The Cultural Gutter

hey, there's something shiny down there...

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

“An Alternate History of Flappy Bird”

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At Radiator Design Blog, Robert Yang writes about the indie game Flappy Bird and the harassment of its designer, Dong Ngyuen. “I suspect that if Nguyen were a white American, this would’ve been the story of a scrappy indie who managed to best Zynga with his loving homage to Nintendo’s apparent patent on green pixel […]

Blast of Silence: Independent Filmmaking Then & Now”

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Allen Baron talks about making  his film, Blast of Silence, and the differences between making an independent film between then and now. “In the fall of 1959 I returned to NYC and decided to make my own movie. Making an independent feature film then was expensive, extraordinarily technical, and if the film was completed the […]

RIP, Spain

Comix artist Spain Rodriguez has died. The Comics Journal has tributes from his fellow artists including Trina Robbins, R. Crumb, Mario Hernandez, Mary Fleener, Bill Griffith and Art Spiegelman

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 […]

Ramsay International Horror

“The ‘Ramsay Brothers,’ as they are called, have in these films, and in India’s first horror show on television, featured ghosts, ghouls, monsters, zombies, witches, vampires and every conceivable version of things that go bump in the night. Mostly, they’ve been the first to do so.”  More on the Ramsay Brothers and Hindi film horror […]

Writers and Publishers

Anthony Horowitz dares ask whether publishers are necessary to writers anymore.  (via @IndoorsType)

A Decision to Self-Publish

Publishing powerhouse Jackie Collins explains her decision to self-publish and the business of books.

Ghosts With Sh*t Jobs Kickstarter and Premiere!

Gutter founder Jim Munroe’s new film, Ghosts With Shit Jobs, will be premiering in Toronto, Berlin and at the Sci Fi London Festival in the UK. Chip in to the Kickstarter campaign to bring the film to more cities.

Interview with Zale Dalen

Canuxploitation has an extensive interview with filmmaker Zale Dalen. They talk about filming in Vancouver, making educational shorts and Dalen’s Canuxploitation classic, Skip Tracer.

Steven Kostanski Talks Astron-6, Winnipeg and Manborg!

Filmmaker Steven Kostanski answers some questions about mysterious subjects such as, Astron-6, Winnipeg and his latest film, Manborg, questions posited by the Gutter’s own Carol Borden.

Ghosts With Shit Jobs Site

The website for Jim Munroe’s new lo-fi, sci-fi flick, Ghosts With Shit Jobs, is now up with video clips from the film. (Full disclosure: Jim was a co-founding editor and video games editor for the Cultural Gutter).

Interview with Lynda Barry

Comic artist and novelist Lynda Barry is interviewed by Jennifer Smith at The Isthmus.

“Merry Xmas from Chiron Beta Prime”

Jonathan Coulton’s “Merry Christmas from Chiron Beta Prime” rocks in ASL, as performed by Stephen Torrence.

Thinking about Video Games

Off Book goes in depth on video games with interesting discussions of interactivity, story telling, creativity, world-building and how video games help people understand and manipulate complex systems.

Lord Death Man is a Song

Xiu Xiu’s Sam Mickens sings about “Lord Death Man,” the chilling Batman villain from Bat-Manga! and Batman, Inc., at Comics Alliance.

“The Flaws of Kickstarter”

At the Beat, MK Reed writes about the flaws of Kickstarter, particularly for artists trying to make a start in the comics industry and has some suggestions for what the Womanthology project can do with its extra donations.

Pure, Unadulterated Munday

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Originally from the “New York and New Jersey area,” Evan Munday is a Toronto-based comic artist and illustrator with a day job as a book publicist. He’s a member of the illustration collective, SketchKrieg!, has written a young adult novel, The Dead Kid Detective Agency and illustrated magazines and books, most recently Jon Paul Fiorentino’s […]

Play Some Games!

Check out Crayon Physics. Then check out the rest of the games. Jim sez, “a third are pretty good, a third are real good, and a third are frickin brilliant.” (thanks, Jim!)

8 Bit Resignation

Farbs resigns in 8-bit style to pursue developing indie games. Watch it here.

Empire Market Strikes Back

Empire Market’s laser checkout system is fully operational in Chad Vader: Dayshift Manager season 2.

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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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