if they reveal a hereto­fore unseen side of some­one whose image is tight­ly con­trolled:

The smol­der­ing activist-actress-direc­tor as a gawky, open-faced sopho­more, her hair moussed to the very lim­its of her mod­el­ing school test shots?

The ris­ing polit­i­cal star, pim­ple-faced and cen­ter-part­ed, pos­ing with the oth­er three mem­bers of his high school’s Dun­geons and Drag­ons Club?

What about ever­green art star Fri­da Kahlo?

Though her hus­band, mural­ist Diego Rivera, was the one who urged her to adopt the tra­di­tion­al Tehua­na dress of their native Mex­i­co as a uni­form of sorts, Fri­da engi­neered her image by plac­ing her­self cen­ter stage in dozens of alle­gor­i­cal, inti­mate self-por­traits.

Much of her work alludes to the hor­rif­ic acci­dent she suf­fered at 18, and the tor­tu­ous treat­ments and surg­eries she under­went as a result for the rest of her life.

It shaped the way she saw her­self, and, in turn, the way we see her. Her endur­ing appeal is such that even those who aren’t over­ly famil­iar with her work feel they have a pret­ty good han­dle on her, thanks to her ubiq­ui­ty on tote­bags, appar­el, and var­i­ous gift relat­ed items—even Fri­da Kahlo action fig­ures and paper dolls.

We know this lady, right?

What a plea­sure to get to know her bet­ter. A col­lec­tion of pho­tos that has recent­ly come to light intro­duces us to a younger, more can­did Frida—both before and after the acci­dent, when she returned to her stud­ies at Nation­al Prepara­to­ry School.

Tak­en togeth­er with the por­traits made by her pho­tog­ra­ph­er father, they show ear­ly evi­dence of the force­ful per­son­al­i­ty that would dom­i­nate and define her pub­lic image, Mary Jane-style pumps with socks, a mid­dy blouse, and a vari­ety of blunt bobs aside.

Some of the lat­er pho­tos in this batch speak to her increas­ing inter­est in dis­tin­guish­ing her­self from her female peers. Her exper­i­ments in cross dress­ing ensured she would stand out in every group pho­to, a dash­ing fig­ure in suit, tie, and slicked back hair.

Though this peri­od of her life is less a mat­ter of pub­lic record, it gets its due in the 2017 graph­ic nov­el Fri­da: The Sto­ry of Her Life by Van­na Vin­ci. Some of the oth­ers in these pho­tos, includ­ing her sis­ters and her first boyfriend, Ale­jan­dro Gómez Arias, appear as char­ac­ters, as does Death in the form of print­mak­er José Guadalupe Posada’s La Calav­era Cat­ri­na—per­haps the only image for­mi­da­ble enough to hold its own against the fab­u­lous Fri­da.

Fri­da Kahlo The Sto­ry of Her Life p. 22–23

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Vis­it the Largest Col­lec­tion of Fri­da Kahlo’s Work Ever Assem­bled: 800 Arti­facts from 33 Muse­ums, All Free Online

1933 Arti­cle on Fri­da Kahlo: “Wife of the Mas­ter Mur­al Painter Glee­ful­ly Dab­bles in Works of Art”

The Fri­da Kahlo Action Fig­ure

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

Watch Kraftwerk Perform a Real-Time Duet with a German Astronaut Living on the International Space Station

Last Fri­day, Alexan­der Gerst, an astro­naut liv­ing aboard the Inter­na­tion­al Space Sta­tion, wel­comed Kraftwerk and 7500 atten­dees to the Jazz Open Fes­ti­val in Stuttgart. There, writes the Euro­pean Space Agency, “Kraftwerk found­ing mem­ber Ralf Hüt­ter and Alexan­der played a spe­cial duet ver­sion of the track Space­lab, for which Alexan­der had a tablet com­put­er con­fig­ured with vir­tu­al syn­the­siz­ers on board.” You can watch the far-out scene play out above.

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via Con­se­quence of Sound

Relat­ed Con­tent:

The Psy­che­del­ic Ani­mat­ed Video for Kraftwerk’s “Auto­bahn” from 1979

Kraftwerk’s “The Robots” Per­formed by Ger­man First Graders in Adorable Card­board Robot Out­fits

Kraftwerk’s First Con­cert: The Begin­ning of the End­less­ly Influ­en­tial Band (1970)

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.