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 Greatest Actor Alive”


The Atlantic profiles Max Von Sydow. “For a significant portion of his six decades onscreen, he has been the greatest actor alive. Now, in his 87th year on Earth, he may be on the verge of becoming a pop-culture icon. In December, he’ll be seen in Star Wars: Episode VII—The Force Awakens, in a role […]

“As Much As I Can, As Black As I Am: The Queer History of Grace Jones”

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At Pitchfork, Barry Walters writes about Grace Jones. “One night in 1993, I finally got my chance to see Jones perform at a local gay nightclub and took my friend Brian, whose partner Mark was too sick to join us….She didn’t back away from the elephant in the room: She dedicated one song to artist […]

“Billie Holiday on Swing Street”

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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.”

“Piracy Gave Me A Future”

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At Boing Boing, Daniel Starkey writes about poverty’s intellectual dead zones and how poverty gave him a future. “I don’t pirate games anymore, and I don’t support pirating games if you can afford to buy them. But when I needed it, piracy gave me hope. When I considered dropping out of high school, giving up […]

“(The Printing of) the Legend of Frances Farmer”

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“When she didn’t get an answer, Frances starting throwing punches.” You Must Remember This podcast looks at the life and legend of actor Frances Farmer.

“Elisabeth Luytens: Horror Queen of Composers”


At Movie Morlocks, Kimberly Lindbergs writes about composer Elisabeth Luytens on the 106th anniversary of Luytens’ birth. “Much of Lutyens music, particularly later in life, is rather dark, jarring and cinematic. Her background in Theosophy and Eastern mysticism is apparent in the otherworldly atmosphere conjured up by her film scores and is also evident in […]

“The Queen of American Gothic”


At the New Republic, B. D. McClay writes about Shirley Jackson and a new collection containing previously unpublished stories and essays by Jackson. “Let Me Tell You, on the other hand, is for the already-converted fan, who will be delighted to read so many new stories and essays. The greatest attraction is the 15 essays, […]

“Good-bye, David Letterman”


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 […]

I Remember You

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When Screen Editor alex was recovering from surgery last year, we watched a bunch of episodes of Adventure Time together. We skipped the episode “I Remember You” because I just couldn’t watch it again without crying. It is one of the best episodes of the show. It is also one of the best depictions of […]

“Lighten Up”


At The Nib, Ronald Wimberley tells a story and elucidates the implications of being asked to lighten a character’s skin tone for a Wolverine And the X-Men jam comic.

“Keanu Reeves, I’m Sorry I Doubted You”


At Multiglom, film critic Anne Bilson apologizes to Keanu Reeves: “Keanu Reeves, I must apologise. For years, like other film critics, I cast aspersions on your acting talent, belittled your intellect, and cracked jokes about your name, which means ‘cool breeze over the mountains’ in Hawaiian. Only now do I realise I was foolish and […]

“Jennifer Aniston And the Curse of Friends”

At Multiglom, Anne Billson considers Jennifer Aniston and her career. “But there are three things we should realise about Jennifer Aniston: 1) You don’t spend a decade in a well written sitcom without acquiring razor-sharp comic timing and an ability to give shading to characters who might in lesser hands be caricatures. 2) At least […]

Never Goodnight is the Best


The Dissolve shares some panels from the source material for Lukas Moodysson’s Swedish punk rock coming of age story, We Are The Best—Coco Moodysson’s graphic novel, Never Goodnight, about her experience growing up punk in 1980s Stockholm. The Dissolve piece also links to an interview with Coco Moodysson at Female First and a New York Times […]

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 […]

“Charles M. Schulz and Peanuts: The Longest Jazz Solo in History”

At Sequential Art, Greg Carpenter writes a lovely piece about Charles Schulz’ Peanuts. “After only two installments, Schulz had solidified the rules for his comic strip.  Random acts of cruelty would punctuate this irrational world, and Schulz’s trapped little adults would be forced to act out simulations of human behavior, using hollow gestures to try […]

“How To Write A Thriller”


Ian Fleming writes about writing: “We are all fed fairy stories and adventure stories and ghost stories for the first 20 years of our lives, and the only difference between me and perhaps you is that my imagination earns me money. But, to revert to my first book, Casino Royale, there are strong incidents in […]

“The Pain of the Watermelon Joke”


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 […]

“Samus Works Alone”


At Re/Action, Maddy Myers writes about how important the Metroid franchise, in both game and manga form, and its protagonist, Samus Aran, were to her. “Samus still represents a breakthrough. She first took off her armor to reveal a woman’s form back in 1986, the year that I was born. Samus and I grew up […]

On Writing The Spy Who Came In From The Cold


John Le Carré writes about writing The Spy Who Came In From The Cold. “It was the Berlin Wall that had got me going, of course: I had flown from Bonn to take a look at it as soon as it started going up. I went with a colleague from the Embassy and as we […]

“The truth about the dungeon master who disappeared in the steam tunnels”


Jason Louv writes about James Dallas Egbert III, who seemed to have disappeared in Michigan State University’s steam tunnels in 1979 and who became the focus of a panic about Dungeons & Dragons. “When Egbert vanished, his parents hired William Dear, a private detective, to locate him. Dear theorized that it was Egbert’s involvement in […]

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    Michael Aguilar discusses The Giant Claw and making the stop motion wonder of “Godzilla 2014 vs. The Giant Claw, Part I!” (Thanks, Kate!)


    In a 1988 Sight And Sound interview, Patricia Highsmith talks about film adaptations of her novels, from Strangers On A Train (1950) to The American Friend (1977)


    Open Culture has a re-vamped trailer for a film adaptation of  Alejandro Jodorowsky and Moebius’ comic The Incal. One that never happened. “[Incal‘s] success made it a logical candidate for film adaptation, and so director Pascal Blais brought together artists from Heavy Metal magazine (in which Mœbius first published some of his best known work) to make it happen. It resulted in nothing more than a trailer, but what a trailer; you can watch a recently revamped edition of the one Blais and his collaborators put together in the 1980s at the top of the post.” (Thanks, Felipe!)


    Hyperallergic has a gallery of astronomical and cosmological illustrations from photographer Michael Benson’s books, Cosmographics: Picturing Space Through Time. (Thanks, Stephanie!)


    A homophobic Tumblr post becomes Queer dystopian adventure fiction in two responses. Behold! (Thanks, Adele!)


    Tony Zhou has a new video up at Every Frame A Painting. This time, he looks at Buster Keaton and, “The Art Of The Gag.”


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