PopCult Rudy Panucci on Pop Culture

The Cruel Tale of the Medicine Man from Slipper Room Players on Vimeo.

4076d1_d01071ab3838400cb635de8a423768c9mv2_d_1728_2592_s_2Tonight we combine the 2016 PopCult Gift Guide with Sunday Evening Video and bring you a trailer for a movie that you can purchase through Vimeo, The Cruel Tale of the Medicine Man . It’s perfect for the fan of the films of David Lynch and Andy Warhol, or the neo-burlesque aficianado on your shopping list.

This dark, storybook fairy tale is a genre-defying mixture of comedy, horror, sex, fantasy, freak show, dream and cartoon. On top of that, it’s loaded with underground (and some mainstream) marquee names: Mat Fraser (from American Horror Story: Freak Show and ShockaCon), his wife, the burlesque performer and choreographer Julie Atlas Muz, Slipper Room founder and Artistic Director James Habacker (who wrote and directed), Mistress of the New York School of Burlesque, Jo Weldon, and an impressive list of downtown New York performers, musicians, and artists such as Stormy Leather, Joe Coleman, and Bunny Love.

giftguide-graphic-smallThe film is an ensemble piece that showcases much of the talent that lives and works within the orbit of The Slipper Room, the New York City Variety theatre that is the birthplace of neo-burlesque. The Cruel Tale of the Medicine Man has the delirious and free attitude that has been the linchpin in New York underground film since the sixties – sophisticated, daring, dirty, heroic, playful, defying category and the expectations of the “market,” essentially giving the finger to anyone who thinks it’s “weird,”

You can download or watch the movie at Vimeo, which makes it sort of hard to wrap, but the fan of oddball cinema on your shopping list won’t care. Check out the movie’s website for more details.

giftguide-graphic-smallToday in the 2016 PopCult Gift Guide Magazine Rack Part Two we look at some nifty lifestyle magazines for the pop-culture-focused individual. Yesterday we covered comics and other cool stuff in part one of this post. Today we broaden our horizons.

Three of today’s picks are neat little digest-sized publications, but the cooking magazine is full-sized. These are great gifts for the person on your holiday shopping list who still reads print.

Zelda: The Magazine of the Vintage Nouveau

issue15cover-400x604Zelda: The Magazine of the Vintage Nouveau is the publication for lovers of early 20th century culture, style, arts, film, music, and more! From the beginnings of the 20th century to the Golden Era of Hollywood, Zelda brings the love of this era to life on paper. They feature not only interviews, tutorials, and features on subjects from the era (1900-1940), but highlight the movers and shakers and best of what’s going on in the vintage-style social scene today.

Published twice a year, this digest-sized small press publication is the perfect gift for the person on your holiday shopping list who feels that they were not born of this time. Zelda is filled with articles on fashions of the day, new Jazz era concerts and shows and interviews with the biggest pre-Atomic-age retro personalities.

The latest issue, just released a few weeks ago, includes articles on coctails of the era, David J, late of the neo-Goth grandfathers,Bauhaus on his transition to Big Band music, 1920s-style Garters, plus reviews of classic movies, words on styling and a look at Art Deco Egyptmania, along with loads of other fascinating stories.

You can order the current issue, as well as select back issues of Zelda at their website, and be transported to another time.

Bachelor Pad Magazine

bpm038-cover-full_8We move on to another “out-of-it’s time” digest-sized ‘zine, Bachelor Pad Magazine.  This quarterly mag is for anyone who is a fan of the Atomic Age lifestyle. Filled with stories all about booze, babes, and burly-q since 2007. Bachelor Pad publishes four regular issues a year plus one naughty Nightcap Edition each summer. You can subscribe or order back issues at their website.

The hallmark of Bachelor Pad Magazine is the stunning PG-rated pin-up pictorials, usually starring the stalwarts of the modern burlesque scene. Though eye-popping, they are tame enough to retain a classy aura that calls back to a more innocent era, where being “naughty” didn’t involve quite so much effort.

Alongside the lovely ladies you’ll find short stories, articles on mixologly, movie lists, coverage of Burly-Q events and vintage-style magazine cartoons. Bachelor Pad Magazine is a deliberate relic of an earlier age…an Atomic one, at that.

