The Cultural Gutter

beyond good and bad, there is awesome

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

“Without America’s Soap Operas We Would Never Have Gotten Mad Men

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“Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been binge-watching one of the most innovative series on television. Like many of the gems of the current TV renaissance, it features extended narratives with complex plots, intricate backstories, and layered characters. Its approach to storytelling is remarkably adventurous, shattering television, and even cinematic conventions.  I’m speaking, of […]

“13 Barrier-Breaking Women of Early Cinema and Old Hollywood”

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Friend of the Gutter, Nitrate Diva writes about 13 women who helped shape cinema. “Hollywood is, in many ways, a more male-dominated environment today than it was 90 or so years ago. Scary, huh? In order to perpetuate a culture where more women make movies now, we need to recognize the women who made movies in […]

“Super City: New York and the History of Comic Books”

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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 — […]

Time loops and the failures of memory

Old Grey House by Billy Jacobs

Memory is an unreliable narrator. It seems so absolutely sure of itself when it’s telling you things that it’s easy to forget it can’t wholly be trusted. There are always gaps and discrepancies, sections that get revised in light of subsequent events or reshaped to soften the sharpest edges. Our memories, like our brains and […]

“Elisabeth Luytens: Horror Queen of Composers”

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At Movie Morlocks, Kimberly Lindbergs writes about composer Elisabeth Luytens on the 106th anniversary of Luytens’ birth. “Much of Lutyens music, particularly later in life, is rather dark, jarring and cinematic. Her background in Theosophy and Eastern mysticism is apparent in the otherworldly atmosphere conjured up by her film scores and is also evident in […]

“Some Famous Ghosts of the Capitol”

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Our friends at Pornokitsch share a 1898 Philadelphia Press article on ghosts of the Capitol in Washington, D.C.

A Collection of Calaveras

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The Library of Congress has scans of José Guadalupe Posada broadsheet illustrations, including many calaveras for your enjoyment!

“Stuff You Missed In History Class: Bela Lugosi”

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The “Stuff You Missed In History Class” podcast discusses the life of Bela Lugosi in two parts: Part 1 and Part 2.

Recreating Iconic Photographs with John Malkovich

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Photographer Sandro Miller recreates iconic photographs using John Malkovich as the subject. If you are lucky enough to be in Chicago between Nov. 7 and Jan. 31, you can see the exhibition, “Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich: Homage to Photographic Masters” at the Catherine Edelman Gallery. Here is a video  And Make sure to look at  “The […]

Black Victoriana

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A gallery of photographs of people of African descent from the Victorian era. (Via Kit Marlowe)

“You Don’t Have To Be Eurocentric To Make It To The Future”

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“’You don’t have to be Eurocentric to make it to the future,’ said Andrea Hairston, a professor of theater and Afro-American studies at Smith College in Massachusetts, whose side gig happens to be writing award-winning science fiction. ‘We have to figure out how to be different together. [And t]hat is what storytelling is all about, […]

In Memoriam, Run Run Shaw

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The Gutter’s own Carol writes a little about Run Run Shaw, Shaw Brothers and TVB.  “So often we talk about history as this disembodied thing, these external events. And then there is someone like Sir Run Run, who contained almost the entire arc of modern entertainment in his lifetime, in his self.”

RIP, Run Run Shaw

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Film and television producer Run Run Shaw has died. Sir Run Run founded Shaw Brothers with his brother, Run Me Shaw. They produced hundreds of films in all genres, but were best known for their revolutionary kung fu and wuxia movies. Shaw also produced myriad television programs for TVB. The South China Morning Post remembers […]

RIP, Ida Pollock

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Author Ida Pollock has died. Writing under multiple noms de plume, Pollock published 120 books and was a founder of the Romantic Novelists Association. The Mary-Sue has an obituary. NPR talks with her daughter, Rosemary Pollock. The Telegraph has an overview of her career.

“Smart Set 400”

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A gallery of “Smart Set 400”  playing cards with pictures of women on the back, starting with ladies from 1909.

Boxers & Saints: Finding People In History

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If, like me, you have watched countless kung fu movies, then you’ll recognize this story: a boy goes with his father and elder brother to a local village festival. An ardent fan of Peking Opera, the boy goes off by himself to watch the festival performances. Hearing some commotion, he investigates and sees his father […]

“It’s A Graveyard Threat: Classic Monster Graves”

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Odd Things I’ve Seen has a list of the final resting places of actors and actresses who have played classic horror characters. “This isn’t comprehensive, of course, and were I to try to make it so, I’d disappear into a hole in the Internet and not come up until this post was a 10-part mini-series […]

“Andrew Hughes: A Life In Japanese Pictures”

“With the exception of the late Robert Dunham, to whom major roles in Toho’s Space Monster Dogora and Godzilla vs. Megalon assured significant recognition among genre fans, one of the most familiar – or at the very least persistent – Western faces in Japanese cinema of the 60s and 70s may be that of Andrew Hughes.” Kevin P. […]

The Fashion of Frida Kahlo

Messy Nessy Chic has a gallery showcasing Frida Kahlo’s fashion and it’s relationship to her life and work. And you can see her dresses, corsets, headpieces, jewellery and other articles on display in Mexico City at the Museo Frida Kahlo until Nov. 22, 2013. (Thanks, K.A. Laity!)

The Sensationalism of Trip To The Moon

“As early as 1929 Kodak identified the potential for colour to affect the emotions. Whilst Kodak developed Sonochrome tints like Rose Doree to ‘quicken the respiration’ and Peachblow for ‘brief, joyous moments’, twenty years before, Méliès applied translucent aniline dyes to create spectacle and to provoke sensation in nascent cinema.” Wendy Haslem writes on the […]

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    Friend of the Gutter Todd Stadtman returns to Podcast on Fire to discuss more Taiwan Noir. “The tale of a Chinese protection deity isn’t as dry as it may sound as the story has cinematic colours galore so we’re taking a look at one such literary adaptation from Taiwan: Feng Shen Bang.”

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    Thirteen Covers celebrates Walt Simonson’s birthday with… 13 covers, including Beta Ray Bill, Fin Fang Foom and Frog Thor!

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    Rob and Mike watch Edgar Ulmer’s The Black Cat (1934) at The Projection Booth. “The first big American studio film — and last big American studio film – directed by Edgar G. Ulmer, The Black Cat is, uh, ‘inspired’ by Edgar Allan Poe’s short story and stars Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff in a taut game of life and death.”

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    Gentleman’s Gazette has a piece on the sartorial splendor of Hercule Poirot and of Captain Hastings in the BBC television adaptation of Agatha Christie’s Poirot mysteries.

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    At Pitchfork, Barry Walters writes about Grace Jones. “One night in 1993, I finally got my chance to see Jones perform at a local gay nightclub and took my friend Brian, whose partner Mark was too sick to join us….She didn’t back away from the elephant in the room: She dedicated one song to artist and AIDS casualty Keith Haring, who had used her body for a canvas on the occasion of her legendary 1985 Paradise Garage performance. That night’s show was remarkable for the simple fact that Jones just kept on going, granting one encore request after another, waiting patiently while the sound man scoured backing tapes to find the fans’ offbeat choices. When Jones got to such minor numbers as ‘Crush,’ it became clear that she didn’t want to leave. She was giving as much of herself as she could to the beleaguered troops, knowing full well that many wouldn’t live long enough to see her again.”

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    At Pornokitsch, The Gutter’s own dame with a shady past Carol writes about five films noir.  “Do you want to watch some film noir? I hope so, because I have five films to suggest. Films about dames gone wrong, poor doomed saps, murders, sex and modern knights errant.”

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