This week we go back to February, 2009 for the 60th episode of Radio Free Charleston. This was our post-Valentine’s Day 2009 valentine to Taylor Books. The host segments, and 60 Second Art Show were all recorded at Taylor Books and/or the Cafe and Annex Gallery one night in February 2009. The music was recorded on consecutive nights in January 2009. For some reason, this episode is called “Viva Mexico Shirt.”
Our music this week was from Captain Crash and the Beauty Queen, Joseph Henry (now Hale) and John Radcliff. That your host with Joeseph and John in the photo with this post. The 60 Second Art Show features a quick look at the work of Taylor Book’s Annex Gallery regulars Eric Pardue and Charles Jupiter Hamilton. Our animation this time is by the mystery man known as P-Dox, and is fittingly enough, set in a bookstore.
Taylor Books, of course, remains a cultural oasis in Charleston. Original production notes can be found here.
I love Tiki Culture.
I love the design, the mythologies, the blending of Polynesian and Easter Island influences with Mid Century American aesthetics. I dig the music. The Hula girls, the Tiki idols, the thatched huts, the tropical look and feel, they all add up to an exciting and attractive environment.
I’ve even subscribed to Tiki Magazine (And More). That’s the cover of the latest issue that you see at the head of this post.
Not being a person who really has any room to collect any new items, I am sorely tempted to start collecting Tiki mugs. They just look so freaking cool! It’s hard to resist the call of the Tiki. I’ve even done Monday Morning Art pieces based on Tiki design. I am really taken with how cool Tiki mugs look.
This is not a nostalgic feeling for me. I did grow up in the heyday of the first wave of Tiki culture, when it was simply an unironic fascination with an exciting new culture, one brought back to America by WWII GIs returning from the Pacific Theater.
Even though I grew up in those times, my parents did not exactly want to cart the three (and then four) of us kids out to the local Tiki Hut for food that we were too picky to eat. We all wanted to go to the BBF. They had the satellite out front. I had no exposure to Tiki as a kid, except for what I saw on TV.
It is a genuine appreciation of the look, design, mythology and just the entire milieu that I have come to as an adult. I think this stuff is really, really cool. Amidst the polyglot of post-modern imagery that decorates my home, you’ll find more than a few Tiki-inspired items.
So you’d think that would make me a major-league Tiki aficionado, right?
See, I have a secret about my Tiki obsession…I am but a poser.
Sure, I love the decor and the Hula girls and the bright colors, and the mugs…especially the mugs. But there’s more to Tiki than that, and I’m afraid I fall short in many areas.
First and foremost, I don’t drink alcohol. I don’t drink anything alcoholic. I don’t even use mouthwash with alcohol. I can’t stand the taste of it. The stuff that’s supposed to be odorless and flavorless burns and makes everything it touches taste awful to me. I hate beer and our society’s obsession with all things beer. And as such…I don’t drink rum.
Rum is key to most Tiki drinks. In fact, most of those mugs, which beckon to me to start a collection, exist for the sole purpose of enticing people to imbibe drinks that are usually twelve parts rum to three parts fruit juice.
And I’m not that big a fan of fruit juice, either.
Most of Tiki culture is centered around Tiki Bars. I don’t drink. The only reason I go to bars in Charleston is to see bands.
I’m planning a trip to Chicago in a few weeks, and we plan to visit a Tiki Bar. Only we have to find one with a full restaurant because it’s sort of pointless to go to a Tiki Bar when you don’t drink.
That brings us to another problem that keeps me from fully immersing myself in Tiki Culture: I don’t eat pork. A big part of Polynesian cuisine is pork. Pork and pineapple, something else I don’t eat. So we’re going to head off to a Tiki restaurant that will most likely present a challenge to our dietary quirks. I don’t refrain from pork for health or religious reasons. I just absolutely hate the taste of it (yes, even bacon, the most over-rated food on the planet).
So I say I love Tiki culture, but I hate the food and drink part of it.
But there’s more. I also hate the beach. Actually, I don’t really hate the beach. It’s just that I hate the water, and I’m not too crazy about the sand. While I really like Tiki decor, I prefer to see it indoors, in a dimly-lit room with plenty of air conditioning. I like the nautical elements of Tiki design, but I don’t actually ever want to have anything to do with anything nautical in the real world.
A few years ago I had my living room decorated with MEGA BLOKS Pirate Ships. Friends came over and said, “Wow, you really must love the sea!” I was a bit taken aback. I hate the sea. I have a severe fear of drowning that I have no interest in losing. I consider it a survival instinct. I never want to go on a boat. I just liked the way the toy Pirate ships looked and had fun building them. Seriously, the sea can go screw itself. I got no use for it.
There is yet one more thing that pretty effectively destroys my Tiki cred. I do not now, nor do I ever plan to own or wear a Hawaiian shirt. At least not until I drop a hundred pounds or so. I absolutely refuse to be the stereotypical fat guy in a Hawaiian shirt. Sorry. I don’t play that way. That stuff looks good on other people, not on me.
Except for that, everything else about it is really, really cool. I mean, have you seen the mugs?