TCM: Now Playing

1522c98364a182d3a28caa00f9a78053Movie Lovers should already be well aware of TCM–Turner Classic Movies. For some time the commercial-free classic movie channel has had a companion magazine, Now Playing, that is much, much more than a simple guide to what they’re showing. The movie-lover on you holiday shopping list will thank you every month for a gift subscription to Now Playing.

The 48-page digest-sized magazine includes: A complete movie schedule with descriptions for each film; Articles from TCM hosts Robert Osborne and Ben Mankiewicz; An alphabetical listing and genre specifications for each movie; Information on special programming themes, festivals and tributes; Hollywood history, rare photographs & a movie-themed crossword puzzle; and a monthly column by Martin Scorsese.

This is the dream gift for the movie-lover who really wants to know how to set his DVR in advance. You’ll find out before anyone else what the special stunt programming is and what cult films are scheduled for TCM Underground, or which silent and foreign films will inhabit the wee hours of Sunday night/Monday morning. You can subscribe at the TCM website, and chances are you’ll also get the cool TCM catalog every few weeks, filled with pages and pages of DVDs and Blu-rays.

Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street Magazine

milk-streetFrom the creator of America’s Test Kitchen comes the new home cooking magazine, with a focus on areas of culinary delight that were unexplored in his previous publications. Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street is in downtown Boston and is home to this new magazine’s editorial offices and cooking school. It also is where they record Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street television and radio shows.

Milk Street intends to change how we cook by searching the world for bold, simple recipes and techniques. Adapted and tested for home cooks everywhere, these lessons are the backbone of what they call the new home cooking. Kimball, who founded Cook’s Illustrated and Cook’s Country magazines, and the TV shows America’s Test Kitchen and Cook’s Country from America’s Test Kitchen left the company that he started last year, and Milk Street is his first venture since striking out on his own.

With Milk Street Magazine Kimball is exploring the world of cooking beyond traditional American cuisine. As he says, “The rest of the world has created flavor by using spices, textures, fermented sauces, chiles, and fresh herbs.This new style of cooking is more about layers of flavor, about contrast, about combining ingredients in new ways.There are no long lists of hard-to-find ingredients, strange cookware, or all-day methods. Grilled spicy broccoli, French carrot salad, rum-soaked chocolate prune cake, Thai-style coleslaw, or Asian chicken noodle soup all deliver big flavors and textures without having to learn a new culinary language.”

Each issue of Milk Street Magazine includes: Recipes full of culinary secrets; Principles of cooking so you can improvise at the stove; A new repertoire of techniques to transform your cooking; The best ways to use cookware, tools, and gadgets. As always with Kimball’s magazines, Milk Street is ad-free.

You can order a charter gift subscription to Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street Magazine at the website, and if you’re lucky, you might still be able to get a free sample of his pilot issue, which was released last October.

The 2016 PopCult Gift Guide: Magazine Rack Part One

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giftguide-graphic-smallThis weekend in the PopCult Gift Guide we are going to tell you about some magazines that you can give as gifts–single issues or subscriptions–to help prolong the lifespan of print media just a bit more for the luddite or more literary-minded person on your holiday shopping list.

Today we look at some magazines centered on coolness and creativity.

The Charleston Anvil  

13327514_285279855151129_7139556062232618088_nThe Charleston Anvil is Charleston, WV’s black and white showcase of admixt art and literature- equal parts indie zine, underground comic, pulp magazine, anthology collection, and the avant-garde. The magazine is intended, principally, as a forging tool, a place where anyone may have the chance to to temper their wordsmithery or hone their art making… hammer out their ideas communally.

As a communal project, the core tenet of The Anvil is inclusion – i.e., a completely level playing field, devoid of politics, nepotism, or any other special treatment or favors. Contributors are welcome no matter what their level of experience, and need not be “established” in any way.  Composed entirely of volunteered works, all content within the magazine is creator owned. No one is paid, all work remains the original property of its creator or creators, and any money made in sales will be used purely to recoup the cost of printing the current issue, or used to print the next Anvil.

