Listen to Freddie Mercury & David Bowie on the Isolated Vocal Track for the Queen Hit ‘Under Pressure,’ 1981

In the sum­mer of 1981, the British band Queen was record­ing tracks for their tenth stu­dio album, Hot Space, at Moun­tain Stu­dios in Mon­treux, Switzer­land. As it hap­pened, David Bowie had sched­uled time at the same stu­dio to record the title song for the movie Cat Peo­ple. Before long, Bowie stopped by the Queen ses­sions and joined in. The orig­i­nal idea was that he would add back­up vocals on the song “Cool Cat.” “David came in one night and we were play­ing oth­er peo­ple’s songs for fun, just jam­ming,” says Queen drum­mer Roger Tay­lor in Mark Blake’s book Is This the Real Life?: The Untold Sto­ry of Fred­die Mer­cury and Queen. “In the end, David said, ‘This is stu­pid, why don’t we just write one?’ ”

And so began a marathon ses­sion of near­ly 24-hours–fueled, accord­ing to Blake, by wine and cocaine. Built around John Dea­con’s dis­tinc­tive bass line, the song was most­ly writ­ten by Mer­cury and Bowie. Blake describes the scene, begin­ning with the rec­ol­lec­tions of Queen’s gui­tarist:

‘We felt our way through a back­ing track all togeth­er as an ensem­ble,’ recalled Bri­an May. ‘When the back­ing track was done, David said, “Okay, let’s each of us go in the vocal booth and sing how we think the melody should go–just off the top of our heads–and we’ll com­pile a vocal out of that.” And that’s what we did.’ Some of these impro­vi­sa­tions, includ­ing Mer­cury’s mem­o­rable intro­duc­to­ry scat­ting vocal, would endure on the fin­ished track. Bowie also insist­ed that he and Mer­cury should­n’t hear what the oth­er had sung, swap­ping vers­es blind, which helped give the song its cut-and-paste feel.

“It was very hard,” said May in 2008, “because you already had four pre­co­cious boys and David, who was pre­co­cious enough for all of us. Pas­sions ran very high. I found it very hard because I got so lit­tle of my own way. But David had a real vision and he took over the song lyri­cal­ly.” The song was orig­i­nal­ly titled “Peo­ple on Streets,” but Bowie want­ed it changed to “Under Pres­sure.” When the time came to mix the song at Pow­er Sta­tion stu­dios in New York, Bowie insist­ed on being there. “It did­n’t go too well,” Blake quotes Queen’s engi­neer Rein­hold Mack as say­ing. “We spent all day and Bowie was like, ‘Do this, do that.’ In the end, I called Fred­die and said, ‘I need help here,’ so Fred came in as a medi­a­tor.” Mer­cury and Bowie argued fierce­ly over the final mix.

At one point Bowie threat­ened to block the release of the song, but it was issued to the pub­lic on Octo­ber 26, 1981 and even­tu­al­ly rose to num­ber one on the British charts. It was lat­er named the num­ber 31 song on VH1’s list of the 100 great­est songs of the 1980s. “ ‘Under Pres­sure’ is a sig­nif­i­cant song for us,” May said in 2008, “and that is because of David and its lyri­cal con­tent. I would have found that hard to admit in the old days, but I can admit it now.… But one day, I would love to sit down qui­et­ly on my own and re-mix it.”

After lis­ten­ing to the iso­lat­ed vocal track above, you can hear the offi­cial­ly released 1981 mix below:

Note: An ear­li­er ver­sion of this clas­sic post appeared on our site in 2013.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Watch Queen’s Stun­ning Live Aid Per­for­mance: 20 Min­utes Guar­an­teed to Give You Goose Bumps (July 13, 1985)

Watch David Bowie & Annie Lennox in Rehearsal, Singing “Under Pres­sure,” with Queen (1992)

Watch Queen’s “Bohemi­an Rhap­sody” Act­ed Out Lit­er­al­ly as a Short Crime Film

Quentin Tarantino Reviews Movies: From Dunkirk and King of New York, to Soul Brothers of Kung Fu & More

