Gift Guide: Shop Local

November 28, 2015 by rudy panucci

shop local

12243460_924446260983549_2425075685203769578_nToday is Small Business Saturday, and we’re going to shine the PopCult Gift Guide spotlight on local merchants. You should get out and support our local stores. 100% of every dollar spent with a local retailer stays relatively local. There are the folks who have cool stuff and gift certificates. If we missed any, please feel free to give ’em a plug in the comments section.

So shop local and purchase gift certificates from cool area merchants likeArt Emporium, Hillbilly Toy Chest ,Collage, Stray Dog Antiques, The Purple Moon, Taylor Books, Sullivan’s Records, Budget Tapes & Records, Lost Legion Comics & Gaming, and Kid Country Toys and Eclectics, the new store that took over from Cornucopia just this week.

If you want to treat your loved one to some professional tender loving care, we can recommend Amy Williams Wellness, Visions Day Spa or Neu Asthetic. If your chosen gifting target is a reader, visit Woodland Press for an enormous selection of books by local authors.

The main thing is to get out there and shop local. I know it’s convenient to click away, and lord knows I’ve included tons of online-only items in the Gift Guide, but the local touch means so much more, and you make your immediate world a better place.

Gift Guide: MARY A Rock Opera

November 27, 2015 by rudy panucci


mary artThe PopCulteer
November 27, 2015

MARY, the Rock Opera by Mark Scarpelli and Dan Kehde, is a Charleston tradition. Due to your PopCulteer’s insanely busy schedule, this year marks the first time that I didn’t get the chance to record any of the show for Radio Free Charleston since our first time back in 2008. It’s a real shame because this year’s cast is amazing.

This Contemporary Youth Arts Company production will open, as always, the day after Thanksgiving. Show dates are Friday Nov. 27 and Saturday Nov. 28 at 8PM, Sunday Nov 29 at 2PM and Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Dec. 3, 4 and 5 at 8PM. It all happens at the WVSU Capitol Center Theater, 123 Summers St, Charleston.

MARY is a beautiful love story that tells all about the 9 months leading to the birth of Jesus, as seen through the eyes of the young teenage girl destined to be his mother.

This year’s cast features Haley Lambert in the title role, with Kim Javins as Gabriel, Eli Chambers as Joseph, Maddy Gourevitch as Elizabeth, Patrick Felton as Zechariah, and Phil Washington as Herod.

Tickets to this show are the perfect gift, even if they’ll have to be given a little bit early, for anyone who loves music, musical theater, young talented people, the story of Jesus, or the city of Charleston. Call (304) 342-6522 for information on how you can reserve tickets.

Check out these videos from previous productions of MARY that we were fortunate enough to capture on camera…

Gift Guide: Eating Out

November 26, 2015 by rudy panucci

eating out

11228516_1636281946584431_2486339820405345305_nSince this is the traditional day of feasting, our gift suggestions are all for local restaurants. Actually, our suggestion is ALL our locally-owned restaurants. Most of our suggested restaurants offer gift certificates. Even if they don’t, you can still take your giftee out and treat them not only to a great meal, but also to the pleasure of your company.

Charleston is blessed with a wide variety of great, independent eateries. Take that into account when choosing one for the gift-giving experience. You have a lot of great options. Contact info can be found in the links with the names on our list.

Newcomers, The Olive Tree Cafe and Catering, are our top pick. Their tasty Mediterrean fare is top-notch and the service is quick and friendly. They offer up great salads and sandwiches, and their shawarma is the stuff of legend. The restaurant is open Monday through Saturday from 11 AM to 7 PM. It’s a casual dining atmosphere and they have lots of other deli goodies for sale.

Their Facebook desciption says, “An old world Philadelphia style deli with authentic Mediterranean delicacies, specialty sandwiches, cheeses, gourmet retail & more! Eat in or take away. ” Located at 333, Second Avenue in South Charleston.

Other newer restaurants you might want to consider are The Block and Bricks & Barrels. And of course, there are all the old favorites. You can buy gift cards or certificates for Bluegrass Kitchen, Tricky Fish, Starling’s Coffee and Provisions, Leonoro’s, Mission Savvy, Mi Cocini De Amor, Black Sheep Burrito and Brews at The Brewery, Pies & Pints, Lola’s, Bridge Road Bistro, Adelphia, Fazio’s, Mayberry’s and Taste of Asia. These are the stores that we know off the top of our heads offer gift certificates or cards. You might want to ask around to see if your favorite local restaurant also offers gift certificates. If they do, please feel free to tell us about it in the comments section.

