The Cultural Gutter

taking trash seriously

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

“Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey”

NPR’s Scott Tobias writes of Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey: “The disparity between Journey’s mercenary nature and Pineda’s inspiring triumph over adversity comes through starkly in Everyman’s Journey.” (via @TrashFilmGuru)

Diverse Writers, Diverse Readers and Happily Ever Afters

NPR talks about romance written by and for people of color with authors Brenda Jackson, Michelle Monkou, Camy Tang and romance critic Sarah Wendell at the Romance Writers of American convention. (The radio piece is stronger than the written synopsis).

“The Circus of Fashion”

As Popshifter has pointed out, Suzy Menkes’ article about fashion, could apply to so many other cultural pursuits now: “It is great to see the commentaries from smart bloggers — especially those in countries like China or Russia, where there was, in the past, little possibility of sharing fashion thoughts and dreams[.] But two things […]

BBC Remake + Kevin Spacey + David Fincher = You Will Watch

The Fractured Atlas has an interesting piece on Netflix’s House of Cards, the Nutcracker, data analysis and driving new content development in the arts. And Andrew Leonard has more at Salon: “Netflix’s data indicated that the same subscribers who loved the original BBC production also gobbled down movies starring Kevin Spacey or directed by David […]

News from the EVE Frontline

Tor.com reports on one of the largest space battles in the history of EVE Online: “A space battle kicked off entirely by accident. A space battle so big it could not be simulated, it had to be crafted and pushed forward by human ego, so big it cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, and yet […]

“Porn Fans Aren’t What They Used To Be”

“In an age when every conceivable permutation of pornography is immediately accessible for free online, the power dynamic between viewer and star has shifted. Most porn viewers are still quietly accessing the material from the privacy of their own homes, but because it’s so easy to get, the reverence has faded.” At the Adult Entertainment […]

Hollywood and Industrialized Plagiarism

At Geek Juice, Josh Hadley’s “Industrialized Plagiarism” responds to a Village Voice piece, “How To Defend Quentin Tarantino.” Read them together for QT, Hollywood SOP, Harlan Ellison, homages, plagiarism and more.

“The Wrong Goodbye of Barnes and Noble”

“For a couple of years I’ve been predicting in column after column that B&N was eager to get out of the brick-and-mortar business of selling books, but seeing it finally kick into high gear was no fun.” Melville House’s Dennis Johnson draws out the implications of Barnes and Noble closing stores for the book  business, […]

“The Best of 2012 for DC Women”

DC Women Kicking Ass counts down the Best of 2012 for DC Women! Movies! Comics! Animation! Marketing! Batman!

“The Year in Comics: Biggest Disappointments of 2012″

At Gutters and Panels, John Gholson shares his 3 biggest disappointments in comics this year.

Apple, Nudity and e-Books

At The Globe and Mail, Michael Posner writes on Apple’s corporate censorship of Peter Ovig Knudsen’s books, Hippie 1 and 2. “The Hippie book controversy follows a series of similar attempts by Apple to censor–or deny market access–to artistic material it deems offensive.”

Attention, Horror Fans!

Couchcutter asks horror fans not to cheat themselves out of the future: “I’m not asking you to buy less Hollywood. I’m telling you that we *need* to buy more Independent. At least, if there is any independent stuff that you love or have ever loved. If one of the two have to suffer out of […]

The Rise of Women in Tech

Sarah Wenger has made a neat infographic about women in the tech field.

“Uncle Pervy’s K-Pop Playlist”

John Seabrook, aka, “Uncle Pervy,” created an overview of K-Pop video for all your booty-shaking, synchronized dance needs. Make sure to click through to his article on Korean pop music for The New Yorker. (via @sammy2lighters)  

Kids Do Read Comics

Comics Beat ‘s Torsten Adair goes through The New York Times bestseller list and draws some conclusions, “Right now, it seems that diversity is the zeitgeist, as non-fiction, non-comics publishers are selling well to the general public, and that kids’ books are a growing market.”

What is Gangnam Style?

“PSY does something in his video that few other artists, Korean or otherwise, do: He parodies the wealthiest, most powerful neighborhood in South Korea. Sure, he uses physical humor to make it seemingly about him, a man who wants to project glamour but keeps falling short…But ultimately, by declaring ‘Oppa is Gangnam Style,’ he turns […]

Modern Cartoonist: The Naked Truth

Fantagraphics’ blog reveals “Modern Cartoonist: The Naked Truth” in all its gorgeous glory! Read Dan Clowes’ tell-all illustrated essay originally published on the hush-hush in 1997.

A Yelp Dramatic Reading

“Yelp’s content — the technical genre of which is “review,” but which also, often, takes the guise of novel, treatise, elegy, and haiku — has at this point adopted a recognizable editorial sensibility. One that is guided by its authors’ unique ability to blend, in almost equal measure, selfless generosity and ruthless indignation.”  Chris Kipiniak […]

“‘Girlfriend Mode and Women as Consumers”

“I’m a woman, I’m a consumer and I actually like my first time playing a genre games to include a character option that can destroy my opponents rather than something adorable. I also like to be marketed to. Can this happen? I’m hoping so and I’m looking forward to it.”  More, including many excellent links, […]

RIP, Helen Gurley Brown

Helen Gurley Brown, Cosmopolitan editor-in-chief and author of Sex and the Single Girl has died. The New York Times has an obituary. Natalie Wood starred in Hollywood’s adaptation of Sex and the Single Girl.  John Stewart talks to Helen Gurley Brown, Dave Chappelle, Christopher Hitchens and Tony Hawks on his BBC talk show, Where’s Elvis […]

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    Jon Peterson discusses how Gary Gygax lost control of Dungeons & Dragons. “What did Gygax see, in that moment? He saw enough shares in play that he stood to lose control of TSR, a company he had founded and transformed into a global brand. But he surely also saw something even more dear at stake: that he might lose control of Dungeons & Dragons.”

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    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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