The Cultural Gutter

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

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! Like this:Like Loading…

“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. Like this:Like Loading…

Suffragettes, Amazons and Wonder Woman

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At the New Yorker, Jill Lepore considers the intertwining histories of women’s suffrage, feminism, Amazons and Wonder Woman. “It isn’t only that Wonder Woman’s backstory is taken from feminist utopian fiction. It’s that, in creating Wonder Woman, William Moulton Marston was profoundly influenced by early-twentieth-century suffragists, feminists, and birth-control advocates and that, shockingly, Wonder Woman […]

Moominland Tales: The Life Of Tove Jansson

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A BBC documentary on the life and work of writer and artist Tove Jansson, best known for her Moomin books. (via Kate Laity) Like this:Like Loading…

RIP, Eli Wallach

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Actor Eli Wallach has died. He appeared in many, many films and television shows including The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (1966), The Magnificent Seven (1960), The Godfather: Part III (1990), New York, I Love You (2008), Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010) and Baby Doll (1956). He played Mr. Freeze in the 1960s […]

RIP, Carla Laemmle

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Actor and dancer Carla Laemmle has died. She appeared in The Phantom of the Opera (1925), Dracula (1931) and The Broadway Melody (1929). Laemmle returned to film with The Vampire Hunters Club (2001).  The New York Times, The Hollywood Reporter and The Los Angeles Times have obituaries. Here Laemmle is interviewed by her niece. And […]

RIP, Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.

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Actor, producer and musician Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. has died. Zimbalist starred in the tv series FBI and 77 Sunset Strip. He had roles in Airport 1975 (1974) and Wait Until Dark  (1967). He had recurring roles in Remington Steele and Babylyon 5.  Zimbalist was the voice of Alfred in the Batman, Static Shock,  Justice League […]

Blurry Images Coming Clear: Hong Kong Cinema, Censorship and Me

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Every April, we like to switch things up at the Gutter, with the editors writing about something outside their domains. This week, Comics Editor Carol writes about subtitles, censorship and Hong Kong cinema. I don’t remember the first kung fu movie I ever watched. I am terrible at remembering “firsts.”  But I do remember the […]

“On The Trail Of The Golem”

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The Gutter’s own Keith tracks the story of Rabbi Loew and the Golem–with some dips into alchemy and art–through Prague.  “So how did Rabbi Loew’s name become associated with the legend of the golem? Well, it’s no surprise, really, given how much weird, wizardy stuff is already attributed to him. It seems more or less […]

Theater as Seance

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“In 1911, the famed American medium Anna Eva Fay held a public seance at the London Coliseum, inviting audience members to ask questions that she would answer by channelling the dead. Seated in the auditorium was Violet Coward, whose beloved 11-year-old son, Noël, had just begun his stage career after Violet spotted an advert in the […]

“Will Eisner, A Professional Cartoonist”

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Settle in for a a master class on Will Eisner with comic creators, including Art Spiegelman” “[Eisner was] kinda cannibalizing all other visual metaphors and forms  to make his own comic book story. This certainly was a very strong theme for me.” (Find out more about the documentary and the companion book here. (Site in […]

The 39 Steps

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“Alfred Hitchcock’s original 1935 version of The 39 Steps is one of those films that’s so seminal that when watched today it can seem like little more than a parade of hoary old clichés; that is, until you consider that The 39 Steps is where many of those clichés originated.” Friend of the Gutter Todd […]

RIP, Hiroo Onoda

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Hiroo Onoda has died. Onoda was the last soldier of the Imperial Japanese Army to surrender, after hiding in the Philippines forest until 1974. Asia News and The New York Times have obituaries. Like this:Like Loading…

A Treasury of African-American Films Made For African-American Audiences

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The Riverbends Genealogical and Historical Society has a collection of “race movies”: “The ‘race movie’ or ‘race film’ was a film genre which existed in the United States between about 1915 and 1950. It consisted of films produced for an all-black audience, featuring black casts. In all, approximately five hundred race films were produced. Of […]

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.” Like this:Like Loading…

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, Joan Fontaine

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Joan Fontaine has died. The Hollywood Reporter, The New York Times  and NPR have obituaries. Here are a clip of Fontaine in Suspicion, the trailer for Jane Eyre and Fontaine’s screen test for Rebecca. Fontaine co-hosts the Mike Douglas Show in 1967 here. Like this:Like Loading…

“Representation of Women in India Cinema and Beyond”

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Text of Sharmila Tagore’s lecture on women and Indian cinema at the India International Centre. (via Memsaab Story) Like this:Like Loading…

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. Like this:Like Loading…

“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. Like this:Like Loading…

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    At the New York Observer, Ashley Steves writes about Craig Ferguson’s The Late, Late Show. “No one could ever prepare you for watching an episode of Ferguson’s Late Late Show. A friend could not sit you down and explain it (“Well, it’s really meta and deconstructive and there’s a horse”). There was really no good way to recommend it. It was something you discovered and became a part of. You had to stumble upon it on your own, perhaps restless or bored or simply curious while flipping through channels when your eye quickly caught some of the madness. And that’s the best part. It was an unexpected gift. At its worst, it could still send you to bed grinning and comforted. At its best, it was art. It was silly and fun and truly not like any other late night show.”

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    At Comics Alliance, Chris Sims interviews Ed Brubaker about his work on Batman, Gotham Central and Catwoman. “When I look back at [Catwoman], I’m so proud of the first 25 issues of that book, when I felt like everything was firing on all cylinders. I probably should’ve left when Cameron Stewart left instead of sticking around. That’s one of those things I look back at and think “Ah, I had a perfect run up until then!” (Incidentally, Comics Editor Carol’s first piece for the Gutter was about Brubaker’s first 25 issues of Catwoman).

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    At Sequential Art, Greg Carpenter writes a lovely piece about Charles Schulz’ Peanuts. “After only two installments, Schulz had solidified the rules for his comic strip.  Random acts of cruelty would punctuate this irrational world, and Schulz’s trapped little adults would be forced to act out simulations of human behavior, using hollow gestures to try to create meaning in a universe where no other meaning was evident.  If Shakespeare’s Macbeth had been a cartoonist, the results of his daily grind, “tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow,” might have looked somewhat similar—each character a “poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage” until he or she was heard from no more.”

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    The Smithsonian Magazine has a gallery of US spy satellite launches. “Just as NASA creates specially designed patches for each mission into space, [National Reconnaissance Office] follows that tradition for its spy satellite launches. But while NASA patches tend to feature space ships and American flags, NRO prefers wizards, Vikings, teddy bears and the all-seeing eye. With these outlandish designs, a civilian would be justified in wondering if NRO is trolling.”

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    At The Guardian, Keith Stuart and Steve Boxer look at the history of PlayStation.“Having been part of the late 80s rave and underground-clubbing scene, I recognised how it was influencing the youth market. In the early 90s, club culture started to become more mass market, but the impetus was still coming from the underground, from key individuals and tribes. What it showed me was that you had to identify and build relationships with those opinion-formers – the DJs, the music industry, the fashion industry, the underground media.” (via @timmaughan)

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    Neill Cameron has re-imagined the characters of Parks & Recreation as members of Starfleet. (Via @neillcameron)

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