PopCult Rudy Panucci on Pop Culture

Doll Show Photos Part One

Last weekend your PopCulteer and his wife attended the Queen City Beautiful Doll Club’s fall show at EnterTrainment Junction in Cinncinnati. I told you about the show last week and brought you a video roundup last Sunday.

I promised a photo essay, but that has been delayed until now due to some technical issues here at PopCult Central. In addition to our connectivity problems, when I dove into the editing, I discovered that I had way too many good photos for just one essay. So this is the now the first of two photo essays devoted to the show. You can expect part two tomorrow.

Today we’re going to look at some of the non-Barbie dolls at the show, and also look at some custom displays and a pretty epic collection of custom Barbie Dolls that was being sold off at the show.

In Part Two we’ll focus on Barbie and Pop Culture dolls (although you’ll see plenty of Pop Culture today, as well).

Many thanks to Keith Davis for extending the invitation to attend the show, and to Margie and her staff who organized such a great toy show. Now let’s look at the photos (captions are the text below each photo)…

This dealer had an impressive assortment of collector Barbies and Hot Toys high-end action figures.

A cool mix of vintage and reproduction advertising dolls.

Displayed sort of like comics in boxes were vintage Barbie outfits on backer boards.

It’s a cute, cuddly Winston Churchill among the baby dolls.

Barbie was the dominant doll at the show, but there was a huge assortment of other goodies on hand.

For instance, these Exclusive Premiere action figures from the late 1990s spearheaded the ReMEGO movement that resulted in the recent revival of the MEGO Toy Company.

A cool space-themed display by GI Joe customizer/kitbasher Mark Koehler, AKA “The Mad Evil Genius Scientist Doctor Zorkon.”

Mark also created this take on Trump’s Space Force, with a crew of pop culture stalwarts helping man the intergalactic craft.

Hey, you know I’m going to find the GI Joe at the doll show. Didn’t pick this one up, though. I got one in Chicago back in July.


It was also cool to see some Marx horses at the show (well, technically Thunderbird is the horse, while there are two Pancho ponies).


I’m not going to get into the whole “doll vs. action figure” thing here, but there was a goodly amount of Star Wars at the show.


Monster High was also well-represented, as this beloved doll line lives on on the hearts of collectors.


I think Monster High might present a bright future for doll collectors.


One dealer at the show was selling off an amazing collection of custom figures, designed by a terminally-ill, 87-year-old collector in Maine.


The prices were very low and people were snapping up these gems like crazy.


Mel picked up three of the dolls for her own collection.


When Mel went back to possibly add another, she was told that all the remaining dolls had been bought up by one person.  Still it was good while it lasted, and a lot of folks had a chance to own part of this one-of-a-kind collection.


There are a few high-end fashion doll lines, like “W” and Fashion Royalty, and a couple of dealers had their impressive products on hand (with equally impressive prices).


We also saw high-end Momoko dolls from Japan.

Of course, the star of the show was Barbie, and tomorrow we’ll look at Barbie and a few other pop culture gems.

Sick Day Reruns On The AIR

I intended to record new episodes of Radio Free Charleston and The Swing Shift this week, but late-summer allergies intervened and robbed me of my normal voice, so we’ll delay those episodes for a week and bring you encore shows, instead. Luckily, these are top-rated repeat episodes which would have won several awards already, had I bothered to enter them into any competitions.

Once again The AIR will be in reruns for the next couple of days. You can still listen to the wonderfulness of truly independent radio at The AIR website, or on this embedded radio player…

Lucky for you, we have the best reruns in the world, and that includes four recent editions of Radio Free Charleston, which are guaranteeed to brighten your day. You can hear them at 10 AM, with one lucky epsidoe being heard again at 10 PM3PM will bring you three great recent episodes of The Swing Shift. Because your PopCulteer plans to take some serious cough medicine, we’re going to go ahead and schedule reruns for this week’s Curtain Call on Wednesday, too.

I promise that I’ll have a really teriffic new episode of RFC International on Thursday, and Sydney Fileen will be heard Friday with both parts of her special Big Electric Cat devoted to new music by the legends of the New Wave era.

Later today we’ll bring you a big photo essay (which may have to be split into two parts) from the Queen City Beautiful Doll show that we attended in Cinncinnati last Saturday.

Monday Morning Art: Mystery Dance


This week’s art is a digitally manipulated photograph. Of what, and how I did it are two things that shall remain a mystery. It just looks sort of interesting. Let’s leave it at that.

