Why Movies Don’t Feel Like Movies Anymore: The Rise of Metamodernist Films, and How They Grew Out of Modernism & Postmodernism

Say what you will about Joker; it did, at least, feel like a real movie, which is hardly true of many, if not most, of the influential feature films that have come out since. Yes, they run between 80 and 180 minutes, and yes, they were screened in theaters (though increasingly ma … | Continue reading

@openculture.com | 9 hours ago

J. R. R. Tolkien Writes & Speaks in Elvish, a Language He Invented for The Lord of the Rings

J. R. R. Tolkien was undoubtedly a storyteller, but he was even more of a world-builder. One may read the Lord of the Rings novels the first time for the high adventure, but one re-reads them to continue inhabiting the painstakingly crafted alternate reality of Middle-Earth. Tolk … | Continue reading

@openculture.com | 10 hours ago

Watch a Japanese Artisan Make a Noh Mask, Creating an Astonishing Character From a Single Block of Wood

Noh actors undergo years of rigorous training to perfect their performance technique. The ancient classical art requires actors’ faces to be obscured by rigid masks carved from single blocks of hinoki wood. A thorough command of posture, physical gesture, and voice is essential f … | Continue reading

@openculture.com | 1 day ago

Patton Oswalt to William & Mary’s Graduating Class: “You Poor Bastards,” “You Do Not Have a Choice But to Be Anything But Extraordinary”

Patton Oswalt, William & Mary, Class of 1991, graduated with a 2.8 GPA “into a world full of trivia and silliness and fun.” The Class of 2023, he observed in a recent keynote address at his alma mater, is poised to enter a “hellscape where you will have to fight for every scrap o … | Continue reading

@openculture.com | 1 day ago

The Map of Medicine: A Comprehensive Animation Shows How the Fields of Modern Medicine Fit Together

The Hippocratic Oath is popularly imagined as beginning with, or at least involving, the command “First, do no harm.” In fact, nothing like it appears among the original Greek words attributed to Hippocrates; the Latin phrase primum non nocere seems to have been added in the seve … | Continue reading

@openculture.com | 4 days ago

Nirvana’s “Come As You Are” Played By Musicians Around the World

Playing For Change did it again. They’ve released a compelling music video featuring an assemblage of international musicians performing Nirvana’s 1991 classic, “Come as You Are.” The musicians come from Australia, Hungary, Morocco, Nepal, Brazil and beyond. And they perform with … | Continue reading

@openculture.com | 4 days ago

Fascism!: The US Army Publishes a Pamphlet in 1945 Explaining How to Spot Fascism at Home and Abroad

“Fascism is a word that’s been used a great deal these last few years,” says the article pictured above (scanned in full here at the Internet Archive). “We come across it in our newspapers, we hear it in our newsreels, it comes up in our bull sessions.” Other than the part about … | Continue reading

@openculture.com | 5 days ago

The Complete Collection Of MTV’s Headbangers Ball: Watch 1,215 Videos from the Heyday of Metal Videos

Premiering in April 1987, MTV’s Headbangers Ball featured music videos from metal and hard rock bands of the 80s and 90s–everyone from AC/DC and Mötley Crüe, to Ozzy Osbourne, Def Leppard and Twisted Sister, to Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and Van Halen. If you’re jonesing to revisi … | Continue reading

@openculture.com | 5 days ago

The 100 Greatest Children’s Books of All Time, According to 177 Books Experts from 56 Countries

Given the size and demographic profile of J. R. R. Tolkien’s fan base today, it’s easy to forget that he originally wrote The Hobbit for children. For generations of young readers, that novel has stood as the gateway into Tolkien’s much more complex and ambitious Lord of the Ring … | Continue reading

@openculture.com | 6 days ago

Kraftwerk’s “The Robots” Performed by German 1st Graders in Cute Cardboard Robot Costumes

“Teach your children well” sang Crosby, Stills and Nash once upon a long ago, and that adage could be paraphrased as “make sure your students don’t grow up learning substandard pop songs. Give them a real education.” An enterprising elementary school teacher in Mombach, a distric … | Continue reading

@openculture.com | 6 days ago

The 1920s Lie Detector That Forced Suspected Criminals to Confess to a Skeleton

“In the criminal justice system,” the evergreen Law & Order's opening credits remind us, “the people are represented by two separate, yet equally important, groups: the police, who investigate crime; and the district attorneys, who prosecute the offenders.”They fail to mention th … | Continue reading

@openculture.com | 7 days ago

Why French Sounds So Unlike Spanish, Italian & Other Romance Languages, Even Though They All Evolved from Latin

French is known as the language of romance, a reputation that, whatever cultural support it enjoys, would be difficult to defend on purely linguistic grounds. But it wouldn’t be controversial in the least to call it a Romance language, which simply refers to its descent from the … | Continue reading

