The Cultural Gutter

hey, there's something shiny down there...

"We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars." -- Oscar Wilde

The Sci-Fi Life

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My first memories are of Ultraman, the Adam West Batman show, and something about jumping into a dumpster — but let’s leave that one out for now. It was probably related to one of the first two anyway. I vividly remember being mesmerized by Ultraman. From there, raised by young parents in a college environment […]

The Social Relevance of Jackassery

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Jackass isn’t as stupid as it seems on the surface. I mean, there’s no question it’s jackassery and that’s the main draw, but it’s also a really interesting cultural project.

DANGEROUS BECAUSE IT HAS A PHILOSOPHY

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In Videodrome, shortly before the arrival of the least sexy waiter in the history of cinema (no link for this, you’ll just have to go rent the movie), Max Renn (James Woods, no hyperlink needed) and Masha (Lynne Gorman, IMDb listing not interesting enough to link to) share the following exchange on the nature of […]

Love For Sale

Untruths about Romance books.

It is an untruth universally acknowledged that a woman in possession of a romance novel must be in want of A) wits, B) a social life, or C) both. I read romance, and frankly don’t care what other people think that says about me. In fact, I think the bias itself says some pretty interesting […]

In the Sewer with the Alligators

Hey everybody, let

I’m tired of the two-camera, hour-long drama. I’m tired of the Oscar-oriented mainstream film. I’m tired of “literary fiction,” you know, respectable middlebrow art. I don’t enjoy everyday reality heightened with swelling strings. I’m tired of realism’s conventions; so I’ve been turning to comics, pulp fiction, cartoons and genre film.

Even When They’re Wrong, They’re Right

What is science fiction good for? One answer: to speculate on what the future might be like. But I would argue that the game of science fiction is only sometimes about predicting the future. Sure it’s fun to invent flying cars and moonbases, but as even these two examples show, the predictive track record of […]

Gutter Thoughts

I have to admit, I’m not much of a cultural theorist. My grasp of our cultural gutter is about as sophisticated as a falling anvil — and it’s nowhere near as funny. Which isn’t to suggest I haven’t myself reclined in the gutter and slurped up its spillings like the rest of us… but to […]

Vive Le Gutter!

For a long time, I’ve always felt a little weird about the third question people ask me at parties. “What do you do?” “I’m a novelist.” “Oh! Really! Have you had anything published?” “Yep, I have three books out there.” “What kind of writing is it that you do?” “Well…it’s kind of science-fiction influenced stuff.” […]

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    The Bowery Boys Podcast dedicates an episode to New York City in the history of comic books. “In the 1890s a newspaper rivalry between William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer helped bring about the birth of the comic strip and, a few decades later, the comic book.  Today, comic book superheroes are bigger than ever — in blockbuster summer movies and television shows — and most of them still have an inseparable bond with New York City.”

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    Pornokitsch’s One Comic Podcast looks at Red Sonja #10: “To everyone’s surprise, despite some of the covers and the character’s reputation, this isn’t the exploitative boobs’n’swordplay production it could have been. How did it achieve that? Listen and find out.”

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    Los Angeles Magazine has a gallery of self-portraits of Bunny Yeager and a bit about the career of a model and photographer most famous for her pin-up photographs of Bettie Page. “Having dedicated her life to photography and modeling, not to mention publishing 30 books on the subject (one of which shares a name with the Gavlak exhibition), Yeager had an influence on a generation of artist-photographers including Diane Arbus and Cindy Sherman. Arbus even went as far to call her ‘The world’s greatest pin-up photographer.'” (Thanks, Stephanie!)

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    Arch Daily has a gallery of images of remarkable sandcastles built by Calvin Seibert. Smithsonian Magazine has more, including a 2012 interview with Seibert about his work. (via @lordwoolamaloo)

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    While playing Batman: Arkham Knight, Austin Walker wants to walk the streets of Gotham. “There are lots of different kinds of Batman fantasies–and I’m not looking to invalidate any of them–but throughout this four game series, the developers have largely given me the same one over and over. For once, I want a Batman game where I’m compelled to save the day not because of abstract threats, damsels in distress, or a desire for personal vengeance, but because the beauty of Gotham City compels me to protect it. Instead, I’m left for the fourth time with Batman and his playground.”

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    At Die Die Danger Die Kill, Todd thinks about Karel Zeman’s Vynalez Zkasy. “Vynalez Zkasy (released in the U.S. as The Fabulous World of Jules Verne) may represent Czech FX pioneer Karel Zeman’s quest to emulate the style of 19th century fantasy illustration—to the end of presenting the future through a Victorian lens—at its most extreme. That does not mean that it is any less fascinating than, nor nearly enchanting as, films like The Stolen Airship and Cesta do Praveku/Journey to the Beginning of Time. It only means that there is a vague miasma of obsession that threads through the movie’s general air of wonderment.” (The Gutter’s own Keith has posted images from Karel Zeman’s work here).

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