The Cultural Gutter

we've seen things you people wouldn't believe

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

“The Pain of the Watermelon Joke”

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Author Jacqueline Woodson writes about her memoir Brown Girl Dreaming, growing up in South Carolina and Daniel Handler’s watermelon joke directed at her at the National Book Awards. “I would have written Brown Girl Dreaming if no one had ever wanted to buy it, if it went nowhere but inside a desk drawer that my […]

“We Need Diverse Books”

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The Washington Post has a transcript of American Born Chinese and Boxers & Saints creator Gene Luen Yang’s speech at the 2014 National Book Festival Gala.  “We’re afraid of writing characters different from ourselves because we’re afraid of getting it wrong. We’re afraid of what the Internet might say. This fear can be a good […]

Interview with Alison Bechdel

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NPR interviews cartoonist Alison Bechdel on the occasion of her MacArthur Genius Grant. “I guess I’m proudest of just really sticking with this odd thing I loved and was good at — drawing comics about marginal people (lesbians) in a marginal format (comics). I never thought much about whether that was responsible, or respectable, or […]

Critics and Comics

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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 […]

RIP, Jesus Franco

Director, writer and actor Jésus “Jess” Franco has died. Franco directed just under two hundred films between 1957 and 2012. Chris Alexander writes a tribute to Franco at Fangoria. Here’s footage of Franco accepting his Goya Award. And here, Franco talks about horror movies and the production of Bloody Moon. Update: The Guardian has an […]

RIP, Bonnie Franklin

Actress Bonnie Franklin has died. Franklin was best known for her role as Ann Romano in the sitcom One Day At A Time, but performed on stage as well as on television. Here she is performing in the Tony Awards in the 1970s. The New York Times has an obituary. Like this:Like Loading…

The 2012 Kitschies Shortlist

Our friends at Pornokitsch have announced the shortlist for the 2012 Kitschies, and The Guardian reports on it! The Kitschies recognize “the year’s most progressive, intelligent and entertaining works that contain elements of the speculative or fantastic.” Like this:Like Loading…

“Visibility is Indivisible from Visibility”

Bound, Matrix and Cloud Atlas co-director, Lana Wachowski talks about growing up trans, suicide, and becoming a role model in her speech accepting the Visibility Award at the Human Rights Campaign’s annual gala dinner. The transcript is here.   Like this:Like Loading…

Pornokitsch Reviews!

Pornokitsch has a new entry in their ongoing reviews of David Gemmell Award finalists with Mark Lawrence’s Prince of Thorns.  Reading the book, Jared wonders “why? Why is it necessary to have a protagonist that’s so aggressively, angrily vile? Bret Easton Ellis did something similar with Patrick Bateman. American Psycho (1991) was the vivisection of the young, […]

“On a Tootsie Roll”

Riffing off Melissa McCarthy’s Best Supporting Actress nomination at the Academy Awards and off the film Tootsie, film critic Bobby Rivers writes: “Hollywood, please give us more witty comedies like Tootsie and make the casts racially diverse.  Give minority actors more opportunities.  Then start giving more love to actors of all colors who do good work […]

Nnedi Okorafor’s Howard

Nnedi Okorafor writes on her World Fantasy Award for Best Novel, more specifically the award’s statuette and the man it depicts, HP Lovecraft:  “This is something people of color, women, minorities must deal with more than most when striving to be the greatest that they can be in the arts: The fact that many of […]

10th Annual Rondo Hatton Awards

The ballot is now up for this year’s Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards. Voting in the many, many categories is open to everyone! Like this:Like Loading…

The 2011 Kitschies

Our good friends at Pornokitsch presented the 2011 Kitsches this weekend, click through for more and congratulations to the winners and to Pornokitsch for an amazing event! Like this:Like Loading…

The Kitschies’ Red Tentacle Finalists

Our good friends at Pornokitsch have released the shortlist of finalists for the Kitschies’ Red Tentacle award and have an in depth look at one of the Finalists, The Enterprise of Death by Jesse Bullington.  “The Red Tentacle is awarded annually to the novel containing speculative or fantastic elements that best fulfills the criteria of […]

The Kitschies!

The 2011 Kitschies are accepting submissions for their tentacular awards celebrating books that “best elevate the tone of genre literature.” Read submission criteria, guidelines and check out past winners of the coveted Red, Gold, Black and Inky Tentacle (for cover art) awards here! Like this:Like Loading…

On Awards

Adam Roberts lays down the law on awards from the Man Booker to the Hugo: “I’m saying that award judges, or voters, need to believe, or at least to suspend their disbelief, that it is meaningful to talk of the best book of the year–to think not that you are making purely subjective and arbitrary […]

Rethinking Brain Eating

If you had to deal with Stalkers, you

If he feels vindicated, he doesn’t show it. As Marc Laidlaw waits for his co-workers to finish a talk, we sit down at a table in San Francisco’s cavernous Moscone Center and talk about Half-Life 2 (Valve, 2004). Its 1998 predecessor is legendary for pushing the form both narratively (bringing atmosphere and intelligence to the […]

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    At Graveyard Shift Sisters, Carolyn looks at Lizzie Borden’s Born In Flames (1983) and the character, Adelaide Norris. “Born in Flames was revolutionary for its time, and I think it is still relevant today. This film has many layers, with both a speculative as well as a science fictional representation of a parallel universe that denies oppression. One of the main characters, Adelaide Norris played by Jean Satterfield, came to the forefront for me because of her race and role in the story. Adelaide is one of the key characters who pulls the female troops together. With the help of her mentor Zella, played by civil rights lawyer Flo Kennedy, this young Black and gay woman tirelessly researches, advises, and recruits women to fight the good fight for equality.”

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    A video tribute to interactive VCR games including: Nightmare (1991), The Fisherman VCR Bible Game (1989), Rich Little’s Charades (1985), Wayne’s World VCR Game (1992), Star Trek: The Next Generation VCR Game (1995) and Skull and Crossbones (1988). (Thanks, Beth!)

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    At The Los Angeles Review Of Books, Suzannah Showler writes about the complexity of the reality tv show The Bachelor and her complicated love for it. “I love The Bachelor the way I love most things, which is to say: complicatedly. On the one hand, I think it’s a fascinating cultural product, one I find great delight in close-reading. But I also love it, frankly, because I just like watching it. I think it’s top-notch entertainment, and I will straight up hip-check my politics out of the way, and give up many hours of my life, in the name of being entertained.” (Via @idontlikemunday)

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    At Comics Alliance, Chris Sims recounts that time the Punisher battled Dr. Doom. “It starts off with Dr. Doom kicking it in an extradimensional conference room set up by Loki to coordinate mass villainy, where he is just ripping into the Kingpin for being unable to kill the Punisher….Thus, in a sterling example of the ‘well then why don’t you do it’ school of super-villain cameraderie, Dr. Doom, a man who built a time machine in his basement, heads off to try his luck at fighting the Punisher, a man who has a gun. He does this, as you might expect, by luring him to a quarry and — after a brief exchange between a Doombot and a minigun — attempting to blow up his van with a tank.”

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

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    Andy Kaufman has breakfast with Classie Freddie Blassie in My Breakfast With Blassie (1983) (via @GCDB)

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