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

“You Don’t Have To Be Eurocentric To Make It To The Future”

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“’You don’t have to be Eurocentric to make it to the future,’ said Andrea Hairston, a professor of theater and Afro-American studies at Smith College in Massachusetts, whose side gig happens to be writing award-winning science fiction. ‘We have to figure out how to be different together. [And t]hat is what storytelling is all about, […]

“Googling Nazca”

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A gallery of images of the Nazca Lines taken via Google Maps. (via @mattstaggs) Like this:Like Loading…

“Tiger Lily doesn’t equal Human Torch”

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“And bottom line, if you feel so disenfranchised by one role out of TONS of roles being changed up ethnically, if you are saying you can’t possibly relate to a character who is another race from you, well, I think that’s more a problem of your own than anything else. But don’t worry, the stastics […]

RIP, Tom Laughlin

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Actor/writer/director/producer Tom Laughlin has died. Laughlin is best known for his Billy Jack series of films. The New York Times and The LA Times have obituaries. NPR remembers Laughlin. Here’s a promotional short from Warner Bros. featuring a demonstration from Master Bong Soo Han. And Laughlin talks about the Billy Jack films on Good Morning, […]

RIP, Michael Ansara

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Actor Michael Ansara has died. While Ansara had countless television and movie roles, he is probably best known now for his roles as Kang in Star Trek and the Technomage Elric in Babylon 5,  the voice of Mr. Freeze in Batman: The Animated Series and Cochise in the 1950s tv series Broken Arrow. The Texas […]

Strong Female Character

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A little while ago, a friend told me that I was a “strong woman.” It was a compliment and I took it as one. Part of me knows what he means, that I keep trying, that I pick myself up as best I can after things go to hell, that I try to keep moving. […]

The Daughter of Dawn

The 1920 film, Daughter of Dawn has been restored. Daughter of Dawn is set before European settlers landed in the Americas and features a cast of 300 Kiowa and Comanche actors, including the children of Quanah Parker, White and Wandada Parker, and also includes footage of the Tipi with Battle Pictures, an important part of […]

“They All Sing Yabba-Dabba-Doo!”

Black Lodge Singers perform the theme from The Flintstones pow-wow style (via @WFMU). Like this:Like Loading…

Crimewave!

It seems like when people think of comics, they think of superheroes, but there was a long time when crime and comics were synonymous. And now it seems like some of the best comics around are crime books. There’s a new golden age, a new crimewave in comics. I’ve been meaning to write about it, […]

“The Pagan Pilgrim”

Ronnie Pontiac writes a fascinating essay on Thomas Morton, inciter of Puritans and founder of the Enlightenment Utopian experiment Ma-re Mount, “the American melting pot boiling hot” in the New World: “In May 1627 Tom decided to celebrate May Day with the locals. There would be food, drink, a maypole, music, dancing, and hopefully wenching; […]

RIP, Frank Pierson

Screenwriter and director Frank Pierson has died. Pierson wrote such films as Dog Day Afternoon, Cat Ballou, The Anderson Tapes and Cool Hand Luke. Pierson also wrote teleplays for Have Gun Will Travel, The Naked City, Lakota Woman: The Siege at Wounded Knee, Mad Men and The Good Wife. The Hollywood Reporter has more on […]

“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 […]

Disney Princesses in Period Dress

Illustrator Claire Hummel reinterprets Disney princess costumes to make them more historically accurate. (via The Bookshelves of Lesser Doom) Like this:Like Loading…

Badass Women of the Pulp Era

14 Badass Women of the Pulp Era from around the world.  Like this:Like Loading…

10 Comics I Liked in 2010

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Sometimes it’s easy to forget why I like comics and 2010 was a particularly tough year, in comics and otherwise. But here are 10 that reminded me why I do like them. There’s a lot of crime, anthropomorphic animals, gorgeous art, silly fun, people dealing with things the best they can, and plenty of Greg […]

“Tresspassing on Sacred Ground”

