Mergers and Rumors of Mergers

February 6, 2016 by rudy panucci

The PopCult Toybox

matlogoWe are less than one week away from the International Toy Fair in New York and the Internet toy collecting community is buzzing with fear, paranoia, and conspiracy theories over the idea that the world’s number two and three toymakers, Mattel and Hasbro, may merge. The makers of Barbie and Hot Wheels (Mattel) and the makers of Transformers and Star Wars toys (Hasbro) have been fierce rivals for decades. The idea of the West Coast-based Mattel and the East Coast-based Hasbro combining into one company would be Earth-shattering news.

I don’t think that’s going to happen.

Hasbro-logoFor one thing, there are far too many anti-trust concerns that would not only draw scrutiny from the US government, but also European and other international governing bodies.  While LEGO surpassed Hasbro and Mattel last year to become the number one toymaker in the world, they basically only produce toys in two categories, construction toys and video games.

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RFC Flashback: Episode Five

February 6, 2016 by rudy panucci

RFC number fiveFrom September 8, 2006, it’s “The Beatles Shirt,” featuring Kevin Duffer, The Appalachian Celtic Consort, Pentagram Flowerbox, and cut-ins by IWA East Coast. This was the first show to bring you footage shot at The Empty Glas, and we made a big deal about it then, but now we seem to shoot most of our guests there or at The Blue Parrot.  You can check out the productiontes HERE, and keep your arms inside the ride at all times.

If this isn’t enough Radio Free Charleston goodness for you, check out our radio shows at Appalachian Independent Radio. It’s what all the cool kids are listening to.

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Word Association With Lee and Rudy Premieres Tonight

February 5, 2016 by rudy panucci

PC Lee Rudy 01The PopCulteer
February 5, 2016

Today is the last day of our big radio premiere week.  Tonight at 8 PM you can tune in and listen to the first episode of Word Association with Lee and Rudy.  This is a pop culture talk show with a twist.  Each week your PopCulteer, the “Rudy” of the equation, and Mr. Lee Harrah, renown heavy metal singer, Ghostbuster, artist, musician, viking, barbarian and pop culture expert, sit down and focus with a laser-like intensity on one pop culture topic.

The twist is that Lee never knows in advance what that topic will be.  We are joined by Luigi, a kitchen timer shaped like an Italian chef who keeps track of the time and rings to let us know when the show is over.

You can listen to Word Association with Lee and Rudy Friday at 8 PM on Appalachian Independent Radio and to make things even easier, you can listen to Appalachian Independent Radio right here on the widget in this post.

PC Lee Rudy

If you’ve been keeping track at home, you realize that this makes four radio programs produced by General Substances, the monolithic international parent corporation of PopCult and Radio Free Charleston.  If you are a huge fan, we recommend you get up early Saturday morning and tune in to Appalachian Independent Radio (or the above widget) and prepare yourself for a five-hour block of all four programs that we produce for The AIR.

At 9 AM, prepare yourself for two hours of the finest local music that you will hear anywhere.  Radio Free Charleston continues its twenty-seven year history with this new radio incarnation.  Immediately following Radio Free Charleston, at 11 AM, we have Radio Free Charleston International, an eclectic mix of excellent and obscure music and mind-hurting weirdness from around the world.  At 1 PM, it’s time to go On The Road With Mel.  Mel Larch (also known as Mrs. PopCulteer) brings you thirty minutes of travel tips, hints, and ideas, with tons of useful information.  Right after Mel’s show, you get the replay of Word Association with Lee and Rudy.

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Radio Free Charleston International Debuts at Midnight

February 4, 2016 by rudy panucci

RFCI grphicI am having a blast!

I’m talking about doing Radio Free Charleston International, one of the four new radio shows I’m producing for Appalachian Independent Radio. RFCInternational debuts tonight at Midnight. This is the radio show where I get to cut loose and play anything I want.

It might be mainstream. It might be avante-garde. It could be decades old or brand-new. It might be comedy. It might be the soundtrack from an old children’s record. Anything goes on Radio Free Charleston International. I don’t have to play any local music, but I will if I feel like it. You can listen to Appalachian Independent Radio right here in this little widget…

This was the original concept for Radio Free Charleston back in 1989 when I went on the air on WVNS. Back then I started mixing in local music, and when I revived RFC as a video show in 2006, it became an all-local showcase. The video and radio versions of RFC will remain devoted to local music, but I’ve carved out two hours a week to go nuts and bring you true free-format radio on The AIR.

The only rules are…there are no rules. You won’t know what to expect, unless you take a peek at the playlist, which will be posted here in PopCult each week. Even with that, every show will end with a bonus mystery track. I’m really excited about the show I hope you go like our Facebook page, which barely has anything on it yet. Eventually that’s where I’ll take requests.

So strap yourself in. Broadcasting to you live from an alternate dimension, RADIO FREE CHARLESTON INTERNATIONAL is ON THE AIR!

Check out this week’s playlist after the jump…

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Kickstarter Alert for Paperfilms’ HYPE

February 4, 2016 by rudy panucci

The PopCult Bookshelf

hype twoHYPE is an upcoming graphic novel written by Jimmy Palmiotti & Justin Gray the writers behind Harley Quinn, Power and Jonah Hex.

You may also remember Palmiotti and Gray from the graphic novel, Denver, which I raved about back in 2014. HYPE is the newest Kickstarter campaign by Paperfilms, Palmiotti and Gray’s home base.

You have two weeks left to kick in and get what sounds like a killer graphic novel.

HYPE is a 52 page action packed thriller with heart that offers a twist of the traditional superhero genre. It is a graphic novel written by Justin Gray & Jimmy Palmiotti featuring the art of JAVIER PINA and  and ALESSIA NOCERA and design and lettering by BILL TORTOLINI.

