The Cultural Gutter

beyond good and bad, there is awesome

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

Plus-Sized Divas and Beauty Queens

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The Projection Booth has been busy, with a bunch of new podcasts up, including episodes dedicated to a documentary on Divine and “There She is,” a documentary about plus-sized beauty queens. Listen to them!  

Manic Pixie Dream Girls, Writing and Doctor Who

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“Writing about Doctor Who this week got me thinking about sexism in storytelling, and how we rely on lazy character creation in life just as we do in fiction,” from Laurie Penny’s “I Was A Manic Pixie Dream Girl.” Her piece on Doctor Who is here. (via @katelaity)

RIP, Jim Kelly

Actor, Karate Grandmaster and tennis player Jim Kelly has died. Kelly starred alongside Bruce Lee in Enter The Dragon and in action/Blaxploitation classics such as Black Belt Jones, Three The Hard Way and Black Samurai. Our friends at Daily Grindhouse have an obituary as does The Los Angeles Times.  Salon interviewed Kelly in 2010. Here’s […]

Raymond Chandler and The High Tower Apartments

The High Tower Apartments and Robert Altman’s The Long Goodbye and Raymond Chandler’s The High Window.

Manic Pixel Dream Girl

Elizabeth Simins had drawn a moving comic about her changing relationship with games and herself.

Summer Fun Time Reading ’13

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It’s hot and the air already feels like unset Jell-O, but you still have some time to prepare for summer, because all the list-happy magazines and websites tell me, summer must be prepared for. Dig out your seersucker suit! Bob your hair! Find that most fashionable bathing suit–might I suggest a kicky Twenties number? You’ll […]

Collaborators

Paul Williams, Nile Rodgers and Giorgio Moroder talk about their careers, music and working with Daft Punk. (via Daily Grindhouse)

“The Misery of Celebrity Crushes”

Eloquently Twisted shares her tale of True Celebrity Crush Love!

On The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes

“Of course I have a copy of The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes on video, but I don’t watch it very often. I even have, on tape now, the audio and video versions of those missing scenes. But it comforts me to know that they are still incomplete, and that there remain other scenes from […]

The Writer Who Had Done A Stint In The Secret World

“The merit of The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, then – or its offence, depending where you stood – was not that it was authentic, but that it was credible. The bad dream turned out to be one that a lot of people in the world were sharing, since it asked the same […]

Lee Marvin and Prime Cut

Mike White and Rob St. Mary talk about Lee Marvin and Prime Cut on The Projection Booth.

The Fashion of Frida Kahlo

Messy Nessy Chic has a gallery showcasing Frida Kahlo’s fashion and it’s relationship to her life and work. And you can see her dresses, corsets, headpieces, jewellery and other articles on display in Mexico City at the Museo Frida Kahlo until Nov. 22, 2013. (Thanks, K.A. Laity!)

“My So-Called ‘Post-Feminist’ Life In Arts and Letters”

“There’s a reason J.K. Rowling’s publishers demanded that she use initials instead of “Joanne”: it’s the same reason Mary Anne Evans used the pen name George Eliot; the same reason Robert Southey, then England’s poet laureate, wrote to Charlotte Brontë: ‘Literature cannot be the business of a woman’s life, and it ought not to be.’” […]

Interview with Michael Caine

The Daily Mail has a nice interview with Michael Caine and photographer David Bailey.

Listen Up

Listen Up: The Lives of Quincy Jones –a 1990 documentary about composer and musician Quincy Jones is online and complete.

