Brain Pickings Icon
Brain Pickings

Page 1353

I Met The Walrus: Lennon’s Brain Animated

Truth, aged like a good whiskey, from the cellar of a cultural legend.

In 1969, a brave 14-year-old boy named Jerry Levitan armed with a tape-deck snuck into John Lennon’s hotel room in Toronto and charmed the legend into doing an interview about peace, music, the USA, life and the Bee Gees. Thirty-nine years later, Levitan offered the interview to the world.

Only he did it brilliantly.

I Met The Walrus is an animated short, in which Lennon’s original voiceover comes to life through wonderful pen animation by the tremendously talented James Braithwaite.

Listen to Lennon’s detached yet passionate musings on politics, human nature and marijuana. And appreciate the irony of how true some of what he said 39 years ago rings today.

It’s up to the people. You can’t blame it on the government and say, ‘Oh, they’re doing this, they’re doing that, oh, they’re gonna put is us into war.’ We put ’em there. We allow it. And we can change it. If we really wanna change it, we can change it.” ~ John Lennon

*** UPDATE ***

Levitan’s once-in-a-lifetime Lennon adventure is now available in book form, as the wonderful I Met the Walrus: How One Day with John Lennon Changed My Life Forever — a priceless first-hand recollection of the unusual encounter. It features Jerry’s memorabilia from the day — notes from John and Yoko, the secret code to contact him, drawings, John’s doodles and more — as well as the animated film and the original audio interview. It is, as we certainly don’t need to point out, a cultural treasure and a Lennonphiliac must-have.


Tidying Up Art: Ursus Wehrli Deconstructs Iconic Paintings

How a neat freak with a penchant for humor retells the art history of the world.

Ursus Wehrli TED TalkWhen an art critic talks about deconstructing a painting, they’re normally talking figuratively — pick the concept apart, dissect the symbolism, analyze the message. Not the case with comedian-slash-experimental-artist Ursus Wehrli, who’s on a quest to deconstruct and tidy up art — literally.

The quirky Swiss takes famous artwork, deconstructs the elements it’s composed of — brush strokes, shapes, lines — and stacks them up neatly, altering nothing but the original’s spatial arrangement of those elements.

Ursus Wehrli: Keith Haring Deconstructed

The product, of course, is nothing like the original — and completely original at the same time.

The idea came to him after observing a hotel’s meticulous room service, which would transform his stuff-scattered room into a tidiness mecca every day, sometimes multiple times a day. Like any artist, this pushed him towards an unusual association as he asked himself how Van Gogh’s famous “Bedroom” would look if the room service crew could get their hands on it.

That first moment of inspiration drove him to explore the unusual approach further. His book, Tidying Up Art, does just that with dozens of masterpieces, humorously and innovatively deconstructed.

Watch his TED talk as he elaborates, rather entertainingly and with a true gift for comedy, on the project.

Our favorite: The Jackson Pollock one, which was such a mess to clean up that Wehrli went all the way to the bare bones, simply putting the paint back in the can.


Life on Google

Why Google holds the key to modernity and what Madonna arms have to do with the moon landing.

LIFE logoWe love Google. And now they’ve joined forces with another icon of our time, LIFE Magazine, to bring us something truly marvelous — LIFE‘s photo archive, spanning millions of never-before-seen photos from 1750 to today.


The collection, in all its searchable glory, includes photographs of every cultural icon you can think of, be it person or place or event.

Charles Lindbergh

From striking Civil War images, to Times Square in its 1942 glamor, to Neil Armstrong’s legendary first steps on the moon, to Steve Jobs sporting the “Mac guy” look way back in 1981 — everything that shaped the course of history and the evolution of culture is there.


Unfortunately, something sorely missing from the archive is the ability to browse with Cooliris the way you can with normal Google Image Search. Still, this brilliant piece of cultural capital is a force to be reckoned with.

Go, reckon.


Mac in the Produce Aisle

Why Steve Jobs is bigger in Japan than the Hollywood A-list combined.

Apple on AppleIt’s no secret we’re huge (HUGE) Mac fans. But if there’s one place were fanboy culture is at its most extreme, it has to be Japan.

Case in point: One Japanese Mac fan decided to take both his love of Apple and the term “branding” to literal levels by “tattooing” a crop of Fiji apples with the Apple and iPod logos.


Pretty much the same way sun tattoos work — you slap a sticker before the skin pigments and the shape gets imprinted on it. Because apples get their pigment from sunlight as they ripen, the Apple enthusiast just stickered them a month before the harvest…

… and just waited for nature to run its due course.

Well, it seems like Steve Jobs has out-big-in-Japanned any Hollywood celebrity. Jack Bauer can endorse all the low-cal drinks he wants, but we don’t see his image and likeness on any produce, now do we?

via Gizmodo


View Full Site

Brain Pickings participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn commissions by linking to Amazon. In more human terms, this means that whenever you buy a book on Amazon from a link on here, I receive a small percentage of its price. Privacy policy.