The Cultural Gutter

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

These Are A Few Of My Favourite Things

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I always enjoy writing a ‘Best Of’ column, and this year it’s particularly timely. Not only do I work in retail (which is category 5 insane right now) but my week also included a bicycle accident and a broken water main. Frankly, I needed some happy time. It did me good to think about and/or […]

The Spymaster and The Cuckoo

“This, then, is the story of Maxwell Knight—the man called M—and a cuckoo called Goo. Knight was a tall, patrician British intelligence officer in charge of MI5 departments dealing with counter-subversion on home ground. And yes, as ‘M’ he was the inspiration for James Bond’s controller.” Helen MacDonald recounts the story in an excellent piece. […]

Women In Horror Month: “Celebrating Shirley Jackson”

Erin Horakova looks at author Shirley Jackson’s masterful, The Haunting of Hill House and We Have Always Lived In The Castle.  “Haunting is stunning, and while it’s a must-read for anyone interested in ghost stories, haunted houses, or psychological horror, it also stretches beyond its demographic.”

Dave Lartigue On Orson Scott Card And Boycotting Comics

“Orson Scott Card isn’t being taken to task solely for his opinions, idiotic and thuggish as they are, but also for his actions. He sits on the board of the National Organization for Marriage, which lobbies and works against basic civil rights for gay people. He is not merely a tool spewing hatred and bile […]

On Cary Grant

The Hairpin‘s Anne Helen Petersen has written an excellent piece on Cary Grant’s career and life–scandals, Randolph Scott, sartorial brilliance and all: “Grant’s image was in many ways univocal — he played variations of the same character, he seemed to be a ladies’ man on and off the screen — but it also had room […]

How to be a Man in Four hours: The Perils of Instant Gratification

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As a transguy, the question “What makes me a man?” has meant both pretty much the same things to me as to any other guy, and also something a bit different. I had to figure most of it out on my own, going through a second puberty of sorts at a point when all my […]

10 Comics I Liked In 2012

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Tales of derring-do! Girl adventurers! Occult mystery! Infernal foes! Secrets revealed! Pirates! Love, loss & betrayal! Intricate art bound in lovely hardcovers! Indie going mainstream! Original creations! It’s been an incredible year for comics. So many good ones that I can’t even begin to claim to know what would be the best comics of 2012. […]

50 Wonderful Things in 2012

Linda Holmes shares 50 wonderful things at NPR’s Monkey See blog.

Two Interviews with Divine

Two interviews with Divine from a 1981 documentary and on NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross.

“Why I Write ‘Strong Female Characters'”

Greg Rucka shares the short answer and the long answer to the question he’s asked most frequently, “How Do You Write Such Strong Female Characters?” My favorite line: “This is a matter of respect, for both the story itself and for the audience receiving it. The reader is smarter than you. The reader is always […]

Difficulty Settings and Cheat Codes

John Scalzi and Dr. NerdLove use gaming to understand being a guy in the real world. In writing about “straight white male” as the lowest difficulty setting in life, Scalzi builds on a  Luke McKinney article in Cracked. Dr. NerdLove is a little less explicitly game-centric in his “Virgins, Victims and Player Haters: Adventures in […]

Interview with Joe Gage/Tim Kincaid

At Fangoria, Sean Abley interviews Joe Gage, director of the Gay porn “Working Man Trilogy” (L.A. Tool and Die; Kansas City Trucking Co.; and El Paso Wrecking Co.) as well as a bunch of low-budget horror movies under the name, “Tim Kincaid.” (Thanks, Matt!)

The Woman in the Costume

“Look for the woman in the dress. If there is no woman, there is no dress.” –Coco Chanel “The core of the issue for me is the integrity of the superhero and that’s something that I take very seriously and the costume figures prominently in that. It would have to. And that’s why with Star […]

“Jeez, I can write a better story than that!”

At a panel discussion, Octavia Butler reveals how she became a writer, watching a movie and thinking, “Jeez, I can write a better story than that!”  Butler is interviewed by Charlie Rose in 2000. And a clip of her from a television documentary on science fiction.

The Gamer Girl Manifesto

Gamer Girls remind everyone, “Don’t be racist. Don’t be homophobic. Don’t be sexist. Follow that code and everybody will have a good time. And when someone breaks that code, CALL THEM OUT. Don’t just let it ride.” And the comments bear out why it has to be said again and again.

Archie Meets KISS Preview

Comic Book Resources has a preview of Archie Meets KISS, another creative comic from Archie, which recently announced Kevin Keller’s wedding to Clay Walker and published an ambitious parallel timeline story where Archie was married to Betty in one life and Veronica in another. For their part, KISS has been in comic storylines since the […]

RIP, Ken Russell

Filmmaker Ken Russell has died at the age of 84. The extremely prolific Russell’s films include:  Tommy; The Harry Palmer film, Billion Dollar Brain; Women in Love; The Music Lovers;  The Devils; Altered States; Crimes of Passion; and Lair of the White Worm.  The Guardian has an obituary and Mubi has a collection of articles […]

Interview with Maurice Sendak

Listen to Fresh Air‘s interview with Maurice Sendak about his secret stash of work, death, this time that is for him and him alone and his favorite lines in his new book, Bumble-ardy

Gothtober 2009

It’s Gothtober Time, check out the screenings at this year’s Gothtober Drive-In!

Sexploitation that’s not Sexist?

The makers of Xena: Warrior Princess and Hercules: The Legendary Journeys have made a sexploitation lesbian heist movie in homage to Russ Meyer: Bitch Slap. It’s no Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! but it’s the movie Quentin Tarantino wishes he could make with Zoe Bell doing the stunt choreography. 

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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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