PopCult Rudy Panucci on Pop Culture

rfctss3-28Radio Free Charleston and The Swing Shift return with all-new episodes today on The AIR! You can listen at The AIR website, or on this nifty little embedded radio-player doo-hickey…

Radio Free Charleston offers up another hour of great local music, kicking things off with the newly-rechristened Scarlet Revolt, and including new music from Bon Air, The Wren Allen Band and Fabulous Head, plus archive music from HARRAH, Byzantine, Chuck Biel and more.

You can hear Radio Free Charleston Tuesday at 10 AM and 10 PM, with a replay Thursday at 5 Pm and Saturday at 10 AM and Midnight. Check out this week’s playlist:


Scarlet Revolt  “Bleed”
Bon Air  “Cloaking Device”
Wren Allen Band  “Before Hello”
Christopher QiET Vincent  “Ain’t No Man Gonna Change”
Fabulous Head  “C U Move”
CHUM  “Angels In The Snow”
Year Long Disaster  “Names of God”
Byzantine  “Ancestry of the Antirchrist”
HARRAH  “Blood Moon”
Chuck Biel  “Turtles All The Way Down”

Tuesday at 3 PM we’re swinging again on The AIR with a brand-new hour of The Swing Shift. The best Swing Music from the last one hundred years can be found Tuesdays at 3 PM, with replays Wednesdays at 7 AM, Thursdays at 7 PM and Saturdays at 9 AM. On top of that, we have Swing all night Thursday night/Friday morning, starting at 1 AM.

Check out this week’s new USDA-approved dose of Swing:

The Swing Shift 017

Mose Allison  “Swinging Machine”
Paul Anka  “Smells Like Teen Spirit”
Steve Lucky and his Rhumba Bums with Carmen Get It  “Down Boy”
Casey MacGill and The Spirits of Rhythm  “Undecided”
Devil Doll  “Things You Make Me Do”
The New Morty Show  “Unskinny Bop”
Postmodern Jukebox  “Sweet Child of Mine”
Wolfgang Lohr  “Top Bop”
Artie Shaw  “All God’s Chillun’ got Rhythm”
Little Charlie and the Organ Grinder Swing  “Flyin’ Home”
Indigo Swing  “I Can’t Stop It”
Glenn Miller  “Little Brown Jug”
Louis Prima  “On The Sunny Side of the Street”

Next week The AIR gets a facelist with a new schedule. Keep checking PopCult for all the info on the best-kept secret on the internet.



Today’s art wraps up Toy Month here in Monday Morning Art with a digital oil painting based on a photograph of the JoeLanta/ToyLanta exclusive Cave Explorer entering Bryan Tatum’s even-more-exclusive Skull Cave diorama set piece. These, of course, both came from ToyLanta, which has been fairly well dominating PopCult for the last several weeks. There’s still more ToyLanta video and photos to come, but we will also have all our regular coverage of the coolest things on the fringes of pop culture.

Contributing to this week’s art, along with the aforementioned Mr. Tatum, are Brian Becker, Felipe Monaco and Cotwold Collectibles, along with the the JoeLanta volunteers who helped assemble the Cave Explorer. Click to enlarge the image.

Sunday Evening Videos: The ToyLanta Panels

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jl17001I like to be honest with my readers. This is a bit of a lazy post. I’m collecting all of the panels from ToyLanta that I posted this week, instead of posting a new clip. I’d planned to post the State of the Hobby panel with Greg Brown today, but after editing video for more than ten days straight, I needed a break, so that clip will hit in the next day or two.

In the last week I have edited and posted more video than I had in the previous fourteen months. That’s largely due to my hiatus from video work due to doctor’s orders. Now I’ve proven that I can work at my old rate without suffering crippling headaches, and that means that the return of Radio Free Charleston as a video show is imminent.