The third issue of The Charleston Anvil is due out any day now, and back issues and a sign-up for an email alert for new issues can be found at their website, along with information on how you can submit your work for inclusion in future issues. It’s great to have a publication like this in Charleston, and all creative-minded people in the area should support it.

The Creeps Magazine

14718837_1811481459066298_7011249604731438904_nThe Creeps Magazine is a note-perfect tribute to the 1970s publications of Warren Publishing, like Creepy, Eerie and Vampirella. With many Warren veterans working on new material with newer talents, and a remarkable replication of details like paper stock and even the fonts for the text pages, this book (now quarterly) is an absolute treat for fans of quick horror and science fiction stories in comic book form.

With stunning covers by Warren vets Frank Frazetta, Sanulian, Ken Kelly, Kenneth Smith and Basil Gogos, and new stories and art by Don Glut, Nicola Cuti, Roger McKenzie, Neal Adams, Rich Buckler, Alex Nino, and other greats, The Creeps Magazine manages to provide pure nostalgic glee for longtime fans while still being immensely entertaining for new readers who never experienced the original horror comics magazines of the day.

You can order back issues or subscribe to The Creeps Magazine at their website. Pre-orders of the next issue usually include a poster of the cover as a bonus.


13710057_1757183694493237_2693132402740347746_nOne of the best surprises of 2016 was the return of CARtoons Magazine. This publication was a staple of kid gearheads who grew up in the 60s, 70s and 80s, and it was great to see it back on newsstands with quite a few of its original contributors represented in its pages.

You can find CARtoons at Books A Million and other large newsstands, and it’s are supposed to be available through comic book shops soon, too, but if you visit their website you can order back issues, including the limited-edition “#0” trial issue, and you can also subscribe or order digital editions.

Brought back with style, the magazine is everything you remember with some great new additions. Chock full of cool comics strips and artwork aimed at the auto enthusiast, the Iron-On Insert is back along with the Poster Inserts.

CARtoons provides the link between fans of comic books and fans of cars, which back in the golden days of pop culture, were groups that had a pretty large overlap. This is a fun read and it’s great to see it back in action.

Non Sport Update

10151790_10153610718514862_99724298959522378_nOkay, I’m going to be a bit self-serving here. I’ve been contributing to Non Sport Update for nineteen years now. This is the journal of non-sport trading cards and it was recently acquired by Beckett Sports Media, which will land us on even more newsstands and in more places so that you can read about the latest Wacky Packages, Garbage Pail Kids, Star Wars cards or other cool non-sport trading card wonders.

Non-Sport Update is THE magazine for collectors of non-sport trading cards (cards that focus on movies, television, sci-fi, comics, music, etc.–anything other than sports). The magazine is published bi-monthly in January, March, May, July, September, and November.

Each issue is filled with features and departments focusing on the latest trading card releases, promotional cards, online happenings, and vintage cards. Their large, 32-page price guide lists values for the most popular card series from the 1880s through today. Articles cover new and vintage card releases. Inside the magazine, you will also find contests, a schedule of card releases, and much, much more. Each issue comes poly-bagged with sample promotional trading cards.

If you’d like to subscribe or look into ordering back issues, just visit the website and check out all the wax pack goodness.

The PopCult Gift Guide Magazine Rack continues tomorrow with lifestyles, movies and cooking magazines.

RFC 25 from RFC Archives on Myspace.

rfc2509From August, 2007, this episode of Radio Free Charleston, “Flaming Skull Shirt,” is back online for your viewing pleasure for the first time in more than six years.  This episode features a video by the late, legendary darling of Dunbar, The Amazing Delores. You’ll also get to see a performance by Joe Slack, our first second-generation guest on RFC.

Over the end credits we play one of the most-requested songs from the old radio incarnation of RFC. We also have a very special movie trailer, and animation from Frank Panucci’s movie, “Reperkussionz.”  This show is notable for having two segments directed by my old pal, Danny Boyd. Danny did the video for Delores, and he did the original short film, “Coal Dust, Fairy Dust,” which I re-edited and bastardized into a cheap parody of “Brokeback Mountain.”

You can read the original production notes HERE.

