“Alexander Hamilton” Performed with American Sign Language

Back in 2011, the Los Angeles Times ran a profile on Sarah Tubert, then a 17-year-old student who lost her hearing as a young child. With the help of her family, Sarah persevered, became a star water polo and volleyball player in high school, and earned a full scholarship to Gallaudet University–all with the hope of one day becoming an instructor for deaf and hearing-impaired students.

Five years later, Sarah is making good on her promise. Above, Sarah performs “Alexander Hamilton,” the opening number of the Broadway show, in American Sign Language (ASL). On Twitter, the Hamilton star Lin-Manuel Miranda called it “beautiful.” And it’s hard not to agree.

You can find ASL lessons in our collection, Learn 48 Languages Online for Free: Spanish, Chinese, English & More.

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via Kottke

The Artists’ and Writers’ Cookbook Collects Recipes From T.C. Boyle, Marina Abramović, Neil Gaiman, Joyce Carol Oates & More


The Artists’ and Writers’ Cookbook: A Collection of Stories with Recipes © 2016, edited by Natalie Eve Garrett, illustrated by Amy Jean Porter, published by powerHouse Books..

There will never not be a market for the cookbook, with all its various subcategories, from fad diet to celebrity chef. While The Onion’s proposed “Nietzschean Diet” (which “lets you eat whatever you fear most”) may never catch on, one unusual cookbook niche does involve the recipes of famous writers, artists, musicians and other high- and pop-culture figures. The genre flourished in the sixties and seventies, with Swingers & Singers in the Kitchen in 1967, Salvador Dalí’s Les Diners de Gala in 1973, and the MoMA’s Artists’ Cookbook in 1978.


Predating these celebrity recipe books, The Artists’ & Writers’ Cookbook appeared in 1961. Brain Pickings describes the book as “a lavish 350-page vintage tome, illustrated with 19th-century engravings and original drawings by Marcel Duchamp, Robert Osbourn, and Alexandre Istrati.” It featured 220 recipes by painters, novelists, poets, and sculptors like Man Ray, John Keats, Robert Graves, Harper Lee, Georges Simenon, and more. What’s old has become new again, with the recent reprinting of Dalí’s cookbook by Taschen and, on October 11th, the publication of an updated Artists’ and Writers’ Cookbook, edited by Natalie Eve Garrett and illustrated by Amy Jean Porter.


The 2016 version includes recipes from such living artists as Edwidge Danticat, Ed Ruscha, Neil Gaiman, Joyce Carol Oates, James Franco, Nikki Giovanni, Marina Abramović, and many more. The recipes range from the whimsical (see T.C. Boyle’s “Baked Camel (Stuffed)” further up) to the thoroughly metaphorical (as in Abramović’s “Essential Aphrodisiac Recipes,” above). In-between, we have such standard fare as “The Utilitarian, American-Style PB&J: An Artist’s Best Friend,” courtesy of Franco, which calls for the following ingredients:

wheat bread
peanut butter
ginger ale (optional)
pickles (optional)

Haitian novelist Edwidge Danticat takes a serious approach with a traditional recipe for “Soup Joumou.” She prefaces this more extensive dish with a poetic description of its national importance, concluding that it is consumed “as a sign of our independence, as a celebration of a new beginning….” The recipe may send you to the grocery, but—especially this time of year—you’ll find all of the ingredients at your nearest chain store:

1 pumpkin between 2-3 pounds, peeled and cut into small pieces
1 pound cabbage, sliced and chopped
4 carrots, peeled and sliced
3 stalks celery, sliced and chopped
1 large onion, cut into small pieces
5 potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 turnips, peeled and cubed (optional)
1 lime cut in half and squeezed for a much juice as you can get from it
¼ pound macaroni
3 garlic cloves, crushed or cut into small pieces
1 sprig thyme
1 sprig parsley
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons ground pepper
1 Scotch bayonet pepper

Sounds delicious.

