latest from Culture Clutch

A death in the family

It’s late July, almost August. And I am still, like many others I know, trying to come to grips with the fact that on the 7th of May, in London, a man named Ray Harryhausen died. It’s not that his death was particularly tragic –his family reports that he peacefully lapsed into unconsciousness. Nor

What ‘Bea Arthur Naked’ says about your deep-seated Freudian longings

Apparently, a painting of a topless Beatrice “Bea” Arthur (famed for her roles in American television’s The Golden Girls, Maude, and the major female supporting role in Broadway and filmdom’s musical Mame) has been sold at Christie’s at an auction in NYC for almost two million dollars. Its title? Bea Arthur Naked.  Well, what

The white mantis

I see another beautiful, old tree is suddenly gone from my street. The caprice, perhaps, of a building management company or landlord may be responsible. Whatever the reason, it’s gone, for good. And although here in San Francisco so many do pride themselves on what they conceive as their respect for the natural world,

An affectionate tribute to Roger Ebert’s more negative reviews

Having just seen The Vampire Starfighter in IGOG 3D, the most recent and desperate attempt at directorial survival by Queequeg L. M. K-I-S-S-I-N-G Shamarintino-Nolan… I hardly know what to write about it. This gem came in at a whopping three and half billion — that’s with a “b” — dollars. For the very first

America under the gun

“The right to buy weapons is the right to be free.” – The Weapon Shops of Isher, by A.E. van Vogt Well, it happened. Or, rather, “it” didn’t happen. Senator Dianne Feinstein, despite her hopes, has failed to get her assault weapons ban of 157 different models of assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines–

Unsanctioned midnight sidewalk urban poetry howl

There are many forms of entertainment here in San Francisco. And those shows, those theaters sanctioned by officialdom, are not the end of the story. Much goes on here, in fact, below any level of official recognition. There are, of course, the above-ground entertainments which the city allows and endorses. Anything advertised on the

The Newstalk Haters

Without question, the nation is undergoing a broad change in the nature of politics and the structure of representation in our traditional democracy. The emergence of a revolutionary, anti-government movement on the farthest to the right of the political spectrum, the monied, Supreme Court-sanctified attack on the ability of anyone but the top financial

A tree grew in San Francisco

San Francisco, where I live, is a city with many cosmopolitan aspects. But unlike, say, New York City, where the City Never Sleeps, one problem with S.F. for nocturnally oriented types like me, is that it does start snoozing around 2:00 AM, the time the bars close here. There are a few after-hours places,

What NASA knew

On the tenth anniversary of the Columbia Space Shuttle accident, Raw Story published my first hand account of the Columbia accident investigation. Also published that day on Raw Story was an article titled “NASA knew Columbia crew could die but chose not to tell them” In addition to the dubious headline, the second article

The Purple Corkscrew

At 5:53am on the morning of February 1, 2003, Sarah and I stood on Bernal Hill in San Francisco looking west in the sky. Broken low clouds had barely parted enough for us to find what we had come for, above the western horizon. “There it is,” I said, as a pale orange dot

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