Some of the most influ­en­tial direc­tors of the French New Wave, like Jean-Luc Godard, François Truf­faut, and Éric Rohmer, first stepped into the world of film as crit­ics. They found their voic­es by pub­lish­ing in the Paris cinephile insti­tu­tion of Cahiers du ciné­ma; a few decades lat­er, Quentin Taran­ti­no found his own by work­ing at the Man­hat­tan Beach cinephile insti­tu­tion of Video Archives. Sto­ries of all the myr­i­ad ways in which he would express his enthu­si­asm for and exper­tise on cin­e­ma there have passed into leg­end. But just like the crit­ics Godard, Truf­faut, and Rohmer, the video-store clerk Taran­ti­no ulti­mate­ly seems to have signed on to the old propo­si­tion that the best response to a work of art is anoth­er work of art.

Taran­ti­no’s endorse­ments of and intro­duc­tions to the work of oth­er direc­tors (for exam­ple, the one he record­ed for Wong Kar-wai’s Chungk­ing Express) have giv­en us a sense of his cin­e­mat­ic taste. So, in an even more telling man­ner, do the ele­ments he steals — by his own admis­sion — from oth­er movies.

A look at the dance scene in Pulp Fic­tion, for exam­ple, reveals a film­mak­er well acquaint­ed with the French New Wave, and even more so with the work of Italia mas­ter Fed­eri­co Felli­ni that came out in the same era. And even if you think you could go head-to-head with Taran­ti­no on mid­cen­tu­ry Euro­pean auteurs, could you match his under­stand­ing of A Man Called TigerFatal Nee­dles vs. Fatal Fists, or Soul Broth­ers of Kung Fu?

Those are just three of the films Taran­ti­no has reviewed at the web site of the New Bev­er­ly Cin­e­ma, the the­ater he owns in Los Ange­les. Pub­lished in a low-pro­file man­ner, these short essays on the kind of 1970s Hong Kong mar­tial-arts pic­tures that right­ful­ly belong on down­town triple-bills (and that Taran­ti­no sure­ly first saw on down­town triple-bills) exude the kind of fan-crit­ic ener­gy that brings to mind bygone days of the inter­net.

Not that Taran­ti­no eschews more recent movies and movie media. In late 2019 and ear­ly 2010, he appeared three times on The Ringer’s The Rewatch­ables pod­cast to share his thoughts on three pic­tures worth see­ing again: Christo­pher Nolan’s Dunkirk from 2017, Tony Scot­t’s Unstop­pable from 2010, and Abel Fer­rara’s King of New York from 1990. Lis­ten and you may just feel like a Video Archive cus­tomer in the 1980s, get­ting rec­om­men­da­tions from an odd­ly per­sua­sive clerk.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Quentin Taran­ti­no Picks the 12 Best Films of All Time; Watch Two of His Favorites Free Online

Quentin Tarantino’s Hand­writ­ten List of the 11 “Great­est Movies”

An Analy­sis of Quentin Tarantino’s Films Nar­rat­ed (Most­ly) by Quentin Taran­ti­no

Quentin Tarantino’s Copy­cat Cin­e­ma: How the Post­mod­ern Film­mak­er Per­fect­ed the Art of the Steal

Quentin Taran­ti­no Releas­es His First Nov­el: A Pulpy Nov­el­iza­tion of Once Upon a Time in Hol­ly­wood

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities, lan­guage, and cul­ture. His projects include the Sub­stack newslet­ter Books on Cities, 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.

Building Without Nails: The Genius of Japanese Carpentry

Tra­di­tion­al Japan­ese car­pen­try impress­es us today, not so much with the tools its prac­ti­tion­ers use as with the ones they don’t: nails, for exam­ple. Or glue, for that mat­ter. Here on Open Cul­ture we’ve pre­vi­ous­ly fea­tured intro­duc­tions to Japan­ese wood join­ery, the art of cut­ting wood in a man­ner such that pieces slide togeth­er and solid­ly inter­lock with­out the aid of any oth­er mate­ri­als. Though it may seem like mag­ic, it’s real­ly just physics — or rather, physics, and engi­neer­ing, and the branch­es of biol­o­gy rel­e­vant to grow­ing the right wood. For the tra­di­tion­al Japan­ese car­pen­ter him­self, it all comes down to exten­sive train­ing and prac­tice.