Gift Guide: The Scottish Explorer

November 25, 2015 by rudy panucci


GIEDF-C010Long time readers of PopCult may know that your PopCulteer collects GI Joes.  I’m not talking about the little dinky ones from the 1980’s.  I’m talking about the twelve-inch tall action figures from the 1960’s and 70’s.  A particular focus of my collection is the GI Joe Adventure Team, you know, the ones with lifelike hair and Kung-Fu Grip.

Cotswold Collectibles has been producing reproduction accessories and brand new figures, clothing, and uniform sets for the Adventure Team under their Elite Brigade banner for some time.  Our pick to please almost any vintage GI Joe collector is Cotswold’s Elite Brigade Scottish Explorer.

This set includes a vintage style action figure with gripping hands and the Cotswold “Jake” head, with red flocked hair and a beard.  He’s also wearing a black turtleneck sweater, a brown shoulder holster with a Lebel pistol, a brown web belt, and a kilt, plus the green socks and short brown boots. He also comes equipped with a vintage Action Man scoped rifle, and an Adventure Team dogtag and insignia.

Not only is this a great spin on the original GI Joe Adventure Team, but it will also give whoever receives this as a gift the chance to storm around the house with their action figure shouting in a comically broad Scottish accent.

The Scottish Adventurer is available only from Cotswold Collectibles. He’ll set you back just under forty-five dollars, plus shipping, but this is a really cool action figure.

Gift Guide: Tentacle Kitty

November 25, 2015 by rudy panucci


TK_largeThis is a cool line of plush animals based on the creation of a husband and wife team. John and Raena Merritt are the husband and wife responsible for all things Tentacle Kitty. Since 2009 they have worked together on character design,product development, and the recently released web comic series on Tapastic.

We met representatives of Tentacle Kitty last February, when PopCult went to the International Toy Fair in New York, and we were instantly smitten. This merger of cute felines with the Cthulu mythos is irresistible.

Tentacle Kitty, or “Pink One” as she was called in her tribe, is a kitty from another dimension, who happens to have tentacles. After a series of unfortunate events she is trapped on Earth trying to find a way home. Armed with 10 tentacles, an adventurous spirit, and many new friends, the tentacled hijinks ensue.

NK_largeOne of those friends is Ninja Kitty, the world’s WORST ninja. Even worse are his sewing skills which is why his ninja suit has no sleeves for his arms or legs. It is easy to imagine how difficult pulling off the various ninja moves in his “How to be a Ninja Manual” without the free use of your arms and legs. When Ninja Kitty discovers Tentacle Kitty, he thinks she is the prettiest thing he has ever seen. He tries to admire her secretly from the shadows… until he falls out of the tree on top of her.

You can find cool plushies of Tentacle Kitty, Ninja Kitty and their cohorts, The Rat-Tailed Unicorn, Pirate Kitty and lots of “Little Ones,” at the Tentacle Kitty webstore, ranging in price from twelve to thirty dollars. Recommended for anyone who likes plush toys or kitties or things with tentacles…or all three.

Gift Guide: Ghostbusters Slot Car Racing Set

November 25, 2015 by rudy panucci


gb01Riding a wave of nostalgia after last year’s 30th Anniversary, Ghostbusters are hotter than ever.  We even have a local branch here in West Virginia.  Now you can re-create the thrill of the movie with the Ghostbusters Slot Car Race Set.

It’s easy to know who you’ll call when the highway becomes an ectoplasm obstacle course. The Ghostbusters Haunted Highway Slot car set is packed with spirited fun! The set includes: 14 feet of HO Scale Track; Ecto-1 and NYPD police cruiser slot cars; 2 sections of ectoplasm track; a cardboard backdrop of Stay Puff; Breakthrough Ghost Gates; 2 variable speed controllers
and everything else that you’ll need to have a high-speed ghost-busting adventure.

gb02This is a traditional Thunderjet or AFX style set, and it’s loads of fun. The cars are Recommeded for kids old enough to play with electric toys and adults who remember these cool racing sets from their childhood.

You can order this set directly from AutoWorld, and if Ghostbusters aren’t your style, you can choose from a variety of other sets featuring Batman, Back The The Future, Knight Rider, Smokey and the Bandit, Richard Petty and an assortment of drag racers and funny cars. The Ghostbusters set is $120, but right now they’re offering an extra ten bucks off of orders over $100.