Neil Gaiman keeps things very simple with “Coraline’s Cheese Omelette,” introduced with an excerpt from that dark children’s fantasy. For this, you likely have all you need on hand:

2 eggs
1 tablespoon milk
a pinch of salt

The essays and narratives in the new The Artists’ and Writers’ Cookbook are “at turns,” writes publisher powerHouse Books, “comedic and heart-wrenching, personal and apocalyptic, with recipes that are enchanting to read and recreate.” As you can see from the small sampling here, you need not have any pretentions to haute cuisine to follow most of them. And as the book‘s subtitle—“A Collection of Stories with Recipes”—suggests, you needn’t cook at all to find joy in this diverse assemblage of artists and writers’ associations with food, that most personal and intimate, yet also culturally defining and communal of subjects. Pick up a copy of The Artists’ and Writers’ Cookbook on Amazon.

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

Strange Vintage Postcards Document the Propaganda Against Women’s Rights 100 Years Ago


The vicious, vitriolic imagery and rhetoric of this election season can seem overwhelming, but as even casual students of history will know, it isn’t anything new. Each time historic social change occurs, reactionary counter-movements resort to threats, appeals to fear, and demeaning caricatures—whether it’s anti-Reconstruction propaganda of the 19th century, anti-Civil Rights campaigns 100 years later, or anti-LGBT rights efforts today.


At the turn of the century, the women’s suffrage movement faced significant levels of abuse and resistance. One photograph has circulated, for example, of a suffrage activist lying in the street as police beat her. (The woman in the photo is not Susan B. Anthony, as many claim, but a British suffragist named Ada Wright, beaten on “Black Friday” in 1910.) It’s an arresting image that captures just how violently men of the day fought against the movement for women’s suffrage. [It’s also worth noting, as many have: the early suffrage movement campaigned only for white women’s right to vote, and sometimes actively resisted civil rights for African-Americans.]


As you can see from the sample anti-suffrage postcards here—dating from the late 19th to early 20th centuries— propaganda against the women’s vote tended to fall into three broad categories: Disturbingly violent wish-fulfillment involving torture and physical silencing; characterizations of suffragists as angry, bitter old maids, hatchet-wielding harridans, or domineering, shrewish wives and neglectful mothers; and, correspondingly, depictions of neglected children, and husbands portrayed as saintly victims, emasculated by threats to traditional gender roles, and menaced by the suggestion that they may have to care for their children for even one day out of the year!


These postcards come from the collection of Catherine Palczewski, professor of women’s and gender studies at the University of Northern Iowa. She has been collecting these images, from both the U.S. and Britain, for 15 years. On her website, Palczewski quotes George Miller’s comment that postcards like these “offer a vivid chronicle of American political values and tastes.” Palczewski describes these particular images as “a fascinating intersection [that] occurred between advocacy for and against woman suffrage, images of women (and men), and postcards. Best estimates are that approximately 4,500 postcards were produced with a suffrage theme.”


As she notes in the quote above, the postcards printed during this period did not all oppose women’s suffrage. “Suffrage advocates,” writes Palczewski, “recognized the utility of the postcard as a propaganda device” as well. Pro-suffrage postcards tended to serve a documentary purpose, with “real-photo images of the suffrage parades, verbal messages identifying the states that had approved suffrage, or quotations in support of extending the vote to women.” For all their attempts at presenting a serious, informative counterweight to incendiary anti-suffrage images like those you see here, suffrage activists often found that they could not control the narrative.


As Lisa Tickner writes in The Spectacle of Women: Imagery of the Suffrage Campaign 1907-1914, postcard producers without a clear agenda often used photos and illustrations of suffragists to represent “topical or humorous types” and “almost incidentally” undercut advocates’ attempts to present their cause in a newsworthy light. The image of the suffragette as a trivial figure of fun persisted into the mid-twentieth century (as we see in Glynis Johns’ comically neglectful Winifred Banks in Walt Disney’s 1964 Mary Poppins adaptation).


Palczewski’s site offers a brief history of the “Golden Age” (1893-1918) of political postcards and organizes the collection into categories. One variety we might find particularly charming for its use of cats and kittens actually has a pretty sinister origin in the so-called “Cat-and-Mouse Act” in the UK. Jailed suffragists had begun to stage hunger strikes, and journalists provoked public outcry by portraying force-feeding by the government as a form of torture. Instead, striking activists were released when they became weak. “If a woman died after being released,” Palczewski explains, “then the government could claim it was not to blame.” When a freed activist regained her strength, she would be rearrested. “On November 29, 1917,” Palczewski writes, “the US government announced it plans to use Britain’s cat and mouse approach.”