@openculture.com | 7 days ago

The Art Collection of David Bowie: An Introduction

Today, it hardly surprises us when a successful, wealthy, and influential rock star has a large art collection. But David Bowie, ahead of the culture even at the outset of his career, began accruing art well before success, wealth, or influence. He put out his debut album when he … | Continue reading

@openculture.com | 8 days ago

Behold the Bridges in India Made of Living Tree Roots

Living green walls and upcycled building materials are welcome environmentally-conscious design trends, but when it comes to sustainable architecture, the living root bridges made by indigenous Khasi and Jaintia people in the north-eastern Indian state of Meghalaya have them beat … | Continue reading

@openculture.com | 11 days ago

Jonathan Demme Turns the Kurt Vonnegut Story, “Who Am I This Time?,” Into a TV Movie, with Susan Sarandon & Christopher Walken in Starring Roles (1982)

Back in 1982, the PBS American Playhouse series aired Jonathan Demme’s made-for-TV film based on the Kurt Vonnegut story, “Who Am I This Time?” Now, thanks to the YouTube channel Chicken Soup for the Soul TV, you can watch the rarely-seen film online. The channel writes: Mix toge … | Continue reading

@openculture.com | 11 days ago

How John Keats Writes a Poem: A Line-by-Line Breakdown of “Ode on a Grecian Urn”

The Greek term ekphrasis sounds rather exotic if you seldom come across it, but it refers to an act in which we’ve all engaged at one time or another: that is, describing a work of art. The best ekphrases make that description as vivid as possible, to the point where it becomes a … | Continue reading

@openculture.com | 12 days ago

Tina Turner (RIP) Delivers a Blistering Live Performance of “Proud Mary” on Italian TV (1971)

Note: The great Tina Turner passed away today at her home in Switzerland. She was 83. From our archive, we’re bringing back an electric 1971 performance, a reminder of what made her … simply the best. The post below first appeared on our site in April 2021. John Fogerty once said … | Continue reading

@openculture.com | 12 days ago

Helen Keller Writes a Letter to Nazi Students Before They Burn Her Book: “History Has Taught You Nothing If You Think You Can Kill Ideas” (1933)

Helen Keller achieved notoriety not only as an individual success story, but also as a prolific essayist, activist, and fierce advocate for poor and marginalized people. She “was a lifelong radical,” writes Peter Dreier at Yes! magazine, whose “investigation into the causes of bl … | Continue reading

@openculture.com | 13 days ago

John Singer Sargent’s Scandalous Paintings: An Introduction to Madame X and Dr. Pozzi at Home

Henry James, perhaps the most famous American expatriate novelist of the nineteenth century, won a great deal of his fame with The Portrait of a Lady. John Singer Sargent, perhaps the most famous American expatriate painter of the nineteenth century, won a great deal of his fame … | Continue reading

@openculture.com | 13 days ago

Considering Rocky/Creed, Our Most Successful Sports Film Franchise — Pretty Much Pop: A Culture Podcast #149

Your Pretty Much Pop hosts Mark Linsenmayer, Lawrence Ware, Sarahlyn Bruck, and Al Baker talk through the ups and downs of this nine-film franchise that started with Rocky, the highest grossing film of 1976 and winner of that year’s Academy Award for Best Picture. We’re especiall … | Continue reading

@openculture.com | 13 days ago

Watch Ben Kingsley Play Salvador Dalí in the Trailer for the New Film, Dalíland

By itself, the prospect of seeing Sir Ben Kingsley play Salvador Dalí would be enough to get more than a few moviegoers into the theater (or onto their couches, streaming). But then, so would the prospect of seeing him play practically anyone: Mahatma Gandhi (as the Academy ackno … | Continue reading

@openculture.com | 14 days ago

Neil Gaiman Speaks at the Alternative Graduation Held at a College Resisting Ron DeSantis’ Hostile Takeover

His presidential campaign has ended before it started. But Ron DeSantis is the last to know it. And so he continues pandering to Trump’s base. After shipping migrants to Martha’s Vineyard, the Florida governor now picks costly fights with Disney, his state’s second largest employ … | Continue reading

@openculture.com | 14 days ago

Watch Original Schoolhouse Rock Composers Sing “Conjunction Junction” and “I’m Just a Bill” Live in Concert

At first blush, Schoolhouse Rock!, the interstitial animations airing between ABC’s Saturday morning cartoon line up from 1973 to 1984, may seem like a catchy, educational equivalent of sneaking spinach into pancakes (and a major Gen X touchstone.) Not so fast! It’s also jazz, ba … | Continue reading