The Spymaster and The Cuckoo

“This, then, is the story of Maxwell Knight—the man called M—and a cuckoo called Goo. Knight was a tall, patrician British intelligence officer in charge of MI5 departments dealing with counter-subversion on home ground. And yes, as ‘M’ he was the inspiration for James Bond’s controller.” Helen MacDonald recounts the story in an excellent piece. […]

The Men of 30AU

“In essence what Fleming was proposing was a team of authorised thieves and looters – mavericks who would operate ahead of the forward troops and who were instructed to do whatever necessary to capture enemy intelligence, equipment or personnel.” James Bond creator, Ian Fleming also created a special unit a commando unit for British Naval […]

The Empire of Crime: Mabuse vs. Wertham vs. Marston

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When humanity, subjugated by the terror of crime, has been driven insane by fear and horror, and when chaos has become supreme law, then the time will have come for the empire of crime.” –The Testament of Dr. Mabuse “[W]hatever factors come into play in the cases that we have studied, the conclusion is inescapable […]

“Remembering Dwayne McDuffie On His Birthday”

Comics Alliance remembers Dwayne McDuffie. “McDuffie was an incredible talent who was often seen as a “black writer” as opposed to just a writer, largely due to both his stature in the industry, and his ability to eloquently discuss the difficulties that face black writers in comics.”

Gary Groth Interviews Maurice Sendak

The Comics Journal has published a goodly excerpt of Gary Groth’s interview with illustrator and writer Maurice Sendak. “And one of the passions I have about children is, we don’t know what they see, we don’t know what they really hear. And occasionally they are polite enough to let us in.” Make sure to click […]

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    At Paleofuture, Matt Novak writes about Idiocracy‘s unpleasant implications: “Sure. As an over-the-top comedic dystopia, the movie is actually enjoyable. But the movie’s introduction makes it an unnerving reference to toss around as our go-to insult….Unlike other films that satirize the media and the soul-crushing consequences of sensationalized entertainment (my personal favorite being 1951′s Ace in the Hole), Idiocracy lays the blame at the feet of an undeserved target (the poor) while implicitly advocating a terrible solution (eugenics). The movie’s underlying premise is a fundamentally dangerous and backwards way to understand the world.” (via The Projection Booth)

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    Friend of the Gutter, Will McKinley looks at “The 1979 Rockford Files Episode That Inspired The Sopranos.” “A gang from Newark’s South Side is hiding Vinnie Martine’s body in a restaurant freezer. Tony’s mad because Anthony Jr. got caught pranking another mobster. And a boss who’s trying to reform gets his mansion sprayed with bullets. Remember that episode of The Sopranos? If you do, your memory’s playing tricks on you, because all these things happened on a 1979 episode of The Rockford Files—written by Sopranos creator David Chase.”

    And McKinley defends classic television with, “In Praise of Vintage Television.”

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    Journalist Margot Adler has died. She is best known for her work as a journalist on NPR, but she also created the speculative fiction radio program, “The Hour Of The Wolf” and was the writer of Drawing Down The Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess-Worshippers, and Other Pagans in America Today (1979) and Vampires Are Us: Understanding Our Love Affair with the Immortal Dark Side (2014). The New York Times, NPR and  Suvudu have obituaries.  Here Adler discusses Vampires Are Us. And here is an excerpt from Adler’s memoir, Heretic’s Heart (1997).

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    The Toronto International Film Festival has announced its Midnight Madness and Vanguard programs for 2014. There’s lots of goodness in there and it’s worth taking a look even if you aren’t going to the festival, so you can you movie watching later this year or next. We’ll be posting the trailers from the films later.

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    Actor James Shigeta has died. Shigeta appeared in Die Hard (1988), The Crimson Kimono (1959) The Flower Drum Song (1961),  Bridge To The Sun (1961), Paradise, Hawaiian Style (1966), The Yakuza (1974) and many, many television shows.  The AV Club, Den Of Geek and Angry Asian Man have obituaries. Bridge to the Sun is discussed by Robert Osborne and Dr. Peter Feng on TCM.  At RogerEbert.com, Matt Zoller Seitz writes an appreciation of Shigeta’s life and work. “Shigeta, who died yesterday at 81, was a marvelous performer, and his work as Nakatomi Corporation President Joseph Takagi in the original 1988 Die Hard is one of my favorite examples of how an imaginative actor can sketch out a life in just a few scenes and lines.”

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    At RogerEbert.com, Alan Zilberman explores the history of the eye in cinema from Carl Theodor Dreyer’s The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928) to Mark Cahill’s I Origins (2014). (via Matt Zoller Seitz)

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