The Cultural Gutter

taking the dumb out of fandom

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

The Spymaster and The Cuckoo

“This, then, is the story of Maxwell Knight—the man called M—and a cuckoo called Goo. Knight was a tall, patrician British intelligence officer in charge of MI5 departments dealing with counter-subversion on home ground. And yes, as ‘M’ he was the inspiration for James Bond’s controller.” Helen MacDonald recounts the story in an excellent piece. […]

Diverse Writers, Diverse Readers and Happily Ever Afters

NPR talks about romance written by and for people of color with authors Brenda Jackson, Michelle Monkou, Camy Tang and romance critic Sarah Wendell at the Romance Writers of American convention. (The radio piece is stronger than the written synopsis). Like this:Like Loading…

Superman vs. The Ku Klux Klan

Listen to Superman defend Tommy Lee and his family from the Ku Klux Klan in the 1946 Adventures of Superman storyline, “The Clan of the Fiery Cross” at the Internet Archive. Like this:Like Loading…

WJSV, Washington

“Thursday, September 21st, 1939, radio station WJSV in Washington, D.C., recorded their entire broadcast day — from sign on, to sign off.” You can listen at The Internet Archive. (via @SteveSilberman) Like this:Like Loading…

Loving the Alien: Superman and Masculinity

LTA clark kent thumb

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 […]

RIP, Dear Abby

Columnist Pauline Phillips has died. Ms. Phillips was best known for her advice column, “Dear Abby.” The New York Times has an obituary. At NPR’s Monkey See blog, Linda Holmes writes about why people ask strangers for advice, noting that it’s a “curiously optimistic thing to do.” Like this:Like Loading…

50 Wonderful Things in 2012

Linda Holmes shares 50 wonderful things at NPR’s Monkey See blog. Like this:Like Loading…

Chester Himes on the BBC

Listen to BBC Radio 4’s production of Chester Himes’ crime classic, Cotton Comes to Harlem. Only available for a short time. (Thanks, Andrew Nette) Like this:Like Loading…

Detective Ice King, The Radio Play

Video of participants at the 2012 San Diego Comic Con Adventure Time panel performing, “Detective Ice King, The Radio Play.” Like this:Like Loading…

The Gothic Imagination

BBC Radio 4 presents dramatizations of Frankenstein and Dracula, as well as extras including discussions of the difficulty of performing Frankenstein’s Creature, Vitalism, and who Stoker might’ve based his Count on. Click through to The Gothic Imagination. (via @booksadventures) Like this:Like Loading…

Horrible Imaginings Art Show and Film Festival, 2012

Horrible Imaginings Film Festival Director Miguel Rodriguez discusses horror and the festival with KPBS’ Beth Accomando.  The Art Gallery opening is on Oct. 24 and the official screenings begin Nov. 11–participating filmmakers have been posting their trailers here. (Tickets are available here).   Like this:Like Loading…

RIP, Donald Sobol

Author Donald Sobol has died.  NPR has an obituary.  At  All Things Considered, crime novelist Jonathan Hayes  remembers Sobol’s famous character, Encyclopedia Brown. “I loved these stories because they were about a kid like me, a kid who solved mysteries with logic and common sense, often exposing the hypocrisy of foolishly dismissive adults. I loved […]

Two Interviews with Divine

Two interviews with Divine from a 1981 documentary and on NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross. Like this:Like Loading…

Star Wars: The Radio Play

7 animation voice actors–including Tara Strong and Kevin Conroy–perform Star Wars at Emerald City Comic Con. (Thanks, Miguel) Like this:Like Loading…

RIP, Maurice Sendak

Illustrator and author Maurice Sendak has died.  There are obituaries in The New York Times, The Guardian. The Onion has an obituary as well as reader responses that Sendak would likely appreciate. NPR’s Fresh Air devotes an entire program to Terry Gross’ interviews with Sendak, reflecting their unique relationship. Check through our archives for some […]

Interview with Steven Moffat

Steven Moffat talks about Doctor Who and Sherlock.  “I’m a geek. I’m a writer. I spent all of my time in my childhood obsessing about Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Who. I was alone, I was an outsider — what do you expect?” Like this:Like Loading…

I, Claudius

Did you know there was a version of  I, Claudius shot by Josef von Sternberg and starring Charles Laughton as Claudius? More in a review of the new boxset of the 1970s BBC miniseries. Like this:Like Loading…

Looking Back On The Snowy Day

It’s the 50th anniversary of Ezra Jack Keats’ The Snowy Day.  All Things Considered looks back on the classic picturebook about a boy named Peter encountering snow and interviews Deborah Pope, the executive director of the Ezra Keats’ Foundation about the implications of quietly introducing a non-stereotypical African-American child in a children’s book. Like this:Like […]

Interview with George Takei

George Takei is interviewed on NPR’s Here and Now. Takei discusses his experiences growing up in an internment camp during World War II. Like this:Like Loading…

Suda51’s Sdatcher

Based on the Konami game, Snatcher, Suda51’s radio drama, Sdatcher, is about a man tasked with destroying robots who have infiltrated human society. Sure, it’s very Blade Runner, but it’s fun and translated into English by Marc Laidlaw. (via Tim at The Hand Eye Society) Like this:Like Loading…

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    Video of illustrator and character designer Katsuya Terada drawing and talking about his work. (via @aicnanime)

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    A 1,300-year-old Egyptian book of spells has been translated. “Among other things, the ‘Handbook of Ritual Power,’ as researchers call the book, tells readers how to cast love spells, exorcise evil spirits and treat “black jaundice,” a bacterial infection that is still around today and can be fatal.”

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    Zack and Steve go through and review Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Module S-1: The Tomb Of Horrors at WTF, D&D?!…so you don’t have to.

    “Steve: Most of the opening paragraph is a warning about difficulty. ‘You’ll never find the demi-lich’s secret chamber’ and the tomb is fraught with “terrible traps, poison gases, and magical protections.” It’s telling you not to play the adventure.

    Zack: Not just in that part. In the DM’s notes section at the start, Gygax explicitly warns Dungeon Masters that if your players enjoy killing monsters they will be unhappy with the adventure.

    Steve: ‘This module is only for parties that enjoy dying immediately and repeatedly.’ Oh, man, we’re not going to play though this thing are we?”

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    Dr. Nerdlove takes a brief break from helping the nerd get the girl to address something that’s been bugging him. “Pardon me while I go off on a bit of a media criticism/ rant here. So I’ve been enjoying the *hell* out of The Flash lately except for one thing: Iris Allen. Her character is screen death; every time she’s around, everything comes to a screeching halt.

    The problem is: it’s not her fault, it’s the writers. Rather like Laurel Lance in the first two seasons of Arrow, she has Lois Lane syndrome. Her (like Laurel and Lois) entire character arc is based around being ignorant of events that literally everyone else in her life is aware of.”

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    Get your own copy of the Satanic Temple’s The Satanic Children’s Big Book of Activities!

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    At The Atlantic, Ta-Nehisi Coates writes about Dr. Doom: “Comics are so often seen as the province of white geeky nerds. But, more broadly, comics are  the literature of outcasts, of pariahs, of Jews, of gays, of blacks. It’s really no mistake that we saw ourselves in Doom, Magneto or Rogue.”

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