The Cultural Gutter

the cult in your pop culture

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

Prosthetic Instruments

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Dancers create music with prosthetic instruments.

“If it wasn’t them, they’d be playing their song”

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Stephen Colbert talks about Daft Punk, among other things, on the Paul Mercurio Show: “Well, I’m beginning to see why they don’t do TV.”

RIP, Karen Black

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Actress Karen Black has died. She’s best known to genre fans for her work in Trilogy Of Terror, but she also starred in Burnt Offerings, Airport 1975,  Nashville, and Five Easy Pieces. The Vault of Horror remembers Black. The LA Times and New York Times have obituaries. And here is an interview with Black, conducted by […]

Plus-Sized Divas and Beauty Queens

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The Projection Booth has been busy, with a bunch of new podcasts up, including episodes dedicated to a documentary on Divine and “There She is,” a documentary about plus-sized beauty queens. Listen to them!  

“Kenneth Anger: How I Made Lucifer Rising

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Kenneth Anger talks about making Lucifer Rising (1966): “I used a bit of deception to film it in Egypt. I said I was doing a documentary on ancient Egyptian beliefs and needed to film in the actual settings: in front of the Sphinx, at Karnak, along the Nile where you see beautiful ruined temples. The […]

Giant Mr. Darcy, All-Out Pride Attack!

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Please view these pictures of Giant Mr. Darcy from Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice rising out of the Serpentine in Hyde Park while listening to this orchestral medley from the Godzilla soundtrack.

RIP, Esther Williams

Actress, singer and swimming champion, Esther Williams has died. Williams starred in elaborate mid-Twentieth Century MGM musicals with water set-pieces. The New York Times and The Hollywood Reporter have obituaries. Here’s Williams’ segment in That’s Entertainment! (1974).

Teddy Girls

A gallery and some information about the British Teddy Girls of the 1950s. (Thanks, Keith!)

“15 Minutes with Doc Hammer and Jackson Publick”

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Less Lee Moore interviews Doc Hammer and Jackson Publick about The Venture Bros. “We started discussing how they work and what drives them and eventually got into the important stuff: Kajagoogoo concerts, whether or not Trent Reznor is a poseur, and Gary Numan.”

Black Women in Heavy Metal

The Black Girl Nerds Podcast discusses Black girls and women in the Heavy Metal industry with author and journalist Laina Dawes and Ursula “She-Wolf” Parson from Hear Evil News.

“Space Oddity”

Commander Chris Hadfield performs David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” in space.

Collaborators

Paul Williams, Nile Rodgers and Giorgio Moroder talk about their careers, music and working with Daft Punk. (via Daily Grindhouse)

Greil Marcus SVA Commencement Speech

At the School of Visual Art, Greil Marcus delivers a commencement speech discussing “high art” vs. “low art,” art, and influence. (Thanks, Andrew!)

Chromatophores + “Insane In The Membrane”

Scientists hooked a squid up to an iPod. This is what happened.

On The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes

“Of course I have a copy of The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes on video, but I don’t watch it very often. I even have, on tape now, the audio and video versions of those missing scenes. But it comforts me to know that they are still incomplete, and that there remain other scenes from […]

RIP, Deanna Durbin

Actress and singer Deanna Durbin has died. The Los Angeles Times and The Guardian have obituaries. Audie Cornish and Melissa Block remember Durbin on NPR.  Here Deanna Durbin sings, “Good-Bye” in Because Of  Him (1946)

Interview with Kim Gordon

“What the breach of generations shows is that there’s more than one way to be feminist.” Lizzie Goodman interviews musician and artist, Kim Gordon.

“They All Sing Yabba-Dabba-Doo!”

Black Lodge Singers perform the theme from The Flintstones pow-wow style (via @WFMU).

RIP, Annette Funicello

Actress and singer Annette Funicello has died. The New York Times has an obituary and The Los Angeles Times has an appreciation. NPR’s Fresh Air has reposted a 1994 interview with Funicello. Here she sings, “Pineapple Princess.”

Flappers!

The Flapper Girl has amazing resources on Twenties and Thirties art, design, illustration, millinery, and, especially, Flappers. Meanwhile, The Library of Congress has a sweet selection of articles on “The Rise of the Flapper!“

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    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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    At RogerEbert.com, Alan Zilberman explores the history of the eye in cinema from Carl Theodor Dreyer’s The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928) to Mark Cahill’s I Origins (2014). (via Matt Zoller Seitz)

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    At Never Get Off The Bus, Debbie Moon writes about Captain America: First Avenger. “When adapting existing material, it’s easy to assume that in order to reach point F, you simply have to work through points A – E. To set up Steve Rogers in the modern world, simply romp briskly through everything that happened before he got there. But your character may not be undergoing a single united emotional journey during that period. “

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