STUFF TO DO Early in the Holiday Season

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giftguide-graphic-smallThe PopCulteer
December 2
, 2016

This week the PopCulteer pauses briefly to tell you about some cool holiday STUFF TO DO this weekend, while we continue on with our insanely long 2016 PopCult Gift Guide. Note that all of these events either give you a great opportunity to buy gifts, or the ARE great gifts that you could share with a friend.

The 14th annual, 2016 River Arts Show and Sale, takes place, Friday, December 2 from 6:30 to 9: 00 PM and Saturday December 3 from 10 AM to 4 PM at Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Charleston,located at 502 Kanawha Boulevard. Admission is $3, and that includes a raffle ticket to win work by five Featured Artists. This is a great place to pick up some local art and music to complete (or start) your holiday shopping.

Since its inception The River Arts Show and Sale has transformed the UUC building into a Holiday Gift Boutique showing the wonderful work of over 25 high quality WV artists and crafts people in a wonderful ambiance and atmosphere. A Friday Night artist’s reception and Saturdays Gourmet Lunch with live music throughout have become staples of the show.

This is a great artistic celebration and a wonderful way to support local artists while you do your shopping.

15171113_1026870477441751_3498425088935776361_nKrampus and Saint Nick

On early Saturday evening, Saint Nikolaus and Krampus invite everyone to visit Oddbird Gift Emporium on the corner of Capitol and Lee Streets in Charleston. We told you about them a couple of weeks ago.

Harkening back to old Europe, Saint Nick and Krampus will be sharing the history and traditions of the upcoming Saint Nikolaus Day (on December 6). The visit from Saint Nikolaus and Krampus will be Saturday, December 3 from 4-7 PM.

This meet and greet is open to all ages, young and old, naughty and nice. We would be remiss if we didn’t warn the naughty visitors that Krampus might give them a switch (wink). Refreshments and cookies will be on hand. Photographs are permitted.

Oddbird Gift Emporium is located at 247 Capitol St in the Oddfellows Building. It is open Tuesday thru Sunday, closed on Mondays.

No Pants Players’ Joytacular

Saturday from 7 PM to 9 PM, The No Pants Players are continuing their tradition of the annual Joytacular! This will be a charitable event with fun for the whole family. With the donation of a toy for Toys for Tots, you will be helping to give underprivileged children the joy of having a present to open on Christmas morning. This is a No Pants Players all ages show, with laughs for grandpa, grandkids, and everybody in between.

It’s free to get in with the donation of a new toy, or a mere ten bucks if you’re some kind of horrible Scrooge who can’t be bothered to help the poor, needy children.


The Empty Glass

Coming to the Empty Glass on December 3, 2016 we have a rock show with Saul Zonana and TriElement.

Saul Zonana, might not be a household name but you have definitely heard his work. His music has appeared on shows such as Crazy Love, Men In Trees, Party Of Five, 24, Wonderful World, Dirt, Beautiful People, Army Wives, Arrested Development, and more. Saul has toured the world with Ace Frehely, Adrian Belew (David Bowie/ King Crimson), Crash Test Dummies, and Lisa Loeb among a few. He has mixed / tracked music for other artists such as Adrian Belew, Crash Test Dummies, Blue Oyster Cult, Taylor Dayne, ATB, and many more. Musically, Saul is not defined by a particular category/ style of music. He easily crosses genres such as Indie pop, Power pop, and Progressive rock.

For TriElement, this will be their last show for 2016. The local progessive trio plans to finish out December recording what will become a series of EP’s instead of a full length album. They have some big plans for 2017, including a couple of short-stint tours and a lot of live dates.

The show kicks off at 10 PM, Empty Glass Standard Time, with an $8.00 cover.


That’s just the tip of the iceberg for your weekend STUFF TO DO. As always, check Facebook and the Calendar section of the Gazette-Mail for all kinds of other mischief for you to find yourself immersed in.

