Free online education
Earlier this year, I started looking for free online courses on history and philosophy, and discovered that there's a plethora to choose from via iTunes U and Open Courseware. Open Courseware is "just" a link index, but IMHO superior to iTunes when it comes to browsing the content on offer from Yale, Berkeley, Harvard, Stanford, and many others. If you'd like to get a grade or chat with fellow students as well, take a look at massive open online courses (MOOCs) like Coursera and edX. Again, all the materials are free, except for some special grade programs, but I haven't looked at those yet.
Here's a bunch I recently finished, and can recommend:
Western Culture: Political, Economic & Social Thought by Charles (Anderson)
History 5: European Civilization from the Renaissance to the Present (Hesse)
HIST 210: The Early Middle Ages, 284 - 1000 (Freedman)
A Brief History of Humankind (Harari)
So basically if you're interested in a new study field, or need to brush up your knowledge, check it out. From mathematics to biochemistry, there's really lots of good and free stuff on offer.
Podcasts on contemporary music
I've recently started looking for international podcasts on contemporary music, eager to explore everything from french spectralism of the 1970s, to modernist jazz of the now. Here's a list of my findings so far:
Big Bang + Archipel (archive)
Weekly show of the belgian national broadcasting station RTBF, featuring interviews and concerts of upcoming and prominent artists. "Archipel" is a special segment tied to the belgian music libraries called Mediatheques, and showcases new releases off the beaten track. If you're not inclined to listen to the whole show, at least give Archipel a try. I think it's available as a separate download as well.
Le concert contemporain (archive)
Open jazz (archive)
Both belonging to France musique, the two-hour long les lundis usually contains a full-length concert and a selection of new releases. Open Jazz is a good allround look at jazz, from modern to progressive.
New Music up Late (archive)
Jazz up Late (archive)
Both available on the australian ABC radio channel, they're international in scope but feature young australian artists every now and then. Jazz up late is one of the few shows that specialize in progressive jazz.
Back to Europe, this time bella Italia. Battiti (RAI) is a mix of everything from black music to japanese noise art. And it works. The programming is smart, intelligent and funny. I love this show. It's also a good complement to the more classical spectrum of the other entries on this list.
Hear and Now
BBC weekly, international in scope as well as young artists from the UK.
Zeit + Ton
This is a good show from Austria, understanding german could be helpful. Unlike the other shows on contemporary music, Zeit + Ton is more likely to feature regular pop artists as well. I find that refreshing. A little bit of Battiti in there.
All shows contain interviews, but there's always the possibility to skip forward. Also, don't forget that most archives are temporary due to copyright issues. So listen sooner rather than later, or the show might already be gone. At least the music listings stay online indefinitely.
Sunday Afternoon Matinee pt. 341
internet k-hole provides little explanation for its galleries of random photo streams, but that makes scrolling down the giant pages just more poetic. User Babs really created some nice juxtapositions using (what appears to be) mainly private amateur footage from the 70s and 80s. Holiday snaps, prom nights, exhibitions, cats, porn, street life. Babies getting born, dicks getting sucked, music.
Woody Guthrie's New Years Rulin's
Whew, another year gone by. So much stuff has happened. So much! Like, crazy.
Ok, seriously, I've finished writing a play two months back, and am now looking for a way to bring it to the stage. It's called "The Rat king", and it's about a group of temp workers who have to fight a monster in the Vienna sewers. It's supposed to be funny AND political. At least I hope it is. I'm currently working on a sequel, but it's entirely possible it'll turn out to be something completely different. If you're curious about the play, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'm looking to translate it as soon as possible.
In the meantime, have a very 80's christmas with BeTaMaXMaS - a giant sampler consisting of Drakkar Noir commercials, fast food ads, Mask episodes and other goodies from a decade of shame/greed/revolution.
Brooklyn waterfront, 9/11
Thomas Hoepker: On that day five years ago, sheer horror came to New York, bright and colorful like a Hitchcock movie. And the only cloud in that blue sky was the sinister first smoke signal of a new era.
See The meaning of 9/11's most controversial photo @ Guardian.co.uk, as well as Frank Rich Is Wrong About That 9/11 Photograph @ Slate.com. Every time I look at it, I can't help but think of Le déjeuner sur l'herbe.
Jonathan Jones: Stendhal similarly captures the dissonance of history in his novel The Charterhouse of Parma. A young man volunteers to fight for Napoleon at Waterloo, but instead of a defining moment of courage all he experiences are random, marginal, meaningless accidents on the edges of the great day.
Woolf on Shakespeare
Dark Girls: Colorism and gender in the USA
The film is being directed by Bill Duke, the 80s action star of box office hits like Predator and Commando. Apparently he's quite the humanist, doing stuff for the inner city youth and the United Nations. (via Gawker, Black Snob)
Random voice from the London Riots
Hiroshima, censorship and embedded journalism