If you wish, you can click this image to see it bigger.

Meanwhile, over in radio-land, Monday on The AIR, our Monday Marathon extends the overnight marathon of The Swing Shift with eight extra episodes. The reason for this was a very polite request from some of our European listeners who wanted to spend even more time basking in the glow of glorious Swing music.  Haversham Recording Institute is still providing international coverage to news outlets of the mess in Britain, so this week both Prognois and Sydney’s Big Electric Cat will present BOTH of their recent 50th episode specials this week, one after the other.  Today at 3 PM you can hear Herman Linte’s four-hour-special of prog-rock’s definitive artists on Prognosis. Friday at 3 PM, Sydney Fileen will bring you four hours of “New Wave In the 21st Century” on Sydney’s Big Electric Cat.

You can listen to The AIR at the website, or on this embedded radio player…


Sunday Evening Video: PopCult Goes To A Doll Show

PopCult visited EnterTrainment Junction in Cinncinnati Ohio on September 14, 2019, for the Queen City Beautiful Doll Club’s Fall show. We told you about this last week.

Over 60 vendors were on hand selling dolls and supplies for Barbie, Madame Alexander, Tonner, Monster High and other doll lines. Action figures were in decent supply too, and there were lots of great pop culture dolls, including Cher, Laverne and Shirley, David Bowie, Marvel, DC and more. Your PopCulteer will give you a full report with dozens of photos on Monday or Tuesday, but we wanted to bring you this video “hot off the presses” while the event is still fresh in our minds.

Like I said, this video is just part of PopCult’s coverage of the event. A comprehensive photo essay will be posted soon here in a day or two.

You can join The Queen City Beautiful Doll Club’s Facebook Group to find out about their next show, in Spring of 2020. We had a wonderful time and are trying to figure out the logisitics so we can go.

Find out more about EnterTrainment Junction and learn about their cool train displays and other event at their website. We are going to bring you a very short video about EnterTrainment Junction next week, but it really only just scratches the surface of this cool toy-train Mecca. We’re currently trying to figure out a way to return and make a more comprehensive video before the end of the year.

The RFC Flashback: MINI SHOW number Seven (2)

This was the week where I wasn’t paying enough attention. This RFC Flashback goes to the first week of December, 2013, for the second consecutive “Number Seven” of The RFC MINI SHOW. In my haste, I used the same number for this show that had for the previous episode, and the worst thing about it was that I didn’t notice until four months later. Mea Culpa.

Fortunately, the show kicks all kinds of butt. This week’s RFC MINI SHOW was a special Sepia solo showcase for Andrew Hellblinki. The Hellblinki Sextet first appeared on Radio Free Charleston way back on episode 49, back in 2008. They were the first out-of-town band we featured on the show.

Andrew was undertaking a solo tour and a Kickstarter campaign at the time and we caught up with him at The Empty Glass. The fact that this is an RFC MINI SHOW, and it features a band that’s not from Charleston is significant, but I can’t really tell you why at this time.

Socialized PopCult and More New New Wave

The PopCulteer
September 13, 2019

It occurs to me that I have been a bit lazy when it comes to self-promotion and the inter-linkings of PopCult, The AIR and Radio Free Charleston and all the various social media pages thereof.

I know that the RSS feed here at The Gazette-Mail can be beyond a little wonky, and that can make it hard for those of you who wish, for some reason, to linger upon my every word to get notifications of all the various and sundry PopCult posts.

So this week we’re going to give you links so you can find the various PopCult-related social media links that might help you keep up with the goings-on in this here blog.

First of all, as you probably already know, I’m Rudy Panucci, your faithful PopCulteer who brings you random news, reviews, essays, art, video, pictures and other crap that has to do with the loosely-defined catagory of stuff known as “Pop Culture.”

You are welcome to send me a friend request on Facebook. Understand that Facebook is my personal page, and in addition to links to every PopCult post, you will also be subjected to posts where I complain about telemarketers, tell tales of how loud my neighborhood can be when I’m trying to record voice-overs (seriously, last week I started to record The Swing Shift and an Osprey flew over my house and hovered for about fifteen minutes), the occasional post about the news or politics, and fart jokes.

Also, please note that I will look at your page before I accept your request, and if it’s nothing but political memes…well, life’s too short for me to put up with that.

If you prefer your PopCult news in short, Twitter-sized bites, I also maintain a Twitter account as Rudy Panucci. You can follow me and find links to every PopCult post that I remember to Tweet. Of late, that’s been all of them.