Check PopCult every day for a ridiculous amount of new entries in the 2016 PopCult Gift Guide, along with our regular features.

bannerGlen Brogan is the type of artist that makes his fellow artists want to give up and pack it in.  His art is so good that it’s hard to imagine anybody topping it.  With a sleek style and a strong appreciation of the coolest elements of pop culture, Glen has made a name for himself with exhibits in New York and Los Angeles and work commissioned by Disney, King Features Syndicate, and most recently, Marvel Comics.

giftguide-graphic-smallI told you about Glen’s art last year, but this year I wanted to remind you of his work and tell you to go check out his line of T Shirt designs at TeePublic.

These are really great, affordable and wearable. The perfect gift for the well-dressed pop-culture-obsessed art lover on your holiday shopping list.

You can also find a huge assortment of prints by Glen at the 1988 Gallery; and you can find even more at The Hero Complex Gallery.



loose-pp-muttWhat better way to observe National Mutt Day on December 2 than by checking out a cool new hyperactive toy dog? To commemorate the day of the mutt, the PopCult Gift Guide brings you news of a new puppy that may be topping kidss wish list this year.  Young children and parents alike will love the irresistible personality of Peppy Pups, the official plush dog of National Mutt Day, which just happens to be today.

Peppy Pups brings to life the authenticity of puppy friendship, complete with a pup that follows its owner everywhere. The cuddly plush puppy has a spring in its step and when walked by its owner, can run, jump and wag its tail like a real dog.

giftguide-graphic-smallBrimming with personality and with no batteries needed, Peppy Pups have ultra-soft fur, distinct paw pads and springs in their feet that help these eager Peppy Pups move and prance, just like a real dog.  Peppy Pups bounce, jump and waddle as they go for “walks” with their kid owners, and turn heads as they go. Peppy Pups adore cuddling, snuggles and squeezes, showing characteristics of a real dog that all pet lovers embrace.

This is a seriously cute toy, made by TPF Toys, and it’s perfect for young kids who aren’t quite ready for the responsibilities of owning a real pet, or for older kids or adults who simply can’t have a real animal in the house. Recommended for children ages four and up, Peppy Pups come in two colors and can be found where ever toys are sold for under twenty dollars.


The 2016 PopCult Gift Guide: Charlton Neo

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giftguide-graphic-small Regular readers of PopCult should be well aware by now of your PopCulteer’s admiration and enjoyment of the Charlton Neo movement. We included a special Charlton Neo day last year in the Gift Guide, and there’s plenty of new stuff to tell you about in 2016.

Charlton Comics was sort of the “shadow comic book company” that operated on the fringe of the industry as a self-contained unit that handled their own editorial, printing, and distribution. Their comics had a certain funkiness to them because of the weird printing and the fact that they didn’t pay anywhere near the comic industry’s top rates.

While Charlton Comics is no longer with us, the spiritual heirs of the denizens of Derby, Connecticut are fighting the good fight, trying to make comic books fun again. These items are the perfect gifts for the comic book lover on your holiday shopping list.

Charlton Arrow

cov1finaaaalThe flagship of the Charlton Neo movement is the Charlton Arrow, an anthology series that combines work by original Charlton creators with that of like minded newcomers. These books are a tremendous amount of fun and include some top notch storytelling. The latest issue, number five, is available for order now.

In addition to the Charlton Arrow, there have been new books featuring Romance and Western stories, plus an anthology collecting some of the Pix-C webcomics which had only been available to contributors to the Charlton Neo Patreon campaign.

All of these comics can be ordered directly from Mort Todd at his website and there you will also find reprints of Charlton’s Hot Rod comics, as well as other really cool graphic novelties.

Many of these books can also be ordered at Amazon. And remember, Charlton Neo comics make great stocking stuffers. Mort has also used Kickstarter to fund a Charlton cover gallery project. That campaign recently closed, and if any of the cover gallery books are produced for people who missed the campaign, I’ll tell you about it here.

Charlton Spotlight

cs7_front_cov_finalCharlton Spotlight is a magazine devoted to the history of the original Charlton Comics and presents interviews with the original creators, as well as the occasional previously-unpublished Charlton comic book stories.

Argo Press is currently running a 25% off sale, so it’s a great time to snap up some classic issues that include interviews with Charlton creators, many of whom are no longer with us. Supplies are getting low on some issues so you might want to get over there quick.

