The Cultural Gutter

dangerous because it has a philosophy

"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

    Watch Nigerian writer and director Nosa Igbinedion’s Oya: The Coming Of The Orishas here.

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    At Bitch Media, Sara Century wonders why Michonne isn’t in charge and considers which medium is better for the ladies of The Walking Dead: comics or tv. “As I was thinking about the numerous questionable writing choices made with these could-be-so-great female characters, I got to wondering, which medium is better for the ladies of The Walking Dead: the TV show or the comic? In other words, which one is less sexist?

    I wrote up a short list of the main female characters that appear both on the show and in the comic to decipher the differences in how these women are written. These descriptions contain spoilers through season five of the TV show, because it’s impossible to write about The Walking Dead without talking about how people die all the time.”

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    Vixen Varsity shares Olufemi Lee-Johnson’s tribute to Milestone Media and Dwayne McDuffie. “For the first time in my life, I was around comic writers of color telling stories that mirror or surpassed the storylines of America’s favorite heroes. Icon dealt with being the ultimate immigrant and not understanding current black culture. Rocket (Raquel Irvin) was his guide, but also aspired to be more than just a woman in the projects. Static (Virgil Hawkins) was just a normal teenager dealing with fitting into school and then was put into this extraordinary circumstance of being a hero. Hardware (Curtis Metcalf) wanted respect from his mentor, but later learned about the bigger picture when it came to being a hero and the characters from Blood Syndicate…they were just trying to make it day by day and maintain their respect as a gang.”

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    At Soundcheck, John Schaefer talks with Jim Jarmusch about “making music for someone else’s films, and a penchant for walking the tightrope between narrative and abstract art in his own movies. And if you thought his C.V. was looking a little thin, Jarmusch is also working on an upcoming opera about the Serbian-American inventor Nikola Tesla, with Robert Wilson and composer Phil Kline.” (Thanks, Kate!)

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    Alex Deuben interviews artist Nate Powell about the second volume of The March and working with Rep. John Lewis and Andrew Aydin. “We are taught — and we tend to perpetuate this myth — that the Civil Rights Movement was nine words long: ‘Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, I Have a Dream.’ I think what you’re saying really backs up that notion. In terms of John Lewis’ personal journey, ‘Book Two’ is certainly a deepening of discovery and involvement. Not just a worldview broadening, but becoming much more personally aware of the counter-escalation to any progress that the Movement made.”

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    At Vox, Alex Abad-Santos interviews Kelly Sue DeConnick about feminism, raising girls and her new comic, Bitch Planet. “DeConnick says Bitch Planet, which debuted late last year, is her take on the exploitation films she loved as a kid. The sci-fi prison saga is confident, slick, and hilarious on multiple levels. But it also vibrates with frustration over the sexism still alive today and the impatience in wanting to eliminate it.”

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