The Cultural Gutter

geek chic with mad technique

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

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.

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.”

“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.  

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!

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!

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!

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 Mostly Film, Blake Backlash writes about films “mixing of Hollywood’s Grande Dames with Grand Guignol.”  “Such cinematic mixing of Grande Dames and Grand Guignol had its heyday in the second-half of the sixties, and such films are sometimes (more-or-less) affectionately known as psycho-biddy pictures. They tended to feature an actress over 50 in some sort of peril, a melodramatic plot and a title that ends in a question mark.  But there is another, related tradition that goes back further that I think we could place these films in.” (via Dr. Giallo)

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    “I want to tell you about when violent campaigns against harmless bloggers weren’t any halfway decent troll’s idea of a good time—even the then-malicious would’ve found it too easy to be fun. When the punches went up, not down. Before the best players quit or went criminal or were changed by too long a time being angry. When there was cruelty, yes, and palpable strains of sexism and racism and every kind of phobia, sure, but when these things had the character of adolescents pushing the boundaries of cheap shock, disagreeable like that but not criminal. Not because that time was defensible—it wasn’t, not really—but because it was calmer and the rage wasn’t there yet. Because trolling still meant getting a rise for a laugh, not making helpless people fear for their lives because they’re threatening some Redditor’s self-proclaimed monopoly on reason. I want to tell you about it because I want to make sense of how it is now and why it changed.” Emmett Rensin writes more at Vox.

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    At Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, Elyse has some things to say about reading Romance. “In the end, it doesn’t matter what I read. It doesn’t even matter that I do read, quite frankly. What matters is that we live in a world where fiction aimed directly at women is perceived as garbage. That doesn’t say anything at all about me, it says a lot about what needs to change.”

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    Brain Pickings looks at the life and work of Tove Jansson and the wisdom of her character, Too-ticky. “Too-ticky, the sage of Moominvalley who solves even the most existential of problems with equal parts practicality and wisdom, was inspired by the love of Jansson’s life — the great Finnish sculptor and graphic arts pioneer Tuulikki “Tooti” Pietilä, Jansson’s spouse. The two women met in art school during their twenties and remained together until Jansson’s death more than six decades later, collaborating on a lifetime of creative projects — all at a time when queer couples were straddling the impossible line between anguishing invisibility and dangerous visibility.” (via Kate Laity)

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    Photographer Kevin Weir uses vintage photographs to create haunting animation in “The Flux Machine.” The Guardian has an interview with Weir and more on his work.

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    At the New Yorker, Jill Lepore considers the intertwining histories of women’s suffrage, feminism, Amazons and Wonder Woman. “It isn’t only that Wonder Woman’s backstory is taken from feminist utopian fiction. It’s that, in creating Wonder Woman, William Moulton Marston was profoundly influenced by early-twentieth-century suffragists, feminists, and birth-control advocates and that, shockingly, Wonder Woman was inspired by Margaret Sanger, who, hidden from the world, was a member of Marston’s family.”

     

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