You can see many more historical pro- and anti-suffrage postcards at Palczewski’s website, and you are free to use them for non-commercial purposes provided you attribute the source. You are also free, of course, to draw your own comparisons to today’s hyperbolic and often violently misogynist propaganda campaigns.


via Dangerous Minds

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

Stephen Fry Narrates 4 Philosophy Animations On the Question: How to Create a Just Society?

How do we create a just society? 50,000 years or so at it and humanity still has a long way to go before figuring that out, though not for lack of trying. The four animated videos of “What Is Justice?”—a miniseries within BBC Radio 4 and the Open University’s larger project of animating the ideas of philosophers throughout history and explaining them in the voices of various famous narrators—tell us what John Rawls, Henry David Thoreau, and the Bible, among other sources, have to say on the subject of justice. Stephen Fry provides the voice this time as the videos illustrate the nature of these ideas, as well as their complications, before our eyes.

Imagine you had to create a just society yourself, but “you won’t know what kind of a person you’ll be in the society you design.” This thought experiment, first described by Rawls in his 1971 book A Theory of Justice as the “veil of ignorance,” supposedly encourages the creation of “a much fairer society than we now have. There would be extensive freedom and equality of opportunity. But there wouldn’t be extremes of high pay, unless it could be shown that the poorest in society directly benefited as a result.” An intriguing idea, but one easier articulated than agreed upon, let alone realized.

Much earlier in history, you find the simpler principle of “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth,” an “ancient form of punishment known as lex talionis, or the law of retaliation.” Any reader of the Bible will have a strong sense of this idea’s importance in the ancient world, though we’d do well to remember that back then, it “was a way of encouraging a sense of proportion — not wiping out a whole community in retaliation for the killing of one man, for example.” While harsh punishment could, in theory, deter potential criminals, “severe legal violence can create martyrs and increase society’s problems.” The rule of law, naturally, has everything to do with the creation and maintenance of a just society, though not every law furthers the cause.

But you’ve no doubt heard of one that has: habeas corpus, the legal principle mandating that “no one, not even the president, monarch, or anyone else in power, can detain someone illegally.” Instead, “they need to bring the detainee in question before a court and allow that court to determine whether or not this person can legally be held.” Yet not every authority has consistently implemented or upheld habeas corpus or other justice-ensuring laws. At times like those, according to Thoreau, you must engage in civil disobedience: “follow your conscience and break the law on moral grounds rather than be a cog in an unjust system.” It’s a dirty job, creating a just society, and will remain so for the foreseeable future. And though we may not all have given it as much thought as a Rawls or a Thoreau, we’ve all got a role to play in it.

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Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities and culture. He’s at work on a book about Los Angeles, A Los Angeles Primer, the video series The City in Cinema, the crowdfunded journalism project Where Is the City of the Future?, and the Los Angeles Review of Books’ Korea Blog. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

Kurt Vonnegut’s Term Paper Assignment from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop Teaches You to Read Fiction Like a Writer

vonnegut drawing

Image by Daniele Prati, via Flickr Commons

I wish I’d had a teacher who framed his or her assignments as letters…

Which is really just another way of saying I wish I’d been lucky enough to have taken a class with writers Kurt Vonnegut or Lynda Barry.

There’s still hope of a class with Barry, aka Professor Chewbacca, Professor Old Skull, and most recently, Professor Drogo. Those of us who can’t get a seat at the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery, the Omega Institute, or the Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers’ Workshop can play along at home, using assignments she generously makes available in her books and on her Near-Sighted Monkey Tumblr.

Vonnegut fans long for this level of access, which is why we are doubly grateful to writer Suzanne McConnell, who took Vonnegut’s “Form of Fiction” (aka “Surface Criticism” aka “How to Talk out of the Corner of Your Mouth Like a Real Tough Pro”) course at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop in the mid-60s.

The goal was to examine fiction from a writer’s perspective and McConnell (who is soon to publish a book about Vonnegut’s advice to writers) preserved one of her old teacher’s term paper assignments—again in letter form. She later had an epiphany that his assignments were “designed to teach something much more than whatever I thought then…  He was teaching us to do our own thinking, to find out who we were, what we loved, abhorred, what set off our tripwires, what tripped up our hearts.”

For the term paper, the eighty students—a group that included John Irving, Gail Godwin, and Andre Dubus II—were addressed as “Beloved” and charged with assigning a letter grade to each of the fifteen stories in Masters of the Modern Short Story (Harcourt, Brace, 1955, W. Havighurst, editor).