Tra­di­tion­al Japan­ese car­pen­try need not even be done in Japan. Take Miya Sho­ji, the New York City shop pro­filed in the Chi­na Uncen­sored video above. Under cur­rent own­er Hisao Hana­fusa, who came to the Unit­ed States in 1963, it makes and sells fur­ni­ture craft­ed using canon­i­cal tech­niques, but in ser­vice of par­tic­u­lar pieces quite unlike any found in Japan.

Part of the dif­fer­ence comes from the wood itself: as it would be sourced only local­ly in Japan, so it’s sourced only local­ly in the Unit­ed States. This video shows the felling of a 300-year-old tree, killed by Dutch elm dis­ease, and its trans­for­ma­tion into slabs des­tined to become Miya Sho­ji tables.

There­after, the dry­ing process could take twen­ty years. “By the time the wood hits the cut­ting bench, it is already near­ing the end of its jour­ney.” But the car­pen­ter still has to craft the joints need­ed to hold the fin­ished piece togeth­er “like a three-dimen­sion­al puz­zle” — and with a set of hand tools, at that. The very same tech­niques have been used to con­struct tem­ples in Japan that can stand for a mil­len­ni­um, and indeed go back even deep­er into his­to­ry than that, hav­ing evolved from car­pen­try per­formed in 6th- and 7th-cen­tu­ry Chi­na. Here in the 21st cen­tu­ry, con­nois­seurs of every nation­al­i­ty have come to appre­ci­ate the wabi-sabi aes­thet­ic and tran­scen­dent sim­plic­i­ty of fur­ni­ture so con­struct­ed — a sim­plic­i­ty that sure­ly does­n’t come cheap.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

The Art of Tra­di­tion­al Japan­ese Wood Join­ery: A Kyoto Wood­work­er Shows How Japan­ese Car­pen­ters Cre­at­ed Wood Struc­tures With­out Nails or Glue

See How Tra­di­tion­al Japan­ese Car­pen­ters Can Build a Whole Build­ing Using No Nails or Screws

Japan­ese Car­pen­ters Unearth 100-Year-Old Wood Joiner­ies While Tak­ing Apart a Tra­di­tion­al House

Mes­mer­iz­ing GIFs Illus­trate the Art of Tra­di­tion­al Japan­ese Wood Join­ery — All Done With­out Screws, Nails, or Glue

Watch Japan­ese Wood­work­ing Mas­ters Cre­ate Ele­gant & Elab­o­rate Geo­met­ric Pat­terns with Wood

Free Soft­ware Lets You Cre­ate Tra­di­tion­al Japan­ese Wood Joints & Fur­ni­ture: Down­load Tsug­ite

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities, lan­guage, and cul­ture. His projects include the Sub­stack newslet­ter Books on Cities, 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.

Beethoven’s Unfinished Tenth Symphony Gets Completed by Artificial Intelligence: Hear How It Sounds

Few sym­phonies are as well-known as Beethoven’s Ninth, an asser­tion sup­port­ed by the fact that it’s no doubt play­ing in your head even as you read this. Few sym­phonies are less well-known — at least by Beethoven’s stan­dards — than his Tenth, pri­mar­i­ly because he nev­er actu­al­ly got the thing fin­ished. He did make a start on it, how­ev­er, and at his death in 1827 left behind notes and drafts com­posed along­side the Ninth, which had also been com­mis­sioned by the Roy­al Phil­har­mon­ic Soci­ety. Such is Beethoven’s stature that his enthu­si­asts have been spec­u­lat­ing ever since on what his incom­plete sym­pho­ny would sound like if com­plet­ed, employ­ing any tech­niques to do so that their time put at hand.

“In 1988, musi­col­o­gist Bar­ry Coop­er ven­tured to com­plete the first and sec­ond move­ments,” writes Rut­gers Uni­ver­si­ty Art & AI Lab direc­tor Ahmed Elgam­mal at The Con­ver­sa­tion. “He wove togeth­er 250 bars of music from the sketch­es to cre­ate what was, in his view, a pro­duc­tion of the first move­ment that was faith­ful to Beethoven’s vision. Yet the sparse­ness of Beethoven’s sketch­es made it impos­si­ble for sym­pho­ny experts to go beyond that first move­ment.”

