The Cultural Gutter

we've seen things you people wouldn't believe

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

“Haunted Houses: Tokyo’s Real Estate Listings With Problems”

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“Japan’s estimated population at the time of their last census was 127 million, and people have been living on this small collection of islands since the Jomon period (~12,000 BCE.) In an increasingly crowded country with a strong traditional belief in ghosts and hauntings, the question of avoiding a marauding ghost becomes impossible to solve, […]

An Excerpt from Resistance

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Tor has an excerpt from Resistance, the latest book by friend of the Gutter, Samit Basu: “A giant lobster rises slowly out of Tokyo Bay. It is an old-school kaiju, 300 feet long, and stands upright, its hind limbs still under water, in defiance of biology, physics and all codes of lobster etiquette.”

Summer Fun Time Reading ’14

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Summer is almost here, and I can’t tell you how glad I am. So smear yourself up with sunscreen and bug repellent, find your kickiest sandals, put the finishing touches on your Wicker Man and don’t forget to wear a hat because I have some comics to make your summer just a little more fun […]

Interview with Natsuo Kirino

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Japan Review interviews Natsuo Kirino, an author best known for her dark crime novels:  “I don’t think I exclusively tell stories of women criminals. However, being a woman in this society is mainly an anonymous existence. I don’t think the fact that the environment is such that women are nameless and overlooked is a good […]

RIP, Noribumi Suzuki

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Filmmaker Noribumi Suzuki has died. Suzuki was probably best known for School of the Holy Beast (1974), Sex and Fury (1973) and his Torakku Yarõ / Truck Yaro / Trucker Guys films starring Bunta Sugawara. Here Suzuki talks about working with actresses Reiko Ike and Miki Sugimoto, who appeared in his  pinku eiga/ “pinky violence” […]

RIP, Donald Richie

Writer Donald Richie has died. Richie is best known for his writing on Japanese culture and film.  The Japan Times and The New York Times have obituaries. Fora.tv has a conversation with Donald Richie in 2009, “Life in Japanese Film: Donald Richie.”

New Osamu Tezuka Manga

The Japan Times reports on an unpublished manga created by Osamu Tezuka in his teens.

RIP, Isuzu Yamada

Actress Isuzu Yamada has died. Yamada worked with a range of directors including, Akira Kurosawa, Kenji Mizoguchi, Mikio Naruse, Yasujiro Ozu and Kinji Fukasaku. The New York Times has an obituary.  The Gutter remembers her with a scene of her performances as Lady Washizu in Throne of Blood.  

Most Anticipated Asian Films of 2011

Wildgrounds breaks down their most anticipated films of 2011.

The Iwai Detective Agency

Slouching Towards Bethlehem has found tantalizing evidence of a detective agency operating in Meiji Era Japan, The Iwai Detective Agency.

Portrait of the Artist (with the Sound of Cicadas)

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Tatsumi Yoshihiro’s A Drifting Life is all the proof anyone would ever need that comics can be serious art. It will show up at the top of year end lists and on syllabi. The fanciest of blurbs will be written about it. Comic fans will hound the unsuspecting at parties and in their homes to […]

10 Comics I Liked in 2008

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Here they are, ten comics I liked in 2008 that I haven’t written about yet. All ready? Alright.

The Road To Mundo Fine: Zombies vs. Robots

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The road to the end of the world is shorter than we think. Just when we’ve adjusted our rear and sideview mirrors and selected a soundtrack, the end stands before us, eyes shining in our halogen lights, ready to total our engine block. The only question now is: zombies or robots?

Detroit Metal City: No Music, No Dream

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We live in a time of film adaptations of comic books massive and tiny, from Iron Man and The Dark Knight to Wanted and The Surrogates. But I don’t need to see any more. I have seen Detroit Metal City and it is a testament to awesomeness.

2008 Madness Begins

The 2008 Midnight Madness films have been announced.  If you’re in Toronto then, you’ll have a chance to see movies like Chocolate, Detroit Metal City, JCVD and The Burrowers (no trailer) on the big screen. I’ma be there.

Red Eye

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15 hours on the road and I was my own red-eye on I-94’s corridor of stripclubs, fireworks and roadkill, racing past dead deer in Michigan, then Gary, Indiana’s steel mills and through Chicagoland, the Sears Tower in the distance waiting for its evil eye, till the highway gave out in Wisconsin. Yes, I went to […]

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    At Teleport City, the Gutter’s own Carol writes about 12 books that vary in reputability and their harrowing nature. They include books by Shirley Jackson, Raymond Chandler, Patricia Highsmith and Herman Melville.

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    Anne Billson has posted a 1985 interview she did with director George Miller (the Mad Max films). Miller talks about many things including Aunty Entity’s probable past as a hero and Max as, in Mel Gibson’s words, “a closet human being.” (Thanks, Matt!)

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    At New York Magazine, David Wallace-Wells writes about bees, colony collapse disorder and beekeeper Dave Hackenberg. “It’s been a long decade for bees. We’ve been panicking about them nonstop since 2006, when beekeeper Dave Hackenberg inspected 2,400 hives wintering in Florida and found 400 of them abandoned — totally empty. American beekeepers had experienced dramatic die-offs before, as recently as the previous winter in California and in regular bouts with a deadly bug called the varroa mite since the 1980s. But those die-offs would at least produce bodies pathologists could study. Here, the bees had just disappeared. In the U.K., they called it Mary Celeste syndrome, after the merchant ship discovered off the Azores in 1872 with not a single passenger aboard. The bees hadn’t even scrawled CROATOAN in honey on the door on their way out of the hive.”

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    Andrew Nette has a pair of interesting pieces on pulp you might be interested in. First, he writes about “the New Pulp” and a bit about Fifty Shades of Gray in “Fifty Shades of Pulp.” Then he writes about pulp and literacy and furthering social advancement in “Pulp and Circumstance.”  “Most people view pulp as either exploitative lowbrow culture or highly collectable retro artefact. Yet pulp has a secret history which Rabinowitz’s book uncovers. Her central thesis is that cheap, mass-produced pulp novels not only provided entertainment and cheap titillating thrills, but also brought modernism to the American people, democratising reading and, in the process, furthering culture and social enlightenment.”

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    The Projection Booth interviews actor Ed Asner.

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    Transcript from BAFTA’s tribute to director Johnnie To, “Johnnie To: A Life In Pictures.” It’s a great interview with To about his films and process. “Like when I made The Mission I didn’t have a script. It was 1999 and I didn’t have any money so we went to Taiwan and they gave us very little money to hurry up and make a film, so without any script we just started making it. And after 19 days we made the film.” (Thanks to the Heroic Sisterhood!)

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