I am a Tiki poser.
Either thousands of people are discovering it and tuning in, or somebody is going to great lengths to play an elaborate prank on us. We have plenty of cool stuff all day long, plus new episodes of Radio Coolsville at 2 PM and a full hour of The Third Shift at 9 PM. There’s a graphic running alongside this post, but I’ll fill you in on the highlights.
The morning sees replays of our top programs from earlier in the week, starting with Radio Free Charleston International at 7 AM.
At 9 PM it’s talk time as we run Word Association with Lee and Rudy, On The Road with Mel, Marking Out and Life Speaks to Michele Zirkle Marcum all in a row until 11:30 AM.
That’s when the music takes over. This week’s Friday AIR Music Mix includes The Crazy Show and a classic Radio Free Charleston International. That’s followed by a brand-new edition of Radio Coolsville, with DJ Betty Rock, at 2 PM.
3PM sees Sydney’s Big Electric Cat, bringing you the best music of the New Wave era. At 5 PM it’s time for Beatles Blast.
Our 6 PM tandem of The New Music Show and The BS Crazy Show keeps rolling along, and at 7 PM it’s an encore of this week’s Radio Free Charleston, bringing you Charleston’s only dedicated local music program.
At 8 PM we bid farewell, for now, to The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy.
The Third Shift takes over for a full hour at 9 PM, and we have a replay of Radio Free Charleston International at 10 PM.
Then it just gets crazy all night long when The BS Crazy Show marathon starts at Midnight.
That’s Friday, on The AIR.
It’s been a while since I last checked in with the Charlton Neo movement, and there has been big news. I believe the last time I told you about this unexpected comic book revival they had just begun what was to be a succesful Kickstarter campaign for the sixth issue of The Charlton Arrow.
Before that issue shipped big new broke. That would be the last issue of volume one of the self-distributed incarnation of The Charlton Arrow. The book will be reborn as The Charlton Arrow Volume Two.
Issue One (sen right) will be published by Americomics, the long-lived Florida-based independent comic book publisher in a couple of months, and it will be available through Diamond Comics Distributors, which means it can be advance-ordered NOW (And I mean NOW. You probably only have a few days to get your orders in for this gem). This new, more available, Charlton Arrrow will feature the return of E-Man, by Nicola Cuti and Joe Staton!
In order to keep up the momentum and get ahead on the production costs for future issues of the new Charlton Arrow a new short-term Kickstarter campaign has begun, and you have less than a week to get in on the action. The rewards for this campaign include an all-new humor anthology, a trade paperback collection of the best of Charlton Neo, plus pins, posters and even vintage Charlton comics.
This book is designed to be a tribute to Saturday Morning Cartoons, and the description sets the tone: “The Charlton Horror Hosts are BACK! …Or are they? Teen Cosplayers role play and solve mysteries… and their supernatural foes would’ve gotten away with it if not for these meddling kids!”
You will find weird humor, teen humor, funny animals, and straight-out comic insanity. Charltoons is the type of fun humor anthology that we simply don’t see published anymore…or at all for the last four decades or so. I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy.
The other big reward item is COMICBURGER DELUXE: The Best of Charlton Neo, a trade paperback collecting the highlights of the Charlton Neo movement, which began as a Facebook page a few years ago, and has blossomed into a full-fledged revival of the comic book company that couldn’t shoot straight, Charlton Comics.
This collection showcases stories and art by over two dozen creators counting Eduardo Barreto, Howard Bender, John Byrne, Sandy Carruthers, Jason Caskey, Steve Ditko, Chuck Dixon, Jean-Emmanuel Dubois, Ron Fortier, Matthew Hansel, Barbara Kaalberg, Gary Kato, Pat & Tim Kennedy, Rene King Thompson, Paul Kupperberg, Batton Lash, Roger Mckenzie, Andrew Mitchell, Lou Mougin, Stephen Skeates, Rick Stasi, Mort Todd, Enrique Villagran, Ruben Vera and Neil Vokes.
The Stories in COMICBURGER DELUXE run the gamut from horror to Western to humor to superhero to fantasy and more as Charlton Neo revisits some of the most entertaining aspects of comics books, including those genre that the industry has abandoned.
There are loads of other cool rewards that you can check out at the campaign. I’m kicking in, and I hope you do too. This is exactly what we need to put the fun back into comic books. Check it out at the widget below…
The PopCult Bookshelf
Toybox Time Machine has quickly become of my favorite things in the world. I’ve only had it for a few days, but every time I open this book I get a grin on my face that you couldn’t remove with a sandblaster.
It’s really hard to convey in words how utterly clever and charming this book is. It is dripping with so much affection for the toy and children’s graphics of the Baby Boom era that you almost need a towel to read it.
Marty Baumann has created a work of brilliance that manages to hit every nostalgic button in my head without actually depicting any real toys.
You read that correctly. No…real…toys.
Toybox Time Machine is filled with over 150 ads for vintage toys, from the golden era of crunchy mid-century goodness (1950-1966). The thing is, none of these toys were ever really made. Baumann created them all, refining his memories of classic toys and pop culture into an outstanding homage to an entire era of specialty advertising and graphic design.
