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

The Graves of Russian Mafiya Bosses

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Denis Tarasov has photographed the elaborate graves of Russian and Ukrainian organized crime bosses. They’re currently being shown at London’s Saatchi gallery. (via @jakeadelstein)

“How Corpses Helped Shape the London Underground”

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‘In her excellent and morbidly fascinating book Necropolis: London and Its Dead, author Catharine Arnold describes in detail the subterranean presence of corpses found throughout the British capital. To no small extent, she makes clear, dead bodies were basically buried everywhere, to the point that, as Arnold pithily states, ‘London is one giant grave.”’ More […]

The Dangerous Dead in Notts

The discovery of a skeleton found with metal spikes through its shoulders, heart and ankles, dating from 550-700AD and buried in the ancient minster town of Southwell, Notts, is detailed in a new report.”More at The Telegraph. (via Disinformation)

Midnight Madness 2012 Trailers!

Trailers for this year’s Midnight Madness programme! Dredd 3D; Seven Psychopaths; The Lords of Salem teaser from a Rob Zombie concert; ABCs of Death; The Bay; and the much anticipated, John Dies at the End.  No One Lives; Hellbenders; Aftershock;  and Child’s Play/Come Out and Play are all playing Midnight Madness, but I haven’t found […]

The Death and Return of Superman

“The Death and Return of Superman,” acted out by many famous nerdy people. (Thanks, Mark!)

The Kids Are All Right

Despite my whinging last month, I do in fact both read and love a lot of young adult Romance.  I  may not be fond of the ‘Supernatural Boyfriend of the Week’ subgenre (and no, Stephanie Meyer did not invent it; it’s been out there for decades), but that still leaves me with a large field […]

The Raven

James Earl Jones and Christopher Walken read Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven.”

The Grave of Bela Lugosi

Today is Bela Lugosi’s birthday. Happy Birthday, Bela!  J. W. Ocker writes about Bela’s perfection as a vampire and about the sadness of his grave.

Death in Games

Narrative Death, Game Mechanics Death (aka, screwing up and dying), No Death, Permadeath and Rewind: Alistair Doulin writes about death in video games.

The Return of the Sea King

Aquaman’s alive. He was dead, if you hadn’t heard. Glen Weldon writes about the Sea King’s re-ascening his throne and how hard it is to be an Aqua-fan.

Tragedy Systems in Grand Theft Auto IV

“Death is permanent and, in all works of fiction, predetermined. Except in video games, where most of the time it is neither.” At Hit Self-Destruct, Duncan writes about agency, time travel and death.

Elvis After Life

Shaken by the Strength and Mighty Power

It’s funny. I knew today was the anniversary of Elvis’ death. I didn’t realize it was the 30th anniversary of Elvis’ long black limousine sliding into the beyond. A good hunk of his afterlife has been in comics. Let us take a moment of silence for the man from Tupelo.

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    “I want to tell you about when violent campaigns against harmless bloggers weren’t any halfway decent troll’s idea of a good time—even the then-malicious would’ve found it too easy to be fun. When the punches went up, not down. Before the best players quit or went criminal or were changed by too long a time being angry. When there was cruelty, yes, and palpable strains of sexism and racism and every kind of phobia, sure, but when these things had the character of adolescents pushing the boundaries of cheap shock, disagreeable like that but not criminal. Not because that time was defensible—it wasn’t, not really—but because it was calmer and the rage wasn’t there yet. Because trolling still meant getting a rise for a laugh, not making helpless people fear for their lives because they’re threatening some Redditor’s self-proclaimed monopoly on reason. I want to tell you about it because I want to make sense of how it is now and why it changed.” Emmett Rensin writes more at Vox.

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    At Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, Elyse has some things to say about reading Romance. “In the end, it doesn’t matter what I read. It doesn’t even matter that I do read, quite frankly. What matters is that we live in a world where fiction aimed directly at women is perceived as garbage. That doesn’t say anything at all about me, it says a lot about what needs to change.”

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    Brain Pickings looks at the life and work of Tove Jansson and the wisdom of her character, Too-ticky. “Too-ticky, the sage of Moominvalley who solves even the most existential of problems with equal parts practicality and wisdom, was inspired by the love of Jansson’s life — the great Finnish sculptor and graphic arts pioneer Tuulikki “Tooti” Pietilä, Jansson’s spouse. The two women met in art school during their twenties and remained together until Jansson’s death more than six decades later, collaborating on a lifetime of creative projects — all at a time when queer couples were straddling the impossible line between anguishing invisibility and dangerous visibility.” (via Kate Laity)

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    Photographer Kevin Weir uses vintage photographs to create haunting animation in “The Flux Machine.” The Guardian has an interview with Weir and more on his work.

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    At the New Yorker, Jill Lepore considers the intertwining histories of women’s suffrage, feminism, Amazons and Wonder Woman. “It isn’t only that Wonder Woman’s backstory is taken from feminist utopian fiction. It’s that, in creating Wonder Woman, William Moulton Marston was profoundly influenced by early-twentieth-century suffragists, feminists, and birth-control advocates and that, shockingly, Wonder Woman was inspired by Margaret Sanger, who, hidden from the world, was a member of Marston’s family.”

     

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    Tim Reis shares ten things he learned from producing his first independent feature The Demon’s Rook. “Making an independent feature film is hard. Making an independent feature film with no money is especially hard. Making an independent feature film with no money, no actors, and a first-time director and crew is almost impossible. It is also the greatest, most liberating thing and you can and should totally do it.” (Thanks, Colin!)

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