All back issues of Charlton Spotlight, can be ordered directly from the publisher. These are terrific reads for any lover of vintage comic books.

13043433_1695456550719360_377430165857569910_nThe Charlton Movie

Currently in production is a documentary film about the humorous, tragic & simply amazing story of Charlton Comics; Derby, CT’s infamous comic book company that launched legends.

Produced By Jackie Zbuska, Keith Larsen, & Dennis Peters, The Charlton Movie promises to be a captivating look at the grand underdog of the comic book world.

You can help support the production The Charlton Movie by shopping at their Cafepress store, and following them on Facebook.


Kate Bush Before The Dawn

51cmbcxl5vl-_ss500This pick for the 2016 PopCult Gift Guide won’t be officially released until Friday, December 2, but as a huge fan of Kate Bush, I couldn’t wait to tell you about it. This is the official audio artifact of Kate Bush’s month-long residency at London’s Hammersmith Apollo in the summer of 2014. Those were her first live concerts since 1979, and her fans who were not able to attend have been clamoring for these recordings.

Presented as an audacious, multi-media theatrical performance entitled Before The Dawn, the month-long, sold-out, 22-date residency at London’s Hammersmith Apollo was an unqualified triumph.

Now, to the delight of Kate Bush fans around the world, comes the audio document of those mesmerizing, historic shows. Before The Dawn will be available as a 3-CD set, a 4-disc vinyl box set or a 29 track digital album. The sound quality is almost unparalleled; nothing has been re-recorded or overdubbed. The three act show, containing many well known Kate Bush songs, also included two song suites: ‘The Ninth Wave’ from Hounds of Love and ‘A Sky of Honey,’ from Aerial. Included in the show are an abundance of well loved songs from her extraordinary career including ‘Running Up That Hill,’ ‘Hounds of Love,’ ‘And Dream of Sheep,’ ‘Waking The Witch’ and ‘Cloudbusting.’

giftguide-graphic-smallDespite the enormous anticipation and expectations, Before The Dawn drew resounding praise from fans and critics all over the world. The New York Times called the performance ‘Dense, cathartic and physical.’ NME concluded: ‘It is no ordinary artist that can tackle life, death, synchronicity, identity, spiritual transformation, empathy and the chaos of relationships with idiosyncratic ease in the space of a few hours,’ and the U.K.’s Independent gushed, ‘Undoubtedly the most ambitious, and genuinely moving piece of theatrical pop ever seen on a British stage.’

If you have a Kate Bush fan on your holiday shopping list, this is THE item that you want to get them. Available from Amazon, or anywhere that new music is sold.


7e75cfe93fb0ca323aa0b590b89c95fcThis pick for the PopCult Gift Guide is for kids who have a love of fantasy, combined with an interest in cultivating a green thumb. My Fairy Garden allows kids (or fanciful-minded adults) to indulge in playset play and grow real plants at the same time.

Children love kits that allow them to grow plants at home; it gives them a connection to nature and a sense of satisfaction at having nurtured a living thing. My Fairy Garden takes it to a new, exciting level by allowing children to interact with it as part of an enchanting play set. You get fairy figures, accessories and playset environments that allow you to grow real plants.

giftguide-graphic-smallChildren (or adults who are into this sort of thing) plant the quick-germinating seeds, and care for their garden, all while setting up and playing with adorable fairies, woodland friends and accessories. It’s a great collectible line and a fun addition to the ever-growing STEM category of toys.

Suitable for ages four and up, the line has a variety of sets that have suggested retail prices ranging from $12.99 to $15.99. The playsets can be found at Toys “R” Us, Target and Amazon.

5433751_r_z001aOne of the more elaborate sets is Freya’s Magical Cottage — An adorable flower pot that’s a welcoming fairy home where Freya entertains friends and tends to her garden. The set includes the flowerpot cottage with opening doors and terrace, tray, cottage furniture, toadstool, Freya the fairy, her friend, and gardening accessories and tools.  This one of the higher-end sets, selling for a very reasonable $24.99.

While intended for kids, I can see this toy crossing over into the adult collector fanbase. The fairy figures are nicely-designed and this would be a fun and off-the-wall way to have plants in your home or office.