Welcome to Top Shelf, Low Brow

Top Shelf, Low Brow is a weekly newsletter (editions every Tuesday and every other Friday) that is a celebration of all things pop culture—Arthouse to Housewives—from me, Coleman Spilde, writer and known annoyance. I’ve spent my entire life fiendishly consuming every morsel of pop culture and media I could get my hands on—and I know my shit. I can correctly predict a Pitchfork score to the decimal point, tell when an Oscar-buzzy film will fizzle by awards season (hey, First Man, House of Gucci), and speculate on exactly where each Gossip Girl character would be in the dark days of 2020. Much of my writing revolves around queer culture, my place in it, and the gifts that being queer has given me; one of those gifts is being unafraid to do something in a nontraditional way, and I’ve been wanting to work outside of the conventional structure of the articles and freelance pitches I’ve been writing while looking for a job during a pandemic that has all but put the kibosh on staffed media work.

So what is Top Shelf, Low Brow?

I’ve always had a remarkable head for tucking away facts and happenings that others have brushed past or forgotten. So, as I work on filling in the infinite puzzle of pop culture, I simply must share the best (and the best of the worst) with you while mining my endless archives to bring you things that maybe you don’t know about, forgot about, or may want to see in a different light. From the Top Shelf art to the Low-Brow culture, I want to experience all the beautiful, stupid, insane, and inexplicable things we love together through essays, reviews, lists, recommendations, curation, featured guests, absurd fancams, and maybe even a podcast if I’m feeling particularly unstable.

This is where you’ll get a three-part retrospective of Fergie’s most bonkers career moments; a ranking of Lady Gaga’s most Italian moments throughout her career on a scale of 1-10 meatballs; a comprehensive timeline of Dua Lipa’s pandemic travels (that went viral!); speculative essays on things like the night Lady Gaga, Lindsay Lohan, and Ellen Von Unwerth all partied together in a room at the Chateau Marmont; a retrospective gallery of Serena’s worst outfits on Gossip Girl and a collection of the show’s five most bonkers product placement moments; a case for why Suspiria (2018) and Catwoman (2004) should be held in the same regard of brilliance and a defense of the critically-reviled flop I Know Who Killed Me; a guest dissertation on the chaos of Jennifer Lopez’s wild ads for a mobile game and a revisit to her abandoned alter ego Lola, who somehow managed to spawn a #1 single, and so, so much more. 

Subscribe for letters twice a week

How it works:

Every other Friday, every subscriber of Top Shelf, Low Brow receives a discussion of all kinds of pop culture from past, present, and future as it relates to whatever inane things my brain has decided to glom onto or unearth that week — usually in the form of a deep dive essay, list, ranking, or interview. Each Friday edition will include some curated recommendations, but every Tuesday, subscribers will get the edition that is TSLB’s onus, a breakdown of things that happened in pop culture and news over the week before, rated as either Top Shelf or Low Brow, and detailed explanations as to why. Tuesday letters are crazy, wild, bombastic, horny, and unapologetic. And lucky for you: once for paid subscribers only, they are now totally free and will be sent straight to your inbox. But they still cover the best, worst, and craziest of all pop culture. Reading the Tuesday Letter is an all-access pass to both new takes on the hottest topics and first conversations about the stuff no one is talking about yet. And when they finally do? You’ll have “I-told-you-so” rights.

Why subscribe?

Besides warming my heart and truly lifting my spirit, subscribing is the best way to support my writing while I continue to build my career. You’ll get each post sent directly to your inbox with no extra effort (although I am not responsible for the YouTube holes you fall into from external links). Whether you’re a free subscriber or choosing to pay to support my work—and there’s a lot of it that goes into this old song and dance—I truly love you for being here. We’re going to have a lot of fun.

I love you 💖

You can find thirst tweets here, my hot selfies here, and all of my other writing here.