(A decade and a half later, Vonnegut would subject his own novels to the same treatment.)

A noted humanist, Vonnegut instructed the class to read these stories not in an overly analytical mindset, but rather as if they had just consumed “two ounces of very good booze.”

The ensuing letter grades were meant to be “childishly selfish and impudent measures” of how much—or little—joy the stories inspired in the reader.

Next, students were instructed to choose their three favorite and three least favorite stories, then disguise themselves as “minor but useful” lit mag editors in order to advise their “wise, respected, witty and world-weary superior” as to whether or not the selected stories merited publication.

Here’s the full assignment, which was published in Kurt Vonnegut: Letters (Delacorte Press, 2012). And also again in Slate.


This course began as Form and Theory of Fiction, became Form of Fiction, then Form and Texture of Fiction, then Surface Criticism, or How to Talk out of the Corner of Your Mouth Like a Real Tough Pro. It will probably be Animal Husbandry 108 by the time Black February rolls around. As was said to me years ago by a dear, dear friend, “Keep your hat on. We may end up miles from here.”

As for your term papers, I should like them to be both cynical and religious. I want you to adore the Universe, to be easily delighted, but to be prompt as well with impatience with those artists who offend your own deep notions of what the Universe is or should be. “This above all …”

I invite you to read the fifteen tales in Masters of the Modern Short Story (W. Havighurst, editor, 1955, Harcourt, Brace, $14.95 in paperback). Read them for pleasure and satisfaction, beginning each as though, only seven minutes before, you had swallowed two ounces of very good booze. “Except ye be as little children …”

Then reproduce on a single sheet of clean, white paper the table of contents of the book, omitting the page numbers, and substituting for each number a grade from A to F. The grades should be childishly selfish and impudent measures of your own joy or lack of it. I don’t care what grades you give. I do insist that you like some stories better than others.

Proceed next to the hallucination that you are a minor but useful editor on a good literary magazine not connected with a university. Take three stories that please you most and three that please you least, six in all, and pretend that they have been offered for publication. Write a report on each to be submitted to a wise, respected, witty and world-weary superior.

Do not do so as an academic critic, nor as a person drunk on art, nor as a barbarian in the literary market place. Do so as a sensitive person who has a few practical hunches about how stories can succeed or fail. Praise or damn as you please, but do so rather flatly, pragmatically, with cunning attention to annoying or gratifying details. Be yourself. Be unique. Be a good editor. The Universe needs more good editors, God knows.

Since there are eighty of you, and since I do not wish to go blind or kill somebody, about twenty pages from each of you should do neatly. Do not bubble. Do not spin your wheels. Use words I know.


McConnell supplied further details on the extraordinary experience of being Vonnegut’s student in an essay for the Brooklyn Rail:

 Kurt taught a Chekhov story. I can’t remember the name of it. I didn’t quite understand the point, since nothing much happened. An adolescent girl is in love with this boy and that boy and another; she points at a little dog, as I recall, or maybe something else, and laughs. That’s all. There’s no conflict, no dramatic turning point or change. Kurt pointed out that she has no words for the sheer joy of being young, ripe with life, her own juiciness, and the promise of romance. Her inarticulate feelings spill into laughter at something innocuous. That’s what happened in the story. His absolute delight in that girl’s joy of feeling herself so alive was so encouraging of delight. Kurt’s enchantment taught me that such moments are nothing to sneeze at. They’re worth a story.             

via Slate

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Ayun Halliday is an author, illustrator, theater maker and Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine.  Her play Zamboni Godot is opening in New York City in March 2017. Follow her @AyunHalliday.

When Charles Dickens & Edgar Allan Poe Met, and Dickens’ Pet Raven Inspired Poe’s Poem “The Raven”


“There comes Poe with his raven,” wrote the poet James Russell Lowell in 1848, “like Barnaby Rudge, / Three-fifths of him genius and two-fifths sheer fudge.” Barnaby Rudge, as you may know, is a novel by Charles Dickens, published serially in 1841. Set during the anti-Catholic Gordon Riots of 1780, the book stands as Dickens’ first historical novel and a prelude of sorts to A Tale of Two Cities. But what, you may wonder, does it have to do with Poe and “his raven”?