But since I’ve been posting at such a fast rate, there’s a chance that you might have missed some of the great panels from ToyLanta that I’ve been preserving for posterity here. In the next week we have one more panel, plus videos of the ToyLanta Dealers Rooms and Dioramas, as well as the parachute drop and maybe even a little surprise clip.

At the top of this post you’ll see Felipe Monaco of Louco Por Bonecos with his history of GI Joe in Brazil. Below It’s James Wozniak of Classic Recasts, talking about the vintage Marx Toy Company molds that are still in use in Mexico.

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ToyLanta 2017 Panel: Larry Hama

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larry-001We are close to exhausting our stash of videos of panels from ToyLanta, but we’re saving some of the best for last. ToyLanta (incorporating JoeLanta, Botlanta and The Great Atlanta Toy Convention) happened March 11-12, 2017. This time around we’re going to check in with Larry Hama, the legendary creator of GI Joe: A Real American Hero. Larry also had best-selling stints as the writer of The Punisher and Wolverine, and as the editor of Marvel’s acclaimed Vietnam War comic, The ‘Nam. He’s also an accomplished artist who broke into comics as an assistant to Wally Wood, and was a longtime associate of Neal Adams.

In this video, Hama talks about his 1970s detour into acting and the time he wound up in the original cast of a Sondheim musical on Broadway. He also takes questions from the audience, and sort of discusses the new action figure based on him, which has already far exceeded all its Kickstarter goals and stretch goals. Of course, he also talks a lot about making comics and his work on GI Joe.

This panel was held the morning after Larry sat in with Radio Cult, proving that he’s a man of many talents, writer, editor, artist, actor and musician.

Check PopCult regularly because we’ve been posting all the panels we recorded all week long. Next up: Our final panel is the State of the Hobby address, this time by Greg Brown of Cotswold Collectibles, and focussing on the 3D printing work by Sean Huxter and Keith Holmes that Cotswold is bringing to fans. After that, we still have a few more videos in the pipeline for next week, but the panels will have all been posted.

ToyLanta happens every March in Atlanta, Georgia. It’s not too early to find out about next year’s show. Visit ToyLanta for early details on how you can be part of the coolest toy show in the South. Plus you can check out their Facebook page.

rfc43montagethumbThis week we reach back to June 2008 for “Holden Caufield Shirt,” the forty-third edition of Radio Free Charleston. With this puppy we featured music from The Clementines, InFormation and Melanie Larch, plus the classic Troma Trailer for Daniel Boyd’s Strangest Dreams: Invasion Of The Space Preachers and the educational cartoon “Drugs Are Bad.”

We shot our host segments on the lawn at The University Of Charleston during Symphony Sunday, where it was hot enough to bake a person’s brain if they were stupid enough to wear a heavy felt hat. Other locations in this episode of RFC include The La Belle Theater in South Charleston, Taylor Books on Capitol Street, and lots of backwoods boondockery from two decades ago. Plus there are the Catfish, gathering in anticipation of FestivAll.

Full production notes can be found HERE.

PopCult Note: Remember that episode of Radio Free Charleston that we skipped a couple of weeks ago? You’ll find it here next week.

ToyLanta 2017 Panel: Super Joe at 40

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super-joeYet again we plumb the depths of our ample video bounty from ToyLanta to bring you one of the panel discussions. ToyLanta (incorporating JoeLanta, Botlanta and The Great Atlanta Toy Convention) happened March 11-12, 2017. An informative panel about a topic that not a lot of GI Joe collectors are aware of was the Super Joe panel. 2017 marks forty years since Hasbro’s failed “Hail Mary” idea of shrinking GI Joe down to nearly MEGO size and repositioning him as a super hero with science fiction based enemies.

On this panel we find Steve Stovall and Steve Druin, Super Joe enthusiasts who have collaborated on the comic book insert for a new set limited-run outfit and equipment set produced by Druin, and Greg Brown of Cotswold Collectibles. Stovall maintains the Super Joe 3D website, which is loaded with cool information about this overlooked part of GI Joe history. This is a great resource for folks who want to learn more about Super Joe.