@openculture.com | 15 days ago

Martin Amis (RIP) Explains Why American Populism Is a Con

In the later decades of his 50-year-long career as a novelist, the late Martin Amis had a reputation as something of a controversialist. This made more sense in his native England than in the America to which he later relocated, and whose largely non-literary provocateurs tend to … | Continue reading

@openculture.com | 15 days ago

What Happens When a Chess Player Mistakes a Grandmaster for a Beginner: It’s Pretty Delightful

Vacationing in New York City last summer, Anna Cramling, an International Chess Federation master swung by Washington Square Park, to see about scoring a pickup game with one of the regulars. Her opponent, Jonny O’Leary, a native New Yorker who learned the rules of the game from … | Continue reading

@openculture.com | 18 days ago

A Brief History of the Concept Album: From Woody Guthrie, to the Beatles and Pink Floyd, to Taylor Swift

Though Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band holds something of an honorary cultural position as “the first concept album,” the Beatles themselves didn’t hear it that way. The term “concept album,” as defined by Polyphonic host Noah Lefevre in his new video above, denotes “a set … | Continue reading

@openculture.com | 18 days ago

The First Full 3D Scan of the Titanic, Made of More Than 700,000 Images Capturing the Wreck’s Every Detail

Even the most ardent shipwreck enthusiasts among us must make peace with the fact that, in all probability, we’ll never get to see the Titanic for ourselves. But now, at least, we have a substitute in the form of the ship’s “digital twin,” based on more than 700,000 images collec … | Continue reading

@openculture.com | 19 days ago

Google & Coursera Launch New Career Certificates That Prepare Students for Jobs in 2-6 Months: Business Intelligence & Advanced Data Analytics

Back in 2021, Google launched a series of online courses designed to help students earn a professional certificate in six months and also land an entry-level job. In its original offering, Google developed certificate programs in five professional areas: User Experience (UX) Desi … | Continue reading

@openculture.com | 19 days ago

Behold the International Ink Library Created by the U.S. Secret Service: Features A Collection of 12,000 Ink Samples

Late though it may be in the age of print, we still envision ransom or other threatening notes in the same way we have for generations, with their demands incongruously spelled out with individual letters, each one a different size and font, taken from the pages of newspapers and … | Continue reading

@openculture.com | 20 days ago

Hear Ryuichi Sakamoto’s “Last Playlist,” Which He Created for His Own Funeral: Erik Satie, Bill Evans, Debussy, Ravel & More

Ryuichi Sakamoto died last March, three months after his final live performance, and two months after the release of his final album 12. It’s safe to say that life, for him, was more or less synonymous with music, and indeed he prepared music to extend even beyond his life’s end. … | Continue reading

@openculture.com | 21 days ago

Take Carl Jung’s Word Association Test, a Quick Route Into the Subconscious (1910)

We’ve all, at one time or another, been asked to say the first thing that pops into our heads in response to a certain word or phrase. It may have happened to us in school, in a market research group, or perhaps in a job interview at a company that regards itself as somewhat outs … | Continue reading

@openculture.com | 21 days ago

Watch Young David Attenborough Encounter Animals in Their Natural Habitats: Video from the 1950s and 1960s

Experience long ago conferred the mantle of authority on broadcaster, biologist, natural historian and author David Attenborough, age 97. In his late 20s, he landed at the BBC, producing live studio broadcasts that ran the gamut from children’s shows, ballet performances and arch … | Continue reading

@openculture.com | 21 days ago

James Brown’s Historic Concert, Staged 24 Hours After Martin Luther King’s Assassination, Is Now Restored and Free to Watch Online

Thanks to James Brown’s official YouTube channel, you can now watch a remastered and restored version of a historic concert. The channel prefaces the concert with these words: On April 5th 1968, James Brown gave a free concert at The Boston Garden which became a thing of legend. … | Continue reading

@openculture.com | 22 days ago

Leonard Bernstein & Opera Star Christa Ludwig Get Into a Creative Disagreement Over the Tempo of Mahler (1972)

In his role as a kind of classical music professor to the television audiences of America, Leonard Bernstein came across as supremely genial and patient. But that doesn’t mean he dedicated his own career as a conductor to agreeableness above all. Here on Open Culture, we’ve previ … | Continue reading

@openculture.com | 25 days ago

David Bowie Performs “Life on Mars?” and “Ashes to Ashes” on Johnny Carson’s “Tonight Show” (1980)

On September 5, 1980, David Bowie performed for a delighted studio audience on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. First came “Life on Mars?”, and then his newly-released song, “Ashes to Ashes.” As his website (DavidBowie.com) describes it, the musician cobbled together a on … | Continue reading

@openculture.com | 25 days ago

Theoretical Puppets: Salvador Dalí, Sigmund Freud, Hannah Arendt, Michel Foucault, and Other Thinkers Come Back to Life as Hand-Operated Puppets