Lately I have dipped my toe into the world of Instagram. I still don’t know what the hell I’m doing, but at some point I’ll probably start posting old Monday Morning Art pieces from the last fourteen years, so if you dig that kind of stuff, follow me on Instagram.  I also post links to all the PopCult posts here.

You can also head over to the brand-new PopCult Facebook page, where you won’t find a blasted thing for another week or so. They just asked me if I wanted the page, so I figured I’d better snap it up before somebody else did. I’ll put it in the social media rotation as soon as I have the time to finish setting up the page.

We also have Facebook pages for Radio Free Charleston, as well as The AIR, our sister internet radio station (recently dubbed “THE cool radio station in Charleston” by Ann Magnuson).

You can also find Facebook pages for some of the specific shows on The AIR, like Radio Free Charleston International, Word Association, and On The Road with Mel.

We also have a special NEW LINK for you. That is the web address for ThePopCultBlog.  Currently, it will bring you right back here. It’s sort of our backup plan. See, PopCult has been hosted by The Charleston Gazette and later the Gazette-Mail since day one. We have a great relationship. They sort of leave me alone, and I try not to make waves. It works, and PopCult has thousands of readers most days who seem to like it.

But, in the event that The Gazette-Mail has to cut us loose (things are tough in the newspaper industry these days) we have a plan that will allow us to take our archives and move to a new server, with the new URL that is linked above.

That’s not going to happen any time soon that I know of. Things at the moment of the doryest of hunky, but as your PopCulteer has learned repeatedly in his life, it never hurts to have a “Plan B.”

Anyway, if you would be so kind as to follow PopCult, its author, or its favorite features on the social medium of your choice, it’ll make it easier to alert everyone of any such transition, should one occur sometime in the future. Plus it’ll make me feel less like I’m doing all this in a vacuum.

New New Wave On Sydney’s Big Electric Cat

Check out what’s on The AIR, as Friday sees a brand-new, post-milestone episode of  Sydney’s Big Electric Cat. Sydney Fileen presents two more hours of brand-new New Wave Music. You can listen at the website, or on this embedded radio player…

Friday at 3 PM you will get your second two-hour dose of crunchy New Wave goodness with a modern twist. This week Sydney picks up the theme that she started a couple of weeks ago on her 50th show for The AIR.  If you caught that episode you know that Sydney Fileen assembled two hours of music by the top New Wave artists, made in the 21st Century. Well, there was way more new music by classic New Wave artists, and this week Sydney presents a second helping, with two MORE hours of New Wave Music in the 21st Century.

Every tune you hear this week was released after the year 2000, just like in episode 50.. The playlist below lets you know which year each song was released. In the show Sydney breaks format a bit and tells you a little bit about each artist and how they’re still making vital and important music.

Just check out this epic playlist that Sydney has curated for you…

BEC 051

Elvis Costello and The Imposters “Mr. And Mrs. Hush” (2018)
Blondie “Love Level” (2017)
“Glen Matlock “I Couldn’t Give A Damn” (2018)
Garland Jeffires “Streetwise” (2011)
The Stranglers “Relentless” (2006)
Hugh Cornwell “Delightful Nightmare” (2008)
Hazel O’Connor “Good Morning Heartache” (2017)
Adam Ant “Punkyounggirl” (2013)
Suicidal Tendancies “Ain’t Messin’ Around” (2018)
The Damned “Daily Liar” (2018)
OMD “Metroland” (2013)
The Go Gos “Stuck In My Car (2001)
Paul Weller “Satellite Kid” (2017)
Killing Joke “New Jeruselem” (2015)
Dexys “I’m Always Going To Love You” (2012)
a-ha “Giving Up The Ghost” (2015)
Cyndi Lauper “Mother Earth” (2010)
The B 52s “Eyes Wide Open” (2008)
Bad Manners “Shape I’m In” (2013)
The English Beat with Dave Wakeling “Every Time You Told Me” (2018)
Annie Lennox “Mood Indigo” (2014″
Ultravox “Brilliant” (2012)

Sydney’s Big Electric Cat is produced at Haversham Recording Institute in London, and can be heard every Friday at 3 PM, with replays Saturday afternoon, Tuesday at 7 AM, Wednesday at 8 PM and Thursday at Noon, exclusively on The AIR. Every Wednesday at 1 AM, we bring you three classic episodes of Sydney’s Big Electric Cat, just so you can be all New Wave-y overnight.