There is cross-pollination between this panel and the Loco Por Bonecos panel we posted earlier. Felipe Monaco, on that panel, explains how much of the Brazillian Falcon line of 12″ figures was derived from the 8″ Super Joe concepts. Greg explains how Cotswold Collectibles came to carry Felipe’s Super Joe-style outfits, and how that spurred an interest in creating 12″ versions of the Super Joe figures (an interest that has spread to the Official GI Joe Collectors Club, who are releasing their own 12″ versions of Super Joe).

Check PopCult regularly because we’ll be posting all the panels we recorded all week long. Next up: Larry Hama, creator of GI Joe: A Real American Hero, talks about his career in comics, toys and on Broadway, and takes questions from the audience.

ToyLanta happens every March in Atlanta, Georgia. It’s not too early to find out about next year’s show. Visit ToyLanta for early details on how you can be part of the coolest toy show in the South. Plus you can check out their Facebook page.

bobadestroThere are still some great panels left in our big ToyLanta video sack. ToyLanta (incorporating JoeLanta, Botlanta and The Great Atlanta Toy Convention) happened March 11-12, 2017. One of the most fun panels at ToyLanta is The Needless Things Podcast “Toy Stories” panel. This time, your host, The Phantom Troublemaker, is joined by The Rad Ranger, Bobby Nash, Gary Mitchell and Ryan Cadaver.

You can also hear this panel in podcast form at The Needless Things website, and check out their other episodes while you’re there.

In this panel, the guys talk about how they played with toys, and the highlight is Bobby Nash’s touching and hilarious tale of the ill-fated bromance between his Boba Fett and Destro action figures. You’ll never look at a caulk gun the same way again.

Check PopCult regularly because we’ll be posting all the panels we recorded all week long. Next up: It’s a look at Super Joe, the MEGOesque incarnation of GI Joe that is experiencing a most unlikely comeback in its fortieth anniversary year.

ToyLanta happens every March in Atlanta, Georgia. It’s not too early to find out about next year’s show. Visit ToyLanta for early details on how you can be part of the coolest toy show in the South. Plus you can check out their Facebook page.

bec-3-24Sydney’s Big Electric Cat blasts forth with a marathon Friday on The AIR. You can tune in at The AIR Website, or just twonk the magic ploonker right here on this embedded radio player…

Starting at 9 AM, Sydney Fileen, who will return with new episodes of her show next week, brings you the best music of the New Wave era all day long.

We’ll take a break at 9 PM for a new edition of The Third Shift, then resume at 10 PM and run the Big Electric Cat all night long.

Listeners can get their retro jollies with the likes of Depeche Mode, M, Missing Persons, DEVO, Lene Lovich, Thomas Dolby, The Police, Duran Duran, Human League, The Clash, Romeo Void, The Dickies, The Stranglers, Hazel O’Connor, The B 52 and dozens of other artists who were cutting edge back when that phrase actually meant something.

Check out the music that made the broken promise of a brave new tomorrow on Sydney’s Big Electric Cat, all day Friday on The AIR.

pc-3-24-01The PopCulteer
March 24
, 2017

As we approach tax season, it’s somehow more comforting to concentrate on the other inevitablity, death. We’ll allow the PopCulteer brain to run wild with a bit of a ramble as we consider the end of all things. 2016 seemed like a banner year for notable deaths, and 2017 does not seem to have let up any. Just in the past few days we’ve seen the passing of Chuck Berry, Bernie Wrightson and Chuck Barris.

Chuck Berry (right) was, of course, the true father of Rock ‘N’ Roll. Without him there would have been no Beatles, Stones, Kinks or Who. Other people have eulogized him far more eloquently than I could, but we had to pause to hail, hail, Rock ‘N’ Roll one last time.

pc-3-24-02Bernie Wrightson (left) had not been well for some time. His passing was still a blow because he was such a beloved artist of horror comics and he was such a sweet person. His art, particularly on his classic Frankenstein and Wolfman prints, elevated comic art to fine art. He will rank with the greatest illustrators and painters in history.