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As part of TCM‘s Race & Hollyood: Native American Images on Film” festival, Movie Morlocks has posted part 1 of an essay on Native Americans in horror movies from The Werewolf a 1913 Canadian silent to J.T. Petty’s The Burrowers and Twilight: New Moon: “The inclusion of Native Americans into actual horror movies boils down […]

VARIETY PAK

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It’s been just over a year since I became a partner in the Mayfair Theatre, Ottawa’s oldest operating cinema. We’ve shown a lot of films in that time (we average about 40 a month), and I’ve written the synopsis for almost every one. Like this:Like Loading…

The Avatar Treatment

Pascal writes a treatment for Avatar by making a few changes to Pocahontas. Like this:Like Loading…

Talking More Twilight

Gabe Lezra hits a nerve when he writes about the white man’s burden in Twilight and New Moon and wonders why there’s no Team Bella and the comments at The Wesleyan Argus are all kerfuffled. Like this:Like Loading…

Shooting Fully Automatic

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When James Warren and Archie Goodwin started Blazing Combat in 1965, they made a war comic that might, in Warren’s Words, love guns but hate bullets (195), depicting war as sometimes necessary but always hateful and horrific. Blazing Combat was fully automatic for four issues Like this:Like Loading…

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    Comics Alliance suggests seven Star Wars comics to read before Disney makes them disappear. (Including a comic by one of Comics Editor Carol’s favorite creative teams–Corinna Bechko and Gabriel Hardman). “Starting in 2015, Disney’s handing the publishing of any and all new Star Wars comics over to Marvel Comics, with an all new, optimized-for-corporate-synergy canon that will spread across all their media platforms. Anything that’s not a movie (especially one of the Original Trilogy movies), or a Clone Wars cartoon, will be unceremoniously Order 66-ed out of existence, giving future filmmakers a clean-ish slate to make movies (and money) on. But what about all those Dark Horse comics? That’s where we come in with 7 Dark Horse Star Wars comics you should track down before they disappear.”

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    At the New York Observer, Ashley Steves writes about Craig Ferguson’s The Late, Late Show. “No one could ever prepare you for watching an episode of Ferguson’s Late Late Show. A friend could not sit you down and explain it (“Well, it’s really meta and deconstructive and there’s a horse”). There was really no good way to recommend it. It was something you discovered and became a part of. You had to stumble upon it on your own, perhaps restless or bored or simply curious while flipping through channels when your eye quickly caught some of the madness. And that’s the best part. It was an unexpected gift. At its worst, it could still send you to bed grinning and comforted. At its best, it was art. It was silly and fun and truly not like any other late night show.”

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    At Comics Alliance, Chris Sims interviews Ed Brubaker about his work on Batman, Gotham Central and Catwoman. “When I look back at [Catwoman], I’m so proud of the first 25 issues of that book, when I felt like everything was firing on all cylinders. I probably should’ve left when Cameron Stewart left instead of sticking around. That’s one of those things I look back at and think “Ah, I had a perfect run up until then!” (Incidentally, Comics Editor Carol’s first piece for the Gutter was about Brubaker’s first 25 issues of Catwoman).

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    At Sequential Art, Greg Carpenter writes a lovely piece about Charles Schulz’ Peanuts. “After only two installments, Schulz had solidified the rules for his comic strip.  Random acts of cruelty would punctuate this irrational world, and Schulz’s trapped little adults would be forced to act out simulations of human behavior, using hollow gestures to try to create meaning in a universe where no other meaning was evident.  If Shakespeare’s Macbeth had been a cartoonist, the results of his daily grind, “tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow,” might have looked somewhat similar—each character a “poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage” until he or she was heard from no more.”

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    The Smithsonian Magazine has a gallery of US spy satellite launches. “Just as NASA creates specially designed patches for each mission into space, [National Reconnaissance Office] follows that tradition for its spy satellite launches. But while NASA patches tend to feature space ships and American flags, NRO prefers wizards, Vikings, teddy bears and the all-seeing eye. With these outlandish designs, a civilian would be justified in wondering if NRO is trolling.”

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    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 key individuals and tribes. What it showed me was that you had to identify and build relationships with those opinion-formers – the DJs, the music industry, the fashion industry, the underground media.” (via @timmaughan)

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