The Cultural Gutter

going through pop culture's trash since 2003

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

Number Dumber


This month’s Guest Star is John Crye, a storyteller, filmmaker and producer and a long time friend of the Gutter. For as long as I can remember, I have loved movies. I consumed all things cinema long before I was involved in the business of entertainment, even before my first jobs managing a video store […]

“The Marvel-Industrial Complex”


In “The Marvel-Industrial Complex” James Rocchi has some thoughts about Disney’s Marvel movies–and some things to say in response to the responses to his essay. “In the ’80s, Spiderman told me that with great power comes great responsibility; Marvel Studios, via Disney, has money and power both, and we’ve given it to them; as consumers […]

“No Room For Failure”


MTV News spoke to directors Lexi Alexander, Brenda Chapman and Yulin Kuang about “what they thought of MacLaren’s departure [from Wonder Woman] and how they think it speaks to the bigger problem in the industry – namely, the lack of opportunities women have in film.” If you’d like to know more about MacLaren’s career, including […]



NPR interviews Hank Willis Thomas on his exhibition showcasing images of white women in advertizing. It’s a follow up to his 2008 exhibition, “Unbranded: Reflections in Black by Corporate America.” “I think what happens with ads — when we put text and logos on them, we do all the heavy lifting of making them make […]

Seijun Suzuki’s Story of Sorrow and Sadness


“Commercial cinema has predictably chosen not to bite the hand that feeds it, so it’s simultaneously inspiring and also kind of embarrassing to see a movie like Seijun Suzuki’s Story of Sorrow and Sadness. Rarely has a mainstream commercial release been as rabid in its attack, and as thoughtful in its critique, of our dystopian […]

Anything Can Happen In Riverdale

Fiona Staples

I never expected to be reading Archie comics. Archie Andrews’ irresistible appeal to ladies mystified me and I came late to an appreciation for soap operas and straight melodrama. Then there was residual stuff around romance, a punk rock hostility towards the wholesome squares, a dash of internalized sexism mixed with gender dysphoria and a […]

VCR Games Super Montage!

A video tribute to interactive VCR games including: Nightmare (1991), The Fisherman VCR Bible Game (1989), Rich Little’s Charades (1985), Wayne’s World VCR Game (1992), Star Trek: The Next Generation VCR Game (1995) and Skull and Crossbones (1988). (Thanks, Beth!)

“Level Up: How PlayStation Infiltrated Youth Culture”


At The Guardian, Keith Stuart and Steve Boxer look at the history of PlayStation.“Having been part of the late 80s rave and underground-clubbing scene, I recognised how it was influencing the youth market. In the early 90s, club culture started to become more mass market, but the impetus was still coming from the underground, from […]

The De-Radicalization of American Girl Dolls


At The Atlantic, Amy Schiller writes about Mattel’s changes to American Girl Dolls line.  from teaching girls to understand thorny historical controversies and build political consciousness” to customizable accessories reflecting their owners’ own lives. Alexandra Petri writes “Even more terrible things are happening to the American Girl brand than you thought” at The Washington Post. […]

A Little Halloween History


Rosie Cima writes a little bit about the history of Halloween including a look at seasonal stores, sexy costumes and the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. (Thanks, Paula!)

D&D Module Walkthroughs

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Artist Jason Thompson creates illustrated walkthroughs of a Dungeons & Dragons game modules. And for more retro gaming fun, Retroist has a 1993 video TSR produced as a tutorial for the boardgame, Dragon Strike, and here is a trailer for TSR’s Wild Space. (via SharpCrye and Gravediggers Local)

“Revealing the Secrets of the Modern Movie Poster”

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Former graphic designer for Intralink Film Graphic Design and current Google graphic designer Alex Griendling talks about designing film posters and campaigns at The Art House.

