The Cultural Gutter

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

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 […]

Secret Agent, Detective, Genius, Jerk: Modernizing Sherlock Holmes

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A man with dark wavy hair wakes up in an iron-framed bed in the middle of a windowless room. He leaps out from under the white sheets and stares intently at a corner of the white ceiling. Suddenly, gracefully, he spins to defeat an invisible opponent in four swift motions, finally falling to his knees […]

“Too Archetypal for their own Good?”

Peter Gutierrez writes about Sherlock Holmes and John Watson and asks, “[S]hould a fan allow for the fact that the archetypal nature of a beloved character naturally, even inevitably, leads to updates that a purist might object to?”

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?”

The Geek Interpreter

From the personal blog of John H. Watson comes the Case of the Geek Interpreter.

RIP, Edward Hardwicke

British actor Edward Hardwicke has died.  He is best known as Dr. John Watson in the 1980s and 1990s BBC Sherlock Holmes series co-starring Jeremy Brett as Holmes.The Guardian has an obituary and here is a video of Hardwicke and Brett interviewed about playing Watson and Holmes.

Elementary

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“We have in our police reports realism pushed to its extreme limits, and yet the result is, it must be confessed, neither fascinating nor artistic.”—Arthur Conan Doyle, “A Case of Identity.” When I wrote about Sherlock Holmes and Kolchak: The Night Stalker: Cry of Thunder, I wrote that I picked up that comic because of […]

A Study in Emerald

Neil Gaiman’s tale of Lovecraftian horror is available as a PDF download of the “daily newspaper for all classes,” The Star of Albion–including ads for such things as “Jekyll Powders.”

The Casefile of Sherlock Holmes and Carl Kolchak, Reporter

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Though I prefer reading —and writing about —comics in collections, I do buy comics in single issues.  Sometimes I need to know what happens next or can’t wait for the collection anymore. Sometimes it’s idle curiosity or the lure of the pretty. But every once in a while, it’s the potential for all-out crazy. I […]

Self-Defence for Gentlemen (and Suffragettes)

Scare off impudent ruffians and defeat any self-styled Goliath with only your cane or umbrella! Learn Bartitsu, the martial art favored by many Victorian (and some Edwardian) ladies and gentlemen! View a short documentary here. (via Kung Fu Cinema)

1910 Is Now

Bully! 1910 is Now with preview pages from The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen–Century: 1910.

Sherlock Holmes vs. Dracula

The year is 1890.  The city, London. Sherlock Holmes vs. Dracula: Is there anything more to say? (Oh, yeah, it’s a radio drama).

The Dead Body Politic

The mystery of Mexico City needs a private eye.

The adage has it that truth is stranger than fiction. I swear that’s true in Mexico. One of my favourite writers, hardboiled crime novelist Paco Ignacio Taibo II, has to struggle to keep up with the absurd plot of his beloved nation. Although Taibo is a fine writer, I come to him more for his […]

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    Jon Peterson discusses how Gary Gygax lost control of Dungeons & Dragons. “What did Gygax see, in that moment? He saw enough shares in play that he stood to lose control of TSR, a company he had founded and transformed into a global brand. But he surely also saw something even more dear at stake: that he might lose control of Dungeons & Dragons.”

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    At Paleofuture, Matt Novak writes about Idiocracy‘s unpleasant implications: “Sure. As an over-the-top comedic dystopia, the movie is actually enjoyable. But the movie’s introduction makes it an unnerving reference to toss around as our go-to insult….Unlike other films that satirize the media and the soul-crushing consequences of sensationalized entertainment (my personal favorite being 1951′s Ace in the Hole), Idiocracy lays the blame at the feet of an undeserved target (the poor) while implicitly advocating a terrible solution (eugenics). The movie’s underlying premise is a fundamentally dangerous and backwards way to understand the world.” (via The Projection Booth)

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    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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