The Cultural Gutter

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

“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 — […]

Self-Portraits of Eleanor “Bunny” Yeager

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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 […]

“Vynalez Zkasy, aka, An Invention of Deconstruction”

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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 […]

“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 […]

Beneath the Mysterian Dome

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In the latter half of the 1950s, it seemed like every alien race with a saucer was high-tailing it to Earth with dreams of conquest, colonization, and a little lovin’ with the locals. The invaders of the 1950s came in many shapes and sizes. Some were blobs. Others were giant insects. A few were house […]

Eiji Tsuburaya Made Godzilla Come Alive–And It Changed Film Forever”

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At Vox, Phil Edwards profiles special effects master Eiji Tsuburaya and interviews August Ragone about Tsuburaya’s career. “A director, cinematographer, and producer, Tsuburaya is best known for creating the special effects behind Japanese classics like Godzilla (1954), Mothra (1961), and many other films where the giant monsters called kaiju terrorize the good people of Tokyo. […]

“Harrowing Books of Varying Reputability”

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At Teleport City, the Gutter’s own Carol writes about 12 books that vary in reputability and their harrowing nature. They include books by Shirley Jackson, Raymond Chandler, Patricia Highsmith and Herman Melville.

Interview with John Boorman

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At the Guardian, Xan Brooks interviews John Boorman, director of Point Blank (1967), Deliverance (1972), Zardoz (1974), Excalibur (1981) and the upcoming, Queen & Country. “If he could rewind to 1952 and reprise the entire trip, he cannot imagine exactly what he would change. Boorman frowns. ‘Actually, I can’t even contemplate it. I’m a completely […]

“Nudie Cohn, Country Music Clothier”

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Dangerous Minds has a brief overview of Nudie Cohn’s life and work–including a gallery of some of his amazing designs for Hank Williams, Gram Parsons, Elvis and Keith Richards. “Nudie Cohn’s influence went way beyond country though. As he adapted with the 1960s counterculture, his work became even more subversive—the ‘pot, pills and poppies suit’ […]

“The Crime of Blackness: Dorothy B. Hughes’ Forgotten Noir”

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Christine Smallwood writes about Dorothy  B. Hughes and her book, The Expendable Man, at The New Yorker. “It is not whodunit, but who-ness itself, that she’s after. By this I do not mean that she asks why—specific motives are as mulish and unanswerable as sin. Crime was never Hughes’s interest, evil was, and to be […]

Absolute Beginners ’86

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When Julien Temple’s Absolute Beginners was released in 1986 it was met with general indifference and some critical dismissals. While the film may have some problems, today its reputation seems to be clouded by the misconception that it single-handedly ruined the prestigious British film studio Goldcrest and was universally panned. Neither of these assumptions is […]

Yesterday’s Tomorrow: A Visit to Tativille

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Against my better judgement, the lights in my apartment are connected to a wireless network controlled via an app. There are physical buttons, but they are located near the plugs, at ground level and often behind obstructions. When I leave, turning off the light requires digging my phone out of my pocket, typing in the unlock code, […]

RIP, Leonard Nimoy

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Actor, director, writer and artist Leonard Nimoy has died. Nimoy was most famous for playing Spock in Star Trek, but he also appeared in Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978), In Search Of…, Ancient Mysteries, Columbo, Fringe, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Faerie Tale Theatre, Mission: Impossible, Dragnet and Bonanza.  Nimoy directed Three Men And A […]

RIP, Louis Jourdan

Actor Louis Jourdan has died. Jourdan starred in both films and television including, Gigi (1958), Letter From An Unknown Woman (1948), Swamp Thing (1982), Octopussy (1983), Madame Bovary (1949), Julie (1956), Columbo (1978), Paris Precinct (1955) and Dracula (1977). The BBC, The Guardian and The New York Times have obituaries. Here’s a brief interview with […]

RIP, Lizabeth Scott

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Actor Lizabeth Scott has died. Scott appeared in film and film and television including, The Strange Loves of Martha Ivers (1946), Dead Reckoning (1947), I Walk Alone (1948), The Company She Keeps (1951), Loving You (1957) and The Third Man tv series.  The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times and The Guardian have obituaries. […]

Learning from Akira Kurosawa and Stanley Kubrick

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Tony Zhou looks at “The Geometry of a Scene” in Akira Kurosawa’s The Bad Sleep Well and Domus looks at Stanley Kubrick’s use of one-point perspective. (Make sure to watch Tony Zhou’s other video essays in his Every Frame A Painting series).

“Tetrahedra of Space” and Other Frank R. Paul Covers

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Dangerous Minds has a gallery of Frank R. Paul’s pulp science fiction covers. (via Stephanie Johnson).

Anything Can Happen In Riverdale

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I never expected to be reading Archie comics. Archie Andrews’ irresistible appeal to ladies mystified me and I came late to an appreciation for soap operas and straight melodrama. Then there was residual stuff around romance, a punk rock hostility towards the wholesome squares, a dash of internalized sexism mixed with gender dysphoria and a […]

The Patricia Highsmith Papers

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The Swiss Literary Archives have made their Patricia Highsmith collection available online here. (Thanks, Kate!)

Little Fat Nothing: Herbie Popnecker and Early Meta-Comics Narratives

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Publicly admitting you read comics means you’re willing to put up with a perplexingly persistent notion of the medium as the exclusive domain of the super heroes. Even in the current realm of savvy pop art dabblers as likely to pray at the altar of independents like Image Comics as they are the Big Two […]

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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.”

    ~

    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.”

    ~

    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.”

    ~

    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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