- Anthony Bourdain creates animated web series
- Scaling the Berlin Wall
While visiting Berlin a few years ago, I came across an English-language bookstore in Charlottenburg. I asked the man running the store “Are there any books that you think really capture the essence of the fall of both the wall and of the Eastern Bloc itself?” He recommended Anna Funder’s excellent book Stasiland and Lenin’s Tomb: The Last Days of the Soviet Empire by David Remnick — both subsequently purchased and thoroughly enjoyed upon my return home.
And so as November 9th, 2009 approaches, journalists are beginning to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall — as well as to debunk the mythology surrounding its demise. The Daily Beast has an interesting excerpt from Michael Meyer’s new book The Year that Changed the World: The Untold Story Behind the Fall of the Berlin Wall and I saw Nicholas Thomson promoting The Hawk and the Dove: Paul Nitze, George Kennan, and the History of the Cold War last night on the Colbert Report.
While this moment of reflection is still here, be sure to also check out a couple of films about life before and after the Wall: The sleeper Ostalgie comedy Good Bye, Lenin!, as well as the powerful, critically-acclaimed The Lives of Others. Both are enjoyable movies in their own right, but I think watching them this week will really underscore that, in a world of over-hyped “events” and exaggerated self-importance, this was truly a pivotal moment in history.
(Via www.thedailybeast.com )
- John le Carré: A man of great intelligence
Speaking of the bad old days of Cold War intrigue, the Guardian has a profile on John le Carré, the author and former spy who recently decided to switch publishing houses. Journallist Andrew Anthony discusses le Carré’s enduring appeal and speculates that the publisher swap could cement an enduring legacy for the author.
(Via www.guardian.co.uk )
- “Claude Levi-Strauss Dead: French Anthropologist Dies At 100
Claude Levi-Strauss, the towering French intellectual and a father to structuralism died over the weekend. As he summed up his own work, “I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men’s minds without their being aware of the fact.””
(Via www.huffingtonpost.com )
- YouTube – Maurice Jarre – Doctor Zhivago
Posted just because I wanted to see it again! I know that it looks like Maurice Jarre is flipping an incandescent double-bird to the world in the preview frame of this clip, but he’s really just conducting music for a tribute to David Lean in 1992. (Although he could have — the dude was genius!)
(Via www.youtube.com )
- Information Is Beautiful | Ideas, issues, concepts, subjects – visualized!
David McCandless, designer and proprietor of Information Is Beautiful has a new book coming out called The Visual Miscellaneum: A Colorful Guide to the World’s Most Consequential Trivia. Looks Awesome! (Hey Larry — How about hooking a blogger up with a review copy? 😉 )
(Via Information Is Beautiful)
- The story behind the “Do chimps grieve?” National Geographic Photograph
The story of “Dorothy”, the deceased chimp in the photo, is worth reading.
- Romain Blanquart – Bride
If that last one didn’t get you, this one will.
I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen the frailty of life captured as well as in newspaper photographer Romain Blanquart’s absolutely stunning photo series “Beautiful Bride”. Even if you’ve never lost someone that you’ve loved to cancer, I’ll bet you’ll be both humbled by the tremendous strength and dignity of these people — and also reminded by these images that, for some things in this world, there are no words.
You’ll certainly be crying by the last one.
(Via blanquart.squarespace.com )
NEW UPDATE — February 25, 2010
Have you ever been reading about a book, movie, or an album and wanted to find it quickly on Amazon.com? Now it’s as easy as clicking your mouse with Snow Leopard!