Before he took the stage at Radio City Music Hall last June, nine times to nine sold out audiences. Before his decade in seclusion. Before he walked away from a $50 million contract and onto a plane bound for South Africa. Before his two season show on Comedy Central elevated him to a demigod in social satire and racial comedy. Before Half Baked, Robin Hood: Men In Tights and performances in the Washington Square Park fountain, Dave Chappelle left high school after the bell rang and got onstage at a Tuesday night open mic. He was 14. He killed it.
2,200 years of making shit go boom
From bamboo shoots to Mongolian invasions to the Renaissance to Independence Day, we break down the complete history of fireworks and why we use them for the Fourth of July.
Sixty years ago, a sweating young man named Haruo Nakajima put on a 220-pound lizard suit and trounced a miniature version of Tokyo. Today, Legendary Pictures’ irradiated Godzillasaurus, three times the size of the original, is crashing through Hawaii and San Francisco on screens across the country. This is the story of how $1.5 million and a rubber suit launched a billion dollar franchise.
The Life Subaquatic
Underwater habitats have a 50-year history of scientific discovery, tight living quarters, long decompression times and insane amounts of risk. Just four of them have advanced us from dipping our feet tentatively to emerging from a moon pool in a home away from home hundreds of feet at the bottom of the sea.
America's fifty-year, two-door love affair
No car is more widely considered an American standard than the Ford Mustang. Sure, there’s the Corvette, Camaro, Thunderbird, and GTO, but when you think of the Fourth of July Parade, which car comes to mind? That’s what we thought.
From the original car all the way to the fifth-generation version that pays direct homage to its forefathers, the Mustang simply can’t be confused for any other automobile. On the cusp of welcoming an all-new sixth-generation car created for a world market, we take a look at the life of America’s pony car.
Mill...Milwaul...That Wisconsin Beer City
At one time considered the “Beer Capital of the World”, Milwaukee was home to four of the largest brewers in the U.S. Now the city is home to only one: Miller Brewing Co. We examine the rise and fall of the foamy city.
THE WATCH THAT LAUNCHED A THOUSAND SHIPS
The problem of longitude — where you are on the planet, east-west speaking — was the thorniest puzzle of the day, or really, of the 18th century. In 1714, the British government offered the huge prize of £20,000 (roughly £2 million today) to anyone who could solve the longitude problem once and for all. Enter a self-trained carpenter from Yorkshire, John Harrison.
WHEN GEARS AND SPRINGS STILL DETERMINED GOLD, SILVER AND BRONZE
The use of stopwatches to time Olympic events began at the first Modern Games in 1896 and ended in the 1960s with the coming of electronic timekeeping. Touch pads were quicker than timers’ thumbs and electric eyes became more reliable than human eyes. But these workhorse timers that fit so nicely in hand deserve more than a passing note. We take a look back at some Olympic moments during the golden era of mechanical timekeeping.
The Methuselah of automotive design
There are a scant number of nameplates that have lasted half a century with uninterrupted production: Mercedes-Benz SL, Jaguar XJ, Chevy Corvette, Chevy Suburban, Ford F-Series. But there’s only one car whose iconic design and sporting identity has remained truly consistent, only one whose recognition as among the best sports cars in the world has gone unmatched for 50 years…the Porsche 911. The 911’s DNA is a formula that’s intoxicating, one that the car world respects and envies. The half-century mark for a car is a colossal achievement, and when that car is the Porsche 911, that much more so.
In this 50th year of the 911, we decided to take a deeper look into the generations and iterations of this remarkable car to see how far it’s come. Not all of the car’s modifications were good ones, but they will all be remembered as part in parcel of what it takes develop an icon through multiple decades.
Arguably First, Undeniably Great
Imagine a time before quartz watches, when the technology of timekeeping was still springs and gears made in workshops in the Swiss mountains. While the Americans and Russians were racing to put men into space, a different sort of race was going on between watch companies sprinting toward the milestone of the first self-winding, or automatic, chronograph. No matter how you frame the discussion, the debate over who created the first automatic chronograph is a heated one. One path to clearing confusion is to say that Zenith produced the very first Swiss-made, fully integrated automatic chronograph — the El Primero.
Not made as much as folded
Lamborghini never does things quietly — and that’s a very good thing, especially when the goal is to draw the rapt attention of the automotive world. But one model in particular marked the inception of Lambo’s radical styling flavor that would span decades, even into the present: the Countach. Angled to the nines, as angry as a giant bull whacked in the butt with a hot poker and as practical as a Kevlar dinner jacket, the Countach embodied the exotic supercar like no other automobile before it.
Over the years the Reverso — created in 1931 as a watch that could withstand the rigors of a polo game — has seen countless versions, alleged patent squabbles, clones and wannabes from both sides of the Atlantic, a brief suspension of production, and perhaps even a flirtation with quartz. We delve into the storied past of this absolute icon.
As American as the Mayflower, and twice as fun
Most honest Americans of drinking age know bourbon as the national spirit. But there’s another drink for us to enjoy in the warm weather that, like bourbon, has a uniquely American story: rum. We’ve overlooked it for some time; meanwhile, there’s plenty of new, excellent, American and Caribbean rum coming to market, and rum-specific bars are opening in cities across the country. Rum, for now, is a little less serious than Scotch or bourbon, but what it brings to the table is no laughing matter — unless you’ve got your pinky dangling.
One family's patty-filled chapter in the book of American Dreams
In-N-Out Burger is something of a cult to those living outside of the chain’s west-coast bubble, proselytized by endless waves of sunkissed acolytes devoted to spreading the good burger word. Their brief testaments, filled with whispers of “animal fries”, “secret menus” and multiplied stacks of beef and cheese, speak of a fast-food paradise whose divine…