The Cultural Gutter

taking the dumb out of fandom

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

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). Like this:Like Loading…

“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). Like this:Like Loading…

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!) Like this:Like Loading…

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 […]

RIP, Taylor Negron

Actor and comedian Taylor Negron has died. Negron appeared many films and television series including, Fast Times At Ridgemont High (1982), Easy Money (1983), Better Off Dead (1985), The Last Boy Scout (1991), River’s Edge (1986), The Hughleys, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Reno 911! and That’s So Raven. The Dissolve, AV Club and the Los Angeles […]

That Time Ray Bradbury Adapted Moby-Dick as a Screenplay

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Open Culture recounts the time Ray Bradbury wrote the screenplay for John Huston’s film, Moby-Dick (1956). “I got out of bed one morning in London, looked in the mirror, and said, ‘I am Herman Melville!’ I sat down at the typewriter, and in eight hours of passionate, red-hot writing, I finished the screenplay of Moby […]

10 Comics I Liked In 2014

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I’m sure we’re all glad to see 2014 go. I know I am. But you know, comics are always here for you, and so is the Gutter. I thought I’d do something a little different with the list this year. Last year, I was invited to do a “Best Comics of 2013” list at Popshifter […]

“The James Bond Songs That Never Were”

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Cinema Reservoir has a collection of James Bond film theme songs “that never were.” (via @pornokitsch) Like this:Like Loading…

RIP, Billie Whitelaw

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Actor Billie Whitelaw has died. Whitelaw was Samuel Beckett’s “perfect actress” and she also appeared in television and films, including: Gumshoe (1971), Frenzy (1972), The Omen (1976), Space: 1999 (“One Moment of Humanity”) (1976), The Dark Crystal (1982), The Secret Garden (1987), The Krays (1990), Jane Eyre (1996), Quills (2000) and Hot Fuzz (2007).  The […]

RIP, Bunta Sugawara

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Actor Bunta Sugawara has died. Sugawara is probably best known for his work in Kinji Fukasaku’s The Yakuza Papers/Battles Without Honor And Humanity film series. Sugawara also appeared in Norifumi Suzuki’s Trucker Yaro series, Spirited Away (2001), Tales From Earthsea (2006), Wolf Children (2012) and Kon Ichikawa’s Actress (1987) . The Asahi Shimbun, The Japan […]

RIP, Ken Takakura

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Actor Ken Takakura has died. Takakura starred in films such as Brutal Tales of Chivalry (1965); Red Peony Gambler (1968); Miyamoto Musashi: Duel at Ichijoji (1955) and Miyamoto Musashi: Duel at Ganryu Island (1956); as well as in co-productions like The Yakuza (1974); The Bullet Train (1975); Black Rain (1989) and Riding Alone For Thousands […]

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    Anne Billson has posted a 1985 interview she did with director George Miller (the Mad Max films). Miller talks about many things including Aunty Entity’s probable past as a hero and Max as, in Mel Gibson’s words, “a closet human being.” (Thanks, Matt!)

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    At New York Magazine, David Wallace-Wells writes about bees, colony collapse disorder and beekeeper Dave Hackenberg. “It’s been a long decade for bees. We’ve been panicking about them nonstop since 2006, when beekeeper Dave Hackenberg inspected 2,400 hives wintering in Florida and found 400 of them abandoned — totally empty. American beekeepers had experienced dramatic die-offs before, as recently as the previous winter in California and in regular bouts with a deadly bug called the varroa mite since the 1980s. But those die-offs would at least produce bodies pathologists could study. Here, the bees had just disappeared. In the U.K., they called it Mary Celeste syndrome, after the merchant ship discovered off the Azores in 1872 with not a single passenger aboard. The bees hadn’t even scrawled CROATOAN in honey on the door on their way out of the hive.”

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    Andrew Nette has a pair of interesting pieces on pulp you might be interested in. First, he writes about “the New Pulp” and a bit about Fifty Shades of Gray in “Fifty Shades of Pulp.” Then he writes about pulp and literacy and furthering social advancement in “Pulp and Circumstance.”  “Most people view pulp as either exploitative lowbrow culture or highly collectable retro artefact. Yet pulp has a secret history which Rabinowitz’s book uncovers. Her central thesis is that cheap, mass-produced pulp novels not only provided entertainment and cheap titillating thrills, but also brought modernism to the American people, democratising reading and, in the process, furthering culture and social enlightenment.”

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    The Projection Booth interviews actor Ed Asner.

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    Transcript from BAFTA’s tribute to director Johnnie To, “Johnnie To: A Life In Pictures.” It’s a great interview with To about his films and process. “Like when I made The Mission I didn’t have a script. It was 1999 and I didn’t have any money so we went to Taiwan and they gave us very little money to hurry up and make a film, so without any script we just started making it. And after 19 days we made the film.” (Thanks to the Heroic Sisterhood!)

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    A gallery of sweet geeky art from Native American artist, Jeffrey Veregge. “My origins are not supernatural, nor have they been enhanced by radioactive spiders. I am simply a Native American artist and writer whose creative mantra in best summed up with a word from my tribe’s own language as: ‘taʔčaʔx̣ʷéʔtəŋ,’ which means ‘get into trouble.'”

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