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

“An Alternate History of Flappy Bird”

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At Radiator Design Blog, Robert Yang writes about the indie game Flappy Bird and the harassment of its designer, Dong Ngyuen. “I suspect that if Nguyen were a white American, this would’ve been the story of a scrappy indie who managed to best Zynga with his loving homage to Nintendo’s apparent patent on green pixel […]

Nettrice Gaskins Explores AfroFuturism In Virtual Worlds

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At IAfroFuturism, Ytasha interviews Nettrice Gaskins about AfroFuturism, art, math, science and virtual worlds. “I had to figure out how to immerse those who weren’t familiar with Afrofuturism using the virtual space. I wanted the avatars in the space to have an experience. I put up a gallery that allowed you to manipulate objects. I […]

Forty-One Black Women In Horror Writing

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Sumiko Saulson shares a list of twenty Black women in horror writing. “February is Black History Month here in the United States. It is also Women in Horror Month (WiHM). As an Ambassador for WiHM, and as a woman of color (I am Black and Jewish) who is a horror writer, I am poignantly aware […]

Horror, Black Female Identity and Taking Agency

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Graveyard Shift Sisters shares Kinitra Brooks’ “close examination of the books of Tananarive Due, her African Immortals series that centers around the main character Jessica Jacobs-Wolde and L.A. Banks’ Vampire Huntress Legend series focus on Damali Richards and discusses how speculative fiction is ripe for transformative work on Black female identity, in particular, taking agency in our […]

A Treasury of African-American Films Made For African-American Audiences

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The Riverbends Genealogical and Historical Society has a collection of “race movies”: “The ‘race movie’ or ‘race film’ was a film genre which existed in the United States between about 1915 and 1950. It consisted of films produced for an all-black audience, featuring black casts. In all, approximately five hundred race films were produced. Of […]

RIP, Sheila Guyse

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Actor and singer Sheila Guyse has died. Guyse appeared on Broadway, most notably in “Finian’s Rainbow” and in “race films” with all-African-American casts catering to African-American audiences in the 1940s and 1950s. The New York Times has an obituary. Nina Mae McKinney has a tribute to Guyse. Here Sheila Guyse performs “Cinderella” with Billy Daniels […]

RIP, Hal Sutherland

Animator, director, Filmation co-founder and painter Hal Sutherland has died. Sutherland is probably best known for Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids, The Archies and Star Trek animated series. Sutherland  Indiewire has an obituary.  StarTrek.com remembers Sutherland. StarTrek.com has a two-part interview with Sutherland here.

“‘Diversity Lounge? PAX has a lot of work to do”

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Leigh Alexander writes about the gaming community, PAX’s proposed “Diversity Lounge” and providing safe, inclusive spaces: “But the ‘Diversity Hub and Lounge’ is vaguely insulting as a concept: What marginalized people want from games events is not necessarily to have special zones just for them, but to feel welcome, wanted and safe at the entire […]

A Few Pagan Reactions to American Horror Story: Coven

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At A Knife And A Quill, Kate Laity shares her thoughts on American Horror Story: Coven:  “I don’t turn to drama series for insightful commentary on witchcraft. I do expect fun and I do expect a little pulse-taking on the state of the nation. Because witchcraft narratives are almost always about notions of female and other […]

Demanding Better Representation

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At XOJane, Chaka Cumberbath demands better representation for Black girl nerds in geek culture: “We can be spunky. We can be vivacious. We can be complicated and beautiful and emotional and flawed and we might be all of those things or none of those things at all, but we deserve to be written. We deserve […]

“Walter White, Angry White Man”

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“If…other antihero shows played off the thrill that results from being able to do anything or take whatever one wants, then Breaking Bad is increasingly about how unpleasant that actually is in real life. Walt’s justifications for why he should have what he wants stem almost entirely from believing that he’s owed in some way, […]

The March: On Chickens, Humanity and Moral Authority

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Other more serious writers have written about Rep. John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell‘s The March, Vol 1. (Top Shelf, 2013) . They’ve written about the audacious presentation of solemn historical material in a graphic novel; John Lewis’ contribution to perfecting the Union;  The March‘s importance in relation to American History and the fiftieth […]

“Geek Racism (A Reaction Based on Experience)”

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At The Fool’s Crusade, B. Easton writes, “I used to be the world’s biggest naïve idealist. Captain America without the irony. Superman before 1980. Yea, that was me. I used to believe that anyone into comics, sci-fi, animation, video games etc., would be automatically ‘better’ than the layperson. I figured that anyone with the mental […]

Anna Gunn’s Character Issue

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Anna Gun writes about the experience of playing Breaking Bad‘s Skyler White and how it trickles into hatred towards her: “I finally realized that most people’s hatred of Skyler had little to do with me and a lot to do with their own perception of women and wives. Because Skyler didn’t conform to a comfortable […]

“Michelle Rodriguez Made Me Cry At Comic-Con”

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Kate Conway writes about how powerful she found the Women Who Kick Ass Panel in San Diego Comic-Con’s Hall C. “These dudes onstage weren’t selling themselves to me; they didn’t even care what I thought. Here we were, in the biggest room at Comic-Con, and I only felt disgust. And then, out came Michelle Rodriguez.”

“The Science of Black Nerds”

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Blerdology’s Kat and Amanda talk to Vibe about “The Science of Black Nerds.” “African Americans present a unique set of perspectives and problems that the larger tech world could never completely and accurately tackle without us. Now, we hack to ask how can we get more African Americans to realize the power and influence they […]

“Japanese Science Fiction of the 1930s”

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Jess Nevins writes about Sato Minoru’s The Foreign Farm (1931), Japanese science fiction in the late Nineteenth and early Twentieth Centuries and “the White Peril.”

White One Hundred

BadAzz MoFo debuts, “White One Hundred: 100 Great Films Starring Only White People”: ” The entire purpose of this project is not to condemn the films and the filmmakers as being racist, but merely to point out the incredible extent of omission that goes on in film, and is accepted as being perfectly normal.” (via […]

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.

“Nerdiness and Whiteness”

The Black Girl Nerds Podcast ponders nerdiness and whiteness: “Does Being Nerdy Mean You ‘Act White?’”

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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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