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

inquiry

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

    At Pornokitsch, The Gutter’s own dame with a shady past Carol writes about five films noir.  “Do you want to watch some film noir? I hope so, because I have five films to suggest. Films about dames gone wrong, poor doomed saps, murders, sex and modern knights errant.”

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    At The Alcohol Professor, The Gutter’s own Keith writes about Billie Holiday in a fantastic two-part piece. Part one traces “the history of Billie Holiday and NYC nightlife through the Harlem Renaissance to Café Society.” Part two covers “Billie Holiday, Frank Sinatra and the jazz scene in New York City clubs of a bygone era.”

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    The New Yorker has a profile of author Gene Wolfe. “His narrators may be prophets, or liars, or merely crazy, but somewhere in their stories they help to reveal what Wolfe most wants his readers to know: that compassion can withstand the most brutal of futures and exist on the most distant planets, and it has been part of us since ages long past.”

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    Remezcla has a gallery of Lourdes Grobet’s portraits of luchadores with their families and a bit of an interview with her. (Yes, the luchadores are in their masks and often wearing suits or casual wear, which is the best thing). (Thanks, Matt!) “Father and warrior, the masked wrestler is the perfect metaphor for the duality that Grobet’s photography wants to depict. Her work is resonant because she doesn’t try to demolish the myths that envelop lucha libre – she simply nurtures and expands them in an offbeat way.”

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    At Autostraddle, Heather Hogan has “a Recap of Jem and the Holograms’ Truly Outrageous Lesbianism.” (Thanks, Sara Century!) “If you are a woman over the age of 30, I have some information that is going to send you cartwheeling back to 1987 to high five your young self and shout “We knew it! We knew it!” right in your own tiny gay face: Stormer and Kimber from Jem are truly, outrageously, canonically queer….This is good news. Great news. But it’s not really news news. Of course Stormer and Kimber are gay. They’ve been in love since 1987!”

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    “Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been binge-watching one of the most innovative series on television. Like many of the gems of the current TV renaissance, it features extended narratives with complex plots, intricate backstories, and layered characters. Its approach to storytelling is remarkably adventurous, shattering television, and even cinematic conventions.

     I’m speaking, of course, of General Hospital.” Noah Berlatsky writes about the influence of soap operas on “prestige television” at Quartz. (And make sure to click through to Akash Nikolas’ “Yes, Mad Men is a Soap Opera and that Shouldn’t be an Insult”).
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