This book is filled with specific parodies, vague tributes, original concepts and indescribable delights. Toybox Time Machine is just that, a time machine that lets you travel back to the time when toys were cool as hell, and the advertising made them look even better.
Baumann is an acclaimed illustrator, graphic artist, and production designer. He has contributed to some of the most popular, Oscar-winning animated films of all time, such as Toy Story 3, Big Hero 6, Zootopia, Cars 2, Planes, Mater’s Tall Tales, and many others.
He also helped develop theme park installations, toy packaging, and Pixar corporate branding. That’s in addition to his work for toy companies, magazines and newspapers and his work creating corporate logos.
Lately he was the concept artist for the new Mystery Science Theater 3000, and handled visual development of Sir Paul McCartney’s feature film, High in the Clouds. I won’t even mention his career as a successful R&B guitarist and singer.
What’s clear from Toybox Time Machine is that Baumann grew up in the same era as yours truly, and digested the same Wishbooks, comic books, cartoons and toys that I did. This book takes you to a world informed by Jonny Quest, Marx Toys, Aurora model kits, Carnaby Street, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Big Daddy Roth, Groovie Ghoulies, The Banana Splits and way, way more.
The amount of work it took to create Toybox Time Machine must have been astounding. There is a ridiculous amount of detail on every page. Baumann created a different corporate logo, professional as hell, but also specific to the period, for every page in this book. You see just a few of those in the image on the left.
Some of these logos are like specific toy companies’ logos of the day, and some are all-new, but all of them look like the real thing.
Some of these fake ads are so specific that you can immediately identify the inspiration, like Baumann’s riffs on the “Moon Monster” ad or the old DC Comics ads for Palisades Park. Others combine two toys into one, like a combination of Aurora’s Mad Monsters with Ideal’s Boaterrific. Some of the things in this book I can’t place at all, and I don’t know if it’s because Baumann created something new, or I just have a gap in my pop culture knowledge.
The book is also filled with in-jokes, most of which, I’m sure, flew right over my head. I did see Steranko’s face turn up on one page, and there are a few other faces that look familiar in here. That shows how much fun Baumann had to have had creating this work.
Everything in this book looks so genuine that you don’t need to have grown up in the era in order to enjoy it.
Without the historical context Toybox Time Machine is still a super-human feat of mid-century style ad design.
This has been a difficult review to write because every time I pick up the book to double-check a detail, I don’t want to put it back down.
Part of my job here in PopCult is to say, “Hey, This is really cool! You oughtta take a look at it!”
Toybox Time Machine is really cool! You oughtta take a look at it!
Your PopCulteer was so taken with this book that I have posted more graphics than I usually do with a book review. If I could get away with it, I’d post even more. You just really need to see this book in person.
Wednesday we offer up new episodes of Life Speaks To Michele Zirkle Marcum and Marking Out with Betty Rock and this week’s tag-team partner, Roger.
The morning brings you replays of The Swing Shift and two hours of our special collection of local and international artists in The AIR Music Mix.
At 11 AM we debut this week’s all-new episode of Marking Out, as Betty Rock and Roger regale you about the fallout from the latest WWE and pro-wrestling developments. Marking Out can be heard again at 10 PM.
Noon sees 90 minutes of Mrs. PopCulteer, Mel Larch, first hosting a replay of last week’s all-new Curtain Call, and then in a classic episode of On The Road with Mel.
At 1:30 PM it’s time for an all-new edition of Life Speaks to Michele Zirkle Marcum. This week it’s all about dreams. As Michele says, “Dream messages are no malarkey. Tune in when you conk out to receive your insights.” You can hear a replay of Life Speaks at 7 PM.
For the rest of what to expect, just check out that nice yellow schedule graphic that accompanies this post. I made it just for you.
You can always keep up with the latest programming notes on The AIR here in PopCult. It’s our unofficial companion radio station.
Along with our other quality offerings on The AIR, today we present yet another brand-new installment of Radio Free Charleston. Today’s show features a load of brand-new releases from our local musical stars, plus some choice cuts from the RFC Archives. The morning broadcast of Radio Free Charleston is followed by rebroadcasts of three recent episodes. At night you can listen to Radio Free Charleston International immediately following this week’s new RFC.
You can listen to THE local music showcase exclusively on The AIR, and check out our other programs that showcase SKA, Swing, New Wave, Alternative and more. That’s the schedule over on the left.
And below it is the playlist for RFC:
4 Ohm Mono “The Death and Resurrection of a Salesman”
Speedsuit “Forever Never Mind”
Kerry Hughes “Speeding For The Red Light”
Pale Nova “Fell to Pieces”
The Company Stores “Strip It Away”
Red Audio “Radio Blah-Blah”
The Science Fair Explosion “Demon Burger”
Feast of Stephen “Needing Only Me”
Scarlet Revolt “Secrets”
Bon Air “Free Shot”
Wren Allen Band “What Are You Waiting For”
Kenneth Brian Band “Cry To The Dark”
Groove Heavy “Don’t Stop Believin'”