Several months have gone by since I last tidied up the links in the right-hand column, so in honor of the impending arrival of CAAF, I spent an afternoon working on them. I combed through our blogroll, pruning out the sites that are no longer active and changing the addresses of the ones that have moved since my last visit. Then I tested all the links in the audio and video sections, removed the ones that were no longer available on YouTube due to copyright restrictions, replaced them wherever possible with alternative selections, and added a couple of dozen new links while I was at it.
If you’ve never explored our bulging cache of arts-related videos, I strongly suggest you do so. As I wrote last year in a Wall Street Journal column:
YouTube, like the other new Web-based media, is a common carrier, a means to whatever ends its millions of users choose, be they good, bad, dumb or ugly. You can use it to watch mindless junk–or some of the greatest classical and jazz musicians of the 20th century.
In recent months, jazz-loving friends have been sending me YouTube links to videos by Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington and other celebrated artists, most of them drawn from films of the ’30s and ’40s and TV shows of the ’50s and ’60s. Some of this material is available on DVD, but most of it lingered in limbo until Chad Hurley and Steve Chen, YouTube’s co-founders, made it possible for anyone with a computer to post and view video clips at will. Fascinated by the links unearthed by my friends, I spent the better part of a long weekend trolling through YouTube in search of similar material. When I was done, I’d found hundreds of videos, some extremely rare and all compulsively watchable, posted by collectors from all over the world.
I discovered along the way that using YouTube’s literal-minded search engine to track down high-culture links–or anything else–can be a tricky business. (It doesn’t help that so many YouTube users are poor spellers.) To ease the way for first-timers, I posted the fruits of my labors at www.terryteachout.com, where you’ll find a list of links to performances by Armstrong, Ellington, Count Basie, Pablo Casals, the King Cole Trio, Miles Davis, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Wilhelm Furtwängler, Benny Goodman, Jascha Heifetz, Billie Holiday, Charlie Parker, Andrés Segovia, Bessie Smith, Arturo Toscanini and numerous other musicians of comparable significance. All can be viewed free, whenever you want….
I went on to say that “by posting this list of links, I have, in effect, created a Web-based fine-arts video-on-demand site.” True enough–and it remains, so far as I know, the most extensive such listing of arts-related video links to be found anywhere on the Web. All of the aforementioned artists are still represented in our video section, along with hundreds of others, and while some of the clips will be reasonably familiar to connoisseurs, others are likely to surprise you. If you’ve ever longed to see Noël Coward singing “Mad Dogs and Englishmen,” or Dmitri Shostakovich playing piano, or Jackson Pollock painting a painting and talking about how he did it…well, you’re only a click away.
Our list of audio links is scarcely less comprehensive and no less full of buried treasure. Among other astonishments, it will allow you to hear the speaking voices of Guillaume Apollinaire, W.H. Auden, William Jennings Bryan, Stuart Davis, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Graham Greene, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Edward Hopper, James Joyce, Rudyard Kipling, Philip Larkin, Huey Long, W. Somerset Maugham, Dorothy Parker, George Bernard Shaw, and Evelyn Waugh.
What are you waiting for?
UPDATE: To the reader who kindly sent me an mp3 file of the speaking voice of Max Beerbohm, would you kindly write and let me know whether there is a Web-based source for this file?
Also, I’ve been looking in vain for a downloadable copy of the 1948 recording of a radio interview with H.L. Mencken. (I have an old cassette of the interview, but I can’t upload it.) Can anyone oblige me?