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

RIP, Robert Drew

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Filmmaker, cinema verité innovator and journalist Robert Drew has died. The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times and The Guardian have obituaries. Grantland has a memoriam of his work and life. “Drew died last week. He was 90. His genre was cinema verité, which is a much more artful way into truth. He made portraits […]

“Love In The Time Of Hollering: The Age Of Enthusiasm”

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At NPR’s Monkeysee blog, Linda Holmes writes about enthusiasm, the outloud internet, broadcast television, premium cable, the Man and many things worth thinking about. “[T]here is a better way forward. Fall in love with things. Try things; dislike some of them. Love people who love things you can’t imagine loving. Be thirsty and brave. Accept […]

“The Aesthetic Politics of Filming Black Skin”

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Ann Hornaday discusses “The Aesthetic Politics of Filming Black Skin”: “For the first hundred years of cinema, when images were captured on celluloid and processed photochemically, disregard for black skin and its subtle shadings was inscribed in the technology itself, from how film-stock emulsions and light meters were calibrated, to the models used as standards […]

Prosthetic Instruments

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Dancers create music with prosthetic instruments. Like this:Like Loading…

“The Changing Shape of Cinema”

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A history of the aspect ratio. “John Hess traces the evolution of the screen shape from the silent film days through the widescreen explosion of the 50s, to the aspect ratio of modern digital cameras.” Like this:Like Loading…

“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 […]

“Enter A Monster”

The Atlantic profiles Spectral Motion, creators of monsters, “effects, and other mechanical grotesqueries that have since become household nightmares, if not names.” Like this:Like Loading…

Protesting CISPA

ZDNet’s Violet Blue offers ways you can join the Apr. 22 protest against The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act. At The Atlantic, Rebecca Greenfield notes that CISPA has “few friends in the Senate” but has the support of “major tech companies”: “Unlike SOPA which was widely condemned in the tech community,  CISPA has the […]

The Sensationalism of Trip To The Moon

“As early as 1929 Kodak identified the potential for colour to affect the emotions. Whilst Kodak developed Sonochrome tints like Rose Doree to ‘quicken the respiration’ and Peachblow for ‘brief, joyous moments’, twenty years before, Méliès applied translucent aniline dyes to create spectacle and to provoke sensation in nascent cinema.” Wendy Haslem writes on the […]

Dystopian Future Round-Up!

This week in Dystopian Future Round-Up: Panopticon Edition: Wired reports on the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency’s work on recording and storing everything people say; and Google Glass is more than unflattering according to Mark Hurst. (Thanks, @oafbot) Like this:Like Loading…

A Talk on 3D Comics

Jason Little talks about 3D comics from Wheatstone to Duchamp to now at Dare2Draw. (via Becky Cloonan) Like this:Like Loading…

What’s New At No Media Kings?

CG Co-Founding Editor Jim Munroe and Matt Hamill have a new text game, Guilded Youth. Meanwhile, Jim’s latest movie, Ghosts With Shit Jobs, is now available on Xbox. Like this:Like Loading…

Acid Burn, Angelina Jolie and Ada Lovelace

Garann writes a tribute to Hackers‘ Acid Burn for Ada Lovelace Day: “There are real women who did hard, under-appreciated work who instilled in me a belief that computer science was noble and beautiful and that I could be a part of it. They came later, though. I found them only because of an absurd […]

The Rise of Women in Tech

Sarah Wenger has made a neat infographic about women in the tech field. Like this:Like Loading…

King of the World 3D

David Bordwell tells the story of digital projection, 3D and how James Cameron lobbied theaters to buy the technology to show the films he wants to make. Meanwhile, Christopher Nolan wants to save 35mm film.  (Thanks, Kimberly Lindbergs!) Like this:Like Loading…

Doing Something Different with Epic Fantasy

Adrian Tchaikovsky plans to scorch epic fantasy’s rolling hills and verdant forests, joining other restless fantasy writers in a revolt against the eternal Middle England of Middle Earth: “In traditional epic fantasy, nothing ever changes. The only person trying to alter the world is the Dark Lord, and to defeat him is to restore the […]

“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. Like this:Like Loading…

A Marriage made in cinematic heaven

Kubrick’s producer sends him a letter about the new discovery of 1976: the Steadicam. Like this:Like Loading…

The Ocean’s Secret Paths

An interactive map of fiber-optic cables running beneath the world’s oceans (and seas). (via etsy) Like this:Like Loading…

Movies and the Joy of Being Alone, Together

Peter Gutierrez writes about the pleasures of watching movies, alone and together: “The more we curl up next to our smart phones and tablets whenever and wherever we want to; the more we crave the spectacle of the premiere, the excitement of that first midnight screening, the sharing of a movie’s emotional ride. Likewise, the […]

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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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