A hymn of praise to Led Zeppelin, some notes on the origins of Yiddish and the magician Teller on Towering Inferno all feature in this week’s eclectic selection of the best arts and culture reads.

Good times, bad times
Jack Hamilton | Slate | 18 June 2014
Appreciation of Led Zeppelin pegged to the re-release of the first three albums. “These are three of the most perfect sounding rock albums ever made”. The remastered sets include the rough mixes of II and III, which are “a revelation, casting light on Jimmy Page’s immense talents as a producer”. To say nothing of Page’s guitar-work: His solos may be over-rated, but he was the heir to Hendrix as a technical innovator. 

Where did Yiddish come from?
Cherie Woodworth | Tablet | 16 June 2014
If Yiddish did indeed arise as the Jewish dialect of the medieval Rhineland, an offspring of German, spoken by a small minority of European Jews, how and why did it become the lingua franca of older and bigger Jewish communities across Europe? Perhaps because that conventional account of the origins of Yiddish is entirely wrong. The history of the language may need to be rewritten, and that of Ashkenazi Jews also.

Most of Sherlock Holmes is now public domain
Eugene Volokh | Volokh Conspiracy | 16 June 2014
Most Holmes stories were written before 1923, and so are out of American copyright; a few were written after that date and are still in copyright. So, is the character of Sherlock Holmes in copyright or not? Mostly not, says an American court. Anybody can now create new fictions and products around the character of Sherlock Holmes, so long as they stick to aspects of Holmes established before 1923.

Jacob Mikanowski | The Point | 14 June 2014
Appreciation of star chef René Redzepi, his Copenhagen restaurant Noma, and his part in the current enthusiasm among foodies for combining the values and aesthetics of technology with those of cooking. Full of vivid touches: “The trick with the lamb brains is to treat them as a spread and an accompaniment to bread. They have a difficult texture — in between foie gras and fish sperm — and you can’t overcook them.”

Teller on “The Towering Inferno”
Noel Murray | The Dissolve | 12 June 2014
The magician and film director talks about Hitchcock, Vermeer, and what makes a great disaster movie. You need a disaster, but you also need the possibility of escape. “In The Towering Inferno you have a group of people trapped in a dangerous area who need to escape. There can be some real drama about that. And to add to that, this is a movie whose effect has multiplied by probably 10 since 9/11.″ 

Sad, strange brilliance: On Tove Jansson and Moomin
Alix Ohlin | The Millions | 12 June 2014
“When I think about what drew me to Moomin, I’m sure it was this sense that even a lovely summer night can have a certain sadness in the air. Classic children’s books help acquaint children with the sorrows that exist in life. But the sadness in the Moomin universe is more a facet of temperament than event; the books presume that children are already familiar with it, and locate it within themselves.”

Rem Koolhaas: “I hate being an architect”
Sander Pleij | Medium | 8th June 2014
Unusual profile of architect Rem Koolhaas, addressing primarily the question of whether he is “a very unpleasant man”. The answer: not intentionally, but he may be too cool for this world. “His body language wreaks immediate confusion. Will he turn left? No he goes right, then stays put. Alpha males acknowledge the super alpha male: the man next to whom Rem finally comes to a halt beams as if he has just won the lottery”.

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