Next week, because our friends at Haversham Recording Institute are buried under work providing support for international news agencies who are covering the collapse of the empire, we’ll bring you both two-part 50th episodes of Prognosis, on Monday, and Sydney’s Big Electric Cat, next Friday.

That is this week’s PopCulteer. Check back for all our regular features, plus coverage of The Queen City Beautiful Doll Club show at EnterTrainment Junction, which happens this Saturday, in Cinncinnati.


Barbie Collector’s Show In Cinncinnati Saturday

Saturday, September 14 the closest Barbie Collectors show to Charleston happens at EnterTrainment Junction in Cinncinnati.

The Queen City Beautiful Doll Club will host a show from 10 AM to 3 PM, and vendors will have Barbie, Tonner, Monster High, Madame Alexander and other fasion doll lines, as well as dollhouse accessories, miniatures and even some GI Joe stuff.

It’s happening at EnterTrainment Junction, which houses a massive toy train display (and a gift shop filled with train goodies). I’ve been wanting to visit EnterTrainment Junction for some time, and I also like to bring my readers photos from toy shows and my other cool travels, so this is a fun way for Mr. and Mrs. PopCulteer to kill two birds with one stone and have a fun trip, to boot.

Admission to the show is only five dollars, and that also gets you a four-dollar discount on the admission to EnterTrainment Junction, so it’s a bargain on top of being a cool place to go.

It’s a quick trip, and we’ll be back later Saturday. You can expect photos and maybe even video next week. If you want to go shop for some rare Barbie items, or even just check out the cool train displays, visit the QBDC Facebook Group, or the EnterTrainment Junction website for more details.

And read this flyer, too…

From The Page To The Stage On Curtain Call Wednesday

This Wednesday afternoon The AIR, presents a special new episode of Curtain Call.  You can listen at the website, or on this embedded radio player…

At 3 PM Mel Larch presents a new hour of great musical theater on Curtain Call.  This week Me lbrings her listeners songs from musicals that have their works in literary works. While the world of musical theater takes its inspiration from many sources, often the original source material can be found in your local library. On this show you’ll hear tunes based on the written word, including everything from classic literature, to contemporary best-sellers, beloved children’s stories and even comic books.

Check out the rather wordy playlist:

Curtain Call 071

“Prologue” from Ragtime
“One Second And A Million Miles” from Bridges of Madison County
“It’s Today” from Mame
“Our Lady of the Underground” from Hadestown
“We’ll Smile Again” from Kafka’s Metamorphosis
“Chillin’ The Regrets” from Alice by Heart
“Once Upon The Natchez” “from The Robber Bridegroom
“The Woman For The Man” from It’s A Bird, It’s A Plane, It’s Superman
“What’s Up Duloc” from Shrek
“Our Prayer” from The Color Purple
“Over The Rainbow” from The Wizard of Oz (London cast)

After the new hour of Curtain Call, stick around for two additional episodes from the Curtain Call archives. Curtain Call can be heard Wednesday at 3 PM, with replays Thursday at 8 AM and 8 PM, Friday at 10 AM and Saturday at 5 PM. An all-night marathon of Curtain Call episodes can be heard Wednesday nights, beginning at Midnight, and an additional marathon can be heard Sunday evenings from 6 PM to midnight..

Right before Curtain Call, at 2 PM on Beatles Blast, yours truly hosts an encore presentation of the sixth part of an ongoing look at rare and unreleased music by The Beatles. For most of the summer, Beatles Blast will follow this format and bring you The Lost Beatles Project. This will be a treat for the die-hard fans as we mine the best of the recently-released archive projects by the band, and mix in rare releases and wild remixes from their band and solo years. We won’t be posting playlists for these shows because the whole point is that each of these programs will be a revelatory surprise. Beatles Blast will return with new episodes of The Lost Beatles Project soon.

Beatles Blast can be heard every Wednesday at 2 PM, with replays Thursday at 9 PM, Friday at 11 AM, Sunday at 5 PM and Tuesdays at 9 AM, exclusively on The AIR.

Tuesday on The AIR we deliver new episodes of Radio Free Charleston, and The Swing Shift to our loyal listeners. You may tune in at the website, or you could just stay on this page, and  listen to this happy little embedded radio player…

It all kicks off at 10 AM (with a replay at 10 PM– all times EDT) with a brand-new edition of Radio Free Charleston. This week’s show opens with a song from Ann Magnuson’s newly-reissued album, Pretty Songs & Ugly Stories. You can order it through her bandcamp page, which will be linked in the playlist below.

