The Cultural Gutter

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

Mucking Up The Respectable Comics Business

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I’ve been thinking about disreputable art more than usual lately, between the film adaptation of 50 Shades of Grey coming out and Jonathan Franzen franzenating about women mucking up the whole respectable novel business. I can’t help but think of the history of the novel in Europe and North America. A tawdry form that was […]

News and Covers for the Upcoming Shaft Comic

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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 […]

“Blaxploitation Horror Films: Backlash and Concerns”

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At Graveyardshift Sisters, Ashlee Blackwell writes about the complexity of Blaxploitation horror. “What is visceral, real to the fears of the oppressed, ignored, and patronized are often symbols of empowerment, showing true courage in the face of what’s on the screen and everyday circumstances to see a character figure who takes on the world. Whether […]

“Deadly Art of Survival”

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The Gutter’s own Keith writes about No Wave, Black cinema, ninjas, kung fu, cultural sharing, cultural appropriation, music and New York in a piece on The Deadly Art of Survival for Teleport City. “Its curious place in the history of cinema, for instance, [is] as this weird amalgamation of no wave, black cinema, and martial […]

Don-O-Mite, aka, “Blaxploitation Mad Men”

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“Doing a bit for a crime he didn’t commit, the man is giving Don one more shot.” Leroy and Clarkson present the trailer for Don-O-Mite, Mad Men Blaxploitation-style. (via @BlackGirlNerds) Like this:Like Loading…

“Electric Lady (Kiss) Land: Blade Runner and R&B”

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At Popshifter, Paul Casey looks at Blade Runner, Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,  Janelle Monáe’s The Electric Lady and The Weeknd’s Kiss Land. “Where The Electric Lady is uplifting and empowering, the story of a righteous dissident fighting for every wronged being in existence, Kiss Land is from the other side. […]

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 […]

“Tarantino Unchained”

Jelani Cobb considers Django Unchained and history at The New Yorker.  “Tarantino’s attempt to craft a hero who stands apart from the other men—black and white—of his time is not a riff on history, it’s a riff on the mythology we’ve mistaken for history. Were the film aware of that distinction, Django would be far […]

An Interview with Gordon Parks

In an interview with the National Visionary Leadership Project, the late Gordon Parks talks Life Magazine, photography, racism, his hometown and offers advice to young Black people. Like this:Like Loading…

10 Comics I Liked in 2011

It’s the beginning of January, cold and dark where I am. The critics are all putting out their best of year lists, and maybe you’re looking for something to read. So here’s my entry into annual lists: 10 comics I liked in 2011 that I haven’t written about. Well 9 comics I haven’t written about […]

Movieline Interviews Pam Grier

Jen Yamato interviews Pam Grier on her experience working on Quentin Tarantino’s Jackie Brown and in 1970s action films doing her own stunts. (via Grindhouse Database) Like this:Like Loading…

The Periodic Table of Exploitation

One man laboring in obscurity in  has finally done what scientists working for vast think tanks  have struggled for decades to accomplish. Behold, the “Periodic Table of Exploitation!“ Like this:Like Loading…

Top 5 Blaxploitation Soundtracks

At The Revivalist, Adrian Younge offers his, “Top 5 Blaxploitation Soundtracks.” (via @World_Of_Hurt) Like this:Like Loading…

Black Dynamite

Adult Swim has posted the pilot episode of Black Dynamite, its new animated series based on the Michael Jai White Blaxploitation parody/homage film. (Via It’s Komplicated and @World_Of_Hurt) Like this:Like Loading…

Podcasts! Podcasts! Podcasts!

Here at the Gutter we like our podcasts. We especially like Infernal Brains and The Projection Booth. At Infernal Brains, Todd and Tars discuss Thai pulp hero, Insee Daeng and Wisit Sasanatieng’s recent screen adaptation, Red Eagle.  Meanwhile, at The Projection Booth, Mike and Mondo Justin report on Robocop (including news on Detroit’s statue) and […]

Black Hollywood

The 1984 documentary, Black Hollywood: Blaxploitation and Advancing an Independent Black Cinema, is available, for free and in its entirety, online. Solid.  (via Jay Potts of World of Hurt) Like this:Like Loading…

Read Afrodisiac Online

The Eisner-nominated Afrodisiac is now online for your reading pleasure! Like this:Like Loading…

Soldier of Cinema

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It has always been my long held contention that cinema–while being a medium of mass entertainment–can also be a powerful art form that can illuminate, inspire and ultimately change the world we live in. One artist that worked in the mediums of photography and film making that truly exemplified my theory that film can be […]

Nicki Minaj and Sara Baartman, The Hottentot Venus

Janell Hobson connects Saturday Night Live‘s, “Bride of Blackenstein” to Sara Baartman, the Hottentot Venus, via Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Like this:Like Loading…

10 Comics I Liked in 2010

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Sometimes it’s easy to forget why I like comics and 2010 was a particularly tough year, in comics and otherwise. But here are 10 that reminded me why I do like them. There’s a lot of crime, anthropomorphic animals, gorgeous art, silly fun, people dealing with things the best they can, and plenty of Greg […]

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    Anne Billson has posted a 1985 interview she did with director George Miller (the Mad Max films). Miller talks about many things including Aunty Entity’s probable past as a hero and Max as, in Mel Gibson’s words, “a closet human being.” (Thanks, Matt!)

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    At New York Magazine, David Wallace-Wells writes about bees, colony collapse disorder and beekeeper Dave Hackenberg. “It’s been a long decade for bees. We’ve been panicking about them nonstop since 2006, when beekeeper Dave Hackenberg inspected 2,400 hives wintering in Florida and found 400 of them abandoned — totally empty. American beekeepers had experienced dramatic die-offs before, as recently as the previous winter in California and in regular bouts with a deadly bug called the varroa mite since the 1980s. But those die-offs would at least produce bodies pathologists could study. Here, the bees had just disappeared. In the U.K., they called it Mary Celeste syndrome, after the merchant ship discovered off the Azores in 1872 with not a single passenger aboard. The bees hadn’t even scrawled CROATOAN in honey on the door on their way out of the hive.”

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    Andrew Nette has a pair of interesting pieces on pulp you might be interested in. First, he writes about “the New Pulp” and a bit about Fifty Shades of Gray in “Fifty Shades of Pulp.” Then he writes about pulp and literacy and furthering social advancement in “Pulp and Circumstance.”  “Most people view pulp as either exploitative lowbrow culture or highly collectable retro artefact. Yet pulp has a secret history which Rabinowitz’s book uncovers. Her central thesis is that cheap, mass-produced pulp novels not only provided entertainment and cheap titillating thrills, but also brought modernism to the American people, democratising reading and, in the process, furthering culture and social enlightenment.”

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    The Projection Booth interviews actor Ed Asner.

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    Transcript from BAFTA’s tribute to director Johnnie To, “Johnnie To: A Life In Pictures.” It’s a great interview with To about his films and process. “Like when I made The Mission I didn’t have a script. It was 1999 and I didn’t have any money so we went to Taiwan and they gave us very little money to hurry up and make a film, so without any script we just started making it. And after 19 days we made the film.” (Thanks to the Heroic Sisterhood!)

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    A gallery of sweet geeky art from Native American artist, Jeffrey Veregge. “My origins are not supernatural, nor have they been enhanced by radioactive spiders. I am simply a Native American artist and writer whose creative mantra in best summed up with a word from my tribe’s own language as: ‘taʔčaʔx̣ʷéʔtəŋ,’ which means ‘get into trouble.'”

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