When Beethoven’s mile­stone 250th year approached, how­ev­er, the age of arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence was well under­way. To Matthias Röder, the direc­tor of Salzburg’s Kara­jan Insti­tute, unit­ing this tow­er­ing com­pos­er and this promis­ing tech­nol­o­gy had become an irre­sistible propo­si­tion.

Elgam­mal and Röder were just two of the team that came togeth­er to take on the for­mi­da­ble task of engi­neer­ing a form of machine learn­ing capa­ble of help­ing to com­plete Beethoven’s Tenth. The oth­ers includ­ed com­pos­er Wal­ter Wer­zowa (“famous for writ­ing Intel’s sig­na­ture bong jin­gle”), com­pu­ta­tion­al music expert Mark Gotham, and musi­col­o­gist-pianist Robert Levin, who “had pre­vi­ous­ly fin­ished a num­ber of incom­plete 18th-cen­tu­ry works by Mozart and Johann Sebas­t­ian Bach.” Deutsche Telekom pro­vid­ed fund­ing for the project, and also pro­duced the short doc­u­men­tary video on its result above. How­ev­er con­cep­tu­al­ly intrigu­ing, this A.I.-driven musi­cal endeav­or could final­ly be put to the test in only one way: hear­ing it per­formed by a 100-per­cent human orches­tra. As Wer­zowa puts it, look­ing sky­ward, “We hope when he hears it now that he smiles.”

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Stream the Com­plete Works of Bach & Beethoven: 250 Free Hours of Music

Watch Ani­mat­ed Scores of Beethoven’s 16 String Quar­tets: An Ear­ly Cel­e­bra­tion of the 250th Anniver­sary of His Birth

Did Beethoven Use a Bro­ken Metronome When Com­pos­ing His String Quar­tets? Sci­en­tists & Musi­cians Try to Solve the Cen­turies-Old Mys­tery

The Sto­ry of How Beethoven Helped Make It So That CDs Could Play 74 Min­utes of Music

Arti­fi­cial Intel­li­gence Writes a Piece in the Style of Bach: Can You Tell the Dif­fer­ence Between JS Bach and AI Bach?

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities, lan­guage, and cul­ture. His projects include the Sub­stack newslet­ter Books on Cities, 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.

Andy Warhol’s Vibrant, Impractical, Illustrated Cookbook from 1959: A Feast for the Eyes

Gor­geous­ly illus­trat­ed cook­books fea­tur­ing sump­tu­ous images of fan­cy desserts and oth­er spe­cial occa­sion food can be quite an intim­i­dat­ing propo­si­tion to self-doubt­ing begin­ners.

The recipes them­selves are daunt­ing, and as every Great British Bak­ing Show view­er learns, watch­ing the top con­tes­tants squirm in advance of co-host Paul Hol­ly­wood’s icy judg­ment, fla­vor can’t save an edi­ble cre­ation that fails as art.

Andy Warhol’s approach to cook­ery appears rather more blithe.

His 1959 cook­book, Wild Rasp­ber­ries — the title is a play on Ing­mar Bergman’s Wild Straw­ber­ries — dis­plays lit­tle inter­est in its read­ers’ cook­ing abil­i­ty… or, for that mat­ter, its authors.

Fan­ci­ful rep­re­sen­ta­tions of such del­i­ca­cies as Gar­doons a la Mous­se­line are pret­ty as a pic­ture… and stress free giv­en that no one is actu­al­ly expect­ed to make them.

Wild Rasp­ber­ries is all about atti­tude… and ambi­tion of a pure­ly social nature.

Warhol’s co-author, inte­ri­or dec­o­ra­tor and soci­ety host­ess Suzie Frank­furt, recalled hatch­ing the idea for this col­lab­o­ra­tion, short­ly after encoun­ter­ing the young artist at New York City’s fabled sweet spot, Serendip­i­ty: “We thought it would be a mas­ter­piece and we’d sell thou­sands. I think we sold 20.”

It’s pos­si­ble the endeav­or was a few decades ahead of its time. We can imag­ine Wild Rasp­ber­ries doing quite well as an impul­sive lifestyle type buy at Urban Out­fit­ters.

