The Cultural Gutter

unashamed geekery

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

Secret Agent, Detective, Genius, Jerk: Modernizing Sherlock Holmes

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A man with dark wavy hair wakes up in an iron-framed bed in the middle of a windowless room. He leaps out from under the white sheets and stares intently at a corner of the white ceiling. Suddenly, gracefully, he spins to defeat an invisible opponent in four swift motions, finally falling to his knees […]

RIP, Edward Hardwicke

British actor Edward Hardwicke has died.  He is best known as Dr. John Watson in the 1980s and 1990s BBC Sherlock Holmes series co-starring Jeremy Brett as Holmes.The Guardian has an obituary and here is a video of Hardwicke and Brett interviewed about playing Watson and Holmes.

Elementary

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“We have in our police reports realism pushed to its extreme limits, and yet the result is, it must be confessed, neither fascinating nor artistic.”—Arthur Conan Doyle, “A Case of Identity.” When I wrote about Sherlock Holmes and Kolchak: The Night Stalker: Cry of Thunder, I wrote that I picked up that comic because of […]

Old Time Radio Horror

“Sherlock Holmes vs. Dracula” isn’t old time radio, but its old timey and fun to listen to before Halloween. The Internet Archive’s Old Time Radio collection has more, including Orson Welles and the Mercury Theater on the Air’s “War of the Worlds” broadcast.

The Casefile of Sherlock Holmes and Carl Kolchak, Reporter

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Though I prefer reading —and writing about —comics in collections, I do buy comics in single issues.  Sometimes I need to know what happens next or can’t wait for the collection anymore. Sometimes it’s idle curiosity or the lure of the pretty. But every once in a while, it’s the potential for all-out crazy. I […]

Self-Defence for Gentlemen (and Suffragettes)

Scare off impudent ruffians and defeat any self-styled Goliath with only your cane or umbrella! Learn Bartitsu, the martial art favored by many Victorian (and some Edwardian) ladies and gentlemen! View a short documentary here. (via Kung Fu Cinema)

Sherlock Holmes vs. Dracula

The year is 1890.  The city, London. Sherlock Holmes vs. Dracula: Is there anything more to say? (Oh, yeah, it’s a radio drama).

The Dead Body Politic

The mystery of Mexico City needs a private eye.

The adage has it that truth is stranger than fiction. I swear that’s true in Mexico. One of my favourite writers, hardboiled crime novelist Paco Ignacio Taibo II, has to struggle to keep up with the absurd plot of his beloved nation. Although Taibo is a fine writer, I come to him more for his […]

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    Alexander Chee writes about difficulty some have in evaluating comics or even in taking them seriously. “As a frequent juror on prizes, colonies and fellowships, I am, it could be said, so tired of this, that in fact, I will fight you for Roz Chast’s right to be on this list. I will fight you for the right for Bechdel to get that MacArthur. In a ring, covered in grease, MMA style. That is how sick of it I am.”

    And Dylan Meconis has some suggestions on how to improve writing about comics. “This leaves all the critics who are just beginning their journey into comics reading, or who have yet to be entirely won over to the medium but want to keep an open mind (perhaps due to peer pressure: I remember a literati cocktail party where somebody near me anxiously muttered ‘I guess we’re all supposed to read graphic novels now.’) These brave souls are willing to give it a try, but they tend to make a lot of mistakes when they first start out.” (Thanks, Gareth!)

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    At Black Girl Nerds, Jamie Broadnax writes a powerful piece about racism, cosplaying, police violence and the homicide of Darrien Hunt. “The first thing we need to do is NOT let this story scare us nor intimidate us into believing that we should be fearful of cosplaying.  We should still encourage others who may not yet have participated in cosplay to know that there are several communities for people of color to have safe spaces where they can be embrace and be their nerdy selves. If there is little to no news about this incident on other mainstream geek sites that feature cosplayers, then framing this around race is pertinent and they should be called out on their silence.  Even IF this is not an incident where Darrien Hunt was actively cosplaying, the tone has already been set and anyone who is a part of the cosplay community should address this matter.  Many Black cosplayers are concerned about this, and still wonder if they would be viewed as ‘suspicious’ walking down the street.”

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    Nerds of Color announces that their own David Walker will be writing Dynamite’s Shaft comic. Denys Cowan shares the cover for Shaft #1 drawn by Cowan and Bill Sienkiewicz. Sanford Greene shares some his cover work here and here. Black Comix posts Ulises Farinas’ cover.  Comics Wow has more and previews covers. (Via Black Comix and World of Hurt)

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    Actor Richard Kiel has died. Kiel worked in both film and television, including performances in The Twilight Zone episode, “To Serve Man”; Eegah (1962); The Barbary Coast with William Shatner; Happy Gilmore (1996); Pale Rider (1985); as Vlad in Tangled (201); and as Jaws in The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) and Moonraker (1979).   The New York TimesThe Los Angeles Times and Variety have obituaries. Here he is interviewed with Britt Ekland. And David Letterman interviews Kiel here.

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    Open Culture has a round-up of eight free and complete films by Dziga Vertov, including Man With A Movie Camera (1929) and the first Soviet animated feature, Soviet Toys (1924). (Thanks, Earl!)

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    Matt Zoller Seitz has written a lovely meditation on Robin Williams at RogerEbert.com: “Williams wore the invisible garments of depression. He carried that burden. A lot of the time we didn’t see it, because he was a bright and enthusiastic comic performer and a great actor. But the weight was always there.

    Somehow he lived 63 years.

    What a warrior he was.”

    ~

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