Coloring the Kingdom
: the story of the all-female “finishing school” of hand-drawn animation that worked behind the scenes to create the first animated full-length Disney feature, Snow White. (via.
posted by 1f2frfbf
on Feb 5, 2010 -
Rapper Shaun Boothe
is now midway through his 12 part series of "unauthorized biographies", which showcase short history lessons about some of the major black figures of our time. Thus far, he's covered James Brown
, Bob Marley
(my favorite), Muhammed Ali
, Martin Luther King (and briefly, Barack Obama)
, Jimi Hendrix
, and Sean "Puffy" Combs
. He's gotten some play
and good press
from major underground hip-hop media, due next in the series is a biography of Oprah Winfrey.
posted by rollbiz
on Jan 11, 2010 -
There was a rivalry between the parties, of course, but in Potter's account, it was more like the rivalry between Cal and Stanford than that between today's Republicans and Democrats. The parties had somewhat different constituencies and pledged fealty to a different set of men, but each attempted to encompass as much of the political spectrum as possible rather than merely half of it. The story of the 1850s, by these lights, is about how this changed.
With reference to David M. Potter's The Impending Crisis
, Adam Cadre surveys the four antebellum presidents. [more inside]
posted by Iridic
on Oct 22, 2009 -
: “I wanted to call my father and tell him that a white man thought my brain was beautiful”.
Sherman Alexie doing his thing in The New Yorker, excerpted from his upcoming book (early review
; interview 1
posted by Non Prosequitur
on Oct 5, 2009 -
Sir Humphry Davy
Was not fond of gravy.
He lived in the odium
Of having discovered sodium.
This is the first example of the form that came to be known as the clerihew
. [more inside]
posted by Iridic
on Jul 24, 2009 -
- whom Kurt Vonnegut called "unquestionably a genius" - first achieved success with a study of the utopian commune at New Harmony, Indiana
called Angel in the Forest
. She then spent 18 years writing Miss Macintosh, My Darling
- a 1,198 page
novel that William Goyen praised in The New York Times Book Review
as "a masterwork". She spent the last 30 years of her life writing an unfinished biography of Eugene V. Debs
that was posthumously published, in heavily edited form, as Harp Song for a Radical
. [more inside]
posted by Joe Beese
on May 22, 2009 -
First libraries started loaning records, then toys, then films and games - now they're loaning out people. The Living Library Project
allows members to hear people's stories not on the page, but in person.
posted by mippy
on Dec 3, 2008 -
"There's something very shabby about a noble grave... Political power and the power of wealth result in splendid graves. Really impressive graves, you know. Such creatures never had any imagination while they lived, and quite naturally their graves don't leave any room for imagination either. But noble people live only on the imaginations of themselves and others, and so they leave graves like this one which inevitably stir one's imagination. And this I find even more wretched. Such people, you see, are obliged even after they are dead to continue begging people to use their power of imagination." - Yukio Mishima
via Kashiwagi in The Temple of the Golden Pavilion
. On this, the anniversary of Mishima's transformation into a headless god, a collection of video links. [more inside]
posted by eccnineten
on Nov 25, 2008 -
A fascinating story
of the first known, Western transsexual, Tibetan Buddhist novice monk: Laurence Michael Dillon (born Laura Maude Dillon, May 1, 1915 - May 15, 1962) was a British physician and the first female-to-male transsexual to undergo phalloplasty. His brother, Sir Robert Dillon, was the eighth Baronet of Lismullen in Ireland. The editor of Debrett's told Time Magazine that Dillon was unquestionably next in line for the baronetcy: The unwanted press attention led Dillon to flee to India, and then to a Tibetan monastery
. Girls Will Be Boys
, a review of The First Man-Made Man: The Story of Two Sex Changes, One Love Affair, and a Twentieth-Century Medical Revolution
, by Pagan Kennedy. Photograph of Michael Dillon as a monk
. [more inside]
posted by nickyskye
on Sep 8, 2008 -
Who is Alexander Grothendieck?
[PDF] This lecture is concerned not with Grothendieck's mathematics but with his very unusual life on the fringes of human society. In particular, there is, on the one hand, the question of why at the age of forty-two Grothendieck first of all resigned his professorship at the Institut des Hautes Etudes Scientifiques (IHES); then withdrew from mathematics completely; and finally broke off all connections to his colleagues, students, acquaintances, friends, as well as his own family, to live as a hermit in an unknown place. On the other hand, one would like to know what has occupied this restless and creative spirit since his withdrawal from mathematics.
