The Welsh rock/experimental/classical musician John Cale, probably best known as co-founder (with Lou Reed) of the Velvet Underground, is 73 today. Trolling around YouTube for some videos of him, I found this stunning 2003 performance of the Velvets classic (actually written by Reed, but featuring Cale’s electric viola) “Venus in Furs” in 2003. The lyrics are based on a 1870 novella that makes Fifty Shades of Grey look more conventional (and patriarchal) than ever.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.