Wrightson’s death was part of what made March such a cruel month for comic book fans, as we lost underground comix legends Jay Lynch and Skip Williamson, life-long friends who founded the Chicago wing of the underground comix movement, within ten days of each other earlier in the month.

pc-3-24-03Chuck Barris influenced many as the host of The Gong Show, which gave early network exposure to folks like David Letterman, L.A. Improv group, The Groundlings (Paul “Pee Wee Herman” Ruebens, Phil Hartman, Edie McClurg among others), The Kipper Kids and The Mystic Knights of The Oingo Boingo (including Danny Elfman).

He was a legendary producer of game shows and wrote the hit single, “Palisades Park” for Freddy Cannon.

We also lost writer Jimmy Breslin over the weekend, and legendary B-movie producer, Jack H. Harris (The Blob) a week or two earlier.

For some time now, It seems like we’ve had an onslaught of deaths of notable people, and it’s not really ever going to let up.

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The Graphic Novel Beatles

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The PopCult Bookshelf

beatlesThe Beatles: All Our Yesterdays
by Jason Quinn and Lalit Kumar Sharma
Campfire Heroes
ISBN: 978-93-81182-22-2

The Beatles: All Our Yesterdays is a graphic novel retelling of the very early days of The Beatles, told in graphic novel form and aimed at young adults. It’s a little too accurate in its depiction of drugs and sex to make it appropriate for young children. If it were a movie, it’d probably be rated PG-13.

The book begins with a full page of disclaimers and acknowledgements that explain that the events depicted in the book are dramatisations, and that list the source material, which includes a nod to the ultimate chronicler of all things Beatles, Mark Lewisohn. That is a very good sign.

Quinn has done a great job of capturing the pre-fame lives of John, Paul and George. Ringo seems to get the short shrift here, but that’s because he officially joined the group on August 22, 1962, and the story ends about six weeks later.

61yhjoil8wlWe do get a glimpse at the childhood years of the group, and then pick up as they meet as teens and become the group that went on to dominate the music world. Some of these stories will be old hat to folks who’ve spent more than four decades reading books about The Beatles, but for younger readers, this is a great introduction. The lack of glaring errors is a nice surprise, given the scant research that goes into many books about the Beatles these days. This is a well-researched account of what really happened.

All the pre-fame important points are here: The formation of the band; the acquisition of Pete Best as their drummer; the death of Stu Sutcliffe; John’s marriage to Cynthia; the trips to Hamburg; dumping Allan Williams, their first manager; meeting Brian Epstein and eventually releasing their first single.

It is the release of “Love Me Do,” that brings this book to a close, though there is a four-page epilogue that doesn’t really add much more than a cursory condensation of fifty-five years of their history after they started releasing records.

Quinn’s script whisks us from one important scene to another without bogging down or getting repeititive. He does a great job of translating the docu-drama format into comic book form.

Sharma’s art serves Quinn’s script well, with intelligent layouts that move the story forward while keeping the narrative clear. He does his best to incorporate photographic reference into his normal artistic style and mostly he succeeds. Jagdish Kumar is credited as the inker, but the rendering is wildly inconsistent. At times it looks like different artists worked on different pages or segments. The early pages look like the work of Klaus Janson, who inked Marvel Comics’ Beatles bio comic book in the late 1970s. Other segments of the book have a much slicker, more polished look, and some others almost have a Manga feel to them.

While the variances in the art are noticeable, they do not distract from the story. The Beatles: All Their Yesterdays is a very good graphic novel take on the pre-fame story of The Beatles. It’s admirably “warts and all” and does not attempt to whitewash history. The book does offer some good insight into how four lad from Liverpool became the most powerful musical force in the world in the twentieth century.