The Cultural Gutter

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

Line Up for the TIFF 2014 Vanguard Program

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Here are the films playing the Vanguard program at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival: Spring; Luna; Hyena; Goodnight, Mommy / Ich Seh, Ich Seh; Alleluia; The Duke Of Burgundy; Over Your Dead Body; Shrew’s Nest; They Have Escaped; Waste Land; The World of Kanako; and The Voices. (Trailers added as they become available).

Movies! Movies! Movies!

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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.

Stories Are Important

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This week SF/F Editor Emeritus James Schellenberg returns as a Guest Star! Stories are important, we all know this. I hasten to add: and they should be fun too, otherwise why bother reading them? Every once in a while, I run across a new author that balances “something to say” and “have fun saying it” […]

RIP, Meshach Taylor

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Actor Meshach Taylor has died. Taylor had roles in Mannequin (1987), Designing Women, Buffalo Bill, Criminal Minds, Ned’s Classified School Survival Guide, The Urban Gardener with Meshach Taylor and the Broadway production of Beauty And The Beast. The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times and NPR have obituaries. Here Wendy Williams talks with Meshach […]

“Saying goodbye to a galaxy far, far away (for now)”

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At The AV Club, Sonia Saraiya bids farewell to Star Wars: The Clone Wars: “The Clone Wars is the best possible outcome of present-day Lucasfilm: a fun, engaging, and surprisingly serialized cartoon aimed at some interstitial demographic between children and adults—which, if we’re being honest, is what Star Wars always appealed to most.”

Haphead and Artist-In-Residence, Jim Munroe

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Peruse the trailer for Gutter Co-Founder Jim Munroe’s latest video project, Hapheads.”Ten years from now, videogames are so immersive that teenagers learn lethal skills just by playing.They’re called hapheads.” And, while you’re at it, visit Jim’s exhibit as Artist-in-Residence at The Art Gallery Of Ontario.

10 Comics I Liked In 2013

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It’s an amazing time in comics right now. There are too many good ones for me to even read them all. Comics are like a hydra, but without the decapitation or even really the fighting. (So maybe not all that much like a hydra except I find one comic and then there are 3-6 more […]

“When Is A Pony Not A Pony?”

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Fellow MOSS Agents at The Greatest Movie EVER! Podcast return to Equestria with a look at My Little Pony: Equestria Girls.

Soulless and The Waters of Modern Horror Writing

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At Teleport City, Keith Allison reviewins Gail Carriger’s Soulless and slowly wades into “the waters of modern horror writing”. “An entire ocean of literature that teaches young kids that weird, spooky, awkward, and different people are awesome? I can deal with that.”

Strong Female Character

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A little while ago, a friend told me that I was a “strong woman.” It was a compliment and I took it as one. Part of me knows what he means, that I keep trying, that I pick myself up as best I can after things go to hell, that I try to keep moving. […]

“Afterlife with Archie”

“[A]t the same time, it’s an Archie story with zombies where you have Jughead going around trying to eat people, which is inherently hilarious.” Comics Alliance talks with Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa about the upcoming Afterlife With Archie comic.  

Adventure Time on NPR

NPR’s Monkey See blog shares a look at Adventure Time. “Adventure Time insists on emotional honesty.” (via @profmdwhite)

Teddy Girls

A gallery and some information about the British Teddy Girls of the 1950s. (Thanks, Keith!)

Comics about Comics

Comic Book Attic talks about comics about comics, with plenty of pages from Joe Simon and Jack Kirby’s The Newsboy Legion for your enjoyment.

RIP, Deanna Durbin

Actress and singer Deanna Durbin has died. The Los Angeles Times and The Guardian have obituaries. Audie Cornish and Melissa Block remember Durbin on NPR.  Here Deanna Durbin sings, “Good-Bye” in Because Of  Him (1946)

RIP, Annette Funicello

Actress and singer Annette Funicello has died. The New York Times has an obituary and The Los Angeles Times has an appreciation. NPR’s Fresh Air has reposted a 1994 interview with Funicello. Here she sings, “Pineapple Princess.”

“Persepolis is aimed in part at kids”

“[Persepolis is] aimed in part at kids–not despite the fact that it includes charged material, but because it does. Satrapi shows herself, as a child and then as a young woman, dealing with violence, with sexuality–with moving away from her parents, and failing, and trying again….But even if their exact experiences don’t map onto hers, […]

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. […]

Escaping the Truck Stop Killer

“[It] occurred to me that this investigation of mine wasn’t a detective novel. It was a ghost story.” In 1985, Vanessa Veselka escaped a terrifying trucker who probably was Robert Ben Rhoades, the Truck Stop Killer and, years later, tries to understand her experience and learn more about the teenage girls who disappeared while hitchhiking.

The Zombies of Tullamore

Read and listen to harrowing accounts of teens besieged by zombies in Tullamore, New South Wales. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation covered the event. and interviewed Tullamore Central School’s principal. Teens recorded their experiences as did Parkes High School’s librarian, ABC correspondent Kia Handley and zombie outbreak mastermind Matt Finch.

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    At Badass Digest, Gaming Editor Andrew Todd writes about “rampant issues with sexism, homophobia, and racism within the gaming industry.”

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    Jenn Frank writes about horror, games, “Tropes vs Women In Video Games” and “consuming media responsibly”: “I think what I’m getting at is, especially with the horror genre, it’s less important what a movie says and more important that you, the viewer, understand why you’re enjoying it. I believe in judicious self-awareness; a director like Nicolas Winding Refn knows exactly why he makes the directorial choices he makes, and he works those kinks right out onscreen.

    Or, if you aren’t enjoying a piece of work—if ultraviolence isn’t your thing, or if you’re suffering a visceral reaction—it’s every bit as important that you identify what about the piece is making you uncomfortable.”

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    In  Tropes vs. Women in Video Games, “Women As Background Decoration: Part 2,” Anita Sarkeesian discusses “how sexualized female bodies often occupy a dual role as both sexual playthings and the perpetual victims of male violence.” It is quite graphic in terms of violence and sexual violence.

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    Here are the films playing the Vanguard program at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival: Spring; Luna; Hyena; Goodnight, Mommy / Ich Seh, Ich Seh; Alleluia; The Duke Of Burgundy; Over Your Dead Body; Shrew’s Nest; They Have Escaped; Waste Land; The World of Kanako; and The Voices. (Trailers added as they become available).

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    Here are the films playing the Toronto International Film Festival’s Midnight Madness program: Tokyo Tribe; Big Game; Tusk; It Follows; Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films; [REC]4: Apocalypse; Cub; The Editor; and, What We Do In The Shadows and The Guest. (More trailers as they become available).

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    The Guardian has collected some responses Haruki Murakami gave to reader questions at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. “I don’t have any idea at all, when I start writing, of what is to come. For instance, for The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, the first thing I had was the call of the bird, because I heard a bird in my back yard (it was the first time I heard that kind of sound and I never have since then. I felt like it was predicting something. So I wanted to write about it). The next thing was cooking spaghetti – these are things that happen to me! I was cooking spaghetti, and somebody call. So I had just these two things at the start. Two years I kept on writing. It’s fun! I don’t know what’s going to happen next, every day. I get up, go to the desk, switch on the computer, etc. and say to myself: ‘so what’s going to happen today?’ It’s fun!”

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