posted by Wolfdog
on Aug 17, 2008 -
Paul Theroux reviews
Patrick French's frank, full, authorized (!) biography of Nobel Prize-winning author V.S. Naipaul. Sir Vidiadhar is not, in Theroux's estimation, a very nice man. He tortures his wife emotionally, his mistress physically, and he treats people of all races with narcissistic condescension. But can he write? [more inside]
posted by sy
on Apr 8, 2008 -
Over 30 years ago, Robert Burnham Jr. struggled to get his astronomical (in more ways than one) three volume work published. Burnham's Celestial Handbook: An Observer's Guide to the Universe Beyond the Solar System
"remains a sort of real-life hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy, a compendium with something to say about nearly every cosmic destination worth visiting. . . It is rarely compared to other books because there simply is none other like it." It remains a beloved and relevant
book among star-gazers today. Yet few know much about the life of the author, or of his sad and lonely demise: Sky Writer
posted by spock
on Jan 28, 2008 -
is taking all the world’s information—including the personal history of as many people as possible—and putting it all in a big fat timeline. [more inside]
posted by carsonb
on Dec 9, 2007 -
is a site that lets people who are refugess within their
own countries tell their life stories
– in their own words. "The narratives in these pages are valuable complements to the official information on conflicts which governments and international organisations offer. These stories deal with the real lives of real people. The narrators share their personal experiences, their sensations, hopes and dreams, and the impact for them of being forced from their homes. The first IDP Voices oral testimonies project took place in Colombia
. IDP Voices from further countries will be added as the projects progress." The life stories are in English and Spanish and can either be read or listened to. You can download the whole book of life stories here
posted by Kattullus
on Nov 8, 2007 -
"How I Became A Programmer"
veers between linear biography and brain dump. The piece meanders through its theme, stopping along the way to flirt with word origins, family politics, the senior prom, Japan, airlines and military recruitment. Reading it, I felt trapped inside inside an extremely quirky -- yet recognizable (in a too-close-for-comfort way) -- mind. About half the time I yearned to tell him that he needs an editor; the other half, I was grateful that he didn't have one. Mostly, I'm amazed he HAD a date to the senior prom!
posted by grumblebee
on Aug 18, 2007 -
The Emperor's Bunker. "The Japanese, with sadness and irony, stressed that Hirohito couldn't even speak properly. This was partly to do with the fact that he didn't have to speak - people spoke in his name and he was isolated from real life"
", the third part in Russian director Aleksandr Sokurov
's 'Men of Power' tetralogy
after the gloom of Moloch (1999)
, about Hitler and Eva Braun, and the despairing tones of "Taurus
, focused on the wheelchair-bound Lenin in his death throes, "The Sun" seems almost upbeat. This, after all, is a film about reconciliation. More inside.
posted by matteo
on Sep 13, 2005 -
Wagner, the repulsive giant
If, on one hand, you ever wanted to know what a swine Richard Wagner was, this is the book to tell you
. It does so at length, in reliable detail, calmly, without prurience, perfectly backed with documentation, and in a translation whose only fault is in giving no Translator’s Notes for in-house German references. Joachim Köhler sustains his story with new ideas, revises other interpretations and modestly deconstructs Cosima née Liszt’s creation of “Richard Wagner Enterprises Inc”. (This she developed so far as to keep Parsifal exclusive to Bayreuth, prompting George Bernard Shaw to remark in 1889 that it “would almost reconcile me to the custom of suttee
posted by matteo
on Sep 3, 2005 -
Who is the real Bob Saget?
• "In comedy circles, there’s a famous Saget story about the night his first daughter was born. After a very difficult birth, during which Sherri Saget and her baby almost died, a friend showed up to find Mr. Saget looking utterly destroyed, unshaven, unrecognizable, but holding his newborn. Oh my God, Bob, she’s beautiful
, the friend said. For a dollar, you can finger her
, Mr. Saget replied." Saget guests in the upcoming Aristocrats documentary
posted by dhoyt
on May 6, 2005 -
The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
is published today, in print and online: a biographical record of everyone who's ever been anyone in British history (50,000 individuals) and an astonishing feat of scholarly collaboration (10,000 contributors from all over the world). Access to the full database is fearfully expensive, but the official site gives you a good selection of sample entries
, with a new one added every day; and a feature in today's Times
gives you some more
, beginning with Mary Toft, the woman who gave birth to rabbits.
posted by verstegan
on Sep 23, 2004 -
Two Years Before the Mast.
"In the following pages I design to give an accurate and authentic narrative of a little more than two years spent as a common sailor,before the mast, in the American merchant service. It is written out from a journal which I kept at the time, and from notes which I made of most of the events as they happened." At the beginning of his third year of Harvard a severe attack of measles interrupted Henry Dana's studies,
and so affected his eyes as to preclude, for a time at least, all idea of study. The state of the family finances was not such as to permit of foreign travel in search of health. Accordingly, prompted by necessity and by a youthful love of adventure, he shipped as a common sailor in the brig, bound for the California coast
posted by weston
on Sep 14, 2004 -
With a new biopic in the works
, the spotlight will soon return to this silent-movie legend. The beautiful
and enchanting Brooks set the mold for the stereotypical bobbed-hair flapper of the 1920s, though her Hollywood work is largely forgettable. Her most famous film, Pandora’s Box [script, mirror]
(directed by G.W. Pabst
) was filmed in Germany. She didn't make a successful transition to talkies, and after a long reclusive period, she had a second career writing essays
. -- For further reading, Ken Tynan's 1979 essay
"The Girl in the Black Helmet" [mirror]
in the New Yorker
gives an excellent overview of her life.
posted by stopgap
on Dec 16, 2003 -
The On-Line Picasso Project
offers 6,893 works for your ogling pleasure, plus an obsessively documented chronological bio. I'm stunned. (please read the user's manual, inside.)
posted by taz
on Oct 2, 2003 -