Posts tagged: Cultural Gutter
Guest Star Less Lee Moore remembers Xanadu:
I watched Xanadu on HBO dozens of times in the early 1980s. My obsession also included the soundtrack, which I listened to on a Walkman while attired in scarves, leotards, ruffled skirts, and legwarmers. Sadly, my skills at ballet, tap, and jazz did not translate into roller skating, so I pretended I was Olivia Newton-John by twirling around my grandmother’s carport. It pains me how much Xanadu was savaged by critics then and mocked by movie fans over the last 33 years. Sure, there are a lot of corny bits, but I think Xanadu is a truly postmodern film.
What, it’s June already? I’m sure a I had a whole year here a minute ago. In any case, summer means humidity, allergies, and a sad lack of home AC. This year, it also means squirrels in the roof (don’t ask. No, really).
And that means it’s time for my annual bitch column. This month I’ll kvetch about the things that really bug me about the Romance Genre. As usual, I’ll be general rather than specific; there’s no need to single out any one particular book when there are so many bad examples to choose from.
Two of Screen Editor alex’s favorite films are disemboweled before his very eyes:
Once upon a time, long, long ago, when Netflix and TiVo were just a twinkle in the ether, there was a boy who loved going to the video store. His usual haunts were small, dark independent stores tucked around corners or in basements, stocked with an eclectic mix of classics, oddities and trash. But sometimes, when he was feeling tired and lazy, he’d slouch around the corner to Blockbuster.
What the boy didn’t know was that there was a hidden artistic price for his sloth. Although Viacom/Blockbuster does not edit their movies, and this particular boy has no idea what they currently do, in this long ago time they did order “edited for content” versions of movies from studios. This is a lesson the boy learned the hard way, at the cost of watching two of his favorite films disembowelled before his eyes.
Banner designed for The Cultural Gutter’s indiegogo Campaign representing the groovy party that is The Cultural Gutter. It’s also available in poster form as one of perks.
Last summer we lost our operations grant from the Canada Council for the Arts and we’re raising funds to stay online and keep our commitment to paying writers for their work for one year. Check out our campaign here and thanks to Brian from Shelf Life CC for the excellent banner design.
Guest Star Miguel Rodriguez shares his love of Clash of the Titans and Ray Harryhausen:
When I was too young to really remember, I was taken to this film in the theater. Because I have no real memory of that experience, I am amazed by my true first memory of Clash of the Titans (1981). It all happened because of a wonderful non-profit program called Reading is Fundamental, or Reading is Fun as we called it when I was in elementary school. Many of you know about this: kids are given a colorful little RIF catalog on toilet-paper-thin newsprint paper with a wealth of covers and titles to choose from. Their parents help to make an order, and then, weeks later, the classroom desk is stacked high with the books that kids have ordered. It was like Christmas. And one of the books I had chosen was an oversized hardcover children’s book version of Ray Harryhausen’s Clash of the Titans movie.
(Photography taken by Miguel Rodriguez)
This week Romance Editor Chris talks about ghosts and Simone St. James’ An Inquiry Into Love And Death.
War, loss, ghosts: these are things that change you forever. But love is also on that list, and it leads to better places. Simone St. James knows that, and writes it beautifully.
Photo via Over The Front.
Screen Editor alex takes a look at two new iterations of Sherlock Holmes:
There’s something about the way Benedict Cumberbatch plays the lead role in the BBC series Sherlock that seems like it could be Holmes’ fantasy version of how a brilliant detective behaves. In the episodes I’ve seen he’s twitchy and neurotic, but also cool and proficient with a performative quality that left me thinking the series could turn out to be a dream sequence where the last episode ends with young Holmes waking up in his bedroom, or an older version playing it all out in a psychiatric ward. Or for another twist on that cliche, the audience is seeing the whole series of events through Holmes’ own distorted self-image, a sort of Jekyll and Hyde split where Watson is his alter-ego, penning his own narrative.
image via the Denver Public Library.
Every April we like to mix things up at The Gutter, this month Comics Editor Carol writes about romance and Agnes And The Hitman:
Growing up in a town where Elvis was sighted post mortem, I despised and mocked The King. Now, I have held wakes in his honor. I used to only like punk. Then I used to say I liked everything but country. Now I don’t even bother arguing that I’m listening to “Americana,” not country. It is a truth universally acknowledged that something I once despised I will come to appreciate and, often, love. So when both Chris and alex recommended Jennifer Crusie, the author of many romance novels, and in particular her collaboration with Bob Mayer, Agnes And The Hitman, I knew I needed to read it.
Like many a horrible child, I despised romance novels. I have made easy jokes. I have snickered at romance covers at the grocery store. And I have been foolish enough not only to judge a book by its cover, but to dismiss an entire genre because of those covers. Some of it was likely internalized sexism. Fortunately, romance readers and writers are are a lot less pissy about their dismissal than some lovers of other genres. They just write hilarious blogs and quietly keep the publishing industry going.
This week at The Gutter, Guest Star Miguel Rodriguez from Monster Island Resort Podcast writes about heroes.
When I was a mere lad, I picked up a battered newsstand copy of Power Man and Iron Fist. I had grown up with superheroes in Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, The Incredible Hulk, and The Herculoids on the television, but my comics reading prior to that issue of Power Man and Iron Fist was relegated mainly to Hanna Barbara comics, Richie Rich, and (oddly) Conan the Barbarian. Anyway, there was a single panel of that comic book that has stuck with me to this day. In it, Power Man and Iron Fist are strolling down the street together in their garish garb, simply talking to each other like regular old pals. I clearly remember how struck I was by that panel, and it made me want to join them on their adventures—an activity that spawned years and years of comic book collecting and reading, joining larger-than-life heroes in their struggles to rid the world of evil.