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Posts tagged: painting

At The Gutter: For Worse and For Better. But Mostly Worse.

Chris shares her least favorite current trends in Romance.

We’ve finally gotten down to actual summer weather in the last two weeks. So of course I spent the last two weeks without AC as I dealt with a series of cascading electrical problems. One complete power shut-down later, things are finally back on the level… just in time for the humidity to drop to a bearable level.

Argh, argh, argh.

Since I’ve pretty much hit peak Crabby, I’m believe I’m in a good place to write my annual complaints piece.  This is the column in which I enumerate the things I dislike about the Romance genre. As usually, I won’t single out specific titles — rather, I’ll talk about the larger trends and habits across the genre that make me go “”@#$%!”

But since I didn’t manage to burn every good feeling out of my heart (because the AC came back on before I actually had to sacrifice the contractor to the dread gods of the humidex), this time I’ll also add  counterexamples, writers who manage to do whatever-it-is well instead of poorly.

Image: “Ruby Loftus Screwing a Breech Ring” (1943) by Laura Knight. (via The Guardian)

Irony, Art and Writing

Irony, Art and Writing

At Salon, Matt Ashby and Brendan Carroll write about irony and cynicism, sincerity and honesty in art: “At one time, irony served to challenge the establishment; now it is the establishment. The art of irony has turned into ironic art. Irony for irony’s sake. A smart aleck making bomb noises in front of a city in ruins. But irony without a purpose enables cynicism. It stops at disavowal and…

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At The Gutter: “And They Call It Puppy Love”

Chris looks at pets in romance novels:

I own several shares of a cat.

It’s not a weird as it sounds. A friend with a cat travels travels a lot, so the kitty spends a fair amount of time with me. She’s spending this week with me in fact, while her owner is off swimming, running, and cycling hundreds of kilometres at a triathlon training camp. Voluntarily. The cat and I are occupied with much more civilized pursuits, like synchronized napping.

There’s nothing quite like the pleasure of falling asleep with purring cat by your side (and I say that as a person who is extremely allergic). But then, there’s nothing quite like the pleasure of a dog, either. Aside from the walks, and the fetching, and the sweet, sweet, eyes, a dog loves more than anything else on earth. What’s not to like about a creature so overjoyed to see you when you come out of the bathroom it’s like you’ve come back from the dead?

So this seems like a good week to look at Romances with pets in them. Narratively speaking, pets are a smart device: they’re a great way to demonstrate character (for good or bad). But some people write pets better than others, and I thought we might take a look at a few of those.

Image: Henri Matisse, “Girl with A Black Cat” (1910) via "A Survey of Cats across the Centuries."

At The Gutter: All Alone In The Moonlight

Romance Editor Chris thinks about story and memory at the Gutter this week.

Recently I moderated a panel discussion on CanLit and the SF/F genre and it got me to thinking.  Specifically, it got me thinking about memory. And that’s because if there’s one thing modern Canadian literature is full of, it’s memory. Years ago (a decade, mebbbe?)  an industry journal published a chart detailing the subjects of that season’s big-bet books.  It was a tongue-in-cheek piece, but it turned out that some ridiculously high percentage of the ‘must read’ novels were all about memory.  Ha, it’s funny ’cause it’s true! Next to identity, memory is one of the themes that helps define a distinct Canadian Literature.

Here’s the thing, though: that’s not just true for CanLit.  All stories are about memory.

Painting: “Memory or the Heart,” Frida Kahlo (1937)

At The Gutter: Blow, Blow, Thou Winter Wind

Romance Editor Chris explores the charms of winter:

This week, I thought I saw the first snow of the season. Turns out it was actually sleet, which is kind of like snow’s annoying idiot cousin. But I got excited anyway, because the thing is…

I love winter.

Don’t get me wrong: that doesn’t mean I don’t love fall and spring too. Bright green things unfurling; leaves flaming against a crackling sky – both are wonderful. Spring and fall are energizing and beautiful. Summer… eh, not so much. The heat’s nice, but the humidity can go back to hell at its earliest convenience. I like to do things in the summer, but the season itself is on the bottom of my list.

Winter’s on the top.

If you enjoyed the illustrations in Comics Editor Carol’s article about men’s adventure magazines from the 1950s and 1960s, here are many more. Art by Norm Saunders and Wil Hulsey.


Fan-Art Friday:

“Work in progress: Godzilla ink paintings”

At The Gutter: Loving the Alien: Superman and Masculinity


Comics Editor Carol writes about Superman, masculinity, and the American Way:

Since alex, Chris and I decided to write about masculinity this month, I’ve been thinking about Superman. Actually, I’ve been thinking and rethinking Superman almost as long as I’ve been writing for The Cultural Gutter. I began really thinking about him while watching Justice League and Justice League Unlimited. I’ve spent most of my life—and certainly my childhood and teen years—ambivalent about him. I grew up with the stodgy, daddish Superman of SuperFriends.  Superman represented truth, justice and the American Way, a way that seemed all about straight white masculinity of the most rigid, hegemonic sort—a way that didn’t seem to include me. Whether as aspirational hero or adolescent power fantasy, it’s easy to see Superman as The Man.

art by Mike and Laura Allred, from The Superman/Madman Hullabaloo (Dark Horse/DC, 1998).

Portrait of the Dread Cthulhu painted by Edanna Politoske. Acrylic on canvas, fully sealed to prevent shoggoth escaping into our reality.

This portrait was commissioned for the Cultural Gutter’s indiegogo fundraiser, Gutter-A-Go-Go!

I really like how she played with Victorian portraiture conventions.


Girl dinos study space!


Girl dinos study space!