PopCult Rudy Panucci on Pop Culture

STUFF TO DO: May Into June

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It’s time for our weekly look at Stuff To Do in town, and there sure is plenty of it. I’m certain that this little collection of graphics is nowhere near complete (and if you have an event, and make a graphic, I’ll be sure to contact me here or on Facebook). The big thing for your PopCulteer this weekend is Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School’s tribute to David Bowie, featuring my imaginary daughter, Kitty Killton. There’s also food, music and more in Charleston this weekend. We even take a peek into the middle of next week as an RFC favorite touring band returns to The Empty Glass. Check it all out…






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Rotofugi Designer Toy Store

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The PopCult Toybox

968_2064 On our trip to Chicago last week (which you can read more about HERE), we stopped in to visit Rotofugi, a store/art gallery specializing in designer toys.  That means stuff like Funko Pop figures, but way more of it in a huge variety of different styles, sizes, and prices.

We saw everything from small blind-box figures that were only a few bucks to medium-sized figures in the ten to twenty-dollar range to gigantic designer statues selling for several hundred dollars.  Of course, there were all sorts of cool things at all points in between, including Funko Pop, Vinyl Idolz, Kid Robot blind-boxes, weird plush, wooden toys, coloring books, Dunnies, Pusheen, and way more than I could possibly list here. It was overwhelming for collectors like us.

While it was amazing to visit Rotofugi in person, if you can’t make it to Chicago, head over to their website where this week they are running a sale in honor of the owner’s birthday, where everything is 20 percent off.  Check out their Facebook page for details on how to get that discount. This is, of course, some of the coolest stuff on the planet and it was an amazing treat to get to go stand at Ground Zero for epic cool-assed weirdness and the world’s niftiest trinketry.

As with our Chicago photo essay posted earlier today, these photos were all taken with a Kodak Zi8 video camera, set to still picture mode, which had a fixed focus and less flexibility.  Please accept our apologies for the resolution and any inadvertent blurriness.  We are presenting these images without captions because Rotofugi literally left us speechless.

If you do make it to Chicago, you can visit Rotofugi at 2780 North Lincoln Avenue.




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968_1935It’s yet another Wednesday with exhilerating and informative new programs on The AIR .

At 1 PM (Eastern Time), On The Road With Mel takes Mel’s listeners along on a trip to The Windy City. Tune in for a bonus replay at 8 PM (Eastern Time). Listen in right here on this particularly neat-o embedded player…

At 10 AM, with a replay at 7 PM, an encore episode of The Booster Pack tells you everything you wanted to know about Anime, but were afraid to ask.

This week’s On The Road With Mel takes a new approach as your host, Mel Larch, conducts a travelogue of our recent visit to Chicago.  Comprised of several segments, this show was recorded on location at Lincoln Square, North Bridge, the Chicago Water Tower, the Belmont Theatre District, and in our hotel room.

This is a new approach for On The Road With Mel and we hope to re-visit this style of recording the show in the future in different cities and locations, just to keep things interesting and unpredictable.

Another departure this week is that this episode is accompanied by a photo essay, which you will see below.  Many of the locations Mel talks about in the show can be seen in the accompanying photos by your PopCulteer.  I do want to note that this was not a working trip for me, so I didn’t bring my normal high resolution camera.  These pictures were all taken with one of our trusty Kodak Zi8’s and as such, are a little blurrier and lower resolution than what you usually see here in PopCult.  Still, I captured lots of cool images and you can look at these photos while you listen to the show…unless you’re at work, in which case, make sure your boss isn’t looking first.

Our first stop, Belmont Avenue in the Lakeview District
Our first stop, Belmont Avenue in the Lakeview District

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Thanks to our new blogging software, we can only include a few images in one post. Here is part two of our Chicago Photo Essay, Part one can be found HERE, while Part three can be found HERE.

Random bicycles, some folks use these to get around Chicago

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Thanks to our new blogging software, we can only include a few images in one post. Here is part three of our Chicago Photo Essay, Part one can be found HERE, while Part two can be found HERE.

The main reason for our visit, to take in a performance of “Mary Page Marlowe,” the new play written by Tracy Letts at Steppenwolf Theatre Company, where Mel and I got married

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New RFC LogoAfter two weeks of living in the past, it’s a brand-new show this week on Radio Free Charleston on The AIR!  We bring you two hours of great local music, this week featuring debut tunes from Todd Burge, Timothy Truman and Under Surveillance, plus classic cuts from the RFC archives by Lady D, The Tom McGees, Out of Nowhere, Dr. Curmudgeon and more.

You can hear it Tuesday at 10 AM and 10 PM (EDT) at the AIRadio website or right here in this cool widgetry-type doohicky…

Just check out this fantatic line-up…

Tim Truman  “The Ballad of Oscar Wilde”

Todd Burge  “I Believe This,I Believe”
Ron Sowell  “You Might Take It Right”
Happy Minor  “Gypsy Queen”
Lady D  “I Tripped”

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Monday Morning Art: Hancock Tower

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So I was in Chicago last week and would like to report that the Hancock Tower, currently the seventh-tallest building in the United States, is quite tall indeed, as evidenced by this digital painting I whipped up. In fact, if you stand at the base of the Hancock Tower and look up, it goes all the way up there to the top. No kiddn’. Click to enlarge.

