Sunday, May 19, 2013

A couple months ago I came across an alluring re-post from in my Facebook feed. 

Usually I "x" a post out as soon as I digest the contents, but this time I went to the unfamiliar site's home page to poke around when the video was done, and I've been grateful ever since.

Open Culture's mission statement reads as follows:

"Open Culture editor Dan Colman scours the web for the best educational media. He finds the free courses and audio books you need, the language lessons & movies you want, and plenty of enlightenment in between." 

Among the abundance of riches are:

-University certification programs and 700 online courses in art, classics, film, history, literature, philosophy, psychology, and many other areas of interest

-Courses for forty different languages and a wealth of K-12 educational resources

-160 textbooks, 400 e-books, and 525 audio books which include everything from Aesop to Austen to Dostoyevsky, Joyce, and David Sedaris 

-525 movies ranging from Chaplin to Hitchcock to Welles to Kurosawa to noir 

-125 "Great Science Videos"

For those seeking a quick fix, Open Culture's home page has daily video posts with contextual explanations. Yesterday, a video of Duke Ellington's "Symphony in Black" was 
featured. The accompanying write-up revealed that the short was both Billie Holiday's first appearance on film and "one of the earliest cinematic explorations of African-American culture for a mass audience." At the bottom of the post were a sampling of Open Culture's endless network of cross-references:  links to a short documentary about Billie Holiday; a video of Holiday singing the classic "Strange Fruit"; and a clip of Duke Ellington performing in France for Joan Miró (whose painting "Siesta" appears above).  

With the amount of information we process, it can be easy to forget new website discoveries. Fortunately, Open Culture sends out a daily email which allows you to explore these cultural nuggets at your own pace.  

In just the past week the daily emails have included:

-"Jimi Hendrix’s Final Interview on September 11, 1970"

My favorite post was the viral "Astronaut Chris Hadfield Sings David Bowie’s 'Space Oddity' On Board theInternational Space Station" below, which reflects the limitlessness of space - and the Internet.

                                       (Click on box in lower right for full screen)

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