Quite a lot, it turns out. Poe reviewed the first four chapters of Dickens’ Barnaby Rudge for Graham’s Magazine, predicting the end of the novel and finding out later he was correct when he reviewed it again upon completion. He was particularly taken with one character: a chatty raven named Grip who accompanies the simple-minded Barnaby. Poe described the bird as “intensely amusing,” points out Atlas Obscura, and also wrote that Grip’s “croaking might have been prophetically heard in the course of the drama.”

It chanced the following year the two literary greats would meet, when Poe learned of Dickens’ trip to the U.S.; he wrote to the novelist, and the two briefly exchanged letters (which you can read here). Along with Dickens on his six-month journey were his wife Catherine, his children, and Grip, his pet raven. When the two writers met in person, writes Lucinda Hawksley at the BBC, Poe “was enchanted to discover [Grip, the character] was based on Dickens’s own bird.”

Indeed Dickens’ raven, “who had an impressive vocabulary,” inspired what Dickens called the “very queer character” in Barnaby Rudge, not only with his loquaciousness, but also with his distinctively ornery personality. Dickens’ daughter Mamie described the raven as “mischievous and impudent” for its habit of biting the children and “dominating” the family’s mastiff, such that the bird was banished to the carriage house.


Image courtesy of the Free Library of Philadelphia.

But Dickens—who Jonathan Lethem calls the “greatest animal novelist of all time”—loved the bird, so much that he wrote movingly and humorously of Grip’s death, and had him stuffed. (A not unusual practice for Dickens; we’ve previously featured a letter opener Dickens had made from the paw of his cat, Bob.)  The remains of the historical Grip now reside in the rare book section of the Free Library of Philadelphia, “a stuffed raven” writes The Washington Post’s Raymond Lane, “about the size of a big cat.” (See Grip above.)

Of the literary Grip’s influence on Poe, Janine Pollack, head of the library’s rare books department, tells Philadelphia magazine, “It is sort of a unique moment in literature when these two great writers are sort of thinking about the same thing. You think about how much the two men were looking at each other’s work. It’s almost a collaboration without them realizing it.” But can we be sure that Dickens’ Grip, real and imagined, directly inspired Poe’s “The Raven”? “Poe knew about it,” says historian Edward Pettit, “He wrote about it. And there’s a talking raven in it. So the link seems fairly obvious to me.”

Lane adduces some clear evidence of passages in the the novel that sound very much like Poe: “At the end of the fifth chapter,” for example, “Grip makes a noise and someone asks, ‘What was that—him tapping at the door?’ Another character responds, ‘’Tis someone knocking softly at the shutter.’” Hawksley notes even more similarities. “Although there is no concrete proof,” she writes, “most Poe scholars are in agreement that the poet’s fascination with Grip was the inspiration for his 1845 poem The Raven.”

Where we often find surprising lineages of influence from author to author, it’s unusual that the connections are so direct, so personal, and so odd, as those between Poe, Dickens, and Grip the talking raven. I’m especially struck by an irony in this story: Poe courted Dickens in 1842 “to impress the novelist,” writes Sidney Moss of Southern Illinois University, “with his worth and versatility as a critic, poet, and writer of tales,” and with the aim of establishing a literary reputation, and publishing contracts, in England.

While Dickens seemed duly impressed, and willing to help, nothing commercial came of their exchange. Instead, Dickens and his raven inspired Poe to write the most famous poem of his life, “The Raven,” for which he will be remembered forevermore.

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

Watch 52,000 Books Getting Reshelved at The New York Public Library in a Short, Timelapse Film

After being closed for 2+ years for repairs and restoration, The New York Public Library’s historic Rose Main Reading Room reopened earlier this month. Above, you can watch 52,000 books getting reshelved in a quick, two-minute timelapse film. Books getting reshelved. Paint drying. A time lapse film can make everything interesting.

Then watch this very related item: The New York Public Library Unveils a Cutting-Edge Train That Delivers Books.

Follow Open Culture on Facebook and Twitter and share intelligent media with your friends. Or better yet, sign up for our daily email and get a daily dose of Open Culture in your inbox. And if you want to make sure that our posts definitely appear in your Facebook newsfeed, just follow these simple steps.