Sunday Evening Video: The REAL Captain Marvel

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shazamI have made no secret of the fact that my all-time favorite superhero is Captain Marvel. Though known primarily as “Shazam” by less-cultured folks, Captain Marvel debuted from Fawcett Comics in 1940 and was pretty much the top-selling superhero in comics until 1953, when his publisher decided to cut their losses after years of a nagging copyright infringement suit filed by National Periodical Publications, now known as DC Comics, the publishers of Superman.

The suit had little merit, but questionable rulings in appeals courts, coupled with a massive decline in comic book sales, convinced Fawcett Publications to give up. Fawcett decided to quit the comic book business and paid off DC, agreeing never to publish Captain Marvel again without DC’s permission.

Mired in another comic book sales slump in 1972, DC made an agreement to lease (and later purchase outright) Captain Marvel so they could publish him themselves. Unfortunately, during the time Captain Marvel was out of the public eye, Marvel Comics trademarked the name for their own character (they didn’t want anyone else publishing a book with “Marvel” in the title after Myron Fass had released his own legendarily-awful character with that name) so DC had to go with “Shazam” as the title of their book (actually the full title was “With One Magic Word, Shazam”).

Captain-Marvel-DC-Comics-Billy-Batson-aThe character went on to star in his own live-action Saturday morning program and during the 1970s was one of DC’s four most-visible heroes. Kids in the 1940s and the 1970s fell in love with Billy Batson, who could turn into the super-powered Captain Marvel just by saying “Shazam.” DC had mixed results with the character in terms of sales, though, and the original Captain Marvel has been rebooted, with great versions and not-so-great versions many times over the years.

Adventures_of_captain_marvelBut tonight we go back to the original incarnation of the hero at the height of his popularity for the entire 12-chapter serial, The Adventures of Captain Marvel. from 1941. This is widely considered to be the greatest superhero movie serial from the golden age of Hollywood, and while it’s not entirely faithful to the comic book, it’s a great adaptation and a lot of fun.

So set aside three and a half hours and enjoy the show, or order the DVD, which has just been released, so you can watch one chapter at a time. Either way, this is the REAL Captain Marvel, not a lady using the name, or a big dumb guy calling himself “Shazam.”

RFC Flashback: FestivAll 2012

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For the next few weeks here in the RFC Flashback we’ll be looking at episodes of Radio Free Charleston that were dedicated to FestivAll. We are less than a month away from Charleston becoming a work of art, and I wanted to bring you these shows now because chances are that I may miss most of this year’s FestivAll festivities. Between the Marx Toy Convention, my niece’s graduation party and some medical things associated with my recent auto-immune hijinks, the latter half of June is pretty much booked up for your PopCulteer.

Luckily, there are plenty of people in town now to record and post all the cool stuff I’ll miss, and if they let me, I’ll re-post their videos here.

This week we look at episodes 161 and 162 of the show, including music by Red Audio, The Bob Thompson Unit, Andy Park, Emily Burdette, Paul Calicoat, The Boatmen, Ritchie Collins and more. You’ll also see the Art Parade, RJ Haddy doing a make-up demo, Ian Bode, Jude Binder and all kinds of other cool stuff. Between both shows there’s over one hour and fifty minutes of fine FestivAll entertainment. So enjoy and expect more next week.

Cool Stuff All Weekend Long On The AIR

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Word Ass lame superheroes 002It’s Friday afternoon and that means it’s time to tell you about all the fine weekend programming on The AIR, Charleston’s niftiest source of amazing and apocryphal original radio programming. You can listen at the AIRadio website, or tune in on this neat little virtual radio set…

Tonight at 8 PM on Word Association with Lee and Rudy, Rudy Panucci and Lee Harrah discuss lame superheroes. Of course the discussion begins with Aquaman, but it quickly veers off into talk of the android Captain Marvel who could fly apart simply by yelling the magic word, “Split!” There are also tales of Fatman, the Human Flying Saucer and quick mentions of Fruitman and Sooper Hippie. This is a brisk half-hour of obscure comic book esoterica that devolves into a healthy wallow in nerdly cheesiness.

radio 03At 9 PM we will be treated to a brand-new episode of Laugh Appalachia with Lee Hale. At 9:30 listen to an encore presentation of last week’s Word Association where Lee and Rudy spend thirty minutes .talking about M*A*S*H. 10 PM sees a replay of this week’s brand-new Radio Free Charleston International, which was part two of our recreation of an original Radio Free Charleston broadcast from 1990.

This week we’re trying something new overnight Friday, with repeats of Radio Free Charleston and Radio Free Charleston International running all night long, just to give you an extra chance to listen to our shows that you may have missed. The fun starts start at midnight and will run until our regularly-schedule Saturday morning replays.

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