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The Business Side of Fashion Dolls

February 3, 2016 by rudy panucci

The PopCult Toybox

barbiesIt’s that time of the year when the major toy companies start leaking news about their new products in advance of the New York International Toy Fair, which begins in less than two weeks.  The big story making the rounds this week is that Mattel will be introducing three new body types for their iconic fashion doll, Barbie.

Introducing the 2016 Barbie® Fashionistas Dolls. Releasing over time throughout the year, the line includes 4 body types, 7 skin tones, 22 eye colors, 24 hairstyles, and countless on-trend fashions and accessories.

Three of the new Barbies

Three of the new Barbies

It’s a big deal as Mattel will produce Barbie in three new body types that may eventually be sold alongside their traditional doll. There will be a “Curvy” body, shorter with a larger bust and wider hips. The “Tall” body is lanky and slim. The “Petite” body will be shorter than the others.

Their aim is to make Barbie more relatable for the next generation of girls. These dolls will be produced with a wide range of skin tones and diverse facial sculpts and hair styles. This is terrific news for parents who don’t want their daughters forced to play with dolls that have an idealized and narrowly defined standard of beauty.

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Go On The Road With Mel

February 3, 2016 by rudy panucci

graphic OTRDebut Week on Appalachian Independent Radio continues!  Wednesday at 1 PM, you can tune in and hear the debut of On The Road With Mel, a travel program written, hosted, and executive produced by the lovely Mrs. PopCulteer, Mel Larch.

In this lively half hour, Mel will share with you travel tips, helpful hints, preparation advice, and cool places you can go.  Mel enjoys travel and has years of experience as a meticulous trip planner to share with her listeners. Best of all, you can listen to Appalchian Independent Radio right here…

Fans of the show can also visit the On The Road With Mel Facebook page and Twitter stream so that they can interact, ask questions, and make suggestions for future episodes of the show.

On The Road With Mel can be heard every Wednesday at 1 PM on Appalachian Independent Radio.  You can catch a replay Saturday afternoon at 1 PM, part of a five hour block of General Substances programming which includes Radio Free Charleston, Radio Free Charleston International, and Word Association With Lee and Rudy.  We’ll tell you more about that later in the week.

Radio Free Charleston Returns To Radio

February 2, 2016 by rudy panucci

RFC AI Logo 002RFCv4 #001

Tuesday at 10 AM and 10 PM (EST) you can listen to the first NEW episode of Radio Free Charleston volume Four (we’ll probably stop calling it that soon) on The AIR, Appalachian Independent Radio.

You can stream it from the AIRadio website, or from this little widget, right here…

This week’s playlist:

Jordan Andrew Jefferson “White Light”

The Smoky Room “Pie Chart”
No Rain  “Don’t Come Around”
Jack Griffith  “Everything It Takes”
Dina  “Pies”

The Laser Beams  “Eden By The Fire Escape”
Sheldon Vance “Don’t Walk Away”
Miss Mousie and The Rigamarole  “Dumpsters and Divebars”
Neil Zaza  “Take On Me”

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It’s Travis Stephens Day on the Internet

February 1, 2016 by rudy panucci

12592295_10208617744024907_4976826072271420905_nTravis Stephens is the Charleston-born guitarist for The Kenneth Brian Band, He’s just released a solo album, “Between Someday and Never,” and to promote it, he’s holding a concert in his living room, and the entire world is invited!

Today at 5 PM Pacific time (that’s 8 PM for us, here in Charleston) you can click on over to ConcertWindow, and catch Travis playing in the comfort of his own home. You can pay what you want, so if you’re broke, it’s cool, but you should at least pay what the local cover charge is if you can. Don’t be a cheapskate. This is some great music.

After the concert, tune in to AIRadio, where you can listen to the debut of Six Degrees of Separation, where Tim Dorsey and Jason “Roadblock” Robinson spend two hours talking to…Travis Stephens, in an interview recorded at The Empty Glass. You can also listen to AIRadio at the widget below, which you should get used to seeing here in PopCult. Tomorrow night at 8 PM on Empty Glass Records Presents, you’ll get to hear a playlist of music personally chosen by Travis.

Today is the official launch of Appalachian Independent Radio, AKA “The AIR.” Tomorrow sees the return of the audio version of Radio Free Charleston. Wednesday afternoon you can hear the debut of On The Road With Mel, Melanie Larch’s travel show. Thursday at Midnight is the debut time for Radio Free Charleston International, the most fun thing I’ve done in radio, ever. Friday at 8 PM you can witness the inaugural episode of Word Association with Lee and Rudy, the coolest pop culture talk show in the history of the world. You’ll be reading about this stuff all week long, in addition to all of our regular PopCult features.

Monday Morning Art: Geronimo

February 1, 2016 by rudy panucci

Geronimo 004

Today’s art is a digital painting of something very special. As you ought to know by now if you’ve been reading PopCult for any length of time, I am a toy collector. Last week I made a deal to purchase some very cool customized Marx figures (with heads by the late Noah Coop) from my friend, Ohio-based collector, Terry Ryder. She told me that one of the figures had some minor damage and that she was going to toss in a few extras to make up for it.

She more than made up for it. The extras were two full figures sporting heads that had actually been dug up from the dumping ground at the Marx toy factory in Glen Dale, West Virginia. One top of that, she threw in two more of the legendary Marx dump heads, and that is one of them, done up in digital oils, that you see above. The patina is fantastic, and the clumps of dirt still attached, coming from the site of the Marx toy factory, almost makes this a religious icon. At least, to me it does. I had to photograph it and render it as art…because it is a work of art. Click to enlarge, and many thanks again to Terry..