Sec­ond­hand copies of a 1997 reprint occa­sion­al­ly resur­face, as do auc­tion lots of the orig­i­nal 34 lith­o­graph sets, hand-col­ored by four school­boys who lived upstairs from Warhol, pri­or to hand-bind­ing by rab­bis on the Low­er East Side.

After con­sign­ing a few copies to Dou­ble­day and Riz­zoli book­stores, Warhol and Frank­furt gave the bulk of the first edi­tion away as Christ­mas presents to friends, who were no doubt well equipped to appre­ci­ate the tongue-in-cheek nature of its “recipes,” hand-let­tered by Warhol’s moth­er, Julia — whose spelling boo-boos were pur­pose­ful­ly allowed to stand.

The instruc­tions eschew crass men­tion of mea­sure­ments or cook­ing times… per­fect for any­one with hired staff, stand­ing reser­va­tions at Upper East Side hot spots, or a social X‑Ray diet reg­i­men.

Instead, read­ers are direct­ed to send the Cadil­lac round to Trad­er Vic’s tiki bar for a suck­ling pig of suf­fi­cient size for a par­ty of 15, or to gath­er morels should they find them­selves hol­i­day­ing in the vicin­i­ty of Nor­mandy.

Salade de Alf Lan­don, a bombe of lob­ster tails named for FDR’s oppo­nent in the 1936 Pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, crowned with aspara­gus tips and hard­boiled plover eggs, seems like it could dou­ble as a fetch­ing cha­peau, espe­cial­ly when paired with one of Warhol’s whim­si­cal fan­ta­sy  for footwear com­pa­ny I. Miller’s week­ly ads in The New York Times.

In fact, near­ly every­thing in this vibrant­ly hand col­ored “cook­book” makes for plau­si­ble mid-cen­tu­ry millinery, from Torte a la Dobosch to an imprac­ti­cal­ly ver­ti­cal arrange­ment of Hard Boiled Eggs.



Wild Rasp­ber­ries may have been a swipe at aspi­ra­tional, host­ess-ori­ent­ed late-50s cook­books, but Green­gages a la Warhol’s ref­er­ence to hyper­local pro­duce would fit right in with with Portlandia’s 21st cen­tu­ry food­ie spoofs.

High and low com­bine to great effect with wink­ing ref­er­ences to Gre­ta Gar­bo and gos­sip colum­nist Dorothy Kil­gallenLucky Whip dessert top­ping, a “Seared Roe­buck,” and store-bought super­mar­ket sponge cake (the lat­ter in Wild Rasp­ber­ries’ most legit-sound­ing recipe, some­thing of an upgrade from the recipe for “cake” Warhol shared in The Phi­los­o­phy of Andy Warhol — a choco­late bar served between slices of bread.

Relat­ed Con­tent: 

MoMA’s Artists’ Cook­book (1978) Reveals the Meals of Sal­vador Dalí, Willem de Koon­ing, Andy Warhol, Louise Bour­geois & More

300 Rarely-Seen, Risqué Draw­ings by Andy Warhol Pub­lished in the New Book, Andy Warhol: Love, Sex, and Desire. Draw­ings (1950–1962)

130,000 Pho­tographs by Andy Warhol Are Now Avail­able Online, Cour­tesy of Stan­ford Uni­ver­si­ty

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

Watch a Gripping 10-Minute Animation About the Hunt for Nazi War Criminal Adolf Eichmann

In Feb­ru­ary 2018, the Con­fer­ence on Jew­ish Mate­r­i­al Claims Against Ger­many con­duct­ed inter­views with 1,350 Amer­i­can adults, aged 18 and up.

Their find­ings, pub­lished as the Holo­caust Knowl­edge and Aware­ness Study, reveal a sharp decline in Amer­i­cans’ aware­ness of the state-spon­sored exter­mi­na­tion of six mil­lion Jew­ish men, women, and chil­dren by Nazi Ger­many and its col­lab­o­ra­tors.

This knowl­edge gap was par­tic­u­lar­ly pro­nounced among the mil­len­ni­al respon­dents. Six­ty-six per­cent had not heard of Auschwitz — the largest of the Ger­man Nazi con­cen­tra­tion camps and exter­mi­na­tion cen­ters, where over a mil­lion per­ished. Twen­ty-two per­cent of them had not heard of (or were unsure if they had heard of) the Holo­caust.

