The Cultural Gutter

geek chic with mad technique

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

Kansas City’s Drag Balls

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Private Birthday Party has a collection of photographs from Kansas City’s Drag Balls in the 1950s and 1960s.

“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, […]

Cruising at the Projection Booth

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This week The Projection Booth looks at William Friedkin’s Cruising (1979), with discussion of the controversy surrounding the film and interviews Don Scardino, Randy Jurgensen, & Travis Mathews about the Sixties and Seventies New York, making the film and making Interior. Leather. Bar.

Sexy Supervillian Pin-Ups

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Evan Munday has created a gallery of his supervillain erotica. “[A]s I noted in one of the oddest interviews I’ve ever done, with Playboy‘s sort-of-safe-for-work site, comic readers are used to having their female characters overtly sexualized. Despite the spandex and bulging muscles, male characters just aren’t treated the same way by illustrators. So at […]

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!  

Following How Your Dreams Make You Want To Be

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I’m going to talk a bit about Adventure Time, but I want to tell a story first. When my nephew was a toddler, he liked to play princesses with his mother and me. Usually, we were all beautiful princesses. Once, to show his displeasure, his mother was a “Bad Princess,” which actually was kind of […]

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 […]

Loving the Alien: Superman and Masculinity

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Since alex, Chris and I decided to write about masculinity this month, I’ve been thinking about Superman. Actually, I’ve been thinking and rethinking Superman almost as long as I’ve been writing for The Cultural Gutter. I began really thinking about him while watching Justice League and Justice League Unlimited. I’ve spent most of my life—and […]

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 […]

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. […]

Favorite Film Discoveries of 2012

The Movie Morlocks’ R. Emmet Sweeney shares his favorite film discoveries of 2012.

“Visibility is Indivisible from Visibility”

Bound, Matrix and Cloud Atlas co-director, Lana Wachowski talks about growing up trans, suicide, and becoming a role model in her speech accepting the Visibility Award at the Human Rights Campaign’s annual gala dinner. The transcript is here.  

Two Interviews with Divine

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

Wonder Women! Being the Hero of Your Own Story

Comics Editor Carol did a quick review of Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines for the ActionFest Blog.  “[I]t’s not just about letting little girls know that they can be heroes, that they can be anything they want. It’s about knowing that as adults we have great power and great responsibility.  We can […]

James Deen, A Star in Straight Porn That Women Like

Slate ponders a Good Living interview with James Deen, porn star, and “porn that women like–why does it make men so uncomfortable.”

“Sometimes It Doesn’t Get Better”

In discussing Astron-6′s horror movie, Father’s Day, Dave Pace notes that what seems to make viewers uncomfortable is not the violence but the nudity, the male nudity.  “What I don’t understand is the uncomfortable shifting around and the outright revulsion you will hear for the scenes where you just see regular naked men. I also […]

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 […]

“Girls Will Be Boys”

There’s a fantastic gallery of actresses portraying male characters including four adaptations of Viktor and Victoria at Movie Morlocks. Kimberly Lindbergs writes a little on each performance and film, too.

“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.

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    At Salon, Matt Ashby and Brendan Carroll write about irony and cynicism, sincerity and honesty in art: “At one time, irony served to challenge the establishment; now it is the establishment. The art of irony has turned into ironic art. Irony for irony’s sake. A smart aleck making bomb noises in front of a city in ruins. But irony without a purpose enables cynicism. It stops at disavowal and destruction, fearing strong conviction is a mark of simplicity and delusion.

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    Eastern Kicks has an interview–and a gallery of photos of–director Park Joon-hung.

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    Get ready for a new season of Mad Men with this collection of Absurdist Mad Men promotions, which the Cultural Gutter participates in and even encourages. Duck Phillips rules an undersea advertizing empire and “Pete feels slighted.”

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    Some interesting thoughts on South Korean cinema with “A Dish Best Served Bloody: Revenge In South Korean Cinema” and this Cannes program piece on Arirang (1926) and the history of Korean film.

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    Al-Jazeera America profiles John Pirozzi’s Don’t Think I’ve Forgotten, a documentary about Cambodian rock’n'roll and musicians who survived the Khmer Rouge. “Until 1975, music thrived in Phnom Penh, with clubs full night after night, crowds gathering in the streets around transistor radios to hear the latest releases, and the biggest stars being feted by the king. Enter the Khmer Rouge, communism and the war on intellectuals. Between 1975 and 1979, about 2 million Cambodians, roughly a third of the population, were rounded up and either were killed or died of starvation. Artists were particularly disliked by the Khmer Rouge, which saw creativity as decadence: Almost all of the biggest names perished during that era.”

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    Architecture Daily has an excerpt from City of Darkness detailing the development of Hong Kong’s Kowloon Walled City. “By the 1970s, the City had filled out to its maximised form, with buildings of up to 14 storeys in height, and virtually no ground level daylight penetration save at its centre. Its density was estimated to have reached a mere 7 square feet per person. The yamen area had somehow remained an exception to the vertical development, leased to a missionary society in 1949 for use as an almshouse and old people’s home. Eventually, it defined the sole substantial void within the Walled City, with visible sky above it.”

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