The Real Castaway (2001; 48:13) is a tense and awkward but sometimes beautiful documentary about a teenage boy moving to the Ulithi Atoll and seeking companionship to fulfill a romantic fantasy. [Via.]
Bluedawn (푸른새벽) were a South Korean dreampop band characterized by soaring ethereal vocals, dreamy acoustic melancholy, quietly quixotic melody and softly cascading walls of sound in the vein of Mazzy Star and Hope Sandoval. [more inside]
Ilana Gershon is a professor currently researching how people use the Internet to break up with their romantic partners, but before that she wrote an anthropological study about "strategic ignorance" in Samoan immigrant communities, all of which is just a complicated way of showing that she's the most unusually qualified person on the Internet to comment on the Manti Te'o hoax. (previously)
Savagery - Arcadia - Consummation - Destruction - Desolation. The five stages of The Course of Empire, a fascinating quintet of paintings by 19th century artist and Hudson River School pioneer Thomas Cole. In it, an imaginary settlement by the sea becomes the stage for all the dreams and nightmares of civilized life, a rural woodland grown in time into a glorious metropolis... only to be ransacked by corruption, war, and a terrible storm, at last reduced to a forgotten ruin. At times deceptively simple, each landscape teems with references to cultural and philosophical markers that dominated the era's debate about the future of America. Interactive analysis of the series on a zoomable canvas is available via the excellent Explore Thomas Cole project, which also offers a guided tour and complete gallery of the dozens of other richly detailed and beautifully luminous works by this master of American landscape art.
As a tribute to Frédéric Chopin, we take you to the home of Arthur Rubinstein - one of the most distinguished interpreters of his works. [more inside]
In the sixty-odd years since their composition, the Four Last Songs have acquired in many people’s minds an unassailable status as simply the most beautiful music known to them, to be listened to in a dimly lit room and a state of rapt meditation, surrendering to the extraordinary spell of profound, other-worldly calm that they cast. This is not surprising. They were, indeed, the last things of any significance that Strauss wrote, between May and September 1948, at the age of eighty-four. (previously) [more inside]
Viking love poems (not to be confused with Vogon poetry). 200 years before medieval troubadours "created" romantic poetry, skalds such as Gunnlaug Snaketongue, Hallfred the Troublesome Poet and Kormak Ogmundarson told of their hearts' ecstasies and despairs. [more inside]
In August of 1820 one of the most beloved poets of his age came to the defense of another poet who was fast slipping into obscurity after a string of flops and a barrage of devastating reviews. That poet receding into oblivion? John Keats. That mightily loved poet? Barry Cornwall. Barry who?! Barry Cornwall was the nom de plume of solicitor Bryan Waller Procter, who won the admiration of a great many, including no lesser a reader than Pushkin. You can acquaint yourselves with this now almost wholly forgotten literary figure by reading volume 1 of his 1822 Poetical Works or other texts by and about him on Google Books. As for Keats, well... Keats is everywhere.
Last night I didn't fall asleep until early in the morning. And I've got a long day ahead of me. So, what the hell is making me smile at seven thirty-five in the morning? (embedded quicktime)