Gift Guide: Pac-Man Connect and Play

November 25, 2015 by rudy panucci


8121SFTC30L._SL1500_This is the perfect gift for the avid videogamer who hasn’t picked up a joystick since 1983.

Celebrating the legacy of Pac-Man. Bandai’s Pac-Man Connect and Play brings back your favorite classic video games right to your television! The battery-operated old school joystick connects right to your TV. Featuring 12 Classic games like: Pac-Man, Pac-Man Plus, Bosconian, Galaxian, Mappy, Super Pac-Man, Galaga, Dig Dug, New Rally X, Pac & Pal and Xevious.

A huge added bonus is Pac-Man 256, which offers fans the chance to play the coveted level once made unavailable due to a bug in the program of the supposedly never-ending game. The 256 Challenge lets you begin where the original game left off. The unique Pac-Man shaped controller is designed to reflect the nostalgia of 80’s arcade style gaming.

71HxIYqPf+L._SL1500_The Store and Play feature allows real Pac-Man fanatics to store the cord in the controller for the best display of Pac-Man. Requires 4 AA batteries (not included). Recommended for ages four and up, and available all over the place, Toys R Us, Family Dollar, Amazon. It’s usually less than twenty dollars.

For those of us who get helplessly lost trying to navigate a modern videogame system, with all the buttons and first-person shooter stuff, this is a great way to sit in front of the TV wasting time playing a videogame without feeling like a moron, or dropping hundreds of dollars on games.

Gift Guide: Ideal’s Booby Trap Game

November 24, 2015 by rudy panucci

new boobs910k-mr2nhL._SL1500_

This gift suggestion is a blast from my past, one of my favorite childhood games.  Booby Trap is a classic game that’s been a family favorite and played by millions of people since the 1960s. Now this smash-hit is back the way it was originally, with a wooden, spring-loaded game board and classic gameplay.

The game board creates tension while players attempt to pull pieces off of the board to accumulate points. The larger the piece, the higher the points…and the risk! A steady hand and good decisions are required to win. One false move and the tension bar snaps, causing pieces to pop and your score to drop!

Ideal’s Booby Trap is designed for 2-4-players, measures 11.5-inches by 1.5-inches by 7-inches and includes a spring-loaded wooden game board, (21) large (yellow) pieces, (21) medium (red) pieces, (21) small (green) pieces and instructions.  Ideal’s Booby Trap Classic Wood Spring-Loaded Tabletop Game is recommended for children at least 8-years of age.  This is a very affordable game, made with real wooden pieces and it’s both a nostalgic treat and a lot of fun for today’s kids.

Available where ever Ideal games are sold (Gabriel Brothers, that calendar store in the mall) and as usual, cheaper at Amazon. It’s a great game and has the added bonus of having the word, “booby,” in its name, so you get a little extra fun out of that.

Gift Guide: KISS Demon Action Figure With Blood-spitting Action

November 24, 2015 by rudy panucci

kiss blood

2015_FTC_KISS_12InchBloodSpitDemonFigures Toy Company has, for the last several years, been releasing twelve inch KISS action figures made in the style of the classic 1970’s twelve inch Mego KISS figures.  The latest entry is the twelve inch KISS Demon (Gene Simmons) with real blood spitting action.

Seriously, you put a blood capsule in, push a button in the back, and the blood comes pouring out of his mouth.

Some parents may find this horrifying.  That makes this the perfect gift for their children.  It’s also perfect for any die-hard KISS fan.

The genuine Blood-Spitting KISS Demon figure is $69.99, plus shipping, from Figures Toy Company. Note that this is a pre-order. This figure is scheduled to arrive in early December, but that is subject to change.

Gift Guide: Regular Show: The Movie

November 24, 2015 by rudy panucci


91ThLMIXyRL._SL1500_Ignoring the fact that this really good movie length Regular Show adventure will air on Cartoon Network the day before Thanksgiving, die-hard fans of the show may really appreciate having a hard copy, uninterrupted by commercials, that they can watch over and over again.

This is a time travel adventure that sees Mordecai and Rigby flung into the future and the past in a plot that seems like the bastard child of Back To The Future and The Terminator.  This adventure is epic, even by the standards of a show that regularly features giant immortal flying babies, a David Bowie-esque cosmic herald who drives a flying 1970’s muscle car, the occasional plot to lift giant tracts of land from America and fly them into Russia, and regular appearances from Death himself.

So if you have a Regular Show fan on your gift list, this is a good, inexpensive stocking stuffer.  Appropriate for all ages, but some people might not want younger kids imitating this behavior. Available wehre ever DVDs are sold.