The Cultural Gutter

building a better robot builder

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

Second Place Ain’t Second Best

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Previously, I wrote a column about Meredith Duran, who got her start in publishing when her first novel, the astonishingly good Duke of Shadows, won the Gather.com First Chapters Romance Writing Competition. I liked the interesting and collaborative nature of the online contest. Entrants posted their first chapters on the Gather.com site for the community […]

Most Anticipated Asian Films of 2011

Wildgrounds breaks down their most anticipated films of 2011.

High Point Down Under

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Canadians and Australians tend to go together well. Our affinity makes sense: we have so much in common. We both have a lot of British in our backgrounds. We both live on the edges of our very large countries. And our climates are quite extreme (although in opposite directions). Plus there’s all that beer drinking. […]

Camera Obscura

Watch the first 3 episodes of Camera Obscura, a webseries about a woman who captures demons with her grandfather’s specially-altered camera. (Also, the grandfather? Played by Jack Klugman).

AX: An Edged Collection

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There are reasons I left alternative comics for superheroes and there are reasons I keep going back. They each have their wonder and joy; they each have their irritating and sadly heartbreaking points. Nothing’s perfect, not Superman, not Jimmy Corrigan. But there is a way to find comics that you love and avoid ones that […]

Genre on TV: Fantasy, Zombies

HBO has a teaser up for George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones.  Meanwhile, AMC has a clip up of actors learning to act like zombies for its upcoming The Walking Dead, based on Robert Kirkman’s comic.

Pencak Silat!

In Merantau a young Minangkabau man goes to Jakarta, where he uses pencak silat for the power of good.

Nak Prok’s Shadow

Wise Kwai reviews, Shadow of the Naga / Nak Prok, and talks a little about the film’s legal problems and the fear of a Buddhist backlash.

Good Things Gro-o-ow in To-ron-to

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Right. So you’ve joined the RWA, and are enjoying the information and advocacy your membership entitles you to. But National’s a long way off, and RWA headquarters is in Texas, and you’re starting to get a little lonely. So what do you do? You join your local chapter. Where I live, that means the Toronto […]

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    Tom Burtonwood has created Folium, a book of three-dimensional printing of bas relief, for the Art Institute of Chicago from its collection. (Via Boing Boing)

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    We have been bereft since GWAR lost Oderus Ungerus. But lift up your heads and rejoice, fans of GWAR, there is a new member. She is Vulvatron! (via @saladinahmed)

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    Throne of the Crescent Moon author Saladin Ahmed has posted “a micro-mini Crescent Moon Kingdoms world guide that had previously only been available as part of a UK-exclusive ebook” for people to use in their roleplaying games. But even if you aren’t a gamemaster, it’s pretty sweet.

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    At We Are Respectable Negroes, Chauncey Devega interviews friend of the Gutter Mark D. White about the virtues of Captain America. “In this, the ninth episode, of the second season of WARN’s podcast series, we talk about what comic books and superheroes can tell us about philosophy and politics, work through what makes someone ‘heroic,’ the ways that the general public often misunderstands and misreads the Captain America character, as well as how American exceptionalism, race, and identity relate to superhero and other types of comic books and graphic novels.”

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    Alexander Chee writes about difficulty some have in evaluating comics or even in taking them seriously. “As a frequent juror on prizes, colonies and fellowships, I am, it could be said, so tired of this, that in fact, I will fight you for Roz Chast’s right to be on this list. I will fight you for the right for Bechdel to get that MacArthur. In a ring, covered in grease, MMA style. That is how sick of it I am.”

    And Dylan Meconis has some suggestions on how to improve writing about comics. “This leaves all the critics who are just beginning their journey into comics reading, or who have yet to be entirely won over to the medium but want to keep an open mind (perhaps due to peer pressure: I remember a literati cocktail party where somebody near me anxiously muttered ‘I guess we’re all supposed to read graphic novels now.’) These brave souls are willing to give it a try, but they tend to make a lot of mistakes when they first start out.” (Thanks, Gareth!)

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    At Black Girl Nerds, Jamie Broadnax writes a powerful piece about racism, cosplaying, police violence and the homicide of Darrien Hunt. “The first thing we need to do is NOT let this story scare us nor intimidate us into believing that we should be fearful of cosplaying.  We should still encourage others who may not yet have participated in cosplay to know that there are several communities for people of color to have safe spaces where they can be embrace and be their nerdy selves. If there is little to no news about this incident on other mainstream geek sites that feature cosplayers, then framing this around race is pertinent and they should be called out on their silence.  Even IF this is not an incident where Darrien Hunt was actively cosplaying, the tone has already been set and anyone who is a part of the cosplay community should address this matter.  Many Black cosplayers are concerned about this, and still wonder if they would be viewed as ‘suspicious’ walking down the street.”

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