As children’s television has demonstrated since the beginning of the medium, sometimes the best way to make an unfamiliar concept understandable is to articulate it through the mouth — and the body — of a puppet. Most all of us alive today had some experience with that back when … | Continue reading

@openculture.com | 26 days ago

In Search of the Best Croissant in Protest-Filled Paris

An Italian tourist went to Paris in search of the best croissant. A natural thing to do. Except he did it amidst a city-wide strike, one precipitated by Emmanuel Macron’s attempt to raise the minimum retirement age in France. It all makes for a unique kind of food/travel video. S … | Continue reading

@openculture.com | 26 days ago

The First-Ever Film Version of Lewis Carroll’s Tale, Alice in Wonderland (1903)

Once lost, this 8-minute, very damaged, but very delightful silent version of Alice in Wonderland was restored several years ago by the British Film Institute. It is the first film adaptation of the 1865 Lewis Carroll classic. And, at the time, the original length of 12 minutes ( … | Continue reading

@openculture.com | 27 days ago

The Story of the Flatiron Building, “New York’s Strangest Tower”

Few outside New York know the Flatiron Building by name, but people everywhere associate it with the city. That owes in part to its tendency to appear in the vintage imagery of New York that adorns the walls of cafés, hotel rooms, and dentists’ offices across the world. And that, … | Continue reading

@openculture.com | 27 days ago

What the Great Pyramids of Giza Originally Looked Like

Ask anyone who’s traveled to the Great Pyramids of Giza: no matter how many times you’ve seen them in photographs or on television, you’re never really prepared to come face-to-face with them in real life. But you can get fairly close to at least the appearance of real life by se … | Continue reading

@openculture.com | 28 days ago

Cats Migrated to Europe 7,000 Years Earlier Than Once Thought

The animals were imperfect, long-tailed, unfortunate in their heads. Little by little they put themselves together, making themselves a landscape, acquiring spots, grace, flight. The cat, only the cat appeared complete and proud: he was born completely finished, walking alone and … | Continue reading

@openculture.com | 28 days ago

Behold Shakespeare’s First Folio, the First Published Collection of Shakespeare’s Plays, Published 400 Year Ago (1623)

Summer’s lease may have all too short a date, but every year, it’s time enough for dozens, nay, hundreds of free Shakespeare productions to pop up in the parks and parking lots. We owe these pleasures in part to the First Folio, a fat collection of Shakespeare’s plays, compiled i … | Continue reading

@openculture.com | 29 days ago

Take Virtual Tours of Every Star Trek Enterprise Bridge: A New Interactive Web Portal Created by The Roddenberry Archive

It’s a rare young Star Trek fan indeed who doesn’t fantasize about sitting on the bridge of the starship Enterprise. That has gone for every generation of fan, every Star Trek series, and every Enterprise, whose bridges you can see in the new video above from the Roddenberry Arch … | Continue reading

@openculture.com | 29 days ago

The Amazing Engineering of Gauntlets (Armored Gloves) from the 16th Century

The phrase “to throw down the gauntlet” means to issue a challenge, and this is understood all over the English-speaking world — even by those who have no idea what, exactly, a gauntlet is. “The word itself comes from the French word gantelet, and referred to the heavy, armored g … | Continue reading

@openculture.com | 1 month ago

The Seattle Public Library Gives Students Free Access to Books Getting Banned Across the United States

According to a new report published by PEN America, the '2022-23 school year has been marked to date by an escalation of book bans and censorship in classrooms and school libraries across the United States.' PEN America has tracked '1,477 instances of individual books banned, aff … | Continue reading

@openculture.com | 1 month ago

The Pioneering Data Visualizations of William Playfair, Who Invented the Line, Bar, and Pie Charts (Circa 1786)

“If you see a pie chart projected twelve feet high in front of you, you know you’re in the hands of an idiot.” These words have stuck with me since I heard them spoken by Edward Tufte, one of the most respected living authorities on data visualization. The latter-day sins of pie- … | Continue reading

@openculture.com | 1 month ago

A Star Wars Film Made in a Wes Anderson Aesthetic

Above, you can watch the Galactic Menagerie, “a whimsical and visually stunning fan-made fake trailer that reimagines the classic Star Wars universe through the eccentric lens of Wes Anderson. This enchanting mashup brings together iconic Star Wars characters with Anderson’s trad … | Continue reading

@openculture.com | 1 month ago

Watch a Traditional Japanese Carpenter Make 190+ Different Joints, All Without Nails, Screws, or Glue

Before the internet, it would have been hard to imagine that people around the world would one day be unable to get enough of traditional Japanese carpentry, and specifically traditional Japanese joinery. And before Youtube, who could have predicted that videos showing each and e … | Continue reading

@openculture.com | 1 month ago