This is shock­ing to those of us who grew up read­ing The Diary of Anne Frank and attend­ing assem­blies where Holo­caust sur­vivors — often the old­er rel­a­tive of a class­mate — spoke of their expe­ri­ences, rolling up their sleeves to show us the ser­i­al num­bers that had been tat­tooed on their arms upon arrival at Auschwitz.

The study did make the heart­en­ing dis­cov­ery that near­ly all of the respon­dents — 93% — believed that the Holo­caust should be a top­ic of study in the schools, many cit­ing their belief that such an edu­ca­tion will pre­vent a calami­ty of that mag­ni­tude from hap­pen­ing again.

(In defense of mil­len­ni­als, it’s worth not­ing that in the decades since 1977, when more than half of the coun­try tuned in to watch the minis­eries Roots, the Civ­il War and the hor­rors of slav­ery had all but dis­ap­peared from Amer­i­can cur­ricu­lums, a direc­tion the Black Lives Mat­ter move­ment is fight­ing to redress.)

The Holo­caust is such a huge sub­ject that there is a ques­tion of how to intro­duce it, ide­al­ly, in such a way that young peo­ple’s inter­est is sparked toward con­tin­u­ing their edu­ca­tion.

The Dri­ver is Red, Ran­dall Christo­pher’s ani­mat­ed short, above, could make an excel­lent, if some­what unusu­al, start­ing place.

The film’s text is drawn from Israeli Mossad Spe­cial Agent Zvi Aha­roni’s first per­son account of the suc­cess­ful man­hunt that tracked Adolf Eich­mann, a mem­ber of Hein­rich Himm­ler’s inner cir­cle and archi­tect of the Nazi’s “final solu­tion,” to Argenti­na.

This event tran­spired in 1960, fif­teen years after Sovi­et troops lib­er­at­ed Auschwitz.

Aha­roni, voiced by actor Mark Pin­ter, recalls receiv­ing the tip that Eich­mann was liv­ing in Argenti­na under an assumed name, and locat­ing him in a mod­est dwelling on the out­skirts of Buenos Aires.

Film­mak­er Christo­pher builds the ten­sion dur­ing the ensu­ing stake­out with effec­tive, noir-ish, pen­cil sketch­es that take shape before our eyes, map­ping sur­veil­lance points, a cou­ple of hap­py acci­dents, and one har­row­ing moment where Aha­roni feared his for­eign accent might give him away.

There’s more to the sto­ry than can be packed in a four­teen minute film, but those four­teen min­utes are as grip­ping as any tight­ly plot­ted spy movie.

Christo­pher is less inter­est­ed in direct­ing the next James Bond flick than putting Holo­caust edu­ca­tion back on the table for all Amer­i­cans.

2016 New York Times arti­cle about the hand­writ­ten let­ter Eich­mann sent Israeli Pres­i­dent Yitzhak Ben-Zvi, beg­ging for clemen­cy, paved the way for the film by moti­vat­ing Christo­pher to fill in some gaps in his edu­ca­tion with regard to the Holo­caust.

As the then-46-year-old told Leo­rah Gavi­dor of The San Diego Read­er in 2018:

I (felt) so dumb, so igno­rant, being an adult in Amer­i­ca and not know­ing the his­to­ry of it.

My friends, peo­ple I told this sto­ry to, they were fas­ci­nat­ed. They would start lis­ten­ing very care­ful­ly when I start­ed to talk about this Nazi from Ger­many that was found 15 years after the war, halfway around the world. They didn’t know any­thing about it. That’s how I knew I was on to some­thing.

Before the film was com­plet­ed, Christo­pher staged a live read­ing of the script at San Diego’s Ver­ba­tim Books, then passed the mic to Holo­caust sur­vivor Rose Schindler, who told the audi­ence about sur­viv­ing Auschwitz.

As Christo­pher recalled:

Peo­ple were trip­ping. There’s three lines about Tre­blin­ka in the film, and this Nazi war crim­i­nal, and then they see some­one there, with the tat­too on her arm, in front of them, who expe­ri­enced this first­hand.

