The Sax Solo on Gerry Rafferty’s “Baker Street” on a 10 Hour, Endless Loop

Enjoy, but the rule is once you start, you have to lis­ten through to the very, very end. :)

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Journalism Under Siege: A Free Online Course from Stanford Explores the Imperiled Freedom of the Press

This past fall, Stan­ford Con­tin­u­ing Stud­ies and the John S. Knight Jour­nal­ism Fel­low­ships teamed up to offer an impor­tant course on the chal­lenges fac­ing jour­nal­ism and the free­dom of the press. Called Jour­nal­ism Under Siege? Truth and Trust in a Time of Tur­moil, the five-week course fea­tured 28 jour­nal­ists and media experts, all offer­ing insights on the emerg­ing chal­lenges fac­ing the media across the Unit­ed States and the wider world. The lectures/presentations are now all online. Find them below, along with the list of guest speak­ers, which includes Alex Sta­mos who blew the whis­tle on Rus­si­a’s manip­u­la­tion of the Face­book plat­form dur­ing the 2016 elec­tion. Jour­nal­ism Under Siege will be added to our col­lec­tion, Jour­nal­ism Under Siege: A Free Online Course from Stan­ford Explores the Imper­iled Free­dom of the Press.

Week­ly Ses­sions:

  • Week 1 –  First Draft of His­to­ry: How a Free Press Pro­tects Free­dom; Part OnePart Two
  • Week 2 –  Pow­er to the Peo­ple: Hold­ing the Pow­er­ful Account­able; Part OnePart Two
  • Week 3 – Pick­ing Sides? How Jour­nal­ists Cov­er Bias, Intol­er­ance and Injus­tice; Part OnePart Two
  • Week 4 – The Last Stand of Local News; Part OnePart Two
  • Week 5 – The Mis­in­for­ma­tion Soci­ety; Part OnePart Two

Guest Speak­ers:

  • Han­nah Allam, nation­al reporter, Buz­zFeed News
  • Roman Anin, inves­ti­ga­tions edi­tor, Novaya Gaze­ta, Moscow
  • Hugo Bal­ta, pres­i­dent, Nation­al Asso­ci­a­tion of His­pan­ic Jour­nal­ists
  • Sal­ly Buzbee, exec­u­tive edi­tor, Asso­ci­at­ed Press (AP)
  • Neil Chase, exec­u­tive edi­tor, San Jose Mer­cury News
  • Audrey Coop­er, edi­tor-in-chief, San Fran­cis­co Chron­i­cle
  • Jenée Desmond-Har­ris, staff edi­tor, NYT Opin­ion, New York Times
  • Jiquan­da John­son, founder and pub­lish­er, Flint Beat
  • Joel Konopo, man­ag­ing part­ner, INK Cen­tre for Inves­tiga­tive Jour­nal­ism, Gaborone, Botswana
  • Richard Lui, anchor, MSNBC and NBC News
  • Geral­dine Mori­ba, for­mer vice pres­i­dent for diver­si­ty and inclu­sion, CNN
  • Bryan Pol­lard, pres­i­dent, Native Amer­i­can Jour­nal­ists Asso­ci­a­tion
  • Cecile Prieur, deputy edi­tor, Le Monde, Paris
  • Joel Simon, exec­u­tive direc­tor, Com­mit­tee to Pro­tect Jour­nal­ists
  • Alex Sta­mos, for­mer Face­book chief secu­ri­ty offi­cer
  • Mari­na Walk­er Gue­vara, win­ner of the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Explana­to­ry Report­ing for coor­di­nat­ing the Pana­ma Papers inves­ti­ga­tion

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!

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Watch Seder-Masochism, Nina Paley’s Animated, Feminist Take on the Passover Holiday: The Animated Feature Film Is Free and in the Public Domain

Seder-Masochism, copy­right abo­li­tion­ist Nina Paley’s lat­est ani­mat­ed release, is guar­an­teed to ruf­fle feath­ers in cer­tain quar­ters, though the last laugh belongs to this trick­ster artist, who shares writ­ing cred­it with ”God, Moses or a series of patri­ar­chal males, depend­ing on who you ask.”

Bypass­ing a com­mer­cial release in favor of the pub­lic domain goes a long way toward inoc­u­lat­ing the film and its cre­ator against expen­sive rights issues that could arise from the star-stud­ded sound­track.

It also lets the air out of any affront­ed par­ties’ cam­paigns for mass box office boy­cotts.

“The crit­i­cism seems equal­ly divid­ed between peo­ple that say I’m a Zion­ist and peo­ple that say I’m an anti-Zion­ist,” Paley says of This Land Is Mine, below, a stun­ning sequence of trib­al and inter-trib­al car­nage, mem­o­rably set to Ernest Gold’s theme for the 1960 epic Paul New­man vehi­cle, Exo­dus.

Released as a stand-alone short, This Land Is Mine has become the most viewed of Paley’s works. She finds the oppos­ing camps’ equal out­cry encour­ag­ing, proof that she’s doing “some­thing right.”

More both­er­some has been Uni­ver­si­ty of Illi­nois Asso­ciate Pro­fes­sor of Gen­der Stud­ies Mimi Thi Nguyen’s social media push to brand the film­mak­er as trans­pho­bic. (Paley, no fan of iden­ti­ty pol­i­tics, states that her “crime was, months ear­li­er, shar­ing on Face­book the fol­low­ing lyric: ‘If a per­son has a penis he’s a man.’”) Nguyen’s actions result­ed in the fem­i­nist film’s ouster from sev­er­al venues and fes­ti­vals, includ­ing Ebert­fest in Paley’s home­town and a women’s film fes­ti­val in Bel­gium.

What would the ancient fer­til­i­ty god­dess­es pop­u­lat­ing both art his­to­ry and Seder-Masochism have to say about that devel­op­ment?

In Seder-Masochism, these god­dess fig­ures, whom Paley ear­li­er trans­formed into a series of free down­load­able GIFs, offer a most­ly silent rebuke to those who refuse to acknowl­edge any con­cep­tion of the divine exist­ing out­side patri­ar­chal tra­di­tion.

In the case of Assis­tant Pro­fes­sor Nguyen, per­haps the god­dess­es would err on the side of diplo­ma­cy (and the First Amend­ment), fram­ing the dust-up as just one more rea­son the pub­lic should be glad the pro­jec­t’s lodged in the pub­lic domain. Any­one with access to the Inter­net and a desire to see the film will have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to do so. Called out, maybe. Shut down, nev­er.

The god­dess­es sup­ply a depth of mean­ing to this large­ly com­ic under­tak­ing. Their ample curves inform many of the pat­terns that give motion to the ani­mat­ed cutouts.

Paley also gets a lot of mileage from repli­cat­ing super­nu­mer­ary char­ac­ters until they march with ant-like pur­pose or bedaz­zle in Bus­by Berke­ley-style spec­ta­cles. Not since Paul Mazursky’s Tem­pest have goats loomed so large in cin­e­mat­ic chore­og­ra­phy…

Paley’s use of music is anoth­er source of abid­ing plea­sure. She casts a wide net—punk, dis­co, Bul­gar­i­an folk, the Bea­t­les, Free to Be You and Me—again, fram­ing her choic­es as par­o­dy. “Hail, Hail, the Gang’s All Here” accom­pa­nies the sev­enth plague of Egypt (don’t both­er look­ing it up. It’s hail.) Ringo Starr’s famous “Hel­ter Skel­ter” aside (“I’ve got blis­ters on my fin­gers!”) boils down to an apt choice for plague num­ber six. (If you have to think about it…)

The ele­ments of the Seder plate are list­ed to the strains of “Tijua­na Taxi” because… well, who doesn’t love Herb Alpert and the Tijua­na Brass?

Paley’s own reli­gious back­ground is of obvi­ous inter­est here, and as with her pre­vi­ous fea­ture, Sita Sings the Blues—also in the pub­lic domain—the auto­bi­o­graph­i­cal ele­ment is irre­sistible. A 2011 audio record­ing pro­vides the excuse to por­tray her father, Hiram, who died the year after the inter­view was con­duct­ed, as a Mon­ty Python-esque God. The senior Paley was raised in an obser­vant Jew­ish house­hold, but lost faith as a young man. An athe­ist who want­ed his chil­dren to know some­thing of their her­itage, Passover was the one Jew­ish hol­i­day he con­tin­ued to cel­e­brate. (He also for­bade the kids from par­tic­i­pat­ing in any sort of sec­u­lar Christ­mas activ­i­ties.)

A wist­ful God with the com­plex­ion of a dol­lar bill, Hiram is at times sur­round­ed by put­ti, in the form of his par­ents, his con­tentious Uncle Her­schel, and his own sweet younger self.

For these scenes, Paley por­trays her­self as a spir­it­ed “sac­ri­fi­cial goat.” This char­ac­ter finds an echo at film’s end, when “Chad Gadya,” the tra­di­tion­al Passover tune that brings the annu­al seder to a rol­lick­ing con­clu­sion, is brought to life using embroi­der­ma­tion, a form Paley may or may not have invent­ed.

Per­haps Paley’s most sub­ver­sive joke is choos­ing Jesus, as depict­ed in Juan de Juanes’ 1652 paint­ing, The Last Sup­per, to deliv­er an edu­ca­tion­al blow-by-blow of Passover rit­u­al.

Actu­al­ly, much like Audrey Hep­burn in My Fair Lady and Natal­ie Wood in West Side Sto­ry, Jesus was ghost-voiced by anoth­er performer—Barry Gray, nar­ra­tor of the mid­cen­tu­ry edu­ca­tion­al record­ing The Moishe Oysh­er Seder.

As you may have gleaned, Paley, despite the clean ele­gance of her ani­mat­ed line, is a max­i­mal­ist. There’s some­thing for every­one (except­ing, of course, Mimi Thi Nguyen)—a gleam­ing gold­en idol, a ball bounc­ing above hiero­glyph­ic lyrics, actu­al footage of atroc­i­ties com­mit­ted in a state of reli­gious fer­vor, Moses’ broth­er Aaron—a fig­ure who’s often shoved to the side­lines, if not left out­right on the cut­ting room floor.

We leave you with Paley’s prayer to her Muse, found freely shared on her web­site:

Our Idea

Which art in the Ether

That can­not be named;

Thy Vision come

Thy Will be done

On Earth, as it is in Abstrac­tion.

Give us this day our dai­ly Spark

And for­give us our crit­i­cisms

As we for­give those who cri­tique against us;

And lead us not into stag­na­tion

But deliv­er us from Ego;

For Thine is the Vision

And the Pow­er

And the Glo­ry for­ev­er.

Amen.

Watch Seder-Masochism in its entire­ty up top, or down­load it here. Pur­chase the com­pan­ion book here.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Sita Sings the Blues Now on YouTube

Cel­e­brate the Women’s March with 24 God­dess GIFs Cre­at­ed by Ani­ma­tor Nina Paley: They’re Free to Down­load and Remix

Watch Nina Paley’s “Embroi­der­ma­tion,” a New, Stun­ning­ly Labor-Inten­sive Form of Ani­ma­tion

Intro­duc­tion to the Old Tes­ta­ment: A Free Yale Course 

Ayun Hal­l­i­day is an author, illus­tra­tor, the­ater mak­er and Chief Pri­ma­tol­o­gist of the East Vil­lage Inky zine.  Join her in New York City for the next install­ment of her book-based vari­ety show, Necro­mancers of the Pub­lic Domain, this April. Fol­low her @AyunHalliday.

Lawrence Ferlinghetti Turns 100: Hear the Great San Francisco Poet Read “Trump’s Trojan Horse,” “Pity the Nation” & Many Other Poems

It has been a sea­son of mourn­ing for lit­er­a­ture: first the death of Mary Oliv­er and now W.S. Mer­win, two writ­ers who left a con­sid­er­able imprint on over half a cen­tu­ry of Amer­i­can poet­ry. Con­sid­er­ing the fact that found­ing father of the Beats and pro­pri­etor of world-renowned City Lights Book­store, Lawrence Fer­linghet­ti, turns 100 on March 24th, maybe a few more peo­ple have glanced over to check on him. How’s he doing?

He’s grown “frail and near­ly blind,” writes Chloe Velt­man at The Guardian in an inter­view with the poet this month, “but his mind is still on fire.” Fer­linghet­ti “has not mel­lowed,” says Wash­ing­ton Post book crit­ic Ron Charles, “at all.” If you’re look­ing for him at any of the events planned in his hon­or, City Lights announces, he will not be in atten­dance, but he has been busy pro­mot­ing his lat­est book, a thin­ly-veiled auto­bi­o­graph­i­cal nov­el about his ear­ly life called Lit­tle Boy.

In the book Fer­linghet­ti describes his child­hood in images right out of Edward Gorey. He was a “Lit­tle Lord Fauntleroy” in a Bronxville man­sion 20 miles out­side New York, an orphan tak­en in and raised by descen­dants of the founders of Sarah Lawrence. “His new guardians spoke to one anoth­er in court­ly tones and dressed in Vic­to­ri­an garb,” notes Charles. “They sent him to pri­vate school, and, more impor­tant, they pos­sessed a fine library, which he was encour­aged to use.”

The poet would lat­er write he was a “social climber climb­ing down­ward,” an iron­ic ref­er­ence to how some peo­ple might have seen the tra­jec­to­ry of his career. After serv­ing in the Navy dur­ing World War II, earn­ing a master’s at Colum­bia, and a Ph.D. at the Sor­bonne, Fer­linghet­ti decamped to San Fran­cis­co, and found­ed the small mag­a­zine City Lights with Peter D. Mar­tin. Then he opened a book­store on the edge of Chi­na­town to fund the pub­lish­ing ven­ture.

The shop became a haunt for writ­ers and poets. Fer­linghet­ti start­ed pub­lish­ing them, start­ing with him­self in 1955. The fol­low­ing year he gained inter­na­tion­al infamy for pub­lish­ing Allen Ginsberg’s Howl (hear Gins­berg read the poem at City Lights in ’56). The book was banned, and Fer­linghet­ti put on tri­al for obscen­i­ty. If any­one thought this would be the end of Lawrence Fer­linghet­ti, they were mis­tak­en.

He has pub­lished some­where around forty books of poet­ry and crit­i­cism, nov­els and plays, been a pro­lif­ic painter for six­ty years, as well as a pub­lish­er, book­seller, and activist. He does not con­sid­er him­self a Beat poet, but from his influ­en­tial first two books—Pic­tures of the Gone World and 1958’s A Coney Island of the Mindonward, Ferlinghetti’s philo­soph­i­cal out­look has more or less breathed the same air as Gins­berg et al.’s.

Quot­ing from Coney Island, Andrew Shapiro writes, “he coun­seled us to ‘con­found the sys­tem,’ ‘to emp­ty out our pock­ets… miss­ing our appoint­ments’ and to leave ‘our neck­ties behind’ and ‘take up the full beard of walk­ing anar­chy.’” He is still doing this, every way that he can, in pub­lic read­ings, media appear­ances, and a can­ny use of YouTube. His is not a call to flower pow­er but to full immer­sion in the chaos of life, or, as he writes in “Coney Island of the Mind 1” in the “ver­i­ta­ble rage / of adver­si­ty / Heaped up / groan­ing with babies and bay­o­nets / under cement skies / in an abstract land­scape of blast­ed trees.”

Fer­linghet­ti urged poets and writ­ers to “cre­ate works capa­ble of answer­ing the chal­lenge of apoc­a­lyp­tic times, even if this mean­ing sounds apoc­a­lyp­tic… you can con­quer the con­querors with words.” Despite this stri­den­cy, he has nev­er tak­en him­self too seri­ous­ly. Fer­linghet­ti is as relaxed as they come—he hasn’t mel­lowed, but he also hasn’t need­ed to. He’s a loose, nat­ur­al sto­ry­teller and come­di­an and he’s still deliv­er­ing sober, prophet­ic pro­nounce­ments with grav­i­tas.

See and hear Fer­linghet­ti take on con­querors, bul­lies, and xeno­phobes, under­wear, and oth­er sub­jects in the read­ings here from his through­out his career, includ­ing a full, 40-minute read­ing in 2005 at UC Berke­ley, below, an album of Fer­linghet­ti and Ken­neth Rexroth, above, and at the top, a video made last year of the 99-year-old poet, in Lady Lib­er­ty mask, read­ing “Trump’s Tro­jan Horse” under a grin­ning, gray-beard­ed self-por­trait of his younger self. Hap­py 100th to him. “I fig­ure that with anoth­er 100 birth­days,” he says, “that’ll be about enough!”

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Bill Mur­ray Reads the Poet­ry of Lawrence Fer­linghet­ti, Wal­lace Stevens, Emi­ly Dick­in­son, Bil­ly Collins, Lorine Niedeck­er, Lucille Clifton & More

Allen Ginsberg’s Howl Man­u­scripts Now Dig­i­tized & Put Online, Reveal­ing the Beat Poet’s Cre­ative Process

The First Record­ing of Allen Gins­berg Read­ing “Howl” (1956)

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

24 Common Cognitive Biases: A Visual List of the Psychological Systems Errors That Keep Us From Thinking Rationally

There’s been a lot of talk about the Dun­ning-Kruger effect, the cog­ni­tive bias that makes peo­ple wild­ly over­con­fi­dent, unable to know how igno­rant they are because they don’t have the basic skills to grasp what com­pe­tence means. Once pop­u­lar­ized, the effect became weaponized. Peo­ple made arm­chair diag­noses, gloat­ed and point­ed at the obliv­i­ous­ly stu­pid. But if those fin­ger-point­ers could take the beam out of their own eye, they might see four fin­gers point­ing back at them, or what­ev­er folk wis­dom to this effect you care to mash up.

What we now call cog­ni­tive bias­es have been known by many oth­er names over the course of mil­len­nia. Per­haps nev­er have the many vari­eties of self-decep­tion been so spe­cif­ic. Wikipedia lists 185 cog­ni­tive bias­es, 185 dif­fer­ent ways of being irra­tional and delud­ed. Sure­ly, it’s pos­si­ble that every sin­gle time we—maybe accurately—point out some­one else’s delu­sions, we’re hoard­ing a col­lec­tion of our own. Accord­ing to much of the research by psy­chol­o­gists and behav­ioral econ­o­mists, this may be inevitable and almost impos­si­ble to rem­e­dy.


Want to bet­ter under­stand your own cog­ni­tive bias­es and maybe try to move beyond them if you can? See a list of 24 com­mon cog­ni­tive bias­es in an info­graph­ic poster at yourbias.is, the site of the non­prof­it School of Thought. (The two gen­tle­men pop­ping up behind brainy Jeho­vah in the poster, notes Visu­al Cap­i­tal­ist, “hap­pen to rep­re­sent Daniel Kah­ne­man and Amos Tver­sky, two of the lead­ing social sci­en­tists known for their con­tri­bu­tions to this field. Not only did they pio­neer work around cog­ni­tive bias­es start­ing in the late 1960s, but their part­ner­ship also result­ed in a Nobel Prize in Eco­nom­ics in 2002.”)

Grant­ed, a Wikipedia list is a crowd-sourced cre­ation with lots of redun­dan­cy and quite a few “dubi­ous or triv­ial” entries, writes Ben Yago­da at The Atlantic. “The IKEA effect, for instance, is defined as ‘the ten­den­cy for peo­ple to place a dis­pro­por­tion­ate­ly high val­ue on objects they par­tial­ly assem­bled them­selves.’” Much of the val­ue I’ve per­son­al­ly placed on IKEA fur­ni­ture has to do with nev­er want­i­ng to assem­ble IKEA fur­ni­ture again. “But a sol­id group of 100 or so bias­es has been repeat­ed­ly shown to exist, and can make a hash of our lives.”

These are the tricks of the mind that keep gam­blers gam­bling, even when they’re los­ing every­thing. They include not only the “gambler’s fal­la­cy” but con­fir­ma­tion bias and the fal­la­cy of sunk cost, the ten­den­cy to pur­sue a bad out­come because you’ve already made a sig­nif­i­cant invest­ment and you don’t want it to have been for noth­ing. It may seem iron­ic that the study of cog­ni­tive bias­es devel­oped pri­mar­i­ly in the field of eco­nom­ics, the only social sci­ence, per­haps, that still assumes humans are autonomous indi­vid­u­als who freely make ratio­nal choic­es.

But then, econ­o­mists must con­stant­ly con­tend with the counter-evidence—rationality is not a thing most humans do well. (Evo­lu­tion­ar­i­ly speak­ing, this may have been no great dis­ad­van­tage until we got our hands on weapons of mass destruc­tion and the tools of cli­mate col­lapse.) When we act ratio­nal­ly in some areas, we tend to fool our­selves in oth­ers. Is it pos­si­ble to over­come bias? That depends on what we mean. Polit­i­cal and per­son­al prejudices—against eth­nic­i­ties, nation­al­i­ties, gen­ders, and sexualities—are usu­al­ly but­tressed by the sys­tems errors known as cog­ni­tive bias­es, but they are not caused by them. They are learned ideas that can be unlearned.

What researchers and aca­d­e­mics mean when they talk about bias does not relate to spe­cif­ic con­tent of beliefs, but rather to the ways in which our minds warp log­ic to serve some psy­cho­log­i­cal or emo­tion­al need or to help reg­u­late and sta­bi­lize our per­cep­tions in a man­age­able way. “Some of these bias­es are relat­ed to mem­o­ry,” writes Kendra Cher­ry at Very Well Mind, oth­ers “might be relat­ed to prob­lems with atten­tion. Since atten­tion is a lim­it­ed resource, peo­ple have to be selec­tive about what they pay atten­tion to in the world around them.”

We’re con­stant­ly miss­ing what’s right in front of us, in oth­er words, because we’re try­ing to pay atten­tion to oth­er peo­ple too. It’s exhaust­ing, which might be why we need eight hours or so of sleep each night if we want our brains to func­tion half decent­ly. Go to yourbias.is for this list of 24 com­mon cog­ni­tive bias­es, also avail­able on a nifty poster you can order and hang on the wall. You’ll also find there an illus­trat­ed col­lec­tion of log­i­cal fal­lac­i­es and a set of “crit­i­cal think­ing cards” fea­tur­ing both kinds of rea­son­ing errors. Once you’ve iden­ti­fied and defeat­ed all your own cog­ni­tive biases—all 24, or 100, or 185 or so—then you’ll be ready to set out and fix every­one else’s.

via Visu­al Cap­i­tal­ist

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Research Finds That Intel­lec­tu­al Humil­i­ty Can Make Us Bet­ter Thinkers & Peo­ple; Good Thing There’s a Free Course on Intel­lec­tu­al Humil­i­ty

Why Incom­pe­tent Peo­ple Think They’re Amaz­ing: An Ani­mat­ed Les­son from David Dun­ning (of the Famous “Dun­ning-Kruger Effect”)

The Pow­er of Empa­thy: A Quick Ani­mat­ed Les­son That Can Make You a Bet­ter Per­son

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

Beautiful Hand-Colored Japanese Flowers Created by the Pioneering Photographer Ogawa Kazumasa (1896)

Ogawa Kazu­masa lived from the 1860s to almost the 1930s, sure­ly one of the most fas­ci­nat­ing 70-year stretch­es in Japan­ese his­to­ry. Ogawa’s home­land “opened” to the world when he was a boy, and for the rest of his life he bore wit­ness to the some­times beau­ti­ful, some­times strange, some­times exhil­a­rat­ing results of a once-iso­lat­ed cul­ture assim­i­lat­ing seem­ing­ly every­thing for­eign — art, tech­nol­o­gy, cus­toms — all at once. Nat­u­ral­ly he picked up a cam­era to doc­u­ment it all, and his­to­ry now remem­bers him as a pio­neer of his art.

At the Get­ty’s web site you can see a few exam­ples of the sort of pic­tures Ogawa took of Japan­ese life in the mid-1890s. Dur­ing that same peri­od he pub­lished Some Japan­ese Flow­ers, a book con­tain­ing his pic­tures of just that.

The fol­low­ing year, Ogawa’s hand-col­ored pho­tographs of Japan­ese flow­ers also appeared in the Amer­i­can books Japan, Described and Illus­trat­ed by the Japan­ese, edit­ed by the renowned Anglo-Irish expa­tri­ate Japan­ese cul­ture schol­ar Fran­cis Brink­ley and pub­lished in Boston, the city where Ogawa had spent a cou­ple of years study­ing por­trait pho­tog­ra­phy and pro­cess­ing.

Ogawa’s var­ied life in Japan includ­ed work­ing as an edi­tor at Shashin Shin­pō (写真新報), the only pho­tog­ra­phy jour­nal in the coun­try at the time, as well as at the flower mag­a­zine Kok­ka (国華), which would cer­tain­ly have giv­en him the expe­ri­ence he need­ed to pro­duce pho­to­graph­ic spec­i­mens such as these. Though Ogawa invest­ed a great deal in learn­ing and employ­ing the high­est pho­to­graph­ic tech­nolo­gies, they were the high­est pho­to­graph­ic tech­nolo­gies of the 1890s, when col­or pho­tog­ra­phy neces­si­tat­ed adding col­ors — of par­tic­u­lar impor­tance in the case of flow­ers — after the fact.

Some Japan­ese Flow­ers was re-issued a few years ago, but you can still see 20 strik­ing exam­ples of Ogawa’s flower pho­tog­ra­phy at the Pub­lic Domain Review. They’ve also made sev­er­al of his works avail­able as prints of sev­er­al dif­fer­ent sizes in their online shop, a selec­tion that includes not just his flow­ers but the Bronze Bud­dha at Kamaku­ra and a man locked in bat­tle with an octo­pus as well. Even as every­thing changed so rapid­ly all around him, as he mas­tered the just-as-rapid­ly devel­op­ing tools of his craft, Ogawa nev­er­the­less kept his eye for the nat­ur­al and cul­tur­al aspects of his home­land that seemed nev­er to have changed at all.

via Pub­lic Domain Review

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Hand-Col­ored 1860s Pho­tographs Reveal the Last Days of Samu­rai Japan

Hand-Col­ored Pho­tographs from 19th Cen­tu­ry Japan: 110 Images Cap­ture the Wan­ing Days of Tra­di­tion­al Japan­ese Soci­ety

1850s Japan Comes to Life in 3D, Col­or Pho­tos: See the Stereo­scop­ic Pho­tog­ra­phy of T. Ena­mi

Hun­dreds of Won­der­ful Japan­ese Fire­work Designs from the Ear­ly-1900s: Dig­i­tized and Free to Down­load

His­toric Man­u­script Filled with Beau­ti­ful Illus­tra­tions of Cuban Flow­ers & Plants Is Now Online (1826)

How Obses­sive Artists Col­orize Old Pho­tographs & Restore the True Col­ors of the Past

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities, lan­guage, 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.

An Archive of Animations/Cartoons of Ancient Greece & Rome: From the 1920s Through Today

Ancient Greece and Rome have pro­vid­ed fer­tile hunt­ing grounds for ani­mat­ed sub­ject mat­ter since the very incep­tion of the form.

So what if the results wind up doing lit­tle more than frol­ic in the pas­toral set­ting? Wit­ness 1930’s Play­ful Pan, above, which can basi­cal­ly be summed up as Sil­ly Sym­pho­ny in a toga (with a cute bear cub who looks a lot like Mick­ey Mouse and some flame play that pre­fig­ures The Sorcerer’s Appren­tice…)

Oth­ers are packed with his­to­ry, myth­ic nar­ra­tive, and peri­od details, though be fore­warned that not all are as visu­al­ly appeal­ing as Steve Simons’ Hoplites! Greeks at War, part of the Panoply Vase Ani­ma­tion Project.

Some series, such as the Aster­ix movies and Aesop and Sona sta­ple of The Rocky and Bull­win­kle Show from 1959 to 1962have been the gate­ways through which many his­to­ry lovers’ curios­i­ty was first roused.

(Russ­ian ani­ma­tor Ana­toly Petrov’s erot­ic shorts for Soyuz­mult­film may rouse oth­er, er, curiosi­ties, and are def­i­nite­ly NSFW.)

And then there are instant clas­sics like 2004’s It’s All Greek to Scoo­by in which “Shag­gy’s pur­chase of a mys­te­ri­ous amulet only serves to cause a pes­ter­ing archae­ol­o­gist and cen­taur to chase him.”  (Ye gods…)

Senior Lec­tur­er of Clas­si­cal and Mediter­ranean Stud­ies at Van­der­bilt, Chiara Sul­prizio, has col­lect­ed all of these and more on her blog, Ani­mat­ed Antiq­ui­ty.

Begin­ning with the 2‑minute frag­ment that’s all we have left of Win­sor McCay’s 1921 The Cen­taurs, Sul­prizio shares some of her favorite car­toon rep­re­sen­ta­tions of ancient Greece, Rome, and beyond. Her areas of pro­fes­sion­al spe­cial­iza­tiongen­der and sex­u­al­i­ty, Greek com­e­dy, and Roman satireare well suit­ed to her cho­sen hob­by, and her com­men­tary dou­bles down on his­tor­i­cal con­text to include the his­to­ry of ani­ma­tion.

The appear­ance of car­toon stars like Daffy Duck, Tom and Jer­ry, and Pop­eye fur­ther demon­strates this antique sub­ject matter’s stur­di­ness. TED-Ed and the BBC may view the genre as an excel­lent teach­ing tool, but there’s noth­ing stop­ping the ani­ma­tor from shoe­horn­ing some fab­ri­ca­tions in amongst the bux­om nymphs and buff glad­i­a­tors.

(Raise your hand if your moth­er ever sac­ri­ficed you on the altar to Spinachia, god­dess of spinach, in hopes that she might unleash a mush­room cloud of super-atom­ic pow­er in your puny bicep.)

You’ll find a num­ber of entries fea­tur­ing the work of Japan­ese and Russ­ian ani­ma­tors, includ­ing Ther­mae Romae, part of the jug­ger­naut that’s sprung from Mari Yamazaki’s pop­u­lar graph­ic nov­el series and Icarus and the Wise Men from the leg­endary Fyo­dor Khitruk, whose retelling of the myth sent a mes­sage about free­dom from the Sovi­et Union, cir­ca 1976.

Begin your decade-by-decade explo­rations of Chiara Sulprizio’s ani­mat­ed antiq­ui­ties here or sug­gest that a miss­ing favorite be added to the col­lec­tion. (We vote for this one!)

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Watch Art on Ancient Greek Vas­es Come to Life with 21st Cen­tu­ry Ani­ma­tion

18 Clas­sic Myths Explained with Ani­ma­tion: Pandora’s Box, Sisy­phus & More

An Ani­mat­ed Recon­struc­tion of Ancient Rome: Take A 30-Minute Stroll Through the City’s Vir­tu­al­ly-Recre­at­ed Streets

25 Ani­ma­tions of Great Lit­er­ary Works: From Pla­to, Dos­to­evsky & Dick­in­son, to Kaf­ka, Hem­ing­way & Brad­bury

Ayun Hal­l­i­day is an author, illus­tra­tor, the­ater mak­er and Chief Pri­ma­tol­o­gist of the East Vil­lage Inky zine.  Join her in New York City for the next install­ment of her book-based vari­ety show, Necro­mancers of the Pub­lic Domain, this April. Fol­low her @AyunHalliday.