RIP, Anthony Goldschmidt

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Graphic designer Anthony Goldschmidt has died. Goldschmidt’s company Intralink Film Graphic Design was the first to offer poster design as well as titles and trailers. Intralink created posters for countless films and Goldschmidt himself designed the titles for films including Young Frankenstein (1974), Blazing Saddles (1974) and Stargate (1994). The Hollywood Reporter, The Wrap and […]

RIP, Massimo Vignelli


Designer Massimo Vignelli has died. Fast Company Design, The Smithsonian Magazine and The New York Times have obituaries. The Verge shares a gallery of his work from the New York subway system map to Bloomingdale’s bags to American Airlines’ logo. Here Vignelli talks about design and his career.

Operation Scraping Netflix’s Data


“This database probing told me three things: 1) Netflix had an absurdly large number of genres, an order of magnitude or two more than I had thought, 2) it was organized in a way that I didn’t understand, and 3) there was no way I could go through all those genres by hand. But I […]

“Why Marketers Fear Female Geeks”


At How Not To Suck At Game Design, Anjin writes about marketing, cycles of exclusion and what to do about it: “Yes, excluding people based on demographic data makes sense to a lot of people in marketing. It’s considered a best practice and it actually is a pretty reliable way of increasing profit margins. And […]

Two Female Authors Talk About Sexism, Being Out and Self-Promotion


At The Toast, author Sarah Rees Brennan writes about promoting one’s work and  sexism.  And author Malinda Lo writes a companion piece about promoting one’s work, being out as a Queer author, heterosexism, homophobia and sexism.



Ursula Le Guin talks about blurbs: “The trouble is, these days, that any moderately successful author who ever blurbed a book is at this very moment being approached by other authors and probably some editors — and not two or three of them a month, the way it was ten years ago, but many, many, […]

“DC Comics and ‘The Normal Course of Business'”


At Comics Alliance,  Andrew Wheeler writes about DC Comics and its many crises:  “With almost all 52 books designed to appeal to the taste of one type of man, it’s inevitable that creators with their own ideas and stories would chafe in such an environment. It’s inevitable that diversity would die in such an environment. I […]

“A Day Inside Comic-Con’s Hall H: Worshipping in the Ultimate Movie Church”

Todd VanDerWerff spends a day in San Diego Comic Con’s Hall H and has some interesting observations about the film industry, fan culture, sexism and “Worshipping in the Ultimate Movie Church.”

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    Hyperallergic has a gallery of astronomical and cosmological illustrations from photographer Michael Benson’s books, Cosmographics: Picturing Space Through Time. (Thanks, Stephanie!)


    A homophobic Tumblr post becomes Queer dystopian adventure fiction in two responses. Behold! (Thanks, Adele!)


    Tony Zhou has a new video up at Every Frame A Painting. This time, he looks at Buster Keaton and, “The Art Of The Gag.”


    At Dirge Magazine, friend of the Gutter Less Lee Moore writes about the cinema of Richard Kern. “My introduction to Richard Kern was an issue of Spin magazine from the mid-1980s. Having recently fallen under the spell of the feral pleasures of Scraping Foetus Off The Wheel – a.k.a. JG Thirlwell – I was intrigued by lurid descriptions of pornographic short films featuring Thirlwell and paramour/collaborator Lydia Lunch, whose snarky sound bites I scrawled in the margins of my diaries.”


    Art Of The Title looks the opening credits for The Man In The High Castle, True Detective and at Momentum, Alex Maragos interviews Andrew Geraci about making the opening credits for House Of Cards.


    ‘The recent rise of Native-produced sci-fi films is more than an academic fascination. These diverse set of films have the power to not only help us to reimagine our assumptions about the futures of Indigenous peoples, but also to serve as a cultural mirror enabling us to reassess the Western sci-fi futures we have internalized. These processes are discussed by Native scholars such as Grace Dillon (Anishinaabe) as “Indigenous futurisms.”’ Read more of William Lempert’s piece here and make sure click through to see trailers and films. (via @DarkMattersProj)


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