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Hear J.G. Ballard Stories Adapted as Surreal Soundscapes That Put You Inside the Heads of His Characters


Image by Thierry Erhmann via Wikimedia Commons

“This enormous novel we’re living inside thrives on sensation,” J.G. Ballard once said. “It needs sensation to sustain itself.” The author of novels like High-RiseCrash, and Empire of the Sun knew how to deliver a certain kind of textual sensation, and he often underscored (as first evidenced by his experimental text collages) that he possessed a command of visual sensation as well. Ballard’s use of sonic sensation has taken longer to gain a wide appreciation, but the BBC has furthered that cause with two new radio dramas adapting his stories “Track 12” and “Venus Smiles.”

These productions debuted together this past weekend on “Between Ballard’s Ears,” an episode of the program Between the Ears, which for twenty years has showcased “innovative and thought-provoking features that make adventurous use of sound and explore a wide variety of subjects.” They both make use of a technology called binaural audio, sound recorded just as humans hear it. The process involves an artificial head with microphones embedded in each ear, the industry-standard model of which comes from a company called Neumann. (You can see a gallery of the cast and crew of “Between Ballard’s Ears” using, and hanging out with, their own Neumann head here.)

All this has the effect of putting you, the headphone-wearing radio-drama listener, right into not just the setting of the story but into the very head of the character — in the case of J.G. Ballard, as any of his fans know, a troubling place indeed. We hear 1958’s “Track 12” from within the head of Maxted, a former athlete turned company man invited over to the home of Sheringham, the biochemistry professor he’s been cuckolding. Sheringham sits Maxted, and us, down to listen to his greatly slowed and amplified “microsonic” recordings of cells dividing and pins dropping. We wonder, as Maxted wonders, when the inevitable confrontation will come, though none of us can foresee what form Sheringham’s revenge will take.

“Venus Smiles,” which Ballard first wrote in 1957 and rewrote in 1971, takes place in his fictional desert resort town of Vermillion Sands. This story opens with the installation of a new piece of public art, a “musical sculpture” that makes me think of the Triforium in Los Angeles. But unlike the lonely Triforium, neglected and ignored for most of its history, this sculpture causes pandemonium from day one, piping out quarter-tone compositions pleasing to the ears of the Middle East, but apparently not to those of Vermillion Sands. When one commissioner transplants the hated sculpture to his backyard, it reveals its true nature: much more complicated than that of a big music box, and much more interesting to hear besides. As much as the binaural production will make you feel like you’re standing right there beside it, Ballard makes you feel relieved, as the story goes on, that you’re actually not.

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Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities and culture. He’s at work on a book about Los Angeles, A Los Angeles Primer, the video series The City in Cinema, the crowdfunded journalism project Where Is the City of the Future?, and the Los Angeles Review of Books’ Korea Blog. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

Sean Penn Narrates Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff: Download It for Free


A very quick heads up: Audible has just released a new audiobook, Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff, written by an obscure figure who goes by the name “Pappy Pariah.” Who is Pappy Pariah? Some speculate it’s Sean Penn. But no one can say for sure. The only thing we can say is that Sean Penn narrates the audiobook. And also that you can download the audiobook for free. Click here or here, and go through the $0 purchase process.

As a quick aside, I should mention that if you start a 30 day free trial with Audible.com, you can download two free (additional) audio books of your choice. They’re professionally read, and you can keep them even if you don’t ultimately become an Audible subscriber. That said, we do heartily recommend their service. Get more details on the offer here.

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Leonard Cohen’s New Album, You Want It Darker, Is Streaming Free for a Limited Time

A quick heads up: Leonard Cohen’s new album You Want It Darker is streaming free online for a limited time, thanks to NPR’s First Listen site. Now 82 years old, and sensing that time is running short, Cohen offers, writes Rolling Stone, a “gift to music lovers: a realistically grim, spiritually radiant and deeply poetic worldview, generally spiked with a romantic thrum and an existential wink.”

Hear the title track above. And stream the complete album right below using NPR’s free stream. Or another one provided by Spotify. You can purchase your own copy of Cohen’s album on Amazon and iTunes.

We’d also encourage you to read this new profile of Cohen, written by The New Yorker‘s long-time editor David Remnick. It’s quite poignant.

Follow Open Culture on Facebook and Twitter and share intelligent media with your friends. Or better yet, sign up for our daily email and get a daily dose of Open Culture in your inbox. And if you want to make sure that our posts definitely appear in your Facebook newsfeed, just follow these simple steps.

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