The Cultural Gutter

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

“The Blight of the Honey Bee”

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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 […]

“Johnnie To: A Life In Pictures”

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 […]

Number Dumber

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This month’s Guest Star is John Crye, a storyteller, filmmaker and producer and a long time friend of the Gutter. For as long as I can remember, I have loved movies. I consumed all things cinema long before I was involved in the business of entertainment, even before my first jobs managing a video store […]

“Strange & Norrell: III–Away With The Fairies”

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John Reppion continues his series on English magic and Jonathan Strange And Mr. Norrell. Next up, “Away With The Fairies.”

Summer Fun Time Reading ’15

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The Summer Solstice is nearly upon us, and I’m sure you all have your wicker men (or factionalist bee helmets) nearly done and your bonfire safely planned. (Remember, Lord Summerisle recommends nude leaping as the crucial component in bonfire safety). And just in time for the arrival of summer, I have a short selection of […]

“What Cersei Lannister’s Walk of Shame Tells Us About Our Culture”

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At Vice, Medievalist Kathleen E. Kennedy writes about the chastisement of Cersei Lannister in The Game Of Thrones and how it relates to Medieval European and contemporary shaming. (via @kalaity)

“The Vancouver Forest That Has Been Every Wooded Location On X-Files

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“The truth is out there… probably somewhere in Vancouver.” Atlas Obscura travels to British Columbia’s Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve to share all the locations where X-Files shot in the woods.

“Strange & Norrell : II–On Fairies & Witchcraft”

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John Reppion continues his discussion of Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell at The Daily Grail, “pluck[ing] out some of the more easily disentangled fragments of folklore, magic, and the like from the book (and the show) and takes a closer look at them.” This time, he considers fairies and witchcraft.

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 […]

“Strange & Norrell: The Language of Birds”

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At Daily Grail, John Reppion writes about Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, English magic and the language of birds.

“Jackie Chan: How to Do Action Comedy”

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At Every Frame A Painting, Tony Zhou takes a close look at the action comedy of Jackie Chan.

“Good-bye, David Letterman”

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Friend of the Gutter, Robert A. Mitchell writes a very moving piece about his father, growing up and The Late Show With David Letterman. “My father has been a long distance truck driver for over thirty-five years. His home is a sleeper bunk behind his steering wheel in some rest stop/parking lot/truck stop somewhere in […]

“The Marvel-Industrial Complex”

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In “The Marvel-Industrial Complex” James Rocchi has some thoughts about Disney’s Marvel movies–and some things to say in response to the responses to his essay. “In the ’80s, Spiderman told me that with great power comes great responsibility; Marvel Studios, via Disney, has money and power both, and we’ve given it to them; as consumers […]

The Projection Booth Watches Star Wars

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This week, our friends at The Projection Booth discuss “George Lucas’s Star Wars (AKA Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope), the sci-fi film from 1977 that has been rendered unavailable in its original form due to its creator’s tampering.”

Neko Ramen Taisho: Finding Your Own Way

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Minoru Kawasaki’s Neko Ramen Taisho (2008) is the classic story of a son trying to prove himself to his father and his father’s desire to recreate his son in his own image. Except Taisho, aka William Thomas Jefferson III, is a cat who makes ramen, and his father, William Thomas Jefferson II, is a “cat […]

The Core Dynamic; or why I won’t give a show half a series to figure it out

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I want to talk about why I don’t watch Marvel’s Agents of Shield. The reason I gave it four episodes and then walked away from it in spite of everyone telling me ‘it gets much better about halfway through the series’. I want to talk about why ‘halfway through the series’ isn’t good enough and […]

“No Room For Failure”

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MTV News spoke to directors Lexi Alexander, Brenda Chapman and Yulin Kuang about “what they thought of MacLaren’s departure [from Wonder Woman] and how they think it speaks to the bigger problem in the industry – namely, the lack of opportunities women have in film.” If you’d like to know more about MacLaren’s career, including […]

“How the South Korean Government made K-Pop a Thing”

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All Things Considered reports on Make It Pop and South Korean government’s nurturing of Korean pop music, including a special department dedicated to K-Pop at the Ministry of Culture. “This included doing things like building massive, multi-million dollar concert auditoriums, refining hologram technology, and even helping regulate noeraebangs — karaoke bars — to protect the […]

“Unbranded”

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NPR interviews Hank Willis Thomas on his exhibition showcasing images of white women in advertizing. It’s a follow up to his 2008 exhibition, “Unbranded: Reflections in Black by Corporate America.” “I think what happens with ads — when we put text and logos on them, we do all the heavy lifting of making them make […]

Interview with Joanna Russ

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The Journal of Popular Romance Studies interviewed author Joanna Russ in 2007 about slash fiction: “Her 1985 essay, ‘Pornography By Women For Women, With Love’ helped to set the terms of the discussion for feminist scholars who followed, and it is widely cited in fan studies. Russ argues that fantasy has to be read in […]

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    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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    At The Alcohol Professor, The Gutter’s own Keith writes about Billie Holiday in a fantastic two-part piece. Part one traces “the history of Billie Holiday and NYC nightlife through the Harlem Renaissance to Café Society.” Part two covers “Billie Holiday, Frank Sinatra and the jazz scene in New York City clubs of a bygone era.”

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    The New Yorker has a profile of author Gene Wolfe. “His narrators may be prophets, or liars, or merely crazy, but somewhere in their stories they help to reveal what Wolfe most wants his readers to know: that compassion can withstand the most brutal of futures and exist on the most distant planets, and it has been part of us since ages long past.”

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    Remezcla has a gallery of Lourdes Grobet’s portraits of luchadores with their families and a bit of an interview with her. (Yes, the luchadores are in their masks and often wearing suits or casual wear, which is the best thing). (Thanks, Matt!) “Father and warrior, the masked wrestler is the perfect metaphor for the duality that Grobet’s photography wants to depict. Her work is resonant because she doesn’t try to demolish the myths that envelop lucha libre – she simply nurtures and expands them in an offbeat way.”

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    At Autostraddle, Heather Hogan has “a Recap of Jem and the Holograms’ Truly Outrageous Lesbianism.” (Thanks, Sara Century!) “If you are a woman over the age of 30, I have some information that is going to send you cartwheeling back to 1987 to high five your young self and shout “We knew it! We knew it!” right in your own tiny gay face: Stormer and Kimber from Jem are truly, outrageously, canonically queer….This is good news. Great news. But it’s not really news news. Of course Stormer and Kimber are gay. They’ve been in love since 1987!”

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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 course, of General Hospital.” Noah Berlatsky writes about the influence of soap operas on “prestige television” at Quartz. (And make sure to click through to Akash Nikolas’ “Yes, Mad Men is a Soap Opera and that Shouldn’t be an Insult”).
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