The show this week is split into three parts. First up we have newly-released, or re-released music with local ties. Then we offer up a set of relaxing instrumental music from local artists. Lastly, in the spirit of our 30th anniversary archival dig, we bring you a set of live music by The Mad Scientist Club, recorded out in the middle of nowhere about twenty-five years ago.

I’m going to try to link the names in the playlist so that you can buy the music we play this week. And as is our new tradition, I’m going to upload the show to YouTube, and put the resulting video right here…

So now, check out the playlist:


Ann Magnuson “The Picture On My Dentist’s Wall”
Emmalea Deal “Queen” Live Unplugged
Fletcher’s Grove “Decker’s Creek”
The Big Bad “Spit On Your Grave”
Time And Distance “For Real”
Spencer Elliott “Yin and Yang”
Todd Burge “Main Street Auburn (guitar)”
Neostra “Explorations In Silence”
David Synn “Paths To Nowhere”
The Mad Scientist Club Live

Radio Free Charleston can be heard Tuesday at 10 AM and 10 PM, with replays Thursday at 2 PM, Friday at 9 AM and 7 PM, Saturday at 11 AM and Midnight, Sunday at 1 PM and the next Monday at 8PM, exclusively on The AIR.

At 3 PM your PopCulteer returns to host a new hour of The Swing Shift as we continue to bring you the best Swing Music of the last century. This week, in order to conserve his voice, your humble host (and PopCulteer) presents another mixtape show, which means you sort of have to come here to see a list of the music we play this week.

The Swing Shift 080

Jimmy Hamilton and his Orchestra “Salute To Charlie Parker”
Squirrel Nut Zippers “West of Zanzibar”
Queen Bee and the Honeylovers “Logan and Moore”
Pat Travers “In The Mood”
Glenn Miller “Anvil Chorus”
Joe Stilgoe “Nothing’s Changed”
Helen O’Connell “The Bad Humor Man”
Dr. John “Tauro Infirmiry”
The HUngry Williams “Where’s My Baby”
Jive Aces “Feelin’ Happy”
Big Bad Voodoo Daddy “Whistle Stop”
Tape Five “Love Gun”
The Swingin’ Sisters “Tanav, Kus Sa Elad”
Hetty And The Jazzato Band “Un Bacio a Mezzanotte”
Susie Arioli “If Dreams Come True”
Kansas City Jazz Orchestra “We’ll Be Together Again”

You can hear The Swing Shift Tuesday at 3 PM, with replays Wednesday at 7 AM and 6 PM, Thursday at 7 PM and Saturday at 5 PM, only on The AIR. You can also hear all-night marathons, seven hours each, starting at Midnight Thursday and Sunday evenings.

Remember, you can tune in to The AIR at all hours of the day and night for a variety and quality of programming that you will not find anywhere else. Check PopCult regularly for details on our new episodes.


Monday Morning Art: Amish Alpaca


It’s late on a Sunday evening, and I didn’t have any candidates for Monday Morning Art that I’m really happy with, so I sat down and knocked out a quick digital painting of an Alpaca.On our recent trip through Pennsylvania we noticed that there were a few Alpaca on the Amish Farm in Lancaster, near the scenic covered bridge.

I didn’t get any photos of them, so I did this from memory. The reason we didn’t get close enough for photos is that, as you probably already know, Alpaca are fearsome beasts who, upon seeing an innocent animal or human, will immediately charge, leaping over fences and farm utility vehicles so that they may pounce upon their prey, ripping ferociously at its neck with their long, sharp-as-knives claws so that they can instantly slay it and begin feasting on the resultant dead body.

Or so I am told.

I must salute those brave Amish men who get up at 4 AM, when the Alpaca are still lethargic after a long night’s hunt and don Medieval armor so that they confont these animals and retieve the wool, milk, ambergris, limericks and other products that these majestic animals provide.

This painting was done from memory, as we only briefly glimpsed the fearsome predator and were able to speed away before it zeroed in on us and made us its next meal. Makes my heart races to think of how close we came to certain death.

If you wish, you can click this image to see it bigger.

Meanwhile, over in radio-land, Monday on The AIR, our Monday Marathon brings you four episodes of Radio Free Charleston international.  After airing, these four early episodes will go into mothballs and disappear from the server to make room for new programming. As Haversham Recording Institute is providing international coverage to news outlets of the mess in Britain, Herman Linte has begged off this week, and we’ll be bringing you an encore of a recent episode of Prognosis at 3 PM.

You can listen to The AIR at the website, or on this embedded radio player…