Mrs. Schindler became a Holo­caust edu­ca­tor in 1972, when her son’s teacher invit­ed her to share her sto­ry with his mid­dle school class­mates.

She is now 91.

via The Atlantic

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Holo­caust in Film and Lit­er­a­ture: A Free Online Course from UCLA 

Holo­caust Sur­vivor Vik­tor Fran­kl Explains Why If We Have True Mean­ing in Our Lives, We Can Make It Through the Dark­est of Times

96-Year-Old Holo­caust Sur­vivor Fronts a Death Met­al Band

100-Year-Old Holo­caust Sur­vivor Helen Fagin Reads Her Let­ter About How Books Save Lives

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

Masterclass Is Running a “Buy One, Share One Free” Deal Giving You Access to 100+ Courses (Available Until September 29)

Heads up: Mas­ter­class is run­ning a Buy One, Share One Free until Sept 29 at 11:59pm PST.

Here’s the gist: If you buy an All-Access pass to their 100+ cours­es, you will receive anoth­er All-Access Pass to give to some­one else at no addi­tion­al charge. An All-Access pass starts at $180 (or $15 per month), and lasts one year. For that fee, you–and a fam­i­ly mem­ber or friend–can watch cours­es cre­at­ed by Annie Lei­bovitz, Neil Gaiman, Mal­colm Glad­well, Wern­er Her­zog, Mar­tin Scors­ese, David Mamet, Jane Goodall, Mar­garet Atwood, Helen Mir­ren, Her­bie Han­cock, Alice Waters, Bil­ly Collins and so many more. The deal is avail­able now.

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

A Gigantic Violin Floats Down Venice’s Grand Canal with a String Quartet on Top

It looks like some­thing out of a Felli­ni movie: a string quar­tet float­ing down the canals of Venice on a gigan­tic vio­lin. Not a boat mas­querad­ing as a vio­lin, like when you dress up your pet for Hal­loween and just slap some fun­ny ears and coat on it, but an actu­al 39-foot long vio­lin, made of sev­er­al kinds of wood and met­al by mas­ter boatbuilder/wood sculp­tor Liv­io De Marchi.

“Noah’s Vio­lin,” as it is called, did have a tiny motor inside to pro­pel it, and its trip down the Grand Canal was intend­ed as a por­tent of a post-COVID world. De Marchi told the New York Times that the vio­lin was a “sign of Venice restart­ing,” and like Noah’s Ark, would bring hope after the del­uge.

Musi­cians on board played works by Vival­di, who was also an inspi­ra­tion to the woodworker/boatmaker, and who was like­wise born in Venice. The sur­prise is not so much that a string quar­tet is play­ing on top of the vio­lin, but that it all seems so stur­dy and safe. There are no hand rails or life jack­ets to be seen. (Accord­ing to the Times, wind blew some of the score into the canal, where it was quick­ly res­cued).

De Marchi has made sev­er­al sur­re­al boats, start­ing with a large wood­en repli­ca of a paper ship, a float­ing origa­mi crane, a large high-heeled shoe, and recent­ly an all-wood recre­ation of a Fer­rari that put­tered up and and down the canal.

The vio­lin boat was fol­lowed by crowds in gon­do­las and oth­er tourist boats, float­ed about for an hour, and then was docked, where it was blessed by a priest. A muse­um in Chi­na and an Ital­ian com­pa­ny expressed inter­est in find­ing the vio­lin-boat a home.

Who knows what might hap­pen to it, but why not strap some power­boat motors on it, hire Apoc­a­lyp­ti­ca and let ‘er rip?

Relat­ed Con­tent:

How Venice Works: 124 Islands, 183 Canals & 438 Bridges

A Relax­ing 3‑Hour Tour of Venice’s Canals

The Authen­tic Vivaldi’s The Four Sea­sons: Watch a Per­for­mance Based on Orig­i­nal Man­u­scripts & Played with 18th-Cen­tu­ry Instru­ments

Ted Mills is a free­lance writer on the arts who cur­rent­ly hosts the Notes from the Shed pod­cast and is the pro­duc­er of KCR­W’s Curi­ous Coast. You can also fol­low him on Twit­ter at @tedmills, and/or watch his films here.

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.