The Case for Why Captain Beefheart’s Awful Sounding Album, Trout Mask Replica, Is a True Masterpiece

I’ve had Trout Mask Repli­ca in my col­lec­tion for years. I can’t say I reg­u­lar­ly pull it out to give it a lis­ten, but I know I’d nev­er get rid of it. It’s a some­times impen­e­tra­ble slab of genius, wrought from end­less ses­sions and then a short burst of record­ing, led by a man who couldn’t read music, was prone to fits of vio­lent anger, but dammit knew what he want­ed. (And Zap­pa pro­duced.) When I learned lat­er that the house where a lot of this went down was locat­ed in the hills behind the sub­urbs of Wood­land Hills, it made the insur­rec­tion of the album all the more mag­i­cal.

But yes, it’s a hard one to get into. There are no “hits.” There’s no foot tap­pin’ pop (well, mayyyyybe “Ella Guru,” and only because I knew it first as a cov­er by XTC.) It’s dis­cor­dant. Don Van Vli­et aka Cap­tain Beef­heart sounds pos­sessed by Howl­in’ Wolf try­ing to sing nurs­ery rhymes on acid, and it often plays like mem­bers of the band are in dif­fer­ent areas of the house with a vague idea of what the oth­ers are doing. (This is actu­al­ly a bit close to the truth).

Vox’s con­tin­u­ing series “Ear­worm,” host­ed by Estelle Caswell, attempts to con­vert lis­ten­ers who may have nev­er heard of the album, by tak­ing apart the open­ing track, “Frown­land.”

As Caswell explains, with help from musi­col­o­gists Samuel Andreyev and Susan Rogers, Van Vli­et meld­ed blues and free jazz, and played it with a decon­struct­ed rock band instru­men­ta­tion. Drums and bass did not lock down a rhythm–they played inde­pen­dent of the oth­ers, with the bass even play­ing chords. Rhythm and lead gui­tar played two dif­fer­ent time sig­na­tures each, and nei­ther were easy, 4/4 rhythms. And then there’s the sax­o­phone work, drop­ping in to squonk and thrash like Ornette Cole­man. As Mag­ic Band mem­bers point out, Van Vli­et didn’t under­stand that a bass or a gui­tar did not have the same range of notes as an 88-key piano, which was Van Vliet’s song­writ­ing instru­ment.

How­ev­er, only jazz­bos dig on learn­ing about polyrhythms. There’s so many oth­er rea­sons to appre­ci­ate Trout Mask. For one, it’s in the proud tra­di­tion of Euro­pean sur­re­al­ism but also comes from a par­tic­u­lar “old weird Amer­i­ca” that pro­duced some of our most bril­liant nut­cas­es. (How many peo­ple, learn­ing that Van Vli­et was raised near Joshua Tree, nod­ded in enlight­en­ment? Of course he was.) You want drug music, the album says…well then, this is the uncut stuff.

And then some­times it real­ly just hits hard: “Moon­light On Ver­mont” is relent­less, with a cor­r­us­cat­ing gui­tar line and Beef­heart worked up into a lath­er over “that old time reli­gion.” He quotes Blind Willie John­son, con­flates pagan­ism and Puri­tanism, and tran­scends both. (Maybe this is the gate­way song for new­bies?)

The Vox video pre­cedes its defense with some neg­a­tive reviews from the con­tem­po­rary press, but this Dick Lar­son review from the time under­stood it from the get go, who writes about it as a giant step for­ward after Beefheart’s two pre­vi­ous, more acces­si­ble albums:

Dylan would sym­pa­thise with Beefheart’s ‘nature-and-love-trips’, but the Cap­tain is faster and more bul­bous (and he’s got his band). But this is it. In straight­en­ing out his music, he’s found some kind of reli­gion. It may be in hair pies (yes!) or in Frown­land, but main­ly it’s peo­ple, chil­dren and coun­try men and women. And this is a new delight for Beef­heart – a rough out­door human­i­ty blend­ed with humour and a rich ver­bal vom­it of imagery.

It is a wild album, lit­er­al­ly. There are field record­ings in between the music, with sounds of crick­ets and a plane pass­ing over­head. The LP art shows the band stand­ing, crouch­ing, and hid­ing in the over­grown back­yard of the house. There’s mys­te­ri­ous things in the stream below and only some of them are fish.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

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

Hear a Rare Poet­ry Read­ing by Cap­tain Beef­heart (1993)

Cap­tain Beef­heart Issues His “Ten Com­mand­ments of Gui­tar Play­ing”

Ted Mills is a free­lance writer on the arts who cur­rent­ly hosts the artist inter­view-based FunkZone Pod­cast and is the pro­duc­er of KCR­W’s Curi­ous Coast. You can also fol­low him on Twit­ter at @tedmills, read his oth­er arts writ